CRAFTING AND RELAXING!

Author

Truewood By Merrill, Port Charlotte

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Merrill Gardens

Posted on

Aug 08, 2023

Book/Edition

Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties , Florida - Southwest

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ome people like to tap into their imagination to create amazing arts and crafts, and others just want to kick back and relax! Fortunately for us, our team members are incredible at creating events for both, and we couldn't be happier seeing all of the smiles that come as a result.

A few of our communities broke out the paint this last week as Tacoma (WA), Auburn (WA), and Bankers Hill (CA) residents went to town on their creations! Tacoma went with a space theme as they made a few captivating depictions of the earth.

Tacoma (WA) residents painted some amazing depictions of the earth.

Tacoma (WA) residents painted some amazing depictions of the earth.

Auburn residents went above and beyond with their portraits and they were jaw-dropping! We might have to stop in and get our portraits done as well.

Auburn (WA) residents painted amazing portraits!

At Bankers Hill, residents repurposed everyday tiles and transformed them into creative art pieces. We can't wait to see them displayed in the community.

Bankers Hill (CA) residents created some gorgeous tile art.

Bankers Hill (CA) residents created some gorgeous tile art.

Last Saturday was National Puzzle Day, and our residents in Gilroy (CA) made sure not to miss out! With so many people getting in on the fun, they were able to fill an entire wall with their completed masterpieces. We can't even imagine the number of pieces that were placed to make this happen.

Gilroy (CA) residents enjoyed National Puzzle Day as they spent all day enjoying the holiday!

Gilroy (CA) residents enjoyed National Puzzle Day as they spent all day enjoying the holiday!

Gilroy (CA) residents enjoyed National Puzzle Day as they spent all day enjoying the holiday!

Gilroy (CA) residents enjoyed National Puzzle Day as they spent all day enjoying the holiday!

Barkley Place (FL) residents put on their biggest hats to enjoy an extravagant tea time complete with delicious tea, finger foods, and plenty of enjoyable company. It always makes us so happy to see smiling faces all around the community!

Barkley Place (FL) residents enjoyed an elegant tea time!

Barkley Place (FL) residents enjoyed an elegant tea time!

Barkley Place (FL) residents enjoyed an elegant tea time!

Barkley Place (FL) residents enjoyed an elegant tea time!

Barkley Place (FL) residents enjoyed an elegant tea time!

Whether you're in the mood to create or just relax this week, we hope your February is off to a great start!

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Ken Faces Two Fears with a Flight to the Ocean

