Archive for the ‘Senior Recreation’ Category

More Exercise, Less Sickness?

On my way to our retirement community this morning I was flipping through the channels on my radio and landed on NPR. I heard a report about the common cold that I thought I would pass on. The findings of the report said one thing you might expect – Get more than eight hours of sleep a night.

The other finding was to exercise on a daily basis. Researchers recruited about 1,000 volunteers between age 18 and 85 to complete a daily log of symptoms throughout cold and flu season.

At the end of the three-month study, the researchers found that the more the participants exercised, the less they reported getting sick. Those who exercised five days a week for 20 minutes or more experienced about 40 percent fewer days of illness compared with those putting in less than one day a week of activity.

For those seniors who live in the Joliet area (Plainfield, Shorewood, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, Lockport) feel free to come to the Timbers to get your daily exercise. We have free classes almost every day for our residents and seniors in the Will county area. Classes include Tai Chi for seniors, Sittercise, monthly ballroom dances with a live orchestra, and more. Check our calendar of events for seniors.

Here is the full report from NPR. Or click here to listen to the story.

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Seniors in Joliet take a ride on the information superhighway

It’s a fact that many seniors are intimidated by computers, the Internet, Facebook, etc., but that number is growing smaller every day as more and more older adults embrace a whole new world of communication.

Computer use can help seniors connect in ways that older generations simply couldn’t imagine. The Internet helps make and maintain vital relationships with family, friends and grandchildren. Think about it – computers are available 24/7. The Internet can rekindle confidence and independence, and improved contact with others can ease isolation.

As Gill Adams, of Digital Unite says, “The internet is curiosity’s best friend.”

The latest survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 42 percent of individuals 65 years and older actively access the Internet; 53 percent live in a setting with Internet access. The 42 percent statistic represents a 50 percent jump in Internet use among this age group since 2000, when only 21 percent of 65+ individuals were actively online.

The U.S. Census Bureau goes on to report that many older adults use the Web for three specific reasons:

  • to read e-mail,
  • to use a search engine to find information, and
  • to access news items.

According to nielsen.com, online visitors 65 and older participate in a variety of activities, from e-mail to bill paying. Neilsen found a slight variation for online activity:

  • Personal E-mail
  • Maps online
  • Weather online
  • Pay bills
  • View or post photos
  • Read general news
  • Researched personal health sites
  • Planning travel
  • Searched recipes
  • Read business/financial news

The No. 1 online destination for people over 65 in November 2009 was Google Search, with 10.3 million unique visitors. Windows Media Player and Facebook were No. 2 and No. 3, with 8.2 million and 7.9 million visitors, respectively. Interestingly, Facebook, which came in at No. 3, ranked No. 45 just a year ago among sites visited by senior citizens.

Top online destinations for adults age 65 and older:

  1. Google search
  2. Windows Media Player
  3. Facebook
  4. You Tube
  5. Amazon

Seniors who are ready to jump in and learn about computers and the Internet can contact SeniorNet. The mission of SeniorNet is to provide older adults education for and access to computer technologies to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom.

SeniorNet classes are offered in communities throughout the United States.

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Seniors in Shorewood ask, ‘What’s your hobby?’

Living in a retirement or assisted living community provides precious time to pursue hobbies. But you know what? Sometimes finding a hobby isn’t so easy. Hobbies for seniors need to fit certain guidelines. They need to be entertaining, but they also need to be inexpensive. They need to be exciting enough to be enjoyable but not too strenuous.

The good news is there are hundreds of hobbies out there just waiting for seniors to participate. For example, how about walking? No equipment necessary, no new wardrobe to buy. Walking can be enjoyed anywhere, especially with a walking buddy. You can take a shortie or a long walk. You can walk the halls of the retirement community or you can go around the block. You can go five steps, because chances are in a few days, you’ll be able to go six steps.

