Senior Village at SaddleBrooke – Neighbors helping Neighbors

Elf volunteer Sally Teusch loads her sleigh for holiday basket delivery.

Recipe for Holiday Baskets of Love

Barbara Barr

Each year, the Senior Village at SaddleBrooke volunteers assemble holiday baskets for members who are not able to get out. This is the recipe for making this the most wonderful time of the year:


1 Holiday House to store baskets and gifts galore

1 Paper Crafters Club to make greeting cards

12 Bakers lovingly mixing up sweet holiday treats

4 Basket assemblers wrapping up the holiday gifts of love

4 Delivery drivers, so lively and quick

2 Photographers to capture precious moments

1 Journalist, so it goes down in history


Pre-treat all ingredients with neighborly love and holiday cheer. Begin collecting baskets and holiday gifts items for months before the holidays. Assemble the Paper Crafter Club artists to cut, paste, and create holiday cards. Add bakers, sugar, spice, and everything delicious to cook up holiday treats. Combine with a basket assembly party until artistically mixed into 25 separate baskets. Carefully disperse the holiday baskets to SaddleBrooke homes with caring delivery drivers. You can tell when the baskets are done by observing the joy on the face of the recipients. Capture the precious moments on camera and add a journalist’s touch to be sure this goes down in history!

If you would like to be a member of Senior Village, call 520-314-1042. Annual dues are $60 for a single and $96 for a household. To register as a volunteer, go online to Donations may be sent to the 501(c)(3) Senior Village at P.O. Box 8584, Tucson, AZ 85738.

Home Automation Team volunteer Bill Lunquist explains the Alexa App to Julie Brown.

Do You Live in the Twentieth Century?

Melanie Einbund

Don’t let the word “automation” scare you off. Defined as the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically, automation is a word that often causes pause and anticipation. As it relates to those of us over 50, it can be a new and strange world.

A conversation with Sue Knowlton, Senior Village Home Automation Team leader, presents this phenomenon in a different light. In Sue’s words:

“The Home Automation Team is dedicated to helping our members embrace home automation technology and discover its usefulness in their lives. We start by helping members determine which devices are appropriate and assist them with the ordering process. We then install the devices and take the time to demonstrate how to use them in everyday life. We strive to demystify home automation and help members be more comfortable with a ‘smart’ home.

“Here are the typical tasks offered by this team:

• Visit members to assess their readiness for smart devices and home automation.

• Advise members on their purchase of home automation devices.

• Help members install home automation devices such as Echo devices, doorbells, smart plugs, smart bulbs, door locks, and temperature controls.

• Provide members with written documentation on how to use their smart devices.

•Schedule home automation seminars for SaddleBrooke residents to discuss the functionality of Alexa-type devices and other home automation devices.

“Our team recognizes the challenge involved with implementing technology in our community. We believe everyone can benefit from an automated home. Please join us this spring at our home automation seminar where we will introduce and demonstrate the home automation devices available to everyone.”

Senior Village Home Automation volunteers Bill Lunquist and Chuck Best enjoy fixing things and the satisfaction of a successful result.

Recently, Chuck set up a new TV for channels and streaming. One thing both men suggest is that members requesting help have their services available and know their user IDs and passwords. This is especially important if the device has been linked before. Internet is required, so make sure it is up and running. If not, ask the team for help.

Julie Brown was very satisfied with Bill’s work on her Alexa. She feels confident that she can get help when needed. She can input her appointments, grocery list, add large amounts of numbers easily, and even say, “Hey, Alexa, call my daughter.”

Smart devices are here to stay. Be bold; learn about Alexa and Echo and how voice commands can make your life easier, safer, and even add more fun, like with music on demand. Call Senior Village at 520-314-1042 for more information.

Volunteering Is a Win/Win Strategy

Andrea Molberg, Ph.D., Consulting Psychologist

Looking for a wonderful start to the new year? Help others and yourself by being a Senior Village volunteer! Not only does serving make a real difference for communities, it also makes those who volunteer feel good. Volunteering can even improve your health and help you live longer.

Research clearly shows two major factors affect happiness: 1.) good relationships and 2.) meaningful work—either paid or unpaid. Volunteering offers both. Volunteering connects us, builds friendships, and helps the volunteer (as well as the recipient) feel less lonely and isolated. In addition, being of service provides purpose and self-worth. It simply feels good to be needed, competent, and keeping our skills and abilities from going to waste.

The social, emotional, and physical benefits of volunteering are well documented. Because helping others distracts us from life’s daily stressors, the implications can be both immediate and enduring. Proven benefits for volunteering include better brain function and lower risk for depression and anxiety, plus an improved immune system. Evidence keeps growing that people who regularly give of themselves to others get rewarded with lower blood pressure and increased longevity. People who volunteer over 100 hours a year are reportedly some of the healthiest Americans.

Researchers also have found that those who consistently volunteer lower their risk for dementia. People who routinely did volunteer work for at least an hour a week were 2.44 times less likely to develop dementia than the seniors who didn’t volunteer. When we volunteer, we’re engaged and less sedentary, and that positively affects the aging brain.

Wondering how you can help? Among other things, you could install lockboxes, bring audiobooks, return phone calls, create and deliver holiday baskets, get shots in arms, stuff newsletters, provide a much-needed ride to the doctor, or help members learn about post-SaddleBrooke options. Whether you climb a ladder to hang a mirror, brighten someone’s day with a visit, or help with confusing financial paperwork, volunteering will benefit you at the same time it does the neighbor you support.

Amazingly, when investing time and energy to be of help, you help yourself in the process. Some of us volunteer to get out of the house, some out of kindness, some because we realize we will be needing assistance ourselves down the road, and some just because it’s fun. A 2012 study found that one key for experiencing the health benefits of volunteering is a sincere desire to help.

Fill a need and everybody wins, so volunteer. You could end up living longer and happier. To become a Senior Village volunteer or member, phone 520-314-1042.