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Make the Most of Your Summer with Family

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

Indianapolis retirement communityOne 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:

  1. Manage your medications. It can be easy to get boggled by all the different pills and timing each of your doses just as the doctor ordered. This is a great opportunity to remove any pill bottles past their expiration dates or that hold medicines you are no longer taking. Never flush or throw out unused pills, liquid medications, ointments, etc. They could harm the environment. The find out where you can safely dispose of unused medications, call the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance at (800) 988-7901, extension 3-6660. They can advise you where the nearest drop off location is or when the next drug take back event will be held.
  2. Tax day has come and gone, so it’s safe to file away your financial statements and other paperwork. Be careful to shred any documents you don’t want to store or won’t need in the future— you don’t want to be a victim of identity theft! There are a number of shredding services in Indianapolis, including Shred Monkey and Just Shred that will ensure your private details stay just that, private. It’s also a good time to make sure your loved ones have the information they need to access your safe deposit box, accounts, and financial records in case of emergency.
  3. Swap out your winter clothes for spring and summer. You’ll want all your light things front and center in your closet and in the drawers of your dresser that are easiest to open. Store away your heavier things in the back of the closet, a bottom drawer, or in under-bed storage containers, garment bags, or vacuum pack bags. There are so many different organizational tools these days that a quick shopping trip to Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond, the Container Store or IKEA should have just the thing you need to keep your out-of-season items out of the way when not in use.
  4. Spring is a great time to attend to all the little errands or projects that you haven’t gotten around to, or didn’t want to tangle with in cold, wet weather. If your jewelry needs to be repaired or cleaned, for example, if there are winter coats or duvets that need to be dry cleaned, or houseplants in need of repotting, now is a great time to take advantage of the pleasant spring weather and tackle these tasks. Even better if you can do them with a friend or family member!
  5. Rearrange your space. Maybe over the winter you realized that your furniture isn’t quite in the right place, or that you have small frustrations as you move about the rooms. A friend or family member can help you move the big pieces to rework the space. If you’re worried about tripping on a rug, for example, you can take it up or reposition it away from a high-traffic area. Bedside tables could be swapped out for ones that line up better with the bed, and so on. There’s no reason to put up with minor inconveniences when a quick spring cleaning rearrangement can help to make the rest of your year worry-free!

Indianapolis retirement livingStudies have shown that gardening has many significant benefits for older adults. It’s a light, low impact form of exercise that helps stretch your muscles, builds up strength, and improves your balance. It’s not hard on the joints like other activities can be, such as crafts with small components or repetitive motions that might aggravate arthritis. Researchers at University of Colorado at Boulder have even found that microbes in soil can help boost the immune system and may contribute to reduced anxiety and depression. There’s a lot of reasons to play in the dirt now that spring is finally here.

If you want to get started, there are few better places to begin than the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society Plant Sale, which will be held May 9th. Plants are sold individually and there are plenty of volunteers to help you pick out plants that will work well with where you are going to grow them, whether it’s in the ground or in container, whether you get lots of sunshine or need a shade-loving varietal. It’s also a great way to learn something new about what plants grow in Indiana and get better

If you’re impatient to get started between now and then, you can get a jump on springtime flower appreciation with a trip to Holliday Park. The gardens are full of prairie habitat and native wildflowers that are just coming into bloom. Individual beds are planted and cared for by different groups, including the Indiana Daffodil Society, the Indiana Daylily-Iris Society, and the Indianapolis Hosta Society. There are plenty of flat, walkable trails throughout the park, which means you can go bike time and time again and still have new areas to explore. It’s also a wonderful place to go birding and spot new species, as well as  other woodland animals. 

The Garfield Park Conservatory is another wonderful place to take in the sights and scents of beautifully blossoms. The Conservatory specializes in tropical plants so it’s quite different in look and feel from Holliday Park. April 18th and 19th they will be hosting a Spring Orchid Show with different gardeners vying to see whose bloom will be award-winning. They also regularly host workshops and gardening demonstrations throughout the year.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art has its own Horticultural Society with massive libraries in addition to the actual gardens themselves. If you get into gardening and find you have a growing interest in the subject beyond simply exercising your green thumb, the Horticultural Society is often looking for volunteers, which could be a wonderful way to make sure your hands stay in the dirt and you’re always learning something new.

