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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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04.24.24 | Arts & Culture

Tea Traditions from Around the World: A Journey in Mindfulness and Wellness

In cultures around the globe, tea is much more than a mere beverage — it’s a ritual, a tradition, and a way of life. At Sage Collective, where we champion wellness and mindfulness, exploring the diverse tea traditions from around the world offers us a unique lens through which to understand different cultures, as well as to appreciate the profound ways in which this ancient drink promotes health, community, and peace of mind.

The Art of Tea in Japan: Chanoyu
The Japanese tea ceremony, or Chanoyu, is a revered art form that embodies the principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. This intricate ritual of preparing and serving matcha (powdered green tea) is a meditative practice, inviting participants to be fully present in the moment. The ceremony is not just about drinking tea, but about appreciating the beauty in simplicity, the changing seasons, and the craftsmanship of the tea utensils. Chanoyu encapsulates the essence of mindfulness, encouraging a deep connection with oneself and with others.

China: The Birthplace of Tea
China, where tea was first discovered, boasts a rich and diverse tea culture. From the ceremonial Gongfu tea ceremony, which emphasizes the skill and precision of brewing tea, to the casual enjoyment of Yum Cha, or “drinking tea” in Cantonese, accompanied by dim sum in the morning or afternoon. Each region has its own preferred type of tea, from the delicate green teas of the east to the robust pu-erh teas of Yunnan. Tea in China is more than a drink; it’s a bridge to conversation, friendship, and philosophical reflection.

Moroccan Mint Tea: Hospitality in a Glass
In Morocco, serving mint tea is an act of hospitality, friendship, and tradition. Prepared with green tea, fresh mint, and a generous amount of sugar, this sweet and refreshing beverage is served throughout the day, especially to welcome guests. The pouring of the tea from a height creates a frothy top, a skillful display that adds to the enjoyment. Moroccan mint tea is not just a drink; it’s an invitation to sit, chat, and enjoy the company of others.

India: Chai, A Spiced Brew of Unity
In India, chai is more than just a tea — it’s a way of life. This spiced tea, made with black tea, milk, sugar, and a blend of spices such as cardamom, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, is enjoyed by millions across the country. Chai is ubiquitous, from bustling city streets to quiet rural villages, and its preparation and consumption are a time for pause and connection. The act of sharing chai fosters a sense of community and belonging, making it a potent symbol of unity in diversity.

British Afternoon Tea: Elegance and Etiquette
The British tradition of afternoon tea is a quintessential ritual that speaks to the elegance and etiquette of tea drinking. Introduced in the 1840s, this mid-afternoon break was meant to bridge the long gap between meals. Today, it’s an elaborate affair often accompanied by scones, sandwiches, and cakes. Afternoon tea is a celebration of social interaction, an opportunity to gather and converse in a relaxed setting.

Peru: The Healing Mate de Coca
In Peru, the traditional tea known as Mate de Coca is made from the leaves of the coca plant, revered for its healing properties. This herbal tea has been a staple in Andean culture for centuries, used both in daily life and sacred rituals. It is believed to alleviate altitude sickness, a common ailment in the high altitudes of the Andes, making it a vital part of Peruvian hospitality towards visitors. Mate de Coca symbolizes the deep relationship between the Andean people and their environment, showcasing how tea can be a bridge between health, culture, and the natural world.

Mexico: The Aromatic Tisanes
Mexico’s rich herbal tea tradition, or “tisanes,” involves brewing a variety of local herbs and flowers known for their medicinal properties. Among the most beloved is Manzanilla (chamomile), often consumed for its soothing and digestive benefits. Another popular choice is Flor de Jamaica (hibiscus tea), celebrated for its vibrant color, tart flavor, and healthful qualities. These herbal teas reflect Mexico’s biodiverse landscape and the indigenous knowledge of natural remedies, offering a comforting and healthful embrace in every cup.

