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09.28.23 | Sage Advice

Who Said Playtime Is Only For Kids?

From building sandcastles to playing hopscotch, every day was an adventure as kids. But as we grew up, responsibilities piled up, and the word ‘play’ somehow took a backseat. However, diving into recent research, we’re led to a revelation: Maybe it’s high time we adults introduce play back into our daily lives for better mental health and happiness.

The Transformative Power of Play

The act of playing, it turns out, isn’t just child’s play. It’s a profound tool that can transform our well-being. Engaging in playful activities has the potential to boost creativity, alleviate stress, and elevate our mood. It’s a reminder that joyspotting doesn’t have an age limit.

Engaging in play can also aid in cognitive functions. Just as children use play to understand the world, adults can use it to sharpen their minds, enhance problem-solving skills, and even foster better relationships with others. When we laugh, play, and engage in light-hearted competition, we break barriers, build trust, and foster camaraderie.

Reclaiming Your Playful Spirit with Vibrant Living

Our Vibrant Living program at Sage Collective recognizes the essence of holistic well-being. It’s not just about maintaining our physical health; it’s about nurturing our emotional and mental well-being. Embracing play and playful activities is aligned with this ethos, promoting not just life, but a life lived to its fullest.

So, how do you reintroduce play into your life? You don’t need a playground or toys. Playing for adults could mean trying out a new hobby, dancing whenever and wherever, joining a recreational sports league, or simply engaging in light-hearted banter with friends.

In the whirlwind of responsibilities and deadlines, it’s easy to dismiss play as frivolous. But as research suggests, it might be one of the simplest yet profound ways to infuse joy into our lives. Rediscover the magic of play. In doing so, you won’t just be rejoicing in the moment, but rejuvenating your soul. After all, why should kids have all the fun?

Who Said Playtime Is Only For Kids?
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04.20.23 | Sage Advice

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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03.16.23 | Sage Advice

The Benefits of Music When Aging

Typically those who seek to firm up their body, and become stronger typically head to the gym. If you want to exercise your mind, listen to music. There are few things that stimulate the brain like music does and this is why it’s so great throughout the aging process. Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, pain, blood pressure, as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory. So how is all of this possible? Simply put, vibrations.

A Brain Rattling Connection

Experts are still trying to understand how exactly our brains turn sound into music. Their current consensus — a stereo system puts out vibrations that travel through the air and reach the ear canal. Those vibrations tickle the eardrum and are transmitted into an electrical signal that travels through the auditory nerve to the brain stem. Assembled. Then transformed into what we know as — music.

Music is actually very mathematically structured, some may even say architectural in how a song is constructed, it’s built from the relationship between one note to the next and although you aren’t aware of it, it takes a lot of brain work to process it.

Musical Benefits

Interesting research aside, listening to your favorite song provides some very intriguing brain benefits you should be aware of and that will keep you feeling youthful. 

Music can form part of the treatment for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It has also been scientifically proven to lower cortisol, the stress hormone. And increase dopamine, the reward hormone, which can help to elevate your mood. The part of the brain called the amygdala is responsible for processing the sounds we hear, along with our mood and emotions.

Listen to what your grandchildren are listening to, experts suggest. We know it can be intimidating when we tend to stick to our usual music library built in our 20s. But new music challenges the brain in a way that old music doesn’t. It might not feel pleasurable at first, but that unfamiliarity forces the brain to understand the new sound, creating neuron connections in the brain that are both new and revitalized!

Lastly, pay attention to how your body reacts to different forms of music. What helps one person concentrate might be distracting to someone else. And what helps one person unwind might make another person jumpy. Music is ultimately meant to be enjoyed alone or with others, to make us feel every emotion there is, and to help live a more youthful vibrant life!

Music
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03.02.23 | Sage Advice

The Healing Properties and Benefits of Crocheting

Let’s be real, arts and crafts are more than just a fun pastime. They are truly healing and restorative acts and in many cases, therapeutic. In fact, the health benefits from crocheting (and knitting) are numerous! These health benefits range from simply calming you down and easing your stress — to potentially relieving depression and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Crocheting doesn’t just help you if you’re the one who’s sick. It helps those around you, your friends and family that help you, love you, and support you. 

