dining room at Skye Luxury Senior Living independent living community in Leander, TX

Meet Skye Executive Chef Fred Perry

Skye is a 55+ luxury independent living community in the fast-growing town of Leander, Texas, a short distance from Austin. Call 512-591-5121 to schedule your visit to Skye to sample some of Chef Fred’s favorites.

Executive Chef Fred Perry at Skye Luxury Senior Living
Fred Perry, Executive Chef, Skye Luxury Senior Living

Executive Chef Fred Perry’s career has been anything but boring. From developing proprietary spice blends to placing first in a snow sculpting team competition, Chef Fred gives his all to everything he does, and fortunately for Skye Luxury Senior Living, that now means making beautiful food for residents of the independent living community located in Leander, Texas.

Chef Fred started cooking at 15 years old, and by the age of 17, he had achieved the title Assistant Manager at a local restaurant where he was working as a short order cook. The owner of the restaurant became his mentor and encouraged Fred to attend culinary school after high school—a dream that came true when his mentor paid for his first year as a graduation gift. “About as soon as I stepped foot in culinary school, I was hooked,” said Fred. “There was so much to learn about the business, and I soaked up every drop. Even 44 years later, I still keep in contact with the culinary instructors that shaped my career.”

Rising Star

Fred’s first job after graduating culinary school was cooking at an 800-room convention hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, where he was recognized as a rising star. Learning from an eclectic group of chefs from different countries, Fred discovered the importance of respecting food and saw the impact food and ingredients have on people’s lives. He says, “That time in my life was extremely important. I learned discipline. I learned precision and finer techniques, which helped me grow and eventually move up to Executive Chef at several restaurants.”

Fred also learned the business side of cooking, moving on to oversee training and budgetary compliance and eventually executive-level catering. He joined a food management company where he was part of the culinary leadership team that served the cast members at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Mentoring Culinary Students

Mentoring local culinary students has been a great passion of Fred’s, and he has imparted his knowledge on more than 15 young aspiring chefs. “I love that I have been able to do what was done for me,” says Fred. “Several young chefs I’ve worked with have grown into Executive Chef roles, become restaurant owners, started a children’s cooking school, and even become a champion on the Food Network show Chopped.”

Delicious Meals

Making Skye residents happy through delicious meals made with love is how Chef Fred spends his time these days. Through the challenging days of the pandemic, Fred and his team have listened to what residents want, fulfilling nearly every request. From creative, customized carryout containers to themed boxes filled with holiday feasts, the Skye culinary team is all about keeping residents smiling. Fred also enjoys surprising residents with familiar flavors and recently prepared an etouffee for a newcomer who mentioned he was from New Orleans.

The food is superb and has been since day one. Chef Fred does a wonderful job of mixing “southern comfort” foods and healthful entrees and sides, so that everyone can find something to their liking with each week’s menu change. Our “always menu” is an excellent mix of usual favorites, e.g., salmon, sandwiches, burgers, etc. Karen

Chef Fred’s many talents are impressive, but he is always learning and trying new things. While he reflects on the past and looks towards the future, Fred is most focused on the present. “The food I love the best is the food I’m working on today,” he says.

Fred Uncork’d

For a recent event with a small group, Chef Fred prepared a five-course gourmet dinner, explaining the origin of each dish and handing out the recipes for each dish.

gourmet dishes from executive chef fred perry of skye luxury senior living in leander, texas

Come to Skye and taste the food for yourself! Call 512-591-5121 today.

picture of valentine's day card

Celebrating the Month of Love at True Connection Communities

What better month than February to celebrate love at True Connection Communities?

At our Pine Ridge of Plumbrook independent living community in Sterling Heights, MI, love was very much in the air. Couples enjoyed a night of “Dinner for Two” dining, spending some much-needed time outside their apartments to appreciate a lovely, delicious dinner of cabernet-braised boneless beef short rib and shrimp scampi prepared by the talented Chef Steve. To spread the love outside the community, we invited seniors in the area to stop by Pine Ridge of Plumbrook and take home their own Valentine’s Day inspired meal.

Other events celebrating “love” at our communities included fun with couples who answered questions inspired by the gameshow “The Newlywed Game” in front of a live resident audience and a fireside chat with residents and team members who reminisced and shared their own stories of love and life.

In Shelby Township, MI, at our Pine Ridge Villas of Shelby, residents made gorgeous Valentine cards with watercolors at a “Paint and Pinot” event.

Over at our independent living community in Gilbert, Arizona—Verena at Gilbert—Valentine’s Day lasted all weekend. Residents learned how to dance the Cupid Shuffle, enjoyed yummy Cupid Floats made with Vanilla ice cream and Cherry soda, and topped off the holiday with champagne and a love song trivia contest.

The month was not only focused on fun and engaging events but also about celebrating the simple things in life. At our Verena at the Reserve independent living community in Williamsburg, Virginia, resident Dot penned a stunning tribute to her hands:

From childhood, I have used my hands to make things—paper dolls, rag dolls, and numerous art works. These hands have gardened and raised babies. My hands have traveled the world and lived in wonderful places. These hands have cooked many loving and delicious meals. They have caressed and nurtured my loving husband Sam for 60 years. By not using gloves over the years, my hands have not aged well. Now my eyesight is failing, and my hands help me to see. My hands are never idol. My Hands Hold the Wisdom of a Lifetime. -Dot, 2021

True Connection Communities operates a high-quality portfolio of 13 active adult/independent senior living communities, containing over 2,125 apartments and located in seven states, to meet the growing needs of Americans age 55 or older who are seeking an active and engaged lifestyle. True Connection Communities provides an exceptional resident experience by focusing on five key offerings: custom-designed fitness and wellness programs, creative chef-prepared meals made with the freshest seasonal ingredients, social activities uniquely designed for a life on the move, innovative educational programs that promote lifelong learning and personal growth, and state-of-the-art technology that keeps residents in touch with their families, friends, and an evolving world.

residents at Arbour Square of Harleysville receive Moderna vaccines

Arbour Square of Harleysville residents receive vaccines, balloon buddies

The health and safety of the residents and team members at Arbour Square of Harleysville is our top priority, and we are taking additional measures, beyond the requirements of government and health authorities, to protect everyone in the community.

