College Park Retirement Blog

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.

Morningside senior couple prayingHere’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

Published in Retirement Communities

making new friends in assisted livingWe all remember that nervousness we felt on the first day of school or the first day on a new job, introducing ourselves to people who would become pals. Even with long lives of experience repeating this process over and over, it still involves the butterflies in the stomach of adjusting to change. When a senior begins the process of transitioning from a private home to a shared retirement community, it involves new faces and places to adopt as a new normal.

Maintaining an active, enjoyable social life is key to settling in to this exciting new chapter in a senior’s life. The good news is that MorningSide offers many opportunities to interact with new people. Activities include such things as Painting with Elizabeth on Tuesdays, knitting class on Thursdays, weekly social hour, fabulous meals, and outings to fascinating places like Indiana’s Underground Railroad.

Just because a senior moves to MorningSide, they doesn’t mean they have to lose touch with old friends. In fact, if a friend visits a resident and they decide to move in as well, the resident receives a $1,000 referral fee! Getting to live alongside an existing friend and getting rewarded for it is having your cake and eating it too! “Don’t miss this opportunity to choose your neighbors,” said Executive Director Jo Cowan.

It’s great whenever our friendships endure change, but growth comes from embracing new aspects of life. Experts say the key to overcoming loneliness and making new friendships is to put yourself out there and open your heart to possibilities.

Existing friends and trusted institutions like church are just some of the sources available to make new acquaintances in fresh locations. Sometimes it is a simple matter of striking up a conversation about sports, the old days, old neighborhoods, what it was like growing up, current events, cars, recipes, etc.

Signing up for a class, perhaps trying something we’ve never done before, can give even shy people the nudge needed to interact with others in meaningful ways.

Everyone enjoys some solitude, but having a social life pays off in many ways, both emotional and physical. Experts say socializing lowers blood pressure while remaining active keeps the mind and body healthy. Plus, we can get joy from helping others through tough times and take comfort when they reciprocate – it is important to treat others the way we want to be treated, remaining loyal and listening when others share.

Beyond the interactions inside our building, a senior can also use technology to make new friendships, communicating with old friends and family while making new connections on social networks like Facebook. There is a certain satisfaction in having others wish us a happy birthday or send holiday greetings.

MorningSide is just one of the ways seniors can make new friends in senior living.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Copyright: diego_cervo / 123RF Stock Photo

Published in Active Senior Living

alzheimersWhen a senior’s confusion and memory loss advances from mild to more serious, it’s important to see a doctor and get a diagnosis so that planning for the challenges of the future lessens the stress of uncertainty for those concerned.

Planning after the diagnosis allows the person with Alzheimer’s to participate in making decisions that help family and friends to know his or her wishes. Research helps the person know what to expect. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. It goes beyond simply having a few “senior moments” of forgetfulness.

Symptoms include:

  • Memory changes.
  • Difficulty planning or problem solving.
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks.
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Changes in mood and personality.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends consulting a medical doctor as soon as possible after recognizing symptoms for a thorough examination to rule out other possible causes for symptoms, then, once a diagnosis is confirmed, an attorney to assist with getting affairs in order.

It’s possible for someone with Alzheimer’s to live for several years after the first symptoms appear, but as the disease progresses, a person may lose his or her capacity to understand the appreciate the consequences of any executed legal document. Legal documents help ensure wishes are followed and make it possible for others to make decisions on a senior’s behalf when he or she no longer can. “Power of Attorney for health care” is a status that allows a designated person to make decisions regarding doctors, treatments, care facilities, end-of-life care decisions, and do not resuscitate orders.

It’s also important, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, to choose a trusted person to give durable power of attorney for finances and property. Failing to do this until a crisis hits can complicate matters in managing assets. AA also recommends drafting a living will and a standard will.

Gather all important documents that family may need to refer to. Having handy access to critical information can help family who may feel overwhelmed with the changes. It is completely normal, according to AA, for the adjustment to produce a variety of emotions, but there’s no reason to feel alone with resources and solutions available to help.

One such solution is Reflections Centre, our secure community for memory care with staff specially trained by the local Alzheimer's Association. Reflections Centre offers a safe, secure environment, complete with an enclosed outdoor courtyard. In a structured setting, the affected senior can maintain their dignity and comfort.

“Getting people to help you with certain tasks works better with a well-thought-out plan rather than trying to find help in an emergency situation. This plan will provide you — and the people assisting you — with confidence that the assistance you need will be there when you need it,” states advice on the Alzheimer’s Association website, www.alz.org
To learn more about Reflections Centre at MorningSide, call (844) 511-3456. To learn more about your local Alzheimer’s Association, the Greater Indiana Chapter, visit http://www.alz.org/indiana/

Note: The advice offered here is not a replacement for medical care or legal counsel. Always seek an expert opinion from your physician and attorney in such matters.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Published in Memory Care

Seniors write their life storyIn this age of technology, not everyone realizes just how much has changed in the past century. But taking the time to tell stories to your younger relatives can be a great way to share history and life lessons. They can’t always be around to listen to what you have to say, but you can still share your life with them!

Writing down your life experiences is a wonderful way to connect with your family. It will give them tangible memories to hold on to and learn from when you can’t be there to talk to them. Angela Burton, a creative writing instructor who hosts the Oh! I Remember workshop for seniors, says, “The true gift is the legacy they are leaving their families… These stories would be lost forever, but by writing them down, we are capturing their whole persona before it’s too late.”

Delving into your past and writing it down can be good not only for your family, but also for you! Taking a look back and reminiscing can help improve cognitive function in seniors. It keeps your imagination active, and writing can give you a means of self-expression.

