Senior Moments

Grab Bars and Shower Stools and Ramps… Oh My!

Posted by on Sep 8, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Grab Bars and Shower Stools and Ramps… Oh My!

Grab Bars and Shower Stools and Ramps.... Oh My!

It’s understandable that none of us wants to admit that we’re getting older. And nobody wants to face the fact that we might need “assistance” for activities of daily living. But the truth is that the assists available today could make life easier and safer for any of us.

 

For someone returning home after experiencing a stroke or a hip or knee replacement, these assistive devices can assure a successful recovery and the ability to remain in their own home independently for years to come.

 

A recent article in the New York Times (and shared through our NASMM WordPress) follows the story of one patient, John, whose life was changed by making the bathroom accessible with grab bars, a shower stool and a heightened toilet. These low cost improvements allowed him to be more confident and comfortable living in his own home. They extended the time he could remain independent and not rely on family or caregivers.

            For full article CLICK HERE

 

Yes, some other home modifications can be expensive. Installing a chair lift can cost as much as $4,000, but moving to an independent or assisted living facility can cost that much per month.

 

According to the Assisted Living website, the most common home modifications for those who want to remain in the home include:

 

  • Widen Doorways
  • Install Ramps
  • Kitchen Modifications
  • Shower and Bathtub Modifications
  • Flooring Modifications

 

For the full article CLICK HERE

Lighting, trip hazards, and storing items in places that are easier to reach are modifications that can easily improve home safety, often at low cost to the homeowner. At a higher level, technology can allow patients with chronic conditions to manage their health through electronic monitoring of vital signs and capturing  dangerous situations such as blood sugar changes or falls.

 

With the NASMM @home certification, Golden Bridges can come to your home to provide an assessment and connect you with the products and services needed to keep you safe at home.

 

Do you, or someone you know, need to explore your options? Check our website www.goldenbridges4you.com for more information about NASMM@home, or call us at 1-888-922-6368 to schedule your free consultation. 

 

It’s your move. Golden Bridges can help!

Susan Scholz, Partner

Golden Bridges

The Conversation

Posted by on Aug 9, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Conversation

The Conversation

Recently, my sisters and I had lunch with our mother in our childhood home in our hometown. My sisters live in Virginia. They had come to see the family, and to pick up my mother for a visit in Virginia. Of course, my mother spoke of the trip in the words that must not be said as “possibly the last time”. Therefore, it was no surprise when after lunch she set us down at the table. She gave each of us a notebook and a pen. She retrieved a folder that she has obviously been keeping for this purpose. It contained her life insurance information, her retirement savings account information, and names and phone numbers for the locations of her lock box, her undertaker, and a list of hymns she would like to have sung during her funeral.

Following the conversation about these final wishes, we spent some time looking inside her China hutch at some of her treasured items that had been passed down to her from family members. We discussed the likely recipients based on their lineage, and reminisced about their origins.

Since I live in a town nearby, I was already aware of most of this information and knew that I was tasked with maintaining and remembering these final wishes and dispositions.

My mother is a worrier, a skill that I too have honed against the whetstone of my own motherhood.

She worries about the weather, she worries about any of us driving on the highway, she worries about the pandemic, she worries about the sharp division in our country, and she worries that when she is gone she won’t have enough money to leave to her children. Although we have often expressed exasperation at this last worry, she has frugally saved and sometimes done without in order to make this a reality.

Mom lives in a very small town and lives a fairly simple life. She was an Avon Lady and worked at a bank. She still plays the organ at her church. She attended college while I was in high school. She makes the best red cake. She is my mentor and my friend. 

Our mother has traveled to all 50 states. This is a fact in which she takes great pride. Her photo albums are filled with those experiences. She is trying to go through them to remember those times, and the drive that she and her husband had for reaching this goal. She knows that when she’s gone these photos will not be preserved, and has told us many times to “just back up the dumpster”.