MediaNews Group
Feb 16, 2021 Updated | Feb 17, 2021

Irene Pronzato, resident of Arbour Square of Harleysville, receiving first dose of Moderna vaccine
Irene Pronzato was the first Arbour Square of Harleysville resident to get the COVID-19 vaccination. She was part of a group that received their first shot on Feb. 9.

HARLEYSVILLE — Residents of the Arbour Square of Harleysville senior independent living community received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine recently.

On Tuesday, February 9, health care providers from Rann Pharmacy administered the shots to the first group of residents, and first in line was Irene Pronzato, who turned 95 years old that week. Skippack Pharmacy supplied the vaccines for the second group of residents on Friday, February 12.

“Over 90% of eligible Arbour Square residents have now received the first dose of the vaccine,” a Feb. 16 release said.

“There are no words to describe how incredibly overjoyed I am that we have been able to bring this vaccine to our community,” said Mimi Kehan, executive director at Arbour Square. “This marks the beginning of getting back to normal.”

Assistant Executive Director Betsy Roth added, “Both days of vaccinations were hugely successful and ran smoothly. All our team members and pharmacy staff came together to make this a reality for our residents.”

“Arbour Square team members wore t-shirts with ‘We think you’re a Big Shot’ written on the front and filled the community with music and dancing to celebrate a huge milestone in the fight against COVID-19,” the release said.

Arbour Square of Harleysville resident Phil Kretschman with his balloon buddy
Arbour Square of Harleysville resident Phil Kretschman holds a balloon buddy. The balloon buddies were from Balloonatics at Crazy Balloon Delivery, LLC, as part of its nationwide “Adopt a Grandparent” movement.


Adding to the celebration was a delivery of balloon sculptures with uplifting notes by Balloonatics at Crazy Balloon Delivery, LLC, as part of their nationwide “Adopt A Grandparent” movement.

Every resident of Arbour Square was adopted by a local person or business, and Arbour Square team members delivered the 250 balloon buddies to surprised residents who reacted with big smiles and genuine emotion.

Chris Kretschman of Harleysville got a chuckle out of seeing his “WWll vet, tough as nails, 90 something year old” dad holding his balloon buddy. Chris thanked the staff at Arbour Square for making this happen. “You are making so many people happy.”

“This week was special for so many reasons,” said Arbour Square Joy Director Melissa Crouse. “Seeing our residents overcome with joy at receiving their balloon buddies was very uplifting and something we will not forget.”




Original source: https://www.montgomerynews.com/soudertonindependent/news/arbour-square-of-harleysville-residents-receive-vaccines-balloon-buddies/article_e2dc5d20-7088-11eb-90f7-03936a167598.html

Now is the time to make your move to Arbour Square of Harleysville, so we can help protect you too. Learn More

running against the clock to save enough money for retirement

How to Save for Retirement – 6 Great Tips

Just because you haven’t saved for senior living doesn’t mean you can’t afford it. Here are 6 tips to bolster your savings quickly.

6 Quick Tips on Saving for Retirement

Are you nearing retirement, but aren’t completely prepared financially? You’re not alone. According to GoBanking, 3 out of 10 baby boomers aged 55 and above have no retirement savings. What’s more, 26 percent of those who were able to put money aside say they have less than $50,000 saved. You may feel this limits your options, particularly for active senior living, but that’s not necessarily the case. Here are some ways you can bolster your savings quickly.  

The Cost of Active Senior Living

You won’t know how much you need to save for retirement unless you know the cost of senior living, so let’s start there. Senior living is an umbrella term which includes several levels of care. Active senior living (or independent living) is the entry point in this continuum, which also includes assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care.

Active senior living is designed for residents who need little daily assistance but seek less responsibility and a range of social and enrichment opportunities. Although there is little published data on senior living average cost because it varies so greatly; it typically ranges from $1,000 to $4,000 a month. Keep in mind this cost includes meals, weekly housekeeping and laundry services, as well as access to a range of activities and amenities such as fitness center and pool.

What Can Affect the Cost of Senior Living

  • Level of Care – Essentially more assistance means more expense. Many seniors opt for a community that offers multiple levels of care on one campus so you’ll pay less now but have the peace of mind that a higher level of care is available if needed.
  • Geography – Where you live affects the cost of senior living just like real estate. To keep costs down you might consider active senior living communities outside the city or even a different state.
  • Amenities – The more luxury, the higher the cost as well. Options that impact cost include type of residence (private, semi-private, studio, one- or two-bedroom), pet fees, concierge services, and private transportation.

Know Where You Stand

You may have more resources at your disposal than you realize to pay for active senior living. Knowing where you stand starts with organizing your financial documents including:

  • Bank and brokerage account information
  • Deeds and mortgage documents
  • Insurance policies
  • Monthly or outstanding bills
  • Pension and other retirement benefits
  • Social Security payment information
  • Stock and bond certificates

Then, consider consulting a financial advisor and/or estate planning attorney to discuss how you might be able to maximize these resources for active senior living:

  • Insurance options including long-term care insurance and/or life insurance conversions
  • Pension, Social Security benefits and personal property such as your home
  • Potential tax deductions
  • Your investment portfolio

Best Ways to Save for Retirement

If you do have a gap between your current resources and what you expect to spend on active senior living, these tips can help you save for retirement:

  1. Catch-Up on Contributions – Starting at age 50 you can make extra contributions to your IRA and 401(k) accounts. The extra amount is now up to $6,500 for 401(k)s and $1,000 for IRAs according to the IRS.
  2. Consider a Health Savings Account – To help you prepare for unexpected medical expenses and reduce your taxable income you could open a health savings account. What you save will grow tax-free, and when you turn 65 you can start making withdrawals for qualified medical expenses.
  3. Wait on Social Security – Although you can technically collect benefits starting at age 62, most financial advisors recommend waiting. The reason? Drawing at 70 instead of 62 can increase your monthly benefit exponentially.
  4. Start a Side Hustle – According to Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, 47 percent of baby boomers today enjoy working in retirement. Beyond earning extra income, it also helps you stay active and maintain a sense of purpose. You could freelance or do consulting work depending on your skillset, or even try something completely new.
  5. Change Spending Habits – Take a look at where/how you spend your money to see where you can cut. Perhaps switch to a pay-as-you-go cell phone, opt for streaming services versus expensive cable, or even (gasp) limit those trips to Starbucks.
  6. Check for Benefits – See what benefits in which you may qualify. There’s the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit for wartime veterans or a surviving spouse. Also, the National Council on Aging’s benefitscheckup.org website makes it easy to check thousands of state and local programs. 

