Many older Americans look forward to relaxing after retiring from a job and seeing their children all grown up with little ones of their own. For some, the prospect of peace and quiet can feel dull and leave them with the feeling their lives have lost a sense of purpose. Ironic that life is about more than punching a clock forty hours a week, yet some feel lost without a workday grind. It’s also unhealthy and potentially depressing to settle into a sedentary lifestyle. Without much to do, life starts to feel pretty empty.
For those who want their golden years of retirement to be infused with higher meaning, Regency offers a few tips:
Identify what makes you happy
Experts point to the power of questions to discover our purpose. Ask some questions and be honest with the answers. What has always made you excited to wake up in the morning? What have you always wanted to do when you had the time and resources? What did you enjoy or find satisfying about full-time work? If it is the work itself, many seniors can find part-time work, which can help to make retirement savings go further. If it is the fellowship of colleagues or the sense of mission, these are intangible things we can often find through alternative channels than just a workplace.
Break Out of a Routine
Someone struggling to adjust to retirement living may simply feel comfortable following a daily routine. We are creatures of habit, after all. As scary as change may be, doing the same thing, day after day, becomes boring. Changing things up can lead to greater happiness and life satisfaction. We adapt to new places and faces by reassuring ourselves that the novel will soon become familiar and strangers will soon become friends. All it takes is repetition and being bold enough to start a conversation to discover common interests. Within a matter of days, seniors can try new hobbies, check out new restaurants, visit new places, travel, and more.
Stay Active (Doing the Fun Stuff You Never Had Time for Before)
While everyone enjoys taking periods to rest, some people scoff at the idea of slowing down completely. Working kept us busy, but there are plenty of ways to keep in motion, from helping others to finding joy in recreational activities. After a long life of taking care of others, seniors can let the staff at an Assisted Living community take care of things like laundry, cleaning house and cooking. Their time is better spent on doing the enjoyable tasks rather than these chores. Exercise equipment and game areas keep the body and mind sharp. “Fun” means different things to different people: For one senior, it will mean hunting or fishing; another, reading books or writing a blog.
Creativity finds outlets in the form of painting or drawing, creating music, writing a journal or a blog, cooking, etc. Don’t get too hung up on whether people like something you create. Praise feels good, but creation is its own reward. At Regency, we offer craft classes for residents to indulge their imaginations and try new things.
Focus on Others
We can explore the art of conversation and develop relationships and with family and friends once life is not so hectic. For many, this can mean spending quality time with grown children and grandchildren. Even the person who has everything he or she could possibly ever need can find purpose in doing things to benefit others and the community. Volunteering for a charity, becoming active in politics, mentoring a young person, becoming an advocate for a good cause, or serving on a Resident Council are all ways to serve others. Use new-found free time to reconnect with old friends on Facebook or make new ones in a senior living community, like Regency.
Consider Retirement Living Options
If aging in place in the home leaves a senior feeling bored and lonely, family should consider a Senior Living Community that offers activities to fill time and new friendships to be made. Beyond the safety and convenience this offers, we all yearn to spend time with people our own age. Support and involvement matter greatly when it comes to finding happiness and purpose in later years.
Indeed, there is a lot more to life than collecting a paycheck. It’s never too late to reinvent oneself and regain a sense of purpose, wherever we find ourselves in retirement days.
To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.
Written by: Steven Stiefel
Seniors who focus on spiritual issues often:
In a case study of seniors, it was reported that that:
Sixty-five percent of adults 50 and over established that their religious beliefs are extremely important in daily life. This is likely a result of baby boomers being raised at a time when church was absolutely central to American life.
Sixty-seven percent of participants said that having a richly profound life immensely contributes to their daily life. It is not only vital to pay attention to physical wellbeing, but also how well it meets the social needs of the population.
The Pew Forum survey of religion finds that 74% of adults living in the Southern U.S. attend religious services at least one to two times every month, 41% weekly, and 71% of surveyors depicted themselves as "true believers" that God really exists.
