There are many theories as to why human beings evolved to play, listen to, and love music. Some think it was a way males to attract mates or for mothers to sooth children. Others think music has always been the way we communicate oral history or stay awake on guard shifts around the camp fire. One thing’s for sure, scientists have found evidence of musical instruments that are over 40,000 years old. There are specific centers of the brain that are primed to not only respond to music, but stimulate other areas of the brain and body when music is playing.
At all ages and stages of life, we as humans have a developed a profound affinity for music. Babies who have not yet learned to talk will giggle, babble, and dance when listening to their favorite songs. Anyone who has ever had a toddler knows how much little ones’ love to repeat their favorite tunes over and over. As adults, we love to turn on a song that matches our mood after a bad day or amp up a workout with a motivating playlist. And as seniors, music can help us stay in touch with our long and middle term memories, which provide much needed access to parts of the brain that often slow down or shrink with age.
All sorts of cognitive stimulation are crucial to those living with memory care disorders. That’s why many memory care facilities are carefully designed to minimize potential of confusion, to have bright, stimulating colors, or to even evoke familiar settings from residents’ pasts, like old soda shops or mid-century towns. Many who work with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients recommend surrounding those affected with familiar objects—favorite clothes, pillows, photographs, and other personal affects. Even if the senior is having trouble remembering certain details, like who is in the photo, it still has positive associations.
Because dementia and Alzheimer’s can affect language processing, memory, and the ability to handle daily routines, it can be very isolating. In addition, studies have identified self-perception of loneliness and isolation contribute to the buildup of amyloid in the brain, which is linked to dementia, linking to a lack of socialization and stimulation. That’s where music can come in. Because music is quite possibly such a huge part of the human experience because it enhances communication, emotion, and memory, it is also a great way to bridge the social gap that many with memory disorders find between themselves, loved ones, and caregivers. Caregivers of those with dementia often find themselves feeling someone isolated, too. Music can be a point of connection that eases the stress and strain for everyone involved.
Listening to a loved one’s favorite songs can literally make them feel young again, lighting up old memories, feelings, and associations. Listening to music together can also provide talking points that are free from the mundane of daily routines and medication schedules. You can dance together, draw pictures of what the lyrics and sounds make you feel or think of, or chat about the musician, the rhythm, etc. You can even sing along!
Studies and stories from memory care providers have shown that even deeply withdrawn patients can become quite animated when their favorite songs are played, sharing details and opinions about the music when they rarely speak up on any subject. While not everyone is guaranteed to have such a dramatic response, it is amazing to see how music can affect us at all stages, and the way it can bring joy to everyone from youth to seniors.
Tennis Player Pete Sampras once admitted that retiring from his athletics career was “a work in progress.”It took him time to figure out what he wanted the years of retirement to look like. Perhaps you feel the same way, trying to figure out what to do with all the time and space in your life. Retirement is a major life change, and it can be hard to leave the routine of your career and family life behind. For Sampras, he realized he needed the structure in his day even if he wasn’t still training and competing. For you, finding a sense of continuity and purpose might look a little different. Here are a some ideas for how you can decide what you want your retirement to look like:
Like Pete Sampras, you probably have a pretty good idea of what has worked for you in the past. That’s one of the many beautiful things about aging. Perhaps it isn’t structure you crave, but some other aspect of your pre-retirement life. Reach back as far as you need to—even as far back as childhood. If you once loved horses, perhaps you could spend time volunteering at Agape Unbridled Hope. If you once enjoyed mentoring your employees and leading a team, you could consider aiding an after-school program. If, like Sampras, you miss structure, perhaps you should develop a new routine that shapes your day. Or if you are glad to leave your old schedule behind, you can work on shaking up your current routine by trying out new things.
Trying new things is a clinically proven way to increase your sense of happiness and satisfaction. You can take up a new hobby or try a new game like gardening, pokeno, billiards, or trivia. You can check out new eateries in Indianapolis, like Metro Diner Greenwood. Explore new places like Punch Bowl Social, which features bowling and bocce, if you like a little exercise along with your meal. Activity is also a great way to work something new into your day, whether it’s Tai chi, Laughter Yoga, or a stroll somewhere you haven’t visited before, like the Monon Trail or Indianapolis Cultural Trail.
There’s so much to do in beautiful Indianapolis, especially if you want to combine recreation with staying active. Take a walk through the National Art Museum of Sport and learn something new about how athletics are treated in art. Or explore the many acres of the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. Staying active is beneficial for maintaining overall health and for general well-being. The World Health Organization recommends older adults exercise not only for their physical health, but cognitive well-being, too. One study by the NCBI showed a 37% reduced risk for cognitive decline in seniors who met minimum recommended exercise thresholds. The better you feel, the more time and energy you can dedicate to making retirement everything you dreamed it would be.
