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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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02.29.24 | Fitness & Activity

Family Fitness Fun: Activities for All Generations

At Sage Collective, we emphasize the importance of wellness and community in our journey towards a full, happy and high-quality life, as seen across our 9 Ways of Vibrant Living. An engaging way to combine these elements is through family fitness activities. Participating in physical activities as a family promotes health while strengthening bonds across generations, creating cherished memories and shared experiences.

The Benefits of Family Fitness

Family fitness activities offer a multitude of benefits. They provide an opportunity for quality time, foster healthy habits, and can be tailored to accommodate the abilities and interests of all family members, from the youngest to the oldest. Physical activity is essential at every age, and doing it together can make it more enjoyable and sustainable.

Here are some of our favorite intergenerational fitness ideas:

Nature Walks and Hikes: Exploring local parks or nature trails as a family is an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors and get moving. These walks can be leisurely or more challenging, depending on the family’s fitness levels.

Gardening Together: Gardening is a wonderful way to be active, enjoy the outdoors, and teach children about nature and nutrition. It can be a relaxing and rewarding activity for older adults as well.

Dance Parties: Organize a family dance party in your living room or backyard. Dancing is a fun way to get everyone moving, regardless of their age or skill level.

Yoga Sessions: Hosting a family yoga session can be a calming and bonding experience. There are various yoga practices suitable for all ages and abilities.

Biking: A family bike ride is a great way to explore your neighborhood or local bike paths while getting a good workout.

Team Sports: Engaging in team sports like soccer, basketball, or even simple games like tag can be fun for the whole family and foster a sense of teamwork and cooperation.

Tips for Successful Family Fitness

For successful family fitness, it’s essential to embrace inclusivity by selecting activities that cater to various ages and fitness levels, ensuring everyone can participate. Establishing a regular routine for these activities can help in building a lasting habit that becomes a cherished part of your family’s life. The key is to keep these fitness sessions enjoyable and light-hearted; the primary goal is to have fun and enjoy being active together. Additionally, safety should always be a priority, particularly when activities involve children or older family members. By considering these factors, family fitness becomes not only a means of staying healthy but also a source of joy and bonding for the entire family.

Incorporating fitness into family life is more than just an exercise; it’s an investment in your family’s health and relationships. Finding activities that everyone can enjoy is crucial, and it creates a foundation of healthy habits and precious moments together. Choose activities that can be modified to suit different ages and fitness levels, establish regular family fitness times to build a habit, and most importantly, keep the atmosphere light and playful. Always prioritize safety, especially when involving children or older family members.

As we embrace family fitness, we’re not just moving our bodies; we’re strengthening bonds and creating joyous memories. It’s about enjoying the journey together, one step, stretch, or pedal at a time, and fostering a lifestyle that values health and togetherness. Let’s make family fitness a delightful and essential part of our vibrant living journey.

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01.17.24 | Arts & Culture

Celebrating National Hobby Month: Rediscovering Passion and Purpose

As we settle into National Hobby Month, it’s a wonderful time for us at Sage Collective to reflect on the joys and benefits that hobbies bring into our lives, particularly in our later years. Hobbies, whether old passions revisited or new interests explored, are not just leisure activities; they are vital components of vibrant living.

Many of us have hobbies that we once cherished but set aside due to the demands of career or family. National Hobby Month offers the perfect opportunity to reignite those past passions. It could be picking up a paintbrush after years, strumming a guitar, or dusting off a collection. These activities are more than just nostalgic; they reconnect us with parts of ourselves that we may have forgotten and provide a deep sense of fulfillment.

Exploring new hobbies is equally exciting. It’s about stepping out of our comfort zones and embracing the thrill of learning. Consider diving into activities like birdwatching or joyspotting, which connects us with nature, or photography, capturing moments and scenes that speak to us. These hobbies aren’t just pastimes; they’re gateways to new experiences and knowledge.

The link between hobbies and wellness is undeniable. Activities like gardening offer both physical exercise and the satisfaction of nurturing life. Creative pursuits like knitting or quilting can be meditative and relaxing. Engaging in such hobbies helps maintain mental agility and emotional balance, key aspects of our overall health.

Hobbies have the power to bring people together. Joining a book club, a walking group, or a cooking class opens avenues for socialization and community building.These shared interests foster connections, combat loneliness, and enrich our social lives. They remind us that at any stage of life, we can find kindred spirits and form meaningful relationships.