Bonus Tip: Compare Your Costs at Home

You may think active senior living will cost you more, but when you compare it to the total cost of living at home, in some cases it can be less! How? The cost at home is more than just mortgage or rent, it also includes food, entertainment, and home upkeep, all of which are included in active senior living. Some utilities may be included too for extra value!

For additional help in saving for active senior living, check out our Financial Planning for Senior Living Guide today!

Forever Young Week at True Connection Communities

Forever Young Week at True Connection Communities

At True Connection Communities, our residents love sharing their personal stories, especially when it comes to the loves of their lives! And though present times may be challenging, love is something we can all get behind.

We recently celebrated “Forever Young” week at our communities and gave our resident couples the opportunity to renew their wedding vows in intimate, socially distanced ceremonies. Some joined in and others preferred to share photos, sentiments, and advice.

Arbour Square of Harleysville | Pennsylvania

Rose and Bill Santulli

Rose and Bill Santulli met in the seventh grade in Brooklyn, New York, but they were not allowed to date until they both turned 18 years old. Though it was hard for them to patiently wait all those years, it was worth it. As soon as the magic birthday hit for both, their courtship began, and it was full steam ahead for the blissful couple.

On May 19, 1956, at 22 years old, Rose and Bill married in their hometown. In 1979, the pair moved to Pennsylvania and, there, raised their six children. Those six children have given the Santullis the gift of 34 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

The Santullis celebrated their 64 years of marriage by renewing their wedding vows at Arbour Square of Harleysville—the community they’ve called home for almost six years.

Five other couples at Arbour Square joined the Santullis in renewing their marriage vows in a socially distanced ceremony outside. With each couple exchanging personal tributes and words of endearment, it was impossible to ignore all the love floating in the air that day from these lovely couples whose courtships have spanned decades—and lifetimes.

Verena at Gilbert | Arizona

Hazel and Charles Tobias

Hazel and Charles met on a blind dinner date at the home of Alicia, Hazel’s best girlfriend, and Rick, Charles’s shipmate on the USS Pintado SSN (672). Alicia should have known better than to set Hazel up with Charles–Hazel was adamant about not dating sailors, even when she and Alicia lived in the Navy town of San Diego, California. But, after meeting and getting to know Charles during her many visits to see Rick, Alicia thought Charles was as nice and polite as they come, and that’s why Hazel agreed to the date.

At first, Hazel let her preconceived notions of sailors having bad reputations shape her first impression of Charles, which was not good. She told Charles that night that they would never be anything but friends. Charles was unconvinced, and his charming and outgoing personality helped him win her over. The pair quickly became best friends and then began falling in love, sharing their dreams and desires for the future.

Hazel and Charles married on July 26, 1975, less than a year since the night they met. Happily married for 45 years, the couple has two sons and two grandchildren.

Pine Ridge Villas of Shelby | Michigan

Ronald and Esther Thelander

Esther, who was from California, was visiting her sister in Michigan when Esther’s family brought Ron over for Esther to meet. They then went to a Halloween Party with Esther’s niece and nephew who quickly fell in love with Ron. Esther followed suit—the kids loved him, so she figured he must be worth it! They were married on November 18, 1966 and thought it would be fun to participate in a vow renewal ceremony all these years later.









Richard and Helen Gastaldo

Richard was only 15 years old when he met Helen through her cousin. They started dating when they were both 18 years old and working together at Fanny Farmer in downtown Detroit. Helen was a Bonbon Dipper, and Richard was the Head of the Caramel Department. It must have been the perfect match because they were married on September 8, 1951. The couple continues to make each other laugh as often as possible and are always spotted holding hands. Richard was thrilled at the chance to renew his vows with Helen because he would choose her again, and again, and again.

Verena at Bedford Falls | North Carolina

The ladies at Verena at Bedford Falls (our Independent Senior Living in Raleigh, NC) celebrated being “forever young” by sharing wedding photos that spanned decades and throwing a socially distanced bachelorette party, which was the first bachelorette party they had ever been to! Wearing pajamas, the ladies enjoyed champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, and they each completed a beautiful painting with help from a painting instructor via Zoom. They also shared some advice for newlyweds (see the recurring themes?):

  • “Don’t go to bed mad at each other. And kiss and hug at bedtime and/or morning, if possible.”
  • “Never go to bed angry.”
  • “On special occasions, my husband always brought me a gift.”
  • “Celebrate the special occasions.”

Marsha and Earl Rose were married on June 18, 1961. The Roses’ advice to newlyweds is, first and foremost, take it day by day. And remember that compromise and forgiveness is important for a successful marriage.

Verena at the Reserve | Virginia

Residents at the Verena at the Reserve also displayed their wedding photos for the community to see. Team members at the Reserve joined in on the fun and brought their actual wedding dresses, which were hung on display. The week was special to so many at the community and brightened up their days. Many ventured down to the display area several times to take a look at the pictures and memorabilia.

At True Connection Communities, our residents discover the freedom to connect more closely with family and friends, engage in exciting new adventures, and are inspired to explore a whole new way of life. To learn more, visit www.TrueConnectionCommunities.com.

For a Taste of Gourmet, Head to Verena at Gilbert

Meet the Culinary Director at Verena at Gilbert

Chef Stephan Germanaud is the Culinary Director at Verena at Gilbert, a modern Independent Living Community in the town of Gilbert, Arizona, ideally located right off the 202 San Tan and Val Vista Road.

