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.
Copyright: warrengoldswain / 123RF Stock Photo
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.
Copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo
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
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
There are many great reasons for retirees to visit or relocate to the area, but one key to the quality of life here is the rich abundance of things for seniors to see and do in Indianapolis, IN – many of the activities at a reduced price for seniors, or free.
MorningSide of College Park is located about 30 minutes from Downtown Indianapolis, which offers a wealth of things to see and do. The major attractions are:
Here in Indianapolis, our veteran residents and history buffs will love exploring the Indiana War Memorial Museum, dedicated to those who fought and continue to fight for our freedom. The 30,000 square foot exhibit displays artifacts and information ranging from the Revolutionary War to present day, in an effort to educate the public regarding Indiana’s involvement in America’s military history. During your tour you will find a wonderful collection of weapons, uniforms, medals, artillery, and military equipment, including an AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter. Tours are free to the public and metered parking is available. Call to schedule your guided tour today!
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis – For those seeking an attraction to entertain grandchildren, you’ll hit pay dirt here. Science comes alive in the multiple exhibits designed for children, including space, dinosaurs, geology, geography, a carousel, theatre, and train! Tickets are $22.50 for seniors over 60 and $19 for children and teens.
Victory Field – Take me out the ballgame! The Ballpark at Victory Field is a minor league baseball park and home to the Indianapolis Indians. Located off of 65 South, enjoy a home game with the family, and maybe a bag of peanuts and cracker jacks, too.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Get front row seats to the heart of Indy, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. No other motorsports facility in the world can claim the rich history and automotive tradition as this racetrack. Dubbed "The Greatest Race Course in the World", the 2.5-mile oval laid the foundation for modern racing as we know it today.
Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site – The reconstructed carriage house, Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, is dedicated to the only U.S. President elected from the state of Indiana. Serving the public with educational and historical value, the Presidential museum promotes patriotism in all of us. For seniors, an elevator allows full museum access to all visitors, including those with disabilities.
Central Canal – Escape to Venice, Italy! Enjoy a gondola ride through the Indiana Central Canal as your Old World Gondolier serenades you… in Italian! This whimsical thoroughfare offers romance and spectacular sights of the city. Rides board at Fresco Cafe at Indiana Avenue. Public rides last 30 minutes at $30 per person. Private tours are also available upon request, April through October.
Indy Fun Trolley Tours – Take in all the popular sights, sounds, and local favorites that Indianapolis has to offer during a guided 75 minute tour in an authentic trolley. Open season is April through October. Ask about senior and military discounts!
Taste Indy Food Tours – Take a guided tour through the city for all the local dives and dig in! Along the way, your tour guides will inform you about the rich history of the city. Better come hungry!
Senior discounts are available at select hotels, retail stores, restaurants, and grocery stores near these attractions. At MorningSide of College Park Senior Living, we arrange for our residents to participate in group outings to local attractions. Being part of a group of peers living together in Indianapolis Assisted Living makes for a great way to experience these sights and sounds.
To learn more about things for seniors to do in Indianapolis, IN, visit http://www.visitindy.com/
Written by: Katie Hanley
As we pack away the Christmas decorations and think of our New Year’s Resolutions, we reflect on this wonderful year and the new year upon us. We look forward to seeing the many familiar smiling faces and meeting the new ones that will join our Regency family in 2017. If you are considering assisted living for your aging parents whom have expressed concern with the idea, let’s take a minute to evaluate a new perspective on senior living along with the four ways of overcoming objections to senior care changes.
Do Research First – Before approaching the conversation of senior care with your loved ones, first observe their health condition and carefully evaluate their specific needs. For example, do they require help with mobility? Or do they require memory care from the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s? If they object to senior care, our experts suggest consulting with their primary health care professional for further recommendations. Once you have gathered your information regarding senior care, respectfully present your findings in a way that shows your concerns come from a place of love instead of frustration.
Use Your Resources – It’s not uncommon for older adults to object to change, especially when those changes involve senior living. If you and your family are not in agreement about future plans, use your resources and ask for outside help. Seek advice from someone that knows your loved ones well, whether it be their physician, nurse practitioner, minister, or friends. Getting a new perspective from a trustworthy source can weigh heavily on the matter when it comes to swaying opinions.
Begin Now and Take it Slow – When is the best time to begin planning for the future? We get this question all the time. The answer is now! Don’t wait until it’s too late to make important decisions like family estate planning and medical wishes. While the conversation is never a fun topic, it is important to plan ahead for hypothetical and inevitable situations. While it is a good idea to start sooner than later, don’t do it all at once. Suggest the idea of senior care gradually and without forced acceptance. This is a very sensitive time for everyone involved. To avoid arguments and hurt feelings, remember to take things slowly when discussing important life decisions and give them ample time to decide. Doing so will allow them to weigh the options and help them to have a more positive perspective towards senior living.
