Your Best Future with Geropsychology and How to Live Better

Whether it’s the loss of a loved one or struggling with feelings of isolation, there are specific mental health challenges that seniors face. Fortunately, there is a relatively new branch of psychology that might be able to help. Geropsychology, originating in 2010, is a field of psychology that specializes in the mental health issues of seniors specifically.

How Geropsychology Can Help

Mental Health Concerns in Older Adults

Mental health can include emotional, social, and physical well-being. It influences how we feel, think, and act as we cope with daily life. It also determines how we relate to others, handle stress, and make decisions and is important at every stage of life.

Oftentimes, older adults are at risk for mental health issues. However, this doesn’t mean it is a normal stage of aging. Many older adults feel very happy with their lives even though they may have more physical limitations. This indicates that mental health issues are something separate.

Major life changes like losing a close friend or spouse, retirement, and illness can cause you to feel stressed, sad, or uneasy. But some people have more difficulty adjusting to these changes than others. This can result in a higher risk of mental disruption such as depression and anxiety.

It is essential to recognize and treat these issues in older adults as they arise. Such disorders don’t just create mental suffering but can also make it harder for people to manage their problems. This is particularly true if conditions are chronic. Some warning signs of mental unease are:

  • Changes in mood
  • Changes in energy levels
  • Withdrawing from people
  • Not enjoying hobbies anymore
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, upset, or angry
  • Feeling numb and apathetic
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling sadness or hopelessness
  • Increased drinking, smoking, or using other drugs
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Hearing voices and believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself

What is Geropsychology

Geropsychology is a special field of professional psychology that takes the knowledge and methods of standard psychology and applies it to the understanding and helping of older adults. This helps you and your family maintain well-being as you age, overcome problems, and achieve maximum potential later in life. Geropsychologists appreciate the diversity among older adults, the complex ethical issues that can arise in geriatric practices, and the importance of cooperative disciplines of care. 

Specialized Knowledge of Geropsychologists

  • Normal adult development and aging, including biological, psychological, and social changes.
  • Behavioral and mental health changes later in life, including medical, neurological, and functional.

Problems Geropsychologists Might Address

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Dementia and related behaviors
  • Coping with chronic illness
  • Changes in decision making
  • Behavioral concerns, i.e. insomnia, pain, or irritability
  • Greif
  • Caregiver burnout
  • Changing family roles
  • End of life care

Thinking of living a stress-free lifestyle? Check out what a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) has to offer with our FREE Guide!

Concord Reserve is a continuing care retirement community in Westlake, Ohio, independent living apartments, assisted living, rehab services, and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Concord Reserve online or at 440-871-0090.

Benefits of Paying a Continuing Care Retirement Community Entrance Fee

If you are unfamiliar with Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), the entrance fee may come as a bit of a shock. Some people think this is a steep price to pay without fully understanding what you are getting from it. Well, that’s why we’re here. We want you to understand what the entrance fee gets you so you can make an informed decision about paying an entrance fee vs. renting.

What the Entrance Fee Does

Not for profit

Concord Reserve is a not-for-profit Senior Living Community.  The residents do not own the property and therefore do not need to maintain it, pay taxes or carry insurance on the property.  The entrance fee program is designed to assure lifetime residency in our community.  By financially prequalifying all of our residents and requiring the payment of an entrance fee, we are able to assure them that they can live here for the rest of their lives through all levels of care.  The entrance fees are partially refundable.  The remaining entrance fee is refundable to the resident or their estate after they leave the community.  Monthly fees are paid throughout residency and typically increase in the range of 2-3% per year. 

