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
The importance of religion and spiritual health in one's life commonly increases with age. It is especially high in seniors. Inside our Regency community, religion has emphatically influenced our residents to live a fulfilling and flourishing life. Whether this takes place in fun-filled group activities, congregational services, singing hymns together, scripture study, or just prayer in one’s own apartment, expressions of faith are vital to the lives of most Regency residents and seniors in general.
But did you know that participating in such spiritual activity offers higher physical and mental wellbeing, and also broadens life expectancy? Health benefits have been known to include offsetting the ill effects of depression, anxiety, and illness amid difficult life circumstances.
Here's the breakdown of studies:
The takeaway from these insights? Religious practices increase happiness, which, in turn, increases health and prosperity in seniors and the community.
At Regency, it could be said that spirituality is the cornerstone of our organization. Being a Christian institution, we value the dedication and sacrament of all religious practices, regardless of culture or belief.
In effort to empower our community and boost health and wellness, we encourage everyone to join us for motivational social events, fun, educational outings, and daily spiritual activities. Come visit us today and see what life at Regency of Charlotte has to offer!
Written by: Katie Hanley
There are many great reasons for retirees to visit or relocate to the area, but one key to the quality of life among the modern skyscrapers and historical landmarks is the rich abundance of things for seniors to see and do in Charlotte, NC – many of the activities at a reduced price for seniors, or free.
Regency Retirement Village at Pineville is located about 14 miles from Downtown Charlotte, which offers a wealth of things to see and do. The major attractions are:
McIntyre Historic Site – History buffs will love exploring what was the setting of a 19th-century gold rush and a Revolutionary War skirmish between British soldiers and American patriots. Enjoy a picnic at “The Battle of the Bees” and take a walk down the 1.3 mile nature trail.
BB&T Ballpark – Take me out to the ballgame! The BB&T ball field is a minor league baseball park and home to the Charlotte Knights. Located across the street from Romare Bearden Park, enjoy a home game with the family, and maybe a bag of peanuts and cracker jacks, too.
The Billy Graham Library – Explore over 40,000 square feet dedicated to America’s favorite pastor, Billy Graham. You will learn about his dynamic journey of faith in the one and a half hour tour filled with stunning multimedia presentations, interactive kiosks, photos, and memorabilia. Admission is free, but if you’d like to make a contribution, donations are accepted in the lobby.
NASCAR Hall of Fame – Calling all NASCAR fans! Walk through the Ceremonial Garden to see the names of legends that decorate the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a museum honoring the history and heritage of racing. Tickets are available online or in-person at the box office. Admission is $17.95 for seniors 60 and up, and you must have a photo ID. Sign up to join the membership program - all members get in free of charge!
Charlotte Comedy City Tour – Learn and laugh on the Funny Bus! Learn more about the rich heritage of Charlotte with a 90 minute tour around the Queen City. Along with your guided tour of the city’s architecture and history, this mature comedy bus tour will throw in a good laugh or two! The price is $25 per ticket. While the bus is not wheelchair accessible, you can call to discuss your specific requirements.
Freedom Park – This beautiful 98-acre park is the ideal spot for people-watching or entertaining grandchildren. Enjoy batting cages, baseball and soccer fields, basketball and volleyball courts, and also a concession stand. This park is family-friendly for kids of all ages to play.
Discovery Place – For those seeking an attraction to entertain grandchildren, you’ll hit pay dirt here. Science comes alive in the multiple exhibits designed for children. At Discovery Place, they’ll explore hands-on activities that encourage science in the world around them.
Carolinas Aviation Museum – Earn your wings! Browse through the 40,000 square foot hangar of Charlotte Douglas Airport, which originally consisted of only one building. The museum includes crafts of commercial, military, civil, and helicopter aviation. General admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children 6-18 years of age. Be sure to ask about senior and military discounts!
Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary – Located in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina, this tranquil garden and bird sanctuary offers shelter for songbirds and wildlife alike. Rich in Southern horticulture, the gardens welcome visitors of all ages to discover and learn about wildlife preservation.
Tour De Food Charlotte – Take a guided tour through the city to learn all the local dives and dig in! Along the way, your tour guides will inform you about the historic facts and architecture of the Queen City. Depending on the tour, prices vary from $30-$60 per person. Wheelchair accommodations can be made upon request.
Senior discounts are available at select hotels, retail stores, restaurants, and grocery stores near these attractions. At Regency Retirement Village at Pineville, we arrange for our residents to participate in group outings to local attractions. Being part of a group of peers living together in Charlotte Assisted Living makes for a great way to experience these sights and sounds.
