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Peace of Mind All Year Long

June 5, 2019

At The Saybrook at Haddam, our greatest benefit to families is offering a wonderful peace of mind.  Adult children know their elderly parents are enjoying socialization, nutritious meals, exercise and enrichment every single day. They also know their loved ones are receiving individualized care and, if needed, assistance with daily living or memory-care services. Additionally, they know an experienced support team is on-hand throughout the day, available to help whenever necessary.

Many senior citizens hope to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible, but as they age, certain risks to their health and well-being increase.  There is always the worry of isolation and loneliness, but families also worry that seniors could fall or injure themselves and not be able to call for help.  They worry seniors may not be eating right or may be forgetting to take medicine. They worry, too, about the increased costs and burdens related to keeping a home in good order. This is especially troublesome for children who may live far from their aging parents.

That is often when families turn to The Saybrook at Haddam’s independent living, assisted living, and memory care community.  Our vibrant social calendar, delicious chef-prepared meals, and 24-hour staffing takes away so many worries and replaces them with smiles and assurance.

We also offer peace of mind regarding potential emergencies – health-related, weather-related, or other type of worrisome situation – by having an experienced team that is prepared to take action. Additionally, our community is equipped with power generators that provide heating (or cooling), lighting, and electricity for essential equipment (including kitchen use). This is a comfort because we often hear or read news stories about elderly people caught unprepared and vulnerable in an emergency.

Recently, we came across a list of safety recommendations from FEMA, prepared specifically for senior citizens.  These are all part of our own preparedness checklist – and we thought we would share some highlights here:

  • Be sure seniors have access to one gallon of water (or electrolyte beverages) per day
  • Be sure to have access to non-perishable foods, vitamin supplements, and prescription medicines (along with copies of prescriptions)
  • Keep blankets, extra clothing and comfortable shoes, spare eyeglasses, catheters, batteries, oxygen systems, etc. nearby
  • Know where the first-aid kit, medical insurance and Medicaid/Medicare cards are located
  • Have an emergency-contact list prepared to communicate with family and friends
  • Keep a battery-powered radio and/or a NOAA weather radio along with a solar or battery-operated flashlight on hand

While we hope real emergencies are few and far between, it is reassuring to know our team is on hand to assist residents at The Saybrook at Haddam when needed. More importantly, our team is ready to work hard every day ensuring the senior citizens in our lives enjoy a fun, fulfilling, and carefree lifestyle.  That is the best peace of mind for everyone – all year long!

For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam independent retirement, assisted living, and memory care community, please fill out the form below or contact Jennifer Armenia at 860-345-3779.

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A Mother’s Day to Remember

May 1, 2019

At The Saybrook at Haddam, we always believe spending quality time with a parent, grandparent or other loved one is the best gift anyone could give, especially on Mother’s Day.  While we host special Mother’s Day events to celebrate as a community, we would also like to suggest other activities for friends and family to consider:

  • Plan a special luncheon or early dinner in one of our private dining rooms and invite a small group to join you. This could take place the week after Mother’s Day to keep the celebration going! Ask us about preparing a menu with Mom’s favorite foods (or arrange to have a special meal brought in from a favorite restaurant). Have grandkids make placemats or bring in other decorations for the event.
  • Take Mom or Grandmother out for a picnic (or out to dinner). Whether you travel to one of the local picnic areas such as Eagle Landing in Haddam, downtown Essex or Hammonasset State Park, we are lucky to have so many picturesque places to enjoy brunch, lunch or even dinner al fresco. If the weather is not good, or if you are not the picnicking types, there are plenty of local restaurants to enjoy!  Either way, an afternoon out offers a wonderful change of scenery and great company for everyone to enjoy.
  • Bake cookies or a special dessert with Momeither at your home or in our Country Kitchen.  This is always a fun activity, especially for younger grandchildren, and gives you delicious snacks in the end!
  • Depending on the health and mobility of your mom or grandmother, consider simply spending a long afternoon with her looking at photos, listening to music, playing cards, doing puzzles, or even reading out loud to her.
  • Take a day off from work and go shopping with your mom when stores are less busy. This is a great time to visit some antique shops or new boutiques (and to stop for some ice cream or frozen yogurt along the way).
  • Visit a spa or salon with your mom or grandmother for a senior-specific massage, facial, and/or manicure/pedicure. You also could set up “spa day” in her apartment where you do a face mask and nail painting together (fun for younger kids to help with this, too). Every enjoys a little pampering and the effects are long-lasting.