One of the beautiful aspects of hobbies is their role in lifelong learning. Whether it’s mastering a new recipe, learning to play a musical instrument, or speaking a new language, each hobby challenges our minds and keeps us intellectually engaged. This continual learning process is a cornerstone of vibrant living, keeping our minds sharp and spirits high.

As we celebrate National Hobby Month, let’s embrace the various ways in which hobbies enrich our lives. They are not just activities to pass time; they are pathways to joy, wellness, and deeper connections. This month, we encourage you to revisit an old hobby or embark on a new journey of discovery. Remember, each hobby you engage in is a testament to your ever-evolving story and a celebration of your zest for life.

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01.11.24 | Health & Wellness

Embracing Rest: The Health Benefits of Taking Naps

In our continuous journey toward vibrant living at Sage Collective, we often discuss various facets of health and wellness. Today, let’s explore an often overlooked but essential aspect of well-being: the power of napping. While it might seem like a small part of our daily routine, taking naps can have a surprisingly significant impact on our overall health.

Napping: More Than Just a Pause
Napping isn’t just about catching a few moments of sleep; it’s a form of rest that can rejuvenate the mind and body. In our fast-paced world, taking the time to nap can be a deliberate act of self-care.

Endless Benefits
One of the most immediate benefits of napping is the boost it gives to our cognitive functions. A short nap can enhance alertness, improve memory, and increase creativity. For us in the older adult community, this can be particularly beneficial, as it helps keep our minds sharp and agile. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers examined data from nearly 3,000 people in China aged 65 and older. Within that sampling, nearly 60% reported napping after lunch for about an hour. The research team found that those who napped for 30 to 90 minutes had better word recall and were also better at figure drawing than those who didn’t nap or who napped for longer than 90 minutes.

Napping has also been linked to improved heart health. Studies have shown that a regular, short nap can reduce stress and decrease the risk of heart disease. By allowing our body to rest, we reduce the strain on our heart and lower stress hormones.

A quick nap can do wonders for our mood. It’s a natural way to lift our spirits and combat feelings of tiredness or fatigue. Napping provides a mental and emotional reset, offering a break from daily stresses and recharging our energy.

Besides mental and emotional benefits, napping can contribute to our physical health. It can help in regulating blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and even aiding in weight management. Sleep, even in the form of a nap, plays a crucial role in maintaining our physical health.

Tips for Effective Napping
To reap the full benefits of napping, it’s important to nap effectively:

  • Keep naps short (around 20-30 minutes) to avoid feeling groggy afterward.
  • Nap earlier in the afternoon to not disrupt nighttime sleep.
  • Create a restful environment, quiet and comfortable, conducive to sleep.

As we continue to embrace the principles of vibrant living, incorporating short naps into our daily routine can be a transformative step towards enhanced mental, emotional, and physical well-being. So, let’s give ourselves permission to pause, rest, and rejuvenate, one nap at a time.

woman-napping-in-hammock
Credit: kali9
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01.04.24 | Community

The Importance of Setting Resolutions in the New Year

Now that 2024 is upon us, it brings an opportunity for reflection and renewal. At Sage Collective, we understand the importance of this time as an opportunity to set resolutions – not just as a tradition, but as a meaningful practice in our journey towards vibrant living.

The Power of Resolutions
Resolutions are more than just yearly promises we make to ourselves; they are declarations of intent and pathways to personal growth. They provide us with a chance to pause, assess our lives, and decide what changes we wish to make. For us in the older adult community, this is particularly powerful, as it aligns with our ongoing pursuit of vibrant living at every stage of life.

Setting Achievable Goals
The key to successful resolutions lies in their realism and attainability. It’s about setting goals that are challenging yet achievable, and that contribute to our overall well-being. Whether it’s adopting a new fitness regimen, learning a new skill, or dedicating more time to a beloved hobby, each resolution should be a stepping stone towards a fuller, richer life experience.

The Importance of Health and Wellness
Many resolutions revolve around health and wellness, and for good reason. As we age, taking care of our physical and mental health becomes increasingly important. Resolutions can serve as commitments to ourselves to nurture our bodies and minds, whether through healthier eating, regular exercise, or mindfulness practices.

