College Park Retirement Blog

We never grow too old to laugh, or to savor life’s little moments. The way we respond to stimuli may change through the years, but it’s always possible to find joy in the present moment. That’s why a good senior living community focuses, not only on physical health and wellness, but quality of life, too. Like author Phillip Pullman said, “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

That’s why many retirement communities are starting to incorporate storytelling as a way to engage seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Instead of focusing on the stress of recalling facts and details that might be just out of reach, storytelling is a more expansive process that embraces the imagination. That creates an easy way for seniors to share their thoughts, feelings, sense of humor, and even distant associations, without as much pressure to fulfill expectations, social roles, and keep track of shifting memories.

One of the major benefits of assisted living is the opportunity to socialize, communicate, and avoiding the isolation and loneliness that can limit seniors quality of life. Storytelling is a great way to include memory care patients in the community and help them avoid becoming withdrawn from the stress of word acquisition and recalling names, dates, or other details.

Indianapolis dementia care activitiesThe process works like this: a trained professional, or even just an enthusiastic caregiver, can show individuals or groups pictures of people, animals, or different situations. Participants can then be invited to imagine a world around each image. What are the people in the pictures are doing? What their lives are like? A man in a business suit, for example, might be imagined to be on his way to work. Or residents might picture him on a top secret spy mission. Or headed home to his family. The possibilities are endless—as diverse as the seniors participating in the exercise.

Participants might not be able to tell you the name of their former coworkers, but they may remember how they felt about their business partner and ascribe that to the man in the photo, for example, or give him some of the same characteristics. Talking through those possibilities provides a great topic of discussion that is not only a cognitive workout, but keeps residents grounded in the present moment.

Similar storytelling exercises can incorporate music or even dance—anything that uses seniors’ natural creativity to share what they’re thinking and feeling with their friends and loved one. You could try painting or drawing what a song makes you see or feel. Or take a trip to a local museum and talk about what the people in the portraits on display are thinking about, while they were being painted. There are so many different possibilities, and such simple activities can have a surprisingly big impact on retirement home residents’ sense of agency and joy.

Written by: Meghan O’Dea

Published in Memory Care

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.

Indianapolis retirement homeHere’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
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 22:15

Senior Care Options Available to You

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.

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The Six Senior Care Types:

  • Independent Living Care
  • In-home Care
  • Assisted Living Care
  • Memory Care
  • Respite Care
  • Nursing Home Care

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

Published in Retirement Communities

As we pack away the Christmas decorations and think of our New Year’s Resolutions, we reflect on this wonderful year and the new year upon us. We look forward to seeing the many familiar smiling faces and meeting the new ones that will join our Regency family in 2017. If you are considering assisted living for your aging parents whom have expressed concern with the idea, let’s take a minute to evaluate a new perspective on senior living along with the four ways of overcoming objections to senior care changes. 

Do Research First – Before approaching the conversation of senior care with your loved ones, first observe their health condition and carefully evaluate their specific needs. For example, do they require help with mobility? Or do they require memory care from the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s? If they object to senior care, our experts suggest consulting with their primary health care professional for further recommendations. Once you have gathered your information regarding senior care, respectfully present your findings in a way that shows your concerns come from a place of love instead of frustration.

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Use Your Resources – It’s not uncommon for older adults to object to change, especially when those changes involve senior living. If you and your family are not in agreement about future plans, use your resources and ask for outside help. Seek advice from someone that knows your loved ones well, whether it be their physician, nurse practitioner, minister, or friends. Getting a new perspective from a trustworthy source can weigh heavily on the matter when it comes to swaying opinions.

Begin Now and Take it Slow – When is the best time to begin planning for the future? We get this question all the time. The answer is now! Don’t wait until it’s too late to make important decisions like family estate planning and medical wishes. While the conversation is never a fun topic, it is important to plan ahead for hypothetical and inevitable situations. While it is a good idea to start sooner than later, don’t do it all at once. Suggest the idea of senior care gradually and without forced acceptance. This is a very sensitive time for everyone involved. To avoid arguments and hurt feelings, remember to take things slowly when discussing important life decisions and give them ample time to decide. Doing so will allow them to weigh the options and help them to have a more positive perspective towards senior living.

Offer Valid Reasons to Consider – By suggesting multiple options for the future and letting your aging loved ones pick, they will be less likely to feel as if they were forced into the final decision without their consent. Begin by telling them the reasons why you would like them to be at a senior health care facility and not at home. The conversation should be brief, precise, and articulate. To do so, evaluate the pros if they choose to move into Regency senior living community. For example, our senior living facility offers many things that they cannot get living at home. These may include: regular senior interaction, daily campus activities and events, freshly prepared meals, and constant daily care from health care professionals and staff. Once you have gone through the list of pros together, list out the cons, and then compare to living at home. Doing so will help narrow down the options and pick the right one for you and your loved ones. 

