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Galloway Ridge Community Grant Program

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 clestienne@gallowayridge.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:

Celeste Lestienne
Senior Executive Assistant
Galloway Ridge, Inc.
3000 Galloway Ridge
Pittsboro, NC 27312

 

This Is Your Life: The Value of Writing a Memoir

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:

  • Enhanced long-term memory
  • Sense of control and autonomy
  • Better behavioral functions
  • Increased socialization
  • Less depression, stress, and anxiety

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.

Hit the Brakes: Is it Safe to Keep Driving?

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.

Mitigating Factors

 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.

Be Proactive

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:

  • Having regular vision and hearing examinations
  • Maintaining healthy sleep and nutrition habits
  • 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.

Breaking the Old Dog Stereotype: Why You Should Learn New Tricks

 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!

Galloway Ridge: “Where Education Matters”

Pittsboro, NC, May 24, 2016 – Galloway Ridge is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s employee scholarships. The scholarships make educational opportunities a reality for employees pursuing degrees and certifications at educational institutions.

This year’s recipients are: Michaela Albright (Central Carolina Community College); Shaborn Allah (Durham Technical Community College); Ernestine Bangura (Central Carolina Community College); Jessica Delgado Flores (Appalachian State University); Tania Hernandez-Mejia (Central Carolina Community College); Brenda Martinez (Central Carolina Community College); Deborah McCready (Central Carolina Community College); Lilly Neal (NC State University); Madison Spinks (Central Carolina Community College); Valeria Villanueva (Central Carolina Community College); and Teagan Williams (Central Carolina Community College).

The scholarship program is funded by donations from Galloway Ridge’s residents and managed by Triangle Community Foundation. The support of residents is impressive with $40,000 allotted to scholarships this year! Galloway Ridge is proud to have residents willing to invest so generously in the future of its employees.

Congratulations to the 2016 Galloway Ridge Employee Scholarship recipients!

Galloway Ridge is a non-profit continuing care retirement community (CCRC) located south of Chapel Hill in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Galloway Ridge opened its doors in 2005. For further information: www.gallowayridge.com

6th Annual Chatham County Alzheimer’s Walk and 5K Run

The 6th Annual Chatham County Alzheimer’s Walk and 5K Run will be held Saturday, September 10, at Galloway Ridge at Fearrington in Pittsboro. This year’s event has something for the whole family, including a new Fun Run for children ages 4-11. Among other activities are a resource fair, music, and food vendors. Pre-registration is now open. Onsite registration begins at 7:00 a.m. on event day, with the Fun Run starting at 8:00 a.m. and the 5K Run and Walk at 8:30 a.m.

There are various ways to get involved with the event this year including sponsorships, in kind donations, creating walk teams accompanied by pledges or registering to run by visiting www.gallowayridge.com. 

Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. Walks held around the state offer a chance for caregivers and individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia to connect with resources in their community and find support from one another. They also raise much-needed funding.

“Funds raised from events like these allow us to continue our programs and services to families in North Carolina while focusing attention on the needs of the more than 175,000 North Carolinians diagnosed with Alzheimer’s,” says Lisa Levine, Program Director at Alzheimer’s NC.  An estimated 5.4 million Americans have the disease at an annual cost of more than $200 billion in lost wages, insurance, productivity, and other areas.

Alzheimer’s North Carolina provides education, programs and services, advocacy, emergency respite, and research funding for cause, prevention, treatment, and cure.  For information and assistance if you are dealing with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, call Alzheimers North Carolina at (919) 832-3732 or visit the website at www.alznc.org.

For more information please contact Pat Richardson at (919) 642-6893.

Galloway Ridge to host “Meet the Masters of the Future” Student Art Show

Artist Collaboration with Chatham County Schools K-12

Pittsboro, NC, April 6, 2016 – A common love of the arts is a bridge across generations.  This summer, baby boomers and Gen Z will find common conversation when they join together for an art experience for the young and the young-at-heart as residents of Galloway Ridge welcome the upcoming artists of the new millennium for a 3 month art installation.