To learn more about things for seniors to do in Charlotte NC, visit http://www.charlottesgotalot.com/
Written by: Katie Hanley
The Christmas season is upon us! With ornaments hung from the tree and hot cocoa brewing, this special time of year celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus, can be filled with joy and cheer. However, it may not always come as a welcome season’s greetings for all. As we age, the holidays can lead to anxiety and sometimes even isolation or depression. With holiday memories of the past surfacing or extreme changes in a living situation. These can all act as triggers, leaving seniors feeling lost from their loved ones around them.
This year, you can make a difference and help beat the holiday blues for the seniors in your life by simply following this guide to making the holidays happy again:
With the many events from Thanksgiving to New Years, there are several opportunities to include them into your holiday plans. Even the smallest of activities can have an immense impact on your senior's life. Whether it’s asking them to set the table, baking holiday cookies with them for Santa, or inviting them to a showing of the Nutcracker ballet. Help make them feel loved by incorporating them into your schedule this holiday season. It will give them the greatest gift of all, precious time spent with family.
Spend quality time with your senior, reminisce about the past, and make new memories together. While those recollections can sometimes trigger sadness, it can also give them something light up about. Telling tales are a great way to engage with seniors, as they have many to tell. As you spend quality time with your loved ones, ask them what their family traditions were like when they were younger. Comparing your similarities is a great way to bond during the holidays. Time spent together will also allow for new family traditions and memories to be made.
Keep things upbeat - If your senior is going through a hard time as a result of mental or health related problems, don’t let it get them down this holiday season. Stay positive! Never make them feel poorly about themselves if they can't do things the way they used to. If you’re senior parent or grandparent is used to cooking the big family meal during the holidays, but are now disabled, find ways for them to participate. For example, let them peel the potatoes or help snap the green beans for Christmas dinner. There are lots of ways to accommodate for your aging senior.
Can’t see all of your loved ones this year? Send them a Christmas card! Seniors love receiving special mail from family members and close friends. It’s not only fun for seniors but for fun for kids, too! Turn it into an annual project for the kiddos. Every year, have them draw Christmas cards to grandparents, great grandparents, and seniors without families here at Regency Assisted Living. It’s a great way to tell them you’re thinking about them this holiday season. But not all messages have to come by mail, you know. For those with long-distance relatives, it is easy to connect virtually over the internet using communication tools like Skype, FaceTime or Facebook Live using a computer, laptop or phone. No matter how far, give your senior loved ones a call to wish them a joyful, happy holidays.
The greatest gift of all, however, is time spent with family during the holidays. At Regency, we encourage our residents’ families to visit or, alternately, pick up their elder family member for a dinner, family get-together, or holiday event. For families who decide to join us during this merry and bright season, our Regency staff and team of culinary chefs work diligently to serve you and your loved ones with a memorable, special meal in our dining room.
Written by: Katie Hanley
It's definitely not hard to acquire stuff throughout the years, yet over time there comes a peak moment when we need to rid our home of clutter and downsize into a smaller space. For most adults, that time happens when our children mature and have a family of their own, or perhaps it’s a result from a healthcare related issue.
For seniors considering decluttering, it may allow you to:
The top 10 dos and don’ts in downsizing:
1. DO NOT Wait
Spread the downsizing process out more than just a few days or even weeks. If time permits, begin at least 6-8 months in advance instead of trying to to make the difficult decisions of letting go in a shorter period of time. Also, be mindful with of your time; even though it may seem as if there is plenty of it – there never is, especially in those with a disability.
2. DO Plan
The professionals at lifehack.org advise thoughtfully planning out before jumping in head first. Take baby steps with identified zones to before beginning the long road to downsizing. For example, plan to start in the closet with old clothes, shoes, and accessories that are never worn.
3. DO NOT Panic
Taking on a big project like this in full can easily start to feel overwhelming when looking at the big picture. Remind yourself that it has taken years to accumulate personal belongings, so the likelihood of finishing in just one day is just not realistic.
4. DO Prioritize
Belongings should be sorted into different 3 identified boxes, labeled as keep, donate, and discard. To prioritize, things that are outdated should be the first to go. For example, books that haven't been read in quite a while, furniture that is never used, et cetera. Strategists from Lifehack suggests discarding anything that does not “spark joy”.
5. DO Make Hard Choices
It’s normal to feel nostalgic about certain items that remind us of fond memories. It’s also normal to feel heartbroken and guilty when disposing of things that are special to us. While it is an extraordinarily difficult time letting these possessions go, remember that one individual's trash is another person's treasure. For making these difficult decisions, use the yes-no method. Simply ask yourself, “Do I really need 10 winter coats?” or “Will I use 3 frying pans?” This step helps the flow of sorting while remaining neutral and concise.
6. DO NOT Create a “Maybe” Pile
This unnecessary 4th pile is a dangerous one. This gray space is where we start to question ourselves, letting doubt come between our progress. The solution? Ask yourself if you have used the item within a year. If not, chances are you won’t again.
