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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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05.15.24 | Health & Wellness

Crafting Your Advocacy Plan for Aging Well

In the enlightening episode of the Sage Vibrant Living podcast, “Speak Up! How to Advocate as You Age,” featuring Emilie McKendall and Dwain Kyles, the profound importance of advocacy in ensuring a vibrant, fulfilling life at any age is brought to the forefront. This episode tackles the systemic and cultural barriers that impede proper elder care but also underscores the significance of building a supportive, inclusive community that values intergenerational connections and leverages technology to combat isolation.

Drawing inspiration from Emilie and Dwain’s powerful call to action, let’s delve into how older adults can develop a comprehensive advocacy plan to navigate the complexities of aging with confidence and support. As we age, having a solid advocacy plan becomes as essential as any health regimen or financial strategy. Advocacy empowers us to ensure that our needs and preferences are respected in health care, legal rights, and access to community resources. Here’s a practical guide for older adults to develop a comprehensive advocacy plan that supports vibrant and independent living throughout the golden years.

Step 1: Assess Your Needs
Start by assessing your current and future needs in various aspects of your life. Consider health care requirements, living arrangements, legal needs, and social interactions. Reflect on questions like:

  • What kind of medical care might I need in the future?
  • How do I want to manage my financial and legal affairs as I age?
  • What community resources are essential for my continued independence?

This assessment will help you understand what needs to be addressed in your advocacy plan and identify areas where you may require support.

Step 2: Set Clear Goals
Once you’ve assessed your needs, set clear and achievable goals for each aspect. Goals could include:

  • Ensuring you have a health care proxy who understands your wishes.
  • Setting up legal documents like wills or living trusts.
  • Engaging with local community centers for social and recreational activities.

Ensure these goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART), which will make the planning process more structured and effective.

Step 3: Understand Your Rights
It’s crucial to understand your legal rights as an older adult. Familiarize yourself with laws and entitlements such as Medicare, Social Security benefits, and the Older Americans Act. Knowing your rights can help you advocate effectively if your rights are not being honored or if you face discrimination based on age.

Step 4: Build a Support Network
Advocacy is not a solo journey. Build a network of trusted individuals who can help you navigate complex systems and make informed decisions. This network might include family members, friends, health care providers, legal advisors, and community advocates. Regular meetings with your support network can keep everyone informed and engaged in your advocacy plan.

Step 5: Leverage Community Resources
Identify and connect with local resources that can support your goals. Many communities offer senior centers, legal aid clinics, health workshops, and other services beneficial for aging adults. Engaging with these resources can provide additional support and advocacy in areas you might not manage alone.

Step 6: Communicate Effectively
Effective communication is key to successful advocacy. Whether you’re discussing plans with your family, instructing your health care proxy, or expressing concerns to your doctor, clear communication helps ensure your voice is heard and your wishes are understood. Consider preparing key points ahead of meetings or discussions and always follow up in writing if necessary.

Step 7: Stay Informed and Flexible
Laws, policies, and personal circumstances can change. Stay informed about developments in health care, legal issues, and community resources. Regularly review and update your advocacy plan to reflect any new laws, health care innovations, or changes in your personal life.

Creating an advocacy plan is an empowering step towards ensuring that you continue to live with dignity, respect, and independence as you age. Your voice is crucial in shaping how you navigate the complexities of aging. By taking proactive steps to advocate for yourself, you set the stage for not just aging well, but thriving in your later years.

 

Credit: Black Health Matters
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05.05.24 | Community

Celebrating Older Americans Month 2024: “Powered by Connection”

May marks an important observance in the United States — Older Americans Month (OAM), a time dedicated to honoring the enduring contributions of older adults and advocating for their well-being. At Sage Collective, we treasure this observation that aligns with our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living and all we believe in.

Established in 1963 and evolving from “Senior Citizens Month” to “Older Americans Month” in 1980, this annual celebration not only highlights the achievements of older adults but also addresses the critical issues they face today. The theme for 2024, “Powered by Connection,” underscores the significant role that social connections play in enhancing the health and well-being of our senior population.

This year’s theme, “Powered by Connection,” invites us to reflect on how vital social relationships are to sustaining physical, mental, and emotional health. Studies have shown that older adults who maintain a network of relationships experience better health, live longer, and enjoy a higher quality of life. The theme encourages communities and individuals alike to foster these essential connections, combating the isolation that too often accompanies aging.

Strategies for Building and Maintaining Connections
As we continue to explore effective ways to build and maintain connections at Sage Collective, here are some of the most potent — and simple — strategies we suggest:

Community Engagement: Active participation in local events, clubs, or groups can provide consistent social interaction and a sense of belonging. Older adults are encouraged to engage in community centers, religious organizations, or hobby-based groups to expand their social circles.