According to FutureYears.com, Phyllis McGinley said, “A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.” Research shows that seniors who participate in group activities are less prone to depression and health problems. They also live longer than people who are not associated with like-minded friends and acquaintances.

In a nutshell, staying socially active in some kind of group activity helps seniors stay happy, make new friends, and also helps utilize one’s time in a productive and satisfying manner. Besides, it’s just plain fun.

Not that there’s anything wrong with solo hobbies such as reading, watching TV, meditating, or gardening. Each of these hobbies is therapeutic in its own way. After a while, however, boredom can set in. You could always expand a reading hobby and join a book club or a library, exchange books with other book lovers and have interesting informal discussions. In fact there are many reading groups on the internet.

In addition, it has been proved that hobbies are good for the brain. Now who needs any more convincing than that …?

Retirement-Online.com provides some A to Z ideas:

  • Antiques
  • Art
  • Auctions online
  • Beer collections
  • Bird watching
  • Blog writing
  • Bridge
  • Card games
  • Chess
  • China collectibles
  • Coin collections
  • Computers
  • Cooking
  • Crafts
  • Crochet
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Dancing
  • Doll houses
  • Exercise
  • Family scrapbooks
  • Geneology
  • Ham radio
  • Journaling
  • Knitting
  • Longaberger baskets
  • Money
  • Music
  • Paper arts
  • Pen pals
  • Photography
  • Poetry
  • Quilts
  • Radio
  • Scrabble
  • Sewing
  • Solitaire
  • Stamp collecting
  • Theatre
  • Travel
  • Volunteering
  • Walking
  • Wood working
  • Writing
  • Zoo visits
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Would seniors in Plainfield rather do sit-ups or dance?

Dancing at the Timbers of Shorewood“There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.” ~Vicki Baum.

Ms. Baum is right. Dancing also can be a short-cut to health – both physically and mentally. According to Brain Fitness For Seniors.com, dancing is a boon to health because it stimulates different areas of the brain. How? Well, it often requires learning new steps, and it keeps seniors connected to others. It involves balance, coordination, listening, rhythm, motion, emotions, and physical touch.

Present day seniors grew up dancing. There were grand, lavish ballrooms, and people in cities took the streetcars to dance the night away. Ballroom dancing was a popular choice for a date. Big Band orchestras under the batons of Tommy Dorsey or Harry James toured the country playing in these wonderful ballrooms.

Today’s seniors are still dancing. Seniors’ dances are everywhere, and there are even exercise classes of “seated” dancing. If an entertainer performs the “old favorites” at a senior center or assisted living community, the audience instantly responds with toe-tapping and probably a rush of memories.

Health-wise, a dance routine for older adults can improve fitness in a low-impact way. More specifically, the physical benefits of dance from Ehow.com include:

  • Improves cardiovascular fitness – Even light dancing will increase the heart rate and give the heart a good workout.
  • Builds muscles – Through dance, seniors work their muscles and help to combat the effects of age.
  • Improves social outlook – By joining a dance class—no matter what type of dance—they can enjoy the company of being with other dancers.
  • Increases balance and control – The improved balance that comes from dancing helps prevent slips and falls.
  • Increases bone mass – Both men and women begin to lose bone mass as they age, leading to more broken bones when they fall.
  • Improves flexibility – A good dance workout will include stretching time which can help senior citizens increase flexibility and reduce muscle aches.

Again, from Brain Fitness For Seniors.com, by improving the social interactivity of seniors, dancing increases social harmony, understanding and tolerance in the community which is important because aging requires people of sometimes diverse backgrounds to live closer together in retirement homes and communities.

Music and rhythm have measurable effects on the brain and are the subject of multiple studies of brain-fitness benefits in both the young and old. Listening to music itself can have clear effects on the brain, stimulating different areas, changing brainwave patterns, and relieving stress.