Chef Stephan Germanaud Verena at Gilbert
Chef Stephan Germanaud, Culinary Director at Verena at Gilbert

Chef Stephan’s culinary journey began in Bourdeaux, France, where he grew up spending a lot of time in the kitchen with his grandmother, who, he says, was a fantastic cook. “My grandmother had a profound effect on my life, giving me the love of food and inspiring me to learn how to cook, and cook well,” he says.

At only 13 years old, Chef Stephan continued his journey in culinary school, acquiring culinary and management degrees over a period of five years, including a degree in French Culinary Art from the esteemed Lycee de L’Hotellerie et du Tourisme De Gascone in Talence, France. He describes the hands-on training as tough but the reason he has become the accomplished chef he is today.

At 20 years old, the aspiring chef made a life-changing move from France to Phoenix, Arizona, and began building an impressive resume, from cook to sous chef at The Phoenician luxury resort and progressing to Executive Chef and Executive Banquet Chef positions at other high-end properties, including Boulders Resort & Spa and the historic Wrigley Mansion. He also catered notable events, including the Mayor’s luncheon with President Barack Obama and the NFL Hall of Fame 2016.

Elevating Food in Senior Living

In 2017, Chef Stephan was inspired to join the senior living industry to elevate the perception of what food should be in a retirement community. “I believe that the senior living industry is becoming more about a lifestyle rather than a need, and food is a very big part of what drives the decision to move into and stay at a community,” he says. “I want to show our residents, and future residents, that seniors deserve fresh and tasty food, as we all do. I want to be part of their culinary experience.”

Verena at Gilbert culinary creations

Chef Stephan says that making residents smile while having fun doing what he loves is one of the best parts about being at Verena at Gilbert. He’s often inspired by Verena residents, stating, “I have had residents pass me their recipes, and this gives me ideas of dishes to make according to what they like.” He also is passionate about using the freshest ingredients and keeping up with trends to continue delighting the recipients of his meals. “But, listening,” he says. “Listening to residents about what they want—now that is my number one priority.”

Times may have changed since Chef Stephan stepped into the Verena kitchen, but his attention to detail and dedication to making exquisite dishes from scratch has not wavered. He continues to create beautifully plated, delicious food, even if the “plate” happens to be a meal container delivered to a resident’s door.

Receive a Meal from Verena at Gilbert

Are you interested in receiving a Chef Stephan meal delivered to your home? Call us at 480-899-8200 to arrange for your personal delivery.

At Verena at Gilbert, an Independent Living Community in the town of Gilbert, Arizona, retire in style with retail shops, restaurants, and hiking trails all within reach, and enjoy easy access to Chandler, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Phoenix! Connect with new friends, engage in new adventures, and enjoy exquisite meals prepared by an experienced and creative culinary team driven by a passion for food.

Check out Verena at Gilbert on Facebook.

Verena at Bedford Falls strawberry shortcake

Meet Chef Eric at Verena at Bedford Falls

If you smell something good coming from Dunn Road in Raleigh, North Carolina, chances are Chef Eric Wicker is cooking up something delicious for the residents of Verena at Bedford Falls, an Independent Living Community in Raleigh, situated in a quiet neighborhood. Wicker has been the Culinary Director of Verena at Bedford Falls since February 2020, shortly after the community opened.

With more than 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry at various venues, Wicker landed at Verena at Bedford Falls to continue his passion for making people happy through food. His hands-on, supportive leadership has inspired the Verena culinary team to deliver a meal experience to residents that has quickly become well regarded. From sweet potato pie to an elegant plate of pork schnitzel with tarragon-lemon butter sauce, the meals represent the diverse tastes of Verena residents and have become one of the most important aspects of living at the community.

Love What You’re Doing

“The secret (which shouldn’t be a secret if you love what you are doing) is to let the residents tell me what they want,” says Wicker. “By cooking and preparing most of the menu options from scratch, I can make sure our residents, and especially those residents with dietary restrictions, are happy with the menu choices, and that is really important to me as a chef.”

Verena resident Patricia Foster is a big fan of Chef Eric and appreciates his originality. “Best food ever here! Most variety and he fixes things I wouldn’t think to eat, and it’s wonderful and I eat every bite of it!” she says with enthusiasm.

Wicker’s favorite protein to work with is seafood, especially fresh seafood locally sourced from the Carolinas. It fuels his creativity when developing menus and preparing new dishes, he explains. But, ask him to eat seafood, and he’ll more than likely turn you down. “My favorite food to eat will always and forever be homemade lasagna,” he says.

Inspiration in the Kitchen

Wicker takes inspiration from his three kids to provide Verena residents with a culinary experience built on love. His youngest daughter, at ten years old, is already making cakes and cookies from scratch and often critiques her father at dinner time, helping Wicker push boundaries in the Verena kitchen. These days, meals at Verena at Bedford Falls are delivered to residents’ apartments, but they arrive as beautifully put together as they had been in the kitchen. Wicker wouldn’t have it any other way—his passion goes beyond the food itself; he wants each and every resident to know he is there for them and to feel comfort in every bite they take.

At Verena at Bedford Falls, an Independent Living Community in Raleigh, North Carolina, retirement is a time for less worry and more fun. Live a full and healthy life surrounded by serene woods and modern conveniences. Connect with new friends, engage in new adventures, and enjoy exquisite meals prepared by an experienced and creative culinary team driven by a passion for food. Schedule your tour today!

Check out Verena at Bedford Falls on Facebook.

Arbour Square of Harleysville Celebrates with Extraordinary Car Parade

Celebrating Seniors

Mother’s Day is always a big day for celebration at Arbour Square of Harleysville, an Independent Living Community in beautiful Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting the brakes on many social activities throughout the senior living industry, Arbour Square stepped up to provide its residents who are mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, etc.—and their families—with a special day that won’t be forgotten.

