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06.27.24 | Mental Wellbeing

The Art of Calligraphy: More than Just Beautiful Writing

Calligraphy, often perceived as merely an aesthetically pleasing form of writing, is far more than that. It’s an art form that combines visual beauty with expressive creativity, offering numerous benefits for mental well-being and personal development. At Sage Collective, we recognize the importance of embracing creative pursuits that enhance vibrant living. Here’s why calligraphy is not just about beautiful writing, but a pathway to mindfulness, historical appreciation, and personal growth.

A Journey into Mindfulness
Engaging in calligraphy is akin to embarking on a meditative journey. The repetitive, deliberate strokes required to form each letter necessitate a focus that can help calm the mind and alleviate stress. In a world that is often chaotic and fast-paced, calligraphy offers a serene escape. It’s an opportunity to slow down, concentrate on the present moment, and achieve a state of mindfulness.

This practice of mindfulness through calligraphy can improve mental clarity and reduce anxiety. The act of concentrating on the precise movements of the pen helps to shift focus away from everyday worries, creating a tranquil space where the mind can relax and rejuvenate.

Connecting with History and Culture
Calligraphy is steeped in rich history and cultural significance. From ancient Chinese scripts to the elegant flourishes of Arabic calligraphy, each style tells a story of the civilization it originated from. Learning calligraphy is not just about mastering a skill but also about connecting with these historical and cultural narratives.

For older adults, this connection to history can be particularly enriching. It offers a way to engage with different cultures and traditions, fostering a sense of global awareness and appreciation. At Sage Collective, we encourage exploring such cultural arts as a means of lifelong learning and intellectual stimulation.

Enhancing Creativity and Personal Expression
Calligraphy is a powerful medium for personal expression. Unlike standard handwriting, which is often hurried and utilitarian, calligraphy allows for the creation of unique, expressive works of art. Each flourish and curve can be tailored to reflect individual personality and style.

This creative process is immensely rewarding. It provides a tangible sense of accomplishment as one sees their skill improve over time. Additionally, creating something beautiful can be a source of pride and joy, enhancing overall emotional well-being.

Practical Benefits and Applications
Beyond its artistic and therapeutic benefits, calligraphy has practical applications that can add a personal touch to everyday life. From designing personalized greeting cards to crafting unique home decor, the skills learned through calligraphy can be used to enhance various aspects of life.

Moreover, calligraphy can be a social activity. Joining a calligraphy group or class offers opportunities for social interaction and community building, aligning perfectly with Sage Collective’s values of fostering connections and engagement among older adults.

Starting with calligraphy is easier than it might seem. Basic supplies include a calligraphy pen or brush, ink, and paper. Numerous online resources and local classes are available to guide beginners through the fundamentals. The key is to start slow, practice regularly, and enjoy the journey.

At Sage Collective, we celebrate enriching practices that contribute to vibrant living and holistic well-being. So why not pick up a pen and start your calligraphy journey today?

JesseVanTerrer on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
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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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03.27.24 | Community

Rediscovering Local Libraries: A Gateway to Lifelong Learning

In an era where the digital world dominates our sources of information and entertainment, the timeless charm and invaluable resources of local libraries stand as beacons for communities everywhere. At Sage Collective, we deeply value lifelong learning as a key component of vibrant living. It’s in this spirit that we explore the local library not just as a building with books, but as a vibrant gateway to endless learning opportunities, cultural enrichment, and community connection.

The Local Library: More Than Just Books
Local libraries have evolved significantly over the years, transforming into dynamic community centers that offer a wide range of resources and services. Beyond the shelves of books lies a treasure trove of digital resources, educational programs, and cultural events designed to engage and enrich community members of all ages.

A Hub for Lifelong Learning
One of the most compelling aspects of local libraries is their commitment to fostering lifelong learning. Whether it’s through free access to books, e-books, online courses, or workshops, libraries provide invaluable resources for personal and professional development. For older adults, particularly, libraries offer programs tailored to their interests and needs, making learning accessible and enjoyable.

Cultural and Social Enrichment
Libraries serve as cultural hubs, hosting an array of events such as author readings, discussion groups, art exhibitions, and film screenings. These events not only enrich our cultural understanding but also provide opportunities for social interaction, helping to build a sense of community and belonging. Engaging with these offerings allows us to expand our horizons, encounter new ideas, and connect with fellow community members.

