Peach Tree Times
Some of our articles have been written by guest writers
Peach Tree Times
Age is but a number. You're only as old as you feel. Think young, stay young.
You've certainly heard one or more of these clichés before. But, did you know there may actually be some truth to these sayings?
A study published in 2015 found that those who think of themselves as being younger than their age actually lived longer. The group of people in the study who felt younger than their age had a lower mortality rate than the group that felt the same age or older.
So, maybe staying young at heart will actually make your life longer.
How to Stay Young at Heart
Forget about the number. Don't let yourself feel like you're too old for the activities you want to do. You shouldn't let your calendar age dictate how you live your life.
Keep learning. It's important to keep your mind engaged, especially into retirement. Just because you're not going to work every day doesn't mean you should stop learning. Whether it's art, book clubs, online classes, yoga, or any other hobby, learning helps to keep your mind sharp.
Get enough sleep. Most people don't get enough sleep. Experts recommend that people over the age of 65 get seven to eight hours of sleep per night. No matter your age, your body needs the time while you sleep to rest and recuperate. Sleep also helps keep your body healthy and free of diseases.
Stay active. In the same way that you should exercise your mind, you should also exercise your body. Moving your body for 20-30 minutes a day stimulates your metabolism and elevates your mood. Additionally, exercise reduces the risk of falls. Try adding a daily walk, yoga, or water aerobics into your schedule. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an exercise routine.
Stay social. Maintaining social ties helps avoid social isolation and loneliness. Look for communities to become a part of. This can include things like a book club, exercise class, or your retirement community.
Embrace the new. Instead of trying to wave away or ignore new technology, embrace it! It's fun to be a part of what's happening. Instead of feeling left behind when people discuss pop culture or new technology, you can join in on the conversation. You don't have to keep up with every new thing, but you should be open to new experiences.
Staying young at heart and aging gracefully is the goal for many seniors. Most importantly, don't take yourself too seriously. Do what you love and shrug off your mistakes. What matters is how you feel, not how you look.
Moving into a senior community can feel a bit like the first day at a new school. You're new and might not know anyone there yet, while others in the community have pre-established friendships. It's normal to be nervous.
Retirement communities often have a variety of scheduled activities and events. Find a few that interest you and prioritize going to them. Whether it's painting, exercise, bird watching, or a coffee social, you're sure to find someone who shares your interests.
In many communities, mealtimes are the time of day where you see the majority of the residents. Use mealtimes as a time to get to know your fellow residents. Invite people you meet during the day to sit down and share a meal with you.
Get to Know the Staff
Having staff members that you know and trust has multiple benefits. You'll likely be seeing them on a regular basis, and if you have any concerns then you know who you can ask.
Additionally, getting to know the staff can give you more opportunities for friendships with other residents. If a staff member finds out you have a certain hobby, they might introduce you to another resident whom you may not have known that has similar interests.
Keep a Good Attitude
Attitude is everything. If you go into a new situation with a positive outlook you'll be shocked how easy it can be to meet people.
Smile at the people you pass in the hall, or chat by the coffee machine. Take a risk and initiate conversations instead of waiting for others to make the first step. Ask questions, and don't be afraid to talk about yourself. Current residents are as curious about you as you are about them.
With Summer comes bright sunny days, but bright sunny days can bring dangerously high temperatures. This summer, find ways to stay cool while staying entertained.
Clean up the house. Did you miss spring cleaning, or could you just use a bit of a tidy-up? Hang out in the A/C and bring your house to a cleaner state.
Do arts & crafts. There are many benefits to doing arts and crafts. Whether it's painting, cross-stitch, collages, or sculpting, there's bound to be something you enjoy.
Play Games. Board games, card games, and puzzles are great ways to keep your mind engaged. A 2003 study actually showed a link between mentally challenging leisure activities and a lower risk of dementia.
Read a book. Books are something that can be enjoyed indoors or outside. If reading the small print is difficult, you can always opt for large print versions or even audiobooks.
Eat something cold. Did you know that July 21st is National Ice Cream Day? Nothing completes a hot summer day quite like ice cream.
Go for a walk. Take advantage of cooler morning and evening temperatures to get outside and get active. Just make sure to bring enough water.
Go for a swim. Swimming and water aerobics are a great way to stay cool while staying active. Additionally, water-based activities are usually low-impact, which is great for those with stiff joints or arthritis.