While religion is simply a path to spirituality, this journey to spiritual freedom offers meaning and significance to one’s life. This is especially true while maturing into adulthood, and into the golden years of retirement.
Not only is religion beneficial to spiritual freedom, but it also offers physical, mental, and social wellness. As we age, it can become increasingly difficult to find the time to create meaningful social interactions with others. Despite the occasion, a number of our senior residents just enjoy the congregation.
As a role model Christian community, Regency Senior Living understands the need for individuals to exude their values and beliefs. Jeff Clay, Regency Senior Living's Vice President of Business Development says, “We do everything we can to provide them opportunities to worship and carry out their customs and practices.”
When reviewing our events calendar, you will promptly see that Regency regularly connects with nearby institutions of varying faiths to act as volunteers, and sometimes entertainment! This often includes ministry, worship, seminars, comedians, and other fun activities.
As a faith-based facility, we proudly welcome everyone, despite their cultural backgrounds or religious beliefs. We urge every person to feel open to communicating their own religious convictions. At Regency, we cherish our residents and provide them with a safe and secure home that they can feel comfortable in. We empower seniors and staff to pursue religion and spirituality for peace and prosperity.
In the event that you or a loved one are thinking about relocating into a senior living community, visit us today to get some information about our group, religious occasions, and spiritual standards.
Searching for senior care choices? On the off chance that you or your friends and family are thinking about senior care, you may begin to wonder just where to begin. With 6 care options, which one is best for you and your loved ones? In total, there are six levels: Independent, In-home, Assisted, Respite, Memory, and Nursing home care. Let’s break each one down to understand them a bit better.
Starting with the least amount of caregiving, seniors considering downsizing might be a great fit for Independent Living. This autonomous approach is most fitting for maturing seniors that are equipped for living mostly in independence. Regency Senior Retirement Community provides a community for those that no longer feel safe living alone or do not wish to maintain the upkeep of a home. While onsite services and activities are provided, our independent living community is geared toward early aging seniors who have the freedom to live according to their own schedules, and come and go as they please.
The next level of senior living is In-Home Care, otherwise referred to as “aging in place”. It is intended for seniors that require help from others within the convenience of their own home. This includes daily check-ins, medication administration, and personal care. The benefit to in-home senior care? Aging in place is the less traumatic alternative in caregiving. In-home care allows senior parents to accept assistance in their home without the additional worry of moving during an already vulnerable state. The disadvantage? Many in-home patients are not in this level of care for long, as they typically require more serious medical care from an assisted living community or nursing home.
With the move into Assisted Living or Residential Care, seniors will not require the amount of support provided in a nursing home, but be that as it may, residents of this care level may not be able to perform routine tasks without assistance. This level of care is intended for seniors who look for an active and dynamic life, yet require more hands-on with day-by-day activities and schedules compared to individuals in in-home caregiving. At Regency, our Assisted Living program provides our residents with the opportunity and support to enjoy the golden years, make lasting friendships with individuals with the same life-experiences, and encourage community involvement of that offers a sense of purpose.
The next caregiving alternative is Respite care. Are your aging loved ones hesitant to try senior living? Or are your loved ones in need of temporary care? Respite care is for people who are in transition of 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 acquaintanted to senior living, before moving in. At Regency, our program permits seniors to sample 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.
The families of seniors that battle with memory difficulties, for example, dementia or Alzheimer's, ought to consider Memory Care. For memory debilitation, it is encouraged to execute planned, round-the-clock care and organized exercises to guarantee their well-being and personal satisfaction. Here at Regency, our memory staff can aid seniors who require a special approach through customized care of their particular needs, as individual fulfillment is critical for every resident.
Concluding with the most concentrated living, Nursing Home Senior Care. With more invasive caregiving than other living alternatives, this approach is suggested for seniors that routinely require hospitalization, their condition is worsening, and when previous senior care is no longer an option.