Remembering the past can also be helpful for defining your future. The act of remembrance itself can reduce stress and anxiety, according to a number of studies. Recounting either out loud or in a diary, scrapbook, or audio recording can not only reconnect you with your own sense of history and continuity, but be a wonderful way to share your story with friends and loved ones. One can also reminiscence to help you work through roadblocks, such as painful or challenging moments in the past that might be holding you back from what would let you live the way you want to live now. And by revisiting the past, you can strengthen your sense of self and identify how you want to spend your time, now that you have it in abundance.
Community is also essential to finding a sense of purpose. To be surrounded by other caring friends and neighbors helps reduce your stress. It’s always easier to meet your goals when you have support, and especially that of other people making the same life transition you are. Not only that, community can offer the same health benefits as exercise. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that recreation with loved ones can help seniors avoid the cognitive decline that comes with isolation. So, why not collaborate with those close to you? Go for a walk together, swap stories, or make a weekly date to volunteer together. With all of Indianapolis to explore, it can help to have a friend to take on the city. If you’d like to learn more about how Morningside of College Park can help you meet your goals, call (844) 511-3456 now.
Written by: Meghan O'Dea
It’s normal to collect too many assets, some of which may be junk, through the years. But there often comes a time to cut the clutter and to downsize. For most senior empty nesters, their adult children have long out with families of their own. Sometimes due to health reasons, the senior may not capable living at their current home any longer.
When downsizing, paring down items comes with the territory. While some of us are excellent "dejunkers", others have a harder time. Lifehack.org says the best way to downsize is to start small. For example, begin by starting with a simple space to make significant progress. If not, it can start to feel overpowering if approached wholly– so work in moderation. Remind yourself that it has likely taken years to get everything, so you likely won’t finish in the first day, especially if you are suffering from issues with mobility.
The Top Dos and Don'ts for Downsizing
• Do Prioritize
• Don't Wait/Avoid Procrastination
• Do Be Aware of Hoarding Behavior
• Don't Be Too Sensitive
• Do Transform
• Don't Just Throw It Away
Before you assess your belongings, plan out your next move. Set manageable goals weekly for yourself. Start by sorting belongings into one of three boxes – give, keep, and discard. Begin sorting things to discard, as these items should be obvious, such as: old garments, dusty books, etc.
Try not to Wait
Whatever you do, avoid procrastination. Regardless if you think you have enough time. It will be a long, enduring process that requires several weeks and even months to complete – even with the assistance of family and friends. Tip: To avoid delaying, mark your calendar with each weekly goal to accomplish. This can help tremendously when in planning for the big move.
Do Be Aware of Hoarding Behavior
This often times unsanitary and unsafe lifestyle can be risky in seniors who are experiencing issues in mobility, as the possibility for falling is increased. While hoarding items is sometimes harmless, it can be an indication for underlying health issues, most commonly dementia or Alzheimer's in seniors.
Try not to Be Too Sensitive
Naturally, we become be attached to things that we find meaningful. So, discarding these items that are special to us can be incredibly challenging. With most difficult choices, do your best to take it moderation and carefully assess everything and it's level of significance. For questionable items, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Slanting questions with a closed-ended, yes-no answer will help make difficult decisions a bit easier.
To family and companions of seniors, understand the hard decisions ahead during this transition. Have patience, support, and encourage positive change amid this difficult time.
Transitioning into a downsized space means every inch counts! To adapt to your new, smaller home, transform each space with personal items. For example, photographs of family, work of art from the grandkids, and remembrances from your sweetie pie. At Regency Senior Living people group with Memory Care administrations, occupants are urged to keep their unique things in a memory box for safekeeping. Speaking of putting away, rather than tossing out your cherished things, save them in a new way, so you can keep them free from mess or harm. This technique works incredible for free photographs, music, and movies.
Don't Throw It Away
If you have things you wish to throw away, be aware of waste disposal options. Ask yourself, can this thing be reused, repurposed, or recycled? Don’t simply junk it! Recollect that one man's junk is another man's fortune.
It's critical to begin decluttering sooner than later to allow the move to Assisted Living to be a consistent and pleasant process. For more tips on scaling down seniors, visit: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/15-9-5-senior-cutting back tips/
Written by: Katie Hanley
“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.
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
When a senior is no longer able to perform tasks of daily life without a helping hand, they can either rely on family caregivers or move to an Assisted Living community.
There are many options for getting the funds to pay for such a move, from selling a home to getting a Long term care insurance policy to applying for a monthly pension through the Veterans Administration. The challenge, however, is finding ways to afford to move a senior sooner rather than later, as some of these financial tools can take weeks or months to process application paperwork.
Bridgette Duber, Senior Vice President of Sales for Elder Life Financial, said her company offers a low-interest, unsecured line of credit to up to six people for three years to bridge the gap between moving and receiving funds.
“We offer multiple solutions,” she said. “One phone call and the senior has access to everything we can provide.”
Approval often comes within 24-48 hours, and the borrowers only have to pay back the accumulated interest, offered at a rate of 8.25%.
Such a “bridge loan” can pay for the costs of assisted living while an “aid and attendance” application makes its way to the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, for inspection and approval. The monthly federal pension helps pay the cost of assisted living with married veterans eligible for up to $2,123 a month.
