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:

The Seven Keys of Tennessee Retirement Living:

Ooltewah seniors on FacebookIdentify 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.

Be Creative

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

Published in Retirement Communities

her life storySeniors 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:

  • First, don’t get caught up in the gravity of “writing an autobiography” or “crafting my memoir”. Your life story can be a short essay or a collection of brief stories. Shorter can actually be easier for the eventual reader. It’s not as if you’re tasked with the intimidating task of writing something meant for publication. The important thing is to capture the stories and the perspective of what it was like to be you during the certain period of history in which you lived. It might help to think of the process as more like writing a letter to the person your grandchild will be in 20 years.
  • Second, consider starting with a sequential outline of major life events or talk about experiences independent of when they happened. The order of things doesn’t matter as long as you tell your story, but structure can make it easier to follow. An outline is the skeleton of your story. Don’t feel as if you have to start at your own childhood – this is your story and you are free to start wherever you wish.
  • Third, don’t feel as if your life isn’t dramatic enough to be interesting to anyone. Our births, schooling, vacations, work lives, and relationships are rich material. Your life story does not have to be an epic odyssey spanning continents and encompassing major struggles. Daily life is a struggle, and surviving another day is quietly heroic in itself. Novelist Jeannette Walls said: “Memoir is about handing over your life to someone and saying, ‘This is what I went through, this is who I am, and maybe you can learn something from it.’ It’s honestly sharing what you think, feel, and have gone through. If you can do that effectively, then somebody gets the wisdom and benefit of your experience without having to live it.”
  • Four, try to put things in your life’s rear-view mirror into context. Some memories will be happy, while others will be sad. Don’t hammer someone who doesn’t deserve to be portrayed as the villain if you owe it to yourself to take some of the blame for things that happened. Writing things down can be very therapeutic, but you can change names or leave out details if they might embarrass someone reading your story later.
  • Five, writing is most engaging when we appeal to the senses (sight, taste, hearing, smell, and touch). Stating what happened is not as interesting as telling a story with descriptive details that put the reader there in the room with you, as if they traveled back in time to experience it alongside you.
  • Six, if you have difficulty typing or writing, record your story on an audio recorder or a video. Websites like http://storycorps.org/ and https://lifebio.com/Home/How-Write-Biography can help you capture your life story.
  • Seven, if you have trouble starting, begin by answering basic questions. A list of great questions is available at http://storycorps.org/great-questions/ or at http://www.ancestrybinders.com/uploads/7_Writing_Your_Life_Story_-_Sue_s_list.pdf
  • Eight, include photos whenever possible. A picture speaks a thousand words you won’t have to. Be sure to label who is in a photo and what was happening, otherwise your future descendants will not understand the importance of the moment you’re sharing. School photos, wedding pictures and family reunion photos work great.

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.

 

Written by Steven Stiefel

Published in Active Senior Living

Ooltewah seniors celebrate the holidaysWe've all experienced it: A family Christmas gathering, with familiar scents drifting from a kitchen and wrapped presents sitting under a decorated tree. It's a scene most Chattanooga-area seniors look forward to each year. With so much hype and commercialism, it's easy to forget sometimes that the holidays are about preserving traditions and bonding with family.

Here are 6 tips to have a great family Christmas this year:

Give It Some Thought: Note a loved one's interests, hobbies, and collectibles. A handmade gift that appeals to someone's favorite things is beloved more than an expensive present that feels like a shot in the dark from out of left field.

Be Gracious: Imagine how you'd feel if a grandchild acted unappreciative of a gift. According to the etiquette experts at Debretts, we "must never, ever look anything but delighted with a present. Lack of taste is regrettable, but not a criminal offense."

Stick to a Budget: We can feel obligated to spend beyond our means, but generosity can actually create problems rather than happiness. Says Debretts: "Costly presents may detonate waves of guilt, obligation and social embarrassment; not everyone will be able to match your generosity, nor should they be expected to... If someone showers you with extravagant presents you are not under a moral obligation to reciprocate, or outdo them."

Give Yourself Time to Shop: You won't get the best deals or find that toy that a grandchild said he wanted if you wait until it is sold out.

Be Appropriate in Gift-Giving: Ask your children before you buy their son a drum kit or their daughter a puppy. Don't play favorites when it comes to grandchildren. Although it may seem impersonal, teenagers will prefer a gift card to clothes.

Give Experiences: A trip to the Tennessee Aquarium, the Creative Discovery Museum or other Chattanooga area attractions can inspire and entertain a family member more than a toy.

Make Experiences: Take time to share stories about past family holiday gatherings, cook traditional meals, play games, watch favorite Christmas movies, sing Christmas Carols, etc. Rituals become the things that grandchildren carry on into their own families.

With just a little effort, this holiday season can be a great one for Ooltewah seniors.

Published in Active Senior Living

With the holidays ahead, Chattanooga area families are going to be gathering for meals and chatter. Around at least some of those dinner tables, there are going to be inevitable talks with an aging relative about whether they need a helping hand with the tasks of daily life.

If you have a parent who needs assistance with housekeeping, meals, transportation, medication administration, or personal care, they may find Regency Senior Living to be a great option for taking the next step. The same is true if you are a senior who wants to explore new opportunities for staying socially and physically active in a place where help is available when you need it.

Some families anguish over such a transition because of concerns about uprooting a loved one from their home of many decades into unknown situations that may be cloaked in misconceptions of what to expect. We all want the comfort of knowing the next chapter in our story is one of happiness rather than misery.

The freedom to come and go is part of the Assisted Living experience at Regency in Ooltewah, as is forming new friendships. Until one researches the options and understands what they are dealing with (typical costs, living arrangements, etc.), they may have misconceptions about what lay ahead and assume the worst.

Elder Advisor Gail Samaha says it is best to broach the topic with an open mind and a focus on the positives. Grown children should tell their parents that they are bringing it up out of a desire to know what their wishes are going to be in case their health starts to fail or they need more help than family caregivers alone can provide. Samaha advises people to tell their aging mom or dad that "in order for us to provide your wishes and your needs, we need to have an idea of what you can afford."

This provides an opening for the conversation. Once the senior sees what they can expect at Regency, they may transform their outlook from fear of uncertainty to eagerness to begin a new living arrangement that offers abundant opportunities to stay active and enjoy new friendships.

Some families may want to consult a doctor for his or her opinion, especially if there are indications the senior may be suffering for early stage dementia. In the mind of a senior, the recommendations of an objective professional can carry more weight in reaching a tough decision than the opinions of relatives. A son or daughter sharing their worries about an elder falling without anyone around to help can show the right motivations are at heart.

Moving is stressful for anyone, but particularly a frail senior. One advantage to living at Regency in Ooltewah is the range of services we offer, from Independent Living to Memory Care. Finding the facility that can meet their present and future healthcare needs, such as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) will ensure the elder's life doesn't have to be disrupted a second time down the road due to declining health.

The next step is to arrange a tour at a time when the parent and other family can visit and ask questions. Speaking with residents about their experience living at Regency goes a long way toward helping because most will say they wish they'd made the move sooner.

To arrange a visit, call (615) 598-0245 or fill out the form at http://regencyseniorliving.com/chattanooga-retirement-community . After meeting with you, we can advise you on the services you may need and tell you more about the lifestyle Regency offers.

Published in Retirement Communities

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