Time is indeed the best gift to give a senior – and is the only way to create wonderful memories that are long remembers and cherished.  We hope you can join us at our Mother’s Day celebration (see front desk for details) … and hope you are inspired by these proven suggestions for making the day great for your mom or grandmother!

 

For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam independent retirement, assisted living, and memory care community, please fill out the form below or call Jennifer Armenia at 860-345-3779.

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21 Foods that Boost the Brain

April 15, 2019

We are so fortunate to live in a time and place where food is plentiful and bountiful – to the point of almost being overwhelming.  The task for each of us becomes choosing the right foods that serve our bodies the best.  As we age, smart food choices become even more important to maintaining our overall wellbeing and to avoid certain illnesses.  At The Saybrook at Haddam, we work daily to offer residents the best foods and drinks for healthy bodies and brains – which is the backbone of the individualized care we provide.

Of course, when it comes to memory care, diet and nutrition are extremely important. We read a great deal of material on memory loss and brain function of the elderly, which is how we found this recent (and well researched) article from the alternascript.com blog. While many of the foods on this list may seem obvious, some of additional benefits are surprising (pulled from newer research from Vanderbilt University, Penn State and Harvard Health and other notable organizations).

Here’s the list – Please read the full article for details on the many benefits of each food

  1.  Avocados – The Healthiest Fruit for Your Brain
  2. Chamomile tea – Aids in a Good Night’s Sleep
  3. Broccoli – Helps You Remember Verbal Instructions Better
  4. Black Beans – Excellent for Brain Development
  5. Blueberries – Improves Spatial Memory
  6. Beets – Boosts Blood Flow in Brain
  7. Dark chocolate – A Tasty Antioxidant
  8. Coconut oil – The Most Versatile Brain Food
  9. Celery – Prevents Inflammation of Brain Cells
  10. Eggs – Excellent Source of Vitamin D
  11. Salmon – Abundant Source of Omega-3 Fats
  12. Walnuts – Improves Thinking Abilities
  13. Whole Grains – Reduces the Risk of Brain Diseases
  14. Olive oil – Fights Age-related Brain Problems
  15. Spinach – Best Vegetable for Memory and Focus
  16. Red wine – A Glass Full of Flavonoids and Antioxidants
  17. Pumpkin Seeds – Very Useful in Improving Mood
  18. Blackcurrants – Helps Keep Dementia and Alzheimer’s Away
  19. Turmeric – The Magic Spice Known for Healing Abilities
  20. Tomatoes – Excellent Source of Lycopene
  21. Rosemary – Keeps Neurodegeneration of the Brain at Bay

Each food on this list is so tasty and versatile – which should make everyone happy. If you are unfamiliar with any of them, simply search up a recipe with the food listed as an ingredient and you will be surprised at the results!  Be sure these foods are always in your kitchen (and on your shopping list) so it is easy to add them into daily meals.  Working as many of these foods as possible into your diet will help you and your family enjoy wonderful benefits to the brain in all stages of life!

For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam independent retirement, assisted living, and memory care community, please fill out the form below or contact Jennifer Armenia at 860-345-3779.

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Welcome, Jennifer Armenia, to our Marketing Team

March 29, 2019

We welcome a new face to The Saybrook at Haddam:  Jennifer Armenia, our new director of marketing!  Hopefully you have met Jennifer already, but if not, we wanted to introduce you to her here.

Jennifer is a native of Connecticut and has spent her career working along the shoreline and in Middletown.  She loves the natural beauty of the area, particularly the Connecticut River and surrounding woods and hills.  In fact, The Saybrook at Haddam’s bucolic setting is one of her favorite parts of working here.

Jennifer has a strong history working in the senior living industry.  She was marketing director at One MacDonough Place, an assisted living community in Middletown, and she worked as director of community outreach at The Hearth at Tuxis Pond in Madison, focusing on building relationships and connections throughout the community.

