Wouldn’t it be glorious to travel back in time and speak to the younger version of ourselves in order to warn of the dangers to our physical bodies associated with bad habits, and also to reinforce the importance of good habits? Unfortunately, a time machine has not been invented yet, so lessening the impact of our past choices, while making healthy choices now, is the best option available.
The first step to creating healthy habits is to understand how the body is impacted as it ages. It is natural for the following body parts to decline as we age:
There are steps that can be taken in order to minimize the long-term impact on each of these parts of the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, the following steps are suggested:
Staying active and making positive lifestyle changes are the keys to living a long and healthy life, according to the National Institute on Aging. While we can’t travel back in time to make better choices, we can make conscious decisions to maintain our health and not further damage our physical bodies.
One thing that experts agree on is that a healthy diet that includes moderate exercise is imperative in order to live a longer and healthier life. Following these suggested tips reduces risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes, and other health issues. At MorningSide of College Park, there are various physical and educational activities each month such as Flower Planting on June 6th, and a Men’s Health Awareness talk on June 13th.
Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise plan or making major changes that can affect health. To learn more, visit http://www.nihseniorhealth.gov.
To learn more about MorningSide of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
Written by Kristen Camden
“The air was full of sun and birds,
The fresh air sparkled clearly.
Remembrance wakened in my heart
And I knew I loved her dearly.
The fallows and the leafless trees
And all my spirit tingled.
My earliest thought of love, and Spring's
First puff of perfume mingled.
In my still heart the thoughts awoke,
Came lone by lone together -
Say, birds and Sun and Spring, is Love
A mere affair of weather?”
-Robert Louis Stevenson
Spring is a wonderful time at Morningside of College Park…the trees become green again, flowers start to bloom, and the warmer weather is a welcome change after a chilly winter. With the changing seasons also comes opportunity to explore nature and take advantage of outdoor activities.
There are many benefits to Seniors who spend some time soaking up the sun’s rays, as long as you are mindful of physical limitations and the risks associated with overexposure to the sun. Here are a few benefits:
The body needs sunlight in order to produce Vitamin D, which is particularly beneficial to seniors. This is because it is a building block for healthy and strong bones. Not only that, but studies are now showing a direct correlation to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and osteoporosis among those who don’t get enough Vitamin D.
A lot of people are familiar with Winter Depression, and the anxiety that can come along with it. While scientists haven’t firmly concluded what causes this seasonal mood change, they have confirmed that most people who suffer from it feel better after exposure to bright light. Spending time in the sun each day can help lower anxiety and increase happiness. According to Alfred Lewy, MD, a seasonal affective disorder researcher at the Oregon Health & Science University, the best time to take advantage of the sun is first thing in the morning because it helps to reset your circadian clock.
The best way to take advantage of the spring weather and sunshine is by getting out in it! There are so many things to do outside, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
However you plan on spending your time in the sun, be cautious and aware of how the sun affects you. To avoid skin damage, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, prepare in advance: wear light clothing and a hat, always apply sunscreen, stay hydrated, and avoid being in direct sunlight during peak hours (10 am-4 pm).
Exerting yourself too much in the sun can lead to cramped muscles, heat rash, swelling of extremities, exhaustion, and heat stroke. While you can protect yourself from the sun’s rays, it is more difficult to stay protected from the heat itself. Morningside of College Park offers a cool respite from the heat. “The lobby is now a great place to mingle with friends and neighbors and get acquainted,” says Jo Cowan, Executive Director.
So whether you are outside soaking up the sun, or inside cooling off for a bit, enjoy the new growth that spring brings to Morningside!
To learn more about Morningside of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
After decades of being in the workforce and having the majority of your time dedicated to your profession, you finally get to control what you do with your time and your energy.
In the beginning, that may be exciting and even a dream come true. What happens when you run out exciting ideas, or start wondering what comes next? It can be an unsettling realization, especially for the majority of seniors who do not have the luxury of owning a money tree.
