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La Posada, a resort-style senior life care community, recently commemorated the opening of its new wellness center during a ribbon cutting with refreshments for residents, elected officials and other invited guests. The new free-standing 3,400-square-foot state-of-the-art wellness center comes equipped with spaces for group and individual activities, top-of-the-line equipment, and an exam room all in a workout space featuring expansive glass walls which allow residents to enjoy views of the lake and the nearby pool while they exercise. Residents living at the senior living community have been eagerly awaiting its completion, and among those most excited is 95-year-old George Heller, a former competitive race walker. Given that Heller works out five to seven days a week, he will get much use out of the new workout space. Even though he has a stationary bike in his apartment, he finds delight in working out in different spaces and being around people for motivation. Heller has already put himself to work in the new wellness center and believes the ribbon cutting is a great way to acknowledge La Posada’s healthy addition and dedication to wellness.


“You never know when someone might want to pick up exercising or make their workouts more intense, so having an amenity like this available to everyone is excellent,” said Heller. “I didn’t pick up a regular workout routine until I turned 55. I was overweight and looking for a solution that would help me feel and look better. I started an exercise routine and lost 100 pounds in the first year. I started by jogging, running, and competing in small races, but I kept getting injured. Then a friend turned me on to competitive race walking, a sport in which I could compete at a high level with much less risk of injury. It’s not nearly as hard on the body as running. I competed all over the world, including a marathon in New York City. I also went to the Masters Race Walking games in Australia, Oregon and Puerto Rico. Many people do not know that race walking is actually a part of the track and field division. I enjoyed competing in the 5K, 10K and 20K races. Athletes are grouped into five year divisions and the World Games are held every three years. Another fun fact many people are unaware of is that the longest race in the Olympics is a 50K race walk.”


Heller acknowledges that race walkers are very fit people. There is a distinct and strict form which athletes must follow, including having one foot on the ground at all times and keeping the knee of the supporting leg straight to avoid “creeping.” There are judges positioned all throughout the course, and if you get called out on form three times you are disqualified. Heller competed in race walking until his 70s, when he suffered from back pain and injuries. In place of race walking, he picked up riding a stationary bike, which he does very carefully.


“I used to walk six miles a day, but now I ride 23 miles a day on my bike,” said Heller. “It has been a great substitute, though I do miss the walking. I burn about 600 to 900 calories each ride, which typically lasts about an hour. My family has a history of cardiac issues, so I am hoping to avoid these by staying active. So far so good, I am probably one of the longest-living men in my family. When I work out on the bike, I use a heart monitor strap to keep my heart in a safe zone. I feel energized and active and have good health, so it seems to be working for me. When I became an athlete, I became a gym rat, and I’ve been going to the gym for 40 years now. The new fitness center is excellently equipped and looks first class.”


Heller is easily one of the most athletic residents living at La Posada. He recently competed in the NuStep challenge for The Longest Day. He took 10,250 steps in approximately 90 minutes, donating a penny for each step he took. This was more than anyone else at the senior living community. His advice for those wishing to start working out or to create a stricter regimen is to first seek a physician’s opinion and consult a wellness team member or personal trainer. He recommends setting achievable goals, making sure your body can handle it and ensuring you use proper form during workouts.


“For those who struggle with committing to a regular workout routine, my advice is this: just do it. Find the desire and think of it as obligatory exercise,” said Heller. “Incorporate ways to make it interesting and fun. Whether it’s reading a book, watching a TV show or listening to music. Personally, I enjoy listening to music. I listen to a wide variety which helps me zone out because the exercise is monotonous. The music brings back memories and helps keep the exercise from being boring. It is encouraging working out around other people as well. Just get in the new fitness center, give it a go and take baby steps to leading a more active life.”


“With the expansion and renovation project at La Posada, we knew it was necessary to create a brand new wellness center to accommodate current and new residents,” said Rick Minichino, wellness director at La Posada. “We are pleased to offer new classes and state-of-the-art equipment. Residents like George are a true inspiration to us all and an example of how to age actively and successfully. Even if residents just exercise 15 to 30 minutes a day, they are doing something good for themselves. It is our hope to see the wellness center full of residents at all hours of the day. We are huge advocates of exercise and living and eating well.”

