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12.15.22 | Sage Advice

The Benefits of Befriending Your Neighbors

At Sage Collective, we strive to foster feelings of value and community. And, with engagement in social life as one of the pillars in our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, it should come as no surprise that we believe in the impact and importance of neighborliness within communities. That’s why today, we’re highlighting the significance behind knowing your neighbor.

Drawing data from a Pew Research Center study conducted in 2019, research shows that a majority of Americans don’t know most of their neighbors — and they barely talk to the ones they do know. Over the last several decades, our connections with our neighbors have been fraying. Because we’re leaving our homes with screens in our hands, and since the pandemic made us even less likely than we were before to stop and chat with new folks, most of the people living around us are strangers.

Befriending neighbors ensures a helping hand in times of need, provides new friends to explore your larger neighborhood and builds strong communities, which leads to healthier, happier and longer lives. Whether you know everything about your neighbor or they’re a stranger to you, here are a few actions you can take to ensure an enriching relationship in your community: 

The simplest way to start a friendship is by sharing a smile. Because smiling is a mood-enhancing action, not only will you feel better and less stressed, but those around you will perceive you as a welcoming person. The easy effort is the best way to start an introduction or continue a conversation where it left off. 

Small talk is something we all love to hate, but embracing the awkwardness of not knowing someone helps a ton with getting to know them! Don’t shy to chit-chat about everything from food and drinks to the latest movies and television shows to find shared interests. 

The bottom line is there’s no downside to knowing your neighbor. Befriending your neighbor only comes with a wealth of benefits. So step outside and start a conversation today!

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11.23.22 | Sage Advice

The Marvelous Benefits of Joining a Book Club

Whether you like spending your evenings escaping into your favorite novel or you only get to read a book a few times a year, there’s no question that reading is good for you. Regardless if you’re a devotee of reading or not, one of the best ways to elevate your experience – and keep yourself accountable – is by joining a book club. That’s why today, we’re exploring the benefits that come with book clubs and how you can join your own. 

There are plenty of reasons you should join a book club, but one of the most alluring is the opportunity to make new friends or engage with old ones. If you’re looking to meet others throughout your community, joining a book club is a great way to do so. Beyond engaging with a new crowd, book clubs provide safe spaces to observe and understand new perspectives from the books you read and those around you. 

Not only are you able to engage with others, but book clubs promote brain health! If you’re the type who rushes through books, this will help challenge you to engage deeper with the content and digest what you’re reading better. And by doing so, you and your group will encourage each other to practice critical thinking skills in the discussion!

As we stated early, book clubs can be great for anyone who loves reading but isn’t the best at making time for it. By joining a book club, you’re automatically committing to reading a book within a specific time limit, and you’ll have a whole team of people to keep you accountable. And hopefully, throughout the process, you’ll be able to foster a continuing love of literature. 

If you’re interested in joining a book club but not sure where to find one, ask friends, search local Facebook Groups, head to your local library or bookshop, or start one yourself! 

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11.03.22 | Sage Advice

Pause, Reflect, and Celebrate Your Wins

Life can often feel as if it’s moving at uncomfortable speeds. From working and errands to relationships you have to take care of, rushing through life can be a lot on your wellbeing. And, if you’re not careful, it’s easy to get misplaced and lose track of your goals, which is why it’s important to remember to pause and reflect every so often before journeying ahead. 

Because lives are more of a marathon than a sprint, pacing yourself to what you feel comfortable with rather than rushing ahead is crucial. Pausing is a great way to take a constructive break on your journey, and it gives you the time to thoughtfully evaluate your accomplishments. Take a look at your goals and purposes and ask yourself if you’re still on track, if you need to speed things up or slow things down and if you have the resources to continue. 

Too often in life, because of busyness and day-to-day, it’s paramount to celebrate your victories, and thankfully, pausing leaves the perfect opportunity to do so. It’s crucial to remember that no matter how big or small they may be, you should be proud of every accomplishment and victory you achieve. Take a moment to celebrate each one and reward yourself for your efforts!

While it’s essential to evaluate achievements and celebrate victories, it’s also important to acknowledge your mistakes so you can learn from them in the future. While some mistakes are obvious, others are hidden by bias, but in all cases, you should look at every mistake as an opportunity for learning, not a failure. Besides, learning about your previous mistakes ensures a lesser chance of repeating them in the future!