Just prior to joining The Saybrook at Haddam, Jennifer worked as marketing director of Freedom Land Group, LLC, in Clinton. She also is a founding member of the Central Connecticut Senior Network (a prominent networking group) and served a one-year term on its leadership team. She remains heavily involved in local networking associations as she is an active member of the Shoreline Senior Network, the Shoreline Eldercare Alliance, the Middlesex Elderly Service Providers, and the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce.  She also serves on the “TIME” to Act Interdisciplinary Council.

Jennifer graduated magna cum laude from Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing.  While there, she was a member of the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society and helped direct the Northern Rhode Island Special Olympics.

“I have always admired The Saybrook at Haddam for its great reputation and am so thankful to be part of this community,” Jennifer said.  “I already feel like part of the team – which is one of the hardest working and most dedicated I have ever known.  You can tell this is an exceptional place by all the smiling faces and the wonderful activity going on all day long.”

Other things Jennifer says she loves about The Saybrook at Haddam include the beautiful building with bright and spacious apartments and common areas, the many outdoor spaces, and the convenient location.  Mostly, though, she loves the residents and everyone who works to make the community so successful!

We are so happy Jennifer has joined us and we invite you to stop by to meet her!  She is available to give you a private tour of the community – which you can request by calling 860-345-3779 or by filling out the form below.

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Happy Birthday to You!

March 18, 2019

Every week it seems, visitors come to The Saybrook at Haddam with gifts, balloons, flowers or other treats that celebrate a resident’s birthday.  These birthday visitors sometimes stay for a special meal in a resident’s apartment home or in one of our private dining rooms – or they head out with the residents to enjoy dinner at a favorite local restaurant.  Whichever way the day is celebrated, seeing a smiling birthday “boy” or “girl” lifts everyone’s spirits.

We love to celebrate these birthdays, too.  Each month, we host a community party in our front parlor to recognize all those with a birthday that month. These parties are always a great deal of fun with activities, live entertainment and, of course, birthday cake. They are particularly meaningful for the resident who has family far away or who maybe prefers not to be the soul center of attention on their “big day.”

In addition to a large event, our executive director, Jeff Williams, holds a private luncheon each month just for those with a birthday.  Jeff and our activities director, Merrianne, invite these small groups to our private dining room where they share a chef-prepared meal, special drinks and desserts, and great conversation. Residents enjoy Jeff and Merrianne’s undivided attention as they tell stories and memories of birthdays past. In this little way, we help residents feel special, celebrate their lives, and get to know them on a deeper level.

Sometimes, especially on milestone birthdays, families and friends plan larger parties or activities for residents.  Whether these are held here in the community or in another location, we love seeing pictures and hearing stories from the big day – and we are always willing to help with any planning or organizing if needed.

The Blog “Help Parents Age Well” discusses some dos and don’ts when it comes to celebrating birthdays for elderly relatives and friends – strongly recommending you respect the likes and dislikes of the birthday boy or girl.  For instance, if a senior loves to travel, plan a destination celebration or take a birthday trip to visit a relative who moved far away.  If a senior hates surprise parties, don’t plan one for his or her 90th birthday. This may seem a little obvious but is a good reminder for the planner who gets sidetracked or likes to go overboard.

We also appreciate families of residents struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other memory-related illness who come to us for guidance on how to celebrate birthdays and other special events.  We have many suggestions on activities, gifts, and even foods that focus on creating a sense of specialness for the resident – allowing them to enjoy the moment when they are the center of attention.

As we age, birthdays may not be quite as welcome as when we were younger – but they should be just as fun. At The Saybrook at Haddam, we see the joy birthdays bring and we love to be part of it.  Mostly, though, we love to watch all those visitors with flowers, balloons and giant smiles brighten the day of residents.

For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam and its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or call David Downey at 860-345-8779.