Nepal: The High Mountain Teas
Nepal, with its sprawling tea gardens in the foothills of the Himalayas, is renowned for producing some of the world’s finest teas. Nepali tea traditions blend the cultivation practices of China with the processing methods of India, resulting in unique flavors and aromas. Drinking tea in Nepal is a daily ritual that signifies hospitality and friendship, often accompanied by light snacks. The practice of sharing tea, whether it’s the robust black teas or the delicate green and white teas, is integral to Nepali culture, symbolizing a moment of rest, reflection, and connection amidst the majesty of the mountains.

Tea as a Universal Language of Wellness
Across these diverse traditions, we are reminded of tea’s remarkable ability to bring people together, offering solace, health, and a profound sense of belonging. Each cup offers a moment of reflection, a pause in our busy lives, and an opportunity to connect with others. At Sage Collective, we encourage you to explore these tea traditions as a pathway to understanding different cultures and embracing our journey towards vibrant living.

Photo: koko rahmadie, Pexels
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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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12.14.23 | Community

Embracing Food as Medicine

At Sage Collective, we often explore the different facets of vibrant living, and one aspect that continually resonates is the relationship between our diet and health. The age-old adage, “You are what you eat,” rings especially true as we delve into the concept of food as medicine – a philosophy that aligns perfectly with our journey towards holistic wellness.

Rooted in ancient practices like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the idea that food can be used as a healing tool has been around for centuries. Today, modern nutritional science echoes these traditions, highlighting how our dietary choices can significantly influence our health and well-being.

Imagine your kitchen as a treasure trove of medicinal remedies. The foods we choose to consume can act as powerful agents in preventing and managing various health conditions. For example, leafy greens and berries, laden with antioxidants, fortify our defenses against chronic illnesses. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like walnuts and fatty fish, are not just tasty but also champions for heart health.

Our dietary habits play a crucial role in shaping our health landscape. Heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension – prevalent concerns in our community – are deeply linked to what we eat. By focusing on a balanced diet, rich in whole foods, we wield the power to reshape our health and reduce the risk of these conditions. The gut microbiome, an ecosystem within us, is crucial in maintaining our health. Foods that are friends to our gut – think probiotics like yogurt and fiber-rich vegetables – not only enhance our digestive health but also strengthen our immune system, a key factor in vibrant living.

Recognizing that one size does not fit all in nutrition, personalized dietary choices cater to our unique health requirements. This approach, emphasizing individuality, is at the heart of treating food as medicine. The connection between our diet and mental health is an area of growing interest. Nutrient-dense foods not only nourish our bodies but also our minds, influencing our mood and cognitive functions.

While we champion the idea of food as medicine, it’s essential to remember that it’s not about strict dietary limitations or deeming certain foods as off-limits. It’s about balance, variety, and making mindful choices that enhance our health without sacrificing the joy of eating.

As we continue on our path of vibrant living, let’s view our dietary choices as joyful selections for health. Our plates can be a palette of nourishing, flavorful foods that serve as our daily dose of medicine. Embracing this holistic approach, we not only cater to our physical health but also to our overall sense of well-being and joy.

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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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03.30.23 | Community

The Importance of Caring for Each Other

In today’s fast-paced, highly connected world, it’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget about the well-being of others around us. At Sage, taking the time to care for each other is not only a moral obligation; it’s also essential for our own well-being and the health of our communities. Together, we’ll explore why we should all care for each other and how doing so can lead to a happier, more fulfilling life.

The Science Behind Caring

Research has shown that caring for others can have a positive impact on our mental and physical health. Studies have demonstrated that those who engage in acts of kindness and support for others experience lower levels of stress, increased happiness, and even a boost in their immune system. This phenomenon, otherwise known as “helper’s high,” has been linked to the release of feel-good hormones like oxytocin and endorphins. When we care for others, we also nurture our sense of belonging and strengthen social connections. Strong relationships contribute to better mental health and a longer life expectancy, as they provide support during difficult times and create a sense of security.