It’s important to discuss the idea of transitioning into senior living with your aging loved ones. When and if possible, always involve them in every aspect of the conversation and planning. It is very common for older adults to resist senior care changes to some extent because no one wants to lose their freedom, no matter the age. Our Regency family understands that while things will change, we still encourage our residents to live as independently as they were before. 

If you are interested in learning more about our services or to receive a free, no obligation consultation with one of our Regency specialists, please schedule an appointment today. We would love to welcome you and yours into our Regency family. 

Written by: Katie Hanley

Published in Retirement Communities

Indianapolis retirement facility

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

Do Prioritize

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.

Do Transform

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

There’s no better time than summer to enjoy quality time with your grandsons, daughters, nieces, and nephews. School’s out, mom and dad are still working, and they’re itching for adventure. Fortunately Indianapolis has many family-friendly attractions that are fun for old and young alike. Here are four ideas for fun places to make special memories, just to get you started:

indianapolis retirement livingThe obvious starting point is the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. With hands-on exhibits that are plenty educational (like the one featuring a replica of the Great Wall of China), including a Dinosaur Dig, a space where kids can experience a TV or film set, a full-size indoor carousel, and a Playspace specially designed for the littlest little ones, there’s always something new to see and do. The Stories From Our Community exhibit explores the power of narrative in different cultures and could be a wonderful leaping off point to share your own stories and reminiscences with your small loved ones.

The Indianapolis Zoo is another attraction that always has something new. It’s organized around different ecosystems, from Oceans to Deserts to Forests to Plains, making it easy to navigate and show little ones what different ecosystems have in common around the world. See meerkats, boa constrictors, iguanas, brown bears, amur tigers, otters, bald eagles, koalas, red pandas, and many more. There are also special invests including concert series, art shows, and even tortoise racing! Kids of all ages will enjoy trips to the zoo and who knows, you may learn something new, too!

Mug n Bun has been part of Indianapolis for 50 years, and it’s got something for everyone. Grandparents and grandkids alike will enjoy the great food— including burgers, milkshakes, homemade root beer, hand-dipped onion rings, and steaks. Kids will especially love the novelty of classic drive-in service and the outside picnic area. The unique atmosphere is a conversation-starter, too, giving you an opportunity to tell the youngsters about decades past, how you spent time when you were young, and what it was like when restaurants like Mug n Bun weren’t novelties but the hippies hangouts in town.

Nothing says summer like a ballgame at Victory Field with the Indianapolis Indians! The team has been in continuous operation since 1902 and is an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, so you never know when a Pirates player might drop in to spice up the game. The stadium itself is one of the best minor league fields in the nation, and tickets are inexpensive, so you’ll have plenty left over for a hot dog and crackerjack, Friday night games feature fireworks for a little extra excitement. The young ones will love participating in this great American tradition and you can tell them all about some of the great games you’ve seen before.

With so much to see and do in Indianapolis this is just the beginning of all the summer vacation fun. Whatever you choose to do with the special young people in your life, know that you’re making memories that will last a lifetime and you have a wonderful chance to share anecdotes from your life and teach them something new!

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Published in Active Senior Living
Monday, 29 December 2014 10:55

5 Pastimes to Enjoy Indy Senior living

Indianapolis senior livingWondering what to do with yourself now that you’ve got all the time in the world? Your golden years are a golden opportunity for new adventures and making your oldest pastimes new again. From travel to learning to letting your creative side shine, we have five recommendations that could make your days even more fun and exciting:

  1. Many people have a bucket list of all the places they want to see, but as much fun as exploring new places can be, it can also be fun and exciting to revisit places from your past. It might be fun to retrace the steps of your honeymoon, visit your college town, or have a friend reunion at the lake house you stayed in long ago. It could be an great way to jog your memories and relive some of your happiest times.
  2. Serving as a docent at a local museum or volunteering at a library not only gives back to the community, but lets you lean something new and meet plenty of friendly faces. Start with your interests, whether its history, art, or a love for children and seek out local opportunities from there. The Indianapolis Museum of Art, Eiitelijorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indiana State Museum, The Childrens Museum, Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Indiana Medical History Museum, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum are all great places to start.
  3. If you havent been in a play since middle school, now might be the time to revisit the dramatic arts. From monologues to full scale plays and musicals, youll have a lot of fun, get up and moving around, and test your memory as you learn your lines. Check out the Footlite Musicals group at the Herdback Theater, the Buck Creek Players, Theater on the Square, and Indianapolis Civic Theater for opportunities to get involved.
  4. As the old line goes, You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing.Get involved with a fun sport in your area, from bowling and golf to cycling, tennis, or volley boll. You can look to whats organized at your retirement community, through a local gym, or with a website like www.meetup.com that makes it easy for people with common interests to get together for an activity or event.
  5. Crossword puzzles, sudoku, solitaire, and jigsaw puzzles are all a great way to keep your mind sharp while having fun. There are more ways than ever to order new puzzles thanks to online stores like www.amazon.com or online puzzle archives at http://www.nytimes.com/crosswords/index.html?page=home&_r=0.