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The Popularity of “Books with Joan”

March 1, 2019

One of the more popular activities at The Saybrook at Haddam is our “Books with Joan” gatherings.  Residents meet up in the second floor Great Room to get comfortable and listen to Joan Szewczyk, longtime member of the activities team at The Saybrook at Haddam, read from books of their choosing.  The group often takes on a theme such as American presidents, composers or travels, and Joan researches the book to read.  Regardless of the topic, residents treasure this time to share a good book together and to discuss it afterwards.  This makes sense as residents are lifelong readers and wonderful conversationalists.

Joan has been reading aloud to residents for several years. She started “Books with Joan” because of her own love of reading and because she had received input from residents that this would be a welcome activity. In truth, she was a little doubtful that the group would take off and was pleasantly surprised when it became a fast favorite.  She also loves the fact that the group is well attended, the discussions are interesting, and everyone gets involved in picking the next book or series.

“Many seniors are able to enjoy reading in their own apartments, but they love the social aspect of participating in our reading club,” Joan said.  “For residents who are struggling with independent reading, our group allows them to hear some new and interesting books.  The best part is that everyone loves to discuss the books after each meeting and after we complete a book or series.  It really is a lot of fun!”

Joan says she was happy that residents stayed on the topic of American presidents for so long, although she worried the biography genre would become a little tiresome.  But the group kept moving from one president to the next and soon they had tackled nearly all of them.  Currently the group is learning about different composers – including contemporary ones such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney from The Beatles.

“When we finished learning about John Lennon, we had a special treat,” Joan said.  “Our maintenance director, Barry, stopped by with his guitar and gave us a private Beatles concert!  The residents had a blast, sharing stories of when their children first brought The Beatles into their homes.  Some like the older Beatles songs best, but everyone appreciated the impact their music had on the culture.”

Reading is well documented as one of the most important ways we learn and live – and regardless of our age, we enjoy many benefits from reading (or being read to).  In the article “Read Me A Story: Importance of Reading Aloud to Elderly People,” author Oksana Dlaboha encourages anyone to read out loud to anyone who no longer can because of age, vision problems, or other issue.

“Listening to reading aloud is a lively intellectual and emotional process,” she said.  “And thinking during reading aloud rebuilds body-mind-spirit needs and offers other benefits as well.” Those include how good readers feel after reading aloud – as he or she has just given a gift to someone – and how great those listening to the story feel. Dlaboha says both the reader and the listener will surely remember this gift long after the book has been closed.

All residents and guests are welcome to join in “Books with Joan.” Please visit the front desk for a schedule of meeting times.

 

For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam and its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or call David Downey at 860-345-8779.

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Our Fun Approach to Mealtime

February 15, 2019

This month, The Saybrook at Haddam will celebrate “Jamaica Day,” serving traditional foods and drinks from the island nation, while enjoying Jamaican music, dance and decorations.  This is just one of the fun activities we incorporate each month to make meals at our independent retirement and assisted living community interesting, different and enjoyable.  Other ways include serving traditional holiday meals, preparing seasonal themed dinners, planning outdoor meals, and offering a wide variety of healthy favorites on a daily basis.  Making mealtime social and special is one of the most important things we do to ensure seniors eat well and enjoy the best quality of life possible (without having to shop, cook or clean!).

Families often tell us they worry that their elderly parents or loved ones are not eating enough, are not eating well and consistently, are adding too much salt, or are having other struggles at mealtime.  This is often one of the reasons they begin looking at retirement or assisted living communities.

We know from various studies that people begin to lose their taste buds as they age and their sense of smell changes. These are two major factors that affect eating, and they often lead to a decreased desire to eat or to eat well (adding too much salt or sugar to foods, for instance) – which, of course, can lead to malnutrition, weight loss, and other medical concerns. Even worse, poor diets have been linked to anxiety and depression in elderly people.

In a Clear Care article, Dr. Christine Gerbstadt from the American Dietetic Association and author of The Doctors’ Detox Diet says we don’t know why taste perception declines with normal aging, but we should be cautious to counteract the loss of taste.  She recommends seniors check with their doctor to rule out any medical conditions that are affecting the sense of taste (which may have treatment).

So, to address these downsides of aging, our kitchen team uses fresh ingredients (purchased locally when possible) seasoned with herbs and spices (instead of salt) to create a wide variety of options to please every palate. We also use mealtime as a social time when residents get to know each other, share stories, and avoid the loneliness of eating alone. It is also a time our wellness team can observe the health of a resident and possibly detect other conditions related to loss of appetite.

