Cool Off, Unwind, and Try Some New Wine at the Whitewater Center’s Uncorked Festival

As summer slowly eases into fall, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of Charlotte’s lovely early autumn atmosphere. The staff at the U.S. National Whitewater Center know how to make the most of this time of year – and it involves wine, live music, and outdoor yoga. At their annual Uncorked Festival, attendees are invited to sample wine, participate in a trail race, take in a live music set, and more; all on the grounds of the Center’s gorgeous 1,300-acre park. So mark your calendar for Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23 and plan to come unwind!

Sample Wine From Wineries Near and Far

Wine tasting is the heart of the Whitewater Center’s annual Uncorked Festival. From 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 23, festival attendees will have the chance to try out red and white vintages from 16 renowned winemakers. From North Carolina’s own Wine, to Water and Shelton Vineyards, to the Napa Valley’s Z. Alexander Brown and Michael David Wineries, vintners from across the country will be on hand with some of their best wines for guests to try.

For just $10, you can purchase a sample card that entitles you to four two-ounce samples of any of the award-winning options available. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase a take-home, USNWC branded wine glass to enjoy their drinks in at the festival.

Relax With Yoga Under the Open Sky

While its wine tastings may give the festival its name, the event’s outdoor activities truly take advantage of the Whitewater Center’s gorgeous grounds. Several yoga classes will be offered on Saturday to help you further relax and unwind. At 9:30 a.m., a traditional class lead by a certified yoga instructor will be held on the South Ridge lawn. The class is free for all participants; just bring your yoga mat and enjoy.

Up for a more challenging yoga practice? Try out the Center’s SUP Yoga class. Held on the calm waters of the Catawba River, adventurous yogis will be guided through poses while balancing aboard stand-up paddle boards. If you already have your own equipment (including a SUP board, paddle, and personal floatation device), the class is free; equipment can also be rented with the purchase of an activity pass, starting at $25. If interested, come early; this class is capped at 15 participants.

Take Part in a Race – On Land or Water

If you’d like to really get your blood flowing in the crisp autumn weather, sign up for one of the festival’s several race offerings. Runners can choose from the 5k Trail Race or the Wild Vine Half Marathon; casual runners will find the 5k option the perfect match for their level, while runners looking to challenge themselves can further their training by completing the half marathon. Registration is available online or on the day of. The half marathon kicks off at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday with the 5k beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Those who prefer to spend the day on the water can take part in the SUP Stream Catawba River Race. Both beginning and experienced stand-up paddle boarders are invited to test their skills on the river in this four-mile race beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. No paddle board? No problem! Rental equipment will be available on a first come, first serve basis that morning.

For all three races, the top three male/female finishers over 55 will receive awards — so bring your running shoes or paddle board and your game face!

Enjoy Live Music Al Fresco

Prefer to unwind in a less active way? Enjoy some wonderful live music while sipping your wine under the sky. Beginning in the early afternoon on Saturday, Belmont Abbey Island’s main stage will host acts from a range of musical genres. The concerts will kick off at 1:00 p.m. with a set from the country duo of Sally & George, followed by classic rock-and-roll band the Dead 27’s at 3:00 p.m. The Southern rock group, The Vegabonds, will take the stage at 5:00 p.m., and Austin, Texas’ garage rockers White Denim will finish off the day with two sets starting at 7:00 p.m. Best of all, all shows are free to enjoy!

At Cypress of Charlotte, our goal is to create a community for our residents that promotes an active, fun lifestyle in retirement. We seek to foster a country club-like atmosphere with ample amenities and services to help you make the most of your golden years. To find out more about everything our continuing care retirement community has to offer, please contact us today.  

Best Hikes and Nature Drives Within 3 Hours From Charlotte

While Charlotte may be the country’s third-fastest growing city with an impressive skyline and many rich urban neighborhoods, residents of the Queen City are lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful and unspoiled natural landscapes. Incredible hiking trails and beautiful nature drives abound within a short three hours of the city’s center, making it easy for Charlotteans to escape to the great outdoors. Of the many options, these three hiking trails and three nature drives make up the best of what the Charlotte area has to offer.