7. DO Adapt
Most people prefer to age in place, however, depending on the situation this may not be an option for some seniors. The key is to adapt. Flexibility is crucial when it comes to extreme changes, especially when downsizing. For example, learn to part with belongings that take up too much space, like the never disheveled stack of loose photos. Adapt by scanning them onto the computer to keep them preserved and easily accessed. The same can be applied to music and movies with modern technology devices like Netflix, Spotify, and Apple Tv.
8. DO Repurpose and Recycle
Do consider donating, reusing, and recycling. The neighboring homeless shelters would much appreciate your closet full of unused winter coats. Need some extra pocket change? Post items online, such as eBay or Craigslist. If you have the time, host a garage sale. These methods can lessen the mess in your home and also give a second life to older items.
9. DO NOT Hoard
A senior whose living space has become unsanitary, hazardous, or unable to function may show symptoms of an elderly hoarding disorder Be between being something of a pack rat saving things for a stormy day instead of saving and assembling things that are used, broken, chaotic or of no regard. Gatekeepers may find stores of decline or waste spread all through the house, which makes a dangerous risk for tripping and falling.
10. DO Be Sensitive
If the senior is showing hoarding behaviors, this could be a symptom of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Take note of sudden mood changes, forgetting to take prescribed medications, or letting bills go unpaid. Be sensitive towards seniors struggling to remember. They may start to feel attacked, defensive, or confused when disposing of their things. Patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s should be moved to our Regency Memory Care facility for their daily assisted needs.
It's imperative to start decluttering now, so the move to your new home at Regency Assisted Living can be as fluid of a transition as possible. For more information on downsizing, see tips at http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/15-9-5-senior-downsizing tips/
“Keeping baggage from the past will leave no room for the happiness in the future” – Wayne L. Misner
Written by: Katie Hanley
The blooming trees, flowers, and warmer weather signal the return of springtime for Charlotte seniors to get outside and enjoy. While there are many ways for any senior to enjoy the beauty that comes along with the season’s change, caution and preparedness are imperative to ensure safety against the sun, when spending time outdoors.
“Oh my goodness it’s already April!” said Jamie Jollie, Executive Director at Regency at Pineville, in the most recent newsletter. “We are so excited to have the flowers blooming and residents sitting outside, goodbye to the cold!”
While mobility issues may keep some seniors from fully enjoying Mother Nature’s great outdoors, most agree that even sitting outside and breathing in the fresh air is a welcome change, after the long winter months. Before being too physically active, it is important for individuals to speak with a doctor in order to be aware of any limitations. Regardless of how time is spent soaking up the sunshine, Vitamin D will also be soaked up, which is very important for everyone. It is not only important for bone strength, but research is now showing that there is a link between Vitamin D and improved cognitive function.
Here are 10 ideas for seniors in Charlotte to do in springtime:
Additionally, there are plenty of local events, fairs, and festivals in Charlotte to take part in and choose from, depending on personal interests.
One thing for seniors to remember when getting out into the warmer weather and sunshine is to prepare and be cautious in order to avoid heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and other side effects that can accompany prolonged heat exposure.
A few tips to remember are:
These are just a few tips to enhance enjoyment of spring and the warmer weather, in a safe way.
To learn more about Regency at Pineville, call us at (844) 425-4254.
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.
The Holidays are in the air, and it is time to once again for Charlotte Seniors to consider what to give loved ones for Christmas. To “lend some method to the holiday madness”, experts from the Healthy Aging Partnership offer a few suggestions on shopping for family and friends.
Give Experiences Rather than Things
Time is precious. As a gift, it can take the form of a coupon book for special activities together or passes to local attractions. The Carolinas Aviation Museum at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport displays more than 50 static aircraft and is home to the “Miracle on the Hudson” exhibit. It offers a senior discount, is wheelchair accessible and has picnic tables. Grandchildren might enjoy a day at Discovery Place or find the Mint Museum of Craft + Design stimulating. Other great experiences are taking a youngster who enjoys sports to a Carolina Panthers or Charlotte Bobcats game or a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame or North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame in Mooresville.
Handmade gifts not only solve the “what to buy” dilemma for seniors with limited finances, they can also transform ordinary objects into fun reminders that family will enjoy for years to come. It can be as simple as a craft made at a Regency activity or perhaps a book that you want to share so a family member can enjoy it as much as you have. A photo album or scrapbook becomes priceless with time passing.
Be Appropriate When Giving
Says the Healthy Aging Partnership: “A modest gift given out of love is more meaningful than a big-ticket item given out of pressure or the desire to impress. Consider the child’s age and read labels for safety hazards. You’ll want to check with parents to make sure they approve of a gift or hadn’t planned on giving (the child) the same thing.”