We all have fears in our lives, and at certain times, most of us would admit that theyve held us back from doing something we wanted.But, when it comes to fear, theres also a silver lining: the feeling of overcoming it and moving forward. And from that day forward, that personal victorythat sense of accomplishment is something we can turn to whenever we need some extra courage.Ken, age 70, is no stranger to adversity and fear. And in this season of his life, hes been reflecting on his fears and is no longer content letting them hold him back.One fear has been with him since he was young. Kens family lived close to an airport while he was growing up. Standing in his backyard, he would look up and marvel at the airplanes coming and going all day long. He wondered what it would be like to be inside one of these planes, looking out the window and floating through the clouds. But paired with his curiosity, a sense of fear was also growing inside him.This fear of heights and flying has followed Ken into adulthood. Adulthood came early for Ken, as hes been working hard to provide for himself and his family for as long as he can remember. In fact, Ken was already working at age 12.Ken had a job in a state park close to his home. One day, while Ken was helping remove debris in the park, a falling tree knocked him into the water. Ken was stuck, and he remained submerged until he was rescued.It was a terrifying moment that has stayed with him since that day, resulting in a deep fear of water.Its true that Ken has faced many obstacles and heartbreak throughout his life. But hes never allowed that to stop him from working hard, especially when it comes to providing for others. Ken is proud to have raised a family, including adopting two children with his wife, Elizabeth. He shared that this has made him the proudest and happiest hes ever been.Those who know Ken well would tell you hes the kind of person who shows he cares through his actions. Like how he mowed his mothers lawn for over a decade, caring for her until she passed away three years ago.Ken was everyones favorite BINGO caller at his local church and would help them with maintenance and by fixing things whenever he could. The same goes for any neighbor or friendall they had to do was ask, and Ken would be there.Kens dedication and generosity have kept him continually working, and not having many opportunities to do something meaningful for himself. But, recently, Ken has expressed the urge to conquer his fears.When Wish of a Lifetime heard Kens story, we were honored at the chance to help him take some time for himselfand to face his fears in the process by flying on a commercial flight for the first time.When asked what this experience would mean to him, Ken said, Id be happyId get to do something I never did and face my fear of going high.But thats not the only fear Ken would face during his wish of a lifetime!Every flight must have a destination, and Kens was the ocean. Ken was thrilled to share this special trip with his wife Elizabeth. Together, they flew from Pennsylvania all the way to Florida, landing in Tampa.Kens first time on an airplane was positive, and he said the flight felt like riding in a Cadillacit was so smooth.After they arrived at sunny Clearwater Beach, they could see the glittering, white sand welcoming them. Hand in hand, Ken and Elizabeth walked across the beach, taking in all the sights and smells of the ocean.I think he was amazed, Elizabeth said, describing the moment when Ken saw the ocean for the first time in his life. With deep emotion breaking up her voice, she expressed how much the experience meant to them both.Thank you guys very much, I dont know how to express the thank you, I really enjoyed it, she said.As he stood with the tide tickling his feet, Ken felt the warmth of the sunshine on his back, but also the glow of pride from within him.I feel this would make me fulfilled that I overcame two lifelong fears, he said.Reflecting on his wish, Ken said he hoped his story could help others to do the same, at any age. And, to keep hope alive, even through challenging times:Keep your nose to the grindstone, he said. Someday, something good will happen.

