College Park Retirement Blog
Active Senior Living

Active Senior Living (17)

Friday, 27 May 2016 18:23

Healthy Choices Key to Healthy Aging

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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:Senior planting

  • Brain
  • Skin
  • Bones/Joints
  • Eyes/Ears
  • Digestive System
  • Teeth
  • Bladder/Prostate

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:

  • To improve brain function and help produce new cells, continue to learn and experience new things.
  • Eat foods high in antioxidants, as scientists believe that they have a positive impact and can delay neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
  • Always protect and cover skin that is exposed to the sun, and stay hydrated.
  • Speak to a doctor about getting the shingles vaccine, in order to boost immunity. Seniors over 50, who had chickenpox as a child, are at higher risk of developing shingles later in life.
  • Osteoporosis is often undetected, and affects women more than men. Getting enough vitamin D and calcium, being physically active, and not smoking are a few ways to lower the risk of weakening and breaking bones.
  • Decline in vision is inevitable with age, which is why regular eye exams are necessary to help detect early signs of eye disorders, such as glaucoma and cataracts.
  • Some hearing conditions cause a decline in ability to hear, such as Presbycusis. Being mindful of exposure to loud noises is important in order to preserve hearing, while hearing aids can improve the quality of hearing after it is affected.
  • Eating a diet that is rich in fiber can help with digestion issues. Whole-grain foods, vegetables, and fruits that are high in fiber, along with drinking plenty of water, can have a positive impact on the digestive system, as well as overall health.
  • Visiting the dentist for cleanings every 6 months will keep plaque from building up, along with brushing and flossing twice a day between visits.
  • Incontinence is a common age-associated condition, especially among women; for men, the prostate enlarges with age, causing difficulty releasing urine. Speak to a doctor about medications that are available, and drink more water and less caffeine to improve overall bladder health.

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

Wednesday, 30 March 2016 17:05

Spring Weather Benefits Seniors

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“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:

Vitamin D-
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.

Decreased Stress-
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:

  • Take a morning walk dailyIndianapolis spring
  • Spend some time planting in the garden
  • Take up bird watching
  • Take the grandkids to explore Monument Circle or the Cultural Districts
  • Browse through a Farmers Market, like Indianapolis City Market
  • Do some spring cleaning to spruce up your space

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.

Written by Kristen Camden

Monday, 29 February 2016 15:35

10 Ideas to Enrich Your Retirement Years

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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? newspaper
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.

3. Volunteer

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!

4. Travel

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?

6. Remodel

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.

8. Teach/Mentor

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!

Written by Kristen Camden 

Sunday, 31 January 2016 22:09

MorningSide a Great Place to Make New Friends

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making new friends in assisted livingWe 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.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Copyright: diego_cervo / 123RF Stock Photo

indyWith 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:

  • Check your emergency supplies
  • Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector. Test the batteries monthly and replace them twice a year.
  • Make sure that the cord of an electric space heater is not a tripping hazard but do not run the cord under carpets or rugs.
  • Avoid using extension cords to plug in your space heater.
  • Weatherproof your home. Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or other structure during a storm.
  • Leave all water taps slightly open so they drip continuously when temperatures drop below freezing.
  • If your pipes freeze, thaw them slowly by directing the warm air from an electric hair dryer onto the pipes.
  • If there is a power failure, use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns rather than candles, if possible.
  • Do not place a space heater within 3 feet of anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture, or bedding. Never cover your space heater.
  • Close off unneeded rooms, stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors, and close draperies or cover windows with blankets at night.
  • Do not touch fallen electrical wires.

