blog5As 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.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

blog6There’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.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

National Discounts Let Seniors Save Big

Wednesday, 26 June 2013 09:26

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!

Written by Meghan O'Dea

blog8Many are starting to notice the growing trend of retirees favoring college towns rather than the usual resorts. As 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.

Written by Meghan O'Dea

How To Improve Your Memory As You Age

Thursday, 11 April 2013 09:38

blog9It’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.

  • Get moving! Many of us think of our bodies and minds as separate things, but physically they are connected. The health of one affects the health of the other. Keep your memory sharp by keeping your body strong. Exercise is possible for almost all level of physical fitness and health—what seems like little for one person may be a lot for another. Consult with a doctor, trainer, or physical therapist to develop an exercise regimen suitable for you. Exercise not only keeps your brain healthy, it can be a great way to socialize and experience new things, which are also excellent for your memory.
  • Get out! Speaking of socializing, it really is wonderful for memory care. Socializing stimulates many different parts of your brain, and encourages your brain to create new memories. It’s also fun and pleasurable, and the more pleasure chemicals in your brain, the healthier it will be. Isolation and depression have been linked in some studies to increased likelihood of memory disorders. If you live alone, consider a retirement community to give you more opportunities to interact and mingle.
  • Get into it! What interests you? Is it politics, literature, learning languages, shopping, art, music, games, entertaining, or something else? Spend time on whatever gets you the most excited. Lifelong learning is linked to strong memories. You’ve spent your whole life learning new things at school, work, in hobbies, and through relationships. Don’t stop now just because you’re retired! Take this time to try something new.
  • Get a bite to eat! Changing your diet can also have a big impact on your memory fitness. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and reducing your intake of sugars, carbs, sodium, and processed foods improve your overall health, and your mental health, too. Give your body the ingredients it needs to grow new brain tissue and reduce the stress weight-related diseases put on all your body’s systems.
  • Get lost! Well, not lost exactly, but it can be fun to break routines and try new things. Take a new route to your grand kids’ house, wander through a park you haven’t visited before, or try a different shopping center across town. The more opportunities you give your brain to think hard, remember new information, and get out of a rut, the more stimulated it will be, helping your memory.

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.

How To Put the Care in Caregiving

Saturday, 30 March 2013 09:51

blog10Caregiving 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.

Settle In the South for an Ideal Retirement

Friday, 15 February 2013 09:53

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.

What To Look For In a Memory Care Facility

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 10:01

blog12It’s not always an easy decision to begin looking for a memory care facility for your loved one. Caretaking is so personal it can be hard to admit that someone you care about needs more than the love and devotion that family can provide. Moving to a memory care facility also means disrupting household routines, changing dynamics, and such a big decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.

However, memory care facilities offer many advantages that the average American home or senior apartment does not. Many are specially designed to help memory care patients function at their absolute best, and come with customized care programs to help manage Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory disorders.

When you are investigating a memory care facility, we suggest asking  these questions and looking into the following qualities to ensure you are finding the best possible place for your loved one:

What programs are in place to keep the residents engaged, entertained, happy, and fulfilled? Are there planned activities? Outings?  What opportunities are there for socialization and interaction with others?

Is the building designed in such a way that best accommodates those with memory care needs? Is it safe and secure, easy to navigate, or possibly designed on a loop pattern? Studies have shown that building design can have a big impact on the happiness and health of memory care patients.

How are staff hired? Are they required to have special credentials or training in memory care? How are they chosen from a pool of applicants? What background checks and personality tests are required, if any, to ensure safety and quality of care?

How will the facility keep your loved one safe? Are there procedures and processes for visitation, check in, and check out? What security measures are in place? Is there a safe space for residents to enjoy time outdoors without risk of elopement or getting lost? How carefully managed is the facility to prevent abuse, whether physical ,mental, or through some other means like financial theft or fraud?

By knowing what questions to ask, you can make the retirement residence selection process simpler and more effective. You may need to tour and interview several facilities to find the one that is the best possible fit for your loved one, but when you do, you can have confidence that they are having a wonderful experience that encourages their strengths and effectively treats their weaknesses.

Senior Fitness Changes Lives

Monday, 31 December 2012 10:05

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.

Independence and Autonomy for Every Ability

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 10:06

blog14Whether you are choose independent apartments, assisted living, or a memory care facility, there are ways to build different degrees of confidence and sufficiency for all seniors. We believe that activity and encouragement builds self esteem. That end Regency Retirement’s locations offer a variety of levels of care, all with plenty of activities and opportunities for engagement to suit ever ability.

Independent living offers many of the same advantages as living in one’s own home, but without the isolation and frustration that come from living alone and trying to manage everyday tasks that become more difficult with age. By living in a retirement community, you can take advantage of planned activities and outings, or create your own adventures. You’ll have neighbors nearby with whom to socialize and a caring staff to assist with household chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. It’s many of the benefits of maintaining your own house or apartment, but with so much more to maximize your fun and enjoyment.

Assisted living is there for you if your needs include help with bathing, dressing, and supervision of medications. In addition to help where and when you need it, you’ll be part of a group of caring friends with access to a full roster of events, from local concerts and symphony performances to bridge tournaments, bingo, and group exercise classes. It’s the ultimate balance of dignified assistance and maintaining the lifestyle you’ve always enjoyed.

Memory care provides the same benefits of interaction, community engagement, and fun with the safety and security needed by those facing memory disorders. With a program specially tailored for the needs of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, both residents and family members can be confident in the quality of life at Regency’s Remembrances centers.

No matter the level of care, we believe that everyone should enjoy as much autonomy as possible, receiving help with dignity, and customized to each unique resident’s needs.

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