Maybelle Carter Blog

living with parkinsonsThere are plenty of great reasons to choose an assisted living facility for yourself or a loved one-- the caring community, delicious meals three times a day, fun activities, knowing that housework is no longer on your to-do list. For fifty thousand Americans each year, however, there's an added reason to consider a senior care facility: a Parkinson's diagnosis.

Parkinson's doesn't get the same level of attention as other disorders associated with aging, but a million Americans live with the condition, which primarily affects adults over fifty. Some of the symptoms are famous, including muscle rigidity and tremors. Others are peculiar and don't at first seem connected to a larger medical picture, like slowly losing the ability to smell pickles, liquorice and other smells.

The process to get diagnosed can take careful attention to changes you might be going through, including shifts in mood and speech. Some symptoms, like the loss of smell, can begin 4-6 years before movement dysfunction sets in. Others, like chronic constipation, are easy to mistake for the kind of changes you expect your body to go through as you age and can start over a decade before other symptoms start. There's no blood test for Parkinson's, so it will take a visit to your doctor to get an official diagnosis.

If you or a loved one does have Parkinson's, you'll not only have a diagnosis but also learn the stage of the condition. Parkinson's has no cure, and it is progressive. It's not life-threatening, however, so you can plan on enjoying your retirement with just a few adjustments. If the physical effects of Parkinson's, like a shuffling gait or shaking hands, makes it hard to manage everyday chores, assisted living can be a great option to keep things simple. That way you can focus on time with loved one and your hobbies.

A senior care community can also make a positive impact in Parkinson's patients' lives by helping to ameliorate the condition's impact on mood. Parkinson's is caused by the degeneration of your brain's ability to create and process dopamine, which can lead to depression and anxiety as well as the disorder's physical effects. That's why it's crucial to avoid a sense of isolation or limitation. Your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend therapy, too, but it can also help immensely to live near friends and neighbors, staying engaged in your favorite pastimes, and having the support of a compassionate staff can all help you stay on an even keel.

Whether you have already confirmed Parkinson's or are just trying to plan for everything retirement might hold, know that a senior home can grow with you, offering as much or as little support as you need, even if that changes over time. When a place like Maybelle Carter has your back, you can be confident in just how much there is to anticipate.

Written by Meghan O’Dea

Copyright: angellodeco / 123RF Stock Photo

Published in Retirement Communities
Friday, 28 August 2015 22:09

Seniors Should Write their Life Stories

write your life storyCommunication is constantly changing, with new technologies springing up seemingly every other day. The ways we talk to each other aren’t the same as they were even 10 years ago. One thing hasn’t gone away, though. We are still fascinated by stories and storytellers!

Seniors might not realize it, but their lives have been full of great stories to share with their families and friends. They have decades worth of wisdom and insight stored up and ready to share, but they might not know how appreciated it can be. This is where writing comes in.

“The life review process helps a person find meaning, value, and fulfillment. It gives the person a sense of self-worth and of value to others.”
– Dr. Augustine DiGiovanna, Salisbury State University

Not only can writing one’s “memoirs” be a learning experience for younger generations, it can be beneficial for the writer. Reflecting on their lives and writing their stories can become a new hobby for seniors! It can help keep their minds and imaginations active, helping them to make sense of events long past. Additionally, the opportunity to discuss and share these memories helps foster a sense of community and can help keep them from feeling isolated.

This becomes increasingly important if the senior is living in an assisted living facility like Maybelle Carter. Writing it not only a pleasant pastime but it also gives them a tangible way of passing on memories to their families someday.

If you’re unsure where to start in the writing process, here are some tips:

  • Start with short stories or vignettes. Trying to record your whole life can be a daunting task, so start small. Take it one story at a time, and focus on its details and the lessons or perspective you may have learned in that specific situation. And don’t confine yourself to beginning with stories about your childhood; you are the storyteller, so you can start where you want!
  • If you still aren’t sure where to start, think about significant events that happened during your life. This could be a major historical event, and you can write about how your life was affected by it. Or it could be something specific to your personal life or your family. Describe the event. How did you feel about it? What changes did it cause in your life? Did you learn anything from it? (This question brings up another point.)
  • When you are writing about an important life event, consider what you may have learned from it. If you have gained any wisdom from a certain situation, include that in your story. It could be a learning moment for the person with whom you’re sharing!
  • Be vulnerable. Tell the whole story, even if it may be a sad one. Emotional reflection is healthy, and looking back in order to write a story like this may help you gain new perspective even now. Whatever events you’re describing, happy or not so happy, they shaped you into the person you are today. If there are certain details that you don’t want to share, you don’t have to share them. If you would rather change names to protect others, you can! This is your story, so you control what goes into it.
  • Be descriptive! Give colorful details, rather than just stating the facts. Appeal to the senses in your writing. This will allow your readers or listeners to make a stronger connection with your story.
  • Include memorabilia. If you have been holding on to trinkets or photos that may connect with the memories in your stories, share them! This helps your family add a level of significance to the story. They can see what you looked like at the time, see the other people who played a part, or touch an item that was significant to you at the time!