Access to Technology and Digital Literacy
In today’s digital age, libraries play a crucial role in bridging the digital divide. They offer free access to computers and the internet, along with classes on digital literacy, helping individuals navigate the complexities of the digital world. For many in our community, especially seniors who may feel left behind by rapid technological changes, this access is invaluable in staying connected and informed.

Volunteer and Engagement Opportunities
Libraries also offer numerous opportunities for community members to get involved, whether through volunteer programs, friends of the library groups, or advisory boards. Participating in these activities can be a rewarding way to give back, share your skills and experience, and further strengthen community ties.

Rediscovering Your Local Library
Rediscovering your local library is as simple as walking through its doors or visiting its website. Explore the catalog, inquire about upcoming events, or ask the librarians about resources and services available. You might be surprised at the wealth of opportunities waiting to be discovered.

As we advocate for the enriching practice of lifelong learning at Sage Collective, we recognize local libraries as our vital partners, providing gateways to new experiences, avenues for personal growth, and the joys of community engagement. Not familiar with your local library? It’s easy to find! Use this handy website — libraryfinder.org/ — to enter your address and get information on locations, hours, and reviews from others.

Library books on shelves
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03.06.24 | Community

Volunteering: The Art of Giving Back

In the heart of every community, there lies a powerful force of growth and transformation — volunteering. We touched on the subject of volunteering in a post on January 27, 2022, but today we’re returning to the subject to take a closer look. Because at Sage Collective, we recognize volunteering as an act of service and as an art form that enriches both the giver and the receiver. It’s a manifestation of our core belief in vibrant living, an embodiment of compassion, and a testament to the strength that lies in community.

The Essence of Volunteering

Volunteering is the selfless offering of time, energy, and skills to make a positive impact on the lives of others and the world around us. It’s a practice deeply rooted in the understanding that every individual has the power to effect change. In this giving, we find a profound connection to the wider community, creating ripples of kindness that can transform society.

Why Volunteer?

The benefits of volunteering extend far beyond the tangible outcomes of the tasks at hand. For older adults, especially, volunteering offers a myriad of rewards:

Community Connection: Volunteering places us in the heart of our communities, allowing us to forge new relationships and strengthen existing ones. It’s a pathway to understanding the diverse tapestry of experiences that shape our world.

Mental and Physical Well-being: Engaging in volunteer work has been shown to boost both mental and physical health. It can lower stress, combat depression, and provide a sense of purpose. Physically, staying active through volunteering can enhance mobility and overall health.

Lifelong Learning: The act of volunteering offers endless opportunities for learning and growth. Whether it’s acquiring a new skill, understanding a different perspective, or discovering more about a cause close to our hearts, every volunteering experience is a chance to expand our horizons.

Legacy Building: Volunteering allows us to leave a legacy of kindness, compassion, and active citizenship. It’s a way to pass on values of community service and social responsibility to future generations.

With so many avenues for volunteering, finding the right fit can be a journey in itself. Consider your passions, skills, and the causes you care about. Whether it’s mentoring the youth, participating in environmental clean-ups, or offering your expertise to non-profit organizations, there’s a niche for everyone.

The Art of Giving Back

Volunteering is indeed an art form — a delicate balance of giving and receiving, teaching and learning, speaking and listening. It’s about approaching each opportunity with an open heart and mind, ready to contribute but also to grow from the experience.

At Sage Collective, we encourage everyone to explore the art of volunteering. It’s a key component of vibrant living, offering a fulfilling way to engage with the world. As we give our time and talents, we receive immeasurable gifts in return: joy, fulfillment, and the knowledge that we’ve played a part in making the world a little brighter.

As we embrace the art of giving back, let’s remember that every act of volunteering, no matter how small, contributes to a larger tapestry of community and compassion. We invite you to join us in this journey of service, to explore the many ways you can contribute, and to experience the profound rewards that come from volunteering. Together, let’s continue to weave a vibrant tapestry of connectedness, one volunteer moment at a time.

Volunteering-and-the-art-of-giving-back
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06.22.23 | Arts & Culture

Juneteenth: Honoring the Past, Embracing the Present, Envisioning a Vibrant Future

In the spirit of learning and understanding that fuels the Sage Collective, we’re delving into a significant moment in our shared American history, a moment that anchors us to our past as it guides us towards a more inclusive future – Juneteenth.