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La Posada, the premier senior living community in Palm Beach Gardens, recently celebrated its 13th anniversary. There was a cocktail hour and a special chef-prepared dinner for residents to enjoy. A live string quartet provided entertainment during the evening as well. Twenty of the original residents who moved into La Posada during its opening year took part in the celebrations. One of those 20 residents is 91-year-old Dr. Harry Gray, who moved into a villa in November 2004 with his wife. Dr. Gray and his wife were excited about the opening of La Posada way before the community welcomed its first resident. After originally retiring on the West Coast, they decided to spend the rest of their retirement on the East Coast, so they moved to Jupiter, Fla. and lived there for about 12 years. The couple had traveled to Florida every year, and made the permanent move to be close to family. When they learned of La Posada, they chose Palm Beach Gardens as their next destination. They attended the groundbreaking, five to six events leading up to the opening and the official grand opening.


“The community continues to grow and make positive changes each year,” said Dr. Gray. “They do an exceptional job of offering a variety of activities and events to engage in, my favorites being bridge and poker. I actively play bridge at least five times a week and also look forward to live entertainment brought in by the community. I am excited to use the newly renovated commons spaces as well as new amenities that are part of the $35 million expansion and renovation project.”


Since its opening, the community has experienced exceptional feedback and growth, facilitating the current expansion and renovations. The expansion includes the addition of Mallorca at La Posada, a new four-story building which will feature 54 sophisticated apartment homes designed for seniors to comfortably age in place, whether they live independently or need some assistance. Amenities in Mallorca will include a restaurant, pub, salon and spa, fitness space and various indoor and outdoor areas to socialize. Many of the Mallorca residences will have views of the lake. In addition to creating Mallorca, Kisco is renovating the existing La Posada clubhouse to give residents new areas to experience. This project includes the addition of a new freestanding 3,400-square-foot state-of-the-art wellness center with locker rooms and a workout space with expansive glass walls, allowing residents to enjoy views of the lake and the nearby pool while they exercise. The wellness center recently opened. A new bar and lounge area will feature a space for Wii bowling competitions, large-screen TVs for parties and casual drinks or coffee. A display kitchen will be the centerpiece of a new dining venue to enjoy culinary entertainment. An expanded walking path will loop around the entire campus, encouraging wellness and connecting residents throughout the La Posada community.


“It is anticipated that construction of Mallorca will be complete in early 2018,” said Brad Cadiere, executive director of La Posada. “Currently, the new building is being ‘topped out,’ meaning the roof is on, the units are being dry walled and mechanical, electrical and plumbing is being installed. Up next, Mallorca will have flooring and furnishings installed. In regards to the renovations, phase one is now complete, which included the new wellness center, redesign of the main living room and addition of a discovery room. Phase two will start this September and entails renovating the clubhouse and the addition of a new bar and lounge to serve as a place for having morning coffee and reading the paper or meeting for pre-dinner drinks. A second dining venue will be added during phase three, which will begin after Mallorca opens. The new trend is to have multiple and differentiated dining rooms, so the second dining venue will have a full display cooking kitchen for entertainment purposes, allowing residents to see the food being prepared, smell the aromas wafting in the air and see the steam coming from the food.”

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Each year on the summer solstice (June 21), people around the world gather for “The Longest Day” to pay tribute to the strength, passion and endurance of those living with Alzheimer's. The Longest Day is a sunrise-to-sunset event to honor the strength, passion and endurance of those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers; those who live the longest day every day. The Alzheimer’s Association encourages people all over the world to form a team and choose an activity – whether it's bike riding, bowling, cooking, NuStepping, playing video games or shopping – and keep at it from sunrise to sunset. Nationally, more than 3,200 teams participated in The Longest Day last year. During The Longest Day on Wednesday June 21, 2017, La Posada residents and associates exercised and kept two NuStep machines going for 12 consecutive hours. NuStep machines are recumbent cross trainers which provide a full-body workout. Residents and associates of La Posada, as well as friends and family, were encouraged to donate any amount of money per hour to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer's.  La Posada has raised almost $10,000 for the Alzheimer's Association since 2015.


