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Denali National Park

Become One With Nature – Escape to Denali National Park

As summer temperatures reach record highs, you’re probably entertaining thoughts of Russian ice bars and powdered ski slopes. While a trip to the beach might seem obvious when you’re staring triple digits in the face – what about venturing off the beaten path to coexist with wildlife, and watch North America’s highest snow-capped peak ascend into the clouds? This isn’t any summer destination, it’s Denali National Park. Here you won’t find fancy water parks or poolside cabanas- but instead be completely captivated and enthralled by six million acres of natural tapestry, and summer weather that feels more like a crisp spring day.

Denali National Park is the 3rd largest in the U.S – a delicate balance of fauna and flora, dense coniferous forests, and flowing, braided rivers carved by glaciers. Mt. Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley) looms over the park extending an invitation to create your own adventure whether that’s getting a jaw-dropping aerial view on a Denali Airplane tour, or zip-line endeavor, hiking the Savage River Loop, and Toklat East Branch Trail, or riding the rapids on a whitewater trip down Nenana River located just outside the park. Additionally, mid-summer daylight hours extend well past 10 p.m so there’s no need to chase the sun. It’s not uncommon for buses to brake for grizzlies or rogue hares crossing the road as you take a narrated wilderness tour through the tundra, but if you’re lucky enough to catch a un-shrouded glimpse of Denali mountain itself, you’ve reached the pinnacle of what most can only dream of marking off their bucket list.

How Active Adult Communities Are Tapping Into “The Blue Zones”

What can centenarians teach us about longevity? We’ve all pursued the holy grail of health, and vitality, logging hours at the gym, and following the latest diets – but what if the secret to pushing 100 is more than what’s on our plate? Dan Buettner’s book Blue Zones takes an insightful look into five cultures known as having the longest living populations – Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa Japan, Ikaria Greece, Nicoya Costa Rica, and a group of Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda California. Interestingly, the principles behind these Blue Zones are inherent to the lifestyle promoted by active adult communities, and why so many retirees may already be “in the zone.”

These Blue Zones prioritize a healthy (primarily plant-based) diet, they use their bodies to live – moving constantly throughout the day- and the piece of the puzzle many of us overlook in the quest for youth is allowing enough time for rest, and finding our purpose. When you think about what many active adult communities offer in terms of health and social engagement, it seems they’ve already unlocked the secret to a long, and healthy life making it more likely that today’s baby boomers will become tomorrow’s centenarians.

Many find their social lives flourish after moving to a 55+ neighborhood which isn’t surprising considering the number of social clubs, gathering areas, and sports facilities designed to encourage meaningful relationships and nurture a sense of community which seems to be the missing link in our fast-paced society. According to research, Sardinia Italy has ten times more centenarians than here in the U.S not just because of their omega-3 infused Mediterranean diet, but because they make time to laugh, and commune with family and friends. Lesson learned? Getting a group together for a walk, forming a bocce league or having a glass of wine around the fire-pit will not only expand your social circle but may also boost longevity.

One Blue Zones commonality is that each culture makes healthy living a lifestyle. Okinawans are known as world’s longest living population mainly because they’re always on the move whether it’s cultivating the crops that sustain them, walking everywhere, or spending ample time outdoors soaking in vitamin D. 55+ communities with community gardens and walking trails are already channeling the Blue Zones – focusing on incorporating wellness into everyday life. From the antioxidant-rich wine savored by the Greeks, and joyful outlook we can learn from the Nicoyans to Loma Linda’s Seventh Day Adventists who live to serve a higher purpose, their longevity secrets are the same. Stress less, seek friendship, and if you don’t already live in an active adult community, now might be a good time to pack your bags.

Buettner, Dan. The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. National Geographic, 2012.

Discover the Enchantment of Sun City

“Out in the west Texas town of El Paso,” retirees will find Lone Star bliss in the city ranked one of the top retirement destinations by U.S News & World Report for the quality of living, affordability, and low crime rate. Aptly nicknamed Sun City, El Paso is the state’s largest border city, and is a melting pot of historic attractions, rich heritage, and endless entertainment. Surrounded by breathtaking views of the Franklin, and Waco mountains, active adults will find a thriving, and colorful city that combines metropolitan energy, with a glimpse into history as reflected in it’s architecture, and infamous local landmarks.