Thankfully, money isn’t required for every activity that can enrich your retirement years. Here are a few ideas that can fill your time and fulfill your happiness:
1. Learn a New Hobby
How many times in your life have you wished that you could learn to play the piano, or cook, or learn to craft, but you didn’t have the time? Well, now is the perfect time to revisit those dreams and make them a reality.
2. Get a Part Time Job
If you are physically able to do so, getting a part-time job has multiple advantages. It can give you something to do during the day, ways to interact with and meet new people, and also allow you to have some extra spending money.
Another thing that you may not have had time for prior to retirement, is volunteer work. Revisit the organizations that you are passionate about and find out how to become involved as a volunteer. You could even ask family and friends if they need an extra set of hands with daily tasks!
If you have the means, traveling to other countries is an exciting prospect! You don’t have to have money in order to travel though. Take a day to visit nearby towns, museums, attractions, and family.
5. Read & Write
Make a list of every book that you want to read, and even books that you already read and loved. Start with the first and make your way through your list. Writing is also a great way to spend time and energy. Your life is full of memories and exciting adventures…why not get them all on paper?
If you plan to downsize or finance some of the cost of your home to in order to move into a senior living facility, making improvements to a home can increase the value. It can also be a creative outlet.
7. Serve Your Community
It is a great responsibility to be the voice of others, and running for an elected office or joining a civic club is a wonderful way to serve your community. Or it could be as simple as writing letters to city council members in order to advocate for causes that are important to you.
You have a wealth of knowledge and information that you gathered through the years. Why not share your insight with youth, who could benefit from it? This could be in the form of mentoring a youth in need of a role model or writing a blog, which can be as easy as going to Wordpress.com and starting to type.
9. Be Active
Depending on your level of physical ability, there are many ways to enjoy recreational activities. This can be joining a gym, going for a daily walk, or even just playing cards with friends.
Becoming a singer, dancer, painter, or writer may have been a pie-in-the-sky dream when you were a child, because it is difficult to create a career out of these artistic jobs. Why not practice that skill that you dreamed about now, for enjoyment?
10. Get Creative
One thing to remember is to create a budget and stick to it, regardless of if you are spending from your nest egg or earning extra money with a part-time job. Either way, all seniors should enjoy all of the things that life has to offer, now that there is time for it. You earned it!
We all remember that nervousness we felt on the first day of school or the first day on a new job, introducing ourselves to people who would become pals. Even with long lives of experience repeating this process over and over, it still involves the butterflies in the stomach of adjusting to change. When a senior begins the process of transitioning from a private home to a shared retirement community, it involves new faces and places to adopt as a new normal.
Maintaining an active, enjoyable social life is key to settling in to this exciting new chapter in a senior’s life. The good news is that MorningSide offers many opportunities to interact with new people. Activities include such things as Painting with Elizabeth on Tuesdays, knitting class on Thursdays, weekly social hour, fabulous meals, and outings to fascinating places like Indiana’s Underground Railroad.
Just because a senior moves to MorningSide, they doesn’t mean they have to lose touch with old friends. In fact, if a friend visits a resident and they decide to move in as well, the resident receives a $1,000 referral fee! Getting to live alongside an existing friend and getting rewarded for it is having your cake and eating it too! “Don’t miss this opportunity to choose your neighbors,” said Executive Director Jo Cowan.
It’s great whenever our friendships endure change, but growth comes from embracing new aspects of life. Experts say the key to overcoming loneliness and making new friendships is to put yourself out there and open your heart to possibilities.
Existing friends and trusted institutions like church are just some of the sources available to make new acquaintances in fresh locations. Sometimes it is a simple matter of striking up a conversation about sports, the old days, old neighborhoods, what it was like growing up, current events, cars, recipes, etc.
Signing up for a class, perhaps trying something we’ve never done before, can give even shy people the nudge needed to interact with others in meaningful ways.