For seniors who live alone, here are a few suggestions for helping seniors eat right:

  • Limit times they eat alone. Try to arrange times for family members and friends to share meals with seniors and try to bring them to as many family celebrations, potluck dinners, and community meals as possible.
  • Serve foods at the right temperature. Foods simply taste better when served as hot or as cold as the recipe indicates.
  • Flavor foods with herbs, spices, citrus or vinegar. Basil, cilantro, oregano, turmeric, caraway and dill are just a few common herbs that define and enhance countless foods. Citrus juice, citrus zest, or flavored and aged vinegars are wonderful for marinades or dressings.
  • Add variety and introduce new foods. Start with ingredients you know seniors like, then add in different vegetables or flavors to make meals different. Finely chopped vegetables, for instance, can be added to almost any type of filling or sauce.
  • Pay attention to time of day seniors feel hungry. Help seniors get the most nutrition when they have the biggest appetite, whether that is at breakfast, lunch or dinner. If the other meals are smaller, you can worry less that they are not eating well.

We incorporate these suggestions (and more) at daily mealtimes at The Saybrook at Haddam. We know when people eat well, they are happier, more active, more sociable and enjoy a better quality of life.  To us, that is truly the backbone of all our other successes – and is how we achieve gracious retirement living!

 

For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam and its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or call David Downey at 860-345-8779.

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Staying Involved and Helping Others

January 30, 2019

Life at The Saybrook at Haddam focuses on independence, wellness and involvement.  By involvement, we mean participating in the activities and events we host on a daily basis for plenty of social, educational, creative and physical opportunities.  We also mean residents play an active role in helping others and making our retirement community (and the surrounding greater community) the best it can be.

Many independent residents continue to be active members in their churches, synagogues, local libraries, museums, and other volunteer organizations.  Sometimes they organize collections for non-profit groups at The Saybrook at Haddam to help meet needs within the larger community. These volunteer hours are invaluable and have an estimated $77 billion impact on the country’s overall economy.

Other residents look for ways to help out right here within our community.  Some make regular visits to the Safe Harbor Memory Care neighborhood to spend time with those suffering from memory-related illnesses. They help with craft projects or puzzles, join in sing-a-longs, or share a meal with a friend.  These connections are crucial to supporting a high quality of life for everyone involved.

Residents also help plan recreational and cultural activities and trips to museums, theaters, and concert halls throughout the region. They provide suggestions and input on the types of educational and artistic programs they would like to see at The Saybrook at Haddam.  They help take care of the many indoor and outdoor gardens, and they love to help decorate the community for special events and occasions.

Oftentimes a resident will share something from their home with the community for all to enjoy – another form of contributing to the greater good.  One resident displays her oversized creche in the front lobby at Christmastime.  Another donated her upright piano to the Safe Harbor neighborhood. Another placed a hand-made and fully furnished doll house in the hallway for all to enjoy.  These efforts help make The Saybrook at Haddam feel like home – and make ours a special place to be.

All residents play an equally important role in volunteer efforts– sometimes without even realizing it – by being a friendly audience.  We often have young performers (musicians, singers, dancers) from local schools share their talents by entertaining us.  These events give the young students a chance to perfect their performance skills (perhaps even overcoming some stage fright), while giving the audience a wonderful shared experience.  We also enjoy visits from the Girl Scouts who spend time with us on service projects so they can earn badges and reach goals.  Of course, we also welcome high school and college students who need to earn required volunteer hours to participate in a whole host of projects and activities with us.  Their interaction with residents is inspiring and motivating.

Each of these types of participation (“volunteerism”) is encouraged every day at The Saybrook at Haddam – and for good reason. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, seniors benefit from using their lifetime of skills and experience to meet community needs, and “giving back” helps them stay active and healthy.  We believe this to be true and we support this in every way we possibly can.  Come see how powerful that is!

 

For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam and its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or call David Downey at 860-345-8779.