If you decide to begin writing about your life, here are a few things that might help:

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

You never know how your life can affect the lives of others; even years after the fact, a lesson you learned can help someone else! Writing gives you a way to make that connection with future generations, and your family will cherish your stories for years to come!

Written by Chanel Bell

Published in Active Senior Living

senior enjoying indianapolis retirement livingMaking 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.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Published in Retirement Communities
Monday, 29 June 2015 15:09

Indy Seniors Beat the Heat this Summer

indianapolis museum of artLate spring was very wet this year in Indianapolis, but now that the solstice has passed and summer is officially here, it looks like sunnier, hotter weather is ahead. That’s good news for an-yone who was beginning to feel like they had wound up in Seattle instead of Indiana, but it does mean some health and safety precautions need to be taken to avoid dehydration, heat exhaustion, and other seasonal maladies that can affect the very young, the very old, and anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, from sports enthusiasts to outdoor pets.

The first trick to beating the heat is to stay inside. Plan activities like board games, scrapbooking, book club, crafts, or indoor exercise during the hottest parts of the day, from about noon to four in the afternoon. Staying indoors is also a great way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays during the part of the day when they are strongest. Save outdoor activities for the evening when it’s cooler— that’s a great time to tend to the garden, go to a baseball game, or take an after-diner stroll with loved ones.

Whether your summer fun is indoors or out, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Elderly people and those with chronic illnesses are especially susceptible to dehydration for a variety of factors. As we age, our bodies naturally retain less water, and kidney function may be reduced. Some medica-tions can also compromise the body’s ability to retain water. Seniors also may experience re-duced thirst or trouble swallowing, affecting their desire for fluids. Sipping on water, rather than tea, coffee, or soda, throughout the day, regardless of cravings can keep you hydrated. In fact, by the time you feel thirsty, you are already critically dehydrated.

There are many more serious side effects of dehydration than thirst to be aware of. One of the benefits of being a Morningside resident is the caring staff members who are trained in identifying such symptoms and keeping residents healthy. However, friendly and family may want to take note, as heat exhaustion and dehydration can affect people of any age. Symptoms can include mouth dryness, infrequent urination or urine that is a dark or deep yellow, cramping in limbs, headaches, the inability to cry tears, a general feeling of weakness or malaise, low blood pressure, rapid but weak pulse, dry or sunken eyes, or change in pace of breath.

Spending time indoors out of the heat is a great way to reduce the chances of chronic or dan-gerous dehydration. Fortunately, Indiana is a great place to enjoy cool summer pastimes as much as fun in the sun. Grab a milkshake from Bub’s Burgers and Ice Cream after enjoying the exhibits and programing at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana Medical History Museum, or the the Museum of Miniature Houses. Walk through a local shopping mall or go to see a movie to get a few extra hours of relief from the heat.

Indianapolis is a wonderful place to enjoy summer fun. You can pack in even more enjoyment simply by being safe and aware about how to stay hydrated and keep cool when temperatures spike! 

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Published in Active Senior Living
Friday, 27 February 2015 15:27

Walk Down Memory Lane In Indianapolis

Indianapolis seniors reminisceReminiscing is wonderful for many reasons. It can help keep your memory sharp, it can be a great way to spend time with loved ones, it can ease stress, and it can take you back to days gone by. If last month’s photos of Indianapolis in the 1960s and 70s brought back happy memories, now is the time to record them for yourself or for friends and family. Perhaps a child or grandchild, or a niece or nephew might help you with your memory project.

You could record your retelling of favorite stories and reminiscences with a simple cassette recorder or cellphone app. This could have an added level of excitement if you, say, attended a historic race, interesting moments in city history, or major concerts or exhibits that your friends and family were too young for and wish they had been able to attend. The added benefit to audio or video recording is that your loved ones will also have your voice preserved for years to come.

If recording your stories doesn’t appeal to you, you can jot them down in a notebook or journal. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider writing about your favorite photos, especially if they’re of an event, family members the younger generation might not have met, from a trip you took, or set in your hometown, like the information we shared about Indianapolis decades ago. Your friends and family will love having this record and you’ll have the joy of reliving some of life’s most exciting moments.

This is especially true as younger generations are highly nostalgic and interested in how things used to be. They might like some of the same musicians that you do, be curious about your records, or want to learn a skill like knitting, crocheting, or try their hand at family recipes. Sharing these things with them is a great way to combine an activity you can do together with a chance to talk and share your memories, all while making new ones.

Published in Retirement Communities

We rely on all sorts of medicines to relieve pain, lower blood sugar, improve circulation, and boost our immunity, but life gives us a natural way to help achieve all of these – and best of all, it’s free!

I’m talking about laughter.

It’s not just something most of us don’t do nearly enough – it’s strong medicine!

Here’s just a few ways a good chuckle affects our mind and body:

  • The Brain – Laughter dissolves distressing emotions because it is impossible to feel anxiety at the same time as joy. It restores our sense of balance, gives us perspective, keeps us grounded, increases intimacy with friends, increases creativity, and generally keeps us focused and alert. When the mood is light, we also tend to let go of disagreements and disappointments, which can manifest in physical stress on the rest of the body.
  • Hormones – Those good feelings are the result of the body releasing chemicals called endorphins that temporarily relieve pain.
  • Muscles – Laughing causes muscles to relax for up to 45 minutes after a chuckle ends. The human body normally experiences physical tension, so the release has a big impact.
  • Immune System – Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. This makes the body more resistant to disease.
  • The Heart – When we react with laughter, our blood vessels experience better functioning, which leads to increased blood flow, which can help guard us against cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks.
  • Sleep – With reduced stress, the body is better able to heal and renew while we enjoy a deeper sleep.

These are just a few of the ways that watching a funny movie or TV show may be just what the doctor ordered for Indiana seniors. 

Photo Credit: Isengardt via Compfight cc

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