Wednesday, 30 March 2016 13:30

Spring a Great Time for Fun in the Sun

Tennessee Senior LivingAfter the long winter, it’s great to know that longer, warmer days are ahead. Active seniors welcome the opportunity to get outdoors.

Here are a few ideas for getting more enjoyment out of springtime:

  • Plant a Garden – Whether growing vegetables to eat or simply enjoying the scent of freshly cut flowers, this is THE best time of year for those who enjoy digging in the dirt and watching the beauty of nature at work. Will April showers bring May flowers?
  • Take a Picnic – With a little preparation, seniors can enjoy a picnic meal with family and friends, in the back yard or at a city park. Don’t forget the sandwiches and lemonade!
  • Visit a Farmer’s Market – This can be a great option for finding fresh veggies if tending to your own garden is too big of a project to take on by yourself. Many of the larger markets offer not only food items but arts and crafts and entertainment as well. Festivals are a big part of this time of year as well, many of them offering a showcase of all things Southern.
  • Take a Nature Walk – Many communities offer their citizens access to a walking park or botanical center where they can exercise at a leisurely pace. For those who are more active, hiking trails can lead to unexpected delights. Walking increases muscle strength, controls blood pressure and blood sugar and offers socialization experiences.
  • Bird Watch – It’s fun to listen to the birds chirping and try to identify what kind they are.
  • Spring Clean – Now is a great time to clear out some of the clutter lying around. While this might be more of an errand than a fun activity people look forward to, it can be entertaining going through keepsakes and recalling old memories. Plus, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment while enjoying the fresh air. Senior caregivers should use this time to make sure air conditioning is working properly before the summer heat arrives in full force. Spring cleaning may include cleaning outdoor furniture and pulling weeds.
  • Spend Time with Family – With kids out of school for the summer break ahead, now is a great time to plan activities with grandchildren or day trips to go shopping in nearby cities.
  • Fly a Kite – Combine walking with the exhilaration of guiding a soaring kite.
  • Learn Something New – More daylight hours means more opportunities to participate in things going on in the community. This may be attending events at a church or community center or taking a class to learn something like ballroom dancing, yoga, painting, etc.

Seniors and caregivers should check with their doctor before participating in any strenuous activity. Not only is getting outdoors good for Vitamin D production, but the fresh air can actually boost happiness, which is important considering the rise of feelings of depression during the colder months.

Say goodbye to winter and hello to springtime. To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.

Written by Steven Stiefel

Copyright: tunedin123 / 123RF Stock Photo

Published in Active Senior Living

It’s never too early to plan holiday celebrations that take the needs of your senior loved ones into consideration. The holidays can be a tough time for many seniors as they may feel lonely, isolated, or extra aware of health issues that they didn’t have in years past. With a little preparedness, you can help them beat the winter blues and create a wonderful holiday season.

Make sure that you senior loved one has plenty to look forward to, even when you’re busy handling other aspects of holiday planning. Perhaps they can be in charge of special outings or activities with the grandkids, or can handle some meal prep or shopping. Elderly people, especially those with memory care issues, need to have plenty to anticipate and focus on. You may not be able to share quality time constantly during the hectic holidays, by try to schedule a little something as often as possible. One on one conversation might be less stressful, and there’s no better gift than your undivided attention.

You can also use this time together to ensure your loved one is doing well and that his or her needs are being met. Just as the comparing this holiday to previous years’ might be a point of sadness for seniors, it can also be a point of comparison for you to see how their health and mental wellness really are. If you see your loved one struggling with mobility or find you are having to make adjustments for him or her so they can get around, manage basic tasks, or remember things, you might want to consider a retirement community.

Senior housing and assisted living are great options for seniors who need a little extra help but don’t want to lose their independence. They can also help seniors avoid stress and depression by providing plenty to see, do and look forward to and plenty of social interaction. Retirement facilities also help residents stay healthy by providing well prepared, nutritious meals, exercise classes, and opportunities to garden, walk, and more.

This holiday season, celebrate the seniors in your life, and check in to ensure their quality of life is the best it can be as we say farewell to 2013 and begin a new year. By planning ahead for the holidays, you’ll better be able to anticipate your loved one’s needs both at family celebrations and in the months to come.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Published in Active Senior Living
Friday, 29 November 2013 09:12

How Social Media Is Empowering Seniors

According to a 2011 article published in The Atlantic, a study by Dr. Shelia Cotten, a sociologist and Associate Professor at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, shows that “Internet use was associated with a 30% decrease in depressive symptoms among older adults who used it regularly.” That’s despite many studies questioning whether social media has made people of all ages lonelier, more narcissistic, or more disconnecting from meaningful social connection.

