To say that volunteers matter in our Assisted Living communities is an understatement. We rely on people with good hearts to contribute to creating the type of environment where seniors can feel a sense of belonging and share an emotional connection. Many times, the grown son or daughter of a resident offers to help out. In other cases, we hear from performers or those who simply want to do what they can.
It takes a very special person to put selfish pursuits aside and work toward improving the lives of others, but volunteering offers surprising benefits while providing a sense of purpose. There’s so much bad in the world today. Volunteers restore a balance, even with simple gestures of kindness, making a statement about maintaining our humanity to one another and changing things for the better.
Monique Dykstra, Regency’s Activities Director at Regency Retirement Village in Huntsville, said the benefits of volunteering are many. These include:
It feels deeply fulfilling to know you’ve made a difference in the quality of someone’s life. One does not have to follow Hinduism or Buddhism to comprehend the concept of Karma. That is, believing that good things come to those who are good people. In essence, everything we do creates a corresponding energy that comes back to us in some form or another. In Christianity, this may be expressed as following the Golden Rule, treating today’s seniors in the way we hope we are treated when the day arrives to be in the same situation.
A person does not necessarily have to be religious to volunteer, but a spirit of volunteerism is central to the tenets of most theologies. Volunteering is the act of expressing our belief in a greater good, and many of the people who join us in our mission share a devotion to this cause. It is, thus, a joyful opportunity to worship with our senior residents. Stepping up to help is testimony through action.
Our volunteers know that seniors are precious to society and offer great wisdom. Time spent with them is an education. Our volunteers form personal relationships with residents and each other. Committing to shared activities cures loneliness and creates a chance to make new friends.
Younger people who want to work in programs that serve seniors gain a more complete understanding of the circumstances that they encounter in their daily lives. Being around them regularly deepens this comprehension of how to best serve aging people.
The manner with which a city or town treats its senior citizens speaks volumes about it. When visiting an unfamiliar city, one simply grasps when the people who live there genuinely care about aging populations. Volunteering at Regency or another Assisted Living community enhances the quality of life for the seniors who reside within. It may be entirely unspoken, yet this community pride shines through when people visit. It is a piece of the puzzle that forms to complete a vision of a place people want to live.
Often, our volunteers are performers who visit to entertain our residents with their talents with music, magic shows, or other presentations. Receiving praise and handshakes from an appreciative audience does wonders for self-esteem.
Particularly for youth who volunteer at Regency, this action gives them opportunities to step up and take charge that reap rewards later in life in a variety of situations. On a purely utilitarian level, volunteering looks great on a resume and demonstrates to prospective professional references that you are a person worth vouching for when the time arrives.
At Regency, we make a special effort to recognize our volunteers because we love and appreciate them. The least we can do is bring attention to their good works, express our gratitude, and enjoy some fellowship.
Dykstra said the Huntsville community enjoys a strong base of volunteers, including groups involved in weekly, monthly or quarterly activities.
“Our volunteers range from members of the Huntsville Symphony doing live performances in the dining room and Ascension Lutheran with church service to Huntsville Dream Center showing up to help us serve over 400 people for Christmas, and Donna, Kathy or Tom (all residents’ family members) calling Bingo on the weekend. Of course, we also have four or five live church services each weekend, all performed by various churches from the local community. This doesn’t count the irregular volunteers such as the HSV Youth Symphony, art classes, pop-up concerts and more,” Dykstra said.
Volunteering as a family also gives children a firsthand opportunity to experience how good it feels to help other people and enact change for the better. Stress, anger, and anxiety fade when we become part of a solid support system, and researchers find that being helpful to others delivers immense pleasure. Plus, children are more likely to grow up with a positive view of life and a sense of pride and identity. When those kids grow up and their parents are the ones in Assisted Living, they will understand the importance of giving back and staying involved. To learn more about becoming a volunteer or resident at one of our communities, contact the local Executive Director or dial (615) 598-0245 to speak to one of our community contacts for Regency Senior Living.
Photo: © Goodluz / SOURCE
Blog © 2019 Regency Senior Living Ooltewah TN 37363
Written by: Meghan O’Dea
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
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.