A Full Continuum of Care

The entrance fee ensures your access to the complete continuum of care. As opposed to many communities that offer monthly rental charges, at a CCRC you can move through the continuum to ensure you age on your terms regardless of the turns your health may take. By paying the entrance fee what is purchased is a contract for services detailed in the community’s Residency Agreement.  Briefly, it’s access to the continuum of care:

  • Independent living
  • Assisted living
  • Memory Support
  • Nursing care
  • Inpatient and/or outpatient therapy

Why Pay an Entrance Fee Instead of Renting

It comes as no surprise that when you consider the costs of a rental community compared to an entrance fee community, which will likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, your knee-jerk reaction is to assume the rental community will be the less expensive option. And though this may prove to be the case, in reality, some cases may prove to be less expensive than a rental community.

The main reason the difference in cost may not be as drastic as it might first appear is that you are not just calculating your costs today but rather for a lifetime. For example, let’s say you are currently comparing communities. One a rental, one a CCRC. Right out the gate, the rental community might pull ahead due to the $300,000 entrance fee.

However, in most cases, the entrance fee is 90% refundable upon moving out or expiration. This means you can still leave it to your heirs. Also, let’s say that the rental community is charging a higher monthly fee than the CCRC. Over time, that cost will add up.

Lastly, and most importantly, let’s say you get sick. Most people want to live long lives. An average of 92 years, to be precise. Yet, according to one study, people are 5 times more likely to be afraid of being a burden to their families than dying itself. On average, women need 3.7 years of long-term care and men will need roughly 2.2. This alone can make a CCRC worth it because you can move through the continuum of care even if you should exhaust your resources. The average cost of nursing care can range from $54,000 to $95,000 per year.

With all the senior living options today, researching each of them can be exhausting. To help, we have created your FREE Continuing Care Retirement Community Guide to get you started.

Concord Reserve is a continuing care retirement community in Westlake, Ohio, independent living apartments, assisted living, rehab services, and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Concord Reserve online or at 440-871-0090.

4 Simple Things You Should Know About Telomeres

So, you’ve already learned about telomeres in this article, now it’s time to learn the key things you should know about them. As you know, over time your telomeres get shorter, but did you know there are certain lifestyle factors that can affect your telomeres’ length as well?

But how do you ensure you’re keeping your telomeres as healthy and long as possible? Fear not. There are certain ways to take care of your telomeres by taking care of yourself.

What You Should Know About Telomeres

Some Foods Are Linked to Healthier Aging

As we have discussed here, what you eat is incredibly important to your overall health. Obviously, eating well can make you feel good. But it can also help your telomeres. According to one study, there is a link between your diet and the length of your telomeres. Diets that promoted healthier cell regeneration — like those found in diets heavy in fruits and vegetables — showed the strongest link to longer telomeres.

Stress, Smoking, and Sleep Deprivation Cause Major Problems

Your lifestyle is enormously important when it comes to the length of your telomeres. In one study, researchers discovered that everything from smoking cigarettes and lack of sleep can accelerate the shortening of your telomeres.

Exercise Can Keep Telomeres Healthy

Once again, we all know that exercise and staying fit is good for us. However, it also can affect the length of your telomeres. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a gym junkie to reap the benefits of exercising on telomeres. If you exercise an easy three times a week for up to 45 minutes, your telomeres are likely as long as those of a marathon runner.

Don’t Buy Telomere Boosting Supplements

Though there are many supplements out there that make the claim of lengthening your telomeres, scientists are skeptical. Many researchers believe these supplements can be risky or even bad for your health.

Looking for some other new secrets to living a healthy lifestyle? With this FREE A-Z guide on Living and Aging the Way You Want you can learn the ABCs of aging successfully. Download your PDF and start living the lifestyle you want.

Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering villa homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.

Fitness Challenge to Make the Most of Your Gym Membership

With residence at Twin Lakes comes membership to The Connection, so why not make the most of it? This year, get in shape with this great fitness challenge to keep your mind and body strong.