Elder Life’s line of credit also helps pay the cost of living expenses while collecting on a Long-term Care Insurance policy or converting a life insurance policy to cover daily needs rather than final expenses.
“Companion Living” can stretch dollars further by lowering the cost of living in a senior community by taking on a roommate – a good option for those who actually enjoy the close companionship.
Use of Medicaid to pay for senior care can be a last resort for low-income seniors if they can meet the strict financial guidelines in order to qualify. Medicaid wavers come from specific state programs to provide care and support to individuals outside of nursing homes, which are more expensive than Assisted Living communities. Indiana’s program considers an applicant’s income relative to their cost of care.
Indiana Home and Community-Based Services Waivers allow Indiana Medicaid programs to pay for services that are provided in a community setting rather than a Medicaid funded facility or institution. Persons must qualify for institutional care in order to be eligible for the services.
Other government resources include Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Survivors’ Benefits, and State SSI Supplementary Payments.
Those with personal property may apply their resources to pay for Assisted Living, take out private loans or use their home equity. Life insurance that’s converted to pay for care, Long Term Care Insurance, Medicare, and other health insurance goes to pay for senior care in many cases.
Long Term Care Insurance can be an attractive option because monthly premiums are known in advance, allowing seniors to build them into a budget. Such policies may also offer flexibility to meet a variety of needs. Most of these policies come with elimination periods during which time the senior is not yet eligible for any benefits, typically between 20 and 100 days, making a line of credit from Elder Life more important for the senior who wants to start enjoy life in an Assisted Living community as soon as possible.
To learn more about moving to MorningSide of College Park Senior Living Community, call (317) 872-4567.
Making a move from a longtime home to an Indianapolis Assisted Living Community can be frightening for seniors, but it actually offers a lot of benefits that might not be apparent at first. Explaining these things can go a long way toward making the senior feel better about the transition.
For most of us, home represents independence and privacy in our minds, but these things are not necessarily lost in the move.
What does get lost is much of the hassles of living alone. Most retirement communities give residents the option to modify a space to make it feel more like home, including moving furniture and personal items.
The spacious apartments at MorningSide of College Park offer individually controlled heat and air, large bathrooms and full kitchens for independent retirement living. Our top of the line “Waterford” apartment provides 1,160-square-feet including two bedrooms and two baths.
Our Assisted Living program is more about providing services to help with dining, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, medication reminders, housekeeping and laundry, and mobility. MorningSide staff help straighten the senior’s apartment daily, wash dishes, take out the trash, wash and dry or iron personal laundry.
Living alone in a house also potentially means other challenges that simply no longer exist for them when a senior transitions to a place like MorningSide: No more yard to mow, leaves to rake, snow to shovel, weeds to pull, light bulbs to change, or carpet to vacuum. Someone else takes care of these chores. At the same time, hobbies such as gardening are still possible.
With activities provided and new friendships-in-waiting, we vanquish boredom and set the stage for relationships. Games, visits from entertainers and trips to various destinations make the days of sitting home alone a thing of the past.
It’s also worth considering that MorningSide of College Park is a safe environment where seniors can relax and not worry about home invasions or aggressive solicitors. Retirement communities are also there with assistance if a senior falls or needs help in other ways. After decades of living in urban spaces, someone can finally feel safe because they can spend time alone living in a space shared with many others.
Apartment-style senior living is an ideal living arrangement for those who value their privacy but also appreciate the peace-of-mind that comes from having a helping hand. Call (317) 872-4567 to schedule a consultation and tour of MorningSide of College Park.
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!
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:
Reminiscing is wonderful for many reasons. It can help keep your memory sharp, it can be a great way to spend time with loved ones, it can ease stress, and it can take you back to days gone by. If last month’s photos of Indianapolis in the 1960s and 70s brought back happy memories, now is the time to record them for yourself or for friends and family. Perhaps a child or grandchild, or a niece or nephew might help you with your memory project.
You could record your retelling of favorite stories and reminiscences with a simple cassette recorder or cellphone app. This could have an added level of excitement if you, say, attended a historic race, interesting moments in city history, or major concerts or exhibits that your friends and family were too young for and wish they had been able to attend. The added benefit to audio or video recording is that your loved ones will also have your voice preserved for years to come.
If recording your stories doesn’t appeal to you, you can jot them down in a notebook or journal. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider writing about your favorite photos, especially if they’re of an event, family members the younger generation might not have met, from a trip you took, or set in your hometown, like the information we shared about Indianapolis decades ago. Your friends and family will love having this record and you’ll have the joy of reliving some of life’s most exciting moments.
This is especially true as younger generations are highly nostalgic and interested in how things used to be. They might like some of the same musicians that you do, be curious about your records, or want to learn a skill like knitting, crocheting, or try their hand at family recipes. Sharing these things with them is a great way to combine an activity you can do together with a chance to talk and share your memories, all while making new ones.