College Park Retirement Blog
Wednesday, 31 August 2016 20:10

Assisted Living Linked to Long-Term Happiness

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. Indianapolis retirement community

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

Published in Retirement Communities
Friday, 29 July 2016 14:58

Assisted Living: Is it Time?

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. assisted living indianapolis

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

Published in Retirement Communities
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 14:57

Tips for Making Retirement Savings Last

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?Indianapolis retirement living

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

Published in Retirement Communities
Friday, 27 May 2016 18:23

Healthy Choices Key to Healthy Aging

Wouldn’t it be glorious to travel back in time and speak to the younger version of ourselves in order to warn of the dangers to our physical bodies associated with bad habits, and also to reinforce the importance of good habits? Unfortunately, a time machine has not been invented yet, so lessening the impact of our past choices, while making healthy choices now, is the best option available.

The first step to creating healthy habits is to understand how the body is impacted as it ages. It is natural for the following body parts to decline as we age:elder care indianapolis

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

There are steps that can be taken in order to minimize the long-term impact on each of these parts of the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, the following steps are suggested:

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

Staying active and making positive lifestyle changes are the keys to living a long and healthy life, according to the National Institute on Aging. While we can’t travel back in time to make better choices, we can make conscious decisions to maintain our health and not further damage our physical bodies.

One thing that experts agree on is that a healthy diet that includes moderate exercise is imperative in order to live a longer and healthier life. Following these suggested tips reduces risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes, and other health issues. At MorningSide of College Park, there are various physical and educational activities each month such as Flower Planting on June 6th, and a Men’s Health Awareness talk on June 13th

Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise plan or making major changes that can affect health. To learn more, visit http://www.nihseniorhealth.gov.

To learn more about MorningSide of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.

Written by Kristen Camden

Published in Active Senior Living

While Alzheimer’s is not the only form of dementia, it is the most common, accounting for 60 – 80% of all dementia cases. Seniors 65 and older are typically the group of people affected by this type of dementia, but that does not make it a normal part of aging. It only means that increased age is the greatest risk factor known at this time.

Typically, age-related memory loss is normal to a certain extent. While many of these lapses in memory are normal, it is important to be aware of signs and symptoms of early Alzheimer’s, as it may be difficult to otherwise distinguish between the two. Alzheimer’s can cause a loved one to develop memory, thinking, and behavioral problems, which increasingly worsen over time and can eventually affect their ability to function in daily life.

So, how do you differentiate between them? Here are a few examples:

Symptoms of early Alzheimer's                                 Typical age-related memory loss

Changes in decision-making abilities/ Poor judgment       Occasionally making a poor decision  

Difficulty managing a monthly budget                           Forgetting to pay a bill once

Difficulty keeping track of what season it is                   Forgetting what day it is then remembering

Difficulty following or maintaining a conversation            Difficulty with trying to find the right word

Placing things in unusual places and then not                Misplacing things occasionally 
being able to retrace steps to locate them

More warning signs include: difficulty completing familiar daily tasks, spending more time than usual to do familiar things, forgetting how to play a favorite game, not knowing where they are or how they got there, difficulty retaining newly learned information, problems with vision and judging distance, personality and mood changes, and withdrawing from social activities and hobbies.

You may be thinking to yourself that your loved one has exhibited one or more of those signs. Before assuming the worst, it is also important to note that there are many reasons that a senior could be experiencing abnormal memory loss. For example, some seniors may be experiencing symptoms that are caused by a treatable condition like thyroid problems, drug interactions, substance or alcohol abuse, depression, and even a vitamin deficiency.memory care indianapolis

Individuals can experience one or more of these signs to varying degrees, and they develop slowly over time, making early detection very important. That is why it is essential to call your doctor if you notice a loved one exhibiting any of these symptoms, as well as be completely open with the doctor during the examination.

Although there is not yet a cure for Alzheimer’s, there is continued research and treatment that is available to slow the progression and worsening of symptoms. If diagnosed early enough, this will help improve the quality of life for your loved one and caregiver, as well as prolong levels of independence.

Broaching the topic takes delicacy, and may be uncomfortable for your loved one. But early diagnosis is key in order to plan ahead and allow the senior to make their wishes known regarding their future medical care and living arrangements.

Morningside of College Park Retirement Community offers our experience and resources to care for those with Alzheimer's and other memory-related challenges. The Reflections Centre offers the finest care for your loved one, and our staff is trained by our local Alzheimer's Association.

Alzheimer’s is only one form of dementia, and it has many myths and stereotypes associated with it, so it is always best to seek a professional opinion in order to determine the cause of the memory loss. The Alzheimer’s Association also offers helpful information regarding symptoms, research, treatment, and support.

Visit their website for more information: http://www.alz.org/ 

To learn more about Morningside of College Park, call (844) 511-3456.

Written by Kristen Camden

Published in Memory Care

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