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Older and Wiser

by Michelle Spevak
South Jersey’s 55-plus set is living better than ever before.

Fifty-five just doesn’t look like it used to. As Baby Boomers approach retirement age, many are considering extending their working years, while others are looking for a retirement lifestyle that far exceeds that of their fixed-income forebears. Older adults are getting involved in their communities, embracing the arts and seeking out the best possible care to ensure they look as great as they feel. Here, check out what our community has to offer, and how it can transform your life past age 55.

Ready to Retire
There’s no doubt that the word “retirement” is causing increased ambivalence among South Jersey’s aging Baby Boomers. People are working longer for two reasons: some found their retirement accounts depleted by the economic crisis, while others are simply responding to longer life expectancies.

For older individuals looking to whip their retirement accounts into shape, Earl Marks, senior vice president and Mount Laurel branch director at RBC Wealth Management, says that they’ll need to control spending, put away more money each month and invest in fixed income rather than equity investments. “The fixed income markets presumably would produce less risk,” Marks notes.

Get Connected
Getting older certainly has its perks. For one thing, there’s no shortage of events, trips and activities for adults 55 and over in the South Jersey area. The Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, for example, accommodates its 2,000 members aged 55 and older with a broad variety of offerings. “The Baby Boomer generation is so huge and vocal and … they have more disposable income and are more interested in continuing their education,” says Marcy Lahav, director of adult services. So, the JCC offers programs through the Saltzman Foundation Life Long Learning Institute; and, their facilities also boast a recreation area for members to stay fit and active. They even offer Kosher meals for $1.50 five days a week, providing older adults with nutritious meals in a social setting.

Explore the Arts
A 2006 study at the Center on Aging Health and Humanities at George Washington University Medical Center found that seniors who participate in the arts showed diminished vision problems, suffered fewer falls and enjoyed overall better health.

Based on such findings, Discover Jersey Arts has made an effort to reach out to older audiences who could benefit by becoming connected to the arts. “Our goal is to increase the awareness of and increase the participation through the arts in South Jersey,” says program director Jim Atkinson. Currently, the organization’s website partners with more than 200 nonprofit groups statewide. Visitors to the site can find out about the upcoming arts and cultural events both locally and statewide, including visual art, music, theater and dance.

Keep Smiling
Aging adults are increasingly health conscious—but they don’t always remember the importance of ongoing dental care. Neglect can cause a world of issues in older individuals. Voorhees’ Dr. Alan Meltzer stresses this to his older patients. “Be a little more observant for bleeding gums and sore spots … areas where your gums are receding.

They are all potential areas of disease,” says Meltzer. Such infections have been connected to diseases such as diabetes, and have in some cases caused heart disease or stroke. Women need to be especially vigilant during menopause, keeping an eye out for soft tissue problems. Thorough oral cancer evaluations and general soft tissue exams are good ways to help maintain your dental health. Most of Meltzer’s older patients get checkups every two to three months, “because as we get older,” he says, “decay becomes less of a problem and periodontal disease, gum and bone disease becomes more of an issue.”

Skin Deep
Skin cancer is a problem that can affect people at any age, but it’s especially common among those 55 and older. That’s because the damage done in your 20s starts to become visible later in life, according to Dr. Sandra Elder of Aesthetic Dermatology in Marlton.

“A lot of people in that age group have precancerous lesions and skin cancers,” notes Elder. To help avoid further damage and, in extreme cases, potentially fatal outcomes, Elder recommends routine baseline checks. Keep an eye out for new spots or areas that are itchy or bleeding, or moles that have changed. If problems persist past a few weeks, medical attention should be sought. With summer approaching, Elder also advises her patients to apply plenty of sunscreen, and to keep out of the sun during the peak hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Back On Track
As people age, it’s not uncommon for them to miss a step or take a fall. The right care is vital to getting people back on their feet after injury or surgery. “Many patients require an acute inpatient rehab stay following their hospital admission, surgery or neurological insult,” says Ken Turley, outpatient therapy manager and physical therapist at the Marlton Rehabilitation Hospital in Marlton. Because the body of a 55-year-old heals differently than that of a 20-year-old, physical or occupational therapy may be necessary, and there are several options for care. “Patients may benefit from use of our 94-degree heated pool in conjunction with their land-based therapy if pain or weight-bearing limitations are present,” says Turley.

Today, aging is about engaging with your community, while taking care of your finances and yourself. That, say local professionals, is what the so-called new 55 is all about.