7 Ways Seniors Can Manage Chronic Stress and Cortisol

More than any other age group, seniors gain the most benefit from stress management. Stress is an everyday part of life that is unavoidable, but not all stress is created equal. Something is bound to trigger a stress response, whether its heavy traffic, lost keys, or a disagreement with your spouse. And sometimes its more serious like health issues, looming retirement, or the struggle to live on a fixed income. We all have to learn to manage this kind of stress in a healthy way.But too much stress for long periods, known as chronic stress, is what causes emotional, mental, and physical problems. How long youre under stress and how much youre able to control it plays a huge role in your overall health. Even though chronic stress isnt good for anyone, its especially problematic for seniors, as it dramatically increases cortisol levels and triggers serious health conditions. Here are 7 ways seniors can manage chronic stress and cortisol.What Is Cortisol?Cortisol is an important natural chemical your body produces in response to stress. It plays a crucial role in many bodily functions but gets a bad wrap because of its stress connection. If youre healthy, cortisol helps regulate inflammation and provides immune system support. It also ensures youre prepared to react more efficiently to high-stress situations or potential dangers.If youre faced with a bear in the woods, you want the hormone cortisol to give you the physical energy and mental acuity to react. Its what allows you to act quickly and get away. Cortisol gives you the energy to fight or flee from threats or push through stressful situations.Cortisol is about balance. Appropriate doses of cortisol keep you healthy and safe. But when its chronically elevated, the benefits reverse. This is when your immune system becomes less sensitive, and therefore less reactive, to viruses, bacteria, and other attackers. As your immune system slows its response, inflammation increases. In other words, chronic stress leads to a sluggish immune system and chronic inflammation.Chronic inflammation is a big deal. Its been linked to many chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression, and anxiety.How to Tell if Youre Experiencing Chronic StressIts not always easy to notice chronic stress, because its something youve been living with for a while. Chronic, high levels of stress can begin to feel normal. You just get used to it. But physical and emotional symptoms usually appear at some point. Here are some chronic-stress warning signs to look for:Appetite changes (eating more or less)Frequent headachesUpset stomachHeart palpitationsDepressionLow energyFeeling overwhelmed or agitatedDifficulty concentratingIf you have been experiencing several of these for a while, its possible youre living with chronic stress and high cortisol levels.How Chronic Stress Affects SeniorsOlder adults are more sensitive to the cortisols effects. Chronically high levels of cortisol more negatively impacts cognitive performance and the memory areas of your brain. This could be because it takes older adults longer to recover from surging cortisol. The hormone doesnt come back down to normal levels as quickly as it does in younger people.In general, cortisols effects are exaggerated in seniors, causing a greater increase in inflammation, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar. All of these are risk factors for heart disease.Some studies suggest that chronically high cortisol levels could be linked to the progression of dementia.What Causes Chronic Stress in Seniors?Different seasons of life come with different stressors and stress triggers and the golden years are no exception. Here are some common reasons older adults experience chronic stress:Chronic health conditionsCaregivingFinancial insecurityLonelinessRetirement or other major life changeLoss of a spouse or loved oneMovingCognitive decline (thinking or memory changes)If youre experiencing any of these circumstances, consider what stress symptoms youve been experiencing and for how long. Also remember that people handle stress and different levels of stress in different ways. Just because your neighbor never stressed over impending retirement doesnt mean that it wont affect you.Moving or caregiving doesnt stress everyone, but if its affecting you, its best for your health and well-being to address it.7 Ways to Lower Cortisol LevelsYou dont have to live with chronically high cortisol and chronic stress. You can improve your health by taking these steps to achieve a healthier lifestyle and help you improve stress management.1. Eat Healthier to Lower Cortisol LevelsThere are all kinds of reasons for adopting a healthy eating plan, and managing cortisol levels is another one.What you eat affects your cortisol levels. Processed foods and foods with a high glycemic index (GI) have been found to elevate cortisol. This means youll want to avoid sugary drinks, fast food, refined carbs, and other highly processed foods.Your calorie intake also affects cortisol. High-calorie foods immediately increase cortisol, and not eating enough calories disrupts cortisol levels and can even cause an increase.Its as if unhealthy eating affects your digestive system, stresses your body, and triggers cortisol.2. Be Physically Active to Manage Chronic StressRegular, intentional exercise is best, but if that is too much of a stretch for you, any physical activity will help. This means that anything that gets you up and moving is more helpful than remaining sedentary. You might not think of walking, gardening, or yoga as exercise, but these count as physical activity. Experiment with what works best for you.Exercise is known to relieve stress, making it very helpful for managing cortisol levels.3. Dealing with the Past Drops CortisolWhen it comes to past failures, your first reaction is probably avoidance. Who wants to dwell on it? But there is another optiondealing with it! If youre carrying a previous failure or stressful experience, believing that its not affecting your presentthink again.Evidence suggests that if you write about that past event, processing it in a healthy way, it will reduce your cortisol levels even as you deal with your current stressor.4. Meditation or Prayer Helps Manage StressMeditation and prayer have proven effective stress management tools. If you remain consistent in practice you are better able to manage anxiety and uncertainty. Managing stress this way brings down your cortisol levels and has a notable long-term impact as this habit becomes part of your daily life.Even highly stressed people see an exceptional difference in their stress levels after successfully practicing prayer or meditation for a period. Its a practical stress management tool for seniors who might have physical limitations that make exercise difficult. Anyone can meditate or pray, and it can be done anywhere.5. Stay Socially Connected to Manage CortisolIts important for seniors not to lose their social connections. Not only does social engagement help keep cortisol levels down, it also helps keep your mind sharp and can ward off dementia. Much research suggests staying connected to people you love can improve your well-being and overall health.When you know a loved one is nearby, it puts you more at ease, especially if youre going through a stressful time.6. Good Sleep Keep Cortisol Levels DownGetting adequate, quality sleep cortisol lower, especially when faced with a stress-triggering task. One study assigned a group of participants to a normal nights rest and the other group to a night of sleep deprivation. The next day, everyone had to perform stressful tasks like giving a speech and solving a math problem in front of an unfriendly audience. The sleep-deprived group showed higher cortisol levels than the rested group.And its not just the next day that you can feel the effects. Other findings indicate that elevated cortisol levels can continue into the second day after getting poor sleep.This can be a challenge for seniors, especially if you struggle with physical or health problems that make sleep uncomfortable. Discuss sleep aid options with your doctor to give yourself the best opportunity for a good nights rest.7. Music and Art Help Manage StressIf you havent had much exposure to art or classical music, it might benefit your health to experiment and discover what you enjoy. When you enjoy art or music, stress and cortisol ebb away.One study indicates that cortisol levels drop faster after you experience enjoyable art. Specifically, the study directed a group of participants to listen to relaxing, classical music, while another group listened to rippling water. The third group listened to nothing at all. Afterwards they were asked to perform a stressful task. The group who had listened to the classical music had faster dropping cortisol levels than the other two groups.Seniors Who Manage Chronic Stress Maintain Better HealthWhile good stress management is important at any age, its especially important for seniors. When you understand that stress is directly linked to physical reactions involving cortisol, it can remind you that stress has very real physical effects. These effects are so real that they can cause serious health conditions and promote chronic disease.Managing stress is managing health. And implementing some or all of these stress-reduction tips can help you manage the stressors that you cannot change.TYE Medical offers premium incontinence products in a variety of sizes and absorbency levels. Shop our online store for free and discreet shipping!