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.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Friday, 28 August 2015 22:17

Writing About the Past for Future Generations

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Seniors write their life storyIn 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:

  • Don’t get too bogged down with writing your whole life story. You have made so many memories over the years, and trying to write down every detail can be exhausting.
  • Instead, start small. Focus on specific events, rather than the whole, and write in short bursts, similar to writing a letter to a friend. This makes the writing process easier for you, and it will be easier for your future readers to take on as well!
  • Include family history and personal experience. Your family shaped who you were and became as you grew up. Talk about them, whether it be the time your older sister locked you out of the house, or when you and your father helped your neighbor chase a loose animal from the farm down the road, or when your family uprooted and moved across the country.
  • With personal experience, reflect on lessons you may have learned from the situation you’re sharing. Each event in your life has, to some extent, influenced who you are now. How did it affect you? What emotions do you associate with the event? Did it cause you to grow as a person? Thinking about these questions and including their answers in your writing can be a means of passing on important lessons to future generations.
  • Don’t focus solely on the dramatic events. Yes, those are important, but so are the seemingly mundane. Everyday life can be a great story all on its own. The people you saw every day for twenty years at the job you held, if you went to church every week, your elementary school years—all of these things and more have helped you become who you are now. Reading about these things allows your reader to identify with you and learn from your experiences.
  • Realize that it’s okay to write about sad memories as well as happy ones. No one has lived an absolutely perfect life, so why write down only the happy things? Sometimes our hardships are our greatest learning experiences; we often gain so much wisdom in times of trial.
  • Remember to respect the people you mention in your stories. Tell the truth, but don’t hesitate to change names if you feel uncomfortable talking about a specific person, or if they might be offended or embarrassed by the story you tell.
  • Remember that it is your story. If there are details or events that you would rather keep private, you don’t have to write about them! If you don’t want to start off talking about your childhood, then don’t. You get to decide!
  • Don’t be afraid to share your story with others, even as you write. Talking it out may spark memories of other details you may have missed before! And this gives you a way to connect with friends or family during the process!
  • If you have difficulty writing by hand or even typing, don’t hesitate to use a voice recorder or video camera to record your stories.

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!

Written by Chanel Bell

Monday, 29 June 2015 15:09

Indy Seniors Beat the Heat this Summer

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indianapolis museum of artLate 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! 

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Friday, 29 May 2015 19:28

Make the Most of Your Summer with Family

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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:

Indy Childrens Museum of IndianapolisThe 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!

Written by Meghan O'Dea

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:

  1. Manage your medications. It can be easy to get boggled by all the different pills and timing each of your doses just as the doctor ordered. This is a great opportunity to remove any pill bottles past their expiration dates or that hold medicines you are no longer taking. Never flush or throw out unused pills, liquid medications, ointments, etc. They could harm the environment. The find out where you can safely dispose of unused medications, call the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance at (800) 988-7901, extension 3-6660. They can advise you where the nearest drop off location is or when the next drug take back event will be held.
  2. Tax day has come and gone, so it’s safe to file away your financial statements and other paperwork. Be careful to shred any documents you don’t want to store or won’t need in the future— you don’t want to be a victim of identity theft! There are a number of shredding services in Indianapolis, including Shred Monkey and Just Shred that will ensure your private details stay just that, private. It’s also a good time to make sure your loved ones have the information they need to access your safe deposit box, accounts, and financial records in case of emergency.
  3. Swap out your winter clothes for spring and summer. You’ll want all your light things front and center in your closet and in the drawers of your dresser that are easiest to open. Store away your heavier things in the back of the closet, a bottom drawer, or in under-bed storage containers, garment bags, or vacuum pack bags. There are so many different organizational tools these days that a quick shopping trip to Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond, the Container Store or IKEA should have just the thing you need to keep your out-of-season items out of the way when not in use.
  4. Spring is a great time to attend to all the little errands or projects that you haven’t gotten around to, or didn’t want to tangle with in cold, wet weather. If your jewelry needs to be repaired or cleaned, for example, if there are winter coats or duvets that need to be dry cleaned, or houseplants in need of repotting, now is a great time to take advantage of the pleasant spring weather and tackle these tasks. Even better if you can do them with a friend or family member!
  5. Rearrange your space. Maybe over the winter you realized that your furniture isn’t quite in the right place, or that you have small frustrations as you move about the rooms. A friend or family member can help you move the big pieces to rework the space. If you’re worried about tripping on a rug, for example, you can take it up or reposition it away from a high-traffic area. Bedside tables could be swapped out for ones that line up better with the bed, and so on. There’s no reason to put up with minor inconveniences when a quick spring cleaning rearrangement can help to make the rest of your year worry-free!

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.

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