Retirement is a shining goal for many; it’s a reminder of all you’ve accomplished and earned during your years of working, raising children, and chasing the American dream. However, retirement planning can also be intimidating to take the step into this new phase of life, as it is a major transition from life we’ve known before. There’s so much precedent to help us understand the career and childrearing years, and not so much to tell us what finish line of retirement might look like. It’s ok if you feel adrift, but also know that it’s entirely possible to renew your sense of purpose and redefine what you want your new season of life to look like.
There are a number of ways to make this one of the most joyful periods of your life. No longer encumbered by the hectic schedule of career building and raising babies, you now have a unique opportunity to decide how you want to fill your spare time. The wonderful thing about your golden years is you get to decide what defines you beyond outside markers of success. Think about what you want to be known for? What makes you happy? And what motivated you in the past? These are great guides for what will give you a more joyful today and tomorrow.
One key place to begin is by being active. Studies show that increased physical activity can help seniors not only combat chronic medical conditions and stave off new ones, but it also increases mental wellbeing. Exercise increases endorphins which give you a sense of accomplishment and a time to contemplate life to exist fully in the present. Mindfulness, or the act of being consciously aware of yourself and surroundings in the moment, can be a huge part of activity. Taking a walk, for example, can give you an opportunity to be fully aware of the sights and sounds around you, as well as the feeling of walking and the ways your body feels as you are moving. This kind of meditation can lead to greater self-awareness, and a fuller sense of yourself, as a unique person.
Another is to actively engage with your past. As beneficial as it can be to throw yourself into the present moment, it can be equally fulfilling to throw yourself into nostalgia. The act of remembrance can help many seniors to have a stronger sense of self, reduce stress, and lower incidents of anxiety and depression. By revisiting your happiest and strongest memories, you can have a better sense of what makes you happiest and to what events you have the strongest connection.
Those memories can be guideposts for what you do next— you can seek out new connections and opportunities that bring out the same feelings. If you loved raising your children, perhaps you can work with an organization that provides extracurricular activities and supports a passion for youth. If you had a hobby that you had to put aside for a career, you could return to your interest in astronomy, literature, languages, or the arts.
No matter what you interests were in the past, there are also opportunities to cultivate new ones. One of the wonderful things about a big metropolitan area like Charlotte is the opportunity to find all sorts of new things to do, from gallery openings to concerts to new food flavors. You can check out the Levine Museum of the New South, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, or the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center for cultural events that might be outside your usual beat. Or try gourmet twists on classic dishes like donuts at Joe's Doughs, burgers at Moo & Brew, classic arcade games at 8.2.0.
Whatever you choose to do, it helps to have a good community to do it with. Studies show that socially connected seniors suffer less stress and fewer mood disorders than those who are more isolated. The same is true of socially connected seniors who are more likely to seek medical care for routine tests and ailments. Connecting with a community helps to give you a context, a place in the world, a sense of self-definition. When it comes to celebrating your unique self, wouldn’t you rather do that with others on the same journey? If you want to learn more about how a retirement community like Regency Retirement Village of Charlotte can help enhance your golden years and help you find your sense of purpose, call (844) 425-4254.
Written by: Meghan O'Dea
It would be difficult to find a person who has not dreamed of the day that they finally are able to retire from work and live care-free days, leisurely traveling and enjoying life. However, many do not factor a budget into that daydream in order to fund that exciting, fun-filled life.
There are ways to prepare and gauge how long retirement savings will last. Seniors should also maintain a monthly budget and stick to it, in order to stretch the nest egg.
Thankfully, money is not needed for all activities available in Charlotte, or in general. There are many ways to enrich daily life during retirement, and to find enjoyment, such as learning a new hobby or visiting local attractions.
Charlotte is home to the Carolinas Aviation Museum, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Charlotte Nature Museum, Wing Haven Gardens, as well as multiple themed tours led by Charlotte NC Tours. The city also boasts an extensive list of attractions for lovers of the arts: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Mint Museum Uptown, Blumenthal Performing Arts, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Ballet, and many more.
Beyond local attractions, seniors have the opportunity to further enrich their lives on their own. A few examples might include:
Regency Retirement Community of Charlotte also offers various exciting activities and ways to stay involved each month. This month, the Girl Scouts will visit to help make crafts, pianist Ethan Uslan will perform, there will be an Easter egg hunt, as well as many more activities.
Regency is dedicated to its residents’ wellbeing and happiness, making the city of Charlotte the perfect complement, with its extensive list of activities and fun. To learn more, call (844) 425-4254, or visit our community at 9120 Willow Ridge Road, Charlotte, NC.
It’s not difficult to imagine how scary and uncertain the future might seem for someone who is relocating to Charlotte from another city, perhaps moving here to be closer to family after losing a husband or wife. Although adult children are undoubtedly a comfort, hence the move, it’s usually stressful to start over in a new place where nearly everyone is a stranger. The good news is that a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.
