People who are interested in Life Plan communities may have questions about the need for a Life Care contract. When you consider a move to an independent living community, you may be more focused on the amenities and activities to keep you active, healthy, and happy to simplify and enrich your life. What happens if you need a higher level of care, even for a short period of time, tends to take a back seat to the here and now.
Most people recognize the need for a safety net of protection when health needs or level of care change. A Life Care contract is more than an insurance policy if your health should change; it provides the support and guidance of our professional staff to assist in advocating for you and your loved one. One of our residents asked us to share his experience to illustrate how his Life Care contract is priceless to him and his wife. This is their story.
When the Unexpected Happens
John and Mary Smith* moved to Galloway Ridge about four years ago and settled in easily. They were interested in the many activities offered as well as the sense of community enjoyed by the residents; they both found that adjusting to independent living was easier than they expected it to be. The Smiths maintained their active life and spent time with the many friends they made at Galloway Ridge. They had signed a Life Care contract before their move, but they assumed they would not need for several years down the road.
Unfortunately, Mary experienced a medical problem that resulted in a hospital stay. She was inpatient long enough to be covered under Medicare Part A, and after coordination with the social workers at the hospital and Galloway Ridge, she was transferred to the Arbor for what was expected to be a brief skilled nursing care stay until her health improved. The Smiths were relieved to know that they would not have any additional expenses for her stay because of her Medicare coverage and Life Care contract.
From Bad to Worse
While Mary was recuperating, she developed a complication that required her again to be admitted to the hospital. She responded to her additional treatment, which was great news to her and her husband. The medical team thought she could return to the Arbor to complete her rehabilitation, but this time, she was not considered eligible for Medicare Part A coverage because she had improved and no longer qualified for skilled nursing care.
Typically, in this circumstance, the patient would be responsible for any level of care not covered by Medicare Part A, which could be a large financial burden on the patient or the family. But the Smiths had a Life Care contract, which meant they had planned for the unforeseen. Mary could return to the Arbor without the added stress of how to pay out of pocket for the majority of her care. She also did not have to worry about the possibility of losing her space because she was already part of the Life Plan Community. She continued to recover in the comfort of familiar surroundings with the support of caring staff and loving friends to help her along.
“You’re Well Until You’re Not”
John was relieved that his wife’s health improved and that he could visit her any time he wanted because she was at the same community. What he and Mary appreciate even more than the convenience of their community is the support and advocacy they received from the Galloway Ridge staff. Coordinating care and navigating the complex and confusing Medicare system is more than most seniors and their families can handle on their own, but the Smiths could rely on their community’s professionals to take the lead and help them with practical advice when it was needed most.
Peace of mind is one of the many benefits you have with a Life Care contract, which is only available in this area through Galloway Ridge. John and Mary Smith understand its value in a very personal way, and they want to share their story with anyone who is unsure of how this contract can protect seniors. To learn more about Life Care contracts, please contact the staff at Galloway Ridge or visit our website.
To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not enough time – Leonard Bernstein
If you are a current resident of Galloway Ridge or are thinking about moving to a community, you should be familiar with the concept of a Continuing Care Retirement Community, also known as a CCRC. We have been considered a leading CCRC in the Chapel Hill area, but as we look to the future to better meet the goals and needs of our seniors, we are reintroducing ourselves as a Life Plan Community. Our change in designation does not affect the services or levels of care we offer; rather, it realigns us better with our mission and what we mean to our residents.
What’s in a Name?
For over three decades, CCRCs have existed to provide security for seniors in their retirement years. The continuum of care concept included independent living as well as assisted living and skilled nursing care for residents as their needs changed, ensuring they would have the services and care they required to accommodate their evolving health. Memory care neighborhoods were added to provide specialized care for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, with the aim of further customizing care for every resident to improve quality of life at every level of capacity.
Retirement communities encompass more to seniors now as they understand that they have so much living to do. Continuing care is only one aspect of quality senior living, and a focus on enrichment, programming, overall wellbeing, and other factors contribute to the concept of living life to the fullest while planning for any future needs. That combination of life affirmation and strategic planning led to the designation shift of a CCRC to a Life Plan Community. The name change signifies a cultural perspective that is life affirming, and Galloway Ridge is excited to be the premier community in the area dedicated to enriching the lives of our residents while maintaining the highest standard of care for every level of need.