Have you had The Conversation with your parents? Have you had The Conversation with your kids, or significant others? Preparing your family to honor the decisions you have made is important. But not as important as actually making those decisions so they don’t have to.

Woman taking care of her senior mother

According to AARP, these are some things that you can do to get started.

  •           * Choose a photo you would like to use for your obituary (if you wish to have one)
  •           * Choose your burial plan
  •           * If you wish to have a funeral, choose the type of service
  •           * Write your life story for your family to preserve
  •           * Gather a list of the people who should be informed, including contact information

To read more  CLICK HERE

 

There are also several tools that will help you. Start with the funeral home you prefer and discuss your wishes. They have workbooks and questionnaires to walk you through the process. 

There are also online assistants: https://www.mywonderfullife.com/

https://www.everplans.com/articles/checklist-pre-planning-your-funeral-or-memorial-service

https://www.thedignityplanner.com/

As for me, I plan to become a diamond. A few years ago I learned about a service that will turn your ashes into jewels. What could be better?

CLICK HERE to read more on “Diamonds from Ashes”

CLICK HERE to read more about “Life Gem Diamonds”

CLICK HERE to read more about the “Top 5 Companies Making Diamonds from Ashes”

Whatever your final plans include, be sure to include the important people in your life. And for all the things you leave behind, tell them to call Golden Bridges.

 

Susan Scholz, Partner

Golden Bridges

Post-Pandemic Senior Strategies

Posted by on Jul 10, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post-Pandemic Senior Strategies

Post-Pandemic Senior Strategies

It is estimated that at least 10,000 people turn 65 every day in America. During the COVID-19 shutdown (March, 2020 through April, 2021) that means over 4 million people became “seniors”. What should they expect of their senior years in a post-pandemic world? What strategies will work for them in planning for life after COVID-19?

  • Get vaccinated

First and foremost, doctors and the CDC recommend that seniors be vaccinated. Once you are vaccinated, you can return to the activities you enjoyed before the pandemic. Not only are you safe, but your grandchildren are safer because you are vaccinated. The CDC provides the following list of indoor and outdoor activities that can be resumed when fully vaccinated.

  1. Attend a small, outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people, particularly in areas of substantial to high transmission
  2. Dine at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households
  3. Attend a crowded, outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event
  4. Visit a barber or hair salon
  5. Go to an uncrowded, indoor shopping center or museum
  6. Attend a small, indoor gathering of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people from multiple households
  7. Go to an indoor movie theater
  8. Attend a full-capacity worship service
  9. Sing in an indoor chorus
  10. Participate in an indoor, high intensity exercise class

 

Unvaccinated people attending these events will be expected to wear a mask and remain socially distanced.

  • Check on your retirement funds

According to information published by Generations: American Society on Aging, a January 2021 poll found that as of last November, nearly 60 percent of Americans withdrew or borrowed money from an IRA or 401(k) during the pandemic, and 63 percent used those retirement savings to cover basic living expenses. If this includes you, now is the time to review your retirement financial plans.

While it might be tempting to start collecting on Social Security now, benefits can be reduced by as much as 30 percent when collecting even five years earlier than planned. Calling the local office of Social Security is your best move to get the information you need when considering this option. Just make sure you’re prepared to wait on hold for a while. There are many others who are exploring their options. But be patient, it is worth the wait to get assistance from an expert.

And if waiting another year or two is the best option, then consider a part-time or seasonal job. Returning to the workforce might not have been in your plan, but there are some exciting options to consider.

  • Starting a new business

According to AARP, success at starting a new business increases with age, even into one’s 60s and 70s. Your experience and skills can help you succeed as an entrepreneur. After all, Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals at the age of 76.

Considering that the Boomer generation now includes about 73 million people in the US, there’s a very large audience for products that help them (you) improve their everyday lives.

Starting a business, or introducing a new product to this demographic takes fortitude but the rewards are well worth it.

