One of the hardest aspects of aging is the way family and friends tend to fade into the background as we retire from longtime jobs, see acquaintances less often, lose contacts or spouses to death and illness, and we get out less as mobility becomes harder. It appears somewhat inevitable for seniors to become increasingly isolated from their social contacts.
At Morningside of College Park, we’re keenly aware of the importance of the “community” part of a senior living community. That means creating a place that feels like home, designed for sharing, friendship, and activities to maintain mental and physical well-being.
Human beings tend to feel less anxious or depressed when ties exist based on trust, connection, and participation. An aging parent may feel apprehensive staying in a long-time home if he or she is all that’s left there, surrounded by neighbors who may not be familiar or helpful.
There have been many studies to find positive health impacts among those with strong social interactions in senior circles.
In one study, Bryan James, an epidemiologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, looked at 1,100 seniors without dementia, measuring their social activity levels, then following up over the next 12 years. Findings: The rate of cognitive decline was 70 percent less in people with frequent social contact than those with low social activity.
Another study by the same researcher looked at seniors’ ability to care for themselves. Those with more frequent social activity maintained lower levels of disability, allowing them to live independently longer than their less social counterparts.
Even when James statistically controlled for risk factors like smoking or a history of disease or smoking, he still found that those with high levels of social activity have 43 percent less disability than those with low levels of social activity, and about half the rate of cognitive decline.
The implication is that removing an aging parent from a home where he or she spends most of the time alone watching TV, possibly anxious about crime in the neighborhood, can potentially expand life-span – and the quality of the life lived. Failure to act might spell disaster for the emotional and physical health of a loved one.
The Solution? Relocating to a community of people with similar interests, life experiences, and values. Mom and/or dad can be around peers their own age rather than isolated among neighbors who may be vastly younger.
You need only look at Morningside’s June newsletter to see seniors smiling and enjoying each other’s company. Residents will come together to learn how to prevent falls, paint with watercolors, cool off with refreshing soda floats, sip a beer at the Father’s Day Luncheon, enjoy a camp-themed luncheon in the Brass Rose Dining Room, or tap their feet to the musical stylings of Toby and Collette of The Joymaker’s or listen to Doug DeBaun play in guitar in the lower atrium on the third Saturday of every other month. In July, the fun continues with Name that Tune, a delicious Sundae Bar, or a tribute to Elvis. Fellowship is the name of the game, whether our residents are decorating mini-clay pots, assembling paper cars, or some other fun activity.
Why do we do all of these activities and more? Experts tell us that senior adults who are active and engaged socially often extend their lives and their enjoyment of life by years.
“Human nature leads us to crave fulfilling relationships with other people. As we age, however, life circumstances may push us toward loneliness and isolation unless we take proactive steps to cultivate new relationships,” writes author Elizabeth Bemis, MA, in the article “The Importance of Socialization at Senior Living Communities”.
“Most people understand the importance of encouraging young children to socialize, but it's easy to overlook the importance of socialization for older adults,” Bemis adds.
Joining a group of people with the same interests makes life more fun. Volunteering, working or looking forward to activities you enjoy can provide a reason to get up and go with a smile. Feeling helpful and needed often makes a huge difference in anyone's life, regardless of their age.
In a study by the University of Chicago’s Center for Cognitive & Social Neuroscience, researchers found that people who feel consistently lonely have a 14 percent higher risk of premature death. Psychologist John Cacioppo says, "Loneliness is a risk factor for early death beyond what can be explained by poor health behavior. Feeling lonely isn't only unhappy; it's unsafe."
The study concluded that feeling lonely and isolated from others can lead to several unhealthy outcomes, including:
To learn more about Morningside of College Park and how it may positively affect a loved one, call (844) 511-3456.
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Written by Steven Stiefel
When we think of medical conditions related to aging that might call for an assisted living facility, Parkinson's isn't always at the top of the list. Alzheimer's, congestive heart failure, or diabetes are more immediately associated with aging-- and when you're first planning your retirement, they might seem like they're a long way off. However, Parkinson's affects one million Americans, and the average age of diagnosis is at just 56 years of age.
While this condition isn't terminal like cancer, it is progressive, and there is no cure. That's not as scary as it sounds, however. Parkinson's certainly has an impact on mobility, memory, speech, and even how oily a person's skin might be, but the symptoms are manageable with medication, diet, and seeking out the kind of support that a senior care facility can provide. In that regard, it's similar to other conditions associated with aging like high blood pressure and arthritis.
Parkinson's was discovered in 1887, and it's diagnosed by looking at the four primary symptoms: tremors, rigidity in the wrist and elbow joints, lack or slowness of movement, and an unstable posture. Understandably, some of those symptoms might be at first mistaken for standard sides of aging. But when they become unusually severe at an oddly young age, that's one sign that something more might be going on.
In addition to those physical symptoms, Parkinson's gets associated with depression and anxiety, due to the disorder's impact on dopamine levels in the brain. Treatment includes medication, but surgery may also be an option, as well as electrode therapy. Lifestyle changes are also crucial to reducing the impact of Parkinson's on a person's quality of life.
Hubert Fernandez, MD, the James and Constance Brown Family Endowed Chair in Movement Disorders notes that "the treatment plan should be tailored to the most pressing concern." In other words, every Parkinson's case is different and should be treated differently depending on what symptoms are the most severe.
It is entirely possible to continue to live a full and productive life -- look at the example set by famous people with Parkinson's including Linda Ronstadt and Richard Thompson. Getting assistance with things like meals and household chores and ensuring safe mobility, especially in the bathroom, can make a huge difference. That's where a senior living facility like Morningside comes in. The high level of care takes much of the pressure of residents, allowing them to enjoy socialization and recreation and maintain as much independence as possible.
A Parkinson's diagnosis, like those of so many other conditions, can feel scary and overwhelming at first. But unlike many other disorders, it's possible to carry on with your plans for your golden years, to spend time with loved ones, and indulge in hobbies without missing out. All it takes is a solid treatment plan and a caring community to live your best life.
To learn more about Morningside, call us at (205) 752-5500.
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One of the crucial ingredients to providing top quality elder care is having the proper documentation in place to provide for a seniors’ legal, medical, and financial decision making should they become unable to officiate their own affairs. These days, there are far more options than a simple will. Power of attorney, revocable trusts, and advanced directives are all tools available to families trying to plan ahead in case of conditions that can occur at the end of life, including terminal illness, dementia, Alzheimer’s, or prolonged unconsciousness.
If that sounds dark and a little overwhelming, that’s understandable. Some aspects of senior care and estate planning can be uncomfortable to address. However, it’s important for everyone to be on the same page about not only how assets will be distributed after death, but also how to handle difficult situations that may precede a loved one passing on.
For example, the question of resuscitation can be a contentious one, as can long-term use of life support measures. Having a document like a DNR or advanced directive can ensure that your wishes are met, even if your family members don’t agree on what the best course of action may be in a medical emergency.
Appointing power of attorney well before it’s necessary can also reduce stress and help everyone know exactly what will be done in case of an emergency or serious decline. You can even appoint multiple people to have durable power of attorney. Perhaps a very close family friend is a doctor for example, and would be a reliable person to make medical decisions if you are unable to do so. Or a sibling who is a lawyer might have both the level of expertise and trust to handle your legal affairs or administer a revocable trust in case of illness or your passing.
A revocable trust is simply one of many ways to handle an estate. Rather than your heirs directly inheriting money, possessions, or property, ownership would revert to the trust, which can then distribute your assets. That can have tax benefits in some scenarios. As attorney Martin Pierce explains, “you do not have to report the transfer of any property to the trust on a gift tax return” when you file your yearly 1040. However, it doesn’t mean you skirt taxes entirely. Pierce notes that “a surprising number of people have acquired the mistaken notion that a Revocable Trust somehow avoids death taxes, possibly confusing it with an ‘Irrevocable Insurance Trust.
Another benefit of the revocable trust is that it allows you to make arrangements for after your death like a will, but also while you are alive, similar to power of attorney. You can also make changes to the trust at any time as long as you are alive and of sound mind. That gives you greater flexibility to adjust your plans if your circumstances or relationships change.
It’s never too late to discuss your options with an attorney. You can also talk with the staff at your senior’s retirement community about what documentation may be required or appreciated to provide the best possible service. Taking these extra steps now can help reduce headaches and heartaches in the future, and reduce tension in challenging situations. Now that’s a gift the whole family can get behind!
Self-administering medications can be daunting, especially for seniors who take a handful of pills daily. On average, seniors consume more than one-third of prescription drugs used in the U.S. “Those aged 65 to 69 take an average of 15 prescriptions per year, while those from 80 to 84 take an average of 18,” according to the American Association of Consultant Pharmacists.
While the benefits of modern medicine are impressive and effective, there are potential health hazards. Toxicity and adverse drug interactions are of concern for those taking multiple medications, particularly in seniors that often take multiple prescription and over-the-counter medicines daily.
Each year a third of emergency room visits by older adults are caused by adverse drug events, according to a white paper from the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living. “32,000 seniors suffer hip fractures caused by medication-related problems. It’s simple: They are overmedicated, feel dizzy when they stand up, and fall. Or worse, get behind the wheel of a car,” says HuffPost.
Perhaps Mom or Dad forgot if they had already taken their medicine and double-dosed or missed doses, leading to an aggravation of their chronic condition. Incidents similar to these, involving medication, are often the deciding factor when transitioning loved ones into Assisted Living.
Are you are considering moving yourself or a loved one into senior living for assistance managing medications? Our certified staff facilitates in documenting, dispensing, and administering medications to ensure both the care and safety of residents.
In addition to medication management, we also provide solutions to enhance the lives of our residents. Our onsite nutritionists and dieticians ensure that not only are meals tasty, but cater to the management of chronic health conditions.
Lastly, assisted living communities like Morningside offer scheduled activities to keep residents moving, encouraging longevity and promoting overall health, as well as creating opportunities fellowship. Research suggests that peer interaction may lead to a longer, happier life.
Understandably, it can be a challenge for anyone to take their medications at scheduled times, as prescribed, but the risks are greater for aging adults. Let Morningside take over the burden of knowing which medicines you or your loved one should take and when. Our prescription assistance program ensures residents are regularly given their medications at the right times, taken on schedule and at the correct dosages,offering you and your family peace of mind. Let us make it easy for you to live well, choose our Prescription Assistance Program for Seniors at Morningside! To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (317) 872-4567.
Throughout all stages of life we’re told how important it is to exercise, eat right, and be mindful of our health. Sometimes that can be easier said than done, especially as we age. There are all sorts of reasons to not eat as healthy as we should. Maybe you feel like you aren’t a good cook or don’t feel safe, or comfortable staying on your feet, or managing hot, heavy pans. Perhaps you’ve felt a little down and haven’t had the motivation to prepare food the way you used to. Or maybe you’re not sure what to eat after getting a new diagnosis from your doctor. Many seniors feel their appetite decreases as they age, which can also affect how many nutrients they get.
Thankfully, eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Senior nutrition tips and dietary guidelines are not all that different for adults of other ages. Instead of processed foods, red meat, too many sweets, and saturated fats from foods like chips and fried dishes, opt for low-sugar, low-sodium meals with plenty of protein, fiber, and fresh vegetables. It might be a dramatic shift if you haven’t been mindful of nutrition in the past, but with the right support system, it doesn’t have to be unpleasant. A senior living community like Indianapolis’ Morningside can be a great way to take the pressure off preparing meals and counting micronutrients and can instead transform dining into a sociable, pleasurable experience that also has some great health benefits.
Statistics show that one of the primary health concerns facing seniors worldwide is malnutrition or nutritional risk. That can go hand in hand with other challenges like isolation and depression. However, retirement communities help reduce those sources of stress in seniors’ lives with services like a dining program for residents. Gathering around a table together three times daily, as well as for special occasions like National Beer Lover's Day, Lunch & Apple Desserts, or outings to restaurants like IHOP and Applebees are all great ways to engage in some essential human companionship, while getting the nutrients your body needs.
Three top senior nutrition tips to keep in mind:
Get the most bang for your buck. As one study points out, “energy requirements decline with increasing age, but it is essential that the nutrient density of the diet remains the same.” That means that you should make sure most meals have maximum nutrition. If you’re eating less than you did in your twenties, thirties, or forties, you need to make sure the calories you do take in aren’t made up of just fat, sodium, and heavy protein.
Focus on high fiber, low fat. Fiber can be crucial for seniors, because the amount of fluid we retain can decrease as we age. That makes it more important than ever to pay attention to hydration and fiber for effective digestion and comfort. Increasing hydration can also help flush out excess sodium, and fibrous vegetables can help you feel full while also delivering powerful vitamins and minerals.
Calcium rich foods could save you from bad falls. Hopefully exercise and regular activity will help you keep your balance, but we all have to adjust to physical changes as we age, including shifts in how well we keep our balance. Upping calcium intake can prevent bone breaks and fractures that could lead to pain, discomfort, and hospitalization. Calcium also plays nice with Vitamin D, meaning you get some extra mileage from one source. Look to low-fat dairy products like yogurt, skim milk, and cottage cheese to round out this nutrient.
By enjoying Morningside’s many cuisine options, you can ensure you’re getting what your body needs, while still having as much fun as possible. Wellness doesn’t have to look like restriction when you’re savoring the best of Indianapolis in good company.