13 Ways to Celebrate Health, Fitness and Local Parks this Summer

Summer is here and its time for the whole family to get moving!Every year, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) celebrates Family Health & Fitness Day the second Saturday in June (this year its June 8). The goal is to encourage families to make the most of their local park and rec facilities. For many people, thats pretty convenient: 74% of people who live in the U.S. are walking distance from a park, playground, recreation center or open space. Which is great news, because research shows that children and adults who live near parks and spend time in nature actually tend to be healthier mentally and physically.This month, in honor of Family Health & Fitness Day, think about the green spaces that are close to you, and dream up some ways to bring the great outdoors into your familys summer routine. Here are some ideas for fun family adventures all season long.Take a family walk to your local park. Grab your walking shoes and leave the car behind! Wave to the neighbors as you amble over to your favorite open space. Isnt it nice to get away from technology and screens and breathe in some fresh air with the family? You could even consider making this a part of your regular evening routine.Keep your park clean. Grab a trash bag and some gloves and pick up any trash you encounter at the park, playground or recreation facility. Make it beautiful so you and others can enjoy the serenity of nature, without being distracted by litter. Bonus: picking up trash can be a good workout!Sign up for a 5k (or plan your own). See if your local park hosts a walk or run, and if they dont, study a map and do it yourself! Make it a fun group activity by inviting friends and neighbors to join.  Plan a barbecue or picnic at the park. Stock up on your favorite foods and enjoy them al fresco at your areas green space. Take a ball or flying disc to toss around and make a day of it. Just be sure to load up on sunblock and find some shade, so you dont get a sunburn!Have fun. Play tag or chase; slide down slides; swing on swings; spin on the merry-go-round; flop in the grass; dance in the fountain; play fetch with the dog. Do whatever activity calls to you at your local park, whether youre a kid, or a kid at heart!Go swimming. Find your nearest pool, whether its at a park, a community center or somewhere elseand take the plunge! Swimming is one of summers greatest perks, and it also happens to be excellent exercise. Pack a pool bag with snacks, a book and plenty of sunblock and make a day of it.Pose for a photo shoot. Green spaces make beautiful backdrops. Gather some friends and tell them to bring some fun fashion and props and strike a pose.Sign up for a fitness class. Lots of parks have gyms and offer indoor and outdoor group fitness classes. This could be your summer to finally try yoga or Zumba! Or, maybe its time to try your hand at pickleball, or join a volleyball team. All of the above are a great way to get moving, and maybe even meet some of your neighbors.  Go on a treasure hunt. Wander around the paths and trails of a regional park and see what you can spot. Maybe youll find a four-leaf clover, observe some weird insect behavior or encounter other creatures. Tune into the flora and the fauna and see where your walk takes you.Visit a local farm or farmers market. Buying fruits and vegetables grown nearby is great for your health and the environment. When you shop whats in season, you might even get inspired to try some new recipes. See if your local park hosts a farmers market or head to a nearby farm. Take the kids along and let them choose fruits and veggies they want to try. Take it a step further and challenge them to help you come up with the menu for the week.Take a deep breath. Green spaces have a way of helping you relax, instantly. At a park, you can sit, rest, think and simply be, with no expectations or obligations. Grab a journal and some headphones, or just sit on a bench and watch the world around you. You may find that you leave feeling a little bit lighter than when you arrived.Spend a night camping. Whens the last time you went camping? Summer can be a lovely time to spend a night under the stars. Do a little research and find a campground near your house. Or, keep it low-key and pitch a tent in the backyard. It involves less packing and planning and easy bathroom and air-conditioner access. Bring more green spaces and green practices into your life. Consider what changes you could make at your home to boost your own healthy practices and activities. For example, kick off a regular family exercise routineyou dont need any equipment for sit-ups, push-ups, crunches and other strength-building activities. Plant a garden and grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs, either in containers, in the ground or in a community garden. Challenge other family members to a walking competition and see who can squeeze in more steps every week. What other endeavors can you think of that would make health and fitness a part of your familys everyday routine?  Family health and fitness gets the spotlight in June, but its a concept you can commit to year-round. This summer, strive to incorporate some fun, healthy habits into the mix. Eating nutritious foods and adding more activity to your routine can benefit you and your whole family. And your local park is a great place to start!This article was contributed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.  Contact them concerning Medicare Advantage and Insurance Plans at 251-210-7089.