An article in Inventor’s Digest from 2018 states that Charles Greeley Abbot became secretary of the Smithsonian Institution at age 56. At 99, he invented a solar cooker that used the energy of direct sunlight to cook food and heat beverages. At that time, he became the oldest person to receive a patent and may still hold the record as the oldest inventor.

  • Invest in improving your digital skills

Many older adults have increased comfort with and willingness to use new technology to survive in an increasingly digital world. Whether working from home, staying in touch with family and friends, ordering groceries, conducting telemedicine visits or attending church services virtually, many older adults had no choice but to master new skills. Even volunteering during the pandemic required mastering new digital skills.

Use those new skills to secure a job working from home.  From bookkeeping to consulting, editing online or teaching English, this article offers many ideas for you to make use of those skills and experience.

CLICK HERE to read more

If you feel like you need to brush up or expand your digital skills, check out local classes and workshops or access the free resources and workshops available at www.fintech.aarpfoundation.org.

And, if you want proof that starting your own business, becoming an entrepreneur, and totally changing your direction as a senior works… Golden Bridges’ owners were all over 50 when we found senior move management. Combining our collective experience in healthcare management, insurance and retail operations we have now provided services to more than one hundred clients. Whether moving, downsizing, organizing, and resettling seniors – or staging homes for sale or as a bed and breakfast – we have used those skills to help people live life better.

Susan Scholz, Partner

Golden Bridges

A main source of information for this article:

https://generations.asaging.org/aging-while-post-pandemic-world

Mother’s Day Bouquet

Posted by on May 12, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Mother’s Day Bouquet

Mother's Day Bouquet

“There’s a lot of pressure on us all when it comes to Mother’s Day gift ideas. You want to find something she’ll use all the time, but it can’t be strictly utilitarian. It should also have a sentimental spin.” That is a direct quote from the pages of Real Simple magazine.

CLICK HERE for the full article

Their list contains everything from flowers/book of the month to electronics and sheets. Of course there are some traditional items. Specialty chocolates, teas, and coffees. Tried and true, these items are always well received but don’t last very long. 

How long will your Mother’s Day gifts last this year?

Roses, and most flower bouquets last about one week. Of course, many of us start rearranging the ones that are still good after that and downsizing to a smaller and smaller vase until we finally give in and let them go so we can clean up the baby breath droppings and dust the table.

Chocolates can last for 6-9 months. Or, that is to say that anything that is left will still be tasty and fresh after that time. Some expert advice is pointed out in this article from a chocolatier. 

  • Don’t refrigerate
  • Store in cool, dry place
  • Do place in airtight sealed container 
  • Hide somewhere that only you know about*

For more on how to store chocolate CLICK HERE

*Ok I threw that in so that the kids who probably gave them to you don’t devour them all on Mother’s Day.

Gift certificates are nice. Sure. That way she can get something she wants at a store you chose that she has maybe never visited, or is in another town. Maybe your intentions were good, “Mom, we’ll go on a special shopping trip together. Won’t that be fun?”  Except then there’s a pandemic and it’s another year before you get to do that shopping trip, and your family is very busy, and work is crazy… It’s estimated that 19% of albeit well meaning gift certificates are never used.

How about clothing? She hasn’t shopped for herself in more than a year, right? She’s maybe put on weight during the pandemic, about which she will be happy you reminded her (after she’s taken down all but that small mirror above the sink)  Yes, get her some clothes that will last until next pandemic.

Of course, the best and most meaningful gift is time. Your time with her. Listening to stories she remembers about when you were a child. Or even better when she was a child. Time to spend helping her with chores she finds a little more difficult to get done by herself, like turning the mattress or changing out her seasonal clothes and decorations. Changing the furnace filters and washing out the mud in the garage.

And if you don’t live close enough to your Mother to do those things in person, Golden Bridges can help. We offer an Advantage Card that works on an hourly punch card rate. Call 888-922-6368 to learn more about how we can help her live life better.