“Today, more than 35 million people across the world are living with Alzheimer's, including more than five million Americans,” said Rick Minichino, wellness director of La Posada. “In the United States alone, more than 15 million caregivers generously dedicate themselves to those with Alzheimer's and dementia, and these numbers will only continue to rise unless we take action. Together, we can show those facing Alzheimer's they are not alone. We see the impact of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia firsthand as we care for residents in our memory care neighborhood. Your donations, no matter how small, give hope to those affected by Alzheimer's disease.”


Last year, Minichino spent the entire 12 hours on a NuStep by himself. He was able to take a five-minute break every hour only if residents donated 20 dollars during that day to essentially “buy” his break. The NuStepping to End Alzheimer’s challenge was initiated by NuStep Inc., a manufacturer of inclusive recumbent cross trainers, in 2015. This year, NuStep’s goal was to raise $350,000 in 2017, and they have requested that any group, community or organization to join the NuStepping to End Alzheimer's team pledge to raise a minimum of $1,600 and hold NuStepping relay events on June 21, 2017.


“Alzheimer’s Disease is currently the only leading cause of death in the U.S. which cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed,” said Minichino. “We as caregivers are on the front lines of helping those suffering from the disease, and often are the only ones who can advocate for these residents. This is a disease that we hope, with the proper funding and research, can be managed, slowed down, or even cured. My father-in-law passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2016 after a seven year battle. Raising money and awareness will not only help fund the research and development, but it also empowers others to keep their bodies and minds healthy and to get checked early for signs and symptoms. By partnering associates with residents, we hope to raise more money and awareness and do our part in fighting Alzheimer’s disease.”


Startling statistics about Alzheimer’s disease provided by the Alzheimer’s Association:


  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Every 66 seconds someone in the US develops the disease.
  • More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.
  • One in the three seniors dies from Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.
  • In 2016, 15.9 million family and friends provided 18.2 billion hours of unpaid assistance to those with Alzheimer's and other dementias, a contribution to the nation valued at $230.1 billion.
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It is a rarity for people to celebrate 100 or more birthdays in their lifetime. However, there’s a group of seniors in Palm Beach Gardens who have achieved this significant milestone, and to celebrate they are joining the newly founded First Century Club. The club was started by team members at La Posada, the premier continuing care retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens. To launch the club, La Posada hosted a special luncheon welcoming six of its centenarian residents to the club. Residents Milton Stier and Esther Whitley turned 100 within the last year, and they have some fascinating reflections from the last 100 years of their lives, as well as advice for the younger generations. When asked about their favorite inventions, it was interesting to hear that Stier mentioned the zipper and Whitley said penicillin. In fact, Whitley was one of the first people ever to make a long distance call in New York.

Milton Stier was born on April 20, 1917, and to commemorate his 100th birthday his family threw him a party at La Posada where they welcomed more than 80 guests to take part in celebrating Stier’s life. Stier has led an extremely interesting life, having studied engineering and worked for a company which made parts for machines used in the Norden bombsight, he has always been a mechanical man who enjoys using his hands to build things.

“During the course of my career, we relied on a device called a slide ruler, which is essentially a ruler inside of a ruler, to deliver mathematical calculations since we did not have computers back then,” said Stier. “Despite the lack of these technological inventions at that time in my life, I thoroughly enjoyed doing hands-on work, and this love for building and creating extended into my hobbies. I developed a passion and knack for making metal sculptures in my free time. When I retired and moved to La Posada 11 years ago, I decided to pick up stained glass making and now spend my time creating pieces of art for my family, like jewelry boxes with stained glass designs for my great-granddaughters. I’ll put little abstract birds or butterflies on them. ”

Stier says that the greatest achievements he has witnessed during his lifetime are the developments pertaining to technology. While he opts to only use a cell phone for calls, he is impressed that information from around the world is available to people at the touch of a fingertip. He recalls that computers were once so large they were contained in buildings, yet now people can wear them as a watch on their wrist. Stier feels that technology will be a great field for younger generations to make their mark upon and is excited at what his great-grandchildren will achieve. 

