College Park Retirement Blog
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Thursday, 01 May 2014 09:56

Fit Fitness into Daily Routines

Wanting to stay fit and healthy, but not sure how to do it?

active retirement living IndianapolisStaying in motion brings a lot of benefits, particularly reducing the symptoms and slowing the progress of a number of chronic conditions. Fitness doesn’t require a gym membership. In fact, you can find ways to incorporate a basic workout into the things you already do every day.

For example:

Walk instead of Riding in a Car: When you are traveling a short distance, the path of least resistance is moving your car from one parking spot to another closer to your destination. Instead, if you’re physically able, trying walking.  Sure, it’s more effort, but walking helps us lose weight and build muscle, plus you won’t have to burn gas circling a parking lot in search of a vacant space.

Take the Stairs instead of an Elevator: Unless you’re needing to get from the ground to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, it’s not unreasonable to consider climbing the hard way if you don’t have mobility issues.

Turn everyday objects into Weights: As long as you are able to securely grip something you improvise for a dumbbell, you can grow stronger. Don’t overdo it because you don’t want to strain muscles or injure yourself by accidentally dropping something heavy on your feet. Think lighter, but with more repetitive movements.

Take advantage of Settings: If you are visiting family and the grandkids want to swim this summer, the pool can be a great place to do low-impact exercise. Use local walking trails for a leisurely stroll. And walk the halls of MorningSide of College Park, taking the opportunity to exercise while socializing.

Of course, you never want to start an exercise regimen without first consulting your physician to make sure you avoid injury.

 

Talk to us at Morningside of College Park Senior Living Community about ways we help keep seniors healthy and physically active. 

Indianapolis retirement communityIt can be one of the biggest choices in your life to decide you are ready to move to a retirement community. It’s right up there with other big moments like choosing a university or buying a home or choosing a school for your child. After all, when you make the decision to move into senior housing, you’re making a proactive choice to ensure your medical, financial, and emotional health will be taken care of in your golden years. All too often seniors are robbed of that proactive moment by waiting until there is an emergency for them to pick a retirement community or seek out assisted living. However, by planning ahead now, you can make the decision easier whenever you are ready to make your move.

No matter how good your health might be right now, it’s always important to plan ahead for the unexpected. Unlike in years past, when nursing homes were only for those who were very ill and frail, retirement communities are suitable for all stages of aging and provide services that you can enjoy from early retirement throughout your golden years. If you are considering a retirement community now and are still quite mobile and independent, it still doesn’t hurt to look at facilities that can age with you should you need a greater level of care in the future.

It’s also important to plan ahead wisely so that you won’t have to “downgrade” later to a less desirable community should your health or finances change. Just as you talked to an accountant or investment strategist prior to retirement to ensure you had a financial plan for after you stopped working, you might want to check in before this next big step. You may need to sell your house, rearrange some investments to suit changes in the market, and otherwise fine tune your accounts to accommodate your new lifestyle.

By educating yourself now about the options, you’ll be able to make the best possible decision for yourself when you’re ready. Whether you arrive at that moment at your own pace or after a bout of illness, you won’t have to make a rushed decision when everything feels up in the air. Going over all the factors now also gives you the opportunity to talk to friends and family about it, prepare yourself both financially and emotionally, and truly meet this new phase of your life on your own terms. Choosing a retirement community is at its best about choosing what is best for yourself. By preparing ahead of time, you can be sure that you are greeting that choice with open arms.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

active senior living Indianapolis It’s a common stereotype that old people aren’t tech savvy and can’t figure out how to use a computer. However, that’s not how many seniors see themselves, or the real reason they haven’t adopted new technologies as fast as younger generations. Dr. Laura Carstensen in the Stanford Center on Longevity explained in an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered that, “One of the myths is older people just can't manage technology because of cognitive deficits. But it appears that a bigger reason for the failure to use digital technologies is the lack of perceived need. For a lot of older people, they're quite satisfied with their social relationships, their friendships, their contact with loved ones.”

While many older people are satisfied with smaller networks of very close friends and family, especially as they age and prioritize more how they spend their time and which connections they put energy into, those groups are more geographically spread out than ever. Before retirement, many of today’s seniors were moving for work and family, or may have decided to retire away from their hometown or where they built their careers. The friends and family they are emotionally closest to might not be in close proximity, making social networks like Facebook appealing to a new degree.

There is also greater incentive to get online given that the internet has increasingly replaced old information networks, such as the phonebook and paper Yellow Pages. Phone calls and letters are competing with emails and Skype sessions. Video chats online and the ability to share pictures definitely have an edge over other methods of communication that don’t let you have face-to-face interaction in real time with the grandkids or quickly share pictures from senior prom 1966 or your daughter’s wedding. Early in the internet’s existence, it was harder to use and wasn’t a big enough improvement over other, more familiar technologies. Now it’s simpler than ever, and boasts features we couldn’t even imagine five to ten years ago.

That all adds up to a lot of benefits for seniors, especially those who may be less mobile or need assistance. The internet allows for a feeling of independence in managing your own affairs, from online bill pay to budget apps to the ability to deposit a check using your smart phone. When we think about the struggles seniors have with housecleaning, mobility, transportation and more—the kind of logistic issues that cause many to consider the benefits of a retirement community, we forget sometimes that simply going to the pharmacy or the bank can be a challenge, too. The web changes everything, letting seniors manage their lives with autonomy without ever having to leave their apartment.

Photo Credit: mhofstrand via Compfight cc

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 11:35

Managing Memory Care During the Holiday Season

Indianapolis memory care communitiesThe holidays can be a wonderful time to enjoy a special season with loved ones, but they can also highlight when an older loved one is struggling with memory or everyday tasks.  Winter can be especially hard on those coping with memory loss or other health issues. To help make the season merry and bright, we have a few tips for helping you senior have a wonderful holiday.

Especially if you loved one will be staying with you for a visit, plan ahead to accommodate any mobility limitations or health needs they might have. Adjust furniture placement or remove slippery rugs, for example, to prevent sudden accidents or trouble moving wheelchairs, walkers, and oxygen canisters about, or simply to help your senior have the greatest ease of movement.

Many seniors, especially those with memory challenges, need something to look forward to. Although the freedom and leisure of retirement sounds wonderful to those who are still working, it can be overwhelming for some elderly people. Make sure there are several small activities woven into your holiday celebrations that your loved one can help with, such as making dinner, or an outing to see the Christmas lights in a nearby neighborhood. Bring these up ahead of time so your loved one can have the fun of anticipation.

Make sure to build in a mix of quality time and boisterous family time throughout your celebrations, so your loved one doesn’t feel lonely but also doesn’t get too stressed out. Try to anticipate when they will tire or need time to rest, and schedule some special time just the two of you. That’s one of the best holiday gifts you can give—a real sense of connection and attention that can keep depression and stress at bay.

By planning ahead before the holidays are in full swing, you can make you’re your elderly loved one has the best possible time, and help him or her stay healthy and happy. Especially if you are concerned about your senior’s mental health, this is a great time to monitor his or her behavior and consider if they might need a greater level of care, such as joining a retirement community, or going to the next level of service such as assisted living or memory care. This, too, is a wonderful gift to give someone you care about.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Wednesday, 25 September 2013 11:43

Active Aging Week and Growing Old Gracefully

continuning care retirement communityDid you know that September 22nd to the 28th is Active Aging Week? It’s a time to celebrate the valuable role seniors play in their community, whether it’s a retirement community, a civic community, a cultural community, or a spiritual community. No matter what kind of community you’re a part of, it’s sure to keep you young. There nothing better for aging well than living well, and fully participating in the diversity of life.

Being an active participant in your communities isn’t something new—after all, you may have had a career, or been a parent, or gone to church for years before retirement. One of the challenges and rewards of growing older is to both maintain the communities you’ve been a part of and seek new ones out.

Your retirement community, for example, is a new one you might join, or you may finally have time to get involved in a new club or volunteering for an organization or joining in an activity you’ve always wanted to try. It could be as simple as forming a weekly bridge group or a group that enjoys walking for fitness together.

Active aging isn’t only about the exercise that can benefit you physically and help you stay more comfortable and healthy as you grow older. It’s also about being an active participant in the world around you. Stay positive and excited about everything you get to see and do and you just might find yourself feeling like a little kid again—wide eyed at the possibilities!

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Today’s retirees love an active, independent lifestyle. They may enjoy the amenities and community of a senior living facility, but they also have looked forward to a retirement full of adventure. With work, school, and kids off their plates, now is their time to travel and check items off their bucket lists. If you are one of these active, vacation-planning retirees, we have some tips to help you have the best trip possible:

· Take advantage of a freer schedule to book at slightly off-peak travel times for your destination. It can be habit to book a trip as you might have when restricted by work or the school year. You can avoid the hottest temperatures and biggest crowds this way, and even score a great deal on airfare and hotel rates

· Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts wherever you go. From train travel to restaurants to museums and more, it never hurt to inquire and offer up your ID. Organizations like AAA and AARP also offer many discounts and benefits that can get you great deals while traveling.

· If you’re concerned about speed, mobility, or simply saving your energy, do ask for assistance at the airport or train station. If you call the airline or train station ahead of time you can arrange for a wheelchair or a ride on the electric cart to ensure you reach your connections and manage your luggage.

· Find a way to make your dream trips come true. Retirement isn’t what it used to be, and neither are today’s independent, active retirees. You don’t have to take a cruise or a stay at a golf resort if that isn’t your style. There are more options than ever for those who want to go to Europe, explore Mother Nature in Australia, or jet set in a big city. Be true to yourself whether you crave a beach vacation or a hanggliding package—or both!

· Plan some downtime in between big parts of your day. You want to enjoy as much as possible, so give yourself time to rest and recover for the next item on your itinerary!

Don’t let your age or assumptions about retirement hold you back from the trips you’ve dreamed of for yours! When you have a quality retirement housing to return to and a wonderful adventure to look forward to, you really have it all!

Written by Meghan O'Dea

After years of taking care of a sprawling home top to bottom, wouldn’t it be a relief to spend your time on something more fun than housework? After years of working hard to pay off your mortgage, get the latest lawn mower to keep up your yard, and repaint the place every few years, wouldn’t it be a relief to into retirement without the extra effort and expense? These are just some of the reasons than many people decide to downsize at some point during retirement. Without work and kids in the house, it can be the perfect time to create a new living situation to suit your new lifestyle!

This is the time in your life that is all about you, and how you want to spend your time. Many people pick up new hobbies and a new sense of adventure during retirement, and love the extra freedom and time on their hands. Many retirees also choose to join a retirement community so they can even further reduce the daily burden of housekeeping in exchange for more social opportunities and fun. Downsizing is a great way to save money and time for all these things.

It can be simple to start—just open a closet door. Pick a room that’s used primarily for storage of things you don’t use often—old sports equipment, guest sheets and towels, old VHS tapes, or whatever you might have piled up. Decide what you absolutely need to keep or would genuinely miss and what can go. As you go through your things room by room, keep separate boxes or bins available for each category to help you visualize your downsizing project. It would be very frustrating to move and realize you’d brought too much and have to further sort while trying to get settled!

It doesn’t need to be a stressful process. By going room to room and sticking to just a few categories to sort, you can quickly clear out your home without much hassle. As you finish sorting a room, drop the things you aren’t keeping off at charity shops, consignment stores, friends’ houses or wherever its final destination might be. Pack the rest into boxes to move. That first closet you started with can be the place you keep your boxes leading up to the move so they don’t get in your way day to day. Save the rooms with major essentials for last—rooms like the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.

Be sure to set the essentials you’ll need right away in your new home aside to pack into a special box to come with you on moving day. That will be things like your pillow, toothbrush, toilet paper, sheets, a few changes of clothes, light bulbs, scissors, your medications, and anything else you can’t go a day without or will need to make moving easier. That way you won’t be regretting packing something important up or hunting through boxes as you downsize.

With a little organization a big life change can become a huge life benefit. Downsizing is exciting and can set you up to do all the things you want, and spend less time on the things you don’t. So go ahead—free yourself from the burden of the house and open yourself up to new adventures!

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Indianapolis senior citizen discountsHow awesome is it to be rewarded with savings big and small simply for your years and experience? And even better to live in a city filled with businesses who love to offer retirees with special deals! One of the reasons Indianapolis is such a perfect place to retire to is its many great activities, and so many of them come with senior discounts.

The famous Indiana State Fair’s many events sometimes come with discounts, and certain days are designated Golden Hoosiers Day, when Seniors 55+ can ride shuttles about the Fairground for free! The Indianapolis Childrens’ Museum is an awesome grandkid destination and gives seniors 60 and over a dollar discount, as does the Indianapolis Zoo if you are 62 or better. The YMCA has special membership rates, too. Sahm, Pleasant Run, Sarah Shank, Smock, and Winding River golf courses all give seniors a break.

When you’re eating out, the Indy’s Incredible Buffet and Fun Center has a senior special for $5 per person Monday through Friday, when seniors can enjoy early bird specials from 11AM – 12PM and 3PM – 4PM. Kroger grocery stores also have special senior days. Many fast food joints and franchises offer 10% discounts, free small beverages, and other perks. Carls, Ponderosa Steak House, Wendy’s, Chilis,  and Popeye’s are just a few of the restaurants that offer a discount.

Shopping is also a snap, with stores like Meijer, Marsh, Banana Republic, Steinmart, Ross, and more offering weekly or monthly discount days when seniors can save big.The important thing is to always ask wherever you are, as most senior discounts require you to claim them for yourself rather than being broadly promoted. Once you are in the know, you can get so much more out of your time for relaxation, fun, and independence.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Indianapolis assisted living facilityIndianapolis has been getting great press in recent years for its strong economy and booming cultural offerings. It’s no wonder that it’s popular with retirees, who are increasingly looking for a more urban experience, as well as to return to the kind of college towns they enjoyed before beginning their careers.

With lectures to enjoy, arts programing, sports events, diverse age ranges, and a low cost of living, there’s a lot to love about this trend.

There's wonderful access to continuing learning, such as auditing college and graduate courses, opportunities for some to even contribute to some subjects in terms of teaching as a guest speaker, great opportunities for volunteering, lots of access to the arts, and a chance to mingle with people of all ages," says Andrew Blechman, author of Leisureville: Adventures in America's Retirement Utopias.

Indiana University-Purdue Universityoffers a wonderful continuing education program with special deals for retirees, in a variety of topics including sketchbook drawing, blues harmonica, Italian, Spanish, ballroom dance, golf, t’ai chi, salsa, belly dance, Gaelic language, and photography. In addition to continuing education programs like these, retirees can also audit classes or even pursue a degree as a fully-enrolled non-traditional student at most colleges and universities.

The University of Indianapolis has a lot to offer sports fans, with 21 NCAA Division II teams. Best of all, tickets to Hounds events are very inexpensive, typically $5-8 dollars for  football, soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling, swimming, and track. In any season there are fun rivalries and fin performances to catch.

For those interested in the arts, Indiana University-Purdue University has many fine exhibitions by contemporary artists, including William Crutchfield, Maep Kristinia Estell and Allen Brewer. Theater fans will delight in the amazing productions by Hoosier Bard, “a unique theatre company linking the New Oxford Shakespeare editors, the Indianapolis performing arts community, and students and faculty at IUPUI.” They recently made a splash with a production of an uncensored original version of Measure for Measure and a different take on Hamlet based on a rare 1603 version of the play that they called Young Hamlet.

Indianapolis’s strong university culture isn’t a plus just for college students; it’s a huge asset to the community, and highly attractive to retirees who aren’t ready to slow down!

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Monday, 29 April 2013 11:59

You Can Get Smarter As You Age

Richard Restak, author of Think Smart: A Neuroscientist's Prescription for Improving Your Brain's Performance explained that aging and memory loss do not have to go hand in hand. In fact, according to Restak, “as we get older, we can still get smarter.” How you accomplish this is a matter of approaching memory as a skill you can develop with practice, or a health condition you can maintain with the right balance of self-care. Here are our top tips for maintaining your memory:

  • happy Senior couple using tablet pcMake self care a priority. That means embracing stress-reducing treatments like yoga, meditation, or massage. Don’t think of it as indulgence, but as therapies to help you function physically, emotionally, and mentally at your best. The less stress, the more mental energy to have to dedicate to things like taking in your surroundings, living fully in the present moment, and remembering the world around you.
  • Make exercise part of your routine. Some level and type of physical activity every day will improve your overall health, physical AND mental. Not only will exercise reduce stress and flood your body with positive chemicals like endorphins, it will increase the rate at which your body circulates oxygen and nutrients, including through your brain. A little effort goes a long way.
  • Make room for your social life. There’s no end to the benefits of an active social life, even for introverts. People introduce you to new ideas, situations, activities, and events. They give you someone to talk to and make new memories with. The pleasure of companionship can also reduce stress. The more you engage with the world around you, the better your memory function will be. Isn’t it better to engage with a friend?
  • Make time to for learning. Think about how much toddlers learn each and every day, at the exact same time their brains are physically growing and developing at an unprecedented rate. Learning gives our brains a reason to grow new connections and increase electrical activity, which is wonderful at any age. Give your brain a reason to grow and stay strong by picking up a new hobby, learning a new skill like a musical instrument or crafts, reading new books, or taking classes at your local college.
  • Make something new every day. Whether it’s taking different streets on your way to your grand children’s house, working on a painting, trying a new recipe, gardening, or meeting new friends, make something new and exciting happen every day. While routines can help you remember things, new experiences give your mind the exercise and stimulation it needs to stay healthy and strong.

You have a wonderful opportunity in your seniors years—the time for new pursuits and explorations, and the chance to take on new challenges. These opportunities are wonderful not only for enjoying yourself, but also for preserving your memory function and even improving it. Try one or all of these suggestions today to make the most of each day.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

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