In choosing the best caregiving for you or your loved ones, seek a senior specialist or physician for their suggestion in senior care. Furthermore, our senior arrangement staff can offer free advice for choosing the best senior care, contingent upon the requirements and personal needs. Call today for your free consult!
Written by: Katie Hanley
There are so many reasons for retirees to visit or relocate to the Ooltewah area, but one key to the quality of life here is the rich abundance of things for seniors to see and do in Chattanooga, TN – many of the activities are free or at a reduced price for seniors.
Here in Ooltewah, veteran residents will love exploring the Veterans Memorial Park of Collegedale, a 2-acre park across the street from the Collegedale Public Library. A quiet afternoon stroll through the greenway allows time for reflection and gratitude for the service men and women, while also reconnecting with nature. The world class park offers wayside plaques, monuments, military hardware, several educational components, as well as an M48 Patton tank and a Cobra attack helicopter. Throughout the grounds, there is ample bench seating, however it is only accessible by foot.
If you enjoy being out on the green, there is Ooltewah’s Honors Golf Course. Rated the number one place to visit in Ooltewah, this prestigious private golf club, designed by Pete Dye, has hosted many state, regional, national, and international amateur championships. While membership and play is by invitation only, visitors can enjoy watching a game, taking in the breathtaking scenic views, and soaking in the Southern cottage charm.
Just 13 miles from our Regency facility, BendAbout Farms of McDonald, TN offers a fun and unique activity for the whole family. This quail hunting preservation property and working horse farm offers seasonal polo matches for spectators of every age to enjoy. Watching the horses puts you in contact with nature, and if you’re up for it, allows you to get up close with nature. During half-time, guests are welcome to take the field for the traditional “divot stomping.” Visitors make an unforgettable experience out of “stomping” the divots back in place to help keep ponies and players safe.
We’re located about 20 miles from Downtown Chattanooga, which offers a wide variety of activities. Attractions include:
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum – All aboard! Seniors and their families can enjoy train rides that offer an interactive, historical experience reminiscent to when everyone traveled by railway as primary transportation. Prices may vary according on the selected train and special events.
Chattanooga Choo Choo – An international icon and staple to the Chattanooga community, the grand Terminal continues to welcome visitors to Chattanooga, although no longer by rail. New and vibrant restaurants, exciting music venues, and on-site accommodations fill the beautifully restored station. Famous in history and song, The Chattanooga Choo Choo train engine on display at Terminal Station is the same kind of wood-burner used on the first run from Cincinnati to Chattanooga in 1880.
Southern Belle – Board The Southern Belle Riverboat to experience the river in true southern-style. Carving through the banks of the Tennessee River, this luxury riverboat is reminiscent of the 1800s, offers daily sightseeing, lunch and dinner cruises with a live band. Call to book seasonal cruises, including a special senior lunch cruise for senior citizens to enjoy the sights, live entertainment, and games.
Incline Railway – Enjoy panoramic scenic views of the mountains, Chattanooga, and North Georgia valley from a trolley-style car, as you ascend to the top of historic Lookout Mountain. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children under 12. Atop Lookout Mountain, Point Park and the Battles for Chattanooga Museum is just a short walk away (it’s less than half-a-mile and virtually flat). The museum is a great starting point for learning the area’s Civil War history with a three-dimensional electronic battle map. Afterwards walk across the street to Point Park. Entry is only $5 and offers breathtaking views of downtown and the river.
Coker Tire Museum – Calling all car lovers! Zip your way through time to enjoy a free tour of Chattanooga's beloved private car and vintage motorcycle collection. During your guided tour, you will spot beautifully restored antique automobiles, classic American muscle cars, sporty European models, and one of the largest displays of vintage Indian motorcycles.