Peach Tree Retirement Center offers a variety of activities year-round. Whether it's crafts, movies, socials, or exercise, we've always got something to keep you busy.
Independent retirement offers a housing arrangement specifically for older adults. Many independent living communities offer a variety of activities, services, and amenities, but generally do not provide medical care like an assisted living facility would.
Different independent living communities offer different living arrangements - from studio apartments to single-family homes. Some facilities are multiple buildings with multiple floors. You almost always provide your own furniture and decorations.
At Peach Tree Retirement Center we offer three apartment layouts: studio, one-bedroom, and one-bedroom deluxe. We're also all on one level, so you don't need to worry about stairs.
Activities & Amenities
Because there is such a wide range of independent living communities, there is also a large range in the level of services and amenities they provide. For example, in some retirement communities, meals are an additional charge, while other places include meals in your rent. Some independent communities offer free transportation and others don't.
Peach Tree offers a range of services, such as housekeeping, maintenance, 3 meals a day, and scheduled transportation. We also host activities like crafts, movie nights, and socials.
Why Choose Independent Living?
Independent living allows you to maintain your independence while enjoying your retirement. Living in a retirement community simplifies some of the hassles of daily life, such as cooking, cleaning, and maintaining a house and property.
Independent retirement also helps you strengthen your social connections by providing you with opportunities to make friends with your fellow residents through formal or informal get-togethers.
There are many things that can make it difficult or even dangerous to navigate through your home as you get older. Here are some strategies to make your house safer for you or your loved ones.
Secure your pets:
As much as we may love them, our furry friends and their toys can sometimes be a serious tripping hazard.
If you have animals in your home, make sure you know where they are while you're moving around. If you live with other people, it may help to have them hold on to the animals while you move from room to room.
If you're visiting a family member or friend that has pets, you can always ask them to leash up their dog or put their cat in another room for your visit.
Keep floors clear:
Throw rugs can be a hazard, especially for people using walkers or scooters. The front wheels of mobility aids may make it over bumps that the back wheels get caught on.
Clear up any clutter on the floor. This includes things like loose papers, extra shoes, and clothing.
Consider changing doorknobs:
Typical round doorknobs can be difficult for seniors to use. Consider swapping them out with lever-style door handles.
Modify the bathroom:
The bathroom is often one of the riskiest rooms in a senior's house. Some easy ways to make it safer include plugging in a nightlight, adding non-slip mats inside the bathtub and shower, and adding a shower chair. Additional improvements might be things like installing grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet, replacing a traditional bathtub with a walk-in model, and getting a raised toilet seat.
Keep emergency numbers handy:
If you have a home phone, keep a list of numbers near it. If you have a cell phone, keep it somewhere you'll remember, like the fridge. Make sure to have the information is written large enough for you to easily read in a hurry.
This list should include things like emergency services (911), poison control (1-800-222-1222), your doctor's office, and a friend or family member.
Have someone check in regularly:
Especially if you're living alone, it's important to have someone drop by regularly. Whether it's a friend, family member, or a neighbor, it's important to have the peace of mind someone will notice if something happens.
It would also be a good idea to consider getting an alert necklace or bracelet so you can call for help in an emergency.
Oftentimes people are reluctant to consider moving to a retirement community or independent living community. This is often because of the misconception that senior living communities are the same as nursing homes. However, senior communities offer a variety of services and amenities while still allowing residents to maintain their independence.
Choosing when and where you want to move can be a difficult process.
Some Factors to Consider
Home maintenance & chores:
As you get older, it becomes more difficult and tedious to do the chores you once found easy. Alternatively, you might just be tired of performing the chores you used to do without complaint. This includes everything from cleaning out gutters, washing windows, and clearing snow from driveways to cleaning bathrooms and washing dishes. Senior communities provide relief from the constant battle of home maintenance.
A study published in 2014 showed that people who eat healthier spend an average of two hours a day just preparing and cooking food. All that time investment might make you want to avoid cooking altogether, leading to skipped meals and poor nutrition. Retirement communities often provide 3 nutritious and delicious meals a day. Food always tastes better when you don't have to cook it.