Fitness Challenge

These fitness challenges are suitable for most gym establishments and are a great way to switch up your exercise routine to keep things interesting. These challenges are simple and straightforward so anyone with a gym membership can complete them. Want to know how to become a member of The Connection? Check it out here

Running Fitness Challenge

A running challenge is great because you can work at your own pace. Some running challenge ideas include:

  • Run every day for a month
  • Increase your distance by 10% every month
  • Increase speed

Cycling Challenge

Similar to a running challenge, a cycling fitness challenge works really well for people who may have issues running due to joint pain or weight problems. These challenges include:

  • Cycle the distance to your favorite park
  • Increase speed 

Rowing Challenge

We can’t focus on legs all the time, and rowing fitness challenges are great for your arms. Here are a few ways you can challenge yourself on a rowing machine:

  • Row 2,000 meters in under 8 minutes
  • See how far you can get while listening to one song
  • 30 seconds intense rowing, 30 seconds rest, and repeat for 10 minutes

Calorie Burn Challenge

If you are looking for a weight loss challenge, testing how many calories you can burn might be a good place to start. Fortunately, if you have a gym membership, many of the machines there will tell you how many calories you’ve burned during your workout. One great way to track this challenge is to take a photo of yourself before you begin. Then compete with yourself by burning more calories each time you go to the gym. Then at the end of the month, take another picture so you can see your progress.

This challenge is a great way to keep variety in your workout because it doesn’t matter which machine you use.

Total Weight Loss Challenge

Similar to calories burned, this challenge simply focuses on weight. Weigh yourself at the beginning of the challenge and set your goal for the end of the month. This allows you to workout however you want as long as you are consistently losing weight.

Looking for some other new secrets to living a healthy lifestyle? With this FREE A-Z guide on Living and Aging the Way You Want you can learn the ABCs of aging successfully. Download your PDF and start living the lifestyle you want.

Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering villa homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.

Protect Your Bones with Tai Chi Benefits

Tai chi is a gentle form of exercise that can help reduce your stress, improve mood, and keep your heart healthy. But most importantly, it can also benefit your bones. This is great news, considering one out of four adults over 65 will experience a fall. Of those who fall, one in five will experience a broken bone. However, people who do tai chi reduce their fall risk by 20-40%, depending on how often they practice. So, if you want to stay upright and protect your bones, tai chi benefits may be your solution. 

Protect Bones with Tai Chi

What is Tai Chi?

Tai chi is an ancient martial art that practices sequences of slow, graceful movements that promote both relaxation and fitness. While it can be practiced by people of all ages, it is a great way for older adults to grow their core strength and improve their balance. The reason tai chi is great for staying upright is that it addresses several risk factors, such as:

  • Weak muscles
  • Sensory deficits
  • Slower reaction times
  • Loss of focus
  • Fear of falling

Bone Building Potential

Not only can tai chi keep you upright, but there is a possibility that tai chi can help in making your bones stronger. Some studies show that tai chi benefits may expand to preventing the common bone loss that occurs with age. That’s right, tai chi for osteoporosis might be possible.  

Commonly, menopausal women see a steep reduction in the density of their bones. This is due to the reduction in estrogen that happens in menopause. The resulting loss of bone mass results in a thinning of the bones in a process called osteopenia. If the condition continues, your bones become brittle and prone to easy fractures. This condition is called osteoporosis. 

However, tai chi is a weight-bearing exercise and slows the rate of bone loss. Weight-bearing exercises are the best for your bones. These exercises force you to move against gravity to strengthen bones. Other exercises such as swimming, biking, and hiking, can help build and maintain strong muscles, but do nothing for your bones.

Tai chi promotes bone growth and has shown to improve the early stages of osteopenia, however, the evidence is still limited.

Give It a Try

Interested in tai chi? Ask your onsite exercise professional about classes offered and how you can take advantage of tai chi benefits. Here are some other benefits you could reap from practicing tai chi:

  • Relieves stress
  • Improves leg strength
  • Promotes deep breathing
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Improves balance
  • Helps in recovery from strokes and heart attacks

Looking for some other new secrets to living a healthy lifestyle? With this FREE A-Z guide on Living and Aging the Way You Want you can learn the ABCs of aging successfully. Download your PDF and start living the lifestyle you want.

