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05.23.24 | Health & Wellness

How to Make Your “Dash” Mean Something

In the grand scheme of life, our “dash” — the time between birth and death — is all we have to make a lasting impact. This concept, brought to life in this episode of the Sage Vibrant Living podcast series featuring Dr. Geneva Williams, serves as a powerful reminder that it’s never too late to create meaning and leave a legacy. Here are some key insights and actionable steps to help you make your “dash” mean something.

Embrace Lifelong Learning
One of the most inspiring aspects of Dr. Geneva Williams’ story is her commitment to lifelong learning. Despite the challenges and losses she faced, she continued to seek new knowledge and experiences. Embracing lifelong learning keeps our minds active, helps us adapt to change, and opens doors to new opportunities. Whether it’s enrolling in a course, picking up a new hobby, or simply staying curious, the pursuit of knowledge enriches our lives and expands our horizons.

Find Resilience Through Adversity
Dr. Geneva’s journey underscores the importance of resilience. Personal loss and adversity are inevitable, but how we respond to these challenges defines our path. Building resilience involves acknowledging our pain, seeking support, and finding strength in our experiences. It’s about turning setbacks into stepping stones and emerging stronger. By cultivating resilience, we not only navigate life’s difficulties but also inspire others with our courage and perseverance.

Pursue Your Passions
Your “dash” should be filled with activities and pursuits that ignite your passion. Dr. Geneva’s late-in-life venture into entrepreneurship and beauty pageants exemplifies this. Pursuing passions, no matter how unconventional or late in life, brings joy and fulfillment. Identify what excites you, set goals, and take actionable steps towards them. Whether it’s a career change, a creative project, or a personal milestone, pursuing your passions makes your life vibrant and meaningful.

Connect Through Storytelling
Storytelling is a powerful tool for connection and healing. Dr. Geneva found solace in sharing her story and listening to others. By sharing our experiences, we foster empathy, build communities, and create bonds. Storytelling allows us to reflect on our journeys, celebrate our triumphs, and learn from our challenges. It’s a way to honor our past, connect with others, and leave a legacy of wisdom and inspiration.

Stay Vibrant and Active
Vibrancy at any age is a cornerstone of making your “dash” mean something. Dr. Geneva’s dedication to promoting a vibrant lifestyle highlights the importance of staying active, engaged, and passionate. Physical health, mental well-being, and social connections are vital components of a vibrant life. Engage in regular physical activities, maintain a healthy diet, nurture relationships, and stay mentally stimulated. A vibrant life is a fulfilled life.

Take Action and Leave a Legacy
Finally, making your “dash” mean something requires action. Dr. Geneva’s call to action in the podcast is a powerful reminder to seize the moment and live with intention. Whether it’s through community service, mentoring, pursuing dreams, or advocating for causes you believe in, take concrete steps to make a positive impact. Reflect on what legacy you want to leave and actively work towards it.

Making your “dash” mean something is about living with purpose, passion, and resilience. Dr. Geneva Williams’ story is a beacon of inspiration, reminding us that it’s never too late to start anew and make a lasting impact. Embrace lifelong learning, find resilience through adversity, pursue your passions, connect through storytelling, stay vibrant and active, and take action to leave a legacy. By doing so, you fill your “dash” with meaning, leaving a positive and enduring mark on the world.

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05.02.24 | Lifestyle

Navigating Financial Planning for the Golden Years

As we approach retirement, the complexity of financial planning can seem daunting. Inspired by insights from Alfred Edmond Jr. in the Sage Advice® podcast, where he emphasizes the importance of preparing financially for a longer and healthier life, this blog post explores key strategies to navigate financial planning for the golden years. By integrating expert advice on managing investments, estate planning, and maximizing retirement savings, we aim to equip you with the knowledge to secure a stable and fulfilling retirement.

The foundation of successful retirement planning is understanding your financial needs and goals. Start by estimating your retirement expenses, considering both necessities and the costs of activities you plan to enjoy. It’s crucial to factor in potential healthcare costs and long-term care, as these can significantly impact your budget.