Galloway Ridge’s Artists Collaboration committee will host a show of Chatham County Schools’ student art from May 13 – August 11, 2016.  The juried show, called “Meet the Master of the Future”, will feature student work selected from 17 Chatham County Schools.  The artwork will be displayed in the dining rooms of Galloway Ridge and their onsite wellness center Duke Center for Living. Galloway Ridge is long known for its appreciation of the arts.  Executive Director of Galloway Ridge, Bob Zimmer, says “It’s an honor to sponsor the first art show with cross-generational inspiration in Chatham County.  As stewards in the county we are enthusiastic about our community engagement involvement. ”

An opening reception will be held on Friday, May 13th from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. in the Weathersfield Cafe dining area of Galloway Ridge at Fearrington.  It is open to the public.

The event is being coordinated by the Artist’s Collaboration committee of staff members, residents and community volunteers in cooperation with Chatham County Schools.  For promising student artists involved, art will be available for sale with proceeds benefitting the individual artist. Approximately 100 works of art from students from grades K-12 will be chosen by the art teachers from Chatham County’s 17 schools, then displayed for the enjoyment of Galloway Ridge residents.

Chatham County Schools’ Arts Coordinator, Dr. Lori Major Carlin, says, “It has always been my desire to forge a strong partnership between the school district and Galloway Ridge. To do so through the artistic talents of our Chatham County students gives me great joy. I look forward to strengthening this relationship and using this experience to explore new areas for collaboration.”

Galloway Ridge celebrates 5 years for the Galloway Ridge Artist Collaboration reaching over 300 artists, promoting over 1,000 pieces of artwork and approximately $16,000 in profit going directly to the art community.

Galloway Ridge is a non-profit continuing care retirement community (CCRC) located south of Chapel Hill in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Galloway Ridge opened its doors in 2005. For further information:   www.gallowayridge.com

Galloway Ridge Announces New Director of Healthcare Services/Administrator

Pittsboro, NC, June 29, 2016: Bob Zimmer, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, is pleased to announce the appointment of Adam Melton, NHA, as the new Director of Healthcare Services/Administrator of The Arbor at Galloway Ridge.  Melton will oversee delivery of healthcare services to residents at Galloway Ridge including Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing and Memory Care.

Adam comes to Galloway Ridge with a vast experience in healthcare administration and work in CCRC’s.   Adam is a native of Vass, North Carolina (Moore County) and attended the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.   He was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies in 2003.  Adam has over eleven years of experience as a Nursing Home Administrator and is a strong advocate for person centered care.   Previous employers include Carolina Meadows in Chapel Hill, NC and Scotia Village in Laurinburg, NC.

“I am excited to join the great team at Galloway Ridge as Director of Healthcare Services. There is a fantastic tradition of healthcare provided in this community and I hope to enhance the already strong foundation.  I look forward to serving the community to the best of my ability. I want to thank both the residents and staff for their support as we continue to align the Arbor and Galloway Ridge’s mission, “stated Melton.

“We are excited that Adam will be the new Director of Healthcare Services/Administrator at The Arbor,” said Bob Zimmer. “His sound leadership qualities and proven experience will be valuable assets for our residents and team members.”

Galloway Ridge is a nonprofit continuing care retirement community (CCRC) located just eight miles south of Chapel Hill in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Galloway Ridge is a remarkable choice for inspiring, satisfying senior living. Visit Galloway Ridge online at www.GallowayRidge.com.

For more information, contact Pat Richardson at 919-642-6893 or 888-763-9600.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 Many people give their time by volunteering during retirement as a way to give back to the community or to share skills and knowledge gained over a lifetime. What you might not realize is that charitable giving also has benefits that go deeper than just the obvious financial advantages. The best part about philanthropy is that it is not just for the wealthiest people; people of any economic status can find ways to make a difference.   Here are some reasons why making monetary donations can be a gift you give yourself.