Everyone enjoys some solitude, but having a social life pays off in many ways, both emotional and physical. Experts say socializing lowers blood pressure while remaining active keeps the mind and body healthy. Plus, we can get joy from helping others through tough times and take comfort when they reciprocate – it is important to treat others the way we want to be treated, remaining loyal and listening when others share.
Beyond the interactions inside our building, a senior can also use technology to make new friendships, communicating with old friends and family while making new connections on social networks like Facebook. There is a certain satisfaction in having others wish us a happy birthday or send holiday greetings.
MorningSide is just one of the ways seniors can make new friends in senior living.
Copyright: diego_cervo / 123RF Stock Photo
With an annual average of close to 25-inches of snowfall in Indianapolis, winter is a serious concern for senior citizens, who are at greater risk of exposure in extreme cold, not to mention the ever-present snow and ice that can lead to dangerous slips and falls on slick surfaces. Some simple precautions can prevent a winter wonderland from becoming a frozen minefield.
Seniors rely on caregivers to clear slippery walkways as a storm hits. They may also face the challenge of dealing with frozen pipes or running out of food because they can’t get out to get food from a local grocery store. Even with family checking on an elderly relative, the kindness of neighbors and relatives can be the difference between safety and danger.
Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are at particular risk during the winter. It falls upon caregivers to make sure they stay indoors as much as possible and wear adequate clothing to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. If a senior has had heart disease or high blood pressure, they may need a caregiver or family member to help with shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold.
At MorningSide of College Park, we offer Indianapolis seniors a safe place to live where can not only survive but thrive during the wintertime. Scheduled activities and visiting entertainers prevent boredom and stimulate the mind. As part of a community, seniors find many opportunities to create something new, whether it is a crafting project or a new friendship. Safety and quality of life are key to our mission serving Indianapolis area families.
Whether living alone or in Assisted Living, it’s important to prepare for winter now while conditions are still relatively mild.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:
These are just a few of the tips the CDC recommends for people, including senior caregivers. Take these precautions BEFORE winter weather threatens for best results.
To learn more about moving to MorningSide of College Park Senior Living Community this winter, call (317) 872-4567.
In this age of technology, not everyone realizes just how much has changed in the past century. But taking the time to tell stories to your younger relatives can be a great way to share history and life lessons. They can’t always be around to listen to what you have to say, but you can still share your life with them!
Writing down your life experiences is a wonderful way to connect with your family. It will give them tangible memories to hold on to and learn from when you can’t be there to talk to them. Angela Burton, a creative writing instructor who hosts the Oh! I Remember workshop for seniors, says, “The true gift is the legacy they are leaving their families… These stories would be lost forever, but by writing them down, we are capturing their whole persona before it’s too late.”
Delving into your past and writing it down can be good not only for your family, but also for you! Taking a look back and reminiscing can help improve cognitive function in seniors. It keeps your imagination active, and writing can give you a means of self-expression.
If you decide to begin writing about your life, here are a few things that might help:
You never know how your life can affect the lives of others; even years after the fact, a lesson you learned can help someone else! Writing gives you a way to make that connection with future generations, and your family will cherish your stories for years to come!
Late spring was very wet this year in Indianapolis, but now that the solstice has passed and summer is officially here, it looks like sunnier, hotter weather is ahead. That’s good news for an-yone who was beginning to feel like they had wound up in Seattle instead of Indiana, but it does mean some health and safety precautions need to be taken to avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion, and other seasonal maladies that can affect the very young, the very old, and anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, from sports enthusiasts to outdoor pets.
The first trick to beating the heat is to stay inside. Plan activities like board games, scrapbooking, book club, crafts, or indoor exercise during the hottest parts of the day, from about noon to four in the afternoon. Staying indoors is also a great way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays during the part of the day when they are strongest. Save outdoor activities for the evening when it’s cooler— that’s a great time to tend to the garden, go to a baseball game, or take an after-diner stroll with loved ones.