Maximizing Retirement Savings. Maximizing your retirement savings is essential, regardless of when you start. Take full advantage of retirement accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs, and, if eligible, Roth IRAs. If you’re over 50, catch-up contributions allow you to save additional funds in these accounts. Diversifying your investment portfolio across different asset classes can also help manage risk and improve potential returns. It’s advisable to consult with a financial advisor to tailor an investment strategy that fits your risk tolerance and retirement timeline.

Strategies for Managing Investments. Effective investment management becomes even more critical as you near retirement. The key is to balance the need for asset growth with the need to protect what you’ve already accumulated. As retirement approaches, gradually shifting from more volatile investments like stocks to more stable ones like bonds can help preserve your capital. However, maintaining some growth-oriented investments is also crucial, as they can help combat inflation and extend the lifespan of your retirement funds.

Navigating Estate Planning. Estate planning is an often overlooked aspect of retirement planning that deals with how your assets will be handled after your death. Key components of a solid estate plan include a will, a durable power of attorney, a healthcare proxy, and possibly trusts. Proper estate planning ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and can significantly reduce the tax burden on your heirs. It’s advisable to work with an estate planning attorney to ensure that all documents are correctly set up and comply with state laws.

Utilizing Tax-Efficient Withdrawal Strategies. Developing a tax-efficient withdrawal strategy can significantly enhance the longevity of your retirement funds. Knowing which accounts to draw from first can minimize your tax liabilities over time. Generally, it’s beneficial to withdraw from taxable accounts first, then tax-deferred accounts, and lastly, tax-free accounts like Roth IRAs. This strategy can help keep your taxable income lower over a more extended period, potentially reducing the total amount of taxes paid.

Seeking Professional Advice. Given the complexities of financial markets and the myriad options for saving and investing, consulting with a financial advisor is advisable. A professional can offer personalized advice tailored to your specific financial situation and retirement goals. They can also provide regular portfolio reviews and adjustments in response to economic changes or shifts in your personal life.

Navigating financial planning for the golden years requires careful consideration and proactive management of your resources. By understanding the basics of retirement planning, maximizing your savings, managing investments wisely, navigating estate planning, and utilizing tax-efficient withdrawal strategies, you can secure a financially stable and enjoyable retirement. Remember, it’s never too late to start planning, and every step you take now can contribute to a more secure future. With the right strategies and expert advice, you can look forward to your retirement years with confidence and peace of mind.

 

Credit: Andre Taissin on Unsplash
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04.18.24 | Arts & Culture

Introducing Sage Vibrant Living —The Podcast: A New Chapter in Storytelling

In an ever-evolving world where connection and engagement stand as pillars of humanity, Sage Collective proudly announces the launch of an exciting endeavor: Sage Vibrant Living — The Podcast. This innovative series is more than just an addition to our platform, Sage Advice®; it is a bold step towards redefining the narrative around aging and celebrating the vibrancy of life at every stage.

Why podcasting?
At Sage, we believe in challenging the status quo and embracing innovative ideas that enrich the lives of older adults and the community at large. Podcasting offers a radical new framework where older adults are valued and engaged…where they experience a life lived vibrantly. It is a medium that transcends traditional boundaries, allowing us to connect, engage, and explore humanity’s boundless knowledge collaboratively. From how-to discussions and cultural perceptions of aging to dynamic storytelling and housing as health insights, Sage Vibrant Living — The Podcast covers a broad spectrum of topics that resonates with our mission: to promote a better quality of life for older adults and those who support them, to extend the reach of Sage, and to foster a sense of community and belonging.

Listening to inspirational voices|
Our inaugural series boasts a lineup of interviews that promises to captivate, educate, and inspire our listeners. Each guest brings a unique perspective to the table, sharing their journey, wisdom, and insights into living a life full of purpose, health, and joy.

Episode 1: Barbara Bates | Fashion and Philanthropy: Join us as we dive into the world of fashion with Barbara Bates, exploring how she weaves philanthropy into her work and remains a relevant force in the industry.

Episode 2: Alfred Edmond Jr. | Money & Muscle: Alfred Edmond Jr. reveals his secrets to building wealth and health post-60, offering listeners a blueprint for financial and physical wellness.