“While technology was the greatest advancement I witnessed, the zipper is one of my most favorite inventions,” said Stier. “As simple as it is, I was thrilled we could quit using buttons on everything, as the zipper was easier and aesthetically more pleasing on certain garments. When comparing the cost of living between my youth and the world right now, it is hard to believe that when I was first married I could go to the grocery store, spend one dollar and come out with two bags. Now, you can’t even get a cup of coffee for that price! Having lived to be 100 years old, people sometimes ask me about the secret to living a long life. For me, it was an amazing 68-year marriage to my wife, fulfillment in my family, traveling the world, building things and creating artwork. There’s nothing I wish that I would have done differently. I did everything I ever wanted, I alleviated stress as much as I could and I did things that made me happy. My advice to the younger generations is to make the best of life by doing what you enjoy the most – and for everyone that is different. If you want to try something, try it. Then you won’t have any regrets when you get older.”

Stier says that your thinking changes as you get older, that you learn to not let things bother you as much. He believes that people in general were more happy-go-lucky in his younger years and that life was simpler. They made their own toys, played marbles in the street and kicked the can down the road. It was a much less complicated time, and there were less drugs and crime. He feels lucky to have lived such an untroubled and content life and believes that everything worked out in a positive way for him. 

Esther Whitley was born on October 3, 1916, and to commemorate her 100th birthday her family rented out the dining room at the Hilton on Singer Island for a half day. She says it was an event to remember. Her goal for 2017 is to keep living independently, which she has done for the last ten years since moving into La Posada. During her free time she really enjoys walking and being outdoors, shopping with her family, reading novels and the daily paper, as well as sewing.

“During my lifetime I have been a part of many exciting milestones,” said Whitley. “Once when I was living in New York City, I was given the opportunity to be one of the first people to make a long-distance call. I phoned a friend in South Carolina from a woman’s house in New York. The development of the TV was also exciting to witness firsthand. After listening to shows on the radio for several years, my family and I delighted in seeing those shows brought to life on the black and white screen of the 10 inch television in our living room. We were all glued to our seats watching every update of man landing on the moon in July of 1969. While it was unbelievable to see all of those advances, today’s achievements are even more awe inspiring.”

While Stier’s favorite invention is the zipper, Whitley’s is penicillin. Doctors had just been granted permission to use the drug when her husband’s appendix ruptured. His doctor came out to say there was no hope, but then came back and said to wait a minute, that they had one chance because they had just received penicillin. They pumped him full, and it saved his life.

“The medical advances have been outstanding during my lifetime,” said Whitley. “When people ask me about the secret to a long life I tell them it’s important to maintain healthy habits like eating a lot of fruit and vegetables, keeping in touch with friends and family and doing what you love, which for me was traveling. My advice to the younger generations is to live each day like it is your last, don’t be afraid to reach for the stars and help someone with something every day in some way. If I could go back and tell my 20-year or 30-year old self something, I would advise myself to accept change with gratitude and always work at having a positive attitude."

Whitley has traveled extensively during her lifetime, visiting places like the Holy Land, the Great Wall of China, Ireland, Paris, Nova Scotia, Czech Republic and Hawaii. She has visited all but one of the 50 states in the U.S. After growing up on a farm in South Carolina, she was exposed to many amazing opportunities when she married her husband, who was commissioned to build battleships for the war efforts. His company and their dreams took them all over the world. She says that those memories will always be with her. When she lies down at night or sits and reflects on her life, she thinks of what a happy journey it has been, and says that those memories are really stimulating. She understands that not many people will have the same experiences, and she is very thankful for them.

“We wanted to start this club for residents because reaching the age of 100 years is a significant milestone,” said Brad Cadiere, executive director of La Posada. “We also felt that it would give them the opportunity to get better acquainted with fellow centenarians who are living at the senior living community. We plan to host two to three events a year so they can reminisce with each other and develop new friendships with their peers. It is a true delight hearing the wisdom and stories from the last 100-plus years.”

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Seniors living at La Posada, a premier life care community in Palm Beach Gardens, crave intellectual stimulation and seek ways to expand their minds each and every day. Thanks to the Jupiter Lifelong Learning Society, a group of La Posada residents participates in Lifelong Learning courses offered by Florida Atlantic University and proves that learning at any age is an important endeavor. After 15 years of taking courses, Ben and Ruth Nachbar and Harriet Schwarz all agree their favorite class is easily Professor Jeffrey Morton’s Foreign Affairs course, though they have dabbled in several other interesting subjects. La Posada also welcomes guest lecturers from Nova Southeastern University to the senior living community on the second Thursday of the month at 11:00 a.m. As the residents at La Posada broaden their own education, they encourage others to do the same.