Empathy: A Powerful Tool for Connection

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s a powerful tool that helps us connect with those around us and allows us to see things from their perspective. Empathy not only helps in forming deeper connections but also fosters a more compassionate and caring society. 

One way to cultivate empathy is to become a better listener. By actively listening to others, we can better understand their needs, emotions, and experiences. To improve your listening skills, check out this guide on How to Become a Better Listener.

Small Acts with Big Impact

Caring for each other doesn’t always require grand gestures. Small acts of kindness, like offering a helping hand, listening to someone’s concerns, or simply smiling at a stranger, can have a profound impact on others. Whenever someone you know is going through tough times it’s important that you reach out. By “paying it forward” through simple gestures of kindness, we can brighten someone’s day, help them feel less alone, and build spaces where people feel heard. 

Self-Care: The Foundation of Caring for Others

In order to effectively care for others, we must first take care of ourselves. Practicing self-care ensures that we have the energy, mental clarity, and emotional resilience required to support those around us. Taking care of yourself involves prioritizing your physical health by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. It also involves giving yourself permission to take a break when needed, cultivating a support network of friends and loved ones, and setting boundaries when necessary to maintain a healthy balance between personal and professional life .

The Power of Caring for Each Other

Caring for each other has the potential to transform our lives, our relationships, and our communities. By practicing empathy, engaging in acts of kindness, and prioritizing self-care, we can create a world in which everyone feels supported, valued, and connected. Ultimately, when we care for one another, we not only improve our own well-being but also contribute to the greater good. So, let’s embrace the power of caring for each other and make it a priority in our daily lives. By doing so, we can foster a more vibrant, understanding, and united world, where everyone can thrive.



Caring For Each Other
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01.05.23 | Community

Goal-Making: How to Set Yourself Up for the New Year


Say this affirmation out loud:

 

“I will live within my purpose and make smarter decisions that lead to my own vibrant living!

 


Setting goals doesn’t have to be rocket science, just well thought out. They should be designed to be SMART. Here are 5 ways toward smarter goal making that will set you up for the rest of the year:

 

Specific

 

Measurable

 

Attainable

 

Relevant

 

Timed

 


Specific Goal Making

First, any goal you have should be clear and defined. You need them to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can by defining precisely where you want to end up.

 

Measurable Goal Making

In addition to your specific goal, try using precise statements that measure your success. Instead of saying, “Maybe I’ll go to the gym sometime this month,” say to yourself, “I will go to the gym starting today!”  Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with having achieved something.

 

Attainable Goal Making

Above all, it is crucial that you set goals that are attainable with reasonable resistance. By setting realistic yet challenging ones, you hit the balance needed for your own personal development.

 

Relevant Goal Making

Now for a little perspective, where do you want to be 3 months, 5 months from now? Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. Keeping this in mind, you develop the focus needed to get ahead of the curve and stay motivated!

 

Timed Goal Making

One word, deadline. Despite whether you love them or hate them, deadlines work to increase sense of urgency and achievement will only come that much quicker when you set one in stone. 

 

In the end, by de-mystifying goal setting it no longer feels like rocket science. And you begin to make smarter and more informed decisions about your life and wellbeing.

 

Meditating on New Years Resolutions
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10.27.22 | Arts & Culture

Why You Should Be Eating a Global Palette

Cultures across the world are shaped by many things, like religion, technology, and economies, but a culture’s cuisine is often its greatest treasure. A global palette not only opens the door to learning more about a new culture, but also helps share the story of some of the world’s longest-lived and healthiest communities. And while every culture varies in diet, each exemplifies its unique take on living a vibrant life. 

In America, healthy eating is typically visualized through a Eurocentric lens, often reflecting things such as greens and smoothies. However, there’s more to healthy eating than just those popular linkages. Understanding the significance of cultural cuisine helps to explain that food for many across the world is much more than just an energy source and, instead, a representation of heritage and ancestry.

