Lifelong Learning: Good for Seniors’ Minds & Bodies

Summertime means graduation season and there is a recent and growing trend among college graduates that is garnering a lot of attention. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, by 2020, 43 percent of college students are expected to be age 25 and older. And among these older grads are more and more seniors. Click above to learn more about how lifelong learning is beneficial for seniors’ minds and bodies.



Tip # 14 of 50 –The Case Against Staying at Home as You Age

“Fifty Tips on Aging Well to Celebrate 50 Years of Excellent Service”

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip # 14 of 50 –The Case Against Staying at Home as You Age

There has been a media blitzkrieg (and resulting changes in state and federal regulations regarding nursing home care) about the benefits of staying at home “as long as possible” as we age. Who wouldn’t, after all, want to stay at home? It’s well, home. And home can be familiar and welcoming, with daily routines, good memories, and familiar surroundings.

But what if staying at home isn’t the best option? What if staying at home ultimately means isolation and increasing danger for folks whose eyesight and hearing isn’t what it used to be? What if “home” lacks the one factor most likely to result in a long, happy life: sociability? And what if “home” means negotiating steep stairs and icy driveways to collect the mail, and a never-ending list of chores that become harder and harder as we age?

Continuing care retirement communities offer many options to more than offset the benefits of home. First and foremost, they are filled with people who are both interested and interesting. And there are a wide variety of activities to fit a wide variety of interests: music, entertainment, book clubs, fitness and art classes – the list goes on and on . . . . including good food that someone else prepares!

If the choice to “stay home” involves home healthcare services when needed, there is so much to consider. Of course, there are good home healthcare agencies, and not so good home healthcare agencies. And even if you find a good one, what if your healthcare needs don’t neatly align with a scheduled visit? What if your needs change, and you need far less than a trip to the ER by squad, but more than you can do yourself?

Continuing care retirement communities have competent help to fit all needs, around the clock, just a call away. And additional healthcare is available as needed, in assisted living, skilled/rehabilitation services, long-term care, memory care, and ultimately, hospice care.

I encourage you to compare “apples to apples” in terms of safety and peace of mind. In my opinion, the scale tips toward making a move to a faith-based, not for profit continuing care retirement community instead of clinging to “staying at home as long as possible.” It’s never too late to make life-long friends.

At The Wesley Communities, we are welcoming communities of kindness and grace where residents and staff thrive. Please visit our website at www.thewesleycommunities.org for more information.



Tip # 13 of 50 – The Longevity Project and a study of catastrophic thinking – “Don’t be a Chicken Little”!

“Fifty Tips on Aging Well to Celebrate 50 Years of Excellent Service”

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Tip # 13 of 50 – The Longevity Project and a study of catastrophic thinking – “Don’t be a Chicken Little”!

In 1921, Dr. Lewis Terman began a study of 1500 children who were born around 1910.  The lives of these 1500 children were followed and studied in meticulous detail over the course of their lifetimes.   Out of this now famous study, Dr. Howard Friedman and Dr. Leslie Martin began to study a different question:   who lived the longest, and why?     The results are revealed in The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight Decade Study. 

When the Terman subjects were young adults, they were tested for their “Chicken Little” qualities, that is, did they constantly think the sky was falling?  Also called “catastrophizers,” these subjects tended to see impending doom everywhere, and the trend, perhaps not surprisingly, shows that this trait is not good for a long life! In sum, the Chicken Littles died sooner!

The good news is that catastrophic and related negative thought processes can be changed.   The first step is recognizing thoughts for what they are – they are merely thoughts. If you start to think of “worst case” scenarios, you can literally say to yourself, “Stop!” This, followed by thought replacement (replacing the negative thought with a more positive one), can be very useful.

Remember, making changes to persistent patterns of negative thinking takes both patience and determination, but it can lengthen your life, and it can be done!

Source: The Longevity Project, by Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D., and Leslie R. Martin, Ph.D


Active Aging Redefines Health and Wellness

What does it mean to be healthy as we get older? For most of us, it’s simply the opposite of illness. And staying healthy equates to managing diseases and chronic conditions.

But there is a movement to expand the definition of health and wellness in order to accommodate the idea that being healthy is the process of getting the most out of what life has to offer — regardless of physical age.

Click above to learn more about active aging.


Making a Move: Packing Parties and Other Creative Ideas

The below article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.