Taking inspiration from car parades seen on social media, Arbour Square team members invited their residents’ family members to get creative and decorate their cars and join a drive-by parade on May 9 to show the Arbour Square community of seniors how much they are loved and appreciated.

Plans for the event were laid quickly but precisely, with proper social distancing and other guidelines put in place to protect everyone at the community, as well as family members. Initially, the team expected about 25 to 30 cars to participate in the parade, which would loop around Arbour Square’s large tree-lined campus and allow residents to watch the procession of cars from their apartment windows—a good thing, as heavy winds were forecasted for that day.

A Show Like No Other

The day of the parade, Melissa Crouse, Arbour Square’s Joy Director, and fellow team member Patty Toal went through the final logistics and prep, which included prominently displaying signs and setting cones to clearly mark the route. The team had previously given families instructions to meet up at 1:30PM in the parking lot behind the community to decorate, or finish decorating, their cars and begin lining up behind the Arbour Square van, which would set the pace and lead the way.

At around 1:00PM, Melissa and Patty were placing the last cones when the first car pulled in with an adult child of a mother who lives at Arbour Square. “I thought, and said aloud, that she must have wanted to be the first in line,” says Melissa with a laugh. “Little did I know that the cars would continue to roll in nonstop, one after another.”

As the cars continued making their way to the parking lot, Melissa went inside the community to make sure the residents were ready and making their way to their windows. “When I returned to the parking lot at about 1:45PM, cars were spilling out of the parking lot and causing a traffic jam at Walmart,” she says. “And I was blown away by the creativity. We had cars with balloons, cars with signs, streamers, flags—you name it, we had it. We even had a decked-out Philly firetruck turn up to show some love!”

When Pat, the van driver leading the course, was ready to pull out, he looked in his rearview mirror and could not see an end to the cars behind him, relaying how incredible it made him feel about being part of such a big and important event. After completing the first loop around the campus, Pat circled back to the waiting area because the last cars in line had not yet hit the official parade route. The team stopped counting after 100 vehicles.

Melissa says with emotion, “It was truly astonishing to see the turnout. We had so many family members who wanted to take the time to send their love to our residents. All generations were represented—adult children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were waving pom poms, playing music, singing, and shouting Happy Mother’s Day to every lady they saw. I’m pretty sure everyone forgot about the cold and wind.”

Love and Gratitude

Arbour Square Executive Director Mimi Kehan says it was one of the best family events she’s seen at the community in her 11 years as Executive Director there. “The cars, trucks, bikes came streaming in, each one decorated more beautifully than the last,” she says with emotion. “It was clear that everyone was full of love for our residents. We honked and screamed and laughed and cried all through the four times around the building. It was a blast.”

Days and weeks later, the notes of gratitude from residents and families were still coming in. What is clear from the comments is that residents and families were blown away by such a joyful and creative way to connect with loved ones, with some brought to tears by being able to see, if only from a window, family at a time when social isolation is the new normal.

Father’s Day is now coming up, and the team at Arbour Square is already putting plans in place to match their Mother’s Day parade, and they are excited and ready to make it happen again. After all, residents and families won’t be expecting anything less.


Experience the small-town atmosphere that makes Arbour Square in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, feel like home. The inviting independent living community is situated on a scenic, 22-acre campus in beautiful Montgomery County and is known for their hospitality and genuine warmth of their team members.

Visit Arbour Square Facebook to see all the wonderful things the community does for its residents and their families.

Best Upcycled Gifts for the Holidays

Upcycling is a wonderful way to turn a great find into a unique one-of-a-kind treasure and to do so without spending a lot of money. Other additional terms that you may have heard being tossed around that fall into this same category are reused, shabby chic and “trashion.”

Whatever you call it, it can be a whole lot of fun! First, there is the thrill of the hunt. As they say, one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. To find your treasure, you will probably need to sift through some junk.

It is a fun challenge to look at something you find interesting and then figure out a way to transform it into a treasure for yourself or one you plan to share with someone else.

Wikipedia offers a great definition for upcycling: “Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.” Sounds good, doesn’t it?

The holiday season is in full swing, and there are various ways you can upcycle items to create treasures your friends and family will cherish for years to come. Let’s explore how you can create one-of-a-kind holiday gifts this season.

Upcycling with Books and Magazines

Go to any thrift or antique store and you’re sure to find books, and lots of them – many of them at very economical prices, oftentimes a dollar or less. This means that by using books to create new items, you can create some really extraordinary gifts without laying out a lot of cash.

Create a small Christmas Tree or Snowman for someone who could use a little Christmas cheer.

Make a gorgeous pair of quilled earrings using a colorful page from a magazine.

Books can be used to create an end table or an end table with a little twist. A set of encyclopedias work especially well. Here is an excellent tutorial to make sure your stack of books holds up.

They can be glued to the back and seat of a chair or used to create a unique and interesting rug. This video shows you how to use a saw to cut books quickly and cleanly.

Use a piece of glass, a large board or an old door and lots of books to create a desk, coffee table or side table.

Books can be used to make shelves. This one does a nice play on words with Humpty Dumpty and the egg beater, plus the second book title being “All the Kings Men.”

How about a storage box or book safe? It can be compartmented like this one or it could be composed of one large compartment. Maybe a little more difficult, but how about an interesting shape … like a heart, for instance.

You can use the techniques in this video to decoupage any piece of wooden furniture or shelves using comic books. How fun would it be to take your kid’s or grandkid’s coloring projects and do the same thing? Or, to use cookbooks to create something for someone’s kitchen?

You’ll find lots of great ideas for books here at 30+ Great Upcycling Ideas for Vintage Old Book Pages.

Upcycling Watches and Clocks

Using the decorative faces from a couple of old watches, you can create a pair of Watch Face Earrings. Then, using some of the extra watch parts, metal washers, old metal buttons and a few jewelry findings, make a unique bracelet. Gears and other inner workings from old clocks would also make interesting components to use with a bracelet like this. Personalize the bracelet by inserting a special photo or other items, like an initial, behind the watch glass to give it a special little touch.