Episode 3: Cheryl Woodson, MD | A Journey Towards Joy: Dr. Cheryl Woodson shares her expert insights on navigating the challenges of aging and finding pathways to joy and fulfillment.

Episode 4: Dwain Kyles & Emilie McKendall | Speak Up!: This empowering conversation with Dwain Kyles and Emilie McKendall underscores the importance of self-advocacy and standing up for others.

Episode 5: Dr. Geneva Williams | How to Make Your “Dash” Mean Something: Dr. Geneva Williams discusses the significance of the ‘dash’—the time between our birth and death—and how to make every moment count.

Episode 6: Don Jones | The Power of Storytelling: In this compelling episode, Don Jones delves into the transformative power of storytelling, highlighting its role in preserving history, fostering connections, and inspiring change.

As we embark on this journey, we invite you to join us. Whether you’re a listener, a storyteller, or a supporter, your involvement is crucial to the success of Sage Vibrant Living—The Podcast. Together, we can change the experience of growing older and celebrate a life lived vibrantly, one story at a time.

To access all the podcast episodes, simply click on the link here.

Sage Vibrant Living Podcast
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01.04.24 | Community

The Importance of Setting Resolutions in the New Year

Now that 2024 is upon us, it brings an opportunity for reflection and renewal. At Sage Collective, we understand the importance of this time as an opportunity to set resolutions – not just as a tradition, but as a meaningful practice in our journey towards vibrant living.

The Power of Resolutions
Resolutions are more than just yearly promises we make to ourselves; they are declarations of intent and pathways to personal growth. They provide us with a chance to pause, assess our lives, and decide what changes we wish to make. For us in the older adult community, this is particularly powerful, as it aligns with our ongoing pursuit of vibrant living at every stage of life.

Setting Achievable Goals
The key to successful resolutions lies in their realism and attainability. It’s about setting goals that are challenging yet achievable, and that contribute to our overall well-being. Whether it’s adopting a new fitness regimen, learning a new skill, or dedicating more time to a beloved hobby, each resolution should be a stepping stone towards a fuller, richer life experience.

The Importance of Health and Wellness
Many resolutions revolve around health and wellness, and for good reason. As we age, taking care of our physical and mental health becomes increasingly important. Resolutions can serve as commitments to ourselves to nurture our bodies and minds, whether through healthier eating, regular exercise, or mindfulness practices.

Staying Connected and Engaged
Resolutions can also foster social engagement and community involvement – key components of vibrant living. This might mean resolving to spend more time with family and friends, participating in community events, or engaging in volunteer work.

Lifelong Learning and Growth
The new year is also a perfect time to commit to lifelong learning. This could be through reading more, enrolling in a class, or even traveling to new places. Each of these resolutions enriches our lives, keeps our minds active, and supports our overall sense of joy and fulfillment.

As we stand on the threshold of a new year, let’s embrace the tradition of setting resolutions with optimism and enthusiasm. Let these resolutions be reflections of our aspirations and values, guiding us towards a year filled with health, happiness, and vibrant living.

Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Let’s approach our resolutions with flexibility and kindness towards ourselves, understanding that each step forward, no matter how small, is a victory in its own right.

View of the sky looking up through a stand of trees
Credit: Ken Lane (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License)
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10.19.23 | Community

The Importance of Screen-free Time

There’s an undeniable charm in reminiscing about the times when activities like flipping the pages of a book, taking in the sounds and sights of nature, or engaging in heart-to-heart conversations didn’t involve any digital devices. Today, as we sit in the digital age, screens have seamlessly positioned themselves into the fabric of our daily lives. They connect us to distant loved ones, open doors to vast troves of information, and offer unprecedented convenience.

Yet, as much as we might appreciate the joys of instant connectivity, it’s essential to remember that there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. The pull of the screen, while captivating, often comes at the cost of neglecting the world around us.

Consistent exposure to screens has its downsides. Physically, there’s the all-too-familiar sensation of eye strain after a long day of scrolling. Our posture might hunch, and the blue light from screens can disrupt our precious sleep cycles. Mentally and emotionally, the constant barrage of information, notifications, and digital engagements can leave us feeling overwhelmed. There’s also the small shift in our social interactions, with virtual chats often replacing genuine face-to-face connections.

