Great Places to Walk in the O.C.

The Orange County Register  ran a great article about the Best Places for Walking in Orange County. I love that the author distinguishes between a walk, and a hike. A hike, for me, is  on more rugged trails. More remote, less houses and restaurants, more hills, rocks and brush. I like both walks and hikes, most of the time, in the area where I live, a nice long walk is easier to do. So, how do they explain the difference?
-“What’s the difference between a walk and a hike? We pondered this question to help narrow our list of the county’s best walks. A walk, we realized, tends to be within or adjacent to civilization, as opposed to being in the wilderness. Walks often involve paved, or at least well-groomed, pathways. You won’t need a backpack or hiking boots for a walk, though a hat, sunscreen, and a bottle of water are a good idea. And keep an eye out for critters and snakes, even in urban settings. Walks are local by nature. People outside the immediate area don’t tend to know about them—which is why we’re sharing 10 of O.C.’s best with you.”

I think they had some great choices, but one of my favorite walks isn’t on the list! Here in South Orange County, from Laguna Beach, down towards San Clemente, there are several paved and semi-paved trails which lead from local neighborhoods, some go through golf courses, and they each end up down at a beach.

One of my favorite walking paths actually starts in the Marina Hills neighborhood of Laguna Niguel, and meanders on through Dana Point to end up at Salt Creek Beach. You can get on or off the walking trail at several different entrance points, or walk the entire path. I will warn you that it’s mostly down hill heading towards the beach, which also means it’s mostly UPHILL heading back. When you have already walked a few miles to get to the beach, taken off your shoes and walked in the ocean, that uphill trek back home can wear you out. So be careful to save some energy for the trip back home.

Check here for details on this route: DETAILS and to see more about local walking trails: – See more at:”

Enjoy your walk!!

Aileen BrazeauAileen At Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day 2012


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Aileen Networking

As Co-Owner of San Clemente Villas part of my job is to be out in the community talking about our beautiful Villas by the Sea. We sponsor Chamber of Commerce mixers at San Clemente Villas, and whenever possible attend local charity and networking events. Back in July I attended a local business networking event. Not only was it enjoyable, I got to see some friends that I hadn’t seen for a while, and to top it off, I made some new friends. Networking is an important and enjoyable part of being a business owner!!

If you are invited to local events in your community, take the time to go. Clear a little space in your busy day and get out, meet new people, connect with old friends.


Aileen Brazeau

Supporting families, supprting Camp Pendleton Marines and Navy, Charities, Sponsor, giving, Aileen Brazeau in Action

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Children and Seniors


seniors and children Aileen Brazeau San Clemente Vilas

If you visit San Clemente Villas you will see children running through our hallways more often than not. We love to have our residents Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren come to visit. Their visits bring joy to their immediate family members and they also fill our halls with laughter and the energy that only the young have.

We do all sorts of outings and activities at the Villas, but seeing the same people day in and day out can sometimes get a little ho hum, visits from children do so much to change that feeling. There is nothing that compares to their smiles and delight at the little things. The icing on the cake is  visits from these sweet children will stir up memories for people. Memories that can be delightful and cause the residents to chat amongst themselves about bringing up their own children, and sometimes even reminiscing about their own childhoods.

There are some facilities which are now combining Senior Care and Day Care, and it is making a huge impact on the lives of both the children and the seniors.

I did some research, and actually came across an organization called SKIP. This organization has a mission to bring children and seniors together in order to enhance their lives. This coming together of children and seniors is beneficial to the elders, and sometimes it also makes a big difference in the life of children.

With so many parents working multiple jobs just to get by these days, sometimes the time a young child spends each week with a Seniors citizen is the only place that child gets unconditional love and attention, praise and the chance to feel truly special to someone. Because the seniors have already raised their own children, their time with these little visitors is more about fun than it is about discipline, so everyone gets to have fun.

Aileen Brazeau

Aileen At Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day 2012


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Fourth of July Celebrations

Aileen Brazeau co owner of san clemente villas

From the City of Dana Point

All of the South Orange County cities have great Fourth of July celebrations, but the one we love best is the annual celebration down at the Dana Point Harbor. Each year there are in fact Fireworks, but before the sun goes down, people have a little extra fun.

People get out into the harbor on any type of watercraft they have,from kayaks to row boats and jet skis, and they have waterguns. throughout the day people go up and down the harbor squirting each other, and those who moor their boats in the harbor bring their water guns out as well.

Locals and residents from communities further inland set up barbecues and picnics, while the children splashing the water at baby beach. It is a special day in our communities.

Paul and I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Fourth of July!!