Why Does It Matter?
Retirement used to be considered a retreat from the rest of the life span. Seniors today recognize that every moment matters, and a life well-lived is available to anyone. By focusing on wellness and quality of life as well as quality of care, seniors can plan for a future, no matter what it brings. Galloway Ridge is right there to help our residents attain their life goals and remain active, in a personal and meaningful way. We hope you find this change as exciting as we do, and we look forward to answering your questions and discussing with you how we can help you continue to find enjoyment in each day.
Is there a secret to living a long, quality life? According to Colin Milner, the CEO of International Council on Active Aging at Galloway Ridge, there’s not. He suggests that it starts with the people and the culture at Galloway brought from its residents. Colin continued that, “Once we get past the age of 50, 65, 70, 80- whatever it may be, life does not stop. Life continues”.
An award-winning author and known for his public speaking events, Colin Milner has left a sizeable impression on the growing movement focused on the health and well-being of the older adult. He has been invited to serve on the Network of Global Agenda Council by the World Economic Forum for the past 6 years, and he received the Canadian Fitness Professional Association’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his contributions to the Canadian fitness industry. In addition, Colin has sparked quite a bit of attention between his publications, television appearances, and radio events, being featured by outlets such as:
US News and World Report
Wall Street Journal
New York Times
Los Angeles Times
Dow Jones Market Watch
The National Post
The phrase “age is just a number” can be interpreted in numerous ways within a life care or continuing care retirement community, though it’s implied that the mindset behind the inevitable aging process tends to stem from whether or not you let age define you and, in some sense, dictate your life decisions. There will always be things outside of our control, though there is a distinction in attitude and possibility when residents and potential community members stop to consider that there a plethora of options and resources. “It’s up to you”, as he points out, to utilize them and pursue a higher level quality of life in its full potential. Not only are there more resources being offered in such CCRC settings, but Colin notes there are also more stories and examples in the media of people nearing or surpassing their early 100s and doing things that truly defy what was considered possible. He references marathon runners and a 105-year old gentleman who successfully rode his bike for 14 hours straight. Milner does qualify that not every 105-year old will be able to, or will be particularly motivated to, attempt to climb a mountain or skydive, but acknowledges that the possibility can mean a world of difference.
The Arbor Achieves 100% Compliance with North Carolina Division of Health Service Regulation
The Arbor, the health care center of Galloway Ridge, was recently reviewed by the division of Health Service Regulation to determine compliance with regulation standards set forth by the Centers for Medicare Services. This annual survey focuses on key operations of our community, including nursing, dining, health care, billing, medical records, and other departments. We have been declared deficiency-free in all areas.
Adam Melton, Associate Executive Director and Director of Healthcare Services, commented proudly on the findings of the NC Division of Health Service Regulation stating, “This takes an incredible amount of effort and dedication from all departments involved. I am privileged to work with such a dedicated group of individuals and I am very proud of the care and compassion Galloway Ridge provides to our residents every day.”
We strive to provide the highest quality care to our residents at The Arbor, and we are pleased to have our dedication and hard work in our community recognized. Our mission is to maintain our deficiency-free rating as we continue to care for our residents residing in The Arbor.
About The Arbor
The Arbor at Galloway Ridge bridges the life care needs of our independent residents as they transition to higher levels of care. The Arbor includes Carolina Bay Assisted Living, Cypress Way Skilled Nursing, and Palmetto Cove Memory Care. We provide individualized attention for each resident while preserving quality of life with exceptional and appropriate programming.
Chatham County Blood Drive Reaches Across Generations Hosted by Galloway Ridge.
Galloway Ridge at Fearrington sponsored the 9th Annual American Red Cross Blood Drive for Chatham County on Tuesday, March 14th Over 75 donors arrived to give blood and the Red Cross team collected 49 usable pints (including the donors who chose to participate in double red collection) along with 6 donors who were deferred based on various reasons. The blood drive reached across generations as it celebrated the bonds between old and new friends, neighbors, and co-workers with the common cause of helping others through blood donations.
