Tip #22 of 50 – A Look Back at 2019 and a Look Forward to 2020

As The Wesley Communities celebrate 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 #22 of 50 – A look back at 2019 and a look forward to 2020

As we plan for 2020 at The Wesley Communities, I found myself looking back over all that 2019 has brought to us. First and foremost, 2019 was the year where we celebrated our first 50 years of providing excellent housing, care and services for seniors. And we will continue that celebration into this year – 50 plus years of excellent service! We are proud of where we’ve been and where we’re going.

This past year was particularly memorable because of our beautiful 50th Anniversary Gala at The Columbus Zoo. It was a magical night – beautiful weather, terrific food and entertainment, and those giraffes – close enough to feed! We could not have had a more perfect celebration. 2019 was also special due to the numerous awards we have won – (CBUS Top Pick 2019 for The Wesley Communities, 2019 Healthy Workplace Silver Award for The Wesley Communities from the Healthy Business Council of Ohio, and Outstanding Large Business 2019 for Wesley Woods at New Albany). We are proud to receive these recognitions of our good work and growth.

I want to sincerely thank our residents, their families, and all our business partners and community friends who have donated and contributed to our mission in 2019. As we move boldly onward this year, we look forward to staying ahead of the competition and continuing to provide warm and welcoming communities, where our residents and staff will thrive.


New Year, New You – 2020 Resolutions for Seniors

The New Year has officially kicked off and for many, this is a time to set new goals and to plan for the year ahead. Health is typically one of the main areas people focus on once January rolls around, and while it may be a more obvious goal in the younger generations, it is just as important for our seniors as well.

If you are planning to focus on your health in 2020, set goals that will benefit both your physical and mental health. Typically, there are small changes and adjustments that can be made to your regular routine that will have a lasting, positive impact overall. Click the link above for some New Year’s Resolutions that will help you start 2020 in the right direction.


Tip #21 of 50 – Holiday Memories and Traditions

As The Wesley Communities celebrate 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 #21 of 50 – Holiday Memories and Traditions

I have some very powerful memories of the holidays as a child, and I bet you do, too. At our house, we were living in Southern California (no snow!) and my dad was the pastor of Fontana Community Church. So for us, Christmas always meant church, church, and then, more church. My brothers and my mother and I always played multiple roles – taking the offering, singing in the choir, doing the readings that accompanied the Advent Candle lighting, etc. There was a life-sized Nativity that was set up every year (we helped), and sometimes, it was even supplemented with live animals (again, we helped).

In my family, the watchword for the holidays was never “presents,” although my brothers and I did look with some longing at the total “haul” that other kids made. Instead, it was the very simple and very powerful message of love, year after year.

Sometimes, now, when I find myself getting caught up in the shopping, and the buying, and the planning, and the (more) buying . . . I think back to those days. I had a very happy childhood, “haul” or not.

So, do you have holiday traditions that go along with your memories? And are you worried that moving to a retirement community might mean giving them up? Let me assure you, a move into independent living allows you to bring your holiday favorites, and our communities of course allow for most of your traditions to continue, although we really tend to discourage folks from getting on the roof to hang lights! Our communities are beautifully decorated, special meals are prepared, and we celebrate the holidays for all. Retirement community living adds, it does not detract.


Tip #20 of 50 – Loneliness in Seniors, an Enormous Problem

As The Wesley Communities celebrate 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 #20 of 50 – A problem no one wants to talk about: Loneliness can be an enormous problem for seniors still living in their homes

In the hierarchy of human needs, food, shelter, and safety are at the top of the list. And oftentimes, seniors living alone can meet these basic needs fairly well, especially with services provided in the home, and necessities more readily available through things like Uber and personal shoppers. But once you step beyond these basic human requirements to sustain life, social interaction and connection are of the utmost importance, and oftentimes, can be missing elements for seniors living alone.