Whether your summer fun is indoors or out, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Elderly people and those with chronic illnesses are especially susceptible to dehydration for a variety of factors. As we age, our bodies naturally retain less water, and kidney function may be reduced. Some medica-tions can also compromise the body’s ability to retain water. Seniors also may experience re-duced thirst or trouble swallowing, affecting their desire for fluids. Sipping on water, rather than tea, coffee, or soda, throughout the day, regardless of cravings can keep you hydrated. In fact, by the time you feel thirsty, you are already critically dehydrated.
There are many more serious side effects of dehydration than thirst to be aware of. One of the benefits of being a Morningside resident is the caring staff members who are trained in identifying such symptoms and keeping residents healthy. However, friendly and family may want to take note, as heat exhaustion and dehydration can affect people of any age. Symptoms can include mouth dryness, infrequent urination or urine that is a dark or deep yellow, cramping in limbs, headaches, the inability to cry tears, a general feeling of weakness or malaise, low blood pressure, rapid but weak pulse, dry or sunken eyes, or change in pace of breath.
Spending time indoors out of the heat is a great way to reduce the chances of chronic or dan-gerous dehydration. Fortunately, Indiana is a great place to enjoy cool summer pastimes as much as fun in the sun. Grab a milkshake from Bub’s Burgers and Ice Cream after enjoying the exhibits and programing at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana Medical History Museum, or the the Museum of Miniature Houses. Walk through a local shopping mall or go to see a movie to get a few extra hours of relief from the heat.
Indianapolis is a wonderful place to enjoy summer fun. You can pack in even more enjoyment simply by being safe and aware about how to stay hydrated and keep cool when temperatures spike!
There’s no better time than summer to enjoy quality time with your grandsons, daughters, nieces, and nephews. School’s out, mom and dad are still working, and they’re itching for adventure. Fortunately Indianapolis has many family-friendly attractions that are fun for old and young alike. Here are four ideas for fun places to make special memories, just to get you started:
The obvious starting point is the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. With hands-on exhibits that are plenty educational (like the one featuring a replica of the Great Wall of China), including a Dinosaur Dig, a space where kids can experience a TV or film set, a full-size indoor carousel, and a Playspace specially designed for the littlest little ones, there’s always something new to see and do. The Stories From Our Community exhibit explores the power of narrative in different cultures and could be a wonderful leaping off point to share your own stories and reminiscences with your small loved ones.
The Indianapolis Zoo is another attraction that always has something new. It’s organized around different ecosystems, from Oceans to Deserts to Forests to Plains, making it easy to navigate and show little ones what different ecosystems have in common around the world. See meerkats, boa constrictors, iguanas, brown bears, amur tigers, otters, bald eagles, koalas, red pandas, and many more. There are also special invests including concert series, art shows, and even tortoise racing! Kids of all ages will enjoy trips to the zoo and who knows, you may learn something new, too!
Mug n Bun has been part of Indianapolis for 50 years, and it’s got something for everyone. Grandparents and grandkids alike will enjoy the great food— including burgers, milkshakes, homemade root beer, hand-dipped onion rings, and steaks. Kids will especially love the novelty of classic drive-in service and the outside picnic area. The unique atmosphere is a conversation-starter, too, giving you an opportunity to tell the youngsters about decades past, how you spent time when you were young, and what it was like when restaurants like Mug n Bun weren’t novelties but the hippies hangouts in town.
Nothing says summer like a ballgame at Victory Field with the Indianapolis Indians! The team has been in continuous operation since 1902 and is an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, so you never know when a Pirates player might drop in to spice up the game. The stadium itself is one of the best minor league fields in the nation, and tickets are inexpensive, so you’ll have plenty left over for a hot dog and crackerjack, Friday night games feature fireworks for a little extra excitement. The young ones will love participating in this great American tradition and you can tell them all about some of the great games you’ve seen before.
