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liz harper

Active Aging Redefines Health and Wellness

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

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.

It’s called active aging, a philosophy that attempts to move the mindset of what is considered health and well-being into an entire spectrum of categories that encompass components such as emotional and spiritual wellness, as well as the traditional physical aspects of health.

The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) defines active aging as promoting the vision of all individuals — regardless of age, socioeconomic status or health — fully engaging in life within seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual/cognitive, physical, professional/vocational, social and spiritual.

By expanding what we consider to be “healthy” and incorporating each dimension into our lives, we can cultivate a more well-rounded view of what constitutes a healthy and happy life.

Let’s take a closer look at each active aging dimension of wellness and how each might point to steps we can take to improve our own quality of life and that of those around us.

Emotional

Mental and emotional health is one of the pillars of happiness. Focusing on life’s positives (even embracing nostalgia), spending quality time with friends and family, and taking time for self-expression are ways to strengthen this dimension. Try eating meals with companions to give yourself the opportunity to talk about your day, tell stories and, of course, laugh.

Environmental

Your environment isn’t just the four walls around you, but the world that you and your loved ones inhabit. Allow sufficient time to wander in nature, explore its beauty and taste everything life has to offer.

Intellectual/Cognitive

A sharp mind is a happy mind. Engaging in creative pursuits is a proven method for keeping the mind alert. Read, write, journal, solve crosswords and puzzles, or even pick up a new pursuit like drawing or painting.

Physical

Physical well-being is about taking care of your body and making positive lifestyle choices. That means physical activity and exercise, as well as smart and healthy eating habits. Choose nutritious, delicious foods (MemoryMeals® makes that an easy call), make sure you get adequate sleep, and eliminate unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Professional/Vocational

Participating in work (paid or unpaid) not only contributes a service to society, but can boost one’s sense of self-worth by helping others and increasing social interaction. Older adults and seniors still have a lot to contribute as mentors, teachers and volunteers.

Social

Sometimes we all get tired of the rest of the world. But social isolation is ultimately unhealthy. So carve out sufficient time with friends and family for valuable emotional support. Social well-being can also be found through joining clubs and partaking in group activities.

Spiritual

There is evidence that religious belief is associated with longer life and better physical and mental health. This could be due to higher rates of social and emotional engagement among people of faith, but the fact remains that a spiritual component — the search for purpose and meaning — is an important dimension of active aging. That can take the form of organized religion or less dogmatic spiritual pursuits, such as yoga, meditation or simply communing with nature.

Putting It All Together

By broadening the definition of health and wellness, the active aging concept presents interesting new paths in the ways we will build full lives for a growing population of older Americans. Since food can be an important component in a number of the lifestyle areas identified in active aging, MemoryMeals® promises to play a major part in helping to enhance the lives of seniors at meal time and beyond.

Source: MemoryMeals.com

 

Making a Move: Packing Parties and Other Creative Ideas

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

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.

Comparing Life Plan Retirement Communities on Price

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

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.

Peg’s Perspective –The Longevity Project and Conscientiousness

By | Lifestyle, Our Stories | No Comments

“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!

Click above to read tip # 11 of 50 –The Longevity Project and Conscientiousness!

CCRCs: The Purpose of Entry Fees

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The vast majority of Continuing Care Retirement Communities require an entry fee. Naturally, people often ask, “What is the purpose of the entry fee?” Before answering this question it is helpful to understand the history of entry fees.

Click above to learn more.

How CCRCs can help couples stay together as they age

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

An active, healthy lifestyle can help protect your mind and body from disease and injury—which often leads to a need for long-term care. However, there are no guarantees in life and the question of whether—and how long—you or your spouse may need care remains unknown.

Click above to learn how CCRCs can help couples stay together as they age.

Benefits of Technology for Seniors

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At The Wesley Communities, we understand that technology can be intimidating. It feels like every time we turn around there’s a new phone, app, or device! But we firmly believe that the benefits of technology are worth learning about. Technology can improve three main areas of seniors’ lives. Click above to learn more!

What to Look for in Memory Care Communities

By | Alzheimer's and Dementia, Caregiving | No Comments

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or is faced with another serious memory loss condition, there is a good chance they will require professional memory care services at some point. Finding a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, or “life plan” community) with memory care will make life for the patient, loved ones, and caregivers more comfortable and enjoyable.

Many CCRCs and assisted living communities have memory care divisions within their nursing facilities, and today, more and more providers are adding these programs. Beyond this, nursing homes that work exclusively in memory care also are becoming more popular.

What is memory care?

Memory care is a unique type of care provided to patients with varying degrees of Alzheimer’s or dementia (or any other memory loss condition). This care involves a very structured and routine-based lifestyle in order to create a more comfortable and enjoyable day-to-day experience for the patient.

Days typically consist of a set schedule, maximized security, and activities that exercise the brain to reduce the many stresses of these diseases. The newest memory care centers are helping to make sure that their setting feels like a home, with common areas such as kitchens, large dining tables, and living areas.

Memory care communities also have a culture of recognizing the resident not merely as a person who has lost abilities but rather as someone who still has the ability to feel love, happiness, friendship, and caring. Of course, the degree to which this type of setting is most appropriate does depend in large part on the level of need and care required by the patient.

Choosing a memory care facility

Memory-loss conditions are mostly irreversible, especially Alzheimer’s. So, memory care programs or facilities are not cures, but they do strive to make life with these diseases much less daunting for patients, their caregivers, and loved ones.

Memory care works to slow the progression of the disease and provide the patient with a sense of purpose and identity—a reason to live and enjoy living. To achieve these goals, some important features to look for in memory care are:

Security: Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients often wander, and this can be dangerous. Look for a center that a) allows wandering to a healthy extent, and b) keeps wandering patients safe with extra security.

Support: Residents in memory care may become agitated. Look for memory care facilities that have ways of treating patients’ agitation with appropriate coping skills. Some even have sensory rooms that are designed to induce feelings of calm with weighted blankets, scents of lavender, and other calming tools.

Community: There are many levels of memory loss, and it is important for patients to interact with other patients who are at similar levels of memory loss. Similarly, patients should be engaging in activities that not only match their skill level but also their individual interests.

Medication control: Many dementia patients are over-medicated in assisted living facilities. To avoid this, find a facility with around-the-clock service from licensed nurses as well as trained caregivers. With more attention to everyday care, often less medication is required.

Sensory programming: While memory is decaying, the senses are still alive and well. Choose care centers that take this into account and capitalize on the use of senses in their day-to-day programs.

The above content is legally licensed for use by  myLifeSite.