Taking a moment to pause and reflect gives you a chance to ensure that you’re still on the track for success, no matter your goals. So, as much as you may want to rush to your dreams, it doesn’t hurt to take a break – it helps!

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07.21.22 | Sage Advice

Personal Statements and Manifestos

As we continue our Vibrant Living Programming, we also want to resume sharing rich content that compliments our spirited training, and this month’s theme is freedom. Along with independence and opportunity, freedom can mean many things to many people. Today, we’re exploring how independence inspires purpose, how personal manifestos can propel that purpose even further and how you can create one of your own. 

A personal manifesto performs as a declaration of what you truly want from life, which makes it the perfect tool for engaging personal independence. Traditionally, you might know manifestos as published statements declaring the intentions or beliefs of organizations, similar to our Vibrant Living Manifesto. However, manifestos are fluid and can be similarly used by individuals to act as both a statement of ethics and a call to action and are powerful in giving life meaning and direction.

Whether you’re in search of a guiding compass, a frame, a reminder of your priorities or simply inspiration, creating a personal manifesto is sure to provide your life with a foundation of additional meaning and direction. Learn how to write your own below: 

Begin your manifesto by writing down your values, beliefs, behaviors you apply to life and other areas you want to address. If you’re having trouble thinking of what to write, it might be easier to ask yourself questions about those themes. Remember, personal manifestos are exactly how they sound, personal, so yours is likely to be unique to itself. 

After creating your list, start to transform each point of interest into active, declarative statements; use powerful language, don’t worry about the length and remember to keep it uplifting and positive. When finished, make a copy and put it somewhere you will see every day; your manifesto could be the perfect tool for vibrant living, write and live it now!

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07.07.22 | Sage Advice

The Importance of Personal Freedom and Independence

Independence and freedom are critical for everyone, but the older we get, the more significant their effects can have on us. While being independent is understood universally as having freedom, for individuals – specifically adults – the word can have a much deeper meaning and impact. Today, we’re diving into just how independence benefits us all as we continue to age. 

There’s no question that with age comes a plethora of changes to our minds, bodies and surroundings, and independence is sometimes the only thing we feel we have control over. Maintaining that control over our independence is just one aspect of ensuring you are living vibrantly and comes with its own rich benefits. 

Elevates a Sense of Purpose

Because independence is such an empowering, enriching privilege, it’s extremely powerful in granting a sense of purpose to those who have it. The opportunity to create goals, large and small, in hopes of accomplishing them is one of the most significant reasons for this characteristic. Whether you’re aiding in the lives of your family, friends or community, or working on yourself, having the freedom to set objectives provides a powerful sense of purpose. 

Encourages Relationship Development 

It isn’t easy to keep up with the newest technology and cultural developments, especially as an older adult. Building and maintaining relationships that provide access to the right resources is crucial for personal independence. Whether you have a family that helps you stay in the loop by navigating you through the latest technology or a neighbor who checks in on you every few days, community and independence go hand in hand for empowering a vibrant life. 

Enables Individuality

While a sense of purpose and relationship building is essential, independence has a significant impact on how you feel as an individual. When the divisions in your life are left out of your control, it’s not hard to feel a loss of yourself and your freedoms, which is why it’s critical to maintain a vibrant lifestyle and your sense of self, no matter what environment you find yourself.

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02.10.22 | Sage Advice

5 Podcasts to Help You Start the Year off Great

With the new year comes a plethora of rich podcasts for audiences to dive into. As our Vibrant Learning Program with Chicago Commons continues to explore the affordances of modern technology, we wanted to share a few tips of our own. Last autumn, we spotlighted five of our favorite podcasts at the time, and today, we’re spotlighting five more that are sure to bring you joy and an excess of knowledge throughout the year:

Hidden Brain

Hidden Brains

Hidden Brains prides itself on being “a conversation about life’s unseen patterns”. Each week, the stimulating show explores deep questions that lay at the heart of the changing world to help listenings not only better understand their surroundings but also themselves. Episodes range from discussions on the psychology of self-doubt, working from home, difficulties of apologizing and everything in between. Archived episodes of the beloved podcast can be found on NPR, and new episodes can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more. 