But stepping back from screens allows us to rediscover various joys that lie just beyond their glow. It’s similar to joyspotting, where the world reveals delightful treasures waiting to be noticed. There’s the tactile joy of sketching on paper, the rustle of leaves during a morning walk, the enriching depth of a live conversation, and the simple act of being present in the moment.

To strike a balance between the digital and the real, consider implementing some conscious changes. Set designated tech-free hours during the day, allowing yourself to disconnect and recharge. Dive into hobbies that don’t require a screen—be it gardening, painting, reading, or even just daydreaming. Encourage face-to-face interactions, whether it’s through a friendly game night, a shared meal, or a leisurely stroll.

In our fast-paced world, where screens continually beckon us, it’s a radical act of self-care to pause, put down the device, and immerse ourselves in the tangible experiences surrounding us. It’s not about dismissing the advantages of technology but about cherishing the moments that make life vibrant and genuine. So, while we continue to navigate and appreciate the digital realm, let’s also remember to frequently take a step back, breathe, and savor the world beyond the glow of screens.

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08.31.23 | Community

Starting a Business or Pursuing a Passion Project as an Older Adults

In an age where personal growth is not just a youthful pursuit, older adults are embracing the adage that age is just a number. An inspiring study found that a whopping 55% of Americans aged 45 and up are actively learning new things. But why stop at learning? Today, more and more older adults are taking their newfound knowledge and using it as a springboard to start businesses or chase after passion projects.

Starting a business or pursuing a passion project in later life brings with it a unique set of advantages. Older adults possess a wealth of life experiences, years of honed skills, and often, a network of contacts built over a lifetime. This rich tapestry can become the foundation upon which new ventures thrive.

Moreover, there’s a beauty in launching an endeavor when one has reached a stage of life where societal expectations have shifted. The fear of failure, while still present, can be overshadowed by the exhilaration of following one’s dreams. After all, what better time to take risks than when you’re armed with the greatest tool of all, wisdom.

For those teetering on the edge of taking the plunge, Vibrant Living offers a beacon of inspiration. This ethos emphasizes the importance of embracing every moment, seeking out growth opportunities, and living life to its fullest, no matter one’s age. It’s never too late to reignite old passions or discover new ones, and Vibrant Living serves as a reminder of that potential.

But how does one transition from dream to reality? It begins with a single step. Whether it’s jotting down business ideas, enrolling in a workshop, seeking mentorship, or simply dedicating time each day to nurture a hobby – every action counts. Over time, these small steps coalesce into tangible results, leading to businesses blossoming or passion projects coming to fruition.

In conclusion, the later years of life are not just about reflection; they can be about action, innovation, and chasing dreams with renewed vigor. Starting a business or delving deep into a passion project is not the realm of the young alone. It’s an adventure open to anyone with courage in their heart and the enduring spirit to pursue it.

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05.18.23 | Arts & Culture

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning: Ways You Can Stay Curious and Keep Learning at Any Age

In today’s world, learning is not just confined to the classroom. Nor is it a phase that fades after our school years. Learning is an exhilarating journey of discovery that can and should continue throughout our entire lives. At Sage Collective, we believe in the power of lifelong learning to nourish the mind, invigorate the spirit, and ultimately, facilitate a vibrant and high-quality living experience. 

Embrace the Ever-Curious Mind 

Being curious is about wanting to know more. It’s about asking questions and finding answers, about anything that interests you. This could be about the latest gadget or an old piece of history. Following your curiosity can lead to exciting discoveries and new knowledge. Remember, no matter how old you are, there’s always something new to learn.

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Throughout our programming, we’ve observed firsthand the transformative power of lifelong learning. It fosters a sense of purpose, promotes mental agility, and bolsters self-confidence. Lifelong learning can also help combat loneliness by providing opportunities to meet like-minded peers, thus forming enriching relationships. Moreover, being actively engaged in learning contributes to your overall wellbeing. Research suggests that stimulating your mind can help slow cognitive decline and improve memory function. It keeps the brain agile and the spirit youthful. 