Rock City Gardens – For those able to walk well through nature areas, Rock City is one of Chattanooga’s banner attractions. You can “see Seven States” from the mountain brow next to a 100-foot waterfall. Pricing varies according to whether special events are underway or tickets are purchased as part of the multi-attraction bundle.
Ruby Falls Cavern – Claiming to be America’s deepest commercial cave, you’ll be awestruck by the natural rock formations and the 145-foot underground waterfall. The tour to Ruby Falls lasts on average 1 hour and 15 minutes. Watch your step! Comfortable shoes are suggested as the total walk is a little under a miles and the pathways, although paved, are uneven in some places. Tickets are available, $20 for adults and $12 for children.
Coolidge Park – This popular Chattanooga park is the ideal spot for entertaining grandchildren. There is an antique carousel with $1 rides, a free interactive water fountain for kids of all ages to splash and play, and picnic areas throughout.
Walnut Street Bridge – This pedestrian bridge was erected in 1891 to connect downtown to the North Shore. Tennessee’s oldest non-military highway bridge was restored and revitalized in 1993. There are benches along the way for those who need to stop and rest while enjoying the view of the riverfront and the people enjoying their day. There’s no charge to visit.
Senior discounts are available at select hotels, retail stores, restaurants, and grocery stores near these attractions. At Regency Senior Living, we arrange for our residents to participate in group outings to local attractions. Being part of a group of peers living together in Chattanooga Assisted Living makes for a great way to experience these sights and sounds.
To learn more about things for seniors to do in Chattanooga TN, visit http://www.chattanoogafun.com/
Written by Katie Hanley
When the time comes to make senior care arrangements, many difficulties can derive as a result from families facing the harsh realities of change. There are numerous explanations as to why the discussion of assisted living is the cause of confrontation; some of these may include senior loved ones who are misinformed or have antiquated information regarding what retirement communities used to be like, others may lack the effort to communicate effectively to loved ones, many times there are either too many conflicting opinions when planning, or all of the above. Listed below are the most common conflicts families face while discussing senior care planning for loved ones whom have expressed an objection to assisted living and the possible solutions you can take to address and overcome these obstacles.
Are your parents denying the need for senior care? For instance, do your aging parents have a worsening disability? Perhaps they are experiencing a harder time maneuvering around the house, but deny it? We often consult with families who question, “How soon is too soon?” The answer is never! The best thing you can do for your loved ones is to research your options first. Find what works best for you and your family financially, geographically, and the provided senior care services. Research can also be extended to consulting with your senior’s primary health care professional, as they know their patient well. Likewise, our trusted Regency community consultants are available to provide you and your loved ones with the knowledge and understanding to make an informed decision regarding senior care planning.
Are your parents opposed to the possibility of senior care? This behavior is completely normal when seniors reach a season of life where living alone becomes almost impossible without some level of assisted care. If not communicated effectively, the conversation between an aging parent, child, or loved one can end in an argument, resulting in hurt feelings. A tip to communicate effectively: be brief and to the point. Express the areas of concern, let them know that their wellness is of most importance and provide information on possible ways to address the issues. While it is necessary to express your concerns thoughtfully, it is also just as necessary to listen to their concerns carefully. Once these have been addressed, create a list of pros and cons to assisted living and living at home with a caretaker. Debra Feldman, a senior care specialist, emphasizes to practice sensitivity and patience during this vulnerable time. Take things slow, as it may take some time for everyone to agree on the matter.
Does your family disagree on senior care? With more people involved, there is a greater chance that not everyone will see eye-to-eye. While avoiding conflict may be the easier path to keeping the peace, it may not be in the best interest of your loved ones. The path of least resistance is not always the best path to resolving senior care needs. If confronted with struggle of conflicting opinions, we strongly suggest you seek a family mediator to help execute non-biased decisions with senior care, estate planning, and inheritances if a will is not set in place. When the time comes to deal with these issues after your parents have passed, it will only become more complex as time goes on and resentment grows. Aside from the difficulties that often accompany the topic of senior living, we encourage you to consider the best options for your aging loved ones early, no matter the age. If you wish to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, we are here to answer any of your questions. We would be overjoyed to have you visit our community for a no obligation consultation and to welcome you and your loved ones into our Regency family.