Instead, Cotten’s study shows that “engagement with their social networks and sense of renewed relevance was the most significant gain for older users. ‘It's this kind of bigger sense of mattering, in the social world, if you will,’ Cotten explains. ‘You're not just something that's been pushed off to the wayside anymore. You still have consequence.’"

Indeed, it’s not hard to understand why seniors are signing up for social media sites at an increasingly rapid rate when the world increasingly takes place online. Books, magazine articles, TV shows, movies, and more can all be found online faster than they can on cable or in print. With family far away and the pace of life moving faster than ever, it’s empowering for seniors to be able to take part in the digital landscape where their children and grandchildren spend so much time. When you consider what a huge place the internet has in our daily lives, it’s no wonder that seniors who aren’t on the web feel left out of even the most banal conversations about, say, paying bills online or shopping for a new dress through a website.

Taking on tech skills can open up social circles, too. Even for seniors who are heavily involved in their communities and with their neighbors and friends at their senior living facility, it’s always pleasant to make new connections and rekindle old friendships. Simply being able to catch up on shows, the latest news, and online tools like document storage can be immensely empowering for seniors who want to keep up with everything while traveling or making other transitions.

Talk to a senior loved one today about how you can help them get online and open up their life through web connections. It’ll be another way for you to stay in touch day to day and to check in on your loved one even if you are far away. Plus you can both have some peace of mind knowing that your senior has the whole world at his or her fingertips, and will be able to easily manage everyday tasks, get in touch with friends, and more thanks to the web.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Published in Active Senior Living

blog1You might have, like many people, started planning for retirement a long time before you actually got to the finish line. There were accounts to open, financial planners to chat with, paperwork to navigate, and dreams to dream about hitting the golf course, traveling, and spoiling the grand kids. Just as you began planning retirement well in advance, you should also get a head start on the conversation with both yourself and loved ones about when you will be ready for a retirement community.

Many hear the words “retirement community” and assume they might be like the nursing homes from decades ago. It’s important, first, to recognize that retirement communities today are for all ages of retirees and many offer different levels of care tailored to your needs. Planning for when you might want to join a senior home isn’t a depressing bet on when you will fall ill or become frail, but instead a proactive process to decide when you will be ready to join a caring community of new friends, more opportunities to explore and enjoy yourself, and receive a little extra assistance as needed.

Just as you planned the first phase of your retirement and when you could stop working, go ahead and consider when in the future you might be ready for the retirement community phase. If you are already asking yourself if you’re ready for senior housing, that could be a sign you’re almost ready. Perhaps you’ve realized a big house is harder to maintain as an empty nest, and that you don’t need all the extra bedrooms. Perhaps you are wondering if you’d prefer to live in another city not that you aren’t tied there by your career. Perhaps you simply like the idea of being surrounded by peers who are in a similar place and enjoy similar pastimes, much as you might have in college.

Starting the conversation now can also make the emotional side of this decision easier. Both you and your friends and family might have feelings to take into account and navigate. It will be easier to do this slowly over time when everyone can be more objective and logical than in the emotionally heightened rush after a crisis like hospitalization. Especially if you are currently living with family, the emotions surrounding caretaking can be complicated for everyone involved. Time and open dialogue can make the transition easier.

Even if you don’t intend to move into a retirement community for some time, go ahead and talk to your family, loved ones, doctor, and financial planners now so you can strategize the best possible way to make your move when you are ready. Just as you learned with the first phase of retirement, it’s always best to plan ahead!

Written by Meghan O'Dea

Published in Active Senior Living
Friday, 29 August 2014 12:31

Ooltewah Seniors Stay Active On the Move

cxnRegency 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!

Published in Active Senior Living

Scheduling a game night with friends or watching a funny movie may be just the prescription for Chattanooga Seniors.

That’s because scientists have shown that laughter has many positive impacts on the mind and the body beyond momentarily feeling good.

For example, watching a funny TV show or movie triggers the release of feel-good chemicals into the body that make us forget our aches and pains as muscles relax and stress hormones lower. Relieving tension in the muscles helps us sleep better, which is a powerful antidote to stress and pain in itself. One man with a painful spinal condition was able to sleep for hours after watching Marx Brothers films.

Sharing a good joke or funny story with friends builds our sense of connection to them, enhancing those relationships. Smiling and laughing naturally attracts others to us. Wouldn’t you rather spend time with someone who seems genuinely joyful than someone who is often anxious, angry or sad?

Laughter raises the number of infection-fighting antibodies and boosts our immune cells too. One study of people with diabetes found lower blood sugar levels after watch a comedy than sitting through a tedious lecture.

Humor also gets our blood flowing in the same way as a workout, so we actually can burn calories and improve blood flow enough to fight off cardiovascular problems.

With so many benefits, you might wonder how you can have a few laughs, especially if you are stressed out or simply not in the mood.

