College Park Retirement Blog
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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

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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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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

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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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