Reply All 

For some of us, the internet is an unexplored world and for others, it’s a comforting tool. And while those audiences seem distant, Reply All provides a perfect place for everyone – novice or expert – to listen and learn. The tech podcast does an amazing job of exploring stories involving complex technologies in accessible ways, explaining what they are talking about as they go. Previous episodes have included investigating online scams to the best accounts you should follow on various social media platforms. You can listen to Reply All on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.  

Grief Cast

While a podcast all about the process of grief might not sound fun, Grief Cast explores themes hard to find anywhere else in the podcast world. Cariad Lloyd, the podcast’s host, brings a new comedian guest to the show each week, which helps transform the discussion into a dark comedy at times. Wandering through discussions of grief, loss, and the “weirdness that happens when someone passes”, Grief Cast is a perfect podcast for anyone looking to feel a little better during a hard time. You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more. 

How to Fail With Elizabeth Day

With so many podcasts filled with stories of success, it’s sometimes just nice to hear how some people’s failures led to a larger impact than their largest success. How to Fail With Elizabeth Day provides just that; Day shares her platform to interview a variety of guests on how their failures have shaped who they have become today. The inspiring, comforting and relatable podcast showcases just how when we think we’ve hit rock bottom, there is always a way up. You can find the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more. 

The Daily

Known as one of the most popular podcasts around, The Daily covers all you need to know about world news in less than 20 minutes. The New York Times produced podcast covers one in-depth news story each weekday. Michael Barbaro, journalist and the host of the show, provides listeners with the top story of the day paired with guests that include Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush, other acclaimed journalists. The archived episodes are easy to explore for listeners, and there are many ways to listen, including on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Echo or simply from The New York Time’s Website.  

While podcasts may be an unknown area for many, the audio stories afford amazing resources, tools and manners of entertainment for both newcomers and natives alike. You can listen to each of the podcasts on their websites, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music or Google Podcasts. 

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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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12.23.21 | Sage Advice

Best Winter Day Trips Close to Chicago

While Chicago brings a variety of enjoyable activities to partake in during the winter, sometimes a break from all the bustle and noise of the city is welcome. For our fellow Bronzeville residents who might need a getaway this winter, here are the best day trips you can take to brighten your perspective with a change in scenery:  

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Only a 1-½ hour drive away sits the quaint city of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The beloved destination has been a top destination for Chicago residents for generations and offers a variety of fun-filled activities and stops for all ages. While the summer months are Geneva’s most popular tourist times, winter brings a much tamer atmosphere. 

For lovers of the outdoors, Geneva’s Lake Shore trail is the perfect opportunity to enjoy spectacular views in the brisk air. Once February arrives, the famous lake becomes filled with extraordinary ice sculptures, bonfires on the beach and more. While it is the coldest season, don’t miss your chance to experience the incredibly warm community.  

Lake Geneva’s impressive ice sculptures

Michigan City, Indiana

An adorable city located just off of Lake Michigan’s shores, Michigan City should be high on everyone’s list to visit this winter. The town is only one hour away from Chicago and is surrounded by one of America’s most stunning national wonders, the Indiana Dunes State and National Parks. While winter isn’t typically the time of year many choose to visit the lakeside landscape, witnessing the sand-swept mounds covered in layers of soft snow is sure to delight all visitors.  

While many enjoy a stroll on one of the many trails found in the park, the town offers guests a variety of other ventures, including shopping at the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, dazzling architecture at Barker Mansion and an array of wineries and breweries. 

Take a Joyride up Lake Shore Drive 

Sometimes the best day trip is just hopping in the car and taking a drive to enjoy your surroundings, which is exactly what Lake Shore Drive delivers. Arguably the prettiest extended urban parkway in the nation, the 18-mile expressway runs from Ardmore Street on its north end to 71st Street on its south end, and lucky for Bronzeville residents, the best place to start the journey is from the south.  

The ride is filled with recognizable Chicago landmarks that include the Museum of Science and Industry, Soldier Field, Navy Pier and Lincoln Park alongside spectacular views of Lake Michigan. However, once you reach the end of the trip, don’t be afraid to stop there. Exiting on N Sheffield Road will take you through several alluring suburbs filled with even more attractions and impressive architecture. 

Whether you’re taking a thrilling trip to a neighboring state or simply enjoying a joyride down a historic street, we hope this inspires you to find your new favorite winter getaway from the city! 

