When Luther Burbank said, “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul,” he wasn’t just being sentimental. Researchers at Rutgers University found in 2001 that spending time around flowers eased senior depression, inspired seniors to make new social connections and be more outgoing, and helped them achieve more through memory exercises. In the over 100 seniors who were studied flowers proved to be a small step that could have big results.
That’s all the more reason to encourage seniors to engage in springtime activities like gardening. A study done in collaboration between Texas A&M University and Texas State Universities found that adult gardeners felt their lives were more satisfactory and had a more positive outlook on life. The participants in the study were graded on their “zest for life,” “resolution and fortitude,” how well they managed to turn their desires into achieved goals, how they viewed their physical, psychological, and social well-being, and how optimistic they were. The gardening adults were more physically active, more likely to make plans for the future, and saw themselves as begin in good health.
A different research project from the University of Colorado at Boulder revealed that it isn’t only the physical activity and routine engagement that gardening provides, but that the soil itself may have a role to play in the increased well-being of senior gardeners. Certain soil microbes are not only totally harmless, but may boost the immune system and decrease anxiety and depression. There’s also Vitamin D to factor in, which can be absorbed through the skin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is crucial for helping the body to absorbed other vitamins and minerals like calcium, which can help protect against osteoporosis. Vitamin D has also been linked to improved mental health and reduction of anxiety and depression.
That’s already a slew of reasons for retirees to enjoy “a little bit of earth” as Mary Lennox requested in The Secret Garden. But there’s still more— the physical benefits of gardening. Moving around, lifting light objects, bending, squatting, kneeling, and using the hands is exactly the kind of low-impact, full-body exercise seniors especially benefit from. Gardening isn’t strenuous by any means, but it does help seniors maintain muscle tone, balance, coordination, and other physical conditioning that may help them prevent falls or other physical discomforts as they age.
There are other ways to enjoy spring and get that daily dose of flower power, though. A regular walk outside for even short periods and distances can have major physical, emotional, and cognitive health benefits. Between the increased circulation, Vitamin D intake, and sensory input, going for a walk is an excellent way for seniors to maintain health, and there’s no pleasanter time for a stroll than in the spring, whether it’s around an outdoor track, on the grounds of their Regency Retirement community, or for a gentle wildflower walk at a state park or arboretum.
Spring is also a season of innumerable events, from the beginning of baseball season to the start of car shows, farmers markets, craft fairs, and music festivals. After being cooped up all winter with the cold and wet, people of all ages and interests are eager to get outside, feel the spring breeze on their skin, and reengage with their favorite activities. At Regency Retirement, we can’t wait to see how you savor spring.
One of the best parts of living in Chattanooga is how much history is in the city. Everywhere you go there are reminders of Chattanooga’s interesting past and the many generations who have lived here. Whether you grew up in Chattanooga or visited on a family trip to Rock City, you might enjoy walking down memory lane with these four pictures of Chattanooga in the 1960s and 70s.
If you lived in or around Chattanooga in the 1960s, you may remember the Golden Gateway project that routed the new interstate system through the city and were meant to bring new life and commerce to the area. Many historic homes and neighborhoods were demolished to make way for the highway.
Chattanooga is blessed with restaurants that have been favorites for decades. ZarZours has been open for almost a hundred years, Wally’s since the 1930s, Nikki’s since the 1940s, and Ankar’s since the 1970s. Longhorn opened in 1959, so it’s not the oldest by far, but its iconic roof and menu of comfort food make it one of the most iconic. Whichever restaurant you frequented in your childhood, teens, or twenties, there’s a good chance it’s still standing, and still serving the great food you remember.
It might be hard to imagine now with how much the city has changed, but this is how Eastgate Mall looked in 1962 when it first opened. Brainerd was then a thriving subdivision, and Brainerd Road a hot drag full of restaurants, drive-thrus, and other places where young people loved to see and be seen. Car culture was in and shopping malls were just taking the country by storm. Eastgate was Chattanooga’s first open-air shopping mall, complete with swans in the center fountain.
Today the surrounding area is all built up, and the mall has shifted from retail to other commercial uses as the Eastgate Town Center. At 626 Market Street, not far from the site of the original Krystal restaurant, the Martin Theater was once a big draw in Chattanooga. You can see from this photo a hint at the city’s environmental woes with a reminder about “cleaner air week,” as well as an advertisement for color films. This shot would have been taken in 1967 when Jack Lemmon’s “In Luv” came out. You might have seen that or other hits from the era like The Graduate, In the Heat of the Night, Bonnie and Clyde, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
Do you want to get the most out of your retirement? You have a great opportunity to do all the things you always wanted to. Now is the time to pick up the hobby you meant to try, create a gym habit, do a service project, take a trip, or spend more time with family. We have five ideas for how you can jump start your all time to-do list.
1) Birdwatching is a great way to get out in nature, get a little exercise, and learn something new. There are many Birding groups throughout the country that can plug you in to the species and migratory patterns in your area. Often you can do more than simply watch the birds, but get involved in conservation efforts and research studies. Sometimes you can even combine birding with travel. State parks and Audubon Society chapters are a great way to find out what birding opportunities are in your area and http://events.aba.org is one resource to find events nation wide.