Some believe that just watching dance stimulates the brain – mental stimulation that may be almost as powerful as performing the activity first hand. Even seniors who are too physically restricted to move freely can still participate and gain brain fitness benefits from social dance groups.

In summary, the lyrics of country music star Lee Ann Womack’s signature song say it all:

“I hope you still feel small when you stand behind the ocean.
I hope whenever one door closes, another opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…
I Hope You Dance.”

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Seniors in Joliet ‘get it down in writing’

Most seniors, as they age, they think about their Will. They see a lawyer and make decisions about the division of assets among children and/or grandchildren. There’s another kind of asset to leave family members that is historic and incalculably dear – the story of your life.

A granddaughter expressed regret that she never really knew her grandparents on her father’s side. They came through Ellis Island from Finland, and they both were gone by the time the granddaughter was 12. Decades later, as she faced her own mortality, her thoughts dwelled on the couple, and she wished she had asked her dad more details about what his parents were like. But he had died, too, and the unasked questions were haunting. Any stories about the courage it must have taken to come to America are impossible to know.

If only…if only they had written down a personal story or two.

The drama of coming through Ellis Island isn’t a necessity to tell a life story, however. All the remembrances and experiences of a long life are precious and priceless. Life story writing leaves a lasting legacy for future generations. And it can bring enjoyment, satisfaction and even closure in the last stage of life.

Of the many excellent books on autobiographical writing, perhaps the best for seniors is Lois Daniel’s How to Write Your Own Life Story. The author suggests writing in small sketches of a few sentences each. In addition to genealogical and family life stories – circumstances of birth, favorite toys, stories about siblings and grandparents, she suggests topics such as where were you on important days in history, accomplishments of which you are the most proud and inventions of the day.

According to CreativeQuotations.com, Grandma Moses, in her autobiography, wrote, “I have written my life in small sketches, a little today, a little yesterday, all the things from childhood on through the years, good ones and unpleasant ones, that is how they come out and that is how we have to take them.”

Life story writing in a group can be very enjoyable, and it’s an excellent way to build community with others. Sometimes a family member can serve as a scribe while the senior reminisces aloud. Often a grandchild or great-grandchild compiles the stories and self-publishes from his or her computer. With a little computer know-how, the document can have photos to go along with the stories.

Writing your life story: six suggestions for seniors from JournalTherapy.com

  1. Write in small sketches of five or ten minutes on specific topics, such as a favorite holiday, the first job, a memorable world event.
  2. Engage family members in the process. Invite correspondence, or ask nearby relatives to scribe “spoken poems” by writing down everything that is said, in your exact words.
  3. Join a life story or memoir writing group. Ask at your senior center, library, or doctor’s office. If a writing group doesn’t exist, see if you can get one started.
  4. Tell the stories of how you participated in world history. Where were you when you heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor? How did you and your family spend the Great Depression years? Where were you when President Kennedy was assassinated? How did you and America react to 9/11?
  5. Write your “ethical will.” What life lessons, personal philosophies, mottos, and core values do you want to leave as legacy to your descendants? How did you learn these lessons or acquire these philosophies?
  6. Ask someone in your family with computer skills to compile your stories into a self-published memoir.
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Seniors in Shorewood enjoy inspiring ‘super seniors’

It’s never too late. Go for it. Give it your best shot. Are these words purely clichés? This blog post is devoted to a few stories of seniors who found their bliss, their muse, and/or their talent late in life. They are an inspiration to all of us. Perhaps the most famous is Grandma Moses.

In 1860, as the Civil War was about to start, Anna Mary Robertson was born in upstate New York, according to http://gardenofpraise.com. She was raised on a farm and only very briefly attended school. At age 12, she left home to be a hired hand at another farm. At age 27, Anna Mary married Thomas Moses, a fellow hired worker. The couple rented different farms and finally was able to buy a farm of their own. Anna Mary and Tom had ten children, five of whom survived.