Written by: Katie Hanley
It’s that time of year again – turkey, merriment, gifts, and a new year. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to feel down. If your adult children are grown and live far away or perhaps you recently lost a loved one or spouse, the holidays just aren’t the same. While it may seem impossible, there are a number of ways to add holiday cheer this Christmas, whether you’re living at home, in assisted living, or other retirement home. Here’s some, just to name a few:
With seasonal depression often follows senior isolation during the holidays, which is now at an all-time high and brings mental and physical health risks to seniors who feel cooped up. It is reported that seniors exemplifying behaviors of isolation have an increase in mortality rate and are typically linked to having higher blood pressure and long-term illnesses. To avoid this, it is important to find your holiday cheer and remain active, despite the cold or overcast weather. For our Regency residents, we encourage you to participate in both on and off campus events. These may include dinners with family, Christmas light sightseeing, and nativity scene viewing.
If you’re feeling blue this Christmas, help spark your holiday joy by following these 3 tips for a more joyful Christmas this year for the entire family.
1. Involve them in your Christmas plans – Attending a candlelight service? Invite everyone to go with you. At Regency Senior Living, we encourage you to spend quality time with loved ones because nothing is better than the gift of family during the holiday season.
2. Share your memories and make new ones – The holidays are a wonderful time to share some of your life stories to willing listeners. They will likely get a kick out of hearing your traditions when you were a kid. While sharing your old memories, make new ones. For example, make it an annual tradition of stringing popcorn on the Christmas tree with the family or host a lighting of the tree. This will give you something to look forward to in the holidays and years to come.
3. Stay occupied and positive - While stringing the popcorn is a rather tedious task, you might be able to find something else to help with this or other tasks, because it’s a great thing to feel needed. Perhaps you could be in charge of the annual lighting of the tree. If you are unable to contribute due to physical limitations, there’s something that you can do to contribute. If you feel down this Christmas because you believe that you have very little to offer your family, join in on planned activities and crafts, such as putting together a scrapbook, an ornament, or even record a family story.
In circumstances where getting together with family is not possible this holiday season, due to distance, health, or cost, you can still wish your friends and family a happy holiday using your tablet, phone, or computer. For those who aren’t able to be near family, remember you always have your Regency family.
Whatever your plans this Christmas, we wish you and all of your loved ones a very merry holiday season. Happy Holidays from the Regency Retirement Community!
Written by: Katie Hanley
The need to scale back for most approaching seniors occurs when the children are fully grown-individuals and no longer living in the house. This frequently leaves empty nesters with the task of decluttering and downsizing into a littler space.
Specialists at Lifehack.org encourage when downsizing, beginning with a smaller, more manageable space to kick off the project. If not, starting out looking at everything in whole can without question become overwhelming. Scaling back is more effective when drawn-out all over weeks or months, not days. It is important to realize that it will require a great deal of time to sort through, since it has taken a great deal to accumulate. With every large project, don’t expect to have everything done in the first day. Simply remember no matter how small, progress is progress.
• Be careful of saying, “I’ll do it later.” The uncertainty of an unexpected move to assisted living might come as a surprise, leaving no time to organize belongings.
• Hold a yearly spring-cleaning to regularly tidy up, so the clutter can be controlled.
• Plan everything out. Outline a week after week objective to keep on track.
Sort assets into three particular heaps that are either to be given, kept or disposed of. Steer clear from the indecisive, fourth "maybe" pile, as this prompts to uncertainty, instability, and a decrease in progress. Strategize based on priority to weed out items. Some of those things might be old clothing that no longer fits, dusty, disregarded books lying on the shelf, or multiples of the same item. Learn when to let go. Lifehack believes if it doesn’t "spark joy" let it go. If compelled to dispose of such things, remember that one man's junk could be another man's treasure.