2) Genealogy is a great way to combine your family memories and a fun research project. There are more resources than ever to dig into your history. From free sites like the USGEN Web Project (http://usgenweb.org) and Family Search to the local library's census records to paid sites like ancestry.com, there are a ton of options. Plus a collection of your findings could make a great gift of Christmas letter!
3) A personal trainer is not only a custom fitness option perfectly tailored to your goals and health restrictions, but a personal connection. It's a chance to build a relationship with someone who is rooting for you to succeed and helping you achieve. Strength training is an especially good way to build bone density and create muscular strength that can help prevent falls in old age. Plus all exercise generates oxygen and increased circulation that some studies link to better brain function in old age. It's a win-win on all fronts!
4) Book clubs are easy to find in any city and a fun way to check out new books and have rich discussions about them. You can make new friends and have fun regular get togethers, all while building in a schedule for doing all the reading you might have been putting off while you were busy with other things.
5) Starting up a regular game time with friends or acquaintances can be a really great way to build relationships and keep your mind sharp. Mahjong, Scrabble, Cranium, Balderdash, and Scattergories are all fun games that can accommodate just a few people or a larger group. They'll also tickle your strategic thinking, vocabulary, and creativity.
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.
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!
About 12% of Tennessee seniors suffer from Alzheimer's disease, which took 2,440 lives in the state in 2010. That represents the fifth highest Alzheimer's death rate in America and a 138% increase in Alzheimer's deaths since 2000.
Nationally, one in every 3 seniors who dies each year has Alzheimer's or another dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association.
Coming to grips with an Alzheimer's diagnosis from a doctor can be pretty terrifying. Some may be in denial or fail to recognize the early stages of the disease. But the sooner reality is accepted, the sooner the senior can share his or her wishes for future decisions and put legal, financial and care plans in place while still able to participate in dialogue with loved ones.
At Regency Senior Living, we let families know they are not along in their struggle, offering memory care services. Our memory care residents enjoy all of the benefits of assisted living at Regency to receive help they need with daily activities, but the caregiver-to-resident ratio is greater to give the senior a more personalized level of care.
We form the care strategy after talking with the resident's family to learn what is important to them. We believe that guided independence helps a person in memory care treatment maintain their dignity. We focus on helping them retain their skills through personalized activities and respect their privacy.
Regency works hand-in-hand with the local Alzheimer's Association to assist in continued education of our staff, hosting support groups for our families, and educating people in the Chattanooga area.
The association is organizing the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer's in Chattanooga on Sept. 20th at the Tennessee RiverPark. A walk event in Cleveland will be Sept. 27th at the Cleveland Greenway. The event raises money to help advance Alzheimer's support, care and research. To donate and/or participate, visit http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2014/TN-MidSouth?fr_id=5421&pg=entry or volunteer with Cindy Lowery at (423) 265-3600.
To learn more about Memory Care at Regency Senior Living, visit http://regencyseniorliving.com/chattanooga-senior-living-options or call (615) 598-0245.
Alzheimer's Association: http://www.alz.org/
The Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center: http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers
Alzheimer's Reading Room: http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/
The New York Times "New Old Age" Blog: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/
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.
Doctor's appointments can be overwhelming at times. Time in the exam room seems to fly by at warp speed. Did you have time to tell your doctor in Ooltewah or Chattanooga about that funny symptom that has been on your mind? What was the dosage for the new medication again? It is imperative that you and your physician have open communication in order to assure that you get the best possible medical care.
A small amount of pre-appointment preparation will allow you to have a more relaxed and beneficial experience at your next doctor's visit.
When you call your doctor's office to set up your appointment, explain that you are a senior patient and request a bit of additional time be added to your exam time. This will give you a few additional minutes to discuss your issues with your doctor in an unhurried fashion. Typically you can give a list of your health issues to the nurse. They can pass them along to your physician.
BRING AN EXTRA SET OF EARS ALONG WITH YOU
A reliable third party can listen with you and help you be certain the details of your doctor's visit won't be forgotten.
MAKE A LIST
Write down any concerns that you have. A checklist will help you remember exactly what you want to discuss.
A HISTORY OF YOU
Bring along your complete medical history, a binder will help keep you organized. This is essential when visiting a new doctor. Key information includes current doctors' information, recent prescriptions, allergies, your insurance information, past and ongoing health concerns and treatments.
There are also some things you'll want to do during your appointment:
Be prepared to discuss your symptoms. This will help your physician pinpoint the issues you are having.
As your appointment is wrapping up, be sure to request that your doctor to review the important points made during your appointment. Feel free to go over anything that was discussed. This is the time to ask any lingering questions you may have.
LET'S BE CLEAR
Your doctor or nurse will be able to go over any written instructions with you at the conclusion of your visit. This review will allow you feel certain that you are clear regarding what the next steps are for your treatment.
Working together with your doctor is imperative in working toward your best health. A little preparation and active participation in your own health matters can help you and your doctor get the most out of your next doctor's appointment.