Turn any item into a clock with a clock kit you can get at a craft store or on Amazon. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Use a mustard tin for a chef you know, an old saw blade (another blade idea) for a woodworker, a vintage book for a book lover or a bicycle gear or wheel rim for a cyclist.

Beginning around the 2-minute mark, this video, How to Make a Lolly Stick Clock, shows you just how easy it is to make a clock using a clock kit.

Upcycling with Old Dishes

Use this reverse stencil technique to turn any dish into a unique gift idea. Plates can be hung on the walls or converted into clocks. Cups and bowls can be made into candles. Glasses into candles or pencil holders. Here is an additional decorative plate video.

Other Fun Ideas and Sites

Here are a few other links with lots of interesting ideas for gifts. Check them out. You’re sure to find inspiration for the DIYer in you.

Well, that about wraps things up. You’re sure to have found a few ideas to make gift giving much easier this year. And there’s a whole lot of satisfaction in knowing that you created it.

And that’s a good thing too, especially if you live here at Preston Place. Our family-like atmosphere means you’re sure to have lots of family and friends to exchange gifts with this holiday season. Contact us to learn more. And then get out your paintbrush and glue gun, plus one of your amazing antique store treasures and begin creating a very special gift for someone you love.

Talking to Family Members about Independent Living Communities

Unfortunately, many older adults resist even thinking about making a move into a senior living community, saying they want to remain in their own home. Perhaps, they feel such a move would rob them of their independence. Or maybe, they’re not ready to concede to the fact that they’re getting older. Whatever the reason or reasons, you may find yourself struggling to help them realize that independent living communities provide all the benefits of living in their own home plus a whole lot more.

As you prepare for any discussions with family members, it’s important to remember and help them understand you want only what is best for them. You may have to reiterate this fact repeatedly until everyone truly realizes that this really is your ultimate priority.

What is an Independent Living Community?

It’s wise to have a thorough understanding of what an independent living community is so you’ll be equipped to overcome any incorrect objections concerning such a community. Independent living communities are much like living in your own home, but with a range of fabulous perks.

Many people believe that senior living communities are only for people who require long-term care. While it’s true senior living communities are excellent places for individuals to receive long-term care and assistance, they can also be a great place to enjoy an active retirement lifestyle. With that in mind, let’s look at what an independent living community is and how it can benefit the older adult who does not require any assistance.

There are numerous independent living housing options ranging from single-family homes in age-restricted communities to apartments within senior housing complexes and many options in between. All these options generally offer a variety of floor plans and sizes.

Typically, independent living communities offer an active lifestyle and freedom from the hassles of home maintenance. They offer a wide range of services and amenities such as housekeeping and linen services, transportation services and security. Many communities also provide multiple dining options, fitness centers, pools, libraries, entertainment spaces, beauty and barber salons and much more. Additionally, they offer an abundance of activities and programs in which to take part, often with a focus on wellness.

Benefits and Advantages of Independent Living

An active adult may not readily see any benefits or advantages of moving into an independent living community. After all, they’re doing fine and don’t need any assistance. However, when residents of senior living communities are questioned, many will share that they wish they had moved sooner.

One of the most important benefits of living in a senior community is the opportunity to stay socially connected. All too often, poor health, shrinking social circles, life changes and transportation challenges lead to social isolation and loneliness. According to an article in the Washington Post, more than 40 percent of seniors experience loneliness on a regular basis. Loneliness, even perceived loneliness, can negatively impact on a person’s health and quality of life.

Loneliness and social isolation can lead to depression, and has a wide range of negative effects on a person’s mental and physical health, some of which include:

According to research at the University of Chicago, older adults who feel lonely and isolated are twice as unhealthy as an obese person and have a 14% higher risk of dying earlier than their socially engaged counterparts.

There are other key benefits to living in a senior community as well. Two of the more common include:

  • Freedom to enjoy life – By taking care of the hassles of caring for the home and a yard, independent living communities give residents the time they have always wanted to enjoy activities and pastimes, new and old
  • More opportunities to stay active and involved – After taking advantage of the numerous activities offered, many residents are surprised to realize just how little they were actually doing prior to moving into the independent living community. Not only do they have more chances to take part in activities they have always enjoyed, but they also have plenty of opportunities to try something new.

Tips for Talking to Family Members about Independent Living Communities

Let’s look at a few tips that can be beneficial as you begin the process of talking to a family member about moving into an independent living community.

Dealing with Resistant Family Members

By now, you should be convinced of the benefits of living in an independent living community, but when you bring it up with family members who could benefit from such a move, you find yourself facing resistance. What can be done? One thing you can do is to encourage them to try it as a “vacation” for a period of one to four weeks. After they experience all the benefits, they may be more inclined to consider moving into an independent living community. Contact communities in the area to see if they offer apartments on a trial basis.

Talk in Person

It’s best to have conversations about living options in person, if possible. Block out a time and pick a location that will allow you to talk without interruptions.

Show Empathy

Show you care by taking time to listen to what they have to say. A calm, patient, kind demeanor and voice will go a long way towards showing them you truly care and that you’re trying to understand their frustrations and fears.

Have Regular Conversations

Don’t wait until your family member is in crisis mode to begin the “living options” conversation. Although they may decide they don’t want to move into independent living at this time, they may consider it again later. Once they have moved into independent living, it becomes easier to take the next step into assisted living when the need arises, especially if the community also offers this option. As stated earlier, make sure they understand you have their best interest at heart, especially when discussing such issues with resistant family members.

Know that it is likely to take several conversations before a decision will be made. Don’t expect them to agree after one conversation. Also, don’t rush them into making a decision. Give them time to think about it so they’ll feel good about the decision when it has been made.

Make Sure All Family Members Agree

As family members prepare to talk to someone about moving to a senior living community, they should come to an agreement among themselves first, before broaching the subject with the family member. Resistant family members will sense any discord and use it to divide and conquer.

Avoid Information Overload

You’ve done your homework and you’ve prepared for this discussion. Sharing some of the reasons you believe this is the right decision can be helpful. Sharing too much can become overwhelming and can feel like an attack; therefore, limit information sharing. If they become defensive, it will become harder to come to a resolution now and later.