Despite farm duties and a huge family, “Mother Moses” was a whiz at needlework. With thread she would make wonderful pictures on fabric until arthritis took away her ability to push a needle through material. So, at age 75 she took up painting mostly because it was easier on her hands. Her first work of art was created with house paint.

She continued to dabble, learning by trial and error. In 1938, a local drugstore displayed some of her paintings, and an art collector from New York happened by. Anna Mary’s daughter-in-law told the man that Grandma had ten paintings to sell. When she counted the paintings, there were only nine, so Grandma cut a large picture in half and reframed it as two pictures.

The man, Louis Caldor, introduced Grandma’s work to a New York art gallery owner who opened an exhibit titled, “What a Farm Wife Painted.” At age 78, Grandma had a following. She appeared on the Edward R. Murrow’s television show and demonstrated how to paint a picture. She said she painted from the sky down; sky first, then the mountains, then the land, then the people. Her people were shown doing anything she might have seen someone do in her long, active life and were rich in color.

According to http://www.essortment.com, between the start of her painting career at age 75 and her death in 1961 at age 101, Grandma Moses painted approximately 1,600 paintings. Some 250 of those were painted after her 100th birthday. Her family never took her work seriously, but the art world certainly did. Her paintings continue to be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Other amazing seniors from http://www.selfhelpzone.com:

  • Two months after her 100th birthday, Estrid Geertsen, born in 1904 in Denmark, made a tandem parachute jump from an altitude of 13,000 feet.
  • Charin Yuthasastrkosol began ballet lessons at the age of 47. In 2002 at age 71, she performed for Sakthip Krairikish, Thailand’s Ambassador to the USA, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Greek runner Dimitrion Yordanidis ran a 26-mile marathon. At age 98, he finished in 7 hours, 33 minutes.
  • The oldest person – and the oldest male – to summit Mr. Everest is Katsusuke Yanagisawa, a former school teacher, on May 22, 2007. He was 71 years old.
  • Ruth Hamilton was born in 1898. She died in 2008 at the age of 109. Toward the end of her life, she became an avid blogger. The woman who used to be a school teacher in Iowa was given a new lease in life through her video blog: http://growingbolder.com.
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‘Bingo!’ is heard in senior communities all over, especially in Joliet

Bingo is heard in senior communities all over, especially in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, LockportPeople love to play Bingo, and it’s especially popular with seniors. This age group enjoys the game for entertainment and companionship, and added benefits are brain power and enhanced focus. And who isn’t excited to win? Most senior communities have Bingo as part of their weekly activities. Some feature Bingo every day.

Did you ever wonder who invented Bingo?

According to about.com, Bingo’s history can be traced back to 1530, to an Italian lottery game called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia.” Travelers brought the game across the Alps to France where it was called “Le Lotto.” The Germans also played a version of the game in the 1800s, but they used it primarily to help students learn lessons.

Fast forward to 1929 in America. A game called “Beano” was introduced at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. A pitchman selected numbered discs from a cigar box, and players would mark their cards with beans. When they completed a line of beans horizontally, vertically or diagonally, they yelled “Beano” and won a prize or money.

Edwin S. Lowe, owner of a very small New York toy company (two employees), had a sales call near Atlanta. As he drove down the road, he happened upon the bright lights of the carnival. He was early for his appointment, so he stopped. There was a huge crowd filled with people wanting a turn at a game called Beano. Lowe knew his games, and he had never heard of it.

While he was waiting for a seat (which he never got), he noticed that the players seemed addicted to the game. The pitchman wanted to close up, but every time he announced the last game, nobody moved. The game finally shut down at 3 a.m. After locking up, the pitchman told Lowe that he had run across a game called Lotto while traveling with a carnival in Germany the previous year. He thought it would make a good tent or carnival game. He called it Beano.