Helps With Insomnia

Believe it or not, crocheting helps with insomnia. By focusing on something that’s soothing, you can calm your mind and body enough to help you fall asleep. So the next time you’re tossing and turning in the middle of the night, don’t get frustrated, just pick up your sticks and get to work!

Stress Relief

It should come as no surprise that picking up your crochet hooks and some yarn are a step towards relaxation. By focusing on something other than our thoughts, the repetitive motions you make along with the individual stitches you create leaves you feeling stress free and fulfilled. Especially knowing that you’ve created something special for a family member, significant other, or friend.

Helping Ease Depression

According to this article by Healthline, it’s been scientifically proven that doing the things we enjoy releases dopamine, a chemical responsible for “feel good” or “happy” emotions. This in-turn functions much like an antidepressant. Crafts like crocheting can stimulate that dopamine release to allow us to feel happier and better about ourselves.

Taking Control of Your Life

Lastly, the act of crocheting helps you take control of your life. Whether you feel helpless as a caregiver watching someone struggle or you’re the one struggling with your own illness or problems. Crocheting is a way to put the control back into your own hands – literally. By choosing to craft, you are in full control of everything. From the type of project you’ll be making, the color and type of yarn, all the way down to the type of crochet hooks you work with. And that’s what makes the difference in feeling like you have a say again. 

 

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02.16.23 | Sage Advice

Overstimulation: How to Shut Out the Noise

Think back to a time when your heart was racing, and your senses were in disarray. Where your mind, body, and spirit were being swallowed by a dark torrent that refused to let go. You probably asked yourself, “what’s happening to me?” The peace you carried as you were running errands, working out, or simply walking was no longer present and neither — were you. That’s what overstimulation — in other words, sensory overload feels like, and we’re going to show you how to shut out the noise.

Sensory overload is when one or many of your senses become overstimulated. This overstimulation happens because of stressful external stimuli in your environment. Think of it as your brain trying to juggle everything all at once. Two results can happen: your brain can keep juggling until it no longer feels the need to hold onto the extra mumbo-jumbo of the day. Or it can inevitably drop everything forcefully — leaving you exhausted. 

Seek Help

One of the first things to do is to seek help from a professional. Many qualified psychologists and occupational therapists have experience treating overstimulation. Techniques like behavioral therapy, and sensory integration help patients engage with the world around them, learning healthy long-term coping mechanisms. 

Self Care

Self-care is another extremely important facet of our daily lives when it comes to managing stress. It’s ingrained into much of what we do here at Sage Collective and is vital to our Vibrant Living model. Give yourself permission, and time to rest and recharge. This means setting boundaries, putting down the phone, remote, or laptop and finding something else to redirect your time and attention towards. 

Mindful Breathing

Practice mindful breathing, scientific studies have shown that mindful breathing techniques can reduce stress and promote physical and mental well-being. Breathing essentially acts as an anchor that will keep you rooted in place against the aforementioned torrent. Finding the time to stop and take a few breaths has also been proven to release endorphins from the brain to promote a sense of relaxation and calm, give us more energy, release muscle tension and decrease pain.

We urge you to continue to find coping mechanisms and ways to restore balance in this fast-paced world, ones that you’re most comfortable with and can maintain for the long-term. Your inner peace is vital to leading a healthy and vibrant life, one that is full of purpose, and engagement.  

At peace
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10.06.22 | Sage Advice

Storytelling: Chicago’s Essential Book List

Similar to armchair travel, one of the best ways to understand unfamiliar cultures and experiences is simply by opening a book. Numerous authors and poets have been inspired by Chicago’s neighborhoods and residents and a rich array of literature has been created detailing the Chicago experience. And, since Sage Collective’s roots lay in the Windy City, we’re no stranger to the endless amount of rich stories we believe should be shared. From soul-nourishing poetry to unforgettable thrillers, here are a few of the classics that have endured for generations and continue to illuminate the city in new ways to all readers.

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Erik Larson’s best-selling work of non-fiction set at the cusp of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair follows the lives of famed architect and city planner Daniel Burnham and one of America’s most notorious serial killers, Dr. H. H. Holmes. Throughout his notorious time in Chicago, Holmes lived in multiple residences, one of which was at 1220 W. Wrightwood Ave in Lincoln Park, which has been demolished and reconstructed as a single-family home. Larson creates a portrait of two men making names for themselves in a city that, at the time, was set to be the largest metropolis in America. Devil in the White City is gripping, gives a vivid glimpse into Chicago’s boom age, and shares a historic perspective of its inhabitants and how the city came to be known as the “white city.”

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street follows 12-year-old Esperanza Cordero growing up in Chicago’s Hispanic quarter. The novel is considered one of the modern classics of Chicano literature. Written by Sandra Cisneros, this coming-of-age masterpiece depicts the trials of being young and poor in Chicago and what it means to belong in the city as a young Chicana girl.

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Considered the “greatest of all American urban novels,” Sister Carrie is the story of fame and aspiration in Chicago. Follow 18-year-old, dissatisfied Caroline Meeber from small-town Wisconsin as she rises to fame during the turn of the century in the big city of Chicago but continues to grapple with the loneliness and unhappiness she felt at home. Dreiser is considered one of the masters of realism, focusing on the instincts of his characters to drive the plot and presenting his characters to the reader without judgment.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

One of the greatest American novels of all time, Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle is perhaps one of the first books that come to mind when considering Chicago literature. Not for the faint of heart, The Jungle reveals harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants working in the industrial centers of cities. The Jungle does not shy away from gruesome details depicting the realities of Chicago’s stockyards in the early 1900s and caused a public uproar. 

A Street in Bronzeville by Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks writes about Chicago’s south side like nobody else. A Street in Bronzeville, Brooks’ first book of poetry, is a display of her poetic genius and an ode to the beauty and hardships of the city’s south side. The sensational work of poetry touches on her own living conditions in Chicago as a Black tenant. And, many of the poems were created at Bronzeville’s South Side Art Center.

The Coast of Chicago by Stuart Dybek

Stuart Dybek is a local legend, and The Coast of Chicago, one of Dybek’s earlier short story collections, is a testament to his genius. Dybek depicts the city in an honest, but poetic light true to his experiences growing up in Pilsen. The Coast of Chicago is an intimate portrait of the city through Dybek’s eyes, and each story in the collection is a little gem of Chicago-centric storytelling.

The main branch of the Chicago Public Library system, the Loop's Harold Washington Library
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01.20.22 | Sage Advice

National Bills Look to Recognize Bronzeville as a National Heritage Area

At Sage Collective, Bronzeville has always held a significantly special place in our hearts and identity. And, even as we continue to expand beyond our neighborhood’s borders, one of our favorite things is to spotlight the achievements and impacts that the community leaves on Chicago and the rest of the country. Today we’re exploring our neighborhood’s latest recognition: the national bills seeking to honor Bronzeville as a National Heritage Area.

Over the past few years, Bronzeville has seen a true renaissance; welcoming new businesses, families and cultures while still showing deep respect and appreciation for its vibrant history. As one of the most thriving Black communities throughout the early 20th century, Bronzeville set itself apart as a hub for talented artists and musicians, stunning architecture, booming businesses and more. 

Introduced by US Representative Bobby Bush and Senator Dick Durban, the bills intend to identify a new national heritage site within Bronzeville because of its rich contribution to the country’s culture. Although a similar bill in 2016 proved unsuccessful in passing, the latest version is backed by extensive planning and organizing.

If passed, the exciting recognition would welcome a breath of energy to the community. With more and more developments blooming each day, the implementation of the bills would further expand the resurgence within the community. They now head to the subcommittee on National Parks, where they get reviewed before being voted on by the United States House and Senate. 

With only two other National Historic Areas in the state, Bronzeville would continue to set itself apart as a cultural landmark not only within Illinois but throughout the country. You can find updates on the progress of the House of Representatives’ bill here and the Senate’s bill here

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01.06.22 | Sage Advice

Health Benefits of Natural Light

For many of us, winter can be tough on our bodies, so the cold weather encourages us to shelter indoors. You’ll often hear from doctors and medical professionals the importance of Vitamin D in our lives throughout this season especially. Today, we’re highlighting the importance natural light plays in our lives and the significant benefits it can provide to us, especially during the winter: 

Improves Physical Health

There are a slew of health benefits you receive from catching some sunny rays. Spending time in natural light ups your Vitamin D level, also known as the sunshine vitamin. Appropriate levels of Vitamin D support your immune system as well as promote muscle and bone growth, as well as can help prevent depression, heart disease, and even some cancers!