The blood drive was managed by a committee of volunteers consisting of residents of Galloway Ridge, staff and community volunteers. There were 34 volunteers throughout the day checking in donors, greeters, parking attendees, logistics, and donor recovery area. “Everyone at Galloway Ridge realizes just how important Red Cross blood drives are — so it is very easy to recruit volunteers to help wherever they are needed during the drive”, stated Barb Fritschel.
There’s a lot of history with the Chatham County Blood Drive with each year setting and mostly achieving a different objective. This year’s goal was to fill the schedule with at least 70 appointments prior to the actual drive and factor in walk in donors to assist with the final count. By the end of the four-hour blood drive 68 people had registered to donate, including nine first-time donors. “Overall, I was really impressed by the professionalism of the team that was working the drive. They knew what the tasks were for the drive and were efficient in making me feel very comfortable,” said a repeat donor.
“The repeat donors and walk-ins all contribute to the success of the event however the new donors play a very important role. Donating blood can be a thought-provoking decision to make and when first timers register to give it’s a celebratory moment for all. Once you donate the first year you typically return the following years. Getting over your fear is part of the battle,” said Pat Richardson, Director of Communications and Community Relations at Galloway Ridge.
The 9th Annual Chatham County Blood Drive was a success, but their goal will be to exceed their efforts next year in 2018 celebrating 10 years.
Galloway Ridge is a nonprofit Life Plan Community (LPC) located just eight miles south of Chapel Hill in Pittsboro, North Carolina. We’re vibrant. We’re distinctive. We’re family. We’re Galloway Ridge.
“True emancipation lies in the acceptance of the whole past…in facing up to the degradation as well as the dignity of my ancestors.” Pauli Murray
The recently published book, The Firebrand and the First Lady- Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Strugglefor Social Justice by Patricia Bell-Scott was very favorably reviewed by the New YorkTimes, Wall Street Journal, and Time magazine among others. It is the story of Pauli Murray and her twenty-four year friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt. Pauli Murray was a major figure in the civil rights and women’s rights movements of the mid twentieth century. She has been honored by Duke and UNC and she is a Saint in the Episcopal Church. What does that have to do with Galloway Ridge? A few yards south of the Arbor is an old stone wall which encloses a small cemetery with nine tombstones. A worn path leads to the entrance. Pauli Murray’s story doesn’t end in the cemetery, it begins there.
This historic cemetery was concealed by a deep forest until it was exposed when GR expanded south and closer to the cemetery. Resident John Row found it years earlier and began to clean it up. He cut trees, repaired the wall, straightened and supported the headstones, marked the boundaries and still maintains it. John also introduced resident Dr. H.G. Jones to the cemetery. Dr. Jones contacted UNC, the owner of the cemetery, and had them cut down several large overhanging trees. H.G. Jones is an award winning archivist who taught at UNC. In 2015 he published his excellent book, Miss Mary’s Money, which details the life and times of the Jones (no relation to H.G.) and Smith families. “It’s often very disturbing, and sometimes uplifting,” he says, “but I didn’t gloss over anything”.
All of the complexities and contradictions of the southern slave owning society of the 19th century came to bear on the lives of the family in the cemetery. Francis Jones (1760-1844), the patriarch, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and a major land owner in central North Carolina. Jones Grove Plantation was his crown jewel. The southern wing of the Arbor occupies the place where the plantation house once stood. Jones offered to donate part of the land for a college to be built at this location. He was turned down in favor of the small hamlet of Chapel Hill. Mary Parke Jones(1761-1811) was his wife and Ruffin Jones (1794-1836) was their unmarried son. Delia Jones (1787-1854) their daughter, married James Strudwick Smith (1787-1852) from Hillsborough in 1813.
Strudwick Smith was the illegitimate son of William Strudwick. The Strudwicks were a well-to-do family in Hillsborough and were prominent in the upper class of this important town. The Smith family lived nearby but was of a different social class. William Strudwick was seventeen years old and did not marry the mother of his child. Regarding his background Strudwick Smith later said, “Having been born poor, I have had to be the architect of my own future. I procured the means of advancement through my own labor.” Smith was aggressive and ambitious and, because of his blatant self-promotion and brash aggressive style, was unpopular among his colleagues. He studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and became a doctor in Hillsborough but his ambition took him far afield from the medical profession. He owned a general store, distilleries, a copper shop and a substantial amount of land, some of which was inherited from his father-in-law. He was active in the affairs of Hillsborough and served two terms in the US Congress from 1817 to 1821. He became a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina in 1821.