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Helping Seniors Avoid Falls

January 16, 2019

Did you know one in four Americans over the age of 65 fall each year?  Or that emergency rooms across the country treat older adults every 11 seconds because of a fall (with a reported 2.8 million injuries, more than 800,000 hospitalizations, and more than 27,000 deaths)? This information, which comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gives plenty of evidence that seniors should take every available precaution to avoid falls.

At The Saybrook at Haddam, we take extra steps to help residents prevent falls.  The most important thing we do is maintain a safe living environment – inside and out.  Inside, we keep hallways and walking areas clean and clear, and regularly check carpeting and flooring for bumps or uneven spots that could cause a fall.  We also provide handrails and plenty of lighting for safe travels throughout the community.  Outside, the maintenance team ensures all pathways are clear of snow and ice during the winter and other natural debris during the rest of the year.  They prune trees, repair walkways, and monitor countless other areas of concern.

Our wellness team works with residents to be sure they understand the side effects of medication, which may include dizziness or other factors that could result in a fall.  The team regularly checks eyesight, hearing and other conditions that could affect balance and cause a fall.  We also bring in mobility experts to check walkers and wheelchairs to be sure they are in proper condition (and not the reason for a potential fall). By being aware of their personal risks, residents become more alert and hopefully more cautious throughout each day.

The recreation and activities team offers exercise classes, fun games, and plenty of other opportunities for residents to build their physical fitness, which goes a long way to preventing falls and avoid injuries.  By being active, residents improve their strength, flexibility and balance and are less likely to trip or slip in their apartments or within the community.  This is particularly important since we realize seniors need extra encouragement to keep moving and to stay fit as they age.  Preventing a fall is one of the best motivators we know!

Of course, the simple choice of living in a retirement community offers the benefit of having plenty of staff available to escort residents or lend a hand for stability if ever needed.  Staff is also on hand to check on residents in their apartments to be sure their surroundings are safe (and to provide immediate medical attention if ever a fall does occur).

For seniors who still live in their own homes or apartments, we suggest looking over the AARP’s “HomeFit” guide for easy and effective ways to create a safe and comfortable home.  These tips offer important steps to take to avoid falls or injuries in the home (and trips to the emergency room).

In all we do at The Saybrook at Haddam, staying safe and helping seniors enjoy a high quality of life are at the top of the list.  This naturally means we avoid falls any way we can – and we hope you do, too.

For a personalized tour of The Saybrook at Haddam and its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or call David Downey at 860-345-8779.

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Even Seniors Benefit from New Year’s Resolutions

December 31, 2018

The tradition of setting goals and making vows for positive change in the new year has been around for generations – as has the joke that no one ever keeps their New Year’s Resolutions past the first few weeks of January.  Despite this “bad reputation,” The Saybrook at Haddam still feels everyone benefits from self-reflection and contemplation on becoming a better person and living a better life. We are encouraging all seniors to go ahead and make those resolutions once again – and wanted to share a little proof of why this is important.

In a December 2015 article in Psychology Today titled “8 Reasons We Really Do Need to Make Resolutions,” Dr. Theo Tsaousides says setting goals is part of the executive function of the brain, the language of the brain that is needed to take action. Goals provide us with a vision and a direction and help avoid wasting resources including time, money and energy. Writing down goals and objectives helps people avoid feeling confused and overwhelmed while preparing them for the moment when opportunities arise.

For seniors, this could mean accepting a friend’s invitation to try a new exercise class together or to join a new social club.  It could mean making a list of the great books you always wanted to read (or listen to on an audiobook) and checking off each one after it is finished.  It could also mean taking the first step to reconnect with friends or relatives.

Healthy Aging suggests a few more practical resolutions for seniors including eating healthier, increasing general activity, and giving your brain a workout.  This is so reaffirming to everything we do at The Saybrook at Haddam throughout the year.

Dr. Theo Tsaousides says that setting goals simply make us feel good – which makes sense because neuroscientists are learning that one of our most basic emotional reactions is happiness through pursuit. In other words, goals are the first step towards a greater level of happiness.  (It is also worth noting that when we do not have goals, we tend to waste our precious time which is never a good idea no matter what our age!)

So, let us toast to a truly happy New Year by setting goals and focusing on the pursuit of those goals!

 

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