When cutting back, it's important to consider the restricted storage space in the new home. Most of the time, space is tight, particularly in assisted living communities. To help pare down, ask about the measurements of your new space, if not given already. This can be used as a physical guideline for the amount kept. For more troublesome decisions on letting go, use the yes-no strategy. To simplify, adapt to certain things that can be redesigned or reformatted into a smaller space. For instance, family photographs can be inserted into a scrapbook. This approach not only preserves the pictures, but also additionally takes less valuable square footage.
Also, if it hasn’t been used in over a year, it probably isn’t worth holding on to. Be cautious with the unnecessarily storing behaviors in seniors, as it may to result in a home that is unsafe or even unsanitary. This should be an obvious sign for more prominent health concerns. For example, bills left unpaid or recommended medications missed, these could all be cautioning indications of a more serious problem, like dementia or Alzheimer's. See a doctor if these issues continue or worsen.
Discarded things should be donated, sold, or recycled. The neighborhood library or school may love those bins loaded with unused books. Or perhaps you could use some extra money. Selling items can give a new life to what was once old and unused. Lastly, if all else fails, always recycle when disposing to ensure the health of the environment.
For more tips, visit:http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/15-9-5-senior-scaling back tips/
Is now your opportunity to spend your life free from added home expense and upkeep? Downsize into to a Regency Senior Retirement community today! Call us for more information at (423) 238-8087.
Written by: Katie Hanley
“Somehow we have to get older people back close to growing children if we are to restore a sense of community, a knowledge of the past, and a sense of the future.”
- Margaret Mead
Interaction between the generations is not only a great way to pass along knowledge and wisdom – it’s also fun.
People of varying ages can learn a lot from each other if everyone keeps an open mind and appreciates the unique challenges and opportunities that come with the territory. This might take the form of grandchildren teaching their elders how to use technology or sharing contemporary favorites in entertainment. Likewise, young ones can discover obscure songs or movies that are just as powerful today as they were decades ago, possibly observe timeless traditions and ways of doing things that have become lost art-forms.
The great challenge is developing a better understanding of others, which may involve the collision of values when members of different generations work and learn together.
Does the WWII vet who hasn’t spoken to many people about the horrors of war he witnessed have anything at all in common with a teenager prone to oversharing every detail of her day on social media? Can someone whose attitudes about race, gender and sexual orientation were formed during less diverse times talk intelligently with someone who grew up learning about the Civil Rights Era from history books?
When people come together, it helps to dispel inaccurate and negative stereotypes.
Organizational development scholar Dr Morris Massey said, “We don’t have to agree with the values of different generations, but we can strive to understand the mind-sets of different generations and how each group sees the world based on their experiences.”
Whereas a senior may prefer face to face or written communication, their children and grandchildren may primarily reach out via email or text message. Bridging such gaps requires flexibility in your thinking.
We are shaped by the events of our lives, and history happens in cycles. Baby Boomers, for example, probably had their values influenced by parents who grew up during the Great Depression, so they may find common ground with Generation Xers who remember double-digit inflation or new college graduates who have struggled to find good jobs since 2007.
The benefit of intergenerational interaction for seniors is reducing isolation and poverty among elders, who in turn improve the lives of children, youth, and older adults by sharing their insight on the world as tutors, role models, or mentors. Through regular contact, they can become advocates for one another and unite with solutions for illiteracy, environmental issues, health issues, crime prevention, and much more.
According to the organization Generations United, such intergenerational activities allow seniors to remain active and engaged, which contributes to living longer with better physical and mental health. They enjoy a higher quality of life by remaining engaged in their communities.
