Relaxed and Retired: A Guide to Aging Well
Age is just a number—and as that number increases, it’s important to think about the next stages of your life. While enjoying (or anticipating) the benefits of retirement, think about what you want to accomplish. Whether you’re looking for a new place to call home or finding cosmetic and surgical methods to maintain your good health, here are a few ways to age well and stay young at heart.
Home sweet home
For independent seniors, the thought of retirement housing can seem unappealing. You’re healthy, active, vibrant—why make the move? But senior living situations aren’t what they used to be. Now you can find a place that respects your values and habits, while still working to make your life easier.
Take One Wingate Way, a 52-apartment independent living community, for example. With amenities like a personal chauffeur, concierge service, five-star dining with an executive chef, and innovative educational and social events, One Wingate Way is ideal for healthy and active seniors looking for a change of scenery without sacrificing their hobbies. “It’s important to us to offer a unique kind of independent living, one where we not only meet our senior residents’ needs, but also cater to their wants,” says Maria Lastoria, executive director of One Wingate Way.
Conveniently located at the crossroads of Needham, Newton, and Wellesley, One Wingate Way is committed to the well-being of their residents, which led to the introduction of the AQUA program. The interactive wellness initiative incorporates activities to stimulate the mind, body, and spirit with a low-impact gym, yoga and meditation room, lap pool, massage and aromatherapy treatment rooms, and a high-end salon.
Lastoria says residents love maintenance-free living at One Wingate Way because it gives them the freedom to focus on what matters most: their own happiness. “Today’s seniors just want to enjoy the luxuries of leisure time,” says Lastoria. “They’re happy to relinquish the chores of housekeeping and more because it means they have more time to enjoy social opportunities and pursue their favorite pastimes.”
Another reflection of the trend towards upscale retirement living is Fox Hill Village in Westwood. “With elegant décor, fine dining, and beautifully landscaped acres, Fox Hill feels more like a five-star hotel,” says Karen O’Brien, director of sales and marketing at Fox Hill Village. “And did I mention room service?”
O’Brien says the feedback she gets from families is incredibly rewarding because they say they can sleep better at night knowing someone is there for their loved ones. With residents who were initially reluctant to join a retirement community, O’Brien says their only regrets are not making the move sooner. “They often tell me, ‘I never dreamed I would be so happy here,’” says O’Brien.
With breathtaking apartment views of the city, the urban facilities at Waterstone at the Circle look more like high-end condos for young professionals than a traditional retirement community. Offering an exceptional dining program, house wine and beer, and wine lockers to keep residents’ favorite spirits on hand, Waterstone at the Circle works to provide every luxury to their tenants. A fitness and aquatics program is staffed by the partners at Train Boston, a medically-based training program that features both physical therapy and personal training. Residents receive an individualized screening to gauge their fitness levels and set their own goals.
Taking advantage of its prime location in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston, Waterstone at the Circle has vehicles available for complimentary personal or group transportation for any outing. “Whether you enjoy the symphony, dinner downtown, or a visit to the local famers market, we will get you there,” says Jake Quigley, executive director of Waterstone at the Circle.
Despite the city surroundings, Quigley says the retirement retreat sets safety as the highest priority. “Although the community embraces the urban setting, it offers the security of a small neighborhood,” says Quigley. “Residents have access to a staff member for 24/7 assistance.”
Located in Jamaica Plain, Springhouse Senior Living enjoys the best of both worlds with a dual urban and suburban aesthetic. Situated on 13 acres of conservation land, Springhouse is directly across the street from the Arnold Arboretum and only seven minutes from Faulkner Hospital and the Chestnut Hill Mall. “We refer to ourselves as a little bit of country in the city,” says Karen Pollack, director of community relations at Springhouse.
The nonprofit organization offers diverse spaces for independent seniors with spacious layouts and private, state-of-the-art kitchens. After 16 years working at Springhouse, Pollack says the cozy and comfortable environment sets them apart from run-of-the-mill retirement communities. “It feels like home, not a home,” says Pollack. “Everyone knows your name.”
Resident Fern Beschler expressed similar sentiments about her new living arrangements. “Two things sold us on Springhouse: the apartment and the people,” Beschler says. “We were right on both counts. It’s like being part of a welcoming family within a community of mighty well-educated friends.”
Can you hear me now?
Hearing problems can affect anyone at any stage of their life, but problems are more persistent as we age. “Hearing loss is the third most chronic health condition affecting older adults,” says Amanda Romeo, Au. D CCC-A, an audiologist at Brookline Hearing Services. “After the age of 60, you should be getting your hearing tested at least every two years.”
At Brookline Hearing Services, potential patients can receive a full consultation including a hearing exam in a soundproof booth. If a hearing aid is recommended, patients can get a risk-free, 30-day trial with a product. Since 1983, the female and family-owned practice has helped their patients hear without hindrance, thanks to an always steady market. Owner Suzanne Rakov says new devices make it easier than ever to adapt to a hearing aid with subtle designs and technological advances.
