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Posted by Positive Aging Community on 04/15/2015

This Ones for the Boys

This Ones  for the Boys

They visit world-class museums. They attend sporting events. They hold discussion groups. They dine. They enjoy a few drinks. Most importantly, they bond.

They are the members of the Men’s Club at North Oaks, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Pikesville, Md. Managed by Life Care Services, the nation’s leading manager of full-service senior living communities, North Oaks is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

The Men’s Club is one of a wide variety of group activities available to residents at North Oaks. It is also a prime example of how the management and staff at the community approach resident activities—and why the community has been so popular for a quarter of a century.

“There’s a lot of freedom for residents at North Oaks to direct the entertainment and the programs that we offer,” explained Executive Director Mark Pressman. “Our job is to facilitate the activities that residents express an interest in. If they want it, and we can make it happen, we’re going to do that.”

That’s exactly what happened with the Men’s Club, which developed organically when some of the male residents expressed an interest in spending more time together. “We’re outnumbered by the women, of course,” Fritz Goldschmidt smiled as he noted. “We really need a way to stick together and have something to do. We like being together, and this time is very important to us all.”

The Men’s Club activities and outings are as diverse as the members themselves. The group has visited Washington, D.C. many times to take in the world-class museums. For instance, they recently toured the Library of Congress and enjoyed a special exhibit on the Civil War.

Other favorite outings include day trips to area sporting events. Not surprisingly, the group includes several Baltimore Orioles fans, and they have made the trip to Camden Yards for games during the past two seasons.

Closer to home, the Men’s Club enjoys dining at a variety of local restaurants. They also frequent several nearby bars.

For all of their trips, the Club takes advantage of one of North Oaks’ most popular amenities: the onsite transportation. The community bus takes the men to their various destinations and brings them back to the community, so they can focus on the experience instead of worrying about traffic or driving on unfamiliar roads.

Beyond their many trips, the Men’s Club also hosts biweekly discussion groups at the community. The group of approximately 16 men discusses topics ranging from international affairs to domestic politics to sports. “It’s a very lively discussion group. I think it’s great to be able to talk with a group of men about such diverse topics,” said Marty Waxman.

According to all of the members, one of the biggest perks of the Men’s Club is certainly the company. “It’s so nice to be together. It’s nice to get away and do different things too, but the most important thing is being together,” explained Sigmund Bloom.

Meet the Members

Meeting just a few of the Club’s most active members highlights the group’s dynamic spirit—and explains why they all make such great company.

Howard Cohen

A chemist, Howard Cohen has 12 patents and is the former Chairman of the American Chemical Society of Maryland. When Howard’s wife started to experience some medical problems, the couple decided to leave their long-time home and move to a community where they could both receive care for life.

“We found North Oaks so pleasant from day one. The Jewish atmosphere was exactly what we needed,” said Howard. “Even though my wife passed away five years ago, I quickly decided to stay, and I’m so happy here.”

Howard is now one of the community’s most prolific gardeners and raises a variety of vegetables and herbs on his small plot. His excess produce is donated to the community kitchen and served to his fellow residents.

Fritz Goldschmidt

Fritz Goldschmidt, a veteran of the motion picture industry, also moved to North Oaks because of his wife’s health needs. He has never looked back. The couple lived together in the community for four years before Ms. Goldschmidt passed away.

“After my wife was gone, I took my life in my own hands and started living alone,” said Fritz. “I’ve developed some great friendships, and I feel very much at home with all these guys; I feel like we have so much to do together.”

Sigmund Bloom

Sigmund (Sig) Bloom retired from his career as a Certified Public Accountant several years ago. He moved to North Oaks after his wife passed away, largely because of the convenient lifestyle the community offers.

“This type of community—the continuing care community—is so comfortable to live in,” said Sig. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s the only sensible kind of senior community to move to. I have been very comfortable here.”

Martin Waxman

When his wife was diagnosed with a progressive neurological condition, Martin (Marty) Waxman, a retired journalist, knew that continuing to live in their second floor condo would be dangerous. The couple began to consider their retirement options and quickly selected North Oaks.

Since moving, Marty’s wife’s condition has stabilized, but the couple is happy to know that additional care is available if she ever needs it. “We’re just very happy here,” he noted.

Herschel Polakoff

For Herschel Polakoff, North Oaks’ proximity to his large family made it the natural retirement choice. After running his own small business for more than 60 years, he was certainly ready to relax and enjoy his retirement.

“My children found this community because they didn’t want me to live alone after my wife passed away, but I couldn’t be happier,” explained Herschel. “There is always something to do here—really there’s more to do than you could ever want to do, and that is very good.”

One of the primary reasons that the Men’s Club members—and all the residents at North Oaks—are so happy at the community is the personalized care and attention they receive. Activities are always designed with resident interests in mind. Beyond the Men’s Club and other social groups, the community offers a wide range of fitness classes, lectures, courses and activities.

While the members of North Oaks’ Men’s Club enjoy a variety of activities at the community individually, it’s nice to have something they can share together. Whether they are discussing current events or touring a museum, the men thrive on the connections they are making with their peers. And they all know that this activity will always be just for the boys.

By Christy Brudin

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