Best year ever

Four ways to keep your New Year’s resolutions at Seabrook

Created date

December 23rd, 2019
(From left) Tom and Maureen Sullivan and Marilyn Runyon enjoy happy hour in Seabrook’s Village Square Clubhouse before dinner. It’s one of many opportunities to socialize without having to set foot outside in the cold.

(From left) Tom and Maureen Sullivan and Marilyn Runyon enjoy happy hour in Seabrook’s Village Square Clubhouse before dinner. It’s one of many opportunities to socialize without having to set foot outside in the cold. 

A whole New Year stretches out before us filled with promise. Think back over your lifetime to the intentions you’ve set at the beginning of each New Year. Even if you’re not one to declaratively set an official New Year’s resolution, chances are, you’ve noticed the shift in energy each New Year brings. 

As we get older, our intentions or resolutions may morph in nature—from “lose weight” or “start a new business” in our formative years to “spend more time with my grandkids” or “volunteer at my favorite charity” in retirement.

The Tribune visited Seabrook, an Erickson Living-managed community in Tinton Falls, N.J., where residents embrace an active lifestyle, to find out what they envision for this New Year. We discovered that the top four New Year’s resolutions include: embrace technology, develop an exercise routine, socialize more, and spend more quality time with grandkids.

We also asked residents if and how they’re able to achieve these resolutions while living at Seabrook. Here’s what we found:

1. Embrace technology 

Seabrook empowers its residents to utilize technology to improve their daily experience. While about two-thirds of Seabrook’s residents are tech-savvy, the community provides free IT support, a community app called My Erickson, and other resources to help those who want to learn more with the resources they need.

One exciting way community members can expand their technological horizons is to volunteer in the on-campus TV studio. From the set to the technology running the studio, this unique amenity is equipped for professional-quality productions.

“What they get out of this small studio is just amazing. Some of the interviews are as fine as any professional interviews I’ve seen on TV,” says Ruth Lebo, who began volunteering there in 2015.

Residents can operate the cameras, take on-camera rolls, or brainstorm new show ideas with TV Lead Coordinator Travis Tanay.

The studio, which received a renovation in 2016, includes a streamlined, professional set with a green screen and interchangeable 10–foot vinyl background panels, or “skins”; two 50-inch side-by-side monitors; and a tape-free, all-digital environment.

“The TV studio is only one of many things at Seabrook I’ve found that are so great. I came in here cold, and I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been the most amazing ride,” says Ruth, who, along with three neighbors, produces a monthly film festival in Seabrook’s auditorium.

“Seabrook is truly, truly an experience,” says Ruth. “You have no idea the time of life and the quality of life that can be had here. Moving here woke me up. I’m just so proud of who I am because I’m here.”

2. Develop an exercise routine

A common theme we hear when talking to people who live at Seabrook about their health and well-being is that they’re often more physically active since moving there than they have been in years. Seabrook’s on-campus fitness center, aquatics center, and variety of group fitness classes provide regular opportunities for people to get and stay fit. 

Community members can take tai chi, qigong, chair yoga, or chair Pilates from a calendar of on-site weekly wellness classes. They can also participate in aqua aerobics and strength training; meditation; and Ageless Grace, a chair-based class designed to exercise the body and mind. 

And that’s just the low-impact portion of the fitness and wellness calendar, which also includes ballroom and square dancing, Zumba, Stretch and Tone, seated aerobics, advanced circuit, and others.

If you prefer a more individualized approach, Seabrook’s fitness center provides specialized age-appropriate machines, free weights, and personal training.

3. Socialize more 

Socialization is one aspect of a healthy life that often is overlooked as we get older. Many seniors report feeling isolated in their big houses. Their neighborhood has changed, children have moved out, and driving becomes less appealing. 

That’s what happened for Tom and Maureen Sullivan, who moved to Seabrook from Village Grande, a 55-plus community of about 100 homes in Holmdel. “People were getting less involved, and because it’s small, new people didn’t move in frequently,” Maureen says. 

When they moved to Seabrook, they discovered, “There are so many people you can meet and opportunities to get involved,” Maureen says. 

Community members can participate in 120 interest groups and clubs, including music groups, craft groups, religious groups, continuing education classes, sports and hobby clubs, the woodshop, billiards, and many more. 

For something less structured, they can simply walk down to happy hour to visit with neighbors before dinner. 

At dinner, friends can dine together, or the host can seat a single or couple with other singles or couples if they choose, providing the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.

Just three months after moving into their new home, both Maureen and Tom had joined a handful of activities—some they do together, some they do individually. 

And they never have to go outside in winter to take advantage of all Seabrook has to offer. Climate-controlled walkways connect every building, and the community’s two clubhouses provide amenities like a medical center, fitness and aquatics center, convenience store, restaurants, and game and activity rooms. 

Seabrook’s design enables social interaction and empowers residents to stay active and more independent. 

4. Spend more quality time with family

Another way to stay young at heart is to spend quality time with those who are actually young in age. But when your schedule fills up with household chores, appointments with repair people, and other homeowner headaches, there isn’t much time left for the fun stuff. 

Tina Ellis recognized the need for less upkeep and more personal time. And she was tired of the stairs in her home—especially when she babysat her nephew’s two children who were six and three at the time. 

She saw the benefits of a maintenance-free community like Seabrook and moved into a one-bedroom, one-bath Fremont-style apartment home in May 2017. Closer to her nephew’s family than she was before, and with almost no home responsibilities, she was able to spend more time with her grandniece and nephew before they both went off to school full time. “It keeps you young and active. I never married, so I really enjoy them,” Tina says.

She also really enjoys her Fremont apartment. “It’s just the right size to keep clean. If you have a problem, somebody will take care of it for you. It’s so easy. There are no worries.”