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Volunteering After Retirement

Retirement and the launch of your golden years is wonderful. You’re able to say goodbye to long commutes, stressful meetings and late nights in the office. The decades of juggling a family and a career are over. You now have plenty of time to do things you enjoy and find new hobbies. But, what if plenty of time is too much time?

With so many things happening in the world, you don’t have to look far to find volunteer opportunities-which is a perfect way to spend that extra time. While you are helping others and improving lives, you are also improving your own. Volunteering is good for your mental health- it keeps your brain and body active. It also helps prevent senior depression and isolation. Volunteering will likely mean something different to everyone. Becoming a volunteer could range from working at an animal shelter, feeding the homeless, or mentoring children.

To get started volunteering, here are a few ideas and tips. Whatever you decide to do though, make sure it is something you are passionate about.

1. Put Your Skills to Work

If you’re a skilled handyman or worked in carpentry, consider using these skills by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that works with families in need of decent, affordable housing, and volunteers to build and improve homes.
If you were a teacher or have experience working with children, consider working with your local 4-H to provide care and supportive mentoring to youth in your community.
Whatever your skills lie, put them to use through volunteering. Be creative.

2. Engage Your Interests

If you have a love for animals, consider volunteering at an animal shelter. They are always in need of volunteers to play with the animals, take them on walks and just show them love. Maybe you enjoy gardening. Put this passion to good use- look into starting a community garden.

3. Help the Needy in Your Community

Almost every community has a local food bank, homeless shelter or other type of community resource. These places are always in need of volunteers to prepare and serve meals or collect supplies.

4. Be Open Minded and Start Small

Ask for recommendations from friends and family, check websites or organizations in your area, or visit your local Seniors Center to inquire about opportunities. Once you find something you are interested in, start small. Get your feet wet though short periods of volunteering- maybe 2 hours at the food pantry or one Saturday afternoon at the animal shelter.

Studies show that those who volunteer experience greater life satisfaction and may have lower risk of health problems, including dementia. So, find a cause you are passionate about and start using your free time to give back.

Meet Heath Bowman

This Monday, we would like to introduce you to SpringShire Advisory Board Member, Heath Bowman.

Heath is the president of the East Carolina University Alumni Association. His mission is to inform, involve and serve members of the ECU family throughout their lifelong relationship with the university. The ECU Alumni Association and SpringShire have formed a relationship, about which Heath comments, “We find that partnerships like this help us meet our mission to ensure that alumni and friends are well taken care of into their golden years.”

“Our association views partnerships with communities such as SpringShire as a great way to promote the outstanding quality of life that our Pirate alumni enjoy when they choose to begin their retirement years close to campus,” continues Heath.

Heath believes that the addition of SpringShire is just one example of how Greenville is becoming a retirement destination, especially for those with ties to ECU. “SpringShire will provide our alumni and friends with an option for active retirement living; one that showcases an impressive number of activities and amenities for its residents” says Heath.

As Heath entered his third year as president of the Alumni Association, he found himself engaging more and more with community partners who directly impact the experiences that alumni have while they are in Greenville. Heath notes that this engagement has translated into various volunteer leadership roles, including his role as the incoming chair of the Young Professionals of Pitt County, membership on the Uptown Greenville Board of Directors and involvement with community advocacy and advisory groups, including the SpringShire Advisory Board.

Heath is enthusiastic about being a member of the SpringShire Advisory Board. “I feel that giving my time, energy and input is a valuable way in which I can help shape the future of the city for our alumni and friends who choose to live, work and play here,” says Heath. In order for ECU to remain on an upward trajectory, Heath feels it is vitally important that Greenville continue to grow and thrive as the diverse and successful city he knows it to be – and the addition of SpringShire will help to do just that.

Ways to Stay Active During The Fall

Fall is right around the corner! Are you ready for cooler weather, sweaters and pumpkin-flavored sweets?  While some of us may be sad summer is over, fall is a great time for seniors to get up and get moving, as temperatures begin to level off and the humidity decreases. This season take the time to appreciate the beauty of the fall with activities perfectly suited for this time of the year.

1. Gardening

The end of summer and beginning of fall is a great time for seniors to garden. The weather is cooler which will allow you to be more comfortable, not to mention you can plant some delicious vegetables to be harvested in the fall- like onions, radishes, beets, carrots, lettuce, garlic and turnips. Studies have also shown that gardening relieves stress, and can increase joint mobility and hand strength.

2. Birdwatching

In the upcoming fall season, on days when the weather is not to hot and not to cold, spend time outdoors birdwatching. Install a bird bath, birdhouse, or bird feeder and enjoy your ticket to the theatre of nature. When cold weather sets in, continue to enjoy this activity from inside by watching through the window.

3. Decorate the House

One of the best things about fall are the beautiful colors associated with it. Take time this season to decorate your home for fall. Hang a wreath, buy mums and carve pumpkins to display. Make an afternoon out of visiting local pumpkin patches to find the perfect one!