Returning to his home in New York, Lowe bought some dried beans, a rubber numbering stamp and some cardboard. Friends were invited to his apartment, and Lowe assumed the pitchman’s duties. Soon his friends were playing Beano with the same tension and excitement as he had seen at the carnival. During one session Lowe noticed that one of his guests was close to winning. She got more excited as each bean was added to her card. Finally there was one number left – and it was called. The woman jumped up, became tongue tied, and instead of shouting “Beano,” stuttered “B-B-B-BINGO!” The name stuck.

Lowe realized the game’s potential and started to market it. He hired a math professor to help him increase the number of combinations in bingo cards. By 1930, Dr. Carl Leffler had invented 6,000 different Bingo cards. It is said that Leffler then went insane. Who can blame him?

By 1934 there were an estimated 10,000 Bingo games a week, and Ed Lowe’s firm had 1,000 employees frantically trying to keep up with demand. The company took up nine entire floors of its New York office space, and 64 presses printed 24 hours a day.

According to Wikipedia, the Lowe Bingo Game had two versions; the first a 12-card set for $1, the second a $2 set with 24 cards. Bingo was a huge success. By the 1940s Bingo games were all over the country. Lowe had many competitors, and all he asked was that they pay $1 a year to conduct the games and to use the name Bingo.

Bingo was off to a fast start, and at the same time, it had reserved itself next to baseball and apple pie – thanks to Ed Lowe and the loss of Professor Leffler’s sanity.

Then, a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania approached Lowe about using Bingo as a means of raising church funds. It caught on like wildfire.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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Seniors in Joliet are never too old for romance

Senior Romance in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, Lockport at the Timbers of ShorewoodPuppy love. Young love. Mature love. It never really ends, does it? All people have the desire for companionship and intimacy, and that does not exclude people in their 70s, 80s or 90s. In affairs of the heart, age hardly matters.

Single seniors enjoy making sociable connections just as the younger generation. Now, do these seniors want to go to bars and rock concerts? – Probably not, but there are many activities to enjoy. Some seniors are looking for meaningful friendships and not necessarily marriage. Others definitely are seeking marriage.

According to Ruth Purple, relatioinship coach, in her article, “Single Seniors – Never Too Old for Romance,” common obstacles are adult children who can be unforgiving if the widowed parent moves on after a separation, especially after a parent’s death. Others find it difficult to understand that their parents have the same feelings and needs as they do, while some react out of a need to protect their parent from being taken advantage of.

“However, it is still the seniors’ prerogative whether it is the right time for them to move on or not,” Purple said.

A vast number of seniors date for companionship and to fill emptiness in their lives. This is normal, and should be respected. Seniors have as much rights as the younger individuals when it comes to dating.

Making some interesting points is Helen E. Fisher, PhD, biological anthropologist and a member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the anthropology department of Rutgers University:

“Senior dating is often a good deal like junior dating—full of excitement, angst, euphoria when it goes well, and despair when things fail,” Dr. Fisher said. “Perhaps the most interesting thing about senior dating is that now, people are living long enough to do it. Additionally, they aren’t living with their children and grandchildren, so they have the opportunity to do it.”

Heretofore, the biggest obstacle to senior dating is the misconception that dating is only for the younger generation. It’s as if “society” frowns on the very notion and considers seniors just too old to even think of romance.

The internet is changing all that. There are senior dating sites that make the process much, much easier. In addition, senior groups hold charity events, dances and other activities at which like-minded people can meet and enjoy good times while getting to know each other. Churches also have singles groups for specific age ranges with activities based on age and interests.

“The world of dating and marriage has changed more in the past 50 years than in the past 5,000, due largely to the entry of women into the paid labor force,” Dr. Fisher said. “We are returning to a social life style that is very similar to life as it was in hunting and gathering societies, before people settled down on the farm and marriage codes became much more rigid.”

One thing’s for sure. Mature dating is much more a state of mind than a date of birth.

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Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, Lockport, Romeoville, Homer Glen, New Lenox, Manhattan, and Mokena