Active Curiosity How to Engage Your Mind During Your Golden Years

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Westminster Manor

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Westminster Manor

Posted on

Jul 14, 2023

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Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties

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Keeping your mind active during retirement is critical to ensure you can enjoy your golden years for as long as possible. Seniors are susceptible to mental decline as they age, and keeping your mind active is the best way to combat losing your sharpness.

Whether you are living independently, or enjoying St. Petersburg assisted living, here are a few ways to engage your mind during your golden years.

Read and Write

Reading is a lifelong habit to embrace. Reading can transport you to new worlds, teach you new things, and keep your mind engaged. Experiment with reading different genres, solicit book recommendations from friends and family, or even join a book club. 

Writing is another great way to engage your mind on a daily basis. It is a good way to reflect, put your thoughts down on paper, or engage your mind through storytelling. The best thing about writing is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. Try journaling, writing poetry, or even taking a writing class.

Continue to Learn

No matter what age you are, you should never stop learning. One of the benefits of retirement is the additional time you have to spend on things you enjoy. Including learning in your regular schedule is an effective way to engage your mind.

Consider reading a book on a topic you are not familiar with. Listen to a podcast or watch a video about a new topic. You can even enroll in a local class and learn a new language, an art form, or public speaking skills.

Play Games

Games may not have a good reputation for stimulating brain activity in young people, but games have come a long way since the development of smartphones and other mobile devices. Today, there are an array of word games, number games, and other brain teasers that can engage your mind while also being fun.

You can also try out new board games or puzzles with friends and socialize at the same time.

Exercise 

The mind and body are closely linked, and keeping your body in good shape is an important part of engaging your mind. Studies have shown that daily exercise boosts mood, increases problem-solving skills, and improves overall cognitive health. Exercise does not have to include intensive activity. Gentle exercises you can try include:

  • Walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Seated exercises
  • Stationary cycling
  • Tai chi

A great way to build exercise into your daily routine is to find a partner or group of friends to exercise with. Consider enrolling in a class or joining a walking club.

Stay Social 

Social interaction is a critical piece of overall health for seniors. People who do not get adequate social interaction may experience feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can lead to a number of negative health outcomes.

It is important to build regular social activity into your routine. Social activity can be anything from having coffee with a friend to attending a game night to seeing friends at your walking club. 

Socialization doesn’t always have to be in person, either. You can catch up with friends over the phone or video chat with family members at any time. There’s no right or wrong way to socialize, but engagement with others is critical to keeping your mind sharp.

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New Years resolutions are hard to keep without a plan. If one of your goals is healthy aging, ArchWell Health is here to help. Take these monthly steps to a healthier, happier you in 2024.JanuaryStart the year right with your first regular wellness visit of 2024 at ArchWell Health. Your ArchWell Health doctor will review your medical history and prescriptions and help you make a wellness plan for the year. At ArchWell Health you can see your primary care provider as often as you need to! Our care team will make sure to get follow-up appointments on your calendar, too.What to do:Schedule your regular wellness visits.FebruaryThis month we mark American Heart Month (and Valentines Day, of course). A great way to protect your heart is to control your blood pressure. Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure and many are unaware that they do.What to do:Get your blood pressure checked.MarchMarch is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the U.S., but its largely preventable. Medicare covers screening colonoscopies at no cost to you. You can also talk with your doctor about alternative screenings, including stool-based tests that look at your DNA and blood to determine if you may have irregular colon or rectal growth.What to do:Schedule a colorectal cancer screening.AprilApril is National Minority Health Month. Members of racial and ethnic minorities face bigger disease burdens for a variety of reasons, including access to care. If you're a member of one of these groups, have conversations this month about your unique health challenges due to family history or other risk factors. If not, learn about the unique health challenges your neighbors may face at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Healths website.What to do:Talk with your doctor about challenges that may affect your health.MayMay is Better Hearing and Speech Month, and a good time to think about how important hearing is. Hearing loss contributes to depression, isolation, falls and even car wrecks. And it affects 1 in 3 older adults.What to do:Schedule a hearing test.JuneJune is Mens Health Month, so listen up, men. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men (after skin cancer). The good news: it grows slowly, so treatment may not be needed. But early detection is key.What to do:Ask your doctor if you should have a prostate cancer screening.Women, youre not off the hook. Schedule your mammogram now, as calendar openings for this preventive screening fill up quickly. (See October for more information.)JulyJust in time for outdoor fun, its UV Safety Month. More people get skin cancer than any other form of cancer. You can lower your risk by practicing sun safety.What to do:Stop by ArchWell Health to see your doctor for a skin check.AugustAugust is National Immunization Awareness Month, a great time to ensure youre up to date on your shots. That includes newer vaccines that protect against COVID-19, shingles and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus). RSV alone is responsible for the death of nearly 10,000 older adults each year.What to do:Review your list of vaccinations and talk with your doctor about those youve missed.SeptemberSchool is back, and so is the flu. The flu can make anybody sick but can be deadly for older adults. Up to 85% of flu-related deaths occur among people 65 and older. The best way to prevent it is to get vaccinated.What to do:Schedule a flu shot before the end of next month.OctoberOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Nows the time for a mammogram. This simple test can spot breast cancer up to three years before you feel a lump. Since breast cancer affects more women than any non-skin-related cancer, regular screenings are critical.What to do:Get a mammogram.NovemberNovember is National Diabetes Month, a reminder to control your blood sugar. Diabetes affects 38 million American adults, but many of them dont realize they have it. Its the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of kidney failure.What to do:Get your blood sugar tested.DecemberThe holiday season can be a time of joy, but it can also be a time of sadness, especially if youre socially isolated. Find ways this month to stay active and engaged with other people. Your ArchWell Health center even has weekly activities for older adults in the community.What to do:Ask your ArchWell Health doctor about mental health resources that could help you.