 

Susan Scholz, Partner

Golden Bridges

Food Insecurity and Hunger in America

Posted by on Apr 14, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Food Insecurity and Hunger in America

Food Insecurity and Hunger in America

When the pandemic began last year, more American families than ever were thrown into the situation of not knowing where the next meal was coming from. Lines at food pantries snaked around pylons in parking lots as long as the Covid-19 testing lines. And while our country has been dealing with hunger for far longer than the pandemic, most food pantries and shelters still struggle to keep up with the demand.

This updated report from Feeding America states that: “The COVID-19 crisis has dealt a swift blow to the economic health of individuals and communities across the country, and the effects have the potential to be long-term. It took ten years for food insecurity rates to return to pre-Great Recession levels. For now, with no immediate end to the crisis in sight, demand for charitable food assistance is expected to remain at elevated levels for the foreseeable future.”

CLICK HERE for full report. 

 

As an industry, the National Association of Senior & Specialty Move Managers (NASMM), to which we belong, has focused on helping to stock food banks. Our charitable partner, Move for Hunger helps by teaming up with movers and move managers to collect food items that homeowners will not be taking with them and donating them to local food pantries.

CLICK HERE to visit Move Hunger’s website.

 

May is the designated month for bringing awareness to food instability and Golden Bridges has participated in Move for Hunger food drives that have collected over 22 million pounds of food in the US and Canada. This year we are starting early on April 17th at the Pittsfield Health and Wellness Fair. We will have our vans at Pittsfield Lake between 10am and 2pm that day. And with the return of the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce’s Dogwood Parade we will again be walking with our shopping carts to collect food donations on May 1st.

We hope you will be able to participate in one of these events! “But what should I donate?” you ask.

When it comes to meeting the greatest need, cash is king. By donating cash, you enable those operating the pantries to purchase what is just right for their most pressing needs. It’s also a good idea to check with the charity to see what they can accept, and what they can’t.

See what some experts have to say on the subject:

https://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/food-banks-need/

https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-blog/what-donate-food-bank-and-what-avoid

https://www.theeverydaymomlife.com/mom-life/donating-to-food-banks/

https://www.delish.com/food/g4557/things-you-should-never-donate-food-bank/

So what are some items that you can bring to these Golden Bridges food drives?

  • Peanut butter
  • Pudding cups
  • Cooking oil
  • Boxed mixes (especially if they only need water to prepare)
  • Canned meat or pouches of chicken, tuna, salmon, etc.
  • Dried fruit
  • Flour and sugar
  • Spices
  • Dried pastas
  • Boxed or bagged cereal
  • Grains
  • Instant coffee and tea

However, if you think that donating gives you an opportunity to clean out your own kitchen cupboards, think again. Food pantries DON’T accept anything that has been opened and half used, any foods that are out of date, cans that are dented or rusted, and anything that was cooked at home.

Helping people live life better. It’s what we do at Golden Bridges… for our clients, and our communities. Please give us a hand this year as we pack our vans full so we can pack the pantries serving those in need.

Susan Scholz, Partner

Golden Bridges

Here’s to Year 8

Posted by on Mar 17, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Here’s to Year 8

Here's to Year 8

I was born on August eighth, nineteen fifty eight. 8-8-58. When I give that birthdate, which we are asked to do almost everywhere these days, people always remark, “That’s a lot of 8s”. So, it’s easy to see why 8 is my lucky number. 

 

Well, this year – in a few short days – on April 1st, Golden Bridges turns eight years old! Who starts a business on April Fool’s Day? And on April Fool’s Day of twenty thirteen? 

 

To answer that question, I take you back a few years earlier when the co-owners of Golden Bridges knew we wanted to work together; we wanted to own a business; we wanted to fill a niche in the community. Senior Move Management was the answer.

 

So at the age of eight, what are we up to? 