The essence of Juneteenth is one of freedom and liberation, dating back to 1863 when the Emancipation Proclamation declared enslaved African Americans free. The truth of this newfound freedom, however, took two years to permeate every state, with Texas being the last to hear the news. Hence, Juneteenth was born, officially recognized by President Joe Biden on June 17, 2021.

The celebration of Juneteenth, while filled with joy and reverence for the resilience of freedmen and freedwomen, was not devoid of strife. However, the spirit of determination and unity endured. By pooling resources, formerly enslaved people bought land in 1950, creating Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas, a testament to their collective resilience and a place for future Juneteenth celebrations.

The Juneteenth flag, designed by Ms. L.J. Graff, embodies this shared history and vision. Its colors echo the American flag, asserting the rightful place of freed people and their descendants as American citizens. The central star pays homage to Texas, while the bursting new star symbolizes a new dawn and new freedom.

As we honor Juneteenth, we also acknowledge the complex emotions that accompany this day of celebration. The weight of history can bring feelings of anxiety and stress, emotions we at Sage Collective encourage our members to acknowledge and discuss. We are committed to creating a safe space for these dialogues, believing that understanding our past is a crucial step toward shaping a vibrant and inclusive future.

Juneteenth, much like our mission at Sage Collective, is about embracing freedom and fostering vibrant living for all. It reminds us that freedom is also about the liberation of the mind and spirit. It’s about the courage to acknowledge the pain of our past, the determination to celebrate the progress of our present, and the vision to foster a future of justice, inclusivity, and vibrant living for everyone.

Join us as we commemorate Juneteenth this month and every month, and let its history and values inspire us as we continue to work towards a future where everyone can live vibrantly.

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06.08.23 | Community

Adapting to The Internet Highway: A User-Friendly Guide for Older Adults to Embrace the Digital World

We often refer to the internet as a modern highway. Imagine jumping onto the freeway of knowledge and connections, taking exits to destinations of choice, and disembarking when you’ve reached your desired location. The concept may seem daunting, especially for those of us who didn’t grow up in this digital age, but fear not! Just like learning to navigate any new terrain, once you understand the rules of the road, the journey becomes more manageable. 

However, the internet highway, much like any journey, comes with its share of challenges and potential roadblocks. But we firmly believe that it is never too late to embrace this digital world, and doing so can unlock new realms of communication, knowledge, and convenience. Here are some tips to ensure a smooth ride.

Learn the Basic Tools:

Your digital journey begins with understanding the basic tools. Computers, smartphones, and tablets are your vehicles on the Internet highway. Start by familiarizing yourself with their functionalities, like turning them on/off, charging, and installing applications. 

Understanding the Online Map:

Search engines like Google are the maps of the digital world. They help you locate the information or services you’re looking for. Entering words related to your topic of interest (keywords) will lead you to numerous websites, images, news, and more. On your journey, these tools within the online map will be useful resources in helping you better understand all of the directions you can travel. 

Safety First:

As on any journey, safety is paramount. Beware of digital road hazards like phishing (fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information) and cyberbullying. Always ensure you’re visiting secure websites (look for ‘https’ in the URL), avoid sharing sensitive personal information online, and maintain strong, unique passwords for all your accounts. 

Social Media as Scenic Routes:

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are excellent places to connect with loved ones, meet new friends, or join groups of interest. However, always be mindful of the information you share publicly. 

Embrace Online Learning:

Many institutions offer free or inexpensive courses online, from learning new languages to picking up cooking tips. Websites like Khan Academy, Coursera, or TED Talks are wonderful resources to broaden your horizons right from the comfort of your home. 

Tech Support is Your Roadside Assistance:

Finally, remember that there’s always help available. From the tech-savvy grandchild to the friendly helpline of your device manufacturer, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you find yourself lost on the digital highway.

Embracing the internet highway isn’t about leaving the past behind but about enriching our lives with the tools and resources of the present. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination. Happy traveling!

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05.18.23 | Arts & Culture

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

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

Embrace the Ever-Curious Mind 

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

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning

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

Ways to Keep Learning 

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

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

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

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

Sage Collective's Vibrant Living Program at Chicago Commons
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12.29.22 | Community

2022: A Year in Review

2022 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:

Vibrant Learning Program

Throughout 2022, we were able to continue strengthening our close relationship with Chicago Commons, another long-standing trailblazer for change in the community. Building upon our past work, we excitedly launched our Vibrant Learning Program with Chicago Commons Adult Day Services in late February, which continues to be a resounding success. 