Aileen Brazeau

Aileen At Del Mar Racetrack Opening Day 2012


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The Refreshing Beauty of Nature

The older I get, the more I’m drawn to the natural world. The sight of a bird in flight or the trees budding out in the spring just seemed to refresh something deep inside of me. If you’re like me, sometimes our lives just get so busy that we forget to connect to the beauty of an ordinary day. I try my best to make a point of looking for the wonders that are just outside my window, but sometimes I forget to give myself the time to appreciate all that nature has to hold.

The beauty of nature

Our elders need this connection. How many of your older loved ones enjoy feeding the wild birds or making sure the bird bath is filled. For those elders who have lost some of their mobility or are suffering from an illness, it’s harder to get out and be “refreshed.”

A friend of mine helped take care of his ailing grandmother. She was bedfast and couldn’t get outside where she loved to garden and watch the birds. He’s a thoughtful soul and bought her a new feeder for the birds that he placed just outside her bedroom window. She found immense pleasure in watching each little bird come right to her window. 

Perhaps more than anything, the feeling of the mist coming off the ocean makes me stop and behold how the beauty of this world is so amazing. I was born near it, so perhaps I have a special connection to it. But I really think most people find peace and wonder at the ocean’s side. 

I have special memories of the Pacific Ocean.  When I was very young, my parents would take me down to beaches near our Southern California home so I could look for shells and feel the sand beneath my feet. Back then, it wasn’t easy to get down to the beach. Many times my daddy would carry me down the narrow winding trails that came down from the jagged cliffs. 

I know you all have your own special memories of the ocean and other natural wonders. If you are a care giver, then I encourage you to make time for these natural connections. Find ways of sharing nature with your older loved one. You both will be refreshed and we all deal better with life’s ups and downs when we feed our souls.


Tips on Ways to Share Nature with Your Older Loved One –

  1. Take a trip to a botanical garden
  2. Place a bird feeder outside of the kitchen window
  3. Plan a picnic at a favorite park
  4. Have lunch at an outdoor restaurant
  5. Give them a photo album of family outdoor vacations
  6. Fill a pot with butterfly and humming bird favorites for their patio
  7. While visiting, go for a walk
  8. Bring them a bouquet of their favorite flowers
  9. Get a large print of one of their favorite outdoor places
  10. Take them on a boat tour of a harbor or lake

 By Karen Everett Watson – Gerontologist



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How Much Sleep do Seniors Need?

communications with seniorsI was told that as we age we need less sleep. I must tell you that the truth is this. As we age we sleep less, but that doesn’t mean we need less sleep. Yes, our bodies are no longer changing and growing like a teenager.  Well, okay, they are growing and changing, that is still true, just not in the same way a youngsters body is.

The National Institutes of Health has put forth the proposition that older adults need 7 to 9 hours sleep, just like everyone else.  The fact that as we age our sleep tends to get interrupted more frequently with trips to the restroom, and just less REM sleep overall.  Brain function can become impaired at any age when we don’t give our minds and bodies enough rest and exercise. So I think it’s important to do the following:

  1. Find a way to ease aches and pains before retiring for the night, perhaps a warm bath, or a cup of tea
  2. If you are prone to leg pain, find just the right type of pillow to place between your knees
  3. Get plenty of exercise during the day, it’s good for your brain and will help you to sleep better
  4. If your mind gets restless when you lie in bed, try soothing music as a background for your sleep
  5. Dance whenever you can. Even if it’s by yourself at home. Dancing releases endorphins, and music makes us happy, when we feel happy and relaxed we sleep better.
  6. If you get really sleepy in the middle of the day, don’t be afraid to take a short nap. There are some people who have more trouble sleeping when they get overtired.

So remember, no matter how old we are we need our sleep…


Aileen Brazeau



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What It’s Like To Be The Elder

treating elders with respectHere on this blog as well as most other blogs which deal with Senior Issues, the posts are more often about how to help your loved ones who are dealing with declining mental capacity. At San Clemente Villas, we do work with Seniors who are coping with cognitive issues, and after they have lived with us for a while and participated in our mental and physical activities, we see almost always see an increase in issues and memory function. Their mental clarity gets better, they engage more and life in general is better.

Most of our people do not have cognitive issues, they are very well able to think and make decisions for themselves. They may be suffering with some physical ailments, and have limitations on the amount and types of activities they can participate in, but mentally they are still right on it! It is painful to listen or watch situations where these intelligent and capable people are treated like children. They deserve to be respected, and they deserve to continue making decisions for themselves.

I came across an interesting post today at

” We’re not dead yet. Most of us aren’t even that out of it. There is a certain facial  expression many of us start seeing in our adult children around the time we hit 65. It involves a faint tilt of the head, accompanied by an intense, pained stare, not unlike that caused by a sudden gastro attack. I’ve named it the “uh-oh, she’s starting to lose it” look. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re either lucky or haven’t been paying enough attention (or are losing it). Nearly anything can bring it on: a mispronounced name, a forgotten date.

