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
How many hours did you spend daydreaming when you were younger and busy earning a living while raising a family, imagining all of the things you’d see and do if only you had more time?
For seniors, the time to “slow down and smell the roses” is now. Yet some look at their life and wonder ‘what next?’ after retiring from a career or experiencing an empty nest. It is fun to imagine “if money were no object” scenarios, even though this is rarely a luxury for most as life expectancies grow longer and longer.
Whatever the pie-in-the-sky fantasy, it is important to live within one’s means after leaving any job and spread savings over the long haul. Eventually, long-term care in a retirement community like Regency should be included in plans, with the cost covered by some combination of personal savings, long-term care insurance, veteran’s benefits, home equity, selling a life insurance policy, using a reverse mortgage, renting the home, and/or Medicaid.
US News offers a retirement readiness calculator to provide a rough idea of how long retirement savings and income will last. It can be viewed at http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/features/calculator
Of course, money isn’t the only consideration in creating an enriched retirement life. Here are some ideas for adding some fun and purpose to our golden years:
It can be very rewarding to give back in ways that just weren’t possible while employed full-time. Your church or another charitable organization will no doubt appreciate being asked what their needs are and how you can contribute. There may be a need within one’s own family for someone to step up and help care for a loved one.
Get a Part Time Job
For those physically able, working after retirement can be a great way to spread out savings and earn extra money for things, plus it can make things easier for the senior who has spent his or her whole life working and doesn’t know what to do with idle hands. A lot of companies can appreciate someone with a friendly personality who is eager to help out a bit. A part-time job with benefits can be a great lifeline for a senior without insurance.
Pouring surplus time into improving a home can increase the value if it is put up for sale as part of a larger plan to downsize and possibly finance some of the cost of a move to a senior living community, where an older adult can maintain his or her independence while getting help with the tasks of daily life.
Go into Public Service
Serve your community by stepping up to speak for others, whether it is taking on a responsibility in a civic club or running for an elected office. This is an especially great option for a senior with many connections who is well admired by others. Simply writing letters to city council members or representatives in Congress on matters of importance can give seniors an advocacy role that eludes most people too busy during the career years.
Seniors are walking treasures when it comes to life experience, but it’s a waste if knowledge and wisdom are lost rather than shared with someone younger who can benefit from such insight. Writing a blog is as easy as going to Wordpress.com and starting to type. The Internet is generally a great way to connect with others who share a specific interest. Mentoring a young person who needs a role model is one way for a senior to leave the world a little better place than it otherwise would be, touching the life of another human being.
Learn a New Skill
Who says that an education has to end when we get a diploma or put workplace training out of commission? Learning to dance, cook, sew, speak in a foreign tongue – all of these and more are possibilities for the mind willing to grasp new things.
For those who can afford it, seeing more of the world is a great way to enhance retirement life. When we are working in full-time jobs, most people can only see as much of the planet as their vacation time allows, but retirees can seek out bus trips to take as groups, cruises to enjoy and attractions to experience. Traveling can include visiting family and exploring one’s roots. What adventure awaits you?
Liberal arts majors might get teased about their prospects finding good-paying jobs out of college because it is a struggle for most artists, but retirees have the freedom to spend their days expressing their creativity. Whether this takes the form of painting, playing a musical instrument, creating jewelry, or planting a garden, it’s more about getting enjoyment than struggling to make a living. There can be great joy in picking up a pursuit that was set aside as we reached adulthood and had more practical concerns to dominate our focus.
While most seniors aren’t physically able to get out and play tackle football, they can find ways to stay active, perhaps going to a local gym or getting in the habit of walking daily. For some, recreation might be more along the lines of playing cards.
Consume the Classics
If someone hasn’t had time to read many novels since finishing college – or ever – the retirement years can be populated with regular reading of short stories and epic tales. The local library is filled with titles that can stimulate the imagination and take the reader to exciting new places without ever leaving his or her bedroom. Not much of a reader? Services such as Netflix allow viewers to enjoy hours and hours of binge viewing great TV shows and movies, including some familiar titles from decades past. Who says you have to spend a fortune to be entertained?