Sometimes, there is an adult child or a saintly neighbor (or even a beloved pet) who is able to meet this human need for contentedness, but when the adult children live out of town, or the saintly neighbor moves away, or the beloved pet dies, there is a very real void that directly, and negatively, impacts the quality of life for the senior living on their own.

If you are an adult child (with the very best of intentions!) and you visit or call and find yourself listening to an almost non-stop barrage of words, believe me, you are not alone. In this situation, patience is a must, especially when often, this is a time when that might be in short supply in your life. I invite you to carefully consider a suggestion (often rejected as out of hand, but persevere) to your aging parent that they begin to consider a move to a retirement community.

And if you are a senior living at home alone, and you find yourself truly missing social connectedness, I also invite you to consider either on your own, or perhaps upon the gentle suggestion of someone else, a close look at retirement community living.

Aging is not just about staying alive. Aging at its finest is about finding meaning and making connections that make life worth living. Not everyone is comfortable in a crowd, and leaving the familiarity of a long-time residence can be overwhelming. But remember: you are never too old to make lifelong friends.

At The Wesley Communities, we know that transitions can be difficult. We also know that quality of life is vastly improved for those folks who make the move. Our communities are filled with people who wondered what this next stage of life might be like, and are absolutely delighted they made the decision to move.


Tip #19 of 50 – What About the Dog?

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 # 19 of 50 –  What about the Dog?

If you are a senior living on your own, or if you are the adult child of a senior living on their own, and moving to a retirement community is under consideration one very important question may be: but what about the dog? Or, what about the cat? Oftentimes, this beloved pet has been part of the family for many years and seems like a real obstacle when it comes to making a move.

The good news is this: many retirement communities not only allow pets, but they also encourage them! One of the most important factors in the quality of life and longevity of life is socialization. A beloved pet can feel like a member of the family. And, they provide structure to daily life – they must be fed, exercised, and cared for, all of which can sometimes be a very good reason for getting out of bed in the morning and starting the day.

At all three of The Wesley Communities (Wesley Glen, Wesley Ridge, and Wesley Woods at New Albany), pets of all varieties and sizes are welcome, especially in independent living where the responsibility of care stays solely with the resident. Typically, some adjustments may be required, and pets are screened for personality. Living in a community means getting along with your neighbors, of course. Also, if the resident requires a move to a higher level of care, the pet is welcome to travel right along if the resident can continue to provide for its needs.

At The Wesley Communities, we have also offered real assistance when a resident can no longer care for their pet if the family cannot take over. We have become a sort of matching service for pets so they are well cared for – sometimes our staff steps in and adopts, and sometimes we find another resident who needs and wants another pet to adopt. It’s a beautiful thing when a pet continues to be loved and cared for, and we do our best to make it happen, always.

The decision to move to a retirement community can be a difficult one but having peace of mind in knowing that your beloved pet can and will be able to move with you may be an additional factor in making your final choice. There are many obstacles when considering a move, but a pet needn’t be one of them.


An Interview with Janet Herring : A Wesley Ridge Resident With A Truly Special Past

Recently, The Wesley Ridge Retirement Community book club read the historical fiction novel, The Atomic City Girls. The group was lucky to have the author, Janet Beard, visit to discuss the book and meet with the residents who read it.
The novel chronicles the making of the atomic bomb in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where hundreds of young women were hired to work on special tasks, which were never truly explained. The workers at Oak Ridge were instructed that they were helping to win the war, but were told to ask no questions and to reveal nothing to outsiders.
While all of our Wesley Ridge book club members were excited to meet with the author, one resident in particular, Janet Herring, had an even greater enthusiasm, she was one of the young women who worked at Oak Ridge in 1945. Click the above link to learn more about Janet and her interesting past.
 


