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
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.
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
It’s normal to collect too many assets, some of which may be junk, through the years. But there often comes a time to cut the clutter and to downsize. For most senior empty nesters, their adult children have long out with families of their own. Sometimes due to health reasons, the senior may not capable living at their current home any longer.
When downsizing, paring down items comes with the territory. While some of us are excellent "dejunkers", others have a harder time. Lifehack.org says the best way to downsize is to start small. For example, begin by starting with a simple space to make significant progress. If not, it can start to feel overpowering if approached wholly– so work in moderation. Remind yourself that it has likely taken years to get everything, so you likely won’t finish in the first day, especially if you are suffering from issues with mobility.
The Top Dos and Don'ts for Downsizing
• Do Prioritize
• Don't Wait/Avoid Procrastination
• Do Be Aware of Hoarding Behavior
• Don't Be Too Sensitive
• Do Transform
• Don't Just Throw It Away
Before you assess your belongings, plan out your next move. Set manageable goals weekly for yourself. Start by sorting belongings into one of three boxes – give, keep, and discard. Begin sorting things to discard, as these items should be obvious, such as: old garments, dusty books, etc.
Try not to Wait
Whatever you do, avoid procrastination. Regardless if you think you have enough time. It will be a long, enduring process that requires several weeks and even months to complete – even with the assistance of family and friends. Tip: To avoid delaying, mark your calendar with each weekly goal to accomplish. This can help tremendously when in planning for the big move.
Do Be Aware of Hoarding Behavior
This often times unsanitary and unsafe lifestyle can be risky in seniors who are experiencing issues in mobility, as the possibility for falling is increased. While hoarding items is sometimes harmless, it can be an indication for underlying health issues, most commonly dementia or Alzheimer's in seniors.
Try not to Be Too Sensitive
Naturally, we become be attached to things that we find meaningful. So, discarding these items that are special to us can be incredibly challenging. With most difficult choices, do your best to take it moderation and carefully assess everything and it's level of significance. For questionable items, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Slanting questions with a closed-ended, yes-no answer will help make difficult decisions a bit easier.
To family and companions of seniors, understand the hard decisions ahead during this transition. Have patience, support, and encourage positive change amid this difficult time.
Transitioning into a downsized space means every inch counts! To adapt to your new, smaller home, transform each space with personal items. For example, photographs of family, work of art from the grandkids, and remembrances from your sweetie pie. At Regency Senior Living people group with Memory Care administrations, occupants are urged to keep their unique things in a memory box for safekeeping. Speaking of putting away, rather than tossing out your cherished things, save them in a new way, so you can keep them free from mess or harm. This technique works incredible for free photographs, music, and movies.
Don't Throw It Away
If you have things you wish to throw away, be aware of waste disposal options. Ask yourself, can this thing be reused, repurposed, or recycled? Don’t simply junk it! Recollect that one man's junk is another man's fortune.
It's critical to begin decluttering sooner than later to allow the move to Assisted Living to be a consistent and pleasant process. For more tips on scaling down seniors, visit: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/15-9-5-senior-cutting back tips/
Written by: Katie Hanley
“The air was full of sun and birds,
The fresh air sparkled clearly.
Remembrance wakened in my heart
And I knew I loved her dearly.
The fallows and the leafless trees
And all my spirit tingled.
My earliest thought of love, and Spring's
First puff of perfume mingled.
In my still heart the thoughts awoke,
Came lone by lone together -
Say, birds and Sun and Spring, is Love
A mere affair of weather?”
-Robert Louis Stevenson
Spring is a wonderful time at Morningside of College Park…the trees become green again, flowers start to bloom, and the warmer weather is a welcome change after a chilly winter. With the changing seasons also comes opportunity to explore nature and take advantage of outdoor activities.
There are many benefits to Seniors who spend some time soaking up the sun’s rays, as long as you are mindful of physical limitations and the risks associated with overexposure to the sun. Here are a few benefits:
The body needs sunlight in order to produce Vitamin D, which is particularly beneficial to seniors. This is because it is a building block for healthy and strong bones. Not only that, but studies are now showing a direct correlation to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and osteoporosis among those who don’t get enough Vitamin D.