Leveraging Technology: In an increasingly digital world, technology offers a lifeline to maintain and grow relationships. Whether it’s video calls with family, joining online forums, or participating in virtual events, technology can bridge the physical gap between friends and loved ones.

Volunteering: Offering time and skills to causes can connect older adults with like-minded individuals while contributing positively to the community. Volunteering is also a powerful way for older individuals to feel valued and purposeful.

Older Americans Month also serves as a platform for discussing and addressing the policy issues affecting the elderly. It’s an opportunity to advocate for improvements in healthcare, social security, and retirement benefits, ensuring that older adults can enjoy their later years with dignity and security.

A Call to Action
“Powered by Connection” is a call to action for every member of the community to ensure that our older adults are integrated, respected, and cared for. As we celebrate Older Americans Month, let us all commit to fostering these crucial connections. It’s about making sure that our communities are places where older adults can thrive and continue to contribute their vast knowledge and experience.

Let’s use this month to honor the immense value that older adults bring to our lives and our societies. By supporting their health and well-being through meaningful connections, we not only enhance their lives but also enrich our own.

To learn more about Older Americans Month, visit the Administration for Community Living website. Let’s celebrate this month by embracing our elders with open arms and open hearts, proving that community strength truly is powered by connection.

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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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06.15.23 | Community

The Importance of Mental Health for Men: Breaking Down Barriers and Stigmas

As we embrace Men’s Health Month this June, we at Sage Collective aim to draw attention to an often-ignored aspect of men’s wellbeing – mental health. The stigmas and misconceptions surrounding this topic can often sideline it, but we believe it’s essential for everyone to pay attention to mental health just as much as physical health.

Traditional societal norms might suggest men should suppress their emotions and maintain an exterior of strength, thereby inadvertently neglecting their mental health. However, mental health issues do not discriminate between genders and can affect anyone. Acknowledging and addressing these issues is crucial for overall health and wellbeing.

The concept that men should endure their mental health struggles silently continues to prevail. These outdated notions not only undermine the severity of mental health issues but also discourage men from seeking the help they need. This is a narrative we, as a society, must strive to change.

Promoting a culture where mental health is openly discussed, where men are encouraged to express their feelings and seek assistance when needed, is vital. The first step in doing this is to encourage dialogue. The act of sharing personal experiences and listening to others can go a long way in fostering understanding and empathy.

In addition to fostering open dialogue, we also need to focus on educating ourselves and others about mental health. Knowledge about the various mental health issues, their symptoms, and how to seek help is an essential tool for early intervention and recovery.

It’s also important to dismantle the misconception that mental health care is a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it’s a demonstration of strength and self-awareness. It takes courage to acknowledge personal struggles and seek help.

Recognizing the importance of men’s mental health should not be confined to Men’s Health Month alone, but it’s a good place to start. It’s an opportunity to bring men’s mental health into focus, challenge the existing stigmas, and advocate for mental health as an integral part of overall health.

At Sage Collective, we’re dedicated to this mission. Join us this Men’s Health Month as we strive to spread awareness and create a society where mental health, for both men and women, is prioritized and discussed openly without prejudice.

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04.20.23 | Community

Some People Age Faster Than Others, and That’s Okay

At Sage, we believe that vibrant living is the cornerstone of a fulfilling and healthy life, especially as we age. One intriguing question that often pops up is why some people seem to age faster than others. In today’s blog post, we’ll explore the factors that influence the aging process and how understanding and accepting them can help you achieve a more vibrant living experience.

Genetics

The truth is that genetics play a significant role in determining how we age. Our genes can influence our skin’s elasticity, the rate at which we develop wrinkles, and even our susceptibility to age-related diseases. However, while genetics may provide a blueprint for aging, it’s crucial to remember that it’s not the sole determining factor. In fact, studies suggest that genetics account for only 20-30% of our aging process, leaving the remaining 70-80% within our control.

Lifestyle Choices

Our lifestyle choices have a profound impact on how we age, with factors such as diet, hydration levels, exercise, and stress management playing essential roles in maintaining a youthful and vibrant living experience. By making conscious decisions to eat a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, drink the daily recommended amount of water, engage in regular physical activity, and practice stress reduction techniques, we can slow down the aging process and promote a more youthful, energetic lifestyle.

Skin Care and Sun Protection

The way we care for our skin and protect it from the sun’s harmful rays is also an essential factor in the aging process. Consistent and effective skincare routines, including cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing, can go a long way in maintaining a healthy, youthful complexion. Additionally, using sun protection and avoiding excessive sun exposure can help prevent premature aging caused by the sun’s damaging effects.

Mindset: A Powerful Catalyst for Vibrant Living

Believe it or not, our mindset can also play a significant role in how we age. Maintaining a positive outlook on life, embracing new experiences, and fostering strong social connections can help combat age-related stress and cognitive decline. A youthful mindset, combined with a proactive approach to wellness, can lead to a more vibrant living experience that defies the march of time.

We’re dedicated to helping older adults achieve the highest possible quality of life through a comprehensive approach to wellness. Our principles and practices are designed to promote vibrant living by focusing on physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By providing a supportive and nurturing environment, we empower our residents to take control of their aging process and embrace a more fulfilling, youthful lifestyle.

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04.06.23 | Community

Adapting To Your Living Space As You Age

Aging gracefully is about more than just accepting our changing appearance and the natural passage of time; it’s also about curating a living space that radiates warmth, comfort, and safety. At Sage, we believe that age-friendly home renovations are the key to creating an environment that evolves seamlessly with our residents’ needs, promoting their well-being and independence. Today, we’ll explore the transformative power of various age-friendly home renovations that can invigorate the lives of older adults.

As we age, our mobility may change, but that shouldn’t stop us from living life to the fullest. Creating a living space that is easily navigable ensures that our homes accommodate these changes, allowing us to maintain our independence and enjoy daily routines without feeling restricted. By widening doorways, installing ramps or stairlifts, and adding handrails to stairs, we can enhance accessibility and provide a sense of security and freedom.

For older adults, the bathroom can be a treacherous territory. Slippery surfaces and limited space can lead to falls and injuries. However, by installing grab bars, walk-in showers or tubs, and elevated toilet seats, we can significantly improve safety and ease of use, turning the bathroom into a tranquil haven of comfort and security.

The kitchen on the other hand is often the heart of the home, a place where we spend considerable time preparing meals and bonding with family and friends. As we age, adapting the kitchen to our needs becomes vital. Allowing us to continue savoring our culinary passions without the added strain. Installing adjustable countertops, pull-out shelves, easy-to-grip handles, and touchless features can transform your kitchen into an inviting and functional space.

Age-Proofing Your Kitchen Space

Living Spaces

Speaking of inviting spaces, our bedroom and living areas are where we relax, unwind, and recharge. Ensuring these spaces are designed for comfort and functionality is crucial for maintaining a high quality of life as we age. Selecting furniture that’s easy to get in and out of, keeping the environment clutter-free, and providing adequate space for maneuvering can make daily living more enjoyable and comfortable. Good lighting is also essential for creating inviting and safer spaces, as it helps prevent falls and makes daily tasks easier. Ensuring that all walkways, staircases, and rooms are well-lit can provide a sense of safety and well-being. Installing brighter lights, motion-activated lighting, and nightlights in key areas can make a significant difference in overall visibility and ambiance.

Next is outdoor space, creating welcoming and accessible outdoor spaces can greatly enhance an older adult’s quality of life. Spending time outdoors, whether gardening or simply enjoying a cup of tea on the patio, can provide both physical and mental health benefits. By maintaining walkways, installing slip-resistant surfaces, and creating easy-to-reach gardening beds, we can foster a connection to nature and encourage more outdoor activities.

In the end, age-friendly home renovations can significantly enhance an older adult’s quality of life. By making thoughtful adjustments to our living spaces, we create a comfortable and safe environment that supports our evolving needs. With the right planning, professional guidance, and useful resources, we can transform our homes into havens that allow us to thrive and enjoy our golden years. So, take the first step and start planning your age-friendly home renovations today!

 

Living Space
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10.20.22 | Community

Transform Your Kitchen into a Vibrant Gathering Space

Kitchens are made for more than just cooking, which is one of the many reasons why the room can draw in family, friends and everyone in between. Although often referred to as the heart of the home today, not every modern kitchen is set up for family gatherings or entertaining. Luckily, there are countless ways you can transform your kitchen into a warm and welcoming gathering place fit for anyone!

Open the Space

One of the best ways you can make your kitchen space more functional is by opening it up. This is one of the easiest methods you can take to bring new life to your kitchen. By rearranging the room in a more open layout, the space immediately becomes more accessible for any size crowd you bring into your home. And, if your kitchen space is inherently small, don’t be afraid to expand the gathering space into nearby rooms like your dining area.