We'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.
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.
If you find yourself wishing you could interact more with your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, you might consider exploring the possibilities offered by modern technology. All across the world, people are using things like Skype and social networking to connect with family and friends from whom they are separated by great distances.
It only makes sense that seniors would tap into the power of such technology to be involved in planning holiday get-togethers and simply having conversations about shared interests to pass the time. There's no reason why you can't watch some of the same TV programs as friends and add your opinion and reactions to plot twists.
Here are 5 ways to stay connected to friends and family using technology:
As great as a phone call is, texting is where it's at these days, especially with teens. Quick and concise, a short message typed on a smartphone may be more enthusiastically received than a voice call that requires us to be in a quiet place and focus all of our attention on listening/speaking. That probably sounds cold and impersonal, but just think of the luxury this gives family to read your text and discreetly respond while they are sitting at work or shopping in a noisy store.
Use Email for times when you have more to say than you can convey in a simple text message. Setting up email is as easy as opening a Yahoo or Google account and finding out what your loved ones' email addresses are so you can send them a message. Very few people take the time to sit down and create a handwritten letter anymore. Email allows us to quickly express what we need to tell others, so bear that in mind when emailing loved ones. Keep it brief if you want to have your message read. The longer, more detailed conversation you want to have can flow from a back-and-forth dialogue this opens in follow-up responses. Email's also great for sending photos or other files. These days, you don't even have to own a computer to send and receive email – just a mobile phone.
SKYPE OR FACETIME
Imagine spending 10 minutes making silly faces with your granddaughter or reading a picture book to your grandson. On the website Grandparent.com, author Barbara Graham writes, "Seeing the kids on a computer screen is not the same as hugging, snuggling, tickling, or kissing them, but it is an enormous improvement over mere phone calls, especially when the little ones can't yet carry on a conversation.
People today love sharing their lives on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and other platforms. Even if you don't talk directly to someone that often, you can typically get a sense of what's going on in their life as the channel broadcasts their written thoughts, their photos, even what music they are listening to. Some social networks include chat components that function similar to texting. Even if you don't have personal accounts, many Regency facilities have Facebook Pages that allow family to see what activities are going on.
If your grown children are regularly taking photos, they can create online galleries and invite you to view them at any time. You can add your own photos to the shared family gallery, creating a virtual scrapbook. On the website Grandparent.com, author Sharon Lovejoy writes, "When you ask your grandchildren to show you what their lives are like by taking pictures of their friends, pets, schools, or trips, you will surely get a response. The next time the kids visit, you can talk about the pictures together." Photo sharing is a way to passively connect with people even if you aren't directly exchanging back and forth messages that often.
These are 5 of the ways you can use modern technology to have a larger presence in the lives of loved ones when they can't visit you in person as often as you'd like to see them. If you have grown children who accommodate your desire to look into their family life and you aren't too intimidated by technology, there's no reason why your interactions can't extend beyond that all-too-precious time when you get to see them in person.
You don’t have to be Jack LaLanne to be in great shape. But just like the famous bodybuilder, you can transform your physique while reducing the symptoms and slowing the progress of several chronic diseases. In fact, focusing on fitness can be a simple matter of doing some things differently.
It does a body good to keep moving, whether it is in a gym, in a pool, at Hamilton Place Mall, in a garden, on a ballroom dance floor, or even in the hallways of Regency Senior Living. Fitness helps with arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, blood pressure, depression, and more!
Of course, you never want to start a workout without first consulting your doctor to make sure you won’t strain anything or otherwise injure yourself.
Small changes in daily routine can make a big difference. For example, walking instead of riding in a car when going a short distance, walking while socializing rather than sitting with a friend to chat, using time in a swimming pool to tread water rather than merely floating restfully, stretching in your chair, squatting to pick something up, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
The stretching part is very important to avoid injury and improve your flexibility. Remember to drink plenty of fluids so you do not become dehydrated.
Talk to us at Regency Senior Living about initiatives to help keep seniors healthy and active.