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
There has been a lot of discussion about whether the Internet is a benefit or a burden. Some see its limitless potential to connect us, and others are apprehensive about how it affects everything from our in-person relationships to industries like publishing and retail. One way to make up your mind is to try the Internet out for yourself— it doesn’t take too much tech savvy to get started, and you might find that, like 58% of seniors who surf the web, it has the potential to broaden your horizons beyond, say, Charlotte, North Carolina, and give you a way to explore people, places, and things all over the world.
Play chess or Scrabble with fellow gamers in England or Alaska, learn new gardening techniques, read movie reviews, discuss politics and religion with people all over the United States, find new crossword puzzles, preorder books, or even learn a new language! One of the best features of the Internet that many seniors log on for is in order to stay in touch with loved ones who live far away and make sure they’re involved in their communities. Seniors can sometimes feel as if their worlds get smaller after retirement, which is why senior living communities like Regency Charlotte can have such great appeal, with plenty of fellow neighbors, activities, and excursions to bring residents together. The Internet can be yet another way to expand your horizons and try new things that you might not have gotten to try while you were busy with work and the kids, or learn about new topics, like what your grandchildren are into this week.
While there are many benefits to online access, there are some downsides, too. When the postal service was first invented, criminals quickly found ways to use it to scam people, and the same is true of when telephones became wide spread. As technology takes leaps and bounds, so do new types of crime. However, there are a number of ways that you can keep your personal information safe and enjoy the best of the web while keeping the worst out of your life.
You can start by signing up for an email account with a service that has strong security and spam filters, like Google Mail or Yahoo Mail. This will protect you from having to deal with most of the junk mail you receive. You can also choose a strong password that will be hard for cyber criminals to hack. It’s best if it’s a random assemblage of symbols, numbers, and letters that doesn’t add up to a word as do, for example, “grandma1982” or “ILoveCarolinaPanthers777.” Your password should be eight characters or more.
It’s also a good rule of thumb never to open email attachments or download files from suspicious sites, unknown senders, or pop-up windows. Sometimes files may download automatically. If so, you should immediately delete them. If you receive an email message from a stranger with a suspicious looking file, you should mark the message as spam so your email program will know to filter messages like it in the future. If a message appears to be from someone you know, but you aren’t 100% sure, check in person or over the phone. Scam artists may use innocuous statements like “How are you doing?” or “I just wanted to check in on you” to appear like concerned friends or family and lure you into a conversation through which they will try to build on your trust and get you to share information like your insurance, credit card, or bank account numbers, or agree to transfer money online or through a wire transfer program.
Install and regularly update your firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software, such as McAfee Anti Virus or Norton. If you have any questions about this software, or other computer-related questions, a trusted resource can be your local computer store, like the Apple Store at SouthPark or Northlake Malls, or Best Buy. You can also talk to a tech-savvy friend or family member in your close circle if you need pointers or aren’t sure if a site or email is trustworthy.
Last, you should have a healthy sense of skepticism for what you read on the Internet. Not everything is professionally written and vetted, and you might run across misinformation or marketing copy that is designed to get you to buy in to items that aren’t what they appear or won’t function as promised. The Internet is a great place to learn about new things, but double check to make sure that sensitive topics like banking, medical advice, stock numbers, or product reviews are credible and accurate. Sites that end in .edu or .gov are more likely to be legitimate and the information solid.
Enjoy using the Internet safely and with savvy to try and learn new things, and stay connected with the wider world around you!
Founded in 1768, Charlotte, North Carolina has seen a lot. So has each generation that’s lived here, with the many exciting changes the city has gone through, from textile hub to national financial center and hot spot for motorsports. Just looking at old photos can get you reminiscing about your time in Charlotte, whether it was for a brief visit or your whole child or young adulthood. We’ve picked four iconic Charlotte places or views that might get you started on a trip down memory lane:
The Oriental Cafe was one of Charlotte’s most beloved and enduring restaurants, in business from the 1920s through the 1980s. Charlotte residents fondly remember the Lobster Cantonese and the chow mein. At its peak, the Oriental had multiple locations in Charlotte. If reminiscing about the Oriental gives you a yen for Chinese, try the Peruasian Restaurant or Jade Dragon.
The Charlotte Coliseum opened in 1956 and ever since generations have been able to enjoy a fantastic array of concerts and sporting events. Bo Didley was the first performer to grace the stage and a number of legendary artists followed, including Judy Garland, Johnny Cash, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, and, of course, Elvis Presley, King of Rock n Roll.
The Savoy Theater opened in 1936 as the Royal Theater, and was an important fixture in the African American community, centered in the prominent Charlotte neighborhood of Brooklyn. It closed in 1963, but many Charlotte natives may remember this being one of their favorite places to spend leisure time.