The Smith’s had three children. The oldest, Mary Ruffin Smith (1814-1885) was raised as a refined, educated southern lady of the time. Mary’s father acquired an enslaved fifteen-year-old girl named Harriet to be her personal servant. In the census records Harriet is identified as mulatto, a designation used for men and women of mixed race. Later she married Reuben Day, a freedman, and they had a son Julius, but they were not permitted to live together as a family. Maria Louisa Spear (1804-1881) was brought in to tutor Mary and they formed a friendship that lasted their entire lives. Maria is the only non-family member buried in the cemetery. The sons, Francis Jones “Frank” Smith(1816-1877) and James Sidney Smith (1819-1867) both attended the University of North Carolina. Frank also attended the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and, though he didn’t graduate, he became a doctor, like his father. James Sidney, who was called by his middle name, was high spirited and difficult. He became a well-known politician and lawyer. Sidney developed a serious drinking problem and eventually became known as a “drunkard” in the county.
According to the oral history as recorded by Pauli Murray in her family memoir, Proud Shoes, Sidney began to stalk Harriet who lived in a cabin away from the house in Hillsborough. Reuben, Harriet’s husband, was threatened by Sidney and disappeared from the area. Eventually Sidney went to Harriet’s cabin and assaulted her. Discovering this, Frank, who had his own designs on Harriet, severely beat his brother and left him bleeding on their front lawn. Harriet was pregnant by Sidney and Cornelia was born in 1844. She would become the grandmother of Pauli Murray. But the ordeal was not over for Harriet. Frank developed his own dominant relationship with her and over the next eight years Harriet had three children with Frank – Emma, Annette and Laura.
Strudwick Smith’s aggressive land speculations and other ill-fated business ventures finally caught up with him and he became mired in debt. He astutely sheltered most of his assets within his family before declaring bankruptcy in 1845. The Smiths all lived in Hillsborough but, even in the midst of the bankruptcy and the suits and counter suits, they built a large house at Price Creek Plantation. In 1847 they moved to the new house which they called “Oakland.” It still stands nearby behind a black iron fence on Smith Level Road. They all lived in the house.
Mary raised all four of her brothers’ children as family members in the houses in Hillsborough and Price Creek. Harriet, their mother, continued to be a servant in the house. Mary provided the children with a modest education and every Sunday morning Mary, Miss Spear and the girls would ride to the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill in her beautiful white carriage. The mixed race children sat upstairs in the balcony while Mary and Miss Spear sat in the Smith pew. The children would all be baptized in this church.
So the entire dysfunctional family lived at “Oakland”: Strudwick Smith, now mentally and physically incapacitated due to the strain of the bankruptcy; Delia, his wife, worn out from the family misadventures; Frank, the lecherous and now part time doctor who continued his bitterness toward his brother; and the drunkard lawyer-politician Sidney. Mary’s four nieces also lived in the house as family members. Strudwick Smith died in 1852 and Delia in 1854. Both were buried in a small cemetery at Price Creek. The Smith siblings were now one of the wealthiest families in the area. In her book Pauli Murray wrote that Sidney “brooded his life away.” He died in 1867 at the age of 48. He was also buried at Price Creek. Harriet, now free, lived in a cabin near Price Creek. In August 1872 she was struck by lightning while in her cabin and was paralyzed. She became an invalid and Mary provided tender, loving personal care daily until Harriet died in September 1873. Frank Smith spent much of his time in a two room cabin on the Price Creek property. He died in 1877 at the age of 61 from, according to Mary’s friend, Kemp Battle, “a lingering disease passing through violent insanity to death.” Mary had him buried in the Jones Grove cemetery. She also made plans for her burial there and her friend Maria Louisa Spear agreed to do the same.