Concord Reserve is a continuing care retirement community in Westlake, Ohio, independent living apartments, assisted living, rehab services, and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Concord Reserve online or at 440-871-0090.

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Taking a Bite Out of Senior Diet Myths

There are many diet myths about what complicates a normal diet. But how can you tell the difference between healthy diet facts and fads? Well, to sort out the truth, here are senior diet myths that many people still believe.

Senior Diet Myths

The right diet is arguably the most important aspect of healthy aging. And here are the myths you should stop believing.

You Should Avoid Eating Fats

For most U.S. individuals, reducing their fat intake is a good choice. However, there are bad fats and good fats. Trans saturated fats are the worst kind, whereas polyunsaturated fats are good for you. Trans saturated fats have no known health benefits and can increase your cholesterol. These are often found in pastries, frozen pizza, and margarine. 

On the other hand, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are good for you since your body needs them as a source of energy. They also assist in your body’s process of absorbing vitamins and minerals and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

You Can Get the Nutrition You Need From Pills and Supplements

According to this article, supplements can fill in the gaps of a balanced diet, but nutrients from food are more important. As people age, it becomes more difficult to absorb nutrients from food. However, there are dangers to getting nutrients from supplements. Namely, getting too much of a good thing. In addition, seniors with chronic conditions requiring medications should always consult their physician before making any drastic change to their diet and avoid negative interactions.

Senior Malnutrition Doesn’t Exist

Though malnutrition should be nonexistent in the developed world, many seniors suffer from it due to difficulty absorbing nutrients mixed with fixed incomes. Paying for everything from food to medications on a fixed income is an undertaking in and of itself. Unfortunately, some of the most affordable foods are some of the least nutritious. So, a poorly arranged diet that is rich in calories but bereft of nutrients will result in both weight gain and malnutrition. This malnutrition in seniors can lead to deficiency diseases regardless of being overweight or skinny.

Follow a Healthy Dieting Guideline and You Will Be Fine

Though it is often a good idea to follow the nutrient guidelines provided by experts, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most of these guidelines are not made for senior populations. It doesn’t take into account difficulty chewing, interactions with medications, and common conditions in senior demographics that could become worse with certain foods. Food guidelines should serve as a point of reference, but you should always consult your doctor when it comes to what you should or should not be eating.

It Doesn’t Matter If You Eat Alone or With Others

As discussed in this article, it is just as important to stay social as you age as it is to diet and exercise. This lack of daily socialization can result in cognitive and physical problems. You may find yourself unable to make nutritious foods or prepare filling meals. Also, eating alone can increase the likelihood of skipping meals altogether. Eating in isolation can also exacerbate conditions like anxiety, loneliness, and stress.

Ideally, seniors should eat with others at least some of the time. This is made substantially easier in senior living communities, given the prepared meals and social environment. This environment and careful attention to nutrition are some of the leading benefits of a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community).

It’s Natural For You to Lose Your Appetite

Due to metabolic changes, seniors need less food than younger adults, However, appetite loss is a red flag at any age. Simple problems like a decrease in sense of taste or dental problems can lead seniors to eat less, however, an outright loss of appetite could be a sign of bigger problems.

Thinking about moving to a senior living community? Learn what your decisions are with our FREE eBook, Moving to a Senior Living Community: Make Decisions Your Way

Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering villa homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.

Heart Health Myths Busted and How to Load a Better Plate

There are a lot of myths out there about your heart health and heart disease. We are here today to clear up some confusion. Not only is it essential to know the facts and the fiction of heart disease, but you also need to know what to put on your plate for cardiovascular wellness. Here, you will get the best of both worlds.

Heart Health Myths

If I Had High Blood Pressure or High Cholesterol, I’d know it.