It Feels Good

 You know that happy feeling you get when you help someone in need? That comes from the stimulation of the brain’s reward circuit. Research studies have shown that the same area of your brain that responds to other pleasurable stimuli is activated when you donate money.

Do Unto Others

 When you make a financial gift, you are helping people who need it. You can ease a burden for someone else, especially at a time in your life where experiences and interaction may be more important than material possessions.

The Bottom Line

 One of the main reasons why many people donate money is to reduce their taxes. Think of it this way: if you make a donation, you may pay less in taxes, but if you don’t, our tax burden could be greater. Through charitable giving, you may feel better about how your money is used and owe the government less at the same time.

Everything Counts

 While large monetary gifts can be a blessing to non-profit organizations, they are in need of support in any amount. Sometimes it is even more beneficial to have regular gifts instead of a lump sum because donations can be slow during certain times of the year.

Deeper Meaning

 People in retirement may have difficulty finding their sense of purpose. Volunteering can be a great avenue to improving quality of life, but it may not be a good fit for everyone. Charitable giving is another way to give your life significance and can even motivate your friends and family to give as well.

Be a Guardian

 You may be familiar with the Galloway Ridge Charitable Fund, which was established in 2006 as a way for our residents and others to easily donate locally to non-profit organizations, schools, and government agency projects. Residents provide needed resources and volunteer hours to connect to the community and improve their own quality of life. In the past ten years, the Galloway Ridge Charitable Fund has grown in donations to local organizations through grants and has had such a positive impact on those in need in Chatham County.

The Guardians for Galloway Society, recognizes donors who have provided financial strength for services for fellow and future residents of Galloway Ridge, is ideal for giving directly to funds established on site. These funds include:

  • Charitable Fund
  • Resident Reserve Fund
  • Employee Scholarship Fund
  • Special Events Fund
  • Library Fund

Each fund supports the mission of our community and enhances quality of life for our residents. To date, over 42 families have joined the Guardians by making a generous donation of over $15,000. They have been recognized with a leaf on the Legacy Tree and will be honored at the Annual Luncheon.

If you would like to participate in this spirit of generosity, you can make a donation or designate funds through bequest by September 1. If you wish to participate or increase your donation amount, contact Dana Boylan-Walker, Financial Director, at 919-545-2603. Bob Holton is also available at 919-545-0810 if you have any other questions about the Society or the Galloway Ridge Charitable Fund.  Thank you for being a part of the Galloway Family and supporting your community.

 

June is Men’s Health Month: Wear Blue and Get Screened Too!

“He who can believe himself well, will be well.” – Ovid

 Men, who typically are proactive about so many things, tend to take a back seat when it comes to their own health care. To raise awareness about the need for more men to focus on their health, the Men’s Health Network has designated June as Men’s Health Month. This campaign is a nationwide event, and Galloway Ridge is participating by offering activities and health screenings for you or the man in your life. Let’s make this the month for men to get screened and get moving for better health throughout the year.

Let’s Hear it for the Boys!

 Women are much more likely to see doctors throughout their lives. They may develop a doctor-patient relationship during their childbearing years which continues through menopause and further as they age. Men, on the other hand, may not have the need for regular care as young adults, and some have not seen a doctor for decades. By the time they reach middle age or beyond, they may deny that they need regular care, choosing instead to manage any potential conditions on their own.

Considering men as a population typically suffer from heart disease or stroke and have a shorter life span than the average woman, they should take a more direct approach to managing their health. Men tend to be bigger drinkers and smokers which can lead to ongoing health problems. Other conditions that can plague men as they age can include low testosterone, urinary tract infections, an enlarged prostate, and difficulty with urination. Prostate and colon cancers are also concerns that should not be overlooked.

I Like to Move it, Move it.

 Men can aim for healthy choices as one approach to overall well being. Eating healthy foods, limiting sweets, drinking in moderation…these are good goals for anyone who wants to reduce risk of disease and maintain a good quality of life.