Fill the Room with Memorabilia

Nothing makes a home space more inviting than personalizing it with family photos and other memorabilia items that hold a special place in your household. And, since the kitchen is the heart of the home, there’s no better room to use as a display! Not only does it help with creating positive energy in the room, but they also work as conversation starters. Whether you create a dedicated wall to hang your favorite framed pictures or keep a favorite photo album on a side table, everyone is sure to appreciate the memories. 

Make it Kid-Friendly

Often kids don’t spend as much time interacting in the kitchen as adults do because of sharp knives or hot stoves. However, the kitchen can’t be the heart of the home unless everyone is welcome, which is why it’s imperative to make the room as kid-friendly as possible. Begin by removing sharp tools from sight and storing them in secure drawers or cabinets. Other ways you can transform the space is by investing in a stepping stool or other kid-size tools and furnishings for the room. 

With only a few changes, your kitchen can transform into the vibrant gathering space it’s meant to be, and soon it’ll become the most beloved area in the house. 

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09.15.22 | Community

The Season for Slowing Down

With fall ending and autumn right around the corner, it’s time to wave warm weather and long days goodbye and welcome the vibrant colors and brisk breezes that come with the new season. You might also be experiencing shifts in your own life too, which is why it’s critical to continue filling your days with activities that enrich both your body and your soul. Today, we’re sharing how you can ensure vibrant living this fall: 

Get Outside

There’s no better place to be than outside in the fall. Encourage yourself to embrace the outdoors this season by utilizing community paths and trails or taking a trip to an apple orchard or park. Another great way to get outdoors is by planning a hiking trip or a road trip to witness the colors that come with the autumn season. While you’re outdoors, indulge in an awe-walk or a podcast.

Choose In-Season Cuisine 

With fall comes some of the tastiest seasonal produce with fruits like apples, pears and pumpkins and vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash. Visit your local farmers market or store to pick up the fresh produce and cook away! Some of our favorite fall recipes include pumpkin oatmeal, chicken and white bean soup and adobe chicken and kale enchiladas

Slow Down

If summer left you scattered or feeling like you had no time to yourself, fall is the perfect time to slow down and do more for your wellbeing. Incorporate more mindful moments throughout your day and make it a point to spend more time on yourself. Yoga and meditation are both great activities for grounding and reflection, and in the fall, you can do both outsides!

Fall is the season for slowing down. Embrace the cool weather, make the most of the season by cooking up season recipes and ground your mind, body and soul. 

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05.19.22 | Community

The Best Houseplants to Bring Life to Your Living Space

At Sage Collective, we recognize the vast health benefits that come with getting your hands dirty and gardening. Whether it’s a community garden, a personal herb garden, or simply adopting a few plants for your home, surrounding yourself with greenery helps improve everything from the air to your mood. We’ve previously shared our tips for caring for houseplants, but today, we’re exploring which plants would make the best fit for your home. Whether you’re a gardening expert or new to the plant world, here’s our guide on the best houseplants to bring life to your living space. 

Snake Plant

Snake Plants are one of the most popular houseplants for a reason – actually, many reasons! Not only do they adapt to any space they are put in, large or small, but they are one of the easiest plants to take care of. Whether you have an abundance of natural light in your home or are lacking the sun’s rays, your Snake Plant will find a way to thrive in any corner. And, even though they range from one to four feet tall, they still make the perfect plant for small spaces, considering the little width they take up. 

Boston Fern

A fern is an essential element of any person’s indoor plant collection, and what better option than the Boston Fern? Don’t let the fern aspect of the plant scare you. While it loves humanity and bright, indirect light – making it the perfect porch plant – it’s pretty easy to care for. Not only will they supply your living environment with lush greenery, but ferns are also known for their ability to clean the air they live in. Another benefit of the Boston Fern is that it is pet safe for dogs and cats! 

Monstera

What is often presented as just the trendy plant is actually one of the best plants to invite life to your indoor space. Because they exude tropical, lush energy, Monsteras can quickly transform the feel of any environment. They are easy to care for, considering they do best in bright, indirect sunlight, aren’t strict with watering, and usually alert you with visual cues when they need some extra attention. 

Anthurium

You can’t have an indoor garden without having at least one blooming beauty. While there are many options to choose from, we believe Anthuriums are the best all-around flowering plant for your indoors. Surprisingly easy to care for, Anthurium plants are a great beginner plant for those who are scared they might not have the green thumb for a blooming plant. They love water and humid environments and, when completely satisfied, will bloom the most vibrant red flowers. 

Whether you’re looking to decrease stress and anxiety, hope to improve your air quality and mood, or simply want to brighten up your living environment with some greenery, adopting a houseplant – or a few – is sure to benefit you more than one way. So, what are you waiting for; Find your local plant store and discover the perfect plant to bring a little extra life into your living space.

 

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