Security & Safety
Consider the safety and security of your home. In the long run, what kinds of modifications would you need to make in order to remain there. Would you need to add grab bars, ramps, or even stairlifts? Do you have a way to call for help if you need it? Senior communities are built with aging in mind. They usually have staff on-site for emergencies, as well as emergency pull strings, grab bars elevators, and ramps.
Life is more fun when you share it with friends. Having a network of friends not only feels good, but it's also important for your well-being. A study from the National Institute on Aging links loneliness in older adults to health risks like high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline. The opportunity to make new friends is one of the benefits of moving to a retirement community.
Hobbies & activities
Making plans for the day and engaging in hobbies helps provide a purpose in life. Many communities provide a variety of daily activities such as bingo, movies, crafts, and exercise programs. Not only do these help keep you occupied while you're doing them, but you might also gain friendships when you join.
If driving has become difficult for you, you might have to rely on family, friends, or public transportation to do the things you want to do, whether it's shopping, appointments, or visiting friends. Most retirement communities provide some form of regular transportation.
Many people benefit from an animal companion. Whether it's a dog, cat, or another animal entirely, having a pet can help boost your well-being.
In October 2018, the National Poll on Healthy Aging surveyed a national sample of adults age 50-80 about their pets. 55% of adults surveyed said they had a pet. Of those with pets, more than half had multiple pets.
Benefits of Pet Ownership
Taking care of plants can have a great impact on your physical and emotional well-being. It calls you outside into the sun and encourages you to do something you care about.
Elderly scooters are excellent products for seniors. They enable seniors to be independent, visit friends, go shopping and enjoy their community.
1) Is An Elderly Scooter A Good Idea?
Americans are no longer interested in buying mega-mansions but are opting for smaller properties, which cost less and require less upkeep.
For seniors, downsizing to a more compact house has significant advantages. They can enjoy their retirement years without spending as much time on chores like yard work. They also have to spend less on maintenance costs, which is significant since money troubles can be an issue after retirement.
Before you downsize, ask yourself these questions to figure out what you will do with your old property and ensure you have the money to purchase a new one.
Is Now a Good Time to Put Your House on the Market?
When you’re looking to unload your old home, the most obvious answer is to sell it. You can take the money you make and put it toward your new house.
Before you list your house, however, get a sense of what it’s worth. Look specifically at homes in your neighborhood that are a similar size.
If you do decide to go ahead and sell your home, put in the time and effort to make it as marketable as possible. For example, you should hire a professional photographer to take photos. Studies show that pictures make a huge difference in selling real estate, and can help a house sell faster and at a higher price.
Would You Prefer the Steady Income That Comes with Renting It Out?
If you find that the real estate market in your area isn’t great, hold off on selling. Property prices are projected to increase, so you may be able to close a better deal in a few years. Instead, consider renting out your property. This allows you to collect a monthly income, which you can use to put toward the mortgage payments on your new property.
If you want to maximize your rental income, keep the furnishings in the home: Furnished spaces command a higher monthly rent. Given that your new house will be smaller, you likely won’t be able to fit all your current furniture inside it. So, make sure you secure a reliable tenant who will pay on time with a thorough vetting process. This should include in-person interviews and a request for pay stubs to prove their income.
Could a Family Member Step In and Take Care of the Property for You?
Perhaps the real estate market is bad or you don’t want to deal with the hassle of tenants. In this case, consider asking a trusted family member if they want to take over the property.
You can have them live there rent-free or charge them rent, depending on your financial needs. With this arrangement, you can entrust them to take care of day-to-day maintenance and rest easy knowing you can visit the old home whenever you want.
Since you probably won’t charge your loved ones the full rent that you would a stranger, this arrangement will not be the most lucrative financially. You thus have to make sure that you will still have the funds needed to afford the down payment on your new home.
Take the time to calculate how large a down payment you need; about 20 percent of the property’s sale price is usually suggested. Then make sure that the monthly payments won't exceed 25 percent of your monthly income. Set your house shopping budget accordingly and stick to it.
Downsizing is a big decision, one that requires careful consideration, especially when it comes to financial planning.
Take the time to go through the above questions thoroughly and be realistic about your money needs. You don’t want to join the ranks of stressed-out Americans who are worried about insufficient retirement funds. Follow the above guidelines and you will be able to come up with a solution that best suits your needs.
Article author: Jim Vogel of Elderaction.org
For additional information, click on the link above for Elder Action.
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