A lot of people are familiar with Winter Depression, and the anxiety that can come along with it. While scientists haven’t firmly concluded what causes this seasonal mood change, they have confirmed that most people who suffer from it feel better after exposure to bright light. Spending time in the sun each day can help lower anxiety and increase happiness. According to Alfred Lewy, MD, a seasonal affective disorder researcher at the Oregon Health & Science University, the best time to take advantage of the sun is first thing in the morning because it helps to reset your circadian clock.
The best way to take advantage of the spring weather and sunshine is by getting out in it! There are so many things to do outside, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
However you plan on spending your time in the sun, be cautious and aware of how the sun affects you. To avoid skin damage, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, prepare in advance: wear light clothing and a hat, always apply sunscreen, stay hydrated, and avoid being in direct sunlight during peak hours (10 am-4 pm).
Exerting yourself too much in the sun can lead to cramped muscles, heat rash, swelling of extremities, exhaustion, and heat stroke. While you can protect yourself from the sun’s rays, it is more difficult to stay protected from the heat itself. Morningside of College Park offers a cool respite from the heat. “The lobby is now a great place to mingle with friends and neighbors and get acquainted,” says Jo Cowan, Executive Director.
So whether you are outside soaking up the sun, or inside cooling off for a bit, enjoy the new growth that spring brings to Morningside!
To learn more about Morningside of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.
When a senior is no longer able to perform tasks of daily life without a helping hand, they can either rely on family caregivers or move to an Assisted Living community.
There are many options for getting the funds to pay for such a move, from selling a home to getting a Long term care insurance policy to applying for a monthly pension through the Veterans Administration. The challenge, however, is finding ways to afford to move a senior sooner rather than later, as some of these financial tools can take weeks or months to process application paperwork.
Bridgette Duber, Senior Vice President of Sales for Elder Life Financial, said her company offers a low-interest, unsecured line of credit to up to six people for three years to bridge the gap between moving and receiving funds.
“We offer multiple solutions,” she said. “One phone call and the senior has access to everything we can provide.”
Approval often comes within 24-48 hours, and the borrowers only have to pay back the accumulated interest, offered at a rate of 8.25%.
Such a “bridge loan” can pay for the costs of assisted living while an “aid and attendance” application makes its way to the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, for inspection and approval. The monthly federal pension helps pay the cost of assisted living with married veterans eligible for up to $2,123 a month.
Elder Life’s line of credit also helps pay the cost of living expenses while collecting on a Long-term Care Insurance policy or converting a life insurance policy to cover daily needs rather than final expenses.
“Companion Living” can stretch dollars further by lowering the cost of living in a senior community by taking on a roommate – a good option for those who actually enjoy the close companionship.
Use of Medicaid to pay for senior care can be a last resort for low-income seniors if they can meet the strict financial guidelines in order to qualify. Medicaid wavers come from specific state programs to provide care and support to individuals outside of nursing homes, which are more expensive than Assisted Living communities. Indiana’s program considers an applicant’s income relative to their cost of care.
Indiana Home and Community-Based Services Waivers allow Indiana Medicaid programs to pay for services that are provided in a community setting rather than a Medicaid funded facility or institution. Persons must qualify for institutional care in order to be eligible for the services.
Other government resources include Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Survivors’ Benefits, and State SSI Supplementary Payments.
Those with personal property may apply their resources to pay for Assisted Living, take out private loans or use their home equity. Life insurance that’s converted to pay for care, Long Term Care Insurance, Medicare, and other health insurance goes to pay for senior care in many cases.
Long Term Care Insurance can be an attractive option because monthly premiums are known in advance, allowing seniors to build them into a budget. Such policies may also offer flexibility to meet a variety of needs. Most of these policies come with elimination periods during which time the senior is not yet eligible for any benefits, typically between 20 and 100 days, making a line of credit from Elder Life more important for the senior who wants to start enjoy life in an Assisted Living community as soon as possible.
To learn more about moving to MorningSide of College Park Senior Living Community, call (317) 872-4567.
Making a move from a longtime home to an Indianapolis Assisted Living Community can be frightening for seniors, but it actually offers a lot of benefits that might not be apparent at first. Explaining these things can go a long way toward making the senior feel better about the transition.
For most of us, home represents independence and privacy in our minds, but these things are not necessarily lost in the move.
What does get lost is much of the hassles of living alone. Most retirement communities give residents the option to modify a space to make it feel more like home, including moving furniture and personal items.