 

Well, it’s probably easy for you to understand that last year was not Lucky 7. The 2020 pandemic was declared one year ago. Early on, we learned that we were considered essential workers and thus could continue to serve clients who wanted or needed to move. However, the dangers surrounding the CoVid-19 virus made moving less than desirable. 

 

How did we weather the storm of the pandemic? We had strong business advice about how to structure our finances when we started the business. Our friend, Cyndi Thomason (Owner of bookskeep, Author, and Certified Master Profit First Professional) who now gives advice to a multitude of new entrepreneurs, was generous enough to teach us how to save for a rainy day and make it through tough times. We are thankful for her wisdom and guidance.

CLICK HERE to read Cyndi’s book. 

 

How did we use our time during the pandemic? We spent it together, becoming stronger owners and leaders. After winning the inaugural Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce’s business plan competition and placing in the top four of the inaugural Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneur Challenge we received not only cash investment but also a business coach, Kim Strohmeier of Still Waters Entrepreneurial Services. This year, we have returned to learn even more about surviving in an economic storm.

CLICK HERE to learn more about our business coach. 

How are we moving forward? We are returning to the roots of our mission and values. Our mission is to provide solutions to those in transition. Our values: Compassion, Innovation, and Determination. During the slowdown of clients, we have refined those values by defining our goals around them. 

 

Customer Forward – Compassion

Rather than customer first, or customer centered, we will always proceed in a manner that moves our customer forward, using compassion to help them reach their goal.

Providing Solutions – Innovation

As new barriers arise, our teams will work together to find innovative solutions that move the customer forward.

Empower the Employee – Determination

The team in the field are the front line problem solvers, empowered and determined to make decisions that move the customer forward.

 

How are we celebrating our eighth anniversary? We’re having a party! Two, in fact. On Thursday, April 1, at 1pm, we are presenting a free webinar introducing our referral partners to a software tool we are using called FairSplit. It allows us to make a pictorial inventory of our clients’ heirlooms and split them among the heirs… without all the drama.  Founder, and Golden Bridges friend, David MacMahan, created the company to “Divide Things, not Families”. This software allows us to show everyone Grandma’s pie plate or Grandpa’s tools and let’s them select the items that mean the most to them.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Fair Split. 

And, oh yeah – the second anniversary party? We are following our eight year tradition of having dinner together at a local restaurant. This year it happens to be another pandemic survivor, The Patio. With new owners and a complete makeover made possible during the shutdown, we are looking forward to toasting:

  • to our friends who have been such a large part of our success,
  • to lifelong learning and growing,
  • to year 8 – our Lucky Number year in business, 
  • to our clients – the reason we wake up in the morning – and to helping them to live life better!

Susan Scholz, Partner

Golden Bridges

Peter Pan House

Posted by on Feb 17, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Peter Pan House

Peter Pan House

Do you live in a Peter Pan house? For the past two centuries, we Americans have been building houses for people who will never grow old. Narrow hallways, narrow doorways, and stairs – lots of stairs!

On the website aginginplace.com, Dr. Laura Carstensen, of the Stanford Center for Longevity lays out fifteen elements of the Peter Pan house. Some of these include:

  • Multi-level house
  • Washer/dryer in the basement
  • Sloping yards
  • 24 inch doorways
  • Bathroom upstairs
  • High outdoor maintenance

She points out that these homes were designed by and for younger families and fail to consider the needs of the aging populations.

https://aginginplace.com/peter-pan-house-15-elements/

This month our partner Susan, who authors these blogs, completed her certification to become a NASMM@Home specialist. This education provided by our national association qualifies her to provide in-home consultations for those who want to stay at home in their senior years.

For the past several years while attending national conference, Susan sought out the courses that addressed issues faced by seniors trying to age in place. So, this year with the extra time provided by the pandemic, she completed the education and is ready to go.

So, what if you do want to grow old in your home? An AARP survey in 2018 found that, “while 76% of Americans age 50 and older say they prefer to remain in their current residence… [only 46%] anticipate they will be able to.” The reasons for this are because of the inherent hazards within their home.

CLICK HERE to read full article

In that article, seniors say they are willing to consider alternatives such as home sharing or building an accessory dwelling unit. You may have seen on social media some of the “granny pods” people have built in their backyards to accommodate an aging parent.

Still, it is clear that the majority of us want to remain in our homes as long as possible. A  NASMM@Home specialist can help make that a reality.

It all starts with a free consultation. By using a checklist of some of the obvious hazards, like unanchored throw rugs, the specialist can create a plan that allows the homeowner to choose the most practical and cost effective changes to make.

Some are simple changes, and some go much further into providing healthcare solutions and technology touch points that allow for virtual caregiving.

ROCK Health highlights eight reasons that aging in place technology will flourish in the near future. Not the least of these is “digital adoption accelerating due to COVID-19”. With more tech savvy seniors, the options for including these digital assistants in our homes have greatly expanded.

CLICK HERE to read full article

And, some of the tried and true solutions that have been around for 30+ years as handicapped accommodations are also the easiest to help seniors stay at home. Outside stairs can be avoided by installing a safe ramp. Bedrooms on the second floor can be moved to the main level, or a chair lift installed. Innovations for bathroom walk-in tubs and zero threshold showers can also make the home safer.

proper lighting and placement of everyday items where they are in convenient reach go a long way to make staying at home easier. Beyond that, remodeling to widen doorways and install suitable bathroom fixtures may be a reasonable cost as an option when compared to moving.

To read more about how Golden Bridges can now help you or your loved one age in place, check out the NASMM@Home page HERE:

And when you are ready for that free consultation, call 888-922-6368. It’s your move (or not), Golden Bridges can help!

 

Susan Scholz, Partner

Golden Bridges

2020 Hindsight

Posted by on Jan 4, 2021 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2020 Hindsight

Well, here we are, finally at the end of 2020. It’s been quite a year. Some comparisons I have heard include:

  • Roller coaster ride
  • Lockdown life
  • Trainwreck
  • Zoom fest
  • Hell and back

 

Whatever you have called it, “unprecedented” topped the list on dictionary.com. British slang uses the word omnishambles to describe 2020. For a grin, check out the rest at:

https://www.dictionary.com/e/2020-describe-one-word/

 

What made 2020 so unprecedented? Of course, the pandemic tops the list. But there have been other issues of note that caused this year to be more stressful and more tragic than most any in our collective memories.

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/year-review-2020-in-20-visualizations/

 

So what now? How will we make 2021 a better year?

 

Many of us will make a new year’s resolution. And there is no shortage of suggestions on the internet. Good Housekeeping, In Style, Psychology Today, Reader’s Digest, and People magazine have all weighed in. My favorite was advice from In Style magazine that recommended you ask yourself this question about your resolution: “how will this resolution impact me five, 10, or 15 years from now?”

https://www.instyle.com/lifestyle/new-years-resolutions-list

 

What are the things that have made you unhappy in 2020? Will they continue to be a problem after the new year? Are there ways that you can change them, or change your attitude about how they are affecting you? What are the silver linings that you have experienced this year?

 

We have all learned new (and better?) ways to communicate. Perhaps you used zoom for the first time in your life. Perhaps it became your lifeline to family friends and coworkers. This technology has been available for many years (teleconference calls began showing up in the late 50s and early 60s), but it took the pandemic to make us realize what a valuable tool it is. Now, I rarely go a week without more than one Zoom or Facebook call. This holiday season, it became the host for family gatherings as many of my family members live In areas affected by CoVid, not to mention that my home is located in a CoVid hot spot. Sure it is not the same, but so good to see their faces and hear their voices and to know that they are safe and healthy.

