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Does your family enjoy reminiscing about the past? Take advantage of these precious moments to learn more about your loved ones.

Talking through your family history can be therapeutic. During these reminiscing times, don’t be afraid to ask questions or bring out photo albums or mementos to spark a moment in time that allows for a fun and sometimes touching exercise.

There are many ways to start off these insightful conversations.

One helpful tool is the internet—it will offer quite a few sample questions to help you get started.

The day’s news or events can also be a great place to begin. For example, if you purchased gasoline on your way to visit, you may mention the cost per gallon and ask how much it was when your parent/grandparent was learning to drive. This can take you on a journey of follow up questions like, who taught you to drive? Where did you learn? What kind of car was it? What did you have to do to get your license?

What seems like a mundane life experience can actually help generate a whole new perspective about what your loved ones were like when they were younger. You may even see similarities in personality, mannerisms and talents in yourself or another relative.

Another way to spark conversation is to watch a documentary about an important event or person in history. This can bring people back to that moment and share details they may have forgotten themselves. Mining these memories with positive encouragement makes everyone feel important.

So, be creative, think about the time of year we’re in now—back to school—or what you ate for lunch that day or things your children have said, take these experiences and turn them into questions. Then, sit back and listen or record stories that you will cherish forever.

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Just because you are retired, doesn’t mean that your passion for learning new things is too.

There are many ways to satisfy your intellectual curiosity. Whether that’s going back to school or simply for the joy of learning like, exploring throughout your city, you can find many ways to continue to learn throughout your life.

Did you start a degree but then put it aside for your family or to serve in the military? If so, why not go back and finish what you started? So many people have gone on to finish degrees or start another field of study so, you can too! It might even inspire your family and show them you have a never-quit mentality.

GOING BACK TO SCHOOL

When thinking about getting a degree, remember there will be certain requirements to get into school. But generally, all you need to do is apply and enroll in post-secondary classes. As a senior you won’t need to worry about SAT scores or entrance essays. Here are a few of the general requirements:

  • Age requirements: this is often 60 years or older.
  • Residency requirements: you must be a citizen of the United States.
  • Income restrictions: you may need to meet income restrictions in order to access scholarships, tuition waivers or other senior discounts.
  • Proof of retirement
  • Completion of high school diploma
FOR THE JOY OF LEARNING

Learning for fun can be just as rewarding as working toward a degree. It’s a sad day when we don’t learn something new so, why not take advantage of what your community has to offer. Here are a few ways you can learn new things every day:

  • Be a tourist: explore your own city on your own or sign up for a walking, bus or museum tour to learn about the local history.
  • Exchange stories: when you explore you tend to meet new people. Share your stories with some of the people you meet and they’ll share some too!
  • Take a cooking class: sign up for a class to cook something you’ve never cooked from scratch before.
  • Take a writing class: capture your family’s history in this class and gift it during the holiday season!
  • Volunteer: sign up to be a tutor at your local elementary or high schools.
RESOURCES

A Senior Citizen Guide for College
www.aseniorcitizenguideforcollege.com

MONEY Magazine
Forget Tuition: How Retirees Can Attend College for Free

The Penny Hoarder
Free College Courses for Senior Citizens

The Bernard Osher Foundation
www.osherfoundation.org
(415) 861-5587

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Nutrition and sleep and exercise all factor into a healthy lifestyle, but did you know relationships are equally important when it comes to aging well?

It makes sense, from a purely mental perspective, that you’re probably more happy when you’re  pending time with friends or family than you are sitting home alone, watching TV. What’s interesting, though, is that feelings of loneliness don’t only affect your state of mind, but also your physical health. Studies have found that chronic loneliness—over time—can be associated with high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, a diminished immune response, depression, difficulty sleeping, cognitive decline, and dementia. No matter our age, we never outgrow our need for friends. (Our health depends on it.)

 

BENEFITS OF SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES  

 

Promote physical activity

When people feel isolated, they tend to have fewer reasons to get out and be active.

