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
We all have different dietary needs, especially as we age and might develop different health conditions. Today, we will discuss those needs and share healthy eating for seniors to adhere to, that can help maintain their health and prevent some common ailments that sometimes come with age. One challenge for many seniors is keeping up with cooking, which can be time consuming, tiring, and even dangerous if you have issues with mobility, coordination, or balance. That’s yet another great reason to consider retirement living—the help with meal times alone can offer enormous peace of mind and transform breakfast, lunch, and dinner from a source of stress to the pleasurable social activity eating can be at its best.
A senior care community makes it easier than ever for seniors to eat as often as they should and make sure each meal is not only delicious, but nutritious, too. It’s easy for seniors who struggle with meal prep and cleanup to turn to processed foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and preservatives. By enjoying three meals a day with their friends and neighbors at the retirement home, there doesn’t need to be as much worry about malnutrition, or getting the right amount of calories, vitamins, and minerals.
Seniors typically benefit from eating several small meals a day. That helps maintain insulin levels, keeps blood sugar steady, aids calorie intake, and prevents you from missing a meal if you were too tired at the end of the day to, say, enjoy an enormous dinner. Dishes like soups and stews can be rich in vegetables, protein, and carbs while packing a lot of flavor—and hydrating liquid. That can be ideal for addressing some of the most common health complaints for seniors that are easily treated with a change in diet, rather than prescription medications and supplements (though those can help, too!).
Sipping small amounts of liquid throughout the day can help you stay hydrated. If you have a health condition like diabetes that means you need to be mindful of sugars, avoid sodas, fruit juices, and naturally sweetened seltzers. Instead, drink plain water with a squeeze of lemon, sparkling water, dairy or nut milks, or herbal tea. Other drinks that are becoming more popular lately include kombucha and coconut water, though those can sometimes be sweetened.
In addition to staying hydrated, enjoy whole foods high in protein and fiber like whole grains, beans, peas, peanuts, boiled or baked potatoes, lean meats, and nut butters. Protein is a major building block for the body’s muscles and organs. It can be easy to tend towards eating too many carbs and not enough protein, so make sure you get some protein in at every meal. Fiber can help you avoid constipation, highs and lows with your blood sugar, or feeling hungry throughout the day. Vegetables are a great way to get plenty of fiber, including salads, cooked greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, and more. Many of the most fibrous vegetables out there are also vitamin powerhouses, too, meaning you get even more bang for your buck.
At Regency, it’s our top priority to help you live your very best life, whether it’s arranging fun activities for residents, having a caring, conscientious staff available, or preparing top-quality meals that will fuel all your favorite things to do, from playing with the grand kids to taking a walk outside to a rousing game of bingo. With the right foods, nothing can slow you down.
Written by: Meghan O'Dea
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
The decision to move to Assisted Living can be a source of great conflict within families with aging loved ones no longer able to live alone. After getting settled in their new home, Regency residents often tell us, “I wish I had done this years ago”. But there was a time when they, too, were apprehensive about this life-changing situation and the implications on their independence.
Jeff Clay, Regency’s Vice President of Business Development, compared the process to the nervousness that a high school graduate feels going off to a college dorm -- except the “senior” is reversed with the child help the parent move to a new place. It’s not unusual for there to be initial feelings of homesickness and anxiety about making new friends in an unfamiliar place.
An aging parent may be adamant about not leaving a home where he or she has sentimental attachments, but grown children should encourage their senior parents to make such a movie before health worsens or there’s some sort of accident essentially forcing the decision. Actions taken during crisis situations may wreak chaos, especially if the parent is confused with the onset of dementia, so the process goes more smoothly with adequate contemplation and preparation.
“Seniors may have a preconceived notion that Assisted Living is going to be a cold, hospital-like setting, but when they visit, they quickly realize that living at Regency simply means having an apartment, except there’s help available to do things like housekeeping, laundry and remembering to take their medications. Residents are free to come and go, and they enjoy delicious meals in a social dining area, along with planned activities,” Clay said.
This is a contrast to nursing homes, which are primarily focused on providing skilled medical care. Regency offers an alternative that balances the senior’s desire to have social opportunities with the rest of the family’s need to have the peace-of-mind that help is never far away. If a resident with a closed door falls in their room, pull stations next to the bed and in the bathroom with adjustable length cords can summon help, in contrast to homes that typically lack such amenities.
Clay said when siblings are involved in the decision to move a parent, there may be disagreement on what to do. A local caregiver may have a different opinion than another child who lives far away and doesn’t see the parents as often. The remote family may not realize how frail a parent has become or the heavy toll circumstances can take on the primary caregiver who lives closer. In these instances, Clay encourages the children to weigh all their options and look at the situation objectively.
As seniors age and mobility becomes an issue, their social circles begin to shrink. Much like the incoming college freshman who is anxious at first but eventually makes friends at a university, senior citizens can find that the future is their next, exciting chapter of life.
Although it can be a difficult conversation to have at family gatherings, “the talk” does not necessarily have to be negative if there’s honest communication. Experts recommend that grown children share their genuine concerns and listen to how the senior feels, presenting options to choose from rather than dictating to parents what is going to happen.
Take the time to shop around for the best community for the parent, factoring in location, services and activities offered, and how much the elderly parent likes a place. They may not like the prospect of moving out of their home, but they will almost certainly have a preference on where they’d rather be if it eventually happens. For many, they settle on Regency because of our “family” type atmosphere as much as the amenities.
A short-term stay, i.e., “trying it out”, might be in order since Regency’s apartments are available on a month-to-month basis. Someone can usually tell after a couple of weeks whether Assisted Living is for them. This is normal for someone recovering from a surgery who may need help for a short period with daily tasks, so it can apply to someone getting a feel for our place before deciding whether to sell their home.