Mary Ruffin Smith emerged as the savior of the beleaguered family name and now controlled all of the property that the family held. Her four nieces, now legally free, remained in the house with her. Maria Spear finally moved in permanently. Her nieces were courted under Mary’s watchful eye and eventually married – Emma to Henry Morphis a farmer, Annette to farmer Edward Kirby, and Laura to Gray Toole, a barber. Cornelia, the oldest, married Robert Fitzgerald a freedman from the North in 1869. He was a Civil War veteran of the Union Army’s 5th Massachusetts Colored Regiment. He had served at the siege of Petersburg, Virginia. He was educated and moved to the south to help teach the newly freed slaves. He would become Pauli Murray’s grandfather. Maria Spear, in apparent good health, died in her sleep at “Oakland” in 1881. Mary confided to a friend, “I am alone in this world….I miss her too much.”
Mary Ruffin Smith died quietly at “Oakland” on November 13, 1885 at the age of 71. During her final illness she had been attended to by her nieces, Emma and Annette. She was described in a newspaper story as “a lady of uncommon strength of mind, lofty character, large charity, unaffected piety and earnest Christian life.” A large gathering of friends assembled at “Oakland” to pay their respects. Then a long procession of carriages escorted the hearse to the burying ground at Jones Grove. Kemp Battle, the President of the struggling post-Civil War University of North Carolina, which was closed from 1871-1875, was one of Mary’s closest friends and advisors. He was the executor of her estate. He had an impressive granite marker with a large cross placed at her grave. A three foot stone wall with an iron gate was built to surround all of the graves. Mary requested that her parents, Strudwick and Delia Smith and her brother Sidney be reburied in the cemetery and Kemp Battle had this done. In her will Mary gave her nieces – Emma, Annette and Laura – 100 acres each, cut from the Jones Grove Plantation land. From the Price Creek land, Julius, Harriet’s son, received 25 acres and Cornelia 100 acres. The remainder of Price Creek, about 1,500 acres, was willed to the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina. The University of North Carolina was given the Jones Grove property, about 1,400 acres, to be used for scholarships and other uses. Galloway Ridge is on this land. It was the largest gift ever given to the University up to that time. Mary Ruffin Smith is honored with a plaque just inside the main entrance to Memorial Hall at UNC. It is directly across the lobby from a plaque honoring the service of Kemp Battle.
Now that you know the story, perhaps you will look at these nine tombstones differently. They represent real people with real flaws and real virtues who once occupied this land. Pauli Murray’s life would bring their story full circle back to this cemetery.
Written by Galloway Ridge resident Mike Zbailey, May 2016.
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Falling down is no laughing matter, and everyone, especially people in retirement, should give this issue more attention. Falls account for more injuries in people aged 65 and older than any other cause, and preventing them takes more than just improving balance. September is Fall Prevention Month, and now is a good time to think about what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of falling.
It’s Kind of a Big Deal
Taking a spill may cause a few bruises, even a bruised ego, but some injuries can be quite severe. Head trauma is one major concern because you could have bleeding or pressure in your skull. Other worries include broken bones, most commonly wrist, back, and hip fractures, which can be debilitating for otherwise active people. When you are older, it does take longer to heal, and you may not realize your limitations during recovery. Some people can even become anxious after a fall and limit their movement and activity level as a way of avoiding the possibility of tumbling.
While people of any age can get hurt from a fall, seniors are at a higher risk for a number of reasons. Older people are more likely to be less flexible or have difficulty with balance. They may have frail or fragile bones and poor vision. Medical conditions may also be a factor; for example, diabetes can lead to decreased peripheral sensation, leaving sufferers less able to feel the ground beneath their feet. Dizziness and fluctuations in blood pressure are frequent side effects for many medications, adding to the risk. In addition, if you have recently been hospitalized, you may feel weaker as you recuperate.
Taking Smart Steps for Safety
Now that you understand more about why fall prevention is necessary, you can take control of some of those factors to protect yourself from injury. Here are a few ways you can be safer in your home:
Keep walkways clear of clutter.
Remove any slippery rugs or other tripping hazards.
Turn on lights so you can see where you are going.
Add safety measures such as grab bars, elevated toilet seats, shower benches, and textured non-slip flooring to bathrooms.
Make the switch to shoes that provide better support and traction.
Consider using a medical alert device if you live alone or have a history of falling.
You should talk to your medical provider about potential side effects from medication, especially if you feel light-headed. During your visit, discuss what exercises you can do to increase your strength and flexibility. Activities such as water aerobics, yoga, and tai chi are can be great workouts for improving balance for every level of fitness. You may also need an eye exam to see what treatment options you have to preserve or improve your eyesight.
How We Can Help
Galloway Ridge takes the safety and health of our residents very seriously. We are featuring a lecture on fall prevention on Tuesday, September 20, at 10 am in the Chapin Auditorium. Join us to learn more about how to stay safely on your feet. We also invite you to participate in the Strong and Stable class, offered by the Duke Center For Living, which is an 8-week program to help reduce your fall risk.
If there’s one thing runners love about a road race, it’s a downhill finish, where gravity carries smiling participants effortlessly toward cheering friends, family and supporters.
But maybe it was only appropriate that breathless finishers had to go up a short but unexpected incline over their final strides in the Chatham Alzheimer’s NC 5K Run / Walk at Fearrington Village’s Galloway Ridge retirement community last Saturday morning.
The Community Grant Program of the Galloway Ridge Inc., Charitable Fund is accepting grant applications from Chatham County 501(c)(3) organizations and from Chatham County Public Schools and other Chatham County governmental units.
Completed applications are due by 4:00 pm on October 11, 2016. Applications are available by contacting Celeste Lestienne at email@example.com.
Galloway Ridge is a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community in Chatham County. In 2016, $80,000 is available for Community Grants.
To request the grant application package, please contact:
I hope I didn’t bore you too much with my life story. – Elvis Presley
Every culture around the world has been recorded and preserved through the rich tradition of storytelling. Journal keeping, letter writing, and other sources are the basis of our knowledge of past civilizations, belief systems, and social history. These documents paved the way for modern-day memoirs, which are a valuable experience for every person, especially those who are in their golden years. Your life story is yours to share or to keep for yourself; either way, you can enrich your life by writing a memoir.
Be Kind, Rewind
Older people can find several benefits from writing a life story. Self-reflection provides the opportunity to reminiscence about both the good and not-so-good times in your past, to focus on all of the events that helped make you the person you are. By taking time to record your memories, you can improve your self-esteem and expand your personal vision of the meaning of life. Introspection allows for growth, especially at a time of life when many people feel stagnant.
For elderly individuals with cognitive conditions, benefits can be more quantitative. Some of the improvements can include:
No one can question how you remember things when you are writing a memoir, because your memories are from your point of view. There is no right or wrong way to reminisce.
The Bare Bones
Writing is a highly personal process. You may choose to record the details of your life story in chronological order, or you may decide to focus on big events that shaped your journey. Any approach you choose can provide structure to your memoir. You can try any or all of these strategies:
Outlining by decade or milestones
Concentrating on childhood memories
Reflecting on historical events
Sharing wisdom gained through life experience
Remembering people who influenced you
You should also give thought to the logistics of memoir writing. Are you proficient with computers or more comfortable hand writing? Would you prefer taping your story or having a family member interview you? You can find a skilled person to transcribe your responses to make it easier on yourself if the telling is more enjoyable than the recording.
On Your Mark
Memoir writing can be something you do by yourself or a group activity where you learn and share with friends. We hope you will consider documenting your life story. Writing a memoir can provide a greater appreciation for the events that make up your life. For your family, your documented memories may be the best legacy you can give, a treasure to pass on to future generations.
When all’s said and done, all roads lead to the same end. So it’s not so much which road you take, as how you take it.Charles de Lint
If you have been at the steering wheel for most of your life, you would not be too pleased to have someone tell you that your driving may not be up to public safety standards. At some point, every elderly driver will have to face the realization that it may be time to hand over the keys. The good news is that you may have many years and miles of road ahead of you, if you are willing to examine your abilities and focus on improving your driving safety.
The aging process does affect some abilities that can impact your capacity to operate a vehicle safely. Most people think that reaction time is the biggest issue, but in reality, decreased visual acuity and hearing can be a bigger problem. Less muscle strength, lack of flexibility, and limited range of motion are significant limitations as well. In addition, any chronic medical conditions or prescribed medications may also contribute to a loss of coordination or attention.