Making and Maintaining Friendships Later in Life

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These people make you laugh, remember the good times and fill you with joy.Communicate regularly by phone, email or snail mail if you can't meet face-to-face. And cut down on contact with any family who add extra emotional, physical or financial worries to your plate.3. Active AgematesWe all have those friends with a "forever young" spirit. They're the first to know about activities for older adults and theyre always up for a new adventure, near or far. Keep these people on speed dial.Whether it's a book club or a Beyonc concert, chances are they know how to get in and have a great time! If you don't have one of these friends, stop by ArchWell Health to participate in their weekly classes. These events are open to the public and include arts and crafts, chair yoga and educational seminars.4. Big ThinkersAging is no reason to leave decades of experience and expertise on a shelf. Older adults need intellectually stimulating friends and activities to thrive. Connect with big thinkers by attending book clubs at your local library or competing in chess matches in the park.Some people take up new skills or join online courses. Check out ArchWell Healths educational seminar offerings. Whatever you choose, keep your brain fresh by being a lifelong student.5. Movers and ShakersStaying physically active is one of the best ways to stay healthy as you age. Easier said than done when youre housebound or have chronic pain! To stay motivated to exercise, take nature walks and do other activities that get the blood pumping. Grab a friend to go alone as a fitness buddy or accountability partner.The movers and shakers in your life might be the same age or younger than you. Age doesnt matter, as long as they're committed to good nutrition and healthy habits. You might even learn some new health hacks to add to your daily routine.6. KidsOne of the hardest things about aging is feeling like the world is changing too fast. 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How to Find the Right Doctor for Your Senior Parent or Loved One