Recently I had the chance to speak with a couple that lives in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC or “life plan community”) in Virginia. Let’s call them Joe and Becky. They have lived in the CCRC for about three years and said they couldn’t be happier. One thing that has really stood out to them since moving, they explained, was the level of service provided by the staff, which they described as “exceptional.” As we talked more, I asked about their experience in making the move and how they managed to deal with all their “stuff.”

Indeed, dealing with years of accumulated belongings can be daunting. Of course, somebody eventually has to deal with all that stuff, and it doesn’t get any easier as we get older. Click above for some ways that can help make the experience more, dare I say, fun.


Peg’s Perspective-If you’re considering retirement community living . . . .

“Fifty Tips on Aging Well to Celebrate 50 Years of Excellent Service”

As The Wesley Communities approach 50 years of excellent service, our CEO Peg Carmany offers “Peg’s Perspective” on a variety of topics affecting seniors and their adult children as they plan and choose to age well – 50 tips to celebrate 50 years!

Peg’s Perspective

Tip # 12 of 50 – If you’re considering retirement community living . . . .

Here we are, well into the new year of 2019, and how are your new year resolutions coming along? Most of us resolve to eat better, exercise more, get rid of clutter . . . . and the gyms are certainly more crowded for the first few months of the year! But most of us, by now, have gone back to our old ways.

So what’s the best way to start and continue a new habit? Experts agree: starting small and building toward a goal is the best way to stay focused and committed.

If you are considering looking at, and perhaps moving into a retirement community (for yourself or a loved one), start with small, concrete steps. Things I recommend that you consider:

1. Location. Do you want to be near to family? Or near to your old stomping grounds (and doctors and grocery stores)? That’s the first question you need to answer.

2. Determine what level of care you may need. Still living on your own? Independent living is probably the place to start. If you’ve had a health break and need assistance, assisted living or nursing care may also be appropriate.

3. Once you know where you want to be, locate several retirement communities in that geographic area. Find out if they have the level of care that is appropriate for you.

4. When you have a list, call and ask to visit. It’s easy to do, and the main number for each facility will put you in touch with exactly the right person.

5. When you visit, take notes so you can compare. Don’t try to visit more than two in any one day, even if you are pressed for time. There is a lot to take in at each community, and one of the best ways to “see” it is to have a meal there.

Each community you visit will have a different “feel.” Take notice of these things that are sometimes hard to measure: Is the staff friendly? Is the community for profit or not-for-profit? Is it clean and well-maintained? Are there resident satisfaction surveys you can review?

Progress to your goal is all about planning, and taking small, concrete steps.

We of course welcome you to visit The Wesley Communities! We are welcoming communities of kindness and grace where residents and staff thrive.


Parkinson’s Disease and Nutrition

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic movement disorder. PD involves the failure and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Some of these neurons produce dopamine, a chemical involved in bodily movements and coordination. As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally.

Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following:

  • Tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face
  • Bradykinesia or slowness of movement
  • Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Postural instability or impaired balance and coordination

Common nutritional concerns for people with Parkinson’s disease are:

  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Difficulty eating due to uncontrollable movements
  • Swallowing dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Medication side effects (e.g., dry mouth)

Nutritional concerns vary by individual based on signs and symptoms and stages of disease. It is important to work closely with a doctor or dietitian to determine specific recommendations.

When it comes to nutrition, what matters most?

  • Increase calories. If a tremor is present, calorie needs are much higher. Adding sources of fat to foods (e.g., oil and cheese) is one way to do this.
  • Maintain a balanced diet. Eating properly involves eating regularly. If uncontrollable movements or swallowing difficulties are making it hard to eat, seek the advice of an occupational or speech therapist.
  • Maintain bowel regularity. Do so with foods high in fiber (whole grain bread, bran cereals or muffins, fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes) and drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Balance medications and food. Individuals taking carvidopa-levadopa may need to adjust the amount of protein eaten and the time of day it is eaten, or take their medication with orange juice. If side effects such as dry mouth are making it difficult to eat, work with a health care professional to help manage these.
  • Adjust nutritional priorities for your situation and stage of disease.

Check with a dietitian or doctor for your specific dietary needs.


Comparing Life Plan Retirement Communities on Price

In Columbus, and the surrounding central Ohio region, shopping for a life plan retirement community (also referred to as a CCRC or continuing care retirement community) requires a lot of research, and your final decision will be based on many factors–services, location, amenities, reputation, and more–though price is usually one of the most heavily weighted.

Click above to read more.


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