The quiet blessing of grief that never ends

This writer finds beauty in the pain she feels over the loss of her sister

By Jill Smolowe for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

In the almost seven years since I laid my husband to rest, followed barely a year later by the loss of my sister and mother, I’ve developed an appreciation for just how unpredictable and, well, amazing grief can be.

I’m not talking about the period of hollowing when the shock and fog of loss clouds every thought and informs every waking (and perhaps sleeping) moment. No, I’m talking about the grief that comes after that. After the deceased loved one’s absence is no longer a constant presence. After the acute ache subsides and then, unthinkably, stills. After life moves forward, opening new melancholy-free vistas that trace no connection to the departed.

The grief I’m referring to lays claim to no stage and holds no hope of being put behind. Even on the happiest days, it lies patiently in wait for some quirk of logic to unleash it. A scent. A song. A glimpse of an almost-familiar face. Suddenly — whap! — you’re puddled in a heap, sobbing and thinking, WhatTheWhatThe.

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The 5 exercises you should do every day

Improve your range of motion and balance in less than 10 minutes

By Rashelle Brown for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Balance and mobility training can benefit us at any age, but it becomes more important as you reach and pass the age of 50.

Maintaining joint range of motion allows you to move naturally and helps to combat the postural problems that cause neck, back, shoulder and hip pain.

Far from only preventing stumbles and falls, balance training is extremely important for everyone because it makes us better at every physical thing we do. Having a keen sense of proprioception (the sense of where your body is in space) makes all movement more efficient. When combined with fluid joints that allow for a full range of motion, this puts you at your functional best.

Here’s a short sequence of five exercises you can do every day to improve and maintain your balance and mobility. Done in a slow, controlled fashion, you can finish the whole workout in under 10 minutes:

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Finding love in a senior living community

Add romance to what single older adults look for when seeking housing

By Kimberley Fowler for Next Avenue

Credit: Getty Images

There are many reasons older adults move into a senior living community, but is looking for love one of them?

Burdett Stilwell has been working with older adults for many years and, and as sales and marketing director of Somerby of Mobile,  she has had the pleasure of developing friendships with the many residents of this Somerby Senior Living home in Alabama. She’s up-to-date on who is dating whom. When it comes to relationships, Stilwell says, the Somerby people she knows fall into two categories: those who are interested and those who have “been there, done that.”

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Audrey Ray of Sunshine

20170328_112411-2“She is always smiling and is so good to everyone, no matter how they treat her. Audrey is always encouraging even on our worst days.”

Resident Helen Epple echoes the sentiments of those served by Restorative Aide Audrey Ray, whose positive attitude and willingness to help others enhances quality of life at Fulton Presbyterian Manor.

“Audrey can be gone for two days and it feels like it’s been two months.”

Fortunately for Helen, Audrey is around often, and has been for the past 22 years.

“I’ve been here since May 2, 1995, and as a matter of fact, my first job was here when I was 15 years old. My mother used to work here, too,” said Audrey. “I’ve transitioned from being a Certified Nurse’s Aide (CNA), Certified Medication Technician (CMT), to my current position.”

Audrey has had experience at other health care communities, but her long tenure in the industry hasn’t dimmed her spark for serving others.

“I love to hear the residents’ stories, and I love their smiles. When they see me coming they say, ‘Where have you been? I’ve missed you!’ It makes me feel good and lets me know I’m making a difference in their life,” said Audrey. “And I love my coworkers. It’s like a family here!”

When Audrey isn’t with her Presbyterian Manor family, you’ll find her spending time with her sons, grandchildren and boyfriend, or with her church family at Calvary Baptist Church.

We appreciate Audrey’s service and all of our Fulton Presbyterian Manor staff who help our residents have the highest quality of life possible.

Don’t ignore these facts about sunscreen

5 ways to apply it right and help avoid skin cancer

By Sheryl Kraft for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

The sun’s power is undeniable: The largest object in our solar system, it contains approximately 99.9 percent of the total solar system mass. Its interior could hold more than 1.3 million Earths. The sun provides for our very life. But this 4.5 billion-year-old star also has the power to kill.

Melanoma, the most dangerous and potentially lethal form of skin cancer, is caused most often by intense UV rays of the sun, and its rates have been rising for at least 30 years. About 73,870 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the U.S in 2015, and approximately 9,940 people are expected to die, according to the American Cancer Society.

The typical victim? On average, a person is 62 when the cancer appears. The risk of melanoma increases as we age.

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