No, unfortunately, you wouldn’t unless you received a blood pressure test. That’s the only sure way to determine hypertension (high blood pressure) or high cholesterol. The symptoms and risk factors are commonly silent. A person can be in shape and thin but still have high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Heart Disease Looks the Same in Men and Women

Not true, we’re afraid. Heart disease affects the sexes very differently. According to one study published in Circulation, 43% of women felt no chest pain before a heart attack and were more likely to experience fatigue and sleep disturbances instead. Although men tend to have more “classic” symptoms, they are less prevalent in women. 

Young Women Aren’t at Risk for Heart Disease

Our research determined that this too is a myth. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. It’s not just a concern for women in their 60’s and 70’s but a problem for the young as well. As the risk factors that contribute to heart disease increase at younger ages, so too does the risk of heart disease. The factors include:

  • Type Two Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension

Exercise and Activity is Bad For You If You Have a Heart Condition

As you may have guessed, this is not only a myth but a particularly detrimental one. After a heart attack, most people are encouraged to get right into rehabilitation and an exercise routine, usually with a coach. There are very few people who would be restricted significantly from exercise.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Aspirin are Good For Heart Health

For the most part, this one is true. However, there are some caveats to their benefits. Common aspirin recommendations for heart attack prevention occur at age 50 for men and 65 for women, if there are no other complications. That being said, aspirin can exacerbate stomach issues and some allergies.

Omega 3 fatty acids are especially beneficial to people who already suffer from cardiovascular issues and are trying to prevent another from occurring. However, taking a higher than the recommended daily dosage can lead to excessive bleeding.

How to Load Your Plate for Heart Health

The obvious answer is “with heart-healthy foods.” Here is a list of foods to add to your daily diet to promote heart health:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Berries
  • Avocados
  • Fatty fish
  • Walnuts
  • Beans
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tomatoes
  • Almonds
  • Seeds
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Edamame
  • Green tea

Looking for some other new secrets to living a healthy lifestyle? With this FREE A-Z guide on Living and Aging the Way You Want you can learn the ABCs of aging successfully. Download your PDF and start living the lifestyle you want.

Twin Towers is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering patio homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Towers online or at 513-853-2000.

5 Best Healthy Food Trends to Make the World a Better Place

No, this is not a fad diet article, but rather something more optimistic. Today, we are here to discuss healthy food trends that are on the rise to help make the world a better place.

Healthy Food Trends

Greenhouses and Community Gardens

Greenhouses and community gardens aren’t only a healthy eating alternative, but it’s healthy for the environment as well. Local community gardens and greenhouses help provide essential produce to a healthy diet while diminishing your carbon footprint.

Food Sharing

Food sharing, or family-style dining, has been steadily growing in popularity to diminish food product waste. This can lessen the amount of food that goes to waste because people can choose their own portions as well as reduce the amount of water used to rinse multiple dishes at restaurants, like saute pans. 

Who You Support

As generations grow more eco-conscious they are really starting to show it with their wallets. More today, people are looking to support their local restaurants and grocers as essential parts of the community and avoiding large corporate enterprises for their shopping and dining needs. 

Rethink What You’ve Been Taught

Nutrition is a science and like every other science, as we learn more about it what we think changes. It’s important to be open to changes in what you were taught. This doesn’t mean following every new food fad, as many of those fads will fade. Nutrition science doesn’t usually change radically, but slowly over time.

Less Single-Use Plastic

It started on the west coast initially as California banned plastic straws and plastic bags as the rest of the nation followed suit. Most recently, the San Francisco International Airport banned single-use plastic water bottles. However, it’s not just bans making people and companies rethink single-use plastic products. Many of these bans are occurring due to more eco-activism and awareness of everyday individuals.

Want to eat an even more healthy diet? Check out this article on healthy substitutes for baking at home!

Looking for some other new secrets to living a healthy lifestyle? With this FREE A-Z guide on Living and Aging the Way You Want you can learn the ABCs of aging successfully. Download your PDF and start living the lifestyle you want.