Independent Living at Parc Place

Parc Place offers the lifestyle people dream of for retirement. Each of our senior apartments provides all the comforts of home, and we’re located a short drive from fine dining, shopping, historic sites and a multitude of other activities.

Our wellness programs enable residents to maintain physical, mental and spiritual health. From fitness classes and wellness programs to our on-site entertainment and social functions, they’re sure to find an activity, event, program or social function to enjoy at Parc Place. Our resident programs and our amenities and services provide a sophisticated and active retirement lifestyle.

We are a unique retirement community that provides financial freedom, allowing your family member to choose how they want to enjoy their retirement. Select only the amenities and services desired – it’s fully customizable, and no large upfront fee is required.

View our floor plans and contact us at Parc Place to schedule a visit to our beautiful retirement community in Bedford, TX. We look forward to showing you and your family member all that retirement can be!

Decorating Tips to Make Senior Living Feel Like Home

A move to an independent living community comes with a variety of benefits, including convenient services and amenities, delicious dining and ample opportunities for making new friends and socializing. But leaving familiar surroundings — and downsizing possessions — can also cause conflicting emotions.

If you or a relative are relocating to an independent living community, you’ll want to make your new apartment as welcoming as possible. What are some steps you can take to ensure that your new environment feels like home?

Choose Complementary Colors and Textures

You may not have previously spent time coordinating colors and textures for your residence, but doing so can make a big difference in how you feel about your abode. The specifics of your choices will depend on your personal preferences.

If you’ve begun to experience any changes in your vision, you may want to go for contrast in colors between walls, draperies, floors and furniture. In addition, warm and neutral color palettes — or “healing colors” like greens — may enhance visibility in your new place. To make your home cozy and comfortable, consider adding some highly tactile items, such as soft blankets and throws.

Highlight Important Mementos

A different floor plan and space constraints may mean your new apartment cannot precisely replicate your previous residence. However, by strategically placing meaningful personal items, you can capture that homelike familiarity.

Be sure to decorate your new home with plenty of photos that have meaning for you. Whether you place them on the walls, on shelves or on furniture such as dressers and end tables, photos can help you continue to connect with the people and events that are important to you.

Consider creating groupings of favorite photos, with different sizes and colors of frames to add interest. You also can mix in memorabilia like trophies, crafts and items that have been handed down in your family — or designate special spots for these items around your home.

Prioritize Mobility, Accessibility and Safety

To ensure your continued well-being, consider arranging your furnishings in a way that maximizes safety. If you use throw rugs, make sure they are securely anchored with a non-slip backing or mat to eliminate tripping hazards. If you use an assistive device for mobility or you have arthritis, consider keeping walkways wide throughout your home to allow plenty of space for safe passage.

In addition, arrange frequently used items in a way that makes sense for your needs and lifestyle. Keep phones beside your bed or near your usual sitting area and install handrails in your bathroom or elsewhere if you feel that you may need them. Make sure every area of your home has the right level of lighting for your safety and that of your guests.

Go for Maximum Comfort

What does “comfortable” mean for you? Some people love soft furniture they can sink into, while others prefer firm sofas and mattresses for back health and ease of rising. Think about how you define comfort and choose furnishings and decor that support your preferences.

If you have any mobility challenges, arthritis or trouble with your back, you may want to select furniture that sits higher. In addition, choose couches and chairs with sturdy, tall arms you can use for support when getting up. A reclining chair — or one or more recliners built into a sofa — provides you with a comfortable spot for reading or TV viewing that you can customize to your needs.

Spice up Your Walls

We’ve already talked about making your new apartment feel like home by using some strategically chosen colors throughout — including on your walls. A serene color like sage green or warm beige, for example, can create a cozy ambiance as it lifts your spirits. If you have vision challenges, you may want to choose a wall color that clearly contrasts with the color of your floor for easy differentiation and safety.

Another easy way to add interest to your walls is with decorative items, including framed art, photographs and wall hangings. Tapestries, quilts and other wall-ready textiles featuring inspirational messages or beautiful images can add a touch of home to your new place.

Use Small Spaces Effectively

If you’re moving into a smaller space than you’re used to, you may need to spend time downsizing possessions. You also may want to choose smaller furniture and decorative items that can serve the purposes you need while taking up less of your valuable floor space. Lamps placed throughout your home can cast a warm glow that also lends an air of comfort and a feeling of additional space.

Rather than a large sofa, consider a love seat and a chair. You may find that you can seat the same number of people by using smaller items — or by purchasing multi-purpose pieces, such as dining chairs that can double as living room seating. If your storage space is at a premium, consider pieces that provide you with some additional storage options, including end tables with drawers or doors, a coffee table with a lid you can easily lift or an ottoman with available space inside.

Make Room for Socializing and Relaxing

In an independent living community, you may find that you spend more of your time out and about. Whether you’re enjoying a delicious meal with friends, taking a day trip, seeing a performance or working out, your daily calendar may remain full. When you do retreat to your personal apartment, you’ll want to ensure its suitability for two important purposes: relaxing and socializing with close friends and family members.

Make sure you have enough seating to welcome in friends on occasion and consider some interesting art pieces to spark conversation. If you and your friends enjoy card games or puzzles, consider devoting a small table to your hobby or purchase a folding card table that can be brought out for hosting extra guests.

When you’re ready to relax, you’ll want at least one comfortable chair with good light for reading. If you’re a TV or movie buff, consider a well-placed entertainment system with a screen that’s big enough to see throughout the room; you can choose a beautiful armoire for storage if you’d prefer that the electronics remain hidden when not in use.

Decorate for Holidays — With Care

If you celebrate holidays throughout the year, you may want to purchase some reusable decorations to help you make your new apartment feel more like home. Consider choosing items that can be stored within the space you have available and that are fire-resistant.

If you plan to use candles as part of your holiday display, use caution. You may choose among many varieties of electric candles that look like the real thing — without the risk of causing a fire. A real holiday tree, if left to dry out for too long, also can pose a fire hazard; instead, consider choosing one of the many realistic-looking artificial versions. Be sure to thoroughly inspect all electrical portions of your holiday display, including strands of lights and extension cords.