What’s the best way to make new friends? That’s a question we all want to know. Life Coach Celestine Chua offers a few tips:
Let Go of the Past: “Friends come and go, it’s a fact of life,” Chua said. Circumstances change for people: Some relocate to another city or country, others grow distant for whatever reason. Some people neglect close friendships after marrying, then find themselves in need of social interaction following the end of that union. Letting go of the past can also mean letting go of old grudges with former friends.
Be a Best Friend: Chua said this means being understanding, supportive and encouraging to others, placing their needs before your own and being genuinely interested in what others are going through in their lives – not just selfishly expecting others to be confidants to you without reciprocating.
Use Opportunities to Get to Know People: With Activity Directors planning outings, entertainers and other get-togethers, a senior living community like Regency is perfect for this. Before a senior knows it, they are meeting new people and actively participating in fun.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: It’s easier to make friends when we are young and have classmates, work in the same company, etc. In retirement years, we may have to take the initiative to introduce ourselves to people who we do not necessarily have any compelling reason to spend a lot of time with.
Keep an Open Mind: “In connecting with others, you may experience qualities about them which you don’t like. Don’t let yourself shy away from that friendship just because of that though. It’s easy to harp on someone else’s faults, but such a mindset doesn’t help you build true friendships,” Chua said.
Accept Degrees of Friendship: Chua distinguishes between acquaintances, activity friends and “true-soul friends”, noting that authentic connections are the deepest bonds -- but not everyone is a compatible match.
Identify Someone with Shared Values and Common Links: Perhaps you have a birthplace in common or know a mutual acquaintance. The first step is to have a conversation. Throughout your interactions, you will begin to determine whether you share values with someone. “Your values are like the big rocks holding the friendship in place. People with similar values will have little problem connecting with one another. The friendship blossoms almost naturally. However, when people with different values get together, they may find themselves disagreeing and conflicting more often than they support one another,” Chua said.
Good tips to follow, whether you’re 8 or 80.
Copyright: budabar / 123RF Stock Photo
Moving from a longtime house to a retirement community like Regency is about creating a supportive environment rather than the senior losing anything. There’s a lot to be gained – safety, less stress, entertainment, friendship, and fun – without sacrificing the things that contribute to quality of life.
Assisted Living facilities like Regency Retirement Village are about offering help in a homelike environment where residents can live as independently as possible. Individual apartments preserve the senior’s privacy and dignity while help with activities of daily living such as supervision of medications, dressing and bathing. This helping hand can be the difference between struggling and thriving.
Some seniors dread transitioning from their house to a community because they imagine being sent against their will to someplace unpleasant, but a tour of our facility quickly shatters those misconceptions.
Fear of change should be trumped by anxiety of what can happen when help is not readily available. We’ve all seen the commercials where a senior has fallen and can’t get up, and sadly, the headlines far too often reflect cases where the elderly fall prey to home invasions and con-artists. These apprehensions evaporate when the resident shares a secure space with others dedicated to his or her well-being.
Charlotte retirement communities are not just a place to put the old – most of us, regardless of age, would love to the luxury of having another person mow the grass, shovel the snow, make the food, put away the dishes, clean up and generally take care of us. These are all perks of our golden years after decades of working hard and looking after everyone else’s needs.
Moving to Assisted Living also improves family relationships by reducing the burden on family caregivers who can finally enjoy quality interactions without feelings of guilt or resentment. Time spent together becomes about laughing and playing, plus grown children can sleep easier knowing mom or dad are in a place surrounded by new friends and activities to keep them stimulated for a better quality of life than living alone.
Yes, it is pretty special having your own home, but it is not the only way to enjoy your own space. Sometimes that is possible while surrounded by caring staff to help make life a bit easier.
Call (704) 542-9449 to arrange a free consultation and tour of Regency Retirement Village.
Eventually, all families have “the talk” with an aging elder about options, including assisted living. While it may be a fairly common conversation, that doesn’t make it any more comfortable to sit down and have it.
It is best to have the talk when there’s no urgency so the parent does not feel forced out of his or her home. A grown child might best approach the topic by planting the seed, bringing the topic of assisted living up in terms of wanting to know the elder’s inevitable wishes so they can be honored, according to Gail Samaha, an elder advisor with GMS Associates.
If there is a need to relocate sooner – perhaps to accommodate a diagnosis or Parkinson’s or dementia – it is important to highlight the positives, be emphatic and speak in a calm, pleasant voice. The senior needs to know that it is important to his or her family that feelings matter.
It’s a conversation that can be non-threatening, and the senior may actually become eager to make the move once seeing Regency Retirement Village of Charlotte with his or her own eyes. Aside from the peace of mind gained from living in a secure building with experienced professionals attending to residents’ comfort and needs, there’s the spacious accommodations, new friendships to be made and lots of activities to make life here fulfilling.
Assisted Living promotes independence and dignity, which may be far from the misconceptions that someone starts out with about retirement living. Regency offers our Heritage Memory Care Unit, which means that if the resident’s health declines over time, their life won’t be disrupted a second time down the road.
To arrange a tour of Regency Retirement Village, call us at (704) 542-9449 or fill out the form to the right and someone will respond to you with answers to your questions. For information on moving in, see this page of information: http://www.regencyretirement.net/charlotte-elderly-care-resources/retirement-community-move-in-info