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


Peg's Perspective– Brain Fitness: Safety and Reciprocity

“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 # 9 of 50 – Brain Fitness: Safety and Reciprocity
The Wesley Communities have established a “Brain Fitness” club that consists of members from our three campuses, and the residents attend regular meetings to get updates on state-of-the-art research regarding brain health. It’s good to learn about how to keep our brains “fit,” and how to slow or even stop the progression of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
The Brain Fitness club was established in response to rather current research that shows that you can create new and stronger neural pathways in your brain through exercise, proper diet, and a variety of other factors, including a strong social network and learning new things.
Social support is not merely the same thing as being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, and feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. Numerous studies of disaster response have shown that social support is the most powerful protection against becoming overwhelmed by stress and trauma.
Wesley Glen, Wesley Ridge, and Wesley Woods at New Albany offer “brain fit” opportunities, including good dietary options, exercise and fitness classes, and a variety of activities to stimulate brain activity, learning, and just plain fun.
One of the most popular activities at Wesley Ridge is Chair Volleyball. Ken, a resident at Wesley Ridge, says: “[Chair Volleyball] is the most fun we’ve ever had! … But most of all, we’ve found it a great way to learn a lot of names of the residents in a very short time and we’ve made a lot of friends. We really enjoy being with the people on the volleyball team!
Perhaps the strongest attribute of The Wesley Communities is the element of social support. Many residents at our communities will testify to the fact that it’s never too late to make good friends, and as a result, create the reciprocity that is vital to good mental health.
We call it ‘The Wesley Way’.
Sources: The Body Keeps the Score:  Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
 
 
 


Water Aerobics Instructor Shares Her Story

Christine Togni, Aquatics Instructor at the Harcum Fitness and Aquatic Center, was named the Adult Honoree at the 2018 Jingle Bell Run held on December 1, 2018.  To read more about her advocacy for the Arthritis Foundation, becoming an instructor, and her upcoming support group, click above.


Peg’s Perspective – What’s the key to a long, healthy, and happy life?

“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
By:Peg Carmany
Hazel was born in Olathe, Kansas in her family’s farmhouse. Hazel’s parents were hard-working, encouraging people.  She remembers her mother helping all of them to be their very best. “Stand up straight like God intended,” her mother would explain. Hazel was the eighth of nine children in her family.
She attended a one room country school, with only two others in her class. It was a four mile walk each way—except during the winter when the snow was so high they could walk across the fence rows in the pasture, which made the walk a little shorter.
She remembers wearing dresses made of feed sacks with pretty designs when she was very young. But, when she was in the third grade her family moved to Springfield, Missouri. Here, she received a new dress from her mother and had a pencil box with new yellow pencils. She remembers how exciting it was to receive them!
Hazel went on to attend McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas. Here, she met and married her husband Bob. They were married for 47 years, and moved to Wesley Glen after Bob was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It became difficult for her to care for him at home, so she knew she needed a helping hand.
Now, Hazel has been living at Wesley Glen for 24 years—since 1994! And, she has a lot of good, practical advice on how to live long, and how to live well!
Here are Hazel’s 5 tips for a long life:

  1. You have to have faith, and be connected to a faithful community. There can be lots of trauma in life, and at times you may say, “Lord I need a broader back.” She tries to not fret about things by trusting in her faith.
  2. Good children and a good family—that really helps! She has two children, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren. They are very good to her and she enjoys their company.
  3. A good diet. She is very conscious of what she eats—no fried foods, no pasta, no butter, very little red meat, and lots of vegetables!
  4. Exercise –she and Bob always kept a big garden, and she’s a faithful walker. Here at Wesley Glen she’s up almost every day by 5 or 5:30 a.m. to head to the workout room and walk two miles on the treadmill.
  5. Positive attitude –Hazel smiles and greets everyone she meets. She volunteers at church and at Wesley Glen. Her impact stretches far and wide!

We are grateful that Hazel lives at Wesley Glen, and appreciate that she practices what she preaches, truly “walking the walk.” She is a fine example of how to live a long and healthy life.