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4 days ago · Parkside Art Gallery in Charter House

Join us in our Parkside Gallery for the art exhibit opening of local artists Ann M. Riggott, Y. Catherine Park, and H. Peter Park! The exhibit East Meets West will feature a mixture of traditional realism, asian brush painting, and calligraphy. Enjoy this free event located at Charter House – Mayo Clinic Retirement Living with wine, hors d’oeuvres, a gallery talk, and music provide by e-Cello Trio.

4 days ago · Right-Size Your Home in Charter House

Right-size Your Home

The Difficulty of Downsizing.

Do you cringe whenever you hear the word “downsize?”  If so, you’re not alone!  We often hear from our incoming Charter House residents that the downsizing process was the most difficult aspect of moving.

We have an emotional connection to our belongings for several reasons.  Maybe we have family heirlooms that have been handed down from generation to generation.  Or maybe we have items that remind us of special life events such as the birth of a child.  Some of us have prized collections that took years to accumulate.  Our treasures can feel as if they hold a lifetime of sentiment and it can be emotionally challenging to part with them.

We downsize for various reasons.  Are you moving into a home with half the space as your current home?  Maybe you’re moving into a senior community.  Or maybe you’ve just determined that you have too much “stuff” and no longer want to feel burdened.  Whatever the reason, start early and have a strategy.  You don’t have to wait until you’re moving into a senior community to downsize and purge items you no longer need or use!

In this post, we’ll provide you with personal experiences from our current and incoming Charter House residents.  You’ll also find a list of tips and strategies we’ve created that you may find helpful in your own “right-sizing” journey.

Downsizing Experience. Words From Our Residents.

“While downsizing, we asked ourselves for each item ‘do we need this,’ or ‘can we live without this?’ This was a great strategy for us because we realized how many things we would no longer need after living at Charter House.  This included tools, cleaning supplies, fitness equipment, and our large dining table.” – Amita H.

“Some people have lived in a house their entire lives and are surrounded by family antiques and have a difficult time separating. I think it can be hard on those who have workshops, offices, and craft rooms.  When they move from their homes, they feel a loss of personal space.” – Norma S.

“When leaving my home of 30 years, I started by giving my kids what they wanted.  Then I hired an auctioneer to sell my valuable items.  The rest I gave away to my church. In the end, our children will get rid of what we don’t, so this makes it easier for them.” – William J.

“I had difficulty parting from my coin collection and antique collection.  I have always been interested in these and have spent the better part of my life collecting them.  I was able to sell a portion of my collections, but the rest didn’t sell.  Even though my collections were meaningful to me, it didn’t mean they were meaningful to others.” – Ron T.

“I think we put off downsizing because we don’t want to face it, but it won’t get easier as we age.  It was time consuming, but I now feel a sense of freedom that I’m no longer tied down by my stuff!” – Rebecca C.

“It was a difficult realization that my children either didn’t want, didn’t need, or couldn’t take items I had always planned on gifting to them.  My daughter’s house is already fully-furnished and my son lives in a small apartment in Chicago and doesn’t have room for anything else.  Though my kids didn’t take many items, they took small mementos which made me very happy.” – Shirley A.

Tips and Strategies.

  • Start Early
    Take the time you need to go through your items mindfully rather than scrambling to go through them at the last minute before your move.
  • Know the dimensions of your new space
    This is an excellent way not only to determine how much you can bring, but to pre-arrange your furniture.  This will come in useful on move-in day.
  • Determine Your Items’ Actual Usage – Bring Only the Essentials
    Ask yourself these key questions for each item you plan to bring: What value will it add to my household? Will it make my life easier? Will I have a place for it? Will I want to keep it for a very long time? How difficult will it be to get rid of?
  • Categorize
    After you’ve answered these key questions, categorize items into keep, sell, donate, or recycle/toss.  You can sell items through a neighborhood app or social media.  You can bring items to consignment shops and antique stores.  If you have a large-scale downsize consider having an estate sale or an auction.
  • Enlist the Help of Others
    Whether it is from family, friends, or neighbors, it can be helpful to have someone put items in the categories above after you’ve gone through them.
  • Get Digital
    You can eliminate several items by going digital. Instead of requiring space for hundreds of books, consider using an e-reader.  If you have photo albums, you can scan your hard copy photos so you have them in digital format. You can keep your music on your computer rather than hard copy CD’s that require storing.

Read this post by Dr. Melanie Chandler for additional tips!

Have you ever downsized?  If so, what worked what didn’t?  What advice would you give to others?

Mon, Jul 1 4:23pm · Sidewalk Sale in Charter House

Join us Friday, July 12th from 10:00am-2:00pm for the Charter House annual Sidewalk Sale! Find unique treasures at great prices while giving back to the Rochester community. Items for sale will include furniture, appliances, books, plants, jewelry, clothing, and much more! All proceeds will be donated to the local nonprofits: Family Promise, Hawthorne Helps, Women’s Shelter & Support Center, and Thrive Child Care & Family Resource Center.