Who knew that a green thumb is a key to good health? One things’s for sure— this spring you might want to get back to the garden and enjoy the positive effect it will have on body, mind, and soul. You’ll get to savor some of the best aspects of the season, from the warm weather to the sunshine to the sensory delights of a time when everything seems new.

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Walk Down Memory Lane In Indianapolis

Indianapolis assisted living facilitiesReminiscing 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.

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Remembering Yesteryear in Indianapolis

Indianapolis may be best known for its prairies and race tracks, but it’s also home to smaller reminiscences, the daily lives of the many people who have grown up there, attended school there, or came to stay whether for a race, a week long vacation, a few months, or a few years. If Indianapolis is part of your personal history, you might recognize these four places that were a big part of day to day life in Indiana, whether it was getting a bite to eat, filling up the car, or watching Mario Andretti win big:

indianapolis senior livingIf you went about your daily business in Indianapolis in the 1960s and 70s, chances are you found yourself on 30th street for your errands. Koehler Drugs was a popular pharmacy until the 1980s, the Pure Oil gas station was a great place to fill up the big beautiful Ford Galaxies and efficient little Toyota Corollas. You could grab lunch at the Air Liner Sandwich Shop, do some shopping at Frances Shoppe, Raysey Interiors, and Westinghouse for big household items.

You’re no Hoosier if you haven’t had a sandwich at Shapiro’s Delicatessan. It’s been open for over a hundred years, continually run by four generations of Shapiros, descended from Russian immigrants who settled in Indianapolis in the early 1900s. They’re still open, so swing by for lunch sometime and get a good pastrami sandwich and a dill pickle. It’s a taste of history, and maybe even a chance to revist lunches past on your old stomping grounds.

indianapolis retirement livingThe 1960s and 70s were a golden era for the Indie 500. The track was packed with legendary names that even people outside the racing community recognize--  Parnelli Jones, Jim Clark, Al Unser Sr., A.J. Foyt, and Mario Andretti. Tom Sneva was the first to break 200 mph in 1977. Those were great years to hit the race track, and had a huge impact on the last heydey of automobile design and manufacturing. 

Fast food chain Burger Chef was a huge part of Indianapolis history. Founded in 1954, they were one of the original carhop joints. Eventually they were bought up by Hardees, who carried on the torch of Burger Chef’s flame-broiled legacy. While you can’t eat at Burger Chef today, it will always be Incrediburger in our hearts.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

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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.

 

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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. 

talking-about-an-indianapolis-in-senior-living-communityThe conversation about moving to a senior living community like Morningside of College Park should start before the onset of a health crisis. It can be a difficult talk to have, especially if started from scratch during a time of crisis.

A relatively healthy senior’s reluctance may result from fears about losing independence or having to give up their possessions if they downsize and re-locate. Grown children who want their parents to find a positive place to live and receive the care and attention they need should talk honestly but delicately about the topic, determining whether the worries are about a perceived lack of privacy, fears about the costs of care or worries about making new friends.

Preconceived notions of what to expect may be wrong as the parent learns how Morningside of College Park presents a cozy, enriching environment where residents their age can live with some level of independence, meet new friends, and lead fulfilling lives. Sometimes, just talking through these misconceptions isn't as powerful as seeing an elegant apartment with their own eyes. Safe and secure, Morningside offers the best of both worlds for independent seniors who are active but prefer to have someone cook and clean for them.

Highlight the positives and don’t tell a parent what to do. It needs to be a choice.

Talk to them about how worried you are, and how you’ll feel better knowing they’re comfortable and safe. Understand that moving to assisted living is a scary prospect for them. Grown children or other family caregivers simply can’t be at the parent’s side all the time to mitigate risks such as falls, accidents or lapses in memory.

Contact us at 317-872-4567  or schedule a free consultation on our website and join us for a free luncheon and tour. http://morningsideofcollegepark.com/index.php/indianapolis-retirement-home-amenities/indianapolis-independent-retirement-living

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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

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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.

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