 

Internet banking and bill pay has been available for at least the last 10 years, but did it take the closing of bank lobbies to encourage you to take advantage of that service? Telemedicine has seen an epic rise during the pandemic. Working from home has become the norm, rather than the exception. Schools have adopted remote learning strategies, sometimes providing online classes for all their students. This is not new technology either. When I was a 5th grader, we had a remote learner in my class. She was handicapped, and could not always come to the classroom. We had what we called a squawk box that allowed her to listen in and to reply when the teacher directed questions or comments to her. I am sure that technology has been used in some way during the interim since the 1970s, but it’s dominance in 2020 has possibly changed education forever.

 

Was 2020 the year when you finally decided that talking with a counselor would be beneficial? They have been there for years… But have seen a spike in patients this year. This is a good thing.

 

Whatever the year 2020 has brought you, we hope that you have had some moments of pure joy, an opportunity to count your blessings, and development of a positive attitude for 2021. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.

 

And to quote my favorite Christmas song, ” may I suggest the secret of Christmas is not the things you do at Christmas time, but the Christmas things you do all year through”.

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Golden Bridges.

 

There Art Thou Happy

Posted by on Dec 1, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on There Art Thou Happy

There Art Thou Happy

As a preteen growing up I shared a bedroom with my older sister, Lee Anne. She was a fan of Shakespeare. And when the Franco Zeffirelli movie was released, she immediately got the soundtrack and played it every night as we fell asleep. I got to know it well, and could recite most of the scenes by heart. One that especially stuck with me was one where Friar Lawrence admonishes Romeo for being despondent over his exile. The most memorable quote being, “there are thou happy”, repeated several times over in counting Romeo’s blessings of life, love, and breath.

As I think about November being a time set aside for the giving of thanks, I encounter, hear of, or read about many people who feel they have nothing to be thankful for in 2020. But this is not true.

If you are reading this blog:

  1. You have either survived or avoided coronavirus. There art thou happy.
  2. You have a device which is connected to the internet and access to Facebook or website. There are thou happy.
  3. Hopefully, you have a job or a regular income to maintain your lifestyle. There are thou happy.
  4. You can step outside at night and see the same moon and stars that your loved ones see, whether from the next town or a continent away. There art thou happy.
  5. In the beauty of nature and the love of animals, there art thou happy.
  6. The songs of birds and the frenzy of squirrels. The falling leaves and autumn sun. There art thou happy.

In searching for 2020 gratitude lists, I came upon the following:

https://www.antimaximalist.com/gratitude-list/

https://bucketlistjourney.net/89-things-to-be-grateful-for/

https://www.positivityblog.com/grateful-when-times-are-tough/

One thing that I am thankful for are the many forms of communication and entertainment available to me. We have certainly learned in this year that even though our society has had access to incredibly abundant forms of communication for many years, we had been slow to adopt them until we really needed to. Virtual school, shopping, television and theatre, Grandpads and Zoom calls have become commonplace. It’s a new normal (overused phrase these days), and we are embracing them in record numbers.

Even in this, the worst of the pandemic in our community, we are finding ways to celebrate new traditions. This Saturday the City of Quincy’s downtown District is setting up a Christmas Cruise for families to enjoy. Sixteen blocks of the downtown will feature lighted window displays (watch for the Golden Bridges display featuring repurposed lamp shades as unique Christmas trees). Santa, Mrs. Santa, and our beloved Buddy the Elf will wave at the cars going by their house on the square, and the Fire Station will be a stop for cookies and candy for the kids.

There’s no question that this November – this Thanksgiving season is different. Whether sheltering in place or participating in a Zoom family meal, this Thanksgiving is still a time to think of family and tradition, or start a new “normal” for you and your family.

Our partner, Nancy, taught her son how to bake her traditional butter rolls, and they filmed it for the rest of the family to enjoy.

And Suzanne opened her home for a traditional Thanksgiving feast with both family and friends who would not be having their own family meal.

Me, I got to spend some time with faraway family on a safe and sanitary social distancing trip to see my grandkids – and some pretty neat gingerbread houses.