Improves Productivity and Mindset

The more time you spend in the sun, the more you may notice your productivity going up. Studies have shown that there are strong links between natural light and daily productivity. Also, as mentioned earlier, natural light works to keep your mood lighter, actively working to prevent mental illnesses like Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression. All in all, natural light can truly help improve all aspects of life – whether it be mental or physical, natural light improves your general wellbeing! 

Ways to Find More Natural Light

Of course, the best way to improve your intake of natural light is by going outdoors. However, there are some adjustments you can make in your home to give yourself that sunny, natural feel. Mirrors and reflective metals can be your best friends! Things like reflective tiles, silver picture frames and glass chandeliers are going to reflect light in your home beautifully. Pair these things with a light color scheme–like white tones and light colors–in your home to maximize the amount of natural light you receive. 

At Sage Collective, we believe in the power of vibrant living. One of the best ways you can live vibrantly and boost your health this winter season is by providing yourself with as much natural light as possible.

A woman with headphones touches a green plant outdoors.
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12.30.21 | Sage Advice

Resolutions for 2022

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success in a new year is by making a list of resolutions before it starts. This tradition is a powerful way to articulate your values and can hold you accountable for your goals heading into the new year. In case you’re unsure of what to add to your to-do list, here are some resolutions you can take into 2022 to continue championing a vibrant lifestyle.

Start Something You’ve Always Dreamed About

Heading into the new year, make it a priority to make an ambitious dream come true. Not only is it essential to set goals for yourself throughout the new year, but achieving them leads to significantly rewarding experiences. Whether you want to head back to school, discover a new hobby or change career paths, don’t be afraid to take initiative of your life. Fulfilling dreams helps give your life purpose, control and meaning. And, if this isn’t the year to do it, when is?

Put Your Health First

Putting your health first encompasses a variety of choices that you can make throughout the year. It’s important to remember that your body’s health consists of both physical and mental elements. So, while making sure you try to incorporate moderate, regular physical activity into your life along with a variety of nutritious foods, taking care of your mental health is just as important. And, lucky enough, sometimes specific actions will go hand in hand with helping both areas of wellness. 

Live in the Moment

If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t take anything for granted. We believe one of the most significant goals you should have in the new year is to live in the present. To do so, you must focus on the now. A few great ways to do this are by practicing mindfulness, performing meditation or simply performing random acts of kindness in your community.  

We’re thankful to keep learning from the lessons that 2021 has taught us and couldn’t be more excited to see how our resolutions will play out in the upcoming year!

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12.28.21 | Sage Advice

2021: A Year in Review

2021 was a year of growth for Sage Collective, as we continued evolving and celebrating exciting milestones. Today, we’re reflecting on the past year and sharing our proudest achievements:

Breaking Ground on Our King Drive Properties

In 2020 we acquired our first two properties located in the Bronzeville community at 4108 and 4112 South King Drive. This year, we were proud to officially break ground on the project. In September 2021, Sage Collective’s Board of Directors and various members of our wonderful construction crew including, the General Contractor Shevaz Freeman, Owner’s Rep Ernest Brown and the Architect Gregory Williams, gathered to celebrate the event. In addition to the groundbreaking, we sat down with Board Member and VP for Legal & Development Dwain Kyles to learn more about the project and how it contributes to Sage’s vision for the future.  

Partnership With Chicago Commons

At the beginning of April, Sage Collective collaborated with Chicago Commons, a longstanding trailblazer of change in our community. The two-part live Q&A event addressed both facts and myths regarding the COVID-19 virus and vaccination that was new to everyone at the time. Rear Admiral (Ret) James M. Galloway, MD, FACP, FACC, who is one of the brilliant minds on our leadership team, helped answer a variety of questions and addressed the medical inequity in Black and Brown communities. Stay tuned for upcoming events with Chicago Commons in the new year.

Expanding our Vision

Following the launch of our website, blog and social media platforms in 2020, we have continued to share engaging material that enlightens audiences with our rich vision for the future. Along with elaborating on our 9 Vibrant Ways of Living, we were able to have meaningful conversations that amplified our work as we continue celebrating the historic community of Bronzeville. With the wealth of knowledge and experience from everyone on our team, we have broadened a collective understanding of older adult living, health and wellness that has led us to become changemakers in our community, where we are focused on creating innovative strategies for older adult programming, residences and lifestyles. 

We can’t wait to continue sharing this journey with you and see what 2022 brings!

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