If you have trouble writing or typing, using a video or voice recorder is a great way to preserve your stories! There are also groups in various places across the country who get together to write and share their stories on a regular basis.

Have fun sharing the story of you!

Written by Chanel Bell

We should not lose our sense of playfulness.Looking for a fun, free way to feel better? Then laugh!

Sounds simple, right?

A variety of studies suggest there are health benefits to adopting a sense of humor and working on improving our daily mood. If nothing else, it makes us more attractive to other people, which leads to bonding with others.

Laughter causes our blood vessels to function more efficiently, increasing blood flow and fighting the build-up of cholesterol plaque in arteries that leads to heart attacks. 

Other research suggests watching a comedy on TV or at the movies can reduce blood sugar levels for those with diabetes and decrease the intensity of pain as muscles relax tension following a good belly laugh.

Most people do not laugh enough, but just 15 minutes a day can produce positive results. This can be generated by seeking out fun people and sharing jokes or funny stories, perhaps hosting a game night or making time for bowling or miniature golf.

Sometimes it's as easy as asking someone what's the funniest thing that's ever happened to them. Keep framed photos or a scrapbook of good memories handy. Looking at snapshots can trigger laughs, just like watching a funny TV show or movie.

Worrying over things that probably won't happen causes stress, but laughter lightens our load and gives us perspective that's blinded when we feel as if the weight of the world is on our shoulders. Finding humor relaxes our muscles, allowing better sleep so the body can heal and recharge.

While laughing alone may not cure disease, it does seem to be strong medicine for the mind and body.

At Maybelle Carter, we work to create an environment where residents can make new friends and participate in fun activities that add joy and friendship to everyday life.

 

Photo Credit: Kevitivity via Compfight cc

Nashville is as Southern as it gets, and few regions know the importance of respecting your elders better than the South. This makes it great for retirees who are looking for a city that not only suites them, but welcomes them. Nashville is rich in opportunities for retirees to have fun and stay active,   and it honors its elders with great senior discounts!

For a fun outing with the grandkids, head to the Nashville Zoo which offers both child and senior discounts. So does the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Cheekwood Botanical Garden. Or you can take in a flick at the Belcourt Movie theater– there are special senior memberships for both singles and couples.

Lipscomb University sometimes offers special daytime concerts especially for older folks called the FiftyForward Music Series featuring the Nashville Opera, the Nashville Symphony, Blackbird Theater, and Lipscomb’s own music department. The Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theater also offers senior matinees for a discount, making it one of the best ways to enjoy theater and musicals without spending much money.

When you eat out, always ask if there is a senior discount. Many chain restaurants offer these, including popular places like ClaimJumper, TCBY,  Rainforest Cafe, and more. Usually the discount is about 10% off, or the offer of a free drink with purchase. You can by your favorite foods for less and enjoy a lovely meal with your friends. Shopping for groceries is easy, too, with 5% off Thursdays at Harris Teeter

Nashville even makes it easy to get around town, offering a steep discount on its senior bus fares. You can ride the MTA for a fraction of a regular adult fare. If you are headed further afield, you’ll also enjoy Greyhound’s senior fares, as well as those offered by Amtrack and Southwest Airlines. It’s never been easier to go on vacation, visit family and friends, and simply get around town.

With so many ways to save on seeing and doing, there’s all the more reason to consider retiring to Nashville. It matters a lot to live somewhere that truly values citizens of all ages, and shows their appreciation with honorable deals.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 13:56

Downsizing For Seniors Simplified

There are many great reasons to downsize when you retire. For one, you can save big bucks when you go small, by reducing your utilities, and maintenance costs. Many retirees find that joining a retirement home can put them ahead financially, when you factor in the total cost of living in your own home versus the all-inclusive package at retirement communities that include entertainment, housekeeping,  some meals, and other perks.

There’s also the opportunity to be free of all the upkeep and chores that come with a larger home, which means more time to spend practicing your golf swing, going to a fun concert, or taking a trip for a week-long getaway. Boyd Lemon, author of “Retirement: A Memoir and Guide” told CNBC that “it's not just a matter of saving money, it's a matter of what you do with your time. If you don't have a lot of stuff, you save a lot of time not having to maintain it or repair it or go shopping for more stuff."

Indeed, downsizing can be a great way to simplify your life. It’s so easy to accumulate a slew of possessions that clutter up your life but don’t actually contribute to its quality. By reducing your footprint to just the things you find beautiful, useful, and sentimental, you can only spend your time and energy on the things that are dearest and most worthwhile. The process of sorting through your things and deciding what to keep, give away, or sell can be incredibly liberating, and be a walk down memory lane.