For the past eight months, our team has had the privilege to get to know program participants and help grow their understanding of everything from new technology to different cultures. Learning themes touched on traditions, storytelling, family connection and freedom, and engaging activities included armchair travel and digital painting. 

Expanding Our Team

Along with the launch of our programming, we warmly welcomed new team members throughout the year. Leading the Vibrant Living Program, DeShunn Bray brought with her an impressive passion for forming rich connections with others and making a significant impact on the communities in which she interacts as our Manager of Programming and Community Engagement. Her amazing energy is something both our team and the participants in our Vibrant Living Program cherish. 

We also welcomed Camille Love as one of our newest Board Members. The transition of long-time member Angela Higginbotham from our Board created such an opportunity for Camille and added to the related expertise of Sage Collective as it pursues ways of encouraging the adoption of healthier lifestyle choices among older adults in underserved communities. 

We can’t wait to continue sharing this journey with you and see what 2023 brings!

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04.07.22 | Arts & Culture

The Importance of Knowing Your Family History

For many, digging into family histories may sound like a wholly worthwhile experience, while others may find it too time-consuming and extensive of a process – a common misconception. However, it’s more important than ever for all of us to learn, record and preserve the rich history connected to each of our lineages for our well-being and the well-being of future generations.

Our family histories are more than just birthdates and family tree charts; they’re full of rich information that helps each of us gain a stronger understanding of who we are. The information tied to family history has the ability to empower identities and build self-worth, especially for those who might not currently have access to information tied to their family’s past. 

As we collaborate with family, community members and other resources that may help us discover our family history, we not only build connections with people in the present but also from the past and into the future. 

Along with empowering identities, family history knowledge can have dramatic effects on your health and others in your family. Have you ever had a blank mind when the doctor asks if certain health conditions run in your family? Taking the time to reach out to family, and learn more about their medical history, is the best way to avoid this and discover what you might be at risk for. Knowing this history can help you make informed choices concerning your health to live a more vibrant life

There are countless resources online and in-person that you should take advantage of when starting your genealogical journey. The first resources everyone should look to are the ones you might already have, like family trees, scrapbooks and other family history basics. If you don’t have any yourself, connect with distant relatives to gather materials that you believe would be helpful to you. 

Websites like FamilySearch.org are perfect for those of us who want to dive even deeper into their identity and background, and it’s free to use. Another way to stay involved online is by joining the family history conversation online. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs are perfect for making connections and expanding your resources through a network of family historians. 

Whether you already have a great deal of knowledge related to your family history or you’re new to the ancestry trend, having access to genealogy can change your life. Try taking an hour out of the day to poke around and see what you can discover for yourself.

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03.31.22 | Arts & Culture

The Art of Storytelling & Why You Should Share Your Story

At Sage Collective, we believe that everyone should feel empowered to express their unique voice. Storytelling is one of the best ways to do so while supporting vibrant living, and, has the power to inspire those exposed to it. Today, we’re highlighting the value behind the art of storytelling and why you shouldn’t hesitate from sharing your own story.

The art of storytelling is a valuable tool used by numerous cultures across the world for thousands of years. Throughout history, humans have found various ways to translate their emotions and experiences through ever-changing forms of communication. From cave drawings to spoken word to cinematography, there are countless ways we have been able to tell our stories.  

Finding Your Voice

As we’ve mentioned, sharing your story is a powerful tool that can heal trauma, create empathy, and even help those exposed to it. However, before you can tell your story, you must find your voice.

You might be asking what this means. In simple terms, discovering your voice means that you know the value behind your story. You want others to be able to hear what you want to say, and through this desire, confidence rises, and you are allowed more freedom to express yourself through whatever means. 

Finding your unique voice and sharing your story can be a daunting but rewarding challenge. One of the best ways of articulating your story is through writing or journaling. Writing is a powerful form of self-expression and allows you to communicate your voice through written word. If writing isn’t your forte, try drawing or even scribbling. 

No matter what method you use for storytelling, it’s key to remember that your voice matters. Continue to listen to yourself, be authentic and look for meaning in everything you do. You have the right to express yourself, and by doing so, you could have the power to inspire others. 

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