The New 55: People and places to make you look and feel your best

A Special Advertising Section from the pages of South Jersey Magazine

21st Century Oncology
21st Century Oncology is a leading provider of radiation therapy in the county. With four locations to serve you in South Jersey, they offer state-of-the-art technology in a personalized setting. Dr. Alexis Harvey, who has been named a “Top Doc,” serves as the New Jersey region’s Medical Director. 21st Century Oncology—superior cancer care, close to home.
Woodbury | Voorhees | Willingboro | Hammonton
1 (888) 21st-ONC

Advantage Audiology
Advantage Audiology, Mount Laurel and Washington Township, provides hearing assessments, balance screenings, ENG testing and hearing aids. Audiology services performed by doctors of audiology. Call to schedule a free hearing screening.
Sewell | 1 (866) 841-1777

Alan M. Meltzer, D.M.D. M.Sc. D
Dr. Meltzer is a world-renowned dentist who practices and lives right here in South Jersey! People from all over the Delaware Valley and elsewhere travel to Dr. Meltzer’s office due to his outstanding reputation. He has been a guest lecturer on periodontology and dental implant procedures on six continents.
Voorhees | (856) 772-9444

Appearance Dermatology
In practice for over 22 years, Dr. Toome and her staff provide all aspects of dermatology from medical to cosmetic. Allow them to treat your health, inside and out. Call now for an appointment in Marlton, Vineland or Egg Harbor Township.
Marlton | Egg Harbor Township | 1 (888) 7DR-SKIN

Aesthetic Dermatology
Aesthetic Dermatology offers the latest in cosmetic dermatology as well as adult and pediatric general dermatology. With 18 years of experience, Dr. Sandra Elder uses Botox, Sculptra, fillers and lasers to restore a natural, youthful appearance to women and men concerned with aging. Microdermabrasion, peels and medical facials are available as well as personalized skin care programs.
Marlton | (856) 596-3393

Bob Meyer Communities, Wyngate at Medford
Wyngate at Medford, an active adult community: featuring beautiful custom homes, resort-style amenities, an excellent location and a quality builder you can trust for over 40 years.
Medford | (609) 654-4030

Discover Jersey Arts | ArtPride New Jersey Foundation
You don’t have to look far to find the best in arts and entertainment! Check out the calendar of upcoming performances and exhibitions, browse the arts directory, get exclusive member discounts, and catch up on the latest news and behind-the-scenes interviews from New Jersey’s arts scene on the Culture Vultures Blog … all at
1 (800) 843-2787

Esposito Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
Know the patient not the disease. Early detection and diagnosis of oral diseases and how they relate to overall wellbeing plays a key role in maintaining health. Periodontal problems have been linked to heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, stroke and respiratory problems. Today’s health care providers must understand the entire picture, and not just see the problem but rather the patient.
Medford | (609) 654 0029

Marlton Rehabilitation Hospital
Since May is stroke awareness month, Marlton Rehabilitation, the region’s leading provider of stroke rehabilitation, wants to let you know about the warning signs of stroke. These include sudden weakness or numbness of face, arm or leg; confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; trouble seeing out of one or both eyes; trouble walking; dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; and severe or unusual headaches. If you experience any of these warning signs or observe them in someone else, call 911 immediately.
Marlton | 1 (800) 988-9828

MediLink is proud to be the trusted home infusion provider of South Jersey’s Top Docs. Physicians are assured their patients are in the very best hands. MediLink has consistently earned a 98 percent patient satisfaction rating! The MediLink Intake team can be reached directly at the number below.
Hammonton | (609) 568-2345

MetLife Home Loans
Paul Dilks
Reverse Mortgage Consultant
Marlton | (856) 294-7078

RBC Wealth Management
While saving for college sounds difficult, many families conquer college financing. However, it’s retirement that is often ignored after college has been paid for. Being prudent about both saving and spending are key to a secure financial future. A variety of fixed income products are good strategies to help you start a systematic savings habit.
Mount Laurel | (856) 840-6640

South Shore Plastic Surgery
Patients are often surprised to learn that there are numerous options that often do not involve surgery. Injectable fillers (such as Sculptra), Botox and facial laser resurfacing can achieve some amazing natural results without surgery.
Voorhees | (856) 784-2639

The Weston Club
Marlton | (856) 988-7575

VITAS Innovative Hospice Care® of New Jersey West
Brings hospice care home, providing support to patients and their families. VITAS provides care regardless of your ability to pay. Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance cover 100 percent of hospice care.
Mount Laurel | (856) 778-0222

Woodbury Spine
Woodbury Spine has been voted “Top Doc” for pain and spinal care, Dr. O’Brien and Dr. Zhou offer a personalized approach and the latest techniques to alleviate pain and increase your quality of life.
Woodbury | (856) 845-0707

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 2 (May, 2011).
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