Offer Valid Reasons to Consider – By suggesting multiple options for the future and letting your aging loved ones pick, they will be less likely to feel as if they were forced into the final decision without their consent. Begin by telling them the reasons why you would like them to be at a senior health care facility and not at home. The conversation should be brief, precise, and articulate. To do so, evaluate the pros if they choose to move into Regency senior living community. For example, our senior living facility offers many things that they cannot get living at home. These may include: regular senior interaction, daily campus activities and events, freshly prepared meals, and constant daily care from health care professionals and staff. Once you have gone through the list of pros together, list out the cons, and then compare to living at home. Doing so will help narrow down the options and pick the right one for you and your loved ones.
It’s important to discuss the idea of transitioning into senior living with your aging loved ones. When and if possible, always involve them in every aspect of the conversation and planning. It is very common for older adults to resist senior care changes to some extent because no one wants to lose their freedom, no matter the age. Our Regency family understands that while things will change, we still encourage our residents to live as independently as they were before.
If you are interested in learning more about our services or to receive a free, no obligation consultation with one of our Regency specialists, please schedule an appointment today. We would love to welcome you and yours into our Regency family.
Written by: Katie Hanley
While it may seem boring to younger generations, spending time with seniors can be mutually beneficial. Cross generational interaction can pass along knowledge and wisdom in addition to being fun. As Margaret Mead said, “Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, a knowledge of the past and a sense of the future.”
Keeping an open mind can help people of varying ages appreciate the challenges and opportunities that come with the territory. Interaction can be as simple as grandchildren teaching loved ones technology or grandparents sharing stories of their childhood or teenage years. The purpose is to develop a better understanding of each other. Along the way it is important to realize that there may be a collision of values along the way.
While the different generations may seem to have little in common with each other, stories and experiences can have a resonate deeply. Joining together can break down stereotypes and alter viewpoints. “We don’t have to agree with the values of different generations, but we can strive to understand the mind-sets of different generations and how each group sees the world based on their experiences,” says Dr. Morris Massey, an organizational development scholar.
Bridging the division that accompany age gaps can require flexibility in thoughts and actions. Individuals are shaped by history and life events. Today’s seniors and millennials can both relate to economic down turn. Baby Boomers were heavily influenced by the Great Depression, while Generation X have been affected by double digit inflation and a shrinking job market.
Intergenerational activity can be beneficial for all involved. The activity reduces isolation and poverty among seniors, while serving as a mentor that can enhance the lives of younger generations. Contact can enable the generations to become advocates for one another. The interaction can unite ages and develop solutions for illiteracy, crime prevention, health and environmental issues. According to Generations United, seniors who participate in intergenerational activities experience a higher quality of life and remain engaged in their communities. Additionally, these seniors remain active and engaged, leading to better mental and physical health.
Intergenerational activity plays a vital role in life at Regency Senior Living. Not only does our younger staff interact and assist the residents, they value and appreciate the wisdom and life experiences they share. We recognize the value of seniors and the contributions they make in any capacity.
Our Vice President of Business Development, Jeff Clay, remarks, “For those volunteers, both young and old, we create opportunities for intergenerational experiences.” To learn more about our volunteer opportunities and how you can enhance the lives of seniors, please call 844-511-3456.
Happiness is a relative term for most people, and its meaning widely varies from person to person as well. Happiness can be found in hobbies, travel, wealth, family, friendships, or in many other places. But did you know that research suggests there is a strong tie between social bonding and a person’s long-term physical and mental health?
In 1938, Harvard University began a study which tracked 724 men who came from a variety of backgrounds – from rich to poor, educated to uneducated. They began by interviewing each man about their life and medically examining their blood work and brains as well, and continued this process every two years. Now, the surviving participants are in their 90s, for the most part, and the findings have proven to be very intriguing.
According to Robert Waldinger, professor of psychology and the fourth director of the Harvard study, 75 years of research has compiled fairly solid clues that lead to a couple of conclusions: people who are challenged with physical problems often experience unhappiness in later years; people who are physically healthier and have strong social bonds tend to be physically and mentally healthier in the long-term.
Even though an argument can be made that making friends at any age is difficult, consider the various social stages of a person’s life. During school years, you are surrounded by people who you can form bonds with, and the same applies to post-graduation as you move into a career. But, what happens after retirement when that built-in social network falls away?
This is where an Assisted Living community, like MorningSide of College Park, can play a vital role in long-term happiness. Waldinger suggests that people who make an effort to build new social relationships after retiring are much more likely to live happier lives as they age.
By moving into an Assisted Living community, the isolation that tends to accompany retirement does not impact a person as much. This is due to the design of the structured environment, which facilitates creating new social bonds, while also allowing individuals to find time to themselves.
At MorningSide of College Park, there are many planned activities each month, from physical activities to group outings. Seniors can further bond over games, meals, movies, worship, and much more. Even a person who has never considered himself to be a “social butterfly” may spread his social wings by finding common ground with another resident during a meal or activity. While moving into an unfamiliar place may be daunting at first, most residents relay that they feel as if they genuinely belong with their new “family” after the first few weeks.