Seniors should take the time, now that they have it, to do anything they want, putting their energy into things they’ve long wished to do but previously lacked the time. They’ve earned it.
Copyright: pressmaster / 123RF Stock Photo
Seniors may not realize it, but they carry within them a lifetime of lessons learned and wisdom to be shared with their families. It’s true that none of us are immortal, and the author Alex Haley once said, “Every death is like the burning of a library.”
There’s no time like the present to write down one’s life story to preserve for future generations. Just think of how precious your own grandparents’ possessions became over time – how you wished you could have had more time to spend with them, the questions you would ask if you’d thought of it at the time.
Today’s grandchildren are self-absorbed in their gadgets and pop culture, but someday they will mature into people who are genuinely interested in where they came from and what that means to who they’ve become. One day they’ll marvel at how much the world changed from when their elders were children, but only if they have the tales available to read when they’re ready.
Here are some quick tips from the experts on writing down or otherwise recording your life story:
These are just a few of the ways you can turn your life’s experience into a priceless keepsake that will only grow more valuable, pass along your values and preserve your memories.
Some seniors may initially be apprehensive about moving from their home to an assisted living facility such as Regency Senior Living, but there are a lot of perks to it once you move beyond the fear of change and think about it.
Living alone, especially when you have mobility or memory issues, can not only be dangerous but also stressful and boring.
Being in a home means having to take care of a house and a yard. Why mow the grass, shovel snow or vacuum the carpet when you don’t have to and can have someone else do it? If a senior enjoys playing in the dirt, there are still opportunities at Regency Senior Living to tend to a community garden. Trying to take on home maintenance when affected by physical ailments can increase the risk of falls.
When a senior’s only regular companion is a television set, this leads to feelings of loneliness as well as guilt from family and friends whose busy schedules do not permit daily check-ins. In contrast, someone living in Assisted Living is never truly alone, although their privacy is respected.
Someone living at Regency has opportunities to form new friendships with other residents and staff, which includes an activity director tasked with providing activities for stimulation. Doesn’t that sound better than sitting alone in front of a glowing box?
Beyond the safety considerations of avoiding hazardous physical labor, once someone lives in a community like Regency, there are safeguards in place to not only protect them from hurting themselves but also from being exploited by con-artists and criminals off the street – those who might prey on a vulnerable senior forced to answer his or her own door and cope with aggressive or persuasive approaches.
Moving from the home that is perhaps larger than the senior needs (with children now grown and perhaps a spouse deceased) also makes sense from the family perspective. No longer do they have to feel resentment as full time caregivers or guilty because they haven’t visited enough; instead, they can rest easy knowing that the elderly individual is surrounded by people focused on their well-being.
Life at Regency also means no longer having to go grocery shopping or clean dirty dishes. There’s always a risk that a senior might suffer nutritionally as memory fails or performing these chores becomes too labor-intensive, but in assisted living they can be assured of three delicious meals a day. Regency also offers transportation without the risk of a senior attempting to drive in traffic.
From housekeeping to assistance with food and medications, a move to assisted living can be the key to a happier, more secure life going forward.
It’s already been a scorching hot summer and the season has only just begun. With that in mind, here are some tips for making sure you and the ones you love stay cool. Infants and anyone with a chronic illness need special attention, as do outdoor pets.
Dehydration from being in the heat and not getting adequate liquids can lead to hospitalization. Older adults are particularly at risk due to changes in renal function and body water composition.
Signs include confusion, problems with walking or falling, dizziness or headaches, dry or sticky mouth and tongue, sunken eyes, inability to sweat or produce tears, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure or blood pressure that drops when changing from lying to standing, constipation and decreased urine.
A caregiver like the ones at Regency work to keep our seniors healthy and hydrated, but what about friends and family who may live alone and struggle to keep cool in the oppressive heat?
Some tips to remember:
Regency Senior Living offers Ooltewah seniors a variety of activities meant to enrich their lives. You’re likely to find residents relaxing while creating arts and crafts, playing games like Bingo or The Price is Right, enjoying a social gathering, or perhaps participating in a scavenger hunt.
