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
It’s extremely common in seniors to not feel the Christmas cheer that follows this time of year, particularly in those who are adapting to a major life change, loss of loved ones or friends, and seasonal depression. In these cases, seniors may feel lacking the seasonal spark, but don’t be discouraged. You can help lift their spirits. Do away with the winter blues by following these simple strategies so everyone in the family can have a cheerful Christmas.
Let’s break these down a bit further.
The key to getting through the Christmas season is finding peace. During the holidays, remain calm and keep a positive attitude. Simply remind yourself the true meaning of Christmas to you. This will offer solitude to all around you. To stay positive, suggest fun activities to do together - like stringing the popcorn on the tree. This will offer a task for everyone to keep busy and happy.
Families who wish to exchange presents with their loved ones, but cannot afford to do so, often feel grief. Many seniors often find themselves wanting to do more than is possible within their means. At Regency, we suggest spending more time than money towards your loved ones this holiday season. Also, if you have extra time this Christmas, volunteer at the community kitchen to feed the hungry or donate coats to help those in need.
Making new memories, whether volunteering or stringing popcorn, is what Christmas is all about. It’s a time to get together with family and reminisce. Our senior residents love to share their stories and memories with those who will listen. Take the time this holiday season to share old memories and make new ones with the seniors in your life.
Seasonal depression is common in adults, and it is rapidly increasing within the senior community. This could be from a lack of sunlight or the harsh reminders of previous holidays, coping with life changes, or the loss of loved ones. Be mindful for the symptoms of depression, displaying low spirits.
Low spirits can also come from inability to meet expectations. In seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s, holidays just are not the same as they were before. The family dynamic at some level has changed. For many seniors suffering from memory loss, the holidays can be a confusing time. Be thoughtful and use caution to not make them feel anxious or elevate confusion when they are struggling.
Our holiday mission at MorningSide of College Park is to remind everyone why we celebrate Christmas. In our senior living community, we offer a multitude of on-campus activities to spark the seasonal spirit. These holiday activities may include:
The holidays are the time to be surrounded by family – that is the greatest gift, after all. Help us make this Christmas season special for the senior in your life. Whatever the season holds for you, MorningSide is honored to celebrate these special times with you and your family. Happy Holidays!
Written by: Katie Hanley
Making a move from a longtime home to an Indianapolis Assisted Living Community can be frightening for seniors, but it actually offers a lot of benefits that might not be apparent at first. Explaining these things can go a long way toward making the senior feel better about the transition.
For most of us, home represents independence and privacy in our minds, but these things are not necessarily lost in the move.
What does get lost is much of the hassles of living alone. Most retirement communities give residents the option to modify a space to make it feel more like home, including moving furniture and personal items.
The spacious apartments at MorningSide of College Park offer individually controlled heat and air, large bathrooms and full kitchens for independent retirement living. Our top of the line “Waterford” apartment provides 1,160-square-feet including two bedrooms and two baths.
Our Assisted Living program is more about providing services to help with dining, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, medication reminders, housekeeping and laundry, and mobility. MorningSide staff help straighten the senior’s apartment daily, wash dishes, take out the trash, wash and dry or iron personal laundry.
Living alone in a house also potentially means other challenges that simply no longer exist for them when a senior transitions to a place like MorningSide: No more yard to mow, leaves to rake, snow to shovel, weeds to pull, light bulbs to change, or carpet to vacuum. Someone else takes care of these chores. At the same time, hobbies such as gardening are still possible.
With activities provided and new friendships-in-waiting, we vanquish boredom and set the stage for relationships. Games, visits from entertainers and trips to various destinations make the days of sitting home alone a thing of the past.
It’s also worth considering that MorningSide of College Park is a safe environment where seniors can relax and not worry about home invasions or aggressive solicitors. Retirement communities are also there with assistance if a senior falls or needs help in other ways. After decades of living in urban spaces, someone can finally feel safe because they can spend time alone living in a space shared with many others.
Apartment-style senior living is an ideal living arrangement for those who value their privacy but also appreciate the peace-of-mind that comes from having a helping hand. Call (317) 872-4567 to schedule a consultation and tour of MorningSide of College Park.
Life these days is pretty hectic for most people, making it more challenging for us to spend time with loved ones, but technology is helping grandparents get in front of family they don’t see nearly as much as they’d like to in person.
According to a CNN.com article, video chat in particular is revolutionizing how seniors interact with their precious family.
“For grandparents who are online -- and a recent Pew study suggests 53% of American adults over 65 are, with one in three of those seniors using social networks -- living apart from grandkids doesn't mean never seeing them,” author Shannon Cook writes.
In the article, Cook interviews several seniors who use the videoconferencing software Skype and Google+ Hangouts to chat with grandchildren over the Internet.
“Video chats have become routine when my parents are at their home in Maryland,” Cook writes. “Dad will pick up colorful objects -- a Buzz Lightyear figurine, a sombrero, a bird feeder -- and move them toward his laptop's tiny camera lens, making (his granddaughter Kylie) squeal or say, ‘What's that funny thing, Granddad?’ And mom will hold up an outfit she bought for her granddaughter to see if it meets our approval (it usually does)… Unable to attend Kylie's first birthday party, they watched us from laptops we set up on top of bookshelves. They watched Kylie slap her teeny hand into her cake's white frosting as everyone sang happy birthday. Every now and then, we'd look up and wave or raise a glass of champagne.”
Even very small children are usually proficient at using new technology such as iPhones or tablet computers. The CNN article notes how the kids are typically not that impressed with tech-savvy retirees, simply expecting everyone to know how to use the gadgets they’ve always had available to them.
Aside from video conferencing, seniors can also reach out via email messages, text messages (which are especially popular with teens), social media websites, and sharing photos in the “cloud”. There’s no “too old” for being active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or blogging on one’s own website. Indeed, many people consider these to be great ways of staying connected to friends and family, as well as fun ways to pass the time.
For Indianapolis seniors who are willing to try new things, technology can be a great way to tap into a much larger world and put the faces of loved ones at their virtual fingertips.
Wanting to stay fit and healthy, but not sure how to do it?
Staying in motion brings a lot of benefits, particularly reducing the symptoms and slowing the progress of a number of chronic conditions. Fitness doesn’t require a gym membership. In fact, you can find ways to incorporate a basic workout into the things you already do every day.
Walk instead of Riding in a Car: When you are traveling a short distance, the path of least resistance is moving your car from one parking spot to another closer to your destination. Instead, if you’re physically able, trying walking. Sure, it’s more effort, but walking helps us lose weight and build muscle, plus you won’t have to burn gas circling a parking lot in search of a vacant space.
Take the Stairs instead of an Elevator: Unless you’re needing to get from the ground to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, it’s not unreasonable to consider climbing the hard way if you don’t have mobility issues.
Turn everyday objects into Weights: As long as you are able to securely grip something you improvise for a dumbbell, you can grow stronger. Don’t overdo it because you don’t want to strain muscles or injure yourself by accidentally dropping something heavy on your feet. Think lighter, but with more repetitive movements.
Take advantage of Settings: If you are visiting family and the grandkids want to swim this summer, the pool can be a great place to do low-impact exercise. Use local walking trails for a leisurely stroll. And walk the halls of MorningSide of College Park, taking the opportunity to exercise while socializing.
Of course, you never want to start an exercise regimen without first consulting your physician to make sure you avoid injury.
Talk to us at Morningside of College Park Senior Living Community about ways we help keep seniors healthy and physically active.