Many people get great pleasure from passing their belongings on to friends and relatives who will appreciate them, or from knowing their donations to the Salvation Army will help families in need. It’s also wonderful to revisit the treasures you’ve accumulated over time, and remember how, when, and with whom they came into your life. Downsizing can make it easier to appreciate the sentiment behind the things you surround yourself with, when the majority of the items you’ve kept are special and meaningful.

With the promise of greater financial freedom and reduced stress, downsizing is definitely worth considering as you contemplate your retirement. The sooner you downsize the sooner you can start focusing on your fun new lifestyle!

Published in Active Senior Living

Think of all the business trips you took, rushing through the great cities of the United Sates through conference center after conference center. Or all the trips you took to family friendly locations and theme parks for the kids. Now that you’re retired and enjoying a simplified life at a senior community, aren’t you ready for a vacation that is all about you? We have some ideas for how you can indulge in the ultimate retirement vacation:

· You might be more active and on-the-go than usual, which can lead to sore muscles and joint flare ups. You don’t want that to affect the rest of your trip, so treat yourself to a massage or spa treatment midway through so that you can keep giving each day your all

· Bring extras of anything crucial—glasses, lancets, medication, clothes, shoes, etc. If your trip is delayed or you spill your bag or something unexpected happens, you don’t want to be without the essentials.

· Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to take your medication each day. It’s easier to forget when you are outside your usual routine.

· If you’re trying to save money, avoid the temptations of the hotel restaurant or bar and go further afield. You’ll get to explore your destination more. You can also save your big meals for lunchtime, when prices are cheaper.

· Plan out your priorities before you go. You’ll know what you most want to fit in when time gets unexpectedly tight, what restaurants to scope out, and a sense of what days’ itineraries might be the most grueling.

By preplanning ahead so you can take it easy during your vacation, you can maximize your fun. It’s a lot like choosing a retirement home if you think about it—planning ahead to simplify the future and make it more enjoyable. By approaching your trip the way you approach everyday life at a senior living facility, you’ll create more time and energy for fun!

Published in Active Senior Living
Wednesday, 25 September 2013 13:50

Stay Positive and Stay Young

One of the best ways to age well is to avoid regret, stay positive, and focus on the good things in life. Rather than dwelling on which might have been, focus on what can be and stay active and engaged until you accomplish those goals. It’s far too easy to focus on negative memories instead of building positive ones. Not only will creating new memories help you stay mentally fit, it will also reduce the kind of stress that can make aging harder mentally and emotionally.

Reconnect with old friends via letters or email, and make new ones around town or at your retirement community. Learn the skills you always wanted to accomplish when you were younger but were perhaps too impatient, such as crocheting or model-building. Take the trip you’ve always wanted to Paris. In whatever you do, remember the sense of excitement and enthusiasm you had as a child and adolescent when everything was new.

Go to theater performances or one of Nashville’s many fine concerts. Enjoy a delicious dinner and explore the galleries in East Nashville. Go on outings with your senior community and embrace the benefits of retirement living. It’s always easy to find something fun to do when you live in senior housing, from gardening to devotionals to trips to nearby malls and restaurants. After years of stressful work and childrearing, isn’t it refreshing to return to a more carefree way of life?

Celebrate this opportunity to do all the things you’ve always wanted to, and to reinvent life based on your years of experience, wisdom, and hopes for the future. The more fun you let yourself have, the younger you’ll feel! There’s nothing better for aging gracefully than putting age and its supposed limits out of your mind and focusing on being the best version of yourself you can be.

The holidays are a wonderful time to reunite with loved ones and spend time with family. They’re also a great point of comparison to show how much has changed from year to year. While this might often be a nostalgic quality that makes reminiscing over Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner fun, it can also show you when an elderly loved one may need to change his or her lifestyle to make it more manageable.

When you are spending time together this holiday season, note if a loved one seems to be having mobility issues, or struggling with daily tasks like lifting heavy items, getting tired easily, or wrapping gifts with arthritic hands. These could be signs they would benefit from independent assisted care or assisted living programs that would ensure their health, hygiene, and personal services are attended to while they can still enjoy the activities and social life they prefer.

Take this opportunity to check in with an elderly loved one and make sure they are happy and healthy and not struggling with the effects of aging. One of the best holiday gifts you can give someone you care for is the ability to get the most out of life. Especially if you live far away, it can be comforting to know that after your special time together ends and the new year begins they won’t be returning home to a frustrating life that isn’t meeting his or her needs.

Researching retirement communities is a great step to take early in the year based on your observations in November and December. If you’re concerned about a loved one or see them starting to face new difficulties, start communicating now about what they need, and look into senior care facilities than can meet those needs. You’d be surprised what a difference a caring, supportive community can make in a senior’s life, giving them the tools they need to really savor their golden years.

Published in Active Senior Living

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