Written by: Meghan O'Dea
Written by: Meghan O’Dea
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
Religion creates a sense of meaning in one’s life that becomes especially significant in our golden years. Through studies, this significance suggests that participants who identify with various religious affiliations, beliefs and practices likewise improves overall health.
Here’s the breakdown of studies:
48% seniors go to religious services on a regular basis.
As opposed to the millennial generation, seniors are more likely found in a church pew on any given Sunday, as they were raised at a time when church was absolutely central to American life.
71% of Southerners portray themselves as "sure beyond a shadow of a doubt" that God exists. Almost all seniors reported that they relied on religion when confronted with troublesome circumstances. This may include a decline in health, lack of mobility, or loss of a spouse. It is also reported that religious participants bounce back more quickly as opposed to non-believers.
65% say that religion is very important to them.
Whether this takes place in fun group activities, congregational services, singing hymns together, scripture study, or just prayer in one’s own apartment, expressions of faith are vital to the lives of most seniors.
67% of seniors said that having a spiritual existence in their lives offers more joy.
For many people, religion is not just a matter of spirituality but also a means of social connection. In our experience, religion is indispensable to the joy and wellbeing within a senior community.
The Key Takeaway from these statistics? Religious and spiritual practice in seniors promotes the wellbeing and happiness of individuals, families, and the community.
Within our senior community, it is evident that religion has positively affected resident satisfaction and general prosperity. Religion offers a higher physical and mental wellness, and extending health longevity and lifespan.
At Morningside, spiritual prosperity can be found in mutual respect between caretaker, staff, and senior residents. To offer peace and prosperity, we welcome all religious beliefs within our community. Regardless of belief, we encourage communal activities, motivational gatherings, field trips, and many more.
Being a Christian company, we do understand the incredible importance for each individual to be able to experience and express their religious values and rituals, and we do everything we can to provide them opportunities to worship and carry out their customs and practices.
Written by: Katie Hanley
Morningside of College Park offers full-service senior care through multiple programs, all within the same location. If you are considering senior care but don’t know which care option is best, here are the various senior care options available to you.
The Six Senior Care Types:
Ideal for any aging seniors, Independent living residents should be fully capable of managing their daily tasks, and have minimal medical needs. Many residents in Independent living are empty nesters who have chosen to minimize, downsize, and move into a senior community among fellow like-aged individuals. Senior living appeals to individuals who live alone and feel vulnerable or unsafe.
The transitional assistance approach, in-home caregiving, is intended for individuals that can no longer live alone, but also don’t require urgent medical assistance from a higher level of care. This approach can range from a caregiver checking in several times a day, every other day, or even weekly to ensure the senior is getting help with day to day activities or errands. This method of care is commonly used during early transitions of healthcare. The benefit of in-home senior care? Senior parents can age in place. The downside? The transition into a senior care facility or nursing home can become a quick reality, as health conditions often worsen and assisted living becomes a necessity.
Assisted living or residential care is ideal for seniors seeking an active and vibrant life, but are unable to perform daily tasks safely, without assistance. Through daily help with activities and routines, such as medication administration, our memory care residents are cared for by trained medical staff. This long-term living option combines housing, support services and, “apartment living with help when you need it.”
If your aging loved ones are hesitant to try senior living, or are in need of short-term care, consider respite care. Respite care is for people who are in transition between care stages or need brief care, normally running from days up to a month, contingent upon their circumstance. In many cases, these types of stays may simply be a test run to get better acquainted with senior living before moving in. At Regency, our program permits seniors to experience all of the amenities available to residents. Following their stay, many find themselves so pleased with their visit, they become full time residents of our Regency family.
For seniors with the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's, memory care can assist in providing residents with attention and activities needed to enjoy a healthy and stimulating life. Here at Morningside, the senior quality of life is our focus, for every resident. Families can rest easy knowing that loved ones are constantly cared for around the clock, without worrying when they had their last meal.
At the other end of the senior care spectrum is nursing home care. Some parents who’ve never visited a senior living community might imagine that it is going to be like a hospital. However, the focus in nursing homes is hospital-like medical care, as opposed to personal enrichment through recreational activities and private apartments. Individuals prone to frequent hospital stays are more likely to need nursing home care, versus a lower tier of service. Because of the high level of care needed, nursing homes generally cost considerably more than Assisted Living, according to the website payingforseniorcare.com.
Consult with your doctor or healthcare specialist for a professional recommendation of which senior care level is right for you. Additionally, for questions or concerns regarding senior care placement, contact us today for your no commitment consultation! Our community consultant specialists are available to assess resident needs, answer senior living inquiries, and happily welcome you and your loved ones to join our Morningside of College Park family today.
Written by: Katie Hanley