Another great way to promote wellness is with regular exercise. If you work out regularly, keep up the good work! Exercise can help with both your physical and mental health. Try to cross train by including cardio, strength training, flexibility, and balance on a regular basis for overall fitness. Galloway Ridge has a variety of fitness activities that are fun and beneficial, and we encourage you to try something new if you are able. Check with your doctor before you start any new exercise program, in case you needed another reason to make an appointment.

The Duke Center for Living, located on-site at Galloway Ridge, is one of the best and most convenient resources our residents have for regular fitness. They recently hosted a BROGA class, a new concept in the world of yoga, in honor of Men’s Health Month. These yoga classes are perfect for men who may be intimidated by a traditional coed yoga class. BROGA focuses more on a man’s ability, adapting yoga poses that emphasize strength over flexibility. Hopefully, with your support, DCFL can offer this fun body and mind class again, possibly on a regular basis, as another option for men to stay fit.

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I Screen, You Screen, We all Screen…

 This Friday, June 17, from 9:30-11:30, join us in the Beltie Lounge for breakfast and wellness screenings. The physical assessments, which include a balance evaluation and blood pressure check, are open to male residents and staff. Here is an easy opportunity for our guys to learn more about what health concerns may affect their generation and even start the process of assessing their health needs.

Keep in mind that these health screenings are not designed to take the place of a full examination but just the first step to taking control of your health. Here is a short list of issues that should be addressed at your next checkup:

 

  • Blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Cholesterol
  • Bone density
  • Depression
  • Memory
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test

A doctor may also recommend a stress test for cardiovascular function and colonoscopy to check for any abnormal growths.

Am I Blue?

 Another way to show support for Men’s Health Month is by wearing blue this Friday, June 17. We encourage all the residents and staff of Galloway Ridge to paint the community blue, figuratively of course, as we dress up in blue to raise awareness for men’s health care.

We hope you will join us in celebrating men and encouraging all of our residents to stay well now and in the future. If you would like more information about men’s (and women’s) activities at Galloway Ridge, please click here.

Food for Thought: How Food is Connected to Memory

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a home grown tomato.”– Lewis Grizzard

When the days get longer and the temperatures are hotter, you know that summer is here. What does summer mean to you? Is it the first juicy slice of red, ripe watermelon, or the seed-spitting contest after? Maybe a family reunion picnic with fresh, buttery corn on the cob? Or sitting on a shady porch, sipping on icy cold sweet tea and watching lightning bugs twinkle in the yard? Galloway Ridge independent living has a slew of ways for you to celebrate summer and its bounty that may bring to mind summers from days gone by.

No matter where you grew up or what your life experience may be, you probably had a family tradition you remember fondly or happy memories of your childhood summers. Those memories may go hand-in-hand with comfort foods that you enjoyed as part of a celebration or just because it was a hot sunny day. You are not alone in thinking there is a link between food and memories; in fact, you have the support of science to confirm it.

It’s All in Your Head

Blame that connection of food and memories on your hippocampus, located in the medial temporal lobe of the brain, which supports such functions as emotions, memory, learning, and spatial relations. As part of the limbic system, the hippocampus also works closely with the olfactory bulb, which transmits information to the brain about the sense of smell.

When the sense of smell is bundled into the process of forming memories, you have a powerful association that can help you know what to do. One example is when you smell unpleasant smells, such as smoke or the odor of a skunk; you know how to be safe because your memory has warned you of potential danger. It can also tie into your earlier memories and emotions, which can explain the delight you feel when you smell the aroma of a freshly baked apple pie.

Taste goes along with smell to interpret different foods, identifying salty, sweet, sour, or bitter flavors with the aromas before sending all the information up to the brain, where memories are attached to it. Taste is enhanced by the smell, and the smell is the link that allows your hippocampus to recall those emotions.