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Fashion for Women Over 70

Senior before and after, San Clemente Villas from St Louis Dispatch

Gone are the days when every woman over the age of 70 is required to cut their hair short and dye it a silvery blue color, complete with a curly perm. Gone also, are the old lady orthopedic shoes and the Grandma sweatshirts. So what should we wear instead? Some part of us wants to cling to the tradition while others would like nothing more than to throw on anything we used to wear happily.

If that’s how your Grandma or Mom is dressing, take them to your hair stylist, and go on a shopping trip, because they don’t have to look like a stereotypical old lady any more. A fresh, layered bob, a short and sassy shag, or a great pixie cut can bring any woman’s style into the 2000’s. And those old elastic waist pants need to go to. Instead opt for comfortable stretchy dark washed jeans in a straight leg style. Or some soft chinos in different colors. Just because a woman is aging it doesn’t mean she has to look old.

And while we are on the subject, how about some comfortable, but stylish walking shoes instead of those awful white pleather sneakers. I know that some of our elders are very frugal, but try to gently steer them in a more fashion conscious direction. Why? Because looking like you still have a fun and lively nature can change everything. Boosting her mood will be the first benefit, as how we see ourselves is one of the most important parts of fashion and aging. It will also make younger people less able to pigeon hole her as an old lady. Giving her some style back will make her feel more beautiful and confident, and when you feel more beautiful and confident, it’s easier to socialize as well as enjoy life a bit more.

Take a look at this slide show, Hairstyles for women over 70:



Forever young at heart and stylishly yours

Aileen Brazeau

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When is it time for assisted living?

Is maintaining a home getting to be too much? Are you or your loved one having trouble walking and dressing? Is your appetite not what it used to be? Maybe driving a car is no longer an option. Keeping your medications straight, how much to take and when, too hard to keep track of? Have many of your friends moved away or passed on?

creative art for seniors with dimentia



If more than two of these things are happening to you a loved one or a family member, then it could be time to give us a call. We would be happy to arrange a tour, and depending upon your interests, have you come at a time when a specific activity will be taking place.

We here at San Clemente Villas understand that Assisted Living might not be for everyone, but I just want to share something with you. Time and time again, children have come to us, distressed that their Mom, Dad, Aunt or Uncle is in decline. Once they come to stay with us, more often than not, their verbal skills improve dramatically. Their physical well-being is much better because they are eating better. Any signs of depression subside as they start to chat with the other residents, participate in activities, dance, sing, and swim or go on outings. The importance of socialization for any person cannot be stressed enough. In Seniors it can mean the difference between life and death.


Aileen Brazeau


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The True Reason for the Season

an Clemente Villas Aileen Brazeau

By Karen Everett Watson



If you’re like me, every year you fret and worry about finding the right gifts for those you love. There’s food to cook, presents to wrap and oh that shopping! I’m so glad I can find most gifts with my good old computer. But when I recall the best Christmases I’ve had, it’s not the material things I remember. It’s not the food. It’s not the decorations. It’s the love that was shared, the sacrifices that were made and the true blessing of spending time with those I love.

I know it is altogether fitting that the world should set aside a day to remember the ultimate love that was shared by our Creator. When I look around at the beauty of nature, the smiles of my Grandkids and the wild birds that serenade me each night, I wonder just why He gave the ultimate sacrifice of His Son. With that love in mind, I try to focus on the giving of myself to those around me. My aim this year to remember that focus each and every day of the year.

I think about my parents and how meager the gifts were that they received on their own childhood Christmases, yet they remember them with fond memories. Like Grandpa Walton who tells of finding an orange in his stocking and feeling like the riches child on earth, it’s simple things that really bring us joy, not the expensive items touted on television, but the gift of love and caring.

My fondest memories from my own childhood are remembering how Daddy would always read to me about the birth of Christ and “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”  Momma would make sure to have baked cookies for me to set out for Santa. I’d hang my stocking and dream of Christmas morning. Some years were tough, especially when I was in my “tweens.” But my parents always made it special. When I was 11, my Daddy bought me a second-hand bike. He worked it over putting new tires on it. He painted it and it looked almost brand new. The year I turned 12, again, I got a bike. Yep, it was the same one, only painted a different color with an added basket on the handle bars. I wouldn’t have traded that bike for any in the whole world.

So, I won’t be spending a lot of money this year. I will share the things I love, especially with my grandchildren. I did buy them some books that I loved when I was young. All of them are classics that brought me such joy. I will encourage them to always trust God, to appreciate the world He created and to have a giving nature to all people who come their way. Giving is the secret to happiness – along with being grateful for everything we have.

So, my wish for you and everyone in this world is to appreciate each other, the gifts God has given – it is the true reason for the season. Just imagine, it started with one small baby born thousands of years ago.



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