“Older adults who regularly volunteer with children burn 20% more calories per week, experience fewer falls, are less reliant on canes, and perform better on a memory test than their peers,” the organization states. “Older adults with dementia experience more positive effect during interactions with children.”
The benefit for others? Developing skills, values, and a sense of citizenship. Historical and cultural traditions are preserved.
“Together we are stronger,” states Generations United.
At Regency Senior Living, daily life is an intergenerational activity as younger staff help to care for seniors and those requiring daily help with tasks. We appreciate that our residents have a lot of wisdom to share with us and are a value to society by their efforts to contribute in whatever capacity they can.
The Charmm’d Foundation offers a checklist for communicating to different generations that can be viewed at http://www.charmmdfoundation.org/resource-library/effective-communication/checklist-communicating-different-generations
Jeff Clay, Vice President of Business Development at of Regency Senior Living, said his group recruits many volunteers who bring a variety of abilities to work alongside residents.
“For these volunteers, both young and old, we create opportunities for inter-generational experiences,” Clay said. “We understand that many schools and colleges require volunteer hours for their students, and we would love to support those efforts. Call today and speak with our Activities Director to learn of ways you can begin a fulfilling way of working with seniors!”
To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.
Written by: Katie Hanley
As it turns out, the key to happiness later in life is not personal wealth, although having money does make it a bit easier. No, the real secret to a happy life is having good relationships – with spouses, with friends and family. This month, we dig deeper to find out why and learn how moving into an Assisted Living community can improve this happiness.
Harvard University began a study tracking 724 men back in 1938. They came from different backgrounds, including college students and some living in Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. Every two years, these men have been interviewed by researchers about their lives and given medical exams to study their brains and blood. Most of the surviving participants are in their 90s.
The study’s fourth director, Robert Waldinger, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said 75 years of research has given us solid clues about what leads to happier and healthier lives versus lives dominated by struggles with depression and health problems. Strong social bonds play a vital role in protecting long-term physical and mental health. Those challenged by health problems are more likely to become isolated and experience feelings of melancholy in old age.
It’s not always easy making new friends at ANY age. When we are in our teens and 20s, the institutions of school and career provide ample opportunities to make friends because we spend so much time with other people. Waldinger suggested those who make an effort to replace workplace friends and colleagues with new friends after retiring are more likely to be happier in their senior years.
Those connected to family, friends, the community are generally happier and physically healthier, living longer than those who are less well connected. In contrast, those who are mostly isolated aren’t as happy and have shorter lives. Those in unhappy relationships at age 50 reported their emotional pain magnified their physical pain at age 80. H. Jackson Brown Jr. was right when he wrote that, “the decision of who to marry will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.”
Romantic feelings may be hard for many couples to sustain for generations, but even those in the study who bickered frequently with their spouses showed signs of sharper memories if they were paired with someone who they felt they could count on during tough times. This suggests that a secure relationship helps the brain.
Rather than finding that happier relationships cause better health later in life, the Harvard study suggests that people who are healthier are more likely to make and maintain satisfying relationships. It just makes sense that someone who feels miserable much of the time will project this on others and be less likely to attract companionship. This heightens the importance of listening to doctors when they tell us to monitor our blood pressure, eat healthier and stay physically active.
Where does Assisted Living come into this?
A move to a senior living community can be a rescue from the isolation of living in solitude. While we all appreciate our privacy and the freedom to take “me time”, a structured environment designed to facilitate making new social connections can not only kill loneliness but contribute to life-extending happiness.
At Regency, we have Activity Directors to plan exercise and fun outings. Rather than sitting isolated in a house, seniors come together to play games, watch movies together, have meals together, worship as a group, and much more. Calendars placed in our newsletters and posted around the community preview good times of joint fun ahead.
When someone new moves to the community, an activity director typically conducts an activities survey to ask the new resident what he or she enjoys doing. Even someone who was an only child and has been introverted most of his or her life can make fast friends when talking to someone they have things in common with during meal times.