With so much to see and do in Indianapolis this is just the beginning of all the summer vacation fun. Whatever you choose to do with the special young people in your life, know that you’re making memories that will last a lifetime and you have a wonderful chance to share anecdotes from your life and teach them something new!
One of the best parts of retirement, and especially retirement at a senior community, is that so many things in your life get simplified. No more work, no more big house to maintain and keep clean, no more chores fro the most part. Instead, you finally get to focus on living life to its fullest. Still, even if there’s no more waxing linoleum and sheets to wash, a little spring cleaning can make your home feel as new and fresh as the season itself. We’ve got a few easy ideas for how you can air out your daily routine and make sure life goes extra smoothly all spring and summer long:
Studies have shown that gardening has many significant benefits for older adults. It’s a light, low impact form of exercise that helps stretch your muscles, builds up strength, and improves your balance. It’s not hard on the joints like other activities can be, such as crafts with small components or repetitive motions that might aggravate arthritis. Researchers at University of Colorado at Boulder have even found that microbes in soil can help boost the immune system and may contribute to reduced anxiety and depression. There’s a lot of reasons to play in the dirt now that spring is finally here.
If you want to get started, there are few better places to begin than the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society Plant Sale, which will be held May 9th. Plants are sold individually and there are plenty of volunteers to help you pick out plants that will work well with where you are going to grow them, whether it’s in the ground or in container, whether you get lots of sunshine or need a shade-loving varietal. It’s also a great way to learn something new about what plants grow in Indiana and get better
If you’re impatient to get started between now and then, you can get a jump on springtime flower appreciation with a trip to Holliday Park. The gardens are full of prairie habitat and native wildflowers that are just coming into bloom. Individual beds are planted and cared for by different groups, including the Indiana Daffodil Society, the Indiana Daylily-Iris Society, and the Indianapolis Hosta Society. There are plenty of flat, walkable trails throughout the park, which means you can go bike time and time again and still have new areas to explore. It’s also a wonderful place to go birding and spot new species, as well as other woodland animals.
The Garfield Park Conservatory is another wonderful place to take in the sights and scents of beautifully blossoms. The Conservatory specializes in tropical plants so it’s quite different in look and feel from Holliday Park. April 18th and 19th they will be hosting a Spring Orchid Show with different gardeners vying to see whose bloom will be award-winning. They also regularly host workshops and gardening demonstrations throughout the year.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art has its own Horticultural Society with massive libraries in addition to the actual gardens themselves. If you get into gardening and find you have a growing interest in the subject beyond simply exercising your green thumb, the Horticultural Society is often looking for volunteers, which could be a wonderful way to make sure your hands stay in the dirt and you’re always learning something new.
Who knew that a green thumb is a key to good health? One things’s for sure— this spring you might want to get back to the garden and enjoy the positive effect it will have on body, mind, and soul. You’ll get to savor some of the best aspects of the season, from the warm weather to the sunshine to the sensory delights of a time when everything seems new.
Indianapolis may be best known for its prairies and race tracks, but it’s also home to smaller reminiscences, the daily lives of the many people who have grown up there, attended school there, or came to stay whether for a race, a week long vacation, a few months, or a few years. If Indianapolis is part of your personal history, you might recognize these four places that were a big part of day to day life in Indiana, whether it was getting a bite to eat, filling up the car, or watching Mario Andretti win big:
If you went about your daily business in Indianapolis in the 1960s and 70s, chances are you found yourself on 30th street for your errands. Koehler Drugs was a popular pharmacy until the 1980s, the Pure Oil gas station was a great place to fill up the big beautiful Ford Galaxies and efficient little Toyota Corollas. You could grab lunch at the Air Liner Sandwich Shop, do some shopping at Frances Shoppe, Raysey Interiors, and Westinghouse for big household items.
You’re no Hoosier if you haven’t had a sandwich at Shapiro’s Delicatessan. It’s been open for over a hundred years, continually run by four generations of Shapiros, descended from Russian immigrants who settled in Indianapolis in the early 1900s. They’re still open, so swing by for lunch sometime and get a good pastrami sandwich and a dill pickle. It’s a taste of history, and maybe even a chance to revist lunches past on your old stomping grounds.