When a new resident arrives at a Regency community, we conduct an activity survey and talk to the family so we can begin to get a sense of what the senior considers fun. New residents are paired with others who they may have something in common with. Coming together regularly for meals in a social dining area is a sure way to make friends fast. Regency staff may visit the room to encourage residents to participate in scheduled activities, but they also respect residents’ privacy.
These are just a few of the things to consider when thinking about moving an aging or disabled loved one to an Assisted Living Community.
For more information, visit http://regencyseniorliving.com/ To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.
Whenever someone passes the century market on this planet, they are usually asked, “What is your secret to long life and good health?”
The young have the freedom to live with reckless abandon, confident they will live forever. In reality, we discover as we age that our health often reflects earlier choices and pays dividends later in life. Ask anyone in their 30s and 40s who is warned by their doctor to watch their cholesterol or lectured by a dental hygienist to brush and floss.
In our increasingly sedentary society, there’s no surprise that more than a third of adults are considered to be obese. A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that each hour people spent sitting down and watching TV after age 25 was linked to a deduction of 22 minutes from their overall life expectancy.
According to the National Institute on Aging, staying active and taking charge of one’s health are key to managing future well-being.
Here are 8 Areas of Age-Related Change that older adults will likely face and how to prepare:
Problem: Forgetfulness is so common as we age that our culture deems it as “having a senior moment”, but there is a difference between momentary confusion and the onset of memory loss and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Solution: Alcohol misuse can increase the risk of damage to the brain, as well as damage to the liver, esophagus, throat and larynx. Scientists do not yet know what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but they do believe it arises from a complex series of brain changes that evolve over decades, possibly a mix of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that affect each person differently. Diet and physical exercise are recommended to reduce the risk. Memory Care may be of great use to those who have access to a senior living community like Regency.
BONES AND JOINTS
Problem: Decades of carrying around our body weight bears down on the bones and movable joints. Osteoporosis weakens bones to the point where they break easily, most often in women. Arthritis comes in different types but usually means cartilage in a joint wearing away. Inflammation can result in pain and stiffness.
Solution: Scientists recommend consuming calcium and vitamin D to prevent weakened bones, as well as exercise. Our bones begin to weaken in our 40s. Lifestyle changes and flexibility exercises can pay off later in life. Weight loss is a recurring theme, as doctors say that losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight can pay big rewards, lowering the possibility of Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, some types of cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and other problems. At Regency’s communities, residents are encouraged to participate in physical activities to maintain their health.
EYES & EARS
Problem: Around age 40, people slowly begin to notice changes in vision such as inability to read small print without reading glasses. Hearing also declines due to a condition called Presbycusis.
Solution: Vision loss is inevitable, but you can protect yourself by having annual eye exams to detect early signs of cataracts, glaucoma or retinal disorders that may develop around age 60 or as a result of diabetic vision loss. Hearing aids can improve the quality of life for seniors with hearing loss. In younger years, moderating exposure to loud noises can delay hearing loss.
DIGESTIVE & METABOLIC SYSTEM
Problem: About 40 percent of adults ages 40 to 74 — or 41 million people — have pre-diabetes, a condition that raises a person's risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Heartburn can also be an issue as stomach contents can leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus.
Solution: Lifestyle changes such as losing weight and increasing physical activity reduce the development of diabetes by 71 percent in people over age 60.
BLADDER & PROSTATE
Problem: Loss of bladder control is very common in older people, with 1 in 10 people over age 65 experiencing leaking, particularly women. For men, the prostate grows bigger with age, making it harder to pass urine. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men in the US.
Solution: Ask a doctor if your medicines can affect the amount of urine you produce. Limit alcohol and caffeine while drinking more water to improve bladder health. Seek treatment for urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections. Seniors experiencing these issues greatly benefit from the compassionate care they receive at Regency, where light housekeeping tasks are performed by others.
LOSS OF TEETH
Problem: Bacteria ruins the enamel that protects teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Infection, if left untreated, can ruin the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth.
Solution: Brushing twice a day prevents plaque from forming into tartar that leads to destructive gingivitis. Going to a dentist twice a year for a routine cleaning can prevent plaque buildup.
Problem: Years of exposure to sunlight, stress, dehydration, and toxins such as cigarettes lead to changes such as dryness, wrinkles and age spots. Skin cancer is the most common type in the nation. Melanoma can be fatal if it spreads to other organs in the body. Shingles can affect those over 50 who suffered chickenpox earlier in life.
Solution: There is now a shingles vaccine show to boost immunity against the virus. Experts recommend staying out of the sun to keep skin healthy and young looking. We also need to avoid dehydration caused by overheating in the winters and using air conditioning during summertime.
Problem: Falls can come as a result of reduced vision, muscle strength, coordination, and reflexes, as well as inner ear infections, diabetes and heart disease or circulation problems. Increased use of medicines can cause dizziness.
Solution: Removing hazards in the home can reduce tripping incidents. Keeping a healthy weight, moderate exercise, drinking less alcohol, eating less salt, and eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods can all reduce blood pressure and thus lower the risk of stroke, heart disease, eye problems, and kidney failure. Walkers and canes can provide greater support and improve mobility. Talk to a doctor to determine if unwanted side effects of medicines are causing dizziness. Seniors and their families may experience greater peace of mind by moving to a senior community such as Regency where their physical needs are key to the design.
These are just a few of the keys to realizing the Fountain of Youth and living a long, healthy life. Beyond the body itself, attitude and being socially connected also impact our lifespans.
Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise plan or making other changes that can affect your health. To learn more, visit http://www.nihseniorhealth.gov.
To learn more about Regency Senior Living, call (615) 598-0245.
Copyright: karelnoppe / 123RF Stock Photo
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.
You 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!
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.
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!