Indulge Yourself

One of the greatest pleasures in life is enjoying food.  It is a basic need that contains deeper meaning because of the memories we associate with it. Even if you try to eat healthy or follow a special diet, you can still occasionally indulge in comfort foods that trigger emotions and memories from your past. If you have childhood favorites or summer treats that you miss, allow yourself to savor and relive your remembrances. Foods that hold special meaning for you enable you to revisit and explore a lifetime of experiences. Sharing those foods with friends and loved ones can heighten the enjoyment as you strengthen bonds with your community through storytelling and breaking bread.

Take a Bigger Bite

Of course, this explanation of the connection of food and memories is rather simplistic, but if you want to learn more, you can find books to devour and discuss. Some titles that you might find interesting include:

  • A Bowl of Olives: on Food and Memory, Sara Madda
  • The Omnivorous Mind, John S. Allen
  • Edible Memory: the Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Foods, Jennifer A. Jordan

This is just a sampling of what you can discover; there are many more memoirs, cookbooks, or other nonfiction sources just waiting for you to sink your teeth into them.

Have Another Helping

Another book you may enjoy, especially if you want to relish memories of home style Southern cuisine, is “Mama Dip” Council’s Mama Dip’s Family Cookbook. If you have yet to meet Chapel Hill’s own Mama Dip, an expert on comfort food that feeds your soul, you will have the opportunity on Sunday, June 19, at 4pm, as part of our Summer Sundays series. She will be speaking in the Chapin Auditorium and sharing her own stories of food and memories. Copies of her book will be available for purchase and signing. If you would like more information about this fantastic afternoon or other programming for Galloway Ridge independent living residents, click here.

Don’t Forget: Giving Your Memory a Workout

Memory is the treasure and guardian of all things.—Marcus Tullius Cicero

 Having memory loss is just another lovely treat of getting older. It may start out small, with misplaced keys or the forgotten name of an acquaintance, but like most conditions, it could get progressively worse if you do nothing to try to make it better. Considering that almost 10% of people between the ages of 65 to 74 experience significant memory loss, it is an issue that deserves attention. Giving your memory a workout is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather, a series of positive lifestyle changes combined with a bit of effort that can make a large impact on your ability to recall short- and long-term information. Everyone, no matter what age or stage of life, can follow these tips for improving memory and staying sharp.

The Usual Advice

 If you want to continue to enjoy independent living in Chapel Hill, you should begin to make or maintain healthy choices to preserve your level of function and get the most out of life. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly can improve your memory as much as your physical health. Getting regular restful sleep is another big factor that affects both physical and mental fitness. There are also the things you should not do, such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or abusing prescription or illegal drugs. If you have any chronic medical conditions, manage them with the help of your health care professional and notice if you have any changes, especially after medication adjustments.  Make time for socialization as well; having a support system can help with your mood and reduction of stress, both of which may impact recall. These are all common sense factors that impact your life, including your memory.

If You Don’t Use it, You Lose it

 In earlier stages of life, your brain had to work often to learn new skills and stay on top of your responsibilities. After retirement, you may find yourself with less need for those activities, but that slowdown of critical or analytical thinking as well as problem-solving can negatively impact your memory. Find ways to incorporate those skills into managing your activities and time to keep your brain active and to stay motivated.  Some ways to flex your memory muscle include:

 

  • Remembering names after introduction
  • Maintaining a calendar with important birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays
  • Make to-do lists, visualizing each activity for significant details
  • Pay attention during conversation
  • Read regularly, and make time to reflect for better comprehension
  • Stay organized with your belongings and your plans
  • Employ mnemonic devices to remember details
  • Play thinking games, such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku

These seemingly minor actions all add up to improving memory and ultimately your freedom.

Total Brain Health

 As a resident of Galloway Ridge at Fearrington, you have access to programming that can help you relish your independent living in Chapel Hill. In March of this year, Galloway Ridge became a community partner with Dr. Cynthia Green’s Total Brain Health (TBH) program, which promotes healthy fitness for preserving or improving memory. We currently offer courses, including TBH Brain Workout and TBH Memory classes, and are planning a TBH fair for this fall. Please contact us for additional information about this and other programming to enrich your power of recall and your life experience.

 

 

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