“Professor Morton’s class is offered three times a day, once in the morning, midday and again in the evening,” said Ben. “On the first day that the course opens for registration, all three fill up. Each class holds 500 people, and to accommodate more people beyond the 500 there is an annex for those who registered too late. Ruth and I particularly enjoy this course because we find it so fascinating to know what is going on in other parts of the world. The lecture series is based on a syllabus created by the Foreign Policy Association, which is associated with Lifelong Learning programs all over the country. So far, the current course has covered Russia, Egypt, Haiti and South Africa. Professor Morton delivers an in-depth lecture on each country covering the history, economy, culture, politics and the challenges facing American Foreign Policy.”

“This course is eye-opening and shows us what is going on in the rest of the world,” said Ruth. “We feel better informed after attending a lecture, and could have never imagined some of the things we learned are really happening in the world. On the way home, we chat about the lecture, often commenting that it was better than the last, and we carry this information with us and bring it up when we visit with our neighbors at dinner or with our families. We also enjoy the current events discussions that are held at La Posada by a fellow resident, as well as the guest lecturers who visit on Thursdays. It is very fulfilling to stay current and absorb new information. Even though we are technically retired, we believe in continuing to participate in courses like this which expand our minds.”

In addition to the foreign affairs course, the Nachbars are enrolled in a course covering current Supreme Court issues. It is an eight-week series, but there are many one-time classes which you can enroll in during the day or evening. Other classes cover topics ranging from jazz groups, historical accounts, movies, literature, art and more. While professors lead a majority of the classes, well-known guests will make an appearance to share an experience, deliver a presentation or lead a discussion. Madeline Albright, the secretary of state for the Clinton administration, recently visited for a one-day course. Another fascinating class was led by an American, Alan Gross, who was held prisoner for five years in Cuba. He was freed when President Obama facilitated new relations with Cuba, and he spoke of his experience.

“There’s a course for everyone, as the Jupiter Lifelong Learning Society does an excellent job of ensuring that they are meeting the interests of those who enroll in the classes,” said Schwarz. “Currently, I am involved a political satire class, and I recently completed a class on comparative religion. I really enjoy the courses that cover movies, and it’s nice when the professors are able to interject some humor into their lesson plans. I have been a part of the Lifelong Learning courses since they were first established. I love the environment they have created – it’s a welcoming atmosphere in which everyone yearns for knowledge. The courses, lectures and educational opportunities add so much depth to my life; a very important dimension without which I would not be able to flourish the way I do in my retirement. I don’t know what I would do in my free time if I didn’t have access to these outlets which enable me to learn. I am a very structured person, so having the courses, bridge games and other social events on my calendar makes me feel purposeful and active.”

Schwarz delights in taking courses which are similar to what her grandchildren are taking at the universities they are enrolled in. In a previous semester, Schwarz found out that her granddaughter signed up for an archeology class, so she enrolled in a similar Lifelong Learning course so the two could compare notes about what they were learning in their respective classes. In addition to these courses, Schwarz also attends a current events discussion led by a fellow resident at La Posada, and she reads two different newspapers every morning so that she is knowledgeable with what’s going on in her city and the rest of the world. Schwarz spent much of her life serving as a mental health counselor and a school psychologist, so the courses are very important to her as they make her feel connected to the university and give her new purpose. 

“We are happy to provide opportunities for learning and engagement for residents living at La Posada,” said Brad Cadiere, executive director of La Posada. “We arrange for transportation to the coveted Foreign Affairs course, support the resident-led current affairs discussion group, and plan a variety of other educational and cultural experiences for residents to enjoy both at the community and off-site. Our guest lecturers from Nova Southeastern University also create exceptional learning opportunities for residents who cannot attend the Lifelong Learning courses. In addition to the lecturers, we recently welcomed three guest speakers as part of The Art of Living Well Speaker Series, including Carl Bernstein, Henry Winkler and Rick Steves. La Posada values presenting its residents and special guests with remarkable opportunities to learn, share experiences and enjoy incredible events. It is inspiring to see residents so dedicated to continuing their education and exposing themselves to thought provoking courses which enrich their lives.”