Having any or all of these issues does not automatically mean you are not able to drive safely. While you cannot control how your body ages, you can take steps to ensure you are not a risk to public safety by:
Discussing the side effects of medications with your physician
Participating in physical activity to improve strength and flexibility
Installing assistive devices on your vehicle for easier operation
Limiting distractions while driving
Taking a refresher course for elderly drivers
Recognizing stressful situations such as rush hour or nighttime driving
The Right Time
Few people are willing to admit that they know they should limit or stop driving. If elderly drivers are causing a few too many accidents or getting more tickets while on the road, they would be wise to relinquish their driving privileges. Becoming a passenger offers its own set of benefits beyond the lack of responsibility of driving safety. You can be more social and relaxed without the stress of driving, and you can also expect to save money with no more car upkeep, gas, insurance, and other expenses. Finding transportation can be as simple as asking for a ride from friends or family, using public transportation, looking into rideshare options, including Uber, Lyft, or community based carpool programs.
A Touchy Subject
Galloway Ridge wants to preserve the independence and health of all of our residents, even when you are out on the road. We recently finished participation in Phase 1 of the UNC Highway Safety Research Center study that focused on physical fitness and driving. Phase 2 of this research study, funded by NHTSA, is almost ready to begin, and 90 additional volunteers are needed to join.
The researchers are looking for individuals over the age of 70 who currently drive and do not participate in regular physical activity. Selected volunteers may need to complete a questionnaire about their level of fitness, use a daily fitness monitor device, consent to the installation of a device in the vehicle to track driving, and submit to a road evaluation with a certified driving instructor. All members of the study will receive a $100 VISA gift card and other potential fitness and driving-related perks.
If you are interested, please plan on attending one of two information sessions, to be held on Wednesday, August 10, and tentatively August 31, at 10am in the Auditorium. We invite you to contact Kristel with UNC Highway Safety Research Center at (919)962-6404 if you would like more information.
People are very open-minded about new things – as long as they’re exactly like the old ones. – Charles Kettering
Developmental milestones are so important when children grow and change. We record their first steps, first words, even their attempts at eating and dressing. As they age, children continue to learn and master skills at school or with hobbies or interests. Their lives revolve around trying new things.
Their achievements are recorded through high marks on report cards or trophies and awards. They may go on to college and earn degrees. They start careers and train on the job, gaining experience and receiving promotions. They marry and have children and instill that sense of progress and exploration in their offspring.
At some point after middle age, people tend to stop that growth. They become comfortable in their routine and are less likely to step away from the known and really explore and initiate. They stagnate. They, in essence, stop learning, and that can affect their brain function.
Does this sound familiar to you? When was the last time you tried something new? Not ordering something different on a menu, but something completely foreign that you have never done before, something you may have been interested in but considered yourself too old to accomplish.
It’s Never too Late
Aging people can benefit greatly from trying new things, but there is a catch. In order to maintain or enhance brain function, those new things need to be stimulating and complex. Your new experiences should go beyond a one-time event; rather, you may want to focus on mastering a new skill. That can include learning a new sport, a new craft, a new language, or perhaps a new technology. All of those things that seemed possible when you were younger are still very much available to you if you allow yourself to be challenged and even a little humble.
Failure is Growth
How many times have you heard you need to make a mistake in order to learn and grow? You have not outgrown that part of life any more than you have your ability to learn new things. You can work towards mastering a new ability when you become vulnerable and recognize you may not always be an expert. You can learn from the experience of others, and you may need to get used to needing help, asking questions, and messing up. It was okay to make mistakes when you were young, and it’s still okay, no matter what your age.
A World of Possibility
Galloway Ridge wants to issue a challenge to our residents and loved ones. We would like you to look at the monthly calendar and find something new to try. Maybe it is an activity that has always interested you or just one that catches your eye. Step outside of your box, and maybe bring someone with you. Join one of our discussion groups. Participate in the Total Brain Health Workout program. Try the watercolor painting class. Make plans to go to the Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer Carnival on Saturday, July 30. Embrace the goal of trying new things.
There is no shortage of options, and we encourage you to try something and let you know what you think. If what you have in mind isn’t offered, let us know that too. We want to hear from you so that our activities and programming appeal to you, our residents. Get out there and learn some new tricks!