Some suggestions include goofing around with children, playing with a pet, reading the funny pages, going to a comedy club, or making time for fun activities like bowling or karaoke with friends.

Bring more humor into your life and enjoy the medicinal effects of a good laugh. 

 

Photo Credit: Kyrre Gjerstad via Compfight cc

Published in Active Senior Living

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.

CALL AHEAD!
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:

OPEN UP
Be prepared to discuss your symptoms. This will help your physician pinpoint the issues you are having.

SUMMARIZE
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.

Photo Credit: heipei via Compfight cc

Published in Active Senior Living

The Affordable Care Act has been the source of great controversy. You may know it as Obamacare, as some have called it. What does this program mean for seniors in the Ooltewah, Tennessee area?

Lawmakers created the ACA to increase affordable health care options by creating marketplaces for purchasing private insurance. They also sought, with this law, to reduce the growth rate of Medicare spending so the life of the program can be extended. This is accomplished by fighting fraud, waste and abuse in the system, reforming payments to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions that can lead to harmful acquired infections.

People who qualify for Medicare do not need insurance from the marketplace, but that doesn’t mean there’s no impact on seniors from Obamacare.

The program saves seniors money by reducing the coverage gap for Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage – the so-called “doughnut hole” – and completely eliminating it by 2020. Seniors also save money they had been spending on deductibles, copayments and other cost-sharing for preventive care by taking advantage of annual wellness checkups. 

In the first 11 months of 2013, 85,302 participated in annual wellness screenings and 72 percent of Original Medicare Part B enrollees in Tennessee received all free services.

Tennessee seniors benefit from incentives Obamacare creates to reward providers that meet quality goals or show significant progress in improving the outcome of patient care. Focusing on quality improvement moves the entire system toward one rewarding better care rather than simply more care.

Beneficiaries can make more informed choices when it comes to their health care. The ACA invests in developing quality of care measures across all providers.

The law also establishes criminal background checks for employees of nursing homes. Employees with direct access to patients in long-term care facilities

There are controversial aspects to the law, but these are just a few of the ways Ooltewah seniors benefit from the Affordable Care Act. 

Published in Active Senior Living
Monday, 31 December 2012 10:05

Senior Fitness Changes Lives

blog13We’ve all heard that exercise can have a huge impact on health and the quality of senior years, especially when health conditions associated with aging start to crop up. Heart disease, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and even depression can seriously affect your ability to manage day to day and get the most out of life. They can also all be changed through greater physical activity. You don’t have to be an former Olympic champion to reap the benefits of movement. You can have lead a largely sedentary life and still make positive changes now.

“Better late than never” defiantly applies in this scenario. Exercise can affect the rate of mental decline in patients in need of memory care, and can affect when you may need to arrange for residential memory care, assisted living, or even independent living in a retirement community. If you already are living in an adult care facility, or are planning on it soon for health reasons, you can still make a big difference in your comfort level and your ability to recover from illness, hospital stays, and how your current conditions affect you day to day.

Many senior living facilities offer plenty of options for fitness and exercise. Regency’s Retirement Village locations offer a variety of ways for seniors to stay active, from gardening plots to organized walks to Wii Fit tournaments to organized fitness classes like yoga, to dedicated work out equipment. Senior services include more than prescription scheduling, doctor’s visits, and transportation for shopping. It’s about helping residents get those most out of their golden years, so they can live life with dignity, comfort, and enthusiasm.

Published in Active Senior Living
Friday, 15 February 2013 09:53

Settle In the South for an Ideal Retirement

blog11With its mild climate, low cost of living, and burgeoning cultural centers, the South is one of the best regions for retirees. Since 1950, Southern states have been drawing a steady stream of retirees from all over the United States. There’s no shortage of natural wonder, recreation, shopping, great eats, and of course there’s that world-famous Southern hospitality that gives the region such charm.

Regency Retirement is well-rooted in that history of welcome and warmth. Our first location was Riverwood Retirement in Rome, GA, and our headquarters are in Ooltewah near beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee. Since 2003 our number of locations has expanded to include Maybelle Carter in Nashville, Regency Charlotte in North Carolina, Regency Morristown, Regency Jackson, Regency Tuscaloosa, and Rosewood Assisted Living in Tennessee, and Regency Birmingham and Regency Huntsville in Alabama. Morningside of College Park in Indianapolis, the furthest north of the Regency sites.

What that means is a network of caring, well-located retirement communities that offer the very best. From the warm, mild climate to the slew of activities available in the South’s best cities, there’s so much to see, do and enjoy. Everywhere you go, there are friendly faces, both  from neighbors and caretakers  at the Regency communities to the folks you’ll meet in the town at large.

Whether you want to stay close to family and grandkids, or are seeking out a new adventure in your golden years far from the old rat race, Regency offers an ideal place to call your own.

Published in Active Senior Living
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