Local Services By This Author

Truewood By Merrill, Port Charlotte

Assisted Living 2500 Aaron St., Port Charlotte, Florida, 33952

Truewood by Merrill in Port Charlotte sounds like an excellent choice for seniors seeking assisted living options. The emphasis on providing customized care tailored to individual needs ensures that residents receive just the right amount of support to maintain their independence. This personalized approach is crucial for fostering a sense of autonomy and dignity among residents.The availability of exciting floor plans and a calendar full of community activities ensures that residents have plenty of opportunities to engage socially, learn new things, and enjoy recreational pursuits. Access to exceptional dining with three delicious meals per day adds to the overall quality of life within the community.The reassurance that assistance is available while still preserving independence is a comforting aspect of Truewood by Merrill's assisted living program. This commitment to empowering residents to live life on their terms while offering necessary support reflects a compassionate and holistic approach to senior care.

Truewood By Merrill, Port Charlotte

Independent Living 2500 Aaron St., Port Charlotte, Florida, 33952

Discover a vibrant senior living community in Port Charlotte, surrounded by endless blue skies and swaying palm trees overlooking Charlotte Harbor. Conveniently located just 40 minutes from Fort Myers and close to Fawcett Memorial Hospital and Port Charlotte Town Center shopping, our community offers a central and accessible lifestyle. Explore local attractions such as the Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary, Port Boca Grande Lighthouse & Museum, and Military Heritage Museum. Immerse yourself in a lively community atmosphere with a diverse activities calendar featuring events like karaoke, ice cream socials, and bingo. Stay energized with chef-prepared meals and enjoy spacious social rooms for pursuing your favorite hobbies. Take advantage of the Sunshine State's greatness right outside your door. Plan your visit to our Port Charlotte senior living community today