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.
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.
At all our Regency Retirement Centers we have been celebrating Active Aging Week this week. This has featured programming that focuses on intellectual, emotional, spiritual, occupational, and social wellness, and how older people can achieve that wellness through community involvement.
There are so many ways that Regency offers to get residents involved and helps them pursue various kinds of wellness each day. Swim classes, trivia, boxing classes, bible studies, painting classes, outing to the mall, restaurants, or horse races, and many other excursions and regular events give our seniors a myriad of ways to lead rich lives.
Active Aging is about staying, as the famous pop song by Alphaville put it, “Forever young.” Youth isn’t your medical records or your physical capabilities or even your capacity for memory, but the sense of fun and wonder and possibility we all had in our youths. Remember how eager you were to be a part of whatever was going on when you were a kid? How excited you were to be included? At Regency retirement communities it’s easy to rekindle that youthful spark.
It’s easy to give in to stereotypes about aging—that it means infirmity or being grumpy or being tired all the time. But today’s retirees are more active than ever, and see themselves as decades younger than the number of their IDs. Regency is ideal for these older people who want to maintain the best parts of their younger years, who want to be involved in their community and not miss a beat. The great thing about senior living facilities like Regencys’ are that you won’t ever have to miss out—you’ll be in the perfect place to take advantage of the fun all around you.
As wonderful as it is to be happily settled in a home you love, part of what makes your golden years so golden is the chance to see and do new things and get together with friends and family you care for. You’ll appreciate the convenience and community of your retirement facility even more after breaking your routine and cutting loose on a cruise, a train trip to a niece’s graduation, or simply visiting a new state for a change of scenery. We have some travel planning pointers that will help you have the best time possible:
· The older we get, the more easily our immune systems are stressed. If you are flying, be sure to stay hydrated to help avoid a travel cold. You can also take a decongestant or chew gum to keep your ears from hurting as the altitude changes. Before travel, take vitamins and eat extra vegetables and fruits to help your immune system amp up for the extra stress.
· Call your bank ahead of time to be sure they know where you are traveling. It would be very frustrating to arrive only to have your credit and debit cards shut down for suspicious activity!
· Plan around your limits. Just because you have health or mobility issues, or simply don’t have as much energy as you did in your 20s, doesn’t mean you can’t travel and have a great time. Plan your itinerary around when you have the most energy, or if you know one day will be strenuous, try to make the next luxurious and relaxing.
· Make special arrangements as far ahead of time as possible. The more information you have on travel days the better. For example, it would be nice to know in advance how the stewardesses on your airline will store your cane or walker. Some medical items like oxygen need to be approved or verified with official notice from your physician. Best to not let these details wait until the last minute.
· Purchase luggage of a size and design you are comfortable handling. There have been many new styles in the past several years, including some with multiple wheels on the bottom than can roll from any direction at the touch of a finger. Nothing simplifies travel like luggage you can handle yourself without strain.
Don’t forget one of the very best parts of travel—getting to come home! When you’ve had a wonderful time with friends and family, or even on your own, it can be lovely to come back to a place equally as welcoming, with many friendly faces. It’s not discussed as often, but homecoming is a great perk of the retirement community life.
There’s no denying that tastes in housing have changed in the past decade. The same young professionals who bought rambling suburban homes when they started families in the 80s are contemplating retirement, and often want something totally different for their next place to live. Forbes explains that “Boomers buying for the long haul are looking for good access to transit, medical care and recreation; for high-speed Internet access and security systems; and for energy-efficient appliances.”
That’s often very different, and more urban-oriented, than their needs to be near work, in a good school district, or to have plenty of room for the family during their professional years. This is part of the reason so many retirees contemplate downsizing. It gives them some financial gains, fewer maintenance demands, and the opportunity to live somewhere in line with their new lifestyle needs.
If you are considering downsizing as part of your retirement plan, there’s a few things you can do to make it an easy process. For one, it helps to know where you will be downsizing to. Talk to your financial planners and take a look at your accounts—you might be surprised at what options net the biggest gains. Retirement communities can actually be less expensive when you look at the overall cost of your current home, including utilities, gas to commute to the things you like to do, groceries, and more. By deciding first where you will be living, you can then see how much space you will have to work with and what your actual needs will be. For example, if you’re moving to an apartment, townhome, or condo, you may not need the extra large gas grill or the leaf blower in your garage.
In fact, rooms like the garage can be a great place to begin downsizing. Attics, basements, and garages can accumulate a lot of junk over the years that you simply won’t need at your new home. Take old paint cans, oil, light bulbs, and other maintenance leftovers to hazardous materials recycling—your city website can tell you where the drop off for these items is. Then you can move on to things you rarely use—untouched clothes that no longer fit in the back of your closet, children’s games and clothes you no longer need, or extra dishes and kitchen things.
When you’re left with the things you use frequently or are deeply sentimental, you know you are well prepared to downsize! Think of how pleasant life will be when you are surrounded only with your favorite things in a home that’s perfectly suited to your new lifestyle and day to day activities! Get closer to friends, family, and all the fun outings you enjoy while shedding the stress and cost of so many belongings.
Isn’t it time you got respect simply for your time and experience? Many people are familiar with AARP, and the great membership discounts they offer to seniors. There are many more rewards, however, that you can claim simply for being above a certain age.
Amtrak offers travelers 62 and older a 15% discount nationwide, and 10% for those 60 and older when you cross into Canada. Both Greyhound and Megabus offer discounts to seniors, as do American, United Continental, Southwest and US Airways, making travel a breeze whichever mode of transportation you take. For those who like to cruise, check our Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruiseline’s senior rates.