Choose the Ideal Active-Living Community for You

When you choose Preston Place, you choose an independent living community in Plano, TX, with a variety of amenities, services, programs and opportunities for engagement that help you feel right at home. You’ll love our delicious, chef-prepared cuisine, along with our commitment to wellness. To learn more or to schedule a visit, please contact us.

Questions to Consider When Choosing an Independent Living Community

Do you daydream about leaving behind the responsibilities of managing a household? For people who can live independently with minimal support, communities that offer an active lifestyle are a compelling option.

If you live on your own or with a partner, you may find significant advantages in moving to a community. From supportive services like transportation to friendly neighbors and an array of social activities, independent living communities provide the ideal setting for pursuing your passions.

We have compiled the following list of questions — and answers — you may want to consider as you choose a community.

What exactly is an independent living community?

Independent living communities offer a welcoming environment for individuals who wish to take advantage of a variety of services and amenities. While independent living communities generally do not offer healthcare, they provide many supportive services that free residents from the burdens of homeownership and allow them to pursue their hobbies and interests.

Housing options and pricing vary among communities based on location, services offered and other factors. At Preston Place, you can choose among one- and two-bedroom apartment floor plans with options like a balcony, den or patio. No matter the floor plan you choose, you’ll enjoy features like hardwood cabinets, granite kitchen countertops and 9-foot ceilings.

Independent living communities are best suited for people who can live on their own but choose to give up the responsibilities of home maintenance to focus on the things they enjoy.

How does it differ from other types of supportive living?

Independent living communities offer a variety of services to individuals who can live safely and comfortably on their own, without significant assistance. The services and amenities in independent living communities are designed to provide residents with maximum comfort and convenience as they enjoy their time as they wish.

Unlike some other types of supportive living, independent living communities do not offer medical services or included access to nursing staff. In some independent living communities, residents may wish to hire their own assistance for temporary medical needs or personal care, but the services typically are not offered through the community.

If you or your family member need significant help with daily activities — including dressing, bathing, eating and taking medications — you may wish to explore supportive living options that offer care services and routine medical assistance.

What services are provided?

Before you select an independent living community, you may want to consider the specific services offered and whether they meet your needs. Depending on the community you choose, you may have access to convenient services including transportation to appointments, shopping and scheduled programs and events. In addition, you may enjoy chef-prepared meals, housekeeping, maintenance and landscaping, 24-hour security and some included utilities.

In an independent living community, you also can take advantage of a variety of wellness programming, including exercise classes, a fitness center and walking trails. A full calendar of social and educational programming includes performances, discussion groups, classes and an array of activities.

What amenities do communities offer?

Amenities in independent living communities can vary, and you should choose the community with features that make you feel at home and that best complement your preferred way of living. You may enjoy multiple dining venues, such as a formal dining room, coffee bar and private dining room.

Your community also may include elegant common areas, including a library, art studio, business center, billiards and game room, theater, beauty and barber salon and beautifully landscaped outdoor areas.

What’s the cost to live in an independent living community?

Costs for living in an independent living community can vary significantly depending on location, services offered, type of residence and other factors. Some communities offer a monthly rental fee arrangement that covers nearly all the offered services and amenities. Other communities offer a-la-carte fees that allow residents to choose among services. As you consider communities, think about the services you will need to help you enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

In addition, some communities require significant entrance fees before you can become a resident. By choosing a community that does not require a large buy-in fee, you gain flexibility and control over your budget and financial future.

Medicare typically does not cover costs associated with residency in an independent living community. Most residents fund a move to a community with their monthly pension, retirement benefits, savings or proceeds from the sale of a home.

Where is the community located?

Before you choose an independent living community, consider your feelings about the surrounding area. Is the local region one that you already know and love? If not, is it somewhere you might enjoy calling home?

Think about how far the community is from your friends and family members, and consider how far you would need to travel to visit the people who are important in your life. In addition, take a look at the attractions of the area and consider how they mesh with your personal preferences. If you enjoy seeing local attractions and going on social outings, will you find plenty to do? For people who thrive on staying active, a variety of attractions such as shopping, dining, museums, sporting events and performances provide options to keep life exciting.

What activities are offered?

Independent living communities offer a wide range of programming to please the varied interests of a diverse resident population. Whether you are interested in fitness, art, travel, current events, games or simply socializing, you’ll find a wealth of options for pursuing your passions and new interests.

Before you make your choice, consider whether the community offers programming that includes all the dimensions of wellness — such as social, spiritual, mental and physical. By moving to an independent living community, you free yourself from the chores of home maintenance, and you free your time to pursue the things you care about. Within your community and in the local area, you should find plenty of activities, events, attractions and social opportunities to help you keep your body, mind and spirit healthy and active.

What types of individuals live at the community?

In any community you choose, you’ll want to get to know your neighbors. You may find it advantageous to learn prior to your move about who lives in your preferred community. If possible, ask about residents’ average age, the breakdown of women and men and how many residents are single or part of a couple.

To get a feel for the overall community and the ease of making some friends, consider at least one visit. During your time at the community, try to speak to as many residents as you can; ask for their feedback and opinions as you plan your move. By getting to know residents, you can learn more about the community you’ll call home — and you may make some new friends in the process.

What are the most important considerations?

Independent living communities differ in their locations, the amenities and services they offer, the residents who live there, the fees they charge, the types of meals they serve and the activities you can enjoy. All these factors should play a key role in your decision. Most importantly, you should feel comfortable in the community. You should find it welcoming, and you should be able to envision yourself leading an active, fulfilled life there as you make new friends and spend time pursuing your passions.

Preston Place is an independent living community in Plano, Texas — only a short drive from area attractions, dining and shopping. Surrounded by a beautiful landscape and architecture, Preston Place offers exceptional customer service, elegant amenities, delicious meals, stimulating activities and much more. To experience our community for yourself, please contact us today to plan your visit.