Provide a sense of purpose  

When seniors feel that they’re making positive contributions in society, they have a greater sense of purpose in life. According to Bryan James, a Chicago-area epidemiologist, seniors with a sense of purpose are less likely to become depressed or become diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Introduce more fun into your life

Participating in activities is just more fun when you have someone to share the experience with. (Plus friends are more likely to inspire you to try something new.)

Improve your mental health

We aren’t meant to be disengaged with others. Studies show that seniors who have strong social connections are 70 percent less likely to experience cognitive decline than those who are isolated. (“Use it or lose it” applies to both the body AND the mind.)

Encourage health checkups

When a friend encourages an adult to get a health screening, they’re up to 22 percent more likely to actually follow through on it. This results in serious health issues detected earlier, and treated with higher rates of success.

Give you a sense of belonging

Loneliness is not the same as being alone. At American Baptist Homes of the Midwest communities, if you want to relax in your room, that’s fine. If you want to chat over a cup of coffee or join an activity, neighbors are right next door. You can be alone when you choose, but you won’t ever be lonely. Living here is all about convenience, safety, a genuine sense of community, and making authentic, meaningful connections. Our communities were designed to maximize friendship, health, and happiness. If you’d like to set up a tour, call us at 952-941-3175.

 

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If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times—water is essential to our health and wellbeing. Have a headache? Feeling fuzzy-brained? Constipated? Fatigued? It nearly always comes back to this: Did you drink enough water?

Up to 60 percent of the adult human body is water. This miracle fluid aids in nearly EVERY bodily function: It helps rid our bodies of toxins, reduces excess sodium, brings nutrients, minerals, and oxygen to our cells, lubricates our joints, and keeps organs functioning at optimum levels.

The general rule of thumb is that adults should drink at least 64 ounces of fluids every day. That, though, is easier said than done. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 percent of adults drink less than four cups of water a day. Only 36 percent drink one to three cups, and 7 percent don’t drink any at all. Why is this? One of the main reasons is that as we get older, we can lose our sense of thirst and simply forget to drink enough.

Dehydration—caused by loss of salt and water in the body due to extreme heat, sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, and certain medications— can be problematic for any adult, but especially concerning for seniors who have a lower volume of water in their bodies. When you’re severely dehydrated, there’s not enough water to carry blood to the organs. Dehydration can lead to heat cramps, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, seizures, and hypovolemic shock—a sometimes life-threatening complication. Dehydration is one of the most frequent causes of hospitalization for those 65 and over.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration may include the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty walking
  • Dizziness or headaches
  • Cramping
  • Weakness
  • Sleepiness or irritability
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Fever or chills
  • Dark yellow or orange urine

Another way to determine whether your body is dehydrated is the skin test: Use two fingers to pinch skin on the back of your hand and let go. The skin should spring back to its normal position in less than a few seconds. If the skin returns more slowly, you might be dehydrated.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you or a loved one has had diarrhea for 24 hours or more, is irritable, disoriented, or more sleepy than usual, can’t keep fluids down, or has bloody or black stools, call your family doctor. 

PREVENT DEHYDRATION

Keep water accessible at all times—taking many little sips throughout the day can add up. Jazz up water by adding fruit, drink unsweetened tea, and eat foods that are high in water content, like cucumbers, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, and apples, oranges, and watermelon. Avoid sodium and caffeine.

One UCLA research study showed that seniors who stay hydrated may experience fewer falls, so DRINK UP!

 

RESOURCES

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases  
1-800-860-8747
1-866-569-1162
healthinfo@niddk.nih.gov
www.niddk.nih.gov

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
1-301-592-8573
nhlbiinfo@nhlbi.nih.gov
www.nhlbi.nih.gov

National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs
1-202-682-6899
www.nanasp.org

President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
1-240-276-9567
fitness@hhs.gov
www.fitness.gov

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