Perhaps you are busy this Thanksgiving weekend preparing a place for virtual learning for your student. Or planning to work from home for the rest of 2020. Many of you (I see on Facebook) have bucked tradition and have already put up the Christmas tree. Some I know are not doing any holiday decorations because there won’t be anyone there to see them.

Whatever you choose this holiday season, choose to be happy. Count the blessings around you and make plans for a brighter future.

Friar Lawrence concluded his admonishment to Romeo with:

“A pack of blessings light upon thy back,

Happiness courts thee in her best array,”

And happiness…  thankfulness… is there for you too if you are willing to allow it to light upon your back.

Happy Thanksgiving from Golden Bridges.

Saturday Sisters

Posted by on Oct 22, 2020 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Saturday Sisters

Saturday Sisters

As the old saying goes, you can’t pick your sisters, but you can pick your… friends. Well, luckily I was born into a family of four girls. So I had built in sisters! Sure, we sometimes argued – over boys, clothes, or music. But we also bonded over boys, clothes… and music. Unfortunately they’re all living in the east now – Buffalo, NY and Fredericksburg, VA, and it’s tough to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine on a regular basis.

 

So… I found a group of what I call my Saturday Sisters. It started with my sorority sister, Jill, when we were both in Weight Watchers a few years ago. After weighing in, we would treat ourselves by going to Panera for coffee and whatever. Usually we shared the egg white and caprese breakfast sandwich, which with black coffee was only four points apiece.

Having been close during college, we had drifted apart while raising kids and launching careers. With that behind us, we were ready for some “sister time” and picked up right where we left off. And since we were having so much fun, we started expanding the group.

 

If memory serves, Mary was next. Then GB partner Nancy, Sherry and Carla (who both live in Canton, thirty minutes away) would join us whenever they didn’t have other obligations. Partner Suzanne lives in Palmyra (also a 30 minute drive), but joins us when she can make an excuse to come to town. This year we’ve added Darlene and Angela, and invited Catherine.

 

Pre-pandemic, we could count on the fact that Thursday or Friday one of the Saturday Sisters would send out the group text to decide which local restaurant we would visit on Saturday morning. During the initial COVID shutdown we were not able to get together. But when the weather warmed up, we had had enough of quarantine and started meeting on Jill’s breezeway, with proper precautions and social distancing. She supplied the coffee and we either brought our own breakfast or someone would treat the group. The food really doesn’t matter. Good coffee and good friends are the winning combination.

 

On any given Saturday there might be ten or just two, but some part of the group gets together to mull over the week before or the week to come. To bolster each other or commiserate over the pandemic, the job, the kids, etc. We laugh, we eat, we drink coffee. We relax and we let go.

According to www.cdc.gov, US adults reported

“considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19.”

 

Therefore, psychologists recommend reaching out to others as a strategy for maintaining your mental health and balance. In this article from Women’s Health Group, it makes the top five in “How to Support your Mental Health during CoVid-19”.

CLICK HERE to read more

Now the Saturday Sisters include four more college girlfriends, my partners and a colleague from Golden Bridges, and a friend from the theatre.

 

Recently I hosted the group on my open-air patio (see photo). My husband even cooked for the occasion. Excellent lemon-blueberry bread pudding and marinated orange slices. As usual, we laughed, we talked, and we drank coffee.

 

As the days get shorter and the chill drives us off the breezeway we are searching for a safe meeting place for the winter. Too big a group to socially distance in a restaurant. Too cold blooded to suffer the cold temperatures. Maybe we will all have to chip in for a tent with a heater. Or maybe we will go the route of other sisters and opt for the safety of Zoom or other meet up platforms.

CLICK HERE to read more on this topic

 

Whatever the solution, one thing for sure we’ll continue to be Saturday Sisters!

 

Who is in your “go to” group? What are you doing to stay close during the COVID uncertainty and confusion? Drop a comment on our Facebook page and tell us about your Saturday Sisters!

 

Susan Scholz

Partner, Golden Bridges