“There are hearing aids on the market now that can directly connect to your iPhone to make phone calls clearer and even stream music,” says Rakov. “It takes away the need for headphones and lets you control the way everything sounds through your ears. It’s like having a computer in your head.”
Romeo says these innovative products help ease the stigma surrounding senior hearing loss and curb other potential associated health risks, like cognitive decline and depression. “Hearing aids can boost social engagement and communication with family and friends, reduce depressive symptoms, and improve overall quality of life,” she says.
Battling bald spots
If you’re experiencing hair loss, you’re not alone. In the United States, 35 million men and 21 million women report significant hair loss. Sixty-five percent of men and eighty percent of women have noticeable hair loss by age sixty. So, how can you regain the full head of hair from yesteryear? It’s easier than you think.
The experts at Suisse Natural Hair Salon in Newton have specialized in non-surgical hair replacement for more than 30 years. “Going under the dryer is much more relaxing than going under the blade,” says owner Sarah Deutsch.
Deutsch says consumers should understand that hair transplantation doesn’t solve the underlying causes of hair loss since not all follicles will grow, requiring additional surgeries. By opting for the non-surgical, “invisible attachment” technique at Suisse, there’s no risk to your health and the results are instant. “Why spend precious time recovering and anticipating hair growth?” Deutsch asks. “Simply visit the salon, not an operating room, and you’ll leave with a full head of hair after your appointment.”
At Suisse, Deutsch says the best part of the job is seeing the look on her clients’ faces when they see themselves for the first time in the mirror with their new hair. “Witnessing the immediate display of rejuvenated self-esteem is our proudest moment as hair replacement artists,” she says.
As we age, our skin loses elasticity, becoming thinner and more fragile, which leads to sagging and wrinkles. Most of these changes are more visible in the eye area, where skin is already thin. Plastic surgeon Dr. Jeannie Chung says simple surgery can correct any visible issues. “We have patients of all ages who feel that their eyes make them look tired, whether it’s due to loose skin, excess fatty bags, or crepe-like skin texture,” Dr. Chung says. “Eyelid surgery is usually performed in the office and is an effective way to brighten the eyes and create a more youthful and rested appearance.”
Dr. Chung says another popular area for wrinkles and loose skin is located just slightly south of the face. “We are finding that more and more patients are also asking for ways to improve the appearance of their chest or décolletage skin,” says Dr. Chung. “Treatments such as IPL and Ultherapy also work wonders for these areas.”
Put on a happy face
Considering an updated smile? You’re in good company. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry reports that teeth whitening became an $11 billion industry in 2015. While many seniors assume teeth whitening products will help them look youthful, whitening isn’t the only solution for your smile; straightening can help, too.
“The best thing a patient can do is fix their bite and straighten their teeth,” says Dr. Anna Berik of Newton Dental Associates. “Older patients complain of crowding and gaps. When I look into their mouths, I can see signs of a traumatic bite where the teeth aren’t hitting properly. This leads to chipping, enamel loss at the gum line, gum recession, and tooth loss as the years roll on.”
In order to get a straighter smile, Dr. Berik recommends an accelerated Invisalign technique to place your teeth in the proper alignment for longevity, health, and ease of cleaning. “Patients who dread the thought of being locked in metal braces for two years are thrilled that I can treat them in as little as four months with this program,” says Dr. Berik. “Add in office teeth whitening to those straight teeth to boost your confidence and give you the smile you’ve always wanted.”
Dr. Berik reports that more and more older patients are worried about preserving their teeth. At North Shore and Brookline Endodontics (NSBENDO), the specialists work with local dentists to save natural teeth through root canal therapy. “In order to maintain your overall dental health, it’s critical to see your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups,” says Dr. Peter Morgan at NSBENDO.
With six conveniently located offices throughout the North Shore and Brookline, the specialists at NSBENDO are able to save your smile using technological advances that survey all tooth damage and find the best method of treatment. “The introduction of 2D and now 3D CBCT imaging allows for a more precise diagnosis,” says Dr. Yuri Shamritsky of NSBENDO. “Our specialists can help patients save teeth that would otherwise be lost, and thereby avoid the much greater expense of extraction and implant placement.”
If you want to look as young as you feel, seek out these simple solutions and enjoy aging gracefully. Check out your options with these experts and get started today!
Dr. Anna Berik
Newton Dental Associates
Brookline Hearing Services
Dr. Jeannie Chung
Plastic Surgery & Skin Rejuvenation
Fox Hill Village
North Shore and Brookline Endodontics
One Wingate Way
Springhouse Senior Living
Suisse Natural Hair Salon
Waterstone at the Circle