Staying Connected and Engaged
Resolutions can also foster social engagement and community involvement – key components of vibrant living. This might mean resolving to spend more time with family and friends, participating in community events, or engaging in volunteer work.

Lifelong Learning and Growth
The new year is also a perfect time to commit to lifelong learning. This could be through reading more, enrolling in a class, or even traveling to new places. Each of these resolutions enriches our lives, keeps our minds active, and supports our overall sense of joy and fulfillment.

As we stand on the threshold of a new year, let’s embrace the tradition of setting resolutions with optimism and enthusiasm. Let these resolutions be reflections of our aspirations and values, guiding us towards a year filled with health, happiness, and vibrant living.

Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Let’s approach our resolutions with flexibility and kindness towards ourselves, understanding that each step forward, no matter how small, is a victory in its own right.

View of the sky looking up through a stand of trees
Credit: Ken Lane (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License)
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11.02.23 | Community

November is National Family Caregivers Month

November is often associated with Thanksgiving, a time to express gratitude and come together as families. But the month also holds a special significance for family caregivers. Welcome to National Family Caregivers Month – a period dedicated to acknowledging the silent heroes among us who dedicate their lives to caring for loved ones.

What started as National Family Caregivers Week in the mid-1990s has since evolved, thanks to President Barack Obama’s proclamation in 2012, into a month-long tribute. This expansion wasn’t just a mere extension of time but rather a recognition of the year-round efforts these caregivers undertake. 

While showing appreciation is a crucial aspect of this month, its scope goes beyond acknowledgment. The aim is to rally support for caregivers, raise awareness about the challenges they face, and provide them with vital resources. The Caregivers Action Network (CAN), for instance, introduces a theme each year. This year’s theme is #CaregiversConnect, which spotlights the importance of connections as a way to educate and support others. 

By shining a light on the hardships and trials caregivers endure, we pave the way for better policies, resources, and societal understanding. Whether it’s lobbying for better workplace support, highlighting the emotional strain, or emphasizing the financial toll of caregiving, the advocacy element of this month is pivotal.

As individuals, there’s much we can do. From offering to babysit, assisting with chores, or merely lending an empathetic ear, every bit helps. Community groups and local initiatives can also play a role, perhaps by setting up support forums or offering respite care services. The strength of a community lies in its unity, and together, we can ensure our caregivers feel seen, supported, and valued.

As you move through November, take a moment to think about the caregivers in your life. They might be neighbors, friends, or even family members. While their sacrifices often go unnoticed, this month serves as a reminder of the immeasurable value they bring to our communities and lives. 

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10.05.23 | Arts & Culture

Understanding the Tradition of Walking Moai

We’ve all felt it: the comforting presence of a friend beside us, turning a regular walk into something special. That burst of laughter, that shared secret, or that debate over the best coffee shop in town. Now, imagine multiplying that by a few more friends, all walking together, with a shared sense of purpose. That’s the magic of a Walking Moai.

Originating from Okinawa, Japan, the term “moai” translates to a heartwarming “meeting for a common purpose”. It’s more than just hanging out – it’s about belonging to a tribe, each step echoing with shared dreams and aspirations. And when it comes to walking, this sense of unity turns every journey into a festival of memories.

And it’s not just about the fun moments. When we walk with our pals, we’re not just burning calories, we’re sparking joy. A study from 2020 whispered a sweet secret: walking with friends makes you healthier, happier, and more motivated. It’s as if our bodies and minds instinctively know: life’s better when we’re together.

In today’s world, where loneliness sometimes sneaks up on us, Walking Moais are like a warm hug. They’re more than just a group – they’re a family. A circle where shared stories replace solitude and laughter keeps away the blues.

What’s even more magical is the transformation that happens when we walk, talk, and dream together. Those in the known “blue zones” have shown us the way. Walking isn’t just about movement; it’s about connecting, feeling, and living. A quick stroll can chase away stress, and brainstorming on the go? That’s where the best ideas are born!

So next time you’re lacing up your shoes, consider inviting a friend or two. Walk, chat, dream, and discover the world through the wonderful rhythm of shared footsteps. Whether you’re chasing health goals, seeking heartfelt conversations, or simply wanting a break from the daily grind – your tribe, your Walking Moai, awaits.

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09.28.23 | Arts & Culture

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 | 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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03.02.23 | Community

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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