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There are so many fun diversions that get put aside over the years as responsibilities take over. Fortunately there’s no time like the present to try something new, or rekindle an old favorite hobby. You’re never too old to reclaim the enthusiasm and curiosity you had as a child and to truly relish how you spend your time.

Here are five ideas for how you can get the most out of your senior years:

1)    Take on a new perspective. Painting is not only relaxing creative outlet, it can help you see the world in a whole new way. Whether it’s a watercolor class or trying your hand at an oil painting workshop, you might enjoy capturing moments big and small and communicating something special about how you see the world.

2)    Go for a walk! A daily walking route is a fun way to get low impact exercise. It’s also neat to see how the landscape and landmarks change day to day, and to spend time conversing with a friend or simply checking in with yourself.

3)    Pick up a fun new game. Whether it’s something a crowd can play like gin or poker something you can arrange tournament style like chess or checkers, or games that test your smarts like Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit, playing a card or board game regularly will help keep your mind fit and are a great way to spend time with friends and family.

4)    Get involved with a religious or spiritual organization. Not only do you get to explore your faith, you’ll build a new social circle and have a chance to attend all kinds of events from fundraisers to church suppers. Plus the routine of attending services is a good way to create a structure and routine, which might be pleasant in retirement.

5)    Writing letters is a wonderful way to stay in touch. There are more options than ever for stationary these days, as many craftspeople have rediscovered the art of letterpress and illustration. Or you could simply pull out some notebook paper and write a good long letter to your loved ones. It’s a more personal way of connecting with those who are far away than email or social media, and your correspondence could be a great keepsake to revisit later.

 

Written by Meghan O’Dea

Friday, 28 November 2014 10:46

Charlotte Seniors Holiday Shopping Tips

charlotte nc seniors shopping

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.

Personalize

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!

talk-about-charlotte-nc-assisted-livingEventually, 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

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:

TEXTING

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.

EMAIL

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. 

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

CLOUD SHARING

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. 

Photo Credit: xopherlance via Compfight cc

Friday, 29 August 2014 12:46

Charlotte: A Great Place for Seniors!

cxnRegency 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!

Thursday, 31 July 2014 17:12

Coming to Grips with Alzheimer's Disease

cxnThere 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. 

Further reading:

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/

Photo Credit: Môsieur J. [version 9.1] via Compfight cc

Monday, 30 June 2014 17:16

Laughter Heals Charlotte Seniors

Want to know a fun, free and easy way to instantly feel better?

Laugh!

Not only does having a sense of humor feel good and make life more fun – it can also do wonders for the mind, spirit and body of Charlotte seniors.

Laughing at a movie or TV show provides a physical emotional release that restores a sense of balance that leaves us feeling cleansed afterward.

Our bodies naturally have antibodies to attack disease, and humor increases the number of them working for us, as well as their effectiveness, resulting in a stronger immune system.  The human body also produces several stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and epinephrine, which laughing meets head on with the triggered release of endorphins. These chemicals not only make us feel good. They also temporarily relieve aches and pains.

Laughter is a distraction that pulls us away from stress, anger, resentment, disappointments, and so forth. It can also keep us grounded in ways that gives us an entirely new perspective on our world. Things that caused worry and angst yesterday can melt into a relaxed state if our mind is pulled into a more positive place.

Most of the things we worry about never even materialize, so humor can make us more playful and creative rather than anxious, angry or sad. When we are relaxed, the tension in our muscles gives way and blood vessels flow more effectively, reducing the dangers of heart attacks.

The unfortunate thing is most people do not laugh nearly enough, but we can often manufacture a state of laughter by smiling, which tends to attract others, which creates opportunities to laugh while participating in fun activities like miniature golfing or bowling.

Trying watching a funny movie on TV and see if your chuckles do not cause you to feel noticeably better.

Photo Credit: porschelinn via Compfight cc

Friday, 30 May 2014 12:18

Clear Communication with Your Doctor

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. 

A small amount of prep work before your next doctor’s appointment will go a long way in helping you have the positive experience you want.

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.

EXTRA  EARS

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

DETAILS, DETAILS

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:

SHARING

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!

Photo Credit: Truthout.org via Compfight cc

Thursday, 01 May 2014 10:10

Charlotte Seniors Find Time for Fitness

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. 

It’s hard to imagine someone being so heartless as to rob a North Carolina senior, but it happens every day – increasingly in ways that leave little or no paper trail.

Knowing the ploys used by scam artists gives North Carolina seniors the ability to arm themselves with some healthy skepticism and street savvy.

Among these scams are:

Fake Anti-Aging Products: The promise of concealing our true age and allowing us to maintain a youthful appearance can prove highly persuasive. Botox scams or bogus prescription drugs are not only disturbing, they can also be deadly. Some homeopathic remedies being marketed do absolutely nothing – except suck your bank account dry.

Telemarketing: Someone on the phone can be similarly convincing when soliciting money for a fake charity after a natural disaster or touting a large sum of money the senior can get if he or she makes a “good faith” payment by withdrawing funds from a bank account.

Internet Scams: Even tech-savvy youngsters can fall victim to sophisticated email/phishing scams that appear to be from a legitimate company or institution, but seniors should be particularly wary of requests to “update” or “verify” their personal information. Rather than clicking on the link in an email, type the web address of the organization directly into the browser to be sure you’re visiting the real McCoy. And be careful with spelling because scammers even buy up similar URLs to take advantage of those who misspell.

Investment Schemes: Ever heard of Bernie Madoff? Everyone loved how much money he made for them until the pyramid scheme collapsed (hurting a lot of seniors among its victims). Don’t put your money into anything too complicated to understand or which you suspect to be shady.

Funeral Scams: If you’re dealing with a less-than-reputable company, a funeral home may attempt to take advantage when you are emotionally vulnerable over losing a loved one.

 

These are just a few of the cons perpetrated against Charlotte, North Carolina seniors all the time. Don’t become a victim. 

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