The 1960s and 70s were a golden era for the Indie 500. The track was packed with legendary names that even people outside the racing community recognize-- Parnelli Jones, Jim Clark, Al Unser Sr., A.J. Foyt, and Mario Andretti. Tom Sneva was the first to break 200 mph in 1977. Those were great years to hit the race track, and had a huge impact on the last heydey of automobile design and manufacturing.
Fast food chain Burger Chef was a huge part of Indianapolis history. Founded in 1954, they were one of the original carhop joints. Eventually they were bought up by Hardees, who carried on the torch of Burger Chef’s flame-broiled legacy. While you can’t eat at Burger Chef today, it will always be Incrediburger in our hearts.
Wondering what to do with yourself now that you’ve got all the time in the world? Your golden years are a golden opportunity for new adventures and making your oldest pastimes new again. From travel to learning to letting your creative side shine, we have five recommendations that could make your days even more fun and exciting:
Medical students learn the phrase "First, do no harm". As a patient, you can greatly help her Indianapolis physician do a better job of managing your care.
Health care can be complex and confusing for doctors because they have so many patients with histories to keep straight in their heads and their records. It can even be confusing to the patients from across the state of Indiana to keep track of.
Multiple prescriptions can mean a larger possibility for drug errors, for example, including drug-to-drug interactions; under- or over-utilization of a drug; duplication of therapies; and incorrect dosages.
Communicating clearly about your medical history with your doctors is essential to your wellbeing.
Make the most of your time with your physician and leave knowing you have asked all of the right questions and are aware of next steps regarding your follow up treatment.
Keeping your health information all together, perhaps in a notebook or binder, to bring to your next doctor’s visit is critical. All doctors’ names, phone numbers, copies of insurance cards, a list of current medications, etc. should be included in case these need to be referenced.
Ask someone to come with you at your next appointment. A friend or relative can ensure that you know when your appointments are and keep notes regarding doctor’s instructions. They can also help you keep your medications in order.
Be sure to ask your doctor whether any of the medications that they have prescribed will interact in any way with medications that you’ve previously been prescribed. Failing to ask or share this information can have serious consequences.
Lastly, don't be intimidated by your doctor. If have questions about anything you discussed during your appointment, don’t be afraid to ask if your doctor will explain it to you again.
Wanting to stay fit and healthy, but not sure how to do it?
Staying in motion brings a lot of benefits, particularly reducing the symptoms and slowing the progress of a number of chronic conditions. Fitness doesn’t require a gym membership. In fact, you can find ways to incorporate a basic workout into the things you already do every day.
Walk instead of Riding in a Car: When you are traveling a short distance, the path of least resistance is moving your car from one parking spot to another closer to your destination. Instead, if you’re physically able, trying walking. Sure, it’s more effort, but walking helps us lose weight and build muscle, plus you won’t have to burn gas circling a parking lot in search of a vacant space.
Take the Stairs instead of an Elevator: Unless you’re needing to get from the ground to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, it’s not unreasonable to consider climbing the hard way if you don’t have mobility issues.
Turn everyday objects into Weights: As long as you are able to securely grip something you improvise for a dumbbell, you can grow stronger. Don’t overdo it because you don’t want to strain muscles or injure yourself by accidentally dropping something heavy on your feet. Think lighter, but with more repetitive movements.
Take advantage of Settings: If you are visiting family and the grandkids want to swim this summer, the pool can be a great place to do low-impact exercise. Use local walking trails for a leisurely stroll. And walk the halls of MorningSide of College Park, taking the opportunity to exercise while socializing.
Of course, you never want to start an exercise regimen without first consulting your physician to make sure you avoid injury.
Talk to us at Morningside of College Park Senior Living Community about ways we help keep seniors healthy and physically active.