A healthy balance of social interaction and physical activity found in an Assisted Living community can be the key to happiness that many aging seniors search for after retirement. It can also be the key to living a longer life, both mentally and physically.
To learn more about MorningSide of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
Written by Kristen Camden
Determining when the time is right for an aging parent or disabled loved one to move into an Assisted Living community, like MorningSide of College Park, may not be an easy thing to do. Most people do not relish the idea of leaving their home and moving into a foreign residence, regardless of how necessary or beneficial it may be.
This life-changing decision may be a source of major conflict for families and especially for the senior facing the situation. Think of it in terms of a high school student who graduated and is now leaving home to live in a dorm at college. Anxiety, homesickness, and a wide variety of other emotions arise when a person moves to an unfamiliar place, where they may not know anyone and must make new friends.
So, how does a grown child or family determine when the time is right to transition their aging parent into an Assisted Living community? There may be signs that prompt this consideration to occur, including:
• Housework and cooking become too difficult
• Remembering to take medicines is difficult
• Human interaction is limited to family or an occasional visit from a friend
• Being home alone cause fear and uneasiness
• Family spends most of their time on the loved one’s housework, lawn maintenance, home repairs, and personal care, as opposed to sharing time together and making memories
• Driving becomes difficult or impossible, causing the senior to rely on others to make it to appointments or even go shopping
Although having the “talk” may be difficult to initiate, it is an incredibly important first step. Be sure to have an open and honest conversation, where concerns are expressed and also listened to on each side, and then options are carefully and objectively weighed. Experts recommend giving options to choose between, as opposed to dictating how, when and what is going to happen.
It is also helpful to visit a variety of Assisted Living communities, in order for the individual to see the environment for themselves. There may be a preconceived notion that living in this type of community will be cold, sterile, and hospital-like; this misconception is related to nursing homes, which concentrate on giving skilled medical care.
In contrast, Assisted Living communities simply provide seniors with their own apartment, with the added benefit of trained staff to help with laundry, medications, and housekeeping. Residents are able to come and go freely, enjoy their meals in a social dining setting, and participate in planned activities.
MorningSide of College Park helps find the balance between an aging loved one’s desire for independence and social interaction with a family’s need for the peace of mind that comes along with knowing help is never far away.
To learn more about MorningSide of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
Written by Kristen Camden
Unless a person wins the lottery or inherits a large sum of money, it is safe to assume that most people know that planning for retirement is a very important thing to do. Planning and saving money for the future is a topic that has been drilled into society’s head, especially since the workforce landscape changed in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Prior to the introduction of the portable 401(k) plan, many people would spend their entire career (which could be 30 years or more) with one company and then receive their pension when retired. That provided a certain type of “security” which faded as the portable 401(k) plan started being offered by companies.
These plans are positive for anyone who wants to change jobs and take their savings with them, but unfortunately not everyone takes advantage of them early enough – or at all, in some cases – in order to save enough money to retire comfortably and at the desired age. The US average life expectancy is now 81.2 years for women and 76.4 years for men, which makes time a liability in regard to planning for retirement.
How is anyone expected to juggle financial responsibilities like home mortgages, bills, children and their education, while trying to also save money for the future? And how do those who were affected by the housing crisis in 2008 and 2009 bounce back from their financial losses so they can save for retirement?
There are a few options that experts suggest in order to stretch money during retirement years. These tips will help those who need to live in an Assisted Living community, like MorningSide of College Park, afford it when the time comes.
• Start Saving Early – Saving for retirement can never start too early. When young adults begin working, it is very important that they begin contributing to their 401(k) in order to begin compounding interest.
• Consult Professionals – Financial advisors can be very helpful when planning retirement. A “fiduciary” is legally obligated to offer advice and act in the best interest of their client, and can help plan retirement in a way that may save or defer tax burdens.
• Save Extra – There are people who are confident they are saving enough money to last through retirement, but they may not factor in medical emergencies, job loss, etc., which is why it is important to save even more than necessary.
• Don’t Rely on Social Security/Medicaid – The US News & World Report states that fewer people will be working to support retirees by 2050. One in six aging Americans live below the poverty line, which means the probability is high that the safety net will be strained as well.
• Keep Options Open – There may come a time when seniors must consider ways to finance their care, and flexibility could play an essential role. Some options to consider during this time are selling a home, living with a companion, and getting a reverse mortgage or low interest bridge loan.
Additional advice from experts includes: continuing to work after retirement, staying active and healthy in order to reduce health risks and medical bills, obtaining Long-Term Care Insurance, consolidating debt and paying off credit cards, and cutting back on spending. The last suggestion seems obvious enough, but it does take willpower and discipline.
Procrastination will only delay the inevitable. For seniors who want to travel, remain self-sufficient, and leave no burden on their family, it is imperative to plan ahead in addition to saving continually. Saving today will pay off when the time comes. Literally.
To learn more about MorningSide of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
Written by Kristen Camden