Ways to Keep Learning 

So, how do you maintain a lifelong commitment to learning? The key is to integrate learning into your daily routine. Here are a few suggestions: 

  1. Reading: Books, newspapers, magazines or even online articles can take you on a journey of discovery. Reading not only expands your knowledge, but also stimulates your imagination and enhances your understanding of the world. 
  2. Online Courses: With advancements in technology, you can learn almost anything from the comfort of your home. Websites like Coursera or Khan Academy offer courses on a variety of subjects. There’s also TED Talks, which offers thought-provoking presentations on countless topics. 
  3. Local Community Events: Many communities host educational workshops, lectures, and events. These gatherings provide a great opportunity to learn something new, meet people with similar interests, and actively engage in your community. 
  4. Hobbies: Hobbies like painting, gardening or playing a musical instrument are not just enjoyable, but also educational. They can help develop new skills, stimulate creativity, and provide a sense of accomplishment. 
  5. Travel: If circumstances allow, traveling can be a great way to learn. Experiencing new cultures, tasting different foods, and learning new languages can provide a firsthand education that’s impossible to get in any other way. 

Remember, lifelong learning doesn’t mean becoming an expert in every subject. It’s about maintaining an open mind, staying curious, and enjoying the process of discovery. The joy lies in the journey, not just the destination. 

At Sage Collective, we encourage and celebrate a culture of continuous learning, believing it to be an essential component of vibrant living. We strive to create opportunities for our residents to explore, grow, and flourish. By choosing to stay curious and keep learning, you are not just passing time; you are creating a meaningful, engaged future. Here’s to celebrating the sage in all of us!

Sage Collective's Vibrant Living Program at Chicago Commons
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05.04.23 | Arts & Culture

Five Engaging Hobbies You Can Pick up to Keep Your Mind Active

Growing older doesn’t have to mean slowing down! In fact, our golden years can be an excellent time to embrace new hobbies that challenge our minds and help us live life to the fullest. Engaging in activities that stimulate the mind can help you stay sharp, enhance cognitive function, and add a touch of zest to everyday life. Today, we’re diving into five engaging hobbies that anyone can explore to keep their minds active and their lives vibrant:

Family History Research

Unearthing your family’s past can be a thrilling and rewarding journey. As you dive into genealogy, you’ll develop research skills, learn about history, and discover fascinating stories about your family’s heritage. It’s a wonderful way to connect with distant relatives and preserve family history for future generations. Online resources like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch make it easy to get started, and don’t forget to check out local libraries and historical societies for additional support. 

Photography

Capture the beauty around you with photography! This creative hobby can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors, giving you the freedom to express yourself artistically. With the increasing accessibility of digital tools and platforms, anyone can explore various photography styles – from stunning landscapes to captivating portraits. Share your work in online photography forums or join a local photography club to meet new friends and learn from fellow enthusiasts. 

Learning a New Language

Say ‘bonjour’ or ‘hola’ to a new language! Picking up a new language can be a delightful challenge, keeping your mind sharp and opening the door to new cultural experiences. Learning a new language not only improves memory and critical thinking skills but can also provide a sense of accomplishment. Online platforms like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, and Babbel make it easy to get started, and you can also join local language classes or conversation groups for a more interactive experience. 

Experimental Cooking 

Spice up your life by venturing into the world of experimental cooking. This delicious hobby allows you to nurture your creativity while tantalizing your taste buds. Develop your culinary skills by exploring new recipes, ingredients, and cooking techniques. Travel the world through your kitchen by trying out international cuisines or challenge yourself with unique cooking methods. Who knows, you might just discover your next signature dish! 

Bonsai Artistry

Enter the tranquil world of bonsai, where the cultivation and maintenance of miniature trees transform into living art. This unique and captivating hobby requires attention to detail, an appreciation for the natural world, and a touch of mindfulness. As you nurture your bonsai creations, you’ll find a sense of relaxation and accomplishment. Resources like books, online tutorials, and local bonsai clubs can help you embark on this beautiful journey.

Whether you’re exploring your family’s past, capturing the world through photography, learning a new language, whipping up culinary delights, or nurturing miniature trees, there’s a hobby for everyone to enjoy. So go ahead, embrace these activities and add a touch of vibrancy to your golden years!

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04.27.23 | Community

The Power of Saying “No!” Set Your Boundaries, Find Your Balance

At Sage, we recognize that achieving a balanced and gratifying life is essential for the well-being and happiness of older adults. One crucial life skill that often goes unnoticed is the ability to say “no.” In today’s blog post, we’ll delve into the significance of setting boundaries by learning when and how to say “no,” and how doing so can contribute to a more harmonious and enriching life experience.

Saying “no” is a critical aspect of establishing healthy boundaries and maintaining control over our lives and when we inversely say “yes” to everything, we can become overwhelmed, stressed, and ultimately worn out. But, by learning to say “no” when necessary, we can prioritize our well-being, concentrate on what genuinely matters, and create a more balanced, satisfying life. Time is our most precious resource on Earth, and as we age, it becomes even more valuable. By saying “no” to activities, events, or obligations that don’t align with our priorities, we can safeguard our time and energy for the things that truly matter to us such as our passions, relationships, and personal growth.

Our emotional well-being can be just as crucial as our physical health, and setting boundaries by saying “no” can play a vital role in maintaining emotional equilibrium. When we take on too much or agree to things that don’t resonate with our values, we can feel resentful, stressed, and emotionally overstimulated. By asserting ourselves and declining requests that don’t align with our needs, we can protect our emotional well-being and create a more harmonious life.

Saying “no” can also contribute to healthier, more balanced relationships. When we set clear boundaries and communicate our needs effectively, we create an environment of mutual respect and understanding. This can lead to more meaningful connections and help prevent feelings of resentment or being taken for granted. It can also be an essential part of personal growth. When we set boundaries and prioritize our own needs, we can develop a stronger sense of self-worth and confidence. 

Through a comprehensive approach to wellness, we’re dedicated to helping older adults achieve a balanced and gratifying life. Our programs and services focus on fostering personal growth, emotional well-being, and strong social connections by providing a supportive and nurturing environment that precisely empowers our residents to develop the skills and confidence needed to set healthy boundaries and lead a more balanced, rewarding life.

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03.23.23 | Community

The Role of Self-Empowerment in Overcoming Ageism

As we age, society often places unfair limitations and stereotypes on older adults. These assumptions can lead to a loss of confidence and a sense of hopelessness, while taking a heavy toll on our overall well-being. At Sage, we recognize that ageism doesn’t have to define our lives. By embracing self-empowerment, we can break through these negative beliefs and live life fully. Let’s explore some practical tips for empowering yourself and redefining aging, from crushing negative self-talk to staying active and cultivating a positive mindset!

Crushing Negative Self-Talk and Limiting Beliefs

Negative self-talk related to ageism can quietly take over and put a damper on fully embracing life and all it has to offer. If you find yourself slipping into a frame of mind that feels limiting, take a moment to challenge yourself to adopt positive, self-empowering affirmations such as, “I am capable of trying new things at any age” or “My best years are ahead of me.” Remember that you have the power to redefine aging and to live life vibrantly

Staying Active and Healthy

Staying active and healthy is also key to self-empowerment and living a vibrant life. Time and again, it has been scientifically proven that physical activity is key to improving physical health, mental health, and overall quality of life for older adults. And there’s no shortage of physical activities to choose from — walking, swimming, yoga, strength training, and did someone say pilates? It’s important to choose activities that you enjoy and that fit your individual abilities, all the while setting realistic goals and tracking your progress to stay motivated and celebrate your successes.

Cultivating Positivity

Beyond thinking positively, It’s equally important to act positively — through practicing gratitude, seeking enriching experiences, focusing on solutions, and surrounding yourself with people who are upbeat and optimistic. You can practice gratitude daily by reflecting on things you are thankful for each day. By focusing on solutions, you may come to find that opportunities lie within routine challenges. And when taking the time to commune with positive people, you soon realize that those around us deeply influence the way we think and feel. 

Ultimately, self-empowerment is about taking control of your life and shaping it in a way that aligns with your values, goals, and aspirations. At Sage, we believe that with intentional actions and determination, we can nurture a more vibrant and inclusive world for all ages.

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