Concord Reserve is a continuing care retirement community in Westlake, Ohio, independent living apartments, assisted living, rehab services, and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Concord Reserve online or at 440-871-0090.

The Mental Benefits of Stretching and How to Harness Stress Management

Have you ever experienced achy joints or back pain? Sure you have. Pain can interfere with our ability to focus and makes us more reactive in social and professional situations. One way to battle negativity caused by pain is to harness the mental benefits of stretching. 

Mental Benefits of Stretching

While most people know that exercise is essential for your overall health, not nearly as many people are aware of the power of stretching for mental health. Some think of stretching and exercise only in the context of yoga, however, stretching is a vital part of any exercise routine. Additionally, stretching can be done on its own without any additional activity to improve your health, mood, and mental well-being. You can expect to experience these benefits with regular stretching:

  • Help managing stress
  • Help with pain management
  • Boost energy levels
  • Enhance inner peace and positivity

Why Should You Stretch?

As we mentioned, it’s not just about physical fitness. Did you know that stretching can improve your mental outlook? Any type of stretching, yoga or otherwise, can reduce stress. This is because stretching increases circulation, promotes deep breathing, and reduces pain caused by inflammation. And the best part is that you don’t need to spend any money on equipment or gym memberships to start stretching daily.

When you stretch, your body releases some of your favorite feel-good chemicals – endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that engage the brain’s pain receptors and reduce your perceived pain levels. Additionally, when this occurs you also feel more positive and capable. When this reaction occurs, it can be compared to the way you feel while enjoying an entertaining TV program or spend time with a friend.

Tips for Proper Stretching

  • Warm-up before you stretch
  • Focus on tight and sore muscles
  • Don’t bounce when you stretch
  • Stretch for at least 10 minutes

Make Sure You’re Stretching Properly

You can actually do more harm than good by improper stretching. Especially if you’ve injured the area previously and attempt to stretch it poorly. If you feel any pain when you stretch, ease up and ask a professional how to stretch that muscle. You should focus on the major muscle groups like:

  • Upper back
  • Lower back
  • Pelvis
  • Legs
  • Hips
  • Neck
  • Shoulders

When it comes to stretches for mental health, routine is everything. Just put it on your calendar and remember it only takes a few minutes a day!

If you want other helpful tips to keep you energized as you age, check out our FREE e-book Living and Aging the Way You Want. Inside you will find helpful bits of advice on living your best life. Download your PDF by clicking the icon below.

Master Your Exercise Routine to Improve Sleep

Sleep. The thing none of us do as much as we need. But there are simple ways to improve your sleep and sticking to an exercise routine. Working out is both great for your mind as well as your body and is also essential for getting in a good sleep routine.

The Science of Exercise and Sleep

Scientists don’t exactly understand why physical activity helps with sleep and may never completely understand the connection. However, they do know that moderate aerobic exercise is directly connected to increasing the slow-wave sleep you get. Slow-wave sleep is the stage of your sleep cycle where your brain and body has the chance to rejuvenate.

Another way exercise may aid in improved sleep is due to mood stabilization. Nearly any level of activity has an effect on an individual’s ability to regulate anxiety which can help you get to sleep faster.

When to Exercise for Improved Sleep

The timing of your exercise routine may matter as much as how you exercise. Some people find that physical activity that occurs close to their bedtime seems to keep them up all night. This makes sense due to the fact that physical activity jump-starts your metabolism which makes you feel energized. Additionally, your body releases endorphins when you exercise which can cause you to feel alert and promotes brain activity. Because of this, it is best to exercise earlier in the day.

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

People who exercise for at least 30 minutes a day see a marked difference in their sleep habits and sleep quality. Fortunately, it won’t take very long to see the difference and the benefits should be almost immediate.

Want to learn more about getting your Z’s? Check out this article about how you might be sabotaging your sleep!

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