The 1966 Charlotte skyline shows the beginning of the banking boom with the North Carolina National Bank Building and Cutter Building high rises in downtown. It’s exciting to see how much Charlotte has changed in the past fifty years!
If your grandkids don’t visit nearly as often as you’d like, you can explore new ways of interacting with them in our increasingly mobile society.
Face-to-face, hands-on encounters are always preferable to ones happening via a cell phone or computer screen, but seniors have to grab on to whatever is offered if they want to compete with the distractions of a constant stream of information and entertainment at the fingertips of their grandchildren.
Here are 5 ways you can use tech to stay more relevant in the lives of grandkids:
Texts are a great way to put out quick bursts of information and share photos on-the-go. If you struggle with the tiny keyboards on smartphones, use the voice-to-text dictation feature and speak clearly/slowly, making sure the phone has not mistakenly replaced your words with what it thinks is the correct spelling.
Use Email for times when you have more to say than you can convey in a simple text message. Brevity is key. 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
Spend 10 minutes making silly faces with your granddaughter or reading a picture book to your grandson. Video conferencing 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. 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. Several Regency facilities have Facebook Pages that allow family to see what activities are going on.
Sharing photos in private online galleries with select people is a way to passively connect with family, even if you aren’t directly exchanging back and forth messages that often.
Getting beyond one’s comfort zone and exploring new ways of communicating can be a terrific way for Charlotte seniors to make and keep the connections that matter most.
Regency Retirement Village Charlotte offers seniors a variety of activities meant to enrich their lives. You’re likely to find residents relaxing while creating arts and crafts, playing board games, enjoying a social gathering, or perhaps participating in a church service.
There’s plenty of facility-based activities with opportunities to be social, but Regency Senior Living is located in Charlotte, offering the warmth of small town living with easy access to all that the city 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 this area include:
Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord: NASCAR is huge in Charlotte, and the speedway hosts a variety of auto-themed events, including different types of motorsports racing and car shows.
Carolinas Aviation Museum: Featuring exhibits with aircraft from war and peacetime. Learn about commercial aviation and see military aircraft, including fighter jets and helicopters.
The Charlotte Knights (a Triple-A baseball team affiliated with the Chicago White Sox): They play at BB&T Ballpark on South Mint Street.
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art: It brims with works by Miró, Giacometti, Calder, Warhol and a wealth of other 20th century notables. The previously private collection of the Bechtler family of Zurich, Switzerland was, until now, mostly unseen by an American audience. Accumulated over 70 years, the collection features mid-20th-century modernism.
Billy Graham Library: Visit the Graham Family Homeplace, the Graham Brothers Dairy and Ruth’s Attic Bookstore.
Biltmore: This stunning 8,000-acre estate is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It includes gardens, Antler Hill Village, featuring the Winery, The Biltmore Legacy, Village Green, and Farm – plus shopping and dining.
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center: Site for a wide variety of performances, from musicals and programs for the grandkids. You may see Paula Deen Live, the Charlotte Classic Jazz Festival, standup comedians, or ballet depending on when you visit.
Bank of America Stadium: Watch Cam Newton lead the Carolina Panthers in the 73,778-sea stadium. A renovation project during the 2014 offseason incorporated state-of-the-art technology into the fan experience.
Charlotte Ballet (formerly the North Carolina Dance Theatre): Programs include The Nutcracker, Peter Pan, and Dangerous Liaisons. This is a world class repertory dance ensemble.
Charlotte Museum of History: It captures and shares the stories of the Charlotte region from settlement forward through exhibits and programs. The museum collects, preserves, researches, and interprets regional artifacts, including the oldest surviving house in Mecklenburg County, the 1774 Hezekiah Alexander Homesite.
Charlotte Nature Museum: Home to all kinds of reptiles —snakes, turtles, lizards and even an alligator. Visitors may walk among free-flying butterflies, observe live animals, buzz around with insects or hang out in the natural world.
These are just a few of the attractions that make Charlotte a great place to live!
This month, we want to talk about the benefits of physical fitness – and simply ways to get exercise that are so obvious you might not even think about them.
Exercise builds muscle, burns calories and reduces the symptoms of chronic disease. It also makes us feel happier and energetic. Here at Regency Retirement Village, the amenities include an exercise room and garden plots, as well as monthly blood pressure, weight and nutritional status checks. We also help scheduling medical appointments.
Talk to your doctor about ways you can safely get more exercise as part of your daily routine.
Some suggestions are walking instead of riding when traveling short distances, stretching in your chair, taking the steps (if able) rather than the elevator, lifting light objects repeatedly to build muscle, sitting less and standing more, dancing in the multi-purpose room, etc.
We are nestled in the heart of Charlotte, so there are plenty of options for walking while exploring the area’s stores.
Talk to us at Regency Retirement Village about our exercise room, wellness programs and health status checks.