Considering a move to Assisted Living can be a scary proposition for the senior, but once they’ve lived here for a few weeks, most feel a genuine sense of belonging in a new family. Some may discover that they are social butterflies spreading their “wings” for the first time in their lives. Researchers are confident that strong social bonds like these play an important role in protecting our long-term physical and mental health.
To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.
The decision to move to Assisted Living can be a source of great conflict within families with aging loved ones no longer able to live alone. After getting settled in their new home, Regency residents often tell us, “I wish I had done this years ago”. But there was a time when they, too, were apprehensive about this life-changing situation and the implications on their independence.
Jeff Clay, Regency’s Vice President of Business Development, compared the process to the nervousness that a high school graduate feels going off to a college dorm -- except the “senior” is reversed with the child help the parent move to a new place. It’s not unusual for there to be initial feelings of homesickness and anxiety about making new friends in an unfamiliar place.
An aging parent may be adamant about not leaving a home where he or she has sentimental attachments, but grown children should encourage their senior parents to make such a movie before health worsens or there’s some sort of accident essentially forcing the decision. Actions taken during crisis situations may wreak chaos, especially if the parent is confused with the onset of dementia, so the process goes more smoothly with adequate contemplation and preparation.
“Seniors may have a preconceived notion that Assisted Living is going to be a cold, hospital-like setting, but when they visit, they quickly realize that living at Regency simply means having an apartment, except there’s help available to do things like housekeeping, laundry and remembering to take their medications. Residents are free to come and go, and they enjoy delicious meals in a social dining area, along with planned activities,” Clay said.
This is a contrast to nursing homes, which are primarily focused on providing skilled medical care. Regency offers an alternative that balances the senior’s desire to have social opportunities with the rest of the family’s need to have the peace-of-mind that help is never far away. If a resident with a closed door falls in their room, pull stations next to the bed and in the bathroom with adjustable length cords can summon help, in contrast to homes that typically lack such amenities.
Clay said when siblings are involved in the decision to move a parent, there may be disagreement on what to do. A local caregiver may have a different opinion than another child who lives far away and doesn’t see the parents as often. The remote family may not realize how frail a parent has become or the heavy toll circumstances can take on the primary caregiver who lives closer. In these instances, Clay encourages the children to weigh all their options and look at the situation objectively.
As seniors age and mobility becomes an issue, their social circles begin to shrink. Much like the incoming college freshman who is anxious at first but eventually makes friends at a university, senior citizens can find that the future is their next, exciting chapter of life.
Although it can be a difficult conversation to have at family gatherings, “the talk” does not necessarily have to be negative if there’s honest communication. Experts recommend that grown children share their genuine concerns and listen to how the senior feels, presenting options to choose from rather than dictating to parents what is going to happen.
Take the time to shop around for the best community for the parent, factoring in location, services and activities offered, and how much the elderly parent likes a place. They may not like the prospect of moving out of their home, but they will almost certainly have a preference on where they’d rather be if it eventually happens. For many, they settle on Regency because of our “family” type atmosphere as much as the amenities.
A short-term stay, i.e., “trying it out”, might be in order since Regency’s apartments are available on a month-to-month basis. Someone can usually tell after a couple of weeks whether Assisted Living is for them. This is normal for someone recovering from a surgery who may need help for a short period with daily tasks, so it can apply to someone getting a feel for our place before deciding whether to sell their home.
When a new resident arrives at a Regency community, we conduct an activity survey and talk to the family so we can begin to get a sense of what the senior considers fun. New residents are paired with others who they may have something in common with. Coming together regularly for meals in a social dining area is a sure way to make friends fast. Regency staff may visit the room to encourage residents to participate in scheduled activities, but they also respect residents’ privacy.
These are just a few of the things to consider when thinking about moving an aging or disabled loved one to an Assisted Living Community.
For more information, visit http://regencyseniorliving.com/ To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.