If you're a caregiver for your parents or other aging loved one, at some point you may need to find the right doctor for their current health needs.Maybe mom's doctor retired, or dad moved from another city to live with you. If your parent's condition changes or they receive a new diagnosis, they might need specialized care. In the case of dementia or Alzheimer's, you may need to look for a doctor who can offer advice on care, treatment and quality of life.Finding the right doctor may seem overwhelming with so many physicians and specialists available. ArchWell Health has your back! Here, well offer 7 steps to guide this important search.1. Review your parents' insurance planTo get started, check your parent's insurance plan to understand their coverage, deductibles and co-pays.Medicare can seem complex. But there are many resources to help you and your loved one understand how to pay for their healthcare needs. Many adults over 65 enroll in traditional Medicare plans that include Medicare Part A coverage for hospital stays and Medicare Part coverage for doctors visits and other services.Other older adults choose a Medicare Advantage plan instead, known as Medicare Part C or an "MA" plan. ArchWell Health partners with several Medicare Advantage plans to provide healthcare services.Medicare Advantage plans include Medicare Part A, Part B and usually a prescription drug plan, Part D. Medicare advantage plans are offered by Medicare-approved private insurance companies who partner with Medicare to offer affordable health plans. You may even be able to select a plan with no premiums.You can learn more about Medicare Advantage here: Medicare Advantage 101You should also find out if your loved one qualifies for Medicaid, which can work with their Medicare Advantage plan to help cover healthcare expenses and provide additional benefits like lower prescription drug costs and transportation assistance.Finally, if your parent has an employer health plan as part of their retirement package, you'll need to review it and see what's covered.Closely review your parent's health plan(s) for rules on using in-network providers. That way, you can search for a doctor that's in-network so your parent can save money on healthcareKnowing your parents' health plan coverage will help you find the right doctor for your parents at the most affordable cost.2. Consider how value-based care can help your loved oneArchWell Health members aged 60 and over receive ValYou CareTM, a unique approach to value-based care and wellness programs. Value-based care is a model where a team of doctors and other healthcare providers work together to prevent illness and provide personalized care.ValYou Care services include:Longer appointments to discuss health concerns with the doctorPrimary care visits whenever your parent needs themOn-site testing and health screenings24-hour phone supportSame-day sick appointmentsTelehealth appointmentsReferrals to specialistsCall ArchWell Health to see how ValYou CareTM can help your parent live a healthy, independent life.3. Talk with your parents about their health and wellness goalsOnce you and your loved one understand their health plan coverage, it's time to discuss their health and wellness goals. For example, your parents may have concerns about cancer, heart disease or dementia. They may need help managing diabetes, depression or other health conditions.If left undetected or untreated, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions can worsen and become more serious.ArchWell Health offers cancer screenings and a long list of important preventive screenings to detect early heart disease, depression, diabetes and more. The sooner these conditions are detected, the better the treatment options.A healthy lifestyle and diet is a huge part of aging well. Thats why as ArchWell Health members, your parents can also receive a customized nutrition education plan.Staying socially engaged is important for wellness too. Loneliness and isolation can raise the risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, according to the National Council on Aging.Reduce these risks by staying connected to a community and social network. If your parent wants to meet new friends, ArchWell Health offers many events and classes for members to stay active and socialize, including:Exercise, strength training, Zumba, Tai Chi, Pilates and chair yoga classesCanvas paintingBoard gamesLunch and learn eventsSocial events4. Check into transportation assistanceAs a caregiver for an aging parent, you may be driving them back and forth to doctor's appointments and errands. However, caregivers can often use an extra hand with this task, especially if they're working. Let us help! We can arrange transportation if needed so your parent always has a ride to their ArchWell Health medical appointments and community activities.5. Find healthcare provider locationsWith locations and healthcare providers in multiple U.S. cities, ArchWell Health's Find a Provider Near You search tool can help you find the right doctor for your parents. You can search by:Provider nameCare focusZip codeDistance up to 75 milesPreferred genderPreferred languageDiscuss the search terms and results with your parents, asking their preferences to make the best choices together.6. Consider a doctor who specializes in elder care.When choosing the right doctor for your aging parents, consider a primary care provider that specializes in senior primary care, such as a geriatrician. Doctors and nurse practitioners can both specialize in geriatrics. Geriatricians have an in-depth knowledge of all things elder care.A geriatrician also specializes in treating people with multiple chronic conditions. They can help your parent know what to expect as they age, recommend accommodations, or prepare for changes that affect their body and cognitive abilities. 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A social worker may also be able to discuss long-term planning for your parents changing needs, including long-term care costs and options.ArchWell Health is here to helpNavigating the aging process can be challenging for you and your parent. Fortunately, ArchWell Health is here to help your parent with their medical needs and wellness goals through our ValYou CareTM program.Call ArchWell Health today to find out more about the many advantages and health benefits of ValYou CareTM.Find your local ArchWell Health phone number here: Call Now

Local Services By This Author

Westminster Manor

Assisted Living 1700 21st Ave. W., Bradenton, Florida, 34205

Westminster Manor has been serving seniors in the Bradenton/Sarasota area for over 50 years. We are a not for profit, faith-based Continuing Care Retirement Community.  Sunny skies and warm hearts beckon at Westminster Manor, with A Strong Foundation for Your Future.  Our beautiful community is conveniently located on quiet neighborhood streets in Bradenton.  Enjoy a lifestyle enriched with maintenance-free living, a wide variety of choices in residences, our exclusive My W Life wellbeing program and access to great amenities and services. You'll choose from a variety of affordable apartments, villa homes and modular homes, all at a fantastic value. No matter what choice you make, were here for you, because every residence is backed by the assurance of a full complement of healthcare services. At Westminster Manor, you'll find something to make you smile.

Westminster Manor

Independent Living 1700 21st Ave. W., Bradenton, Florida, 34205

For over 50 years, Westminster Manor has been a trusted name in senior care in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. As a not-for-profit, faith-based Continuing Care Retirement Community, we pride ourselves on A Strong Foundation for Your Future. Basking in sunny skies and warm hearts, Westminster Manor is conveniently located on quiet neighborhood streets in Bradenton.Experience a lifestyle of maintenance-free living, a range of residence choices, our exclusive My W Life wellbeing program, and access to exceptional amenities and services. Choose from a variety of affordable apartments, villa homes, and modular homes, all offering fantastic value. Whatever your choice, we are here for you, with every residence backed by a full complement of healthcare services.Discover the joy at Westminster Manor, where every aspect is designed to make you smile