4. Prepare Festive Homemade Treats

Fall is the perfect time for baking. There are so many yummy classics, like pumpkin and pecan pie. Think of your favorite fall sweets. Make a batch for family and friends to share the season’s cheer!

5. Modify Outdoor Activities

As the weather becomes to cool to be outside, you can still participate in many of the outdoor activities you like with slight modifications. If you enjoyed swimming or walking, find an indoor pool or track to use.

P.S. The SpringShire community will have a beautiful indoor pool and recreation facility that residents can use year around!

Remember to enjoy the weather this upcoming fall season! There are so many perfect activities, you won’t have to look far to find ways to stay active.

Celebrating Work

By Morgan Lamphere, Vice President of Marketing, Retirement Living Associates, Inc.

As we celebrate Labor Day, let’s reflect on what work means to someone who is retired. Even though you may not be receiving a regular paycheck, work and vocational experience is still a significant part of life.

Think back on your first job…

How old were you?

How much were you paid?

What did it mean to you to bring home that first paycheck?

Did you enjoy it?

My father’s first job was working with his father on the family “Truck Farm.” In those days, that meant he helped tend the family farm and sold vegetables and fruits from the back of his dad’s truck all over town. Eventually, his father started a tree nursery, and he was expected to help the family business so Grandpap didn’t have to hire outside workers and add to the business overhead.

Despite the unglamorous work, Dad took pride in what he did. He had to learn the different types of shrubs and trees Grandpap sold. Now, 65 years later, taking pride in his work is paramount.

For him work gives him a sense of satisfaction. He enjoys maintaining a nice garden for himself and my mom. The tricks and techniques he learned on the truck garden and nursery have paid off, and my parents are rewarded handsomely with beautiful vegetables that grow throughout the early spring and well into the fall.

For retirees, vocational experience doesn’t end when they receive the gold watch and retirement party. Their vocations shift, and I enjoy working with many retirees who find new purpose in life in and out of retirement communities.

Ann Foster lives at SearStone in Cary. Before Ann moved to SearStone, she became involved in a “Lovey Program” at the local hospitals. Ann worked with a group of seamstresses who would use scrap fabric and stuffing to create stuffed animals for children visiting the emergency room.

“Being in an emergency room is so scary for children,” says Ann. “I felt like giving them this little bit of comfort would make them feel a bit better.”

After Ann moved to SearStone she found a brigade of women, and men, who were interested in helping. Some of the residents in the health care center also wanted to get involved, so Ann expanded the operation. Now, SearStone residents help with sewing on the ribbons and “eyes” and the residents in Brittany Place stuff the animals. They make bears, doggies and dinosaurs and Ann has donated bag after bag to the local hospital.

Another group of residents at Springmoor Retirement Community enjoy a monthly “Stop Hunger Now” event where residents and staff create bagged meals out of basic ingredients to serve to the hungry.  In a six-year period, this effort has created 3,075 pounds of packaged meals!  This is an excellent example of how living in a community can create strength in numbers.

Turnage Theater – 10th Annual Photography Exhibit

Yesterday we enjoyed Arts of the Pamlico‘s 10th annual Photography Exhibit and learning about the history of the Turnage Theater in beautiful downtown Washington, NC. Future and prospective residents heard about SpringShire, enjoyed delicious desserts, and viewed the photography of local North Carolina artists.

As a sponsor of AOP’s Photography Art Exhibit, we were pleased to present the Springshire Retirement Community Award for the photo that best depicted community to Chalisa Harnell for “Moving Up Day.”

Stop by the Turnage Gallery in Washington, NC to view the talented work of local, regional and state wide artists!

Meet Theo H. Pitt, Jr.

This Monday, we would like to introduce SpringShire Advisory Board Member, Theo H. Pitt, Jr.

Theo is a native and resident of Rocky Mount, NC. Following his retirement from Pioneer Savings Bank where he was CEO, he has been a real estate development and investment consultant. Throughout his life he has been active within the community and currently serves as an Independent Trustee on multiple mutual fund boards. “Theo’s knowledge and experience in the real estate market makes him a valuable addition to the SpringShire Advisory Board,” notes long-time friend and business associate, David Ammons, President of Retirement Living Associates (RLA).

For Theo becoming a part of the SpringShire Advisory Board was an easy decision. “Not only have I known and respected the Ammons family for many years, I also realized eastern North Carolina had a strong need for such a facility and wanted to be a part of making that a reality,” noted Theo.

Through the years Theo witnessed the growth and development of Springmoor as well as other retirement living facilities managed by David Ammons and the RLA staff. And he has seen first-hand how their knowledge and extensive experience in the industry has benefitted numerous retirees looking for active quality senior living options

“SpringShire will provide an opportunity for seniors to continue to live in a secure environment, while remaining socially active with other retirees,” says Theo. With limited choices for retirement living in the area, Theo is excited to help spread the word about SpringShire’s living opportunities for the increasing senior population in eastern NC.