This Southwestern treasure of a city is located near the Mexican border, and stretches along the banks of the iconic Rio Grande River. With over 300 days of sunshine, and a stunning desert landscape that lends itself to a bounty of outdoor recreation, baby boomers, and retirees will find a picturesque backdrop for all their fresh air adventures whether they love to hike, rock climb, or capture its beauty behind a camera lens. No need to take a rain check on tee sessions thanks to a fantastic year-round climate, and challenging golf courses including the Tom Fazio designed Butterfield Trail Course and Painted Dunes Golf Course offering scenic fairways for a captivating day on the green.

senior on a bike with friends in the background

3 Cities Going Green One Bike Share at a Time

In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, the concept of city bike shares has taken the country by a storm. The idea of renting a bike to get where you need to go is brilliant considering most bus systems operate on a limited schedule making leaving the office late or commuting on a Sunday a challenge. Not only is biking a cost-effective alternative to filling the gas tank, but cities who’ve implemented the program are finding it gets more cars off the road and encourages people to lead healthier lifestyles. While European cycling meccas like Amsterdam have led the bike share pack for years, these U.S cities are just a few of the places adding this option to their public transit repertoire.

Ashland, Oregon is a hip college town known for its bike and pedestrian-friendly downtown. The Rogue Bike Share program was newly introduced just this year as yet another step towards an eco-friendly city. Conveniently located alongside the bus stop, folks can now skip waiting for the next transfer, and cycle to their next stop. No stranger to alternative transit, Ashland’s “car-free” day event encourages residents to leave their cars at home and take advantage of incentives like free refreshments, and complimentary bike tune-ups.

Nashville, Tennessee’s welcoming southern spirit is best enjoyed on two wheels, and the city’s B-Cyle program is the perfect way to explore. With convenient membership options ranging from 24-hour rentals up to annual passes, getting into the rhythm downtown, or enjoying a scenic ride along a 180-mile greenway is as easy as picking up your bike of choice, and returning it when the adventure is over. Nashville’s walkable city center is easily accessible for commuters, and tourists or anyone who agrees fresh air, and a myriad of bike routes is the only way to travel.

Washington, DC is home to iconic attractions and the Capital Bikeshare system where 440 stations throughout the city give active adults the chance to immerse themselves in rich history, without sitting in traffic. For a modest rate, cyclists can rent a bike for a quick 30-minute trip, up to the yearly membership, with a mobile app feature to check availability. DC is notoriously affluent, and abundantly monumental with a lively urban atmosphere, and boasts a network of beautiful trails.

Across North America, and all over the world, bike share programs have proven to be a great way to improve the health and environmental sustainability of participating cities. Both functional, and economical, this growing trend is definitely worth the ride.

Working With Kids Proves Good For the Soul

Whether we like to admit it or not, we’re all kids at heart, and who better to teach us the importance of play, and laughter than youngsters themselves? It’s no secret that engaging with children is good for our health, in fact, according to a study out of Berlin, grandparents involved with babysitting their grandchildren had a 37% lower mortality rate, including those who spent time with children in general. Whether someone lives alone, or near loved ones, these ideas for getting out into the community to connect with a child, are just a few of the ways to make a difference, and experience a greater sense of well being.

Multi-Generational communities like the 55+ community of Gavilan in Rancho Mission Viejo, are designed to give active adults their independence while providing an opportunity to spend quality time with the younger generation. Whether it’s spending the afternoon crafting with the grandkids or enjoying cocktails on the veranda, these close-knit communities have a nostalgic feel not often experienced in traditional neighborhoods.

Coastal Living

You adore taking a weekend getaway on the water, but what if you could turn your love of all things surf and sand into your next retirement destination? Some of the best coastal adult living communities in the country offer 55+ retirees glorious sunsets, walks on the beach, boating, and seaside amenities like shopping and fine dining. To indulge your dreams of retiring on the coast, here are some of the top 55 places USA sure to make your senior living experience unforgettable.