The stunning view of Lake Michigan from the Indiana Dunes near Michigan City, Indiana
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11.16.21 | Sage Advice

The Magnitude of Mentorship as an Older Adult

While reflecting on the past, fortunate people will immediately recall someone who made a lasting impact on their lives. It may have been a coach, a teacher, a parent or a neighbor, but one throughline is shared by all:  the powerful and lasting influence of having a mentor. The process of mentoring and sharing guidance is a valuable and life-changing experience for mentees and can be just as significant for mentors. 

Intergenerational mentoring is a mutually beneficial way to provide both youth and older adults with new perspectives and opportunities for happier and healthier lives. For older adults, sharing life experiences and critical advice with young people can help dismantle generational barriers while fulfilling a sense of purpose many desire. 

We often think that loneliness and isolation are the exclusive domain of older adults, forgetting that young people experience these same emotions. With mentorship, the generations can come together to create a sense of belonging and stability. Youth who receive mentorship, specifically from older adults, have higher self-esteem, improved leadership and communication skills and often find themselves more willing to explore new ways to learn and grow. 

Among its many benefits, mentoring is a great way to diminish ageism and educate younger people about the aging process, expanding their empathy and strengthening their understanding of what others are experiencing. While mentees benefit from improved self-awareness, respect for their elders and other insightful perspectives, mentors gain invaluable knowledge themselves, creating a dynamic, elastic system for communities to thrive together. 

Anyone can be a mentor. The process is uniquely flexible and can be as easy as offering advice and creating a safe space for younger family or community members to visit if they ever need assistance or support. For those who prefer more structure, there are numerous mentorship programs in Bronzeville and around Chicago that anyone can join.

AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparents Program, offered through the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services, allows volunteers age 55 and up to care for and guide Chicago’s youth, enriching the lives of everyone involved. The program actively serves 3,500 Illinois children and provides everything from educational support to essential care some may need. To learn more about their program and how to become involved, visit their website here

Mentorship is a critical asset to youth, older adults and communities that shapes positive outcomes in all directions. For older adults aspiring to empower others and share their essential voices, mentoring is the opportunity you’ve been seeking.

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11.04.21 | Sage Advice

Practicing Empathy: How it Can Create a More Vibrant World

Empathy is a universal tool for understanding. By definition, it’s a way of emotionally recognizing and validating what someone else is feeling. At Sage Collective, we approach all of our work with empathy, and believe that with practice, exhibiting empathy improves communication, heightens creativity and enhances appreciation.

What the Science Says

Empathy has always been an essential skill for communication and understanding. However, it’s more important now than ever, in light of the enormous levels of stress many confront today. Displaying empathy serves as an antidote for burnout and anxiety — producing beneficial effects on wellbeing and supporting positive social interactions for individuals and groups alike.

According to a recent study published by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, empathy in older adults may play a sizable role in shaping the regularity and types of support they exchange within social networks and the ramifications associated with the exchanges. The study concludes that empathetic older adults grant emotional and instrumental support more often than older adults who display less empathy. Furthermore, those who are more empathetic enjoy greater levels of emotional comfort from their networks and uphold more positive moods throughout the day, producing significant exchanges of care and more powerful controls over temperament. 

Practicing Empathy

Because empathy is a crucial element for collective support, everyone can benefit from improving their skills, whether practicing empathy comes naturally or must be learned. However, with time, an empathetic approach to all situations becomes instinctive. Here are three kinds of empathy that a person may encounter and should strive to understand:

Cognitive empathy consists of putting yourself in someone else’s situation to try and
comprehend what they might be going through at that moment. Even if it involves
something unfamiliar, the effort of understanding can transform anyone’s perspective. 

Somatic empathy requires the ability to experience someone else’s feelings. It usually
includes physical reactions to situations like feeling sick, sweating or blushing.

Active listening is a large part of being empathetic, but taking action and giving appropriate feedback takes the skill a step further. Affective empathy entails understanding the emotion someone else is feeling and answering accordingly. The awareness establishes personal connections and leads to a more profound concern for others’ feelings. 

As more and more people recognize the power of using empathetic techniques, a mutual understanding and compassion will blossom, empowering our communities to become more vibrant and rich in emotional support.

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