Maybelle Carter Blog

Keep Your Memory Young, Think Like a Kid

Monday, 29 April 2013 14:34

Canadian neurologist Kenneth Rockwood noted "As our brains age, we must prepare them to resist injury — equip them with good education, train them thoughtfully with challenging regimens, support them with nurturing environments and be prepared to refresh them from time to time." When we are children we learn to use our memories by studying the alphabet and the times tables. As adults we have plenty to remember—appointments, names, dates, procedures, events, feelings, and more. It’s important not to neglect that life’s work of memory development simply because of retirement or old age.

  • Think like a kid. Focus intently on one thing at a time. Multitasking makes it harder to take in any of the information well, and reduces your ability to remember it later. Embrace curiosity too, and keep up a love for learning. The more you learn the more you will build new synapses and connections in your brain tissue, keeping your mind young.
  • Embrace routines, with a purpose. Routines can do a lot to help you remember all your regular tasks. However, they also take away some of the necessity for remembering. If routine helps keep your day on track, try shaking things up just a little bit. For example, brush your teeth at the same time you always do, but try using the opposite hand you usually do. Or trying taking a new route to the store on the same day you always do your grocery shopping.
  • Experience new things. Yes, we just talked about the power of routine. While routine is great for remembering the day to day, you don’t want to get in a rut. Attend a symphony performance you haven’t heard before, take up dance classes, meet new people, or take a trip somewhere different.  New experiences give you new things to remember.
  • Take care of your physical health. Talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or another trusted medical professional about how you can improve your approach to diet and exercise. Maybe you need to cut back on sodium, or take up swimming for joint pain. Even if it’s to address another medical issue, or just to feel healthier, physical improvements are also great for your brain, making you more able to remember information.
  • Practice remembering. Try recalling events a year at a time. For example, where were you in 1968? Who were the people in your life? Who was president? What were some major political and cultural events? Where did you work? What kind of car did you drive? Bring as many details as possible to the forefront of your mind, starting with the most personal and moving out to the most global.

These strategies can all work together to improve your memory well into your senior years. Even if you are already showing signs of memory disorders, there is a possibility that these tips could slow your rate of memory loss. No matter your current state of memory function, approaching memory care proactively  can make a big different in your quality of life.

Life as a Caregiver

Thursday, 28 March 2013 14:36

Caring for someone you love isn’t always as easy as Johnny Cash and June Carter made it seem. It’s not easy to see a loved one’s health failing or to watch as the struggle to accomplish tasks that were once easy.  It can be just as difficult logistically as emotionally as well, when you consider that many people who find themselves in the caregiver position are also juggling careers, marriages, and even their own children. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to streamline and simplify caregiving. Like learning the guitar, the chords might be tough at first but with a few tips you’ll soon have the melody down:

Just like anything else, caregiving will be easier if you learn as much about it as possible. Talk to your loved one’s physicians and therapists, and do as much research on their conditions and needs as possible. Seek out others in the caregiving community, whether professionals or fellow family members with aging loved ones. Make others’ experience part of your experience. Like the old saying goes, knowledge is power. It will help you make informed decisions and to full discuss options with your loved one to find the best possible solutions for their needs.

Balance the emotional experience of caregiving with objectivity whenever possible. Use all that research and learning as a counterweight to the highs and lows you will go through in your new role. For example, it’s not always easy to admit that perhaps professional care or a retirement community would be the best solution if you have your heart set on at-home care. Many caregivers are afraid they will seem dismissive or unloving if they choose a retirement community or assisted living over at-home care, though it may be a better solution in practice. Others are unsure how to weight financial factors over quality of care. Use your head and your heart together to make the best choices.

Take care of yourself! Often being a great caretaker is just as much about self-care as caregiving. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat right, and save time to exercise. Carve out some time for your hobbies, and don’t feel like you can’t take a trip or even a weekend staycation. Even if it means finding a temporary professional to step in for you, it’s important for you to maintain your ability to give without over extending yourself. Especially when you also have the demands of a career, your children, and a marriage to nurture, it’s important to put in a little work to keep your whole life in balance. It will be better for everyone involved in the long run.

Simply by approaching caregiving thoughtfully and compassionately you can make it a simpler, more rewarding experience with greater benefits for you and your loved one. Pretty soon you’ll be singing a happy tune as you balance caregiving with the other areas of your life.

Maybelle Carter retirement community has great heritage, and an even better location. Madison Tennessee is just north of downtown Nashville, once a separate town and now a great Nashville neighborhood. There’s nothing better to keep you active and out and about than living in one of the country’s best cities!

Everyone knows Nashville for its country music pedigree, and it’s true that the Opry, Ryman, and Country Music Hall of Fame, and CMAFest are a source of continual fun. There’s so much more to Nashville, though, than just country music. There’s something for everyone in this amazing Southern town.

Breakfast at Nosvhille, an authentic NYC deli in the heart of Nashville. Take in a local performance at Layla’s Bluegrass Inn. Head to Green Hills Mall to shop at Burberry, Dillard's, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Coldwater Creek, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Clarks, and more. Grab dinner at CatBird Seat for a once in a lifetime dining experience, or CityHouse for a thoughtful, accessibly priced menu. Love Italian? You must try Maggiano's Little Italy Nashville. Sample the South’s best biscuits at Loveless Café.

When the grandkids come to visit, take them to the Nashville Zoo or to the Ballet, to the Frist Center to see some art, or to tour the Belle Meade Plantation.

Nashville is quickly growing, and experiencing an urban renaissance. It’s quickly growing, giving it a vibrancy, urgency, and a sense of modernity. It’s also very much the classic Southern city it always has been. These two sides to Nashville make it perfect for retirees, mirroring their personal history and experience as well as their exuberance and interest in enjoying the world around them. At Maybell Carter you can be part of a caring senior residence, and enjoy a unique combination of independence and community. It’s that classic Southern hospitality that makes it home.

Photo Credit: jimbenttree via Compfight cc

Exercise Is Crucial To Independent Living!

Monday, 31 December 2012 14:43

It has been mistakenly thought that the physical decline associated with aging is inevitable, but it can actually be slowed and health problems reduced simply by being more active. Dr. Vonda Wright was quoted in the New York Times Well Blog explaining that the changes that we have assumed were due to aging and therefore were unstoppable seem actually to be caused by inactivity. And that can be changed. As we age, activity only gets more and more important, not less.

Studies have shown that bones are strengthened and the risk of osteoporosis is reduced when it comes to weight-bearing exercise, from low-impact aerobics to strength training. Exercise can also reduce the risk of falls. This may seem counter to our assumptions that someone who has difficulty walking or has suffered from falls should be more active, rather than sitting safely on the couch. But by practicing balance and increasing muscle strength, one improves the physical skills necessary for getting about, rather than letting them further decline.

Studies have also shown a positive impact on patients with memory challenges who exercise, as opposed to those who do not. Those who remain active or begin exercising often see a slower rate of memory impairment. In fact, it is hard to find a condition associated with old age that regular physical activity does not positively affect. Exercise is the key to staying active and independent, and can be a major deciding factor in when you begin looking at retirement homes, assisted living, or senior services. Even if you are already a member of a life care community, exercise can help you feel more comfortable and get the most out of your experience.

From walking pets to taking the stairs to joining a regular workout group or participating physical therapy session to simply stretching while you watch TV, there are endless ways to get moving more. At Maybelle Carter, we offer endless opportunities for residents to stay active, from Wii Bowling tournaments to space to garden to organized outings and wellness programs. Rather than letting your body limit what you can do, instead take control of the aging process! You will find you have greater physical comfort and more independence than if you stayed settled.

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