There’s plenty of facility-based activities with opportunities to be social, but Regency Senior Living is located in Hamilton County, offering the warmth of small town living with easy access to all that nearby Chattanooga has to offer. Our residents have opportunities to participate in outings to movies, musicals or even a local sporting event.
Some great possible outings in Hamilton County include:
Point Park Battlefield: See the site of the Civil War’s “Battle Above the Clouds” and enjoy a spectacular view of Lookout Valley, Moccasin Bend and downtown Chattanooga.
Hunter Museum of Art: Built on a 90-foot limestone bluff overlooking the Tennessee River, the Hunter Museum of American Art showcases the region’s finest collection of American art, spanning hundreds of years and including different media such as painting, sculpture, glass, and crafts.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum: A choo-choo lover’s paradise, with restored vintage trains and trips running daily during the warmer months.
Trail-of-Tears/The Passage: This outdoor exhibit at Ross’s Landing in downtown Chattanooga tells the story of the displaced Cherokees.
Tennessee Aquarium: Chattanooga’s top attraction featuring a variety of animals in giant fish tanks and habitats, including sharks, giant catfish, trout, baby alligators, turtles, butterflies, jellyfish, penguins, and more!
IMAX 3D theatre: The super-theater is now showing 3D movies about the Galapagos Islands and the South Pacific. Add an IMAX film to your aquarium visit for only $6. Most films have run times of 45 minutes.
Ruby Falls: See the spectacular 145-foot high underground waterfall inside Lookout Mountain, along with cave formations like stalactites and stalagmites.
Incline railway: Travel a mile up the side of Lookout Mountain from the historic St. Elmo neighborhood to Point Park. Get ready for a steep ride on this beloved landmark.
Chattanooga Lookouts (an AA Southern League baseball team) games: The Lookouts play at AT&T Field, which seats 6,160 fans. They often have theme nights and play against regional teams like the Birmingham Barons, Huntsville Stars, Tennessee Smokies, Montgomery Biscuits, Jackson Generals, and Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
Bessie Smith Cultural Center: This facility, an African American Museum & Performance Hall, is named after the legendary performer and contains artistic exhibits, high quality musical events and performances, and historical educational and cultural programs.
These are just a few of the attractions that make Ooltewah a great place to live!
Doctor's appointments can be overwhelming at times. Time in the exam room seems to fly by at warp speed. Did you have time to tell your doctor in Ooltewah or Chattanooga about that funny symptom that has been on your mind? What was the dosage for the new medication again? It is imperative that you and your physician have open communication in order to assure that you get the best possible medical care.
A small amount of pre-appointment preparation will allow you to have a more relaxed and beneficial experience at your next doctor's visit.
When you call your doctor's office to set up your appointment, explain that you are a senior patient and request a bit of additional time be added to your exam time. This will give you a few additional minutes to discuss your issues with your doctor in an unhurried fashion. Typically you can give a list of your health issues to the nurse. They can pass them along to your physician.
BRING AN EXTRA SET OF EARS ALONG WITH YOU
A reliable third party can listen with you and help you be certain the details of your doctor's visit won't be forgotten.
MAKE A LIST
Write down any concerns that you have. A checklist will help you remember exactly what you want to discuss.
A HISTORY OF YOU
Bring along your complete medical history, a binder will help keep you organized. This is essential when visiting a new doctor. Key information includes current doctors' information, recent prescriptions, allergies, your insurance information, past and ongoing health concerns and treatments.
There are also some things you'll want to do during your appointment:
Be prepared to discuss your symptoms. This will help your physician pinpoint the issues you are having.
As your appointment is wrapping up, be sure to request that your doctor to review the important points made during your appointment. Feel free to go over anything that was discussed. This is the time to ask any lingering questions you may have.
LET'S BE CLEAR
Your doctor or nurse will be able to go over any written instructions with you at the conclusion of your visit. This review will allow you feel certain that you are clear regarding what the next steps are for your treatment.
Working together with your doctor is imperative in working toward your best health. A little preparation and active participation in your own health matters can help you and your doctor get the most out of your next doctor's appointment.