North African cuisine in Egypt, Morocco and Algeria, in particular, benefit from the influence of various cultures around the area, from the French to the Turks. Cultural dishes combine hearty ingredients like olive oil, fresh veggies and rich spices all bringing a plethora of nutrients to those who relish the delicious meals. 

In Japan, where the longest-living people on the Earth live in Okinawa, people have been following a similar cultural diet for centuries. Low sugar and dairy paired with meals consistent in rice, veggies and fish ensure that every meal is complete. And, even with limited fruit in their diet, the health throughout the culture still thrives. 

Italian culture is a perfect example of how misconceptions about healthy eating are proven wrong. Although the culture is known for its pasta and pizza, Italians are also known for their use of fresh, quality ingredients. While carbs fill many of their meals, the use of high-quality local vegetables and cheeses proves that even when you might not think you’re eating the healthiest, you still technically can be!

A quick look around the world is a great reminder of the health benefits and significance of immersing yourself in the foods of other cultures. And even if a cuisine may not read the healthiest on the outside, the thought and care put into it may be much more significant than we often realize. 

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09.08.22 | Community

Breakfast is Still the Most Important Meal of the Day

Yes, that old saying you’ve heard your whole life is correct: breakfast is still the most important meal of the day! Whether you’re an everyday breakfast eater or unfamiliar with the practice, September is the perfect month to pick up the habit and learn more about the importance of the meal during Better Breakfast Month. 

Besides filling your body with healthy nutrients, vitamins and other energy-rich minerals, studies have found that eating breakfast regularly comes with many benefits you would otherwise not have access to if you skipped the meal. One key benefit is the jumpstart of the body’s metabolism, encouraging it to burn calories throughout the day. While starting your morning off with a meal informs the body that there are calories to be burnt throughout the day, skipping the meal tells your body to conserve them. 

And while we all love bacon and eggs or syrup-layered pancakes, there are countless other nutrient-forward recipes you can incorporate into your morning diet to reap the most of the meal’s benefits. Yogurt parfaits and smoothies are a perfect way to fill up on fresh fruit and protein in the morning, and homemade energy bars make for powerful boosts on the go. However, there are still ways to bring added health to favorite meals; make your waffles using a whole-grain mixture or pair your eggs with a slice of toast and mashed avocado.

It makes sense; by filling your body with healthy foods first thing in the morning, you’re less inclined to reach for your favorite, less-healthy snacks later throughout the day! To learn more about Better Breakfast Month and discover recipes you can make on your own, visit here.

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05.05.22 | Community

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Every year, millions of people deal with the daily struggle of living with a mental illness. One in five adults in the United States live with a mental illness, and because they are so prevalent today, the spotlight is beginning to shift to explore just how society collectively can work together to setback the concerning numbers. 

Throughout May, we will be celebrating National Mental Health Awareness Month. First celebrated in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month remains as significant as ever for a myriad of reasons. Mental illness often goes ignored unless tragedy strikes. This month-long observation helps shed a spotlight on the importance of caring for mental health and the weight of taking it just as seriously as any other disease. 

Not only is it critical to care for your own mental well-being, but also those around you. Regularly checking in on family, friends, and even neighbors can leave a profound impact on each of their lives. However, maintaining good mental health includes everything from your food choices and physical activity to your sleep schedule and stress management

By taking the initiative to care for yourself and your loved ones and being open to discussing mental health with others, the more normalized it will become, creating a healthier, more vibrant world. Although the stigma around mental health treatment still exists, thanks to celebrations like National Mental Health Awareness Month, more and more people are beginning to learn to be more open about their mental well-being. 

Because mental health is even less commonly discussed in adult communities, we encourage you to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month and help pilot the movement for a healthier, more vibrant world where mental well-being is at our forefront.

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