Mon, Jul 1 11:36am · Parkside Art Gallery in Charter House

Join us in our Parkside Gallery for the art exhibit opening of local artists Barbara Campbell and Craig Challgren! The exhibit, Look. SEE… and the colors dance, will be a mixture of fabric art and digital photography. Enjoy this free event located at Charter House – Mayo Clinic Retirement Living with wine, hors d’oeuvres, a gallery talk, and music provide by the CBB Jazz Combo.

Mon, Jul 1 8:00am · Cognitive Workout in Charter House

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As we age, we tend to fall into familiar patterns and routines that are not helpful for our brain. The most impactful benefit comes when you engage in a variety of activities each day that stimulate and challenge different parts of your brain. Your brain is challenged when you move outside your comfort zone. Engage in the arts or taking dance lessons. Exercise your memory and thinking skills by learning a new language; teach yourself a new word everyday, then use it!

We hear a lot about brain games these days. Most experts agree the key to strengthening your brain is to choose games you enjoy that are novel and provide you with a moderate to high level of challenge. Find games that continually test your abilities, so as you get better the games get harder. Select games that require concentration and a quick response. If you love crossword puzzles and Sudoku, choose those that get more and more challenging. Better yet, give yourself a time limit and try to beat it each time you play.

Expert Insight

“Maintaining healthy habits is central to preserving your health. Unfortunately, it is common to drift away from healthy habits in retirement. These changes happen in small degrees and may be related to stressors that fundamentally impact your physical and cognitive health. It is vital to place a priority on self-care strategies such as being physically active, engaging in pleasurable activities, and eating nourishing foods. Focus on making changes in your life that provide deeper benefits to your health. Incorporate a wide spectrum of healthy lifestyle choices into your daily life to manage your stress, improve your health, and maintain your cognitive capabilities. Then you can focus on living your life consistent with your values and engage in activities that bring you joy.” – Karen Grothe, Ph.D., L.P., Associate Professor of Psychology and Co-Chair, Division of Consultation, Department of Psychiatry & Psychology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.


Do you speak more than 1 language? What activities do you engage in that stimulate your brain?

Sat, Jun 1 8:00am · Creativity: The More You Use, The More You Have in Charter House


Start the summer off with creativity and promote healthy aging! There is a growing body of research exploring the relationship between aging and creativity. Creativity influences your mind and body. It fosters communication and expression that is both healing and embraces the wholeness inherent in each of us. Creative activities provide you with opportunities to heal and continue to grow.

Expert Insight

“Experiencing the arts has the added benefit of stimulating your brain centers and impacting your cognitive functioning. When you are moved by a  performance, your limbic system is stimulated. Your temporal lobe is engaged when listening or watching a performance that arouses your emotions. When you explore the visual arts, you process what you see through many different parts of your brain. When you dance, your motor cortex is stimulated. Each experience in appreciating or participating in a wide range of the arts can improve your attention and concentration. Enjoying a rich tapestry of any kind of artist endeavor connects you with your own humanity!” – Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Take Action Now

  • Create Something. Learn a new skill by taking a Community Education class or a L.I.F.E. course.
  • Discover Local Creativity. Visit the art exhibits in the Parkside Gallery at Charter House or explore art and healing by vising the Mayo Clinic Center for Humanities page.
  • Learn a Musical Instrument. Not only is learning how to play a musical instrument fun, but it is a culturally enriching activity. If you already know how to play an instrument, learn a different one.


What do you do to express your creativity?  What would you like to try?

Wed, May 1 8:00am · Protect Your Hearing in Charter House

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May 31st is National Save Your Hearing Day.  This serves as a great reminder of the importance of our hearing.  Use it as an opportunity to learn about risk factors along with the steps you can take to protect your hearing.

Hearing loss can occur from damage to the inner ear, infection, a ruptured eardrum, and even earwax build up.  Risk factors include age, heredity, exposure to noise, and illness.

Symptoms can include hearing muffled sounds along with an inability to block out background noise.  You may find yourself asking others to repeat themselves or turning up the volume on your phone, TV, or radio.  Some of those with advanced hearing loss withdrawal from social situations as communication becomes too difficult, which can result in isolation.

Mayo Clinic provides us with the following steps that can prevent noise-induced hearing loss and avoid worsening of age-related hearing loss:

  • Protect your ears. Limiting the duration and intensity of your exposure to noise is the best protection. In the workplace, plastic earplugs or glycerin-filled earmuffs can help protect your ears from damaging noise.
  • Have your hearing tested. Consider regular hearing tests if you work in a noisy environment. If you’ve lost some hearing, you can take steps to prevent further loss.
  • Avoid recreational risks. Activities such as riding a snowmobile, hunting, using power tools or listening to rock concerts can damage your hearing over time. Wearing hearing protectors or taking breaks from the noise can protect your ears. Turning down the music volume is helpful too.

If hearing loss is affecting your everyday life, it may be time to reach out to your doctor to learn about your options.  Visit Mayo Clinic’s hearing loss page to learn more.

Do you have hearing loss?  If so, join the discussion with Mayo Connect’s hearing loss group.

Mon, Apr 29 1:00pm · Eat Smart: Try A New Food in Charter House

Yes! Gradual, subtle changes are best.