The spacious apartments at MorningSide of College Park offer individually controlled heat and air, large bathrooms and full kitchens for independent retirement living. Our top of the line “Waterford” apartment provides 1,160-square-feet including two bedrooms and two baths.
Our Assisted Living program is more about providing services to help with dining, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, medication reminders, housekeeping and laundry, and mobility. MorningSide staff help straighten the senior’s apartment daily, wash dishes, take out the trash, wash and dry or iron personal laundry.
Living alone in a house also potentially means other challenges that simply no longer exist for them when a senior transitions to a place like MorningSide: No more yard to mow, leaves to rake, snow to shovel, weeds to pull, light bulbs to change, or carpet to vacuum. Someone else takes care of these chores. At the same time, hobbies such as gardening are still possible.
With activities provided and new friendships-in-waiting, we vanquish boredom and set the stage for relationships. Games, visits from entertainers and trips to various destinations make the days of sitting home alone a thing of the past.
It’s also worth considering that MorningSide of College Park is a safe environment where seniors can relax and not worry about home invasions or aggressive solicitors. Retirement communities are also there with assistance if a senior falls or needs help in other ways. After decades of living in urban spaces, someone can finally feel safe because they can spend time alone living in a space shared with many others.
Apartment-style senior living is an ideal living arrangement for those who value their privacy but also appreciate the peace-of-mind that comes from having a helping hand. Call (317) 872-4567 to schedule a consultation and tour of MorningSide of College Park.
Late spring was very wet this year in Indianapolis, but now that the solstice has passed and summer is officially here, it looks like sunnier, hotter weather is ahead. That’s good news for an-yone who was beginning to feel like they had wound up in Seattle instead of Indiana, but it does mean some health and safety precautions need to be taken to avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion, and other seasonal maladies that can affect the very young, the very old, and anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, from sports enthusiasts to outdoor pets.
The first trick to beating the heat is to stay inside. Plan activities like board games, scrapbooking, book club, crafts, or indoor exercise during the hottest parts of the day, from about noon to four in the afternoon. Staying indoors is also a great way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays during the part of the day when they are strongest. Save outdoor activities for the evening when it’s cooler— that’s a great time to tend to the garden, go to a baseball game, or take an after-diner stroll with loved ones.
Whether your summer fun is indoors or out, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Elderly people and those with chronic illnesses are especially susceptible to dehydration for a variety of factors. As we age, our bodies naturally retain less water, and kidney function may be reduced. Some medica-tions can also compromise the body’s ability to retain water. Seniors also may experience re-duced thirst or trouble swallowing, affecting their desire for fluids. Sipping on water, rather than tea, coffee, or soda, throughout the day, regardless of cravings can keep you hydrated. In fact, by the time you feel thirsty, you are already critically dehydrated.
There are many more serious side effects of dehydration than thirst to be aware of. One of the benefits of being a Morningside resident is the caring staff members who are trained in identifying such symptoms and keeping residents healthy. However, friendly and family may want to take note, as heat exhaustion and dehydration can affect people of any age. Symptoms can include mouth dryness, infrequent urination or urine that is a dark or deep yellow, cramping in limbs, headaches, the inability to cry tears, a general feeling of weakness or malaise, low blood pressure, rapid but weak pulse, dry or sunken eyes, or change in pace of breath.
Spending time indoors out of the heat is a great way to reduce the chances of chronic or dan-gerous dehydration. Fortunately, Indiana is a great place to enjoy cool summer pastimes as much as fun in the sun. Grab a milkshake from Bub’s Burgers and Ice Cream after enjoying the exhibits and programing at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana Medical History Museum, or the the Museum of Miniature Houses. Walk through a local shopping mall or go to see a movie to get a few extra hours of relief from the heat.
Indianapolis is a wonderful place to enjoy summer fun. You can pack in even more enjoyment simply by being safe and aware about how to stay hydrated and keep cool when temperatures spike!
One of the best parts of retirement, and especially retirement at a senior community, is that so many things in your life get simplified. No more work, no more big house to maintain and keep clean, no more chores fro the most part. Instead, you finally get to focus on living life to its fullest. Still, even if there’s no more waxing linoleum and sheets to wash, a little spring cleaning can make your home feel as new and fresh as the season itself. We’ve got a few easy ideas for how you can air out your daily routine and make sure life goes extra smoothly all spring and summer long: