College Park Retirement Blog
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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

Thursday, 28 March 2013 12:02

Your Role as a Caregiver

retirement communities IndianapolisBeing a caregiver can take many forms. For some it means tending to a loved one at home themselves, for others it means hiring an in-home aid, and for still others a retirement home or assisted living community. There are innumerable ways to approach caregiving, varying with income, medical conditions, physical and mental ability, time, and the number of family members or professionals involved. Anyone can be a caregiver, from wealthy celebrities to everyday Joes working multiple jobs. What unites all caregivers across these differences is the compassion, empathy, and effort that comes with taking care of a loved one. There are several ways that you can make your unique approach to caregiving more effective, no matter the specifics:

  1. Emphasize communication. Of course you want to be clear and transparent with your loved one about meeting their needs and how they feel day to day. But you also want to fully understand physicians and outpatient providers, in-home aids, assisted living professionals, insurance agents, lawyers, and anyone else involved in managing your loved one’s affairs. Ask any questions you might have, no matter how ridiculous or basic they may seem. The more you know the more you can advocate for your loved one and act quickly when needed.
  2. Turn a negative into a positive when you feel like caregiving is a second (or third, or fourth!) job. You might be wearing a lot of hats already as a mother or father, wife or husband, employee or volunteer. But if you approach caregiving consciously aware of the skills you already use every day at work or at home, you’ll realize you’re more on top of things than you thought. Apply the delegation and scheduling skills you use at work to finding the right therapists and aids, or to develop regular medication management. Apply your meal planning skills to addressing unique dietary needs, such as avoiding Vitamin K for a husband or parent who takes Coumadin. You’ll find you’re better prepared than you thought!
  3. Always try to be encouraging. It can be easy to get frustrated as a caregiver, both with yourself, the situation, and the person you love. Focus on the positive, from your loved one’s abilities and daily triumphs to your own successes as a caregiver. Encouragement can also come in the form of urging your loved one to exercise more or adhere to new nutritional guidelines like low salt intake. You might even want to encourage yourself by offering yourself treats after big hurdles or simply scheduling in downtime for your own hobbies and peace of mind. By focusing on the good, pleasant, and fun things about caregiving, you won’t sweat the tough and negative as much.

No matter what caregiving looks like in your family, these tips will help you excel, and better balance your new role with the rest of your life. While change (even positive change) can be stressful, the right mindset and preparation can work magic both emotionally and practically.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Friday, 15 March 2013 12:09

Enjoy Independence In Indianapolis

Indianapolis retirement livingWhile some US cities have been having economic woes and downsizing, Indianapolis has only been growing, both in size and vibrancy. It has seen a great deal of business and cultural development, but remains an affordable city in which to settle down. Anyone can find something they enjoy in Indianapolis, from sports and the outdoors to the arts.

Try golfing at Brickyard Crossing, a public course designed by famed golf course architect Pete Dye, or at one of his earlier designs at Eagle Creek. Take in an Indianapolis Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium, or the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The city is also home to the NCAA Hall of champions, which is great fun for any college sports fans. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway ist he heart of NASCAR and Formula 1, and can’t be missed.

Catch a performance at the Indianapolis Symphony or a dance at the Ballet. The Indianapolis Museum of Art, has over 50,000 works of art, including pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper, and admission is currently free. For fans of big band music, the Jazz Orchestra can’t be beat. Dine at Café Patachou, picked as one of Indianapolis’ best restaurants by the Travel Channel, or the St. Elmo Steak House, which has been around since 1902. On the inexpensive end, Yats is lauded for unbeatable Cajun and creole dishes, and Goose the Market is a local favorite for meats, cheeses, sandwiches, and beer.

Stroll through Canal and White River State Park near downtown. Take the grandkids to the Indianapolis Zoo, Connor Prairie living history museum of life on the plains, or Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park. Go shopping at Circle Center Mall, where there is an array of tempting stores. Andrews Jewelers, Coach, Carson Pirie Scott, Clarks, Johnston & Murphy, The Walking Company, Talbots, and more. Outlet shopping at Edinburgh Premium Outlets including Coldwater Creek, Polo Ralph Lauren, G.H. Bass & CO, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, and more.

With so much culture and an exciting blend of history and innovation, Indianapolis is a fun place to retire. Morningside senior living is the ideal residential situation, combining independence and convenience for the ultimate lifestyle in the heart of one of America’s best cities.

Photo Credit: kennethkonica via Compfight cc

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