Many grocery stores have days once a week or month when seniors can get discounts on their purchase, notably Kroger, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, and Boston Market. Other retail chains offer similar perks, including many restaurants like Chilies and Applebees, and clothing stores like Khols, Belk, Bealls, Ross, C.J. Banks, Banana Republic, Dress Barn, Goodwill, and Salvation Army.
Verizon Wireless has a special plan for those 65 and older that includes 200 anytime minutes for $29.99, a great deal on cell phone service. National Parks also offer a lifetime pass at a very affordable price—only $10 gets you in to parks all over the country! Not only does the pass get you park access, it can also get you rentals on things like campsites, boats, parking, and other admissions at a steep discount.
That’s in addition, of course, to AARP’s famous discounts, including those on rental cars, hotels, restaurants and more. AARP members can save at Alamo, Hertz, National, Budget, Avis, Enterprise, Sheraton, Weston, Ramada, Hyatt, Best Western , Comfort Inn, Teleflora, Regal movie theaters, and many more. With so many ways to save no matter where you live, you’ve got to admit that getting older has an excellent upside!
Many are starting to notice the growing trend of retirees favoring college towns rather than the usual resorts. As Bankrate.com explains that “a college town might be a natural fit for the active retiree who's determined to keep learning and would much rather rock at a campus arena concert than in a chair.”
Many of the qualities that makes college towns so perfect for students are those that make them ideal for retirees. The low cost of living, access to fun events and culture, inexpensive restaurants, the opportunity to attend classes, lectures, and performances, as well as plenty of diversity in the community are all appealing to this generation of seniors.
Most universities and colleges have non-credit course offerings in dance, sports, languages, art, and an array of other topics available to the community at large. Those that don’t have these types of continuing education programs often allow seniors and other non-traditional students to audit a certain number of classes a semester at a reduced rate, or tuition waivers for those wanting to take coursework for credit.
For retirees who want to stay fit and active, many campuses have facilities open to the public, such as walking trails, tracks, or even public golf courses. They also have acclaimed art collections or attract traveling shows, as well as their own student-produced exhibitions, productions, and concerts. For those who want something more contemporary than classical, college towns are also likely to attract pop and rock acts to local music venues.
Many of the Regency Retirement locations are in the Southern United States, where as Southeast Discovery points out, “There are an abundance of college towns offered in the southeastern United States.” Regency residents can take advantage of the low cost of living and vibrant larger communities. For those seeking out the benefits of a college town, a retirement community offers many of the same advantages in terms of social opportunities and endless opportunities to stay engaged and involved.
When you combine the two, you really have an unbeatable chance to see and do both within the Regency community and the town at large. There’s no end to fun activities and chances to learn something new.
It’s never too late to improve your memory retention and keep your mind working like a well-oiled machine. Although many seniors are anxious about the possibility of memory loss, you don’t have to let this be part of your aging experience.
Even in the face of memory disorders and diseases, it’s possible to maintain your present memory function or slow the rate of memory loss with a few proactive steps.
Memory care is more than just preventive medicine—it can be a fun way to liven things up and get the most out of life. Trying new foods, new activities, and meeting new people aren’t just good for you, they’re also a great way to enjoy yourself to a whole new extent.
Caregiving can be immensely rewarding, with the knowledge that each day you are helping someone to have a richer, fuller, more pleasant life. It can also be immensely challenging, however, taking up time and emotional energy.
It’s not easy to see a loved one struggling with day to day tasks, or facing difficult medical issues. However, there are several steps you can take to be a better caretaker, and to see your role in a more positive light.
Cut yourself some slack. It’s easy to feel the pressure to do everything and take on too much. After all, you are helping to care for someone you care about and who is an integral part of your family. It can be hard to make tough calls, like when to contemplate assisted living, or to predict how you’ll react to unexpected events.
Don’t demand perfection of yourself, but instead give yourself permission to enjoy patience and grace as you navigate the ups and downs of being a caregiver.
Talk through it now. Go ahead and talk to your siblings, spouse, and any other very important persons who need to have a say in your loved one’s care. Have the difficult conversations now about how you will handle medical emergencies and legal matters. Plan ahead for who will have power of attorney, how to handle any assets that would go into probate, and how siblings who live far away and are not in a caretaking role will provide support, whether emotionally, financially, or otherwise.
By tackling these sometimes thorny issues up front, you can know ahead of time what to do in any given situation, and make decisions while on solid mental and emotional footing.
Plan ahead. How would you take on any other big project at work or at home? Strategize, make a list, and figure out what the best way to tackle the task at hand. Caretaking is no different. Make sure everything will run smoothly by putting items on your calendar ahead of time, making a medication schedule (if applicable), organize delivery of any regularly used supplies like oxygen or diabetes testing strip and lancets. The more you can automate and pre-plan, the simpler life will be!
Communicate clearly. Be proactive and upfront when talking with the many professionals involved in your loved one’s care. Physicians, physical therapists, in-home aids, insurance contacts, medical specialists, and more all need to be coordinated. Touch base with each of them regularly, and take plenty of notes. The more you know, the quicker and easier decision making can be, and the easier it will be to juggle medical appointments, prescription schedules, and more.
By jumping in and not letting yourself get overwhelmed, you can keep your caregiving experience positive and effective. As with any other big project, a little organization can go a long way to reducing stress and making any task manageable.
With 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.