 

Published in Active Senior Living
Friday, 28 November 2014 10:12

Holidays About Experiences, Not Things

Indianapolis assisted living facilityIndy seniors are looking forward to another holiday season. It’s a time when we reflect on family ties and the sentimental attachments we have to gifts from long ago. When we break out the camera and record the moment because memories are being made. We marvel at how much the grandchildren have grown since the last time we saw them.

People get more enjoyment out of Christmas by focusing on relationships rather than things. Particularly when visiting with grandchildren, interactions strengthen our bonds. Seniors should take this time to share family stories about unique traditions so they can be fondly remembered and passed along to the next generation.

Experiences make great holiday gifts. There are so many attractions in Indianapolis to entertain, educate and delight a loved one. Some of these include visiting the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or taking someone to a Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Sometimes the experience gifted is something a grandchild cannot afford to do on their own, like a class trip.

Something as modest baking homemade cookies for (or with) a grandchild can be warmly received. Perhaps share a book that has brought you years of enjoyment so you can talk about it later.

The holiday season is also a good time to pass along values to young ones, perhaps encouraging them to visit homebound seniors who may feel lonely at Christmastime because their own families live too far away or do not visit as often as they’d like. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be a part of a community of friends like ours at Regency.

Experts say you should talk with parents before buying their children gifts that will burden them. This brings to mind a drum kit that will keep them up at night or a puppy they’ll end up having the feed and clean up after. That goes for buying a huge number of gifts or expensive things as well. You also want to treat everyone the same rather than favoring one grandchild more than another.

When it comes to older grandchildren, unless you are hip to the latest style trends, clothing may be less well received than a Gift Card they can use at the stores they prefer. If a senior is unable to afford a gift in the present, they can often promise to pass along a piece of furniture in the future. Perhaps relocating to a retirement community means not having room for antiques or we simply want to let someone know that a piece they are fond of will someday be theirs. While it may lack the immediate impact of a pricey gadget, such a gift can grow more valuable with the passing of time and become a keepsake.

It’s also important to remember that it’s the thought that matters. Most people do not react well when a loved one seems unappreciative of a gift, so we need to accept whatever we are given with gratitude even when it is less than spectacular.

By putting some thought into a loved one’s interests, hobbies and what they want/need, it can be a great holiday season. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014 17:42

Video Chat Great for Indy Grandparents

Indianapolis retirement livingLife 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.

Photo Credit: chimothy27 via Compfight cc

Friday, 29 August 2014 12:19

Regency Morningside Offering Respite Care

Indianapolis retirement communityMorningSide of College Park is proud to offer Respite care among our services. Respite refers to short-term, temporary relief to those who are caring for family members who might otherwise require permanent placement in a facility outside the home. Respite gives family members a break and support so they can continue to take joy in providing care to their loved ones so they can remain at home.

MorningSide opened our new memory care unit, Reflections, earlier this year. “We offer respite for families who need somewhere for their loved one to be safe and cared for while they take a vacation, go to a business meeting, etc.  Our respite rooms are beautifully furnished and those who participate in our program receive the same love, care and support as our residents,” said Susan Albers, the Executive Director of MorningSide of College Park.

She said families feel comfort knowing they aren’t in their situation alone. “Many families have faced the challenge of seeing a loved one decline due to dementia.  There is a great deal of support, encouragement and care for both the person with dementia and his or her loved one(s) dealing with it,” Albers said.

The first step to providing compassionate care to those needing respite care is understanding what’s happening. It is such a challenge because often the people we love who become forgetful aren’t aware.  The greater opportunity is understanding. 

“The brain is amazing. The one thing it isn’t is a library,” Albers said. “I remember hearing a geriatrician speak one time about this. He offered the following analogy: ‘There is no Dewey Decimal System in our brain.  When our brain hears a piece of information, it stores it anywhere it can find a place.  As we age our brain becomes increasingly filled with all sorts of information, helpful or not. When we try to retrieve that information, it just isn’t there. Later — and it can be even hours or days — that word or name you were trying to remember suddenly pops into your mind. And you didn’t think you were still trying.  It just took longer to find!  All of that time your brain was searching.’

A person’s thinking process changes when they develop dementia. “The way they understand and communicate information becomes foreign to us, so it is hard for us to accept.  They find it hard to make decisions, put the correct combinations together or follow a process.”

She said some ways the staff at MorningSide can help include offering them a choice of two things (“Would you like to wear the green blouse or the yellow one?”). Or helping them make choices or cue them on a process. 

“And all through this transition, we as family members and friends are grieving the person he or she once was. The journey doesn’t have to be dismal. There are wonderful times to be had… especially if you don’t try to go it alone. A lot of stress is placed on a family that is facing a loved one diagnosed with dementia. As the disease progresses it becomes a 24/7 job. However, there are great opportunities for assistance and support.”

For a list of support groups, go to www.alz.org/indiana. For information about MorningSide’s Reflections Memory Care, please call us at (317) 872-4567 or see our website at http://www.morningsideofcollegepark.com.

Published in Memory Care
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