When in Doubt, Cash or Gift Cards Work Fine
It seems counter-intuitive (if we want to see our gift warmly received) to suggest that we simply give someone money to buy something, but it is not necessarily a sign that we are uninterested in playing detective or haven’t put thought into what someone might like. Especially with teenage grandchildren, gift cards to their favorite stores and money are appreciated more than clothes or things they might need more than they want.
Perhaps the most valuable thing we give our families at Christmas is tradition. Rituals like playing games, watching certain movies, cooking certain dishes, etc., become the things that grandchildren fondly remember and carry on to their own families when they grow up.
From all of us at Regency, have a Merry Christmas!
There are some common misconceptions about Alzheimer’s disease, a condition that kills one in every 3 seniors who dies each year, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
For example, it is possible to get it while young, although most cases do affect persons 60 or older. And everyone knows about the “senior moments”, but it also involves changes in sensitivity to light and depth perception.
Alzheimer’s patients can have good days and bad ones.
When a doctor diagnoses Alzheimer’s, the person living with it often feels a combination of relief to finally have answers, anger at what life has thrown at them, denial about change, fear and depression about what lies ahead, and a sense of isolation in which no one understands what they are going through.
The emotions can feel overwhelming for everyone involved, but it is important to remember that they are not alone. There are a number of support groups, information online (see below) and resources to preserve quality of life while making the necessary adjustments.
It is critical for someone in the early stages of the disease to make legal and financial plans with a person they can trust while they are still able to participate in making decisions to ensure that others know their wishes, and know what to do.
Changes in thinking may reduce one’s ability to make appropriate decisions about self-care and day-to-day needs as the disease progresses. Difficulty managing personal hygiene or household tasks can lead to unsafe living conditions. Someone in that situation needs to plan ahead for how they will address basic needs, including housing, meals and physical care.
One option available to people in Charlotte is Regency Retirement Village’s Heritage Memory Care Unit.
With monthly rent to Heritage, residents take care of several challenges created by Alzheimer’s. They live in spacious studio apartments with private bathrooms, an enclosed courtyard, and numerous amenities, yet it is also a secure unit with a 24-hour emergency response system monitored by on-site staff.
All utilities are paid. There are smoke detectors and a fire sprinkler system. Plus, daily housekeeping service, meals and snacks throughout the day, scheduled transportation to medical appointment and activities, and assistance with the activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, walking, grooming and medication management.
Additionally, Heritage is conveniently located off I-485 next to Carolina Medical Center at Pineville and close to physician's offices. Regency even has a beauty and barber shop.
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 Charlotte on Sept. 27 at Symphony Park. 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/NC-WesternCarolina?fr_id=5251&pg=entry or volunteer with Jacob Wilkins at (765) 544-0631.
To learn more about Memory Care at Regency Senior Living, visit http://regencyretirement.net/charlotte-retirement-living-services/charlotte-memory-care-retirement-facility or call (704) 542-9449.
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/
In today’s busy world, a trusting doctor-patient relationship is difficult to create. As a patient, it is crucial that you are pro-active in order to ensure you get the care you deserve. This doesn’t mean that visiting your doctor in Charlotte, N.C. has to be a stressful experience. A little bit of pre-visit preparation will go a long way toward making your experience less nerve-wracking and more productive.
ASK FOR TIME!
Senior patients can be afforded a few extra minutes in the exam room. Be sure to ask about this possibility the next time you call to make an appointment with your doctor. Any additional time will help you and your doctor relax and discuss your concerns in an unrushed manner. You can also share your list of your health issues with the nurse making your appointment and ask for them to be shared with your doctor.
Bring along a trustworthy companion who will listen and observe your conversation with your doctor. They can even take notes so that the specifics of your visit won’t fall between the cracks.
CHECK IT TWICE
Writing down any worries that you want to discuss with your doctor is a good way to be reminded of exactly what you want to cover during your visit. Do not be embarrassed to share exactly what is going on with you
Take along your comprehensive medical history, a folder will allow you to stay organized. This is of utmost importance when having an initial visit with a new physician. Crucial information includes current doctors’ names, phone numbers, etc., current prescription, allergy and insurance information. Past and ongoing health concerns and treatments should also be included.
While at your doctor’s office:
The more understanding your doctor has about your symptoms, the better off you will be. Discussing your symptoms with your doctor is undeniably paramount to getting the treatment you need.
WRAPPING IT UP
Before your appointment comes to an end, request that your doctor go over the main ideas covered in your time together. You can ask any questions that come to mind at this juncture.
CLEAR THINGS UP
Make sure you go over any written directions with your nurse or doctor before your visit wraps up. A written review will enable you to know that you and your doctor are on the same page with regards to next steps and your follow up treatment.
It is essential to work with your physician as a team in order to optimize your health. Opening the lines of communication with your doctor in Charlotte will help you reach the end goal of good health!