Albemarle Plantation-North Carolina

Located next to North Carolina’s Albamarle Sound, this waterfront golf community is rich in natural beauty, and exciting amenities. With new, and resale options, Albemarle Plantation features single family homes, condominiums, and lots to build your dream retirement home. A Dan Maples designed course greets golf enthusiasts with a brilliant layout, amidst picturesque surroundings for a challenging, yet enjoyable experience. The community also features a marina perfect for water recreation such as fishing, sailing, or water-skiing. Tennis courts, a junior Olympic sized pool, and plenty of room for hiking or cycling is ideal for active adults. A serene, waterside community, Albemarle Plantation is the ideal place to make new friends, in a truly stunning location.

Kings Point in Delray Beach

This highly desirable Florida retirement community is best known for its seemingly endless array of amenities, and ideal location of Palm Beach County. Kings Point features resale condominiums perfect for 55+ retirees preferring lower maintenance living, or snowbirds looking for a second home. Health minded active adults will love the fitness amenities offered by not one, but three clubhouses that feature swimming pools, fitness center, tennis, and bocce courts. Two Robert Trent Jones golf courses provide retirees with the ultimate seaside tee time. A theater, and an exhaustive list of social clubs, and events ensures there’s never a dull moment in King’s Point.

Four Seasons at Harbor Bay

K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Harbor Bay is a beautiful 55+ community right on the Jersey Shore, with resort style active living at your fingertips, and Little Egg Harbor beaches nearby. This prestigious community features new single family homes equipped with designer kitchens, luxurious baths, with a focus on energy efficiency. A stunning16,000 square foot clubhouse features a fitness center, library, craft, and billiard room, and Harbor Bay’s outdoor recreation knows no limit. This active lifestyle community makes retirement feel like a year-round luxury vacation.

Is Postponing Retirement Good For Your Health?

We’ve all been warned about procrastination, but is putting off retirement for a year or so an exception to the rule? So many of us say the stress of our jobs is killing us, but on the flip side is it the adrenaline rush of a deadline that keeps us going?

It’s a known fact that staying active is a major factor when it comes to longevity, and health. Older adults who keep their bodies, and minds engaged in a job may add years to their lives according to a study by Oregon State University. From 1992 to 2010 when the participants retired, healthy, and unhealthy retirees demonstrated the positive effect working one more year had on their mortality rate. The healthy group had an 11 percent lower risk of mortality, and the unhealthy group had a 9 percent lower risk. Interestingly, those who worked an additional year despite preexisting illness, did quite well. Perhaps this is a prime example of mind over matter? The more time we have to spend dwelling on our health issues the easier it is to succumb to them.

Retiring early may sometimes mean becoming less active or socially involved. Of course slowing down to a halt after years of a daily activity can be a shock to the system. Another thing to consider is the stress of finances. Working was a regular source of income, and unless you have a comfortable nest egg, retiring early can mean really tightening your belt.

I think the moral of the study, is along the same lines as getting enough exercise. Whether you’re healthy or not, keeping busy, keeps you going. Most Baby Boomers in today’s society are working well beyond age 65. The National Institute on Aging says our average life expectancy has increased dramatically, could it be attributed to our refusal to call it quits?

Baby Boomers Not Ready to Call it Quits

A recent news story featured a woman in her 90’s who’s worked at her job in a San Francisco hospital for 70 years – with no plans of leaving anytime soon. She found her position so rewarding that going to work each day was a joy rather than a task. Now that’s commitment! According to USA Today, 65% of Baby Boomers will continue working after age 65, which shows older adults are thriving, and continue to dominate the work force.

For those who continue in the same job, or decide on a second act career, it tends to be less about the money, and more about feeling satisfied, and motivated doing what you love. I knew a gentleman who’d retired from law enforcement but found himself unable to stay away too long. He returned on a part-time basis because he truly enjoyed serving the community, and felt more fulfilled getting up, and out each day.

Empty nesters or recent retirees may find this to be the opportune moment to pursue a passion or career that may have been on the back burner. Volunteer work is a big one because where earning income may have been a top priority before, giving back in this capacity gets people involved in a way that wasn’t possible during their working years. Going back to school in your 60’s? Absolutely! Learning a new skill set, foreign language or whatever sparks your interest can get you equipped to launch into your dream career.

Become an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, or whatever motivates you. Just because you left the old 8-5 job it doesn’t mean hanging your hard earned skills out to dry. Call it your second act, or round two performance, getting up every day to do something you love is a well-deserved accomplishment!