The Charlotte Area’s Most Beautiful Hiking Trails

In the mood to connect with nature up close and personal? The Charlotte area is home to gorgeous hiking trails suitable for all fitness and experience levels. Naming them all would be impossible, but these three sets of trails are a great jumping-off point to begin exploring eastern North Carolina’s natural beauty.

Comprising more than 50,000 acres, the Uwharrie National Forest is home to dozens of hiking trails. Some can get quiet strenuous, but options abound for trails that are easy yet no less beautiful. The Densons Creek Nature Trail is suitable even for total novices, while the more challenging Badin Lake Trail provides beautiful views of this pristine lake.

Kings Mountain State Park in Blacksburg offers a similar array of hiking trails, ranging from easy to moderately difficult. One trail of note is the Kings Mountain Nature Trail, which makes a leisurely 1.2-mile loop and offers close-up views of beautiful flora and incredible fauna such as wild turkeys and deer. 

Lastly, Stone Mountain State Park–just an hour and a half from Charlotte–provides some incredible trails for more seasoned hikers. Paths such as the Middle Falls/Lower Falls Trail lead you to breathtaking views of waterfalls that make the hike worth the effort.

The Most Scenic Nature Drives Within Three Hours of Charlotte

If you’re in the mood to sit rather than hike but would still like to bask in the glory of the great outdoors, one of the Charlotte area’s many scenic nature drives may fit the bill. Enjoy lush forests and breathtaking vistas from the comfort of your car on one of these three drives.

Winding its way through Crowders Mountain State Park, the Crowders Mountain Drive provides some amazing views of the countryside before climbing to the top of Pinnacle Peak. (If the drive invigorates you for a hike, the trails to the top of Crowders Mountain are fairly short and provide views of downtown Charlotte’s skyscrapers.)
Want to see some of North Carolina’s most impressive wildlife? Hit the road on the Grassy Island Crossing. This road traverses the Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge, and a waterfowl observation spot allows you to observe migratory birds resting in their natural habitats.  

Of course, no list of scenic drives near Charlotte would be complete without mentioning the Blue Ridge Parkway. Often referred to as America’s favorite drive, this relaxing drive supplies close-up views of the incredible landscapes and rugged mountains that make up the Appalachian Highlands. The entire Parkway is 469 miles long, but some of the most stunning portions of the drive that run along the Blue Ridge Mountains are just two hours from Charlotte. 

Looking for an active, vibrant retirement community in which to spend your golden years? At the Cypress of Charlotte, we aim to foster a country club lifestyle for the residents of our upscale continuing care retirement community. To learn more about our residences or to schedule a tour, please contact us today.  

How to Handle Difficult Family Conversations

Sensitive topics are never easy to initiate, especially when your conversation is with a loved one. With the added pressure of considering how to delicately handle concerns for anaging parent, you may feel like putting off a difficult conversation is better than upsetting someone. Whether it’s time to talk about moving into a continuing care retirement community, like The Cypress of Charlotte, bringing in extra help at home, or giving up driving, when you talk about reversing a long-standing power structure —things can become uncomfortable quickly. Knowing which words to use and which areas to avoid can greatly improve the odds of working toward a solution that will be best for everyone in your family.

Tips for Handling Difficult Family Conversations

Prepare for the Conversation

Information is your best tool when beginning a difficult conversation. Researching the different available resources for seniors in their home area is another great pre-conversation tool. Do your best to get an accurate idea of your loved one’s monthly income and any investments they may have; this allows you to have concrete options to present them.

Begin with Facts

Your parents may assume that you’ll take them in when the time comes for them to receive round-the-clock care and attention. If you are unable to do that, don’t feel guilty and clearly state this is not an option. Do your best to remind your loved one that you are thinking of their happiness and safety and want to be proactive to ensure they can enjoy the best quality of life.

Remember your parents can still have plenty of control over their future! Deciding to take a few important safety steps for their health and care is not a bad thing. With an ample amount of different options for their continued care, you’ll both feel better about the future. When speaking with them, remember to use words that are not demanding or devaluing. Instead of saying that you’ll be taking your parent’s car keys, why not breach the subject with an offer to arrange transportation to and from their appointments.

Starting a conversation with solid evidence is another way to communicate more effectively. If you’ve noticed your parents are having a hard time keeping up with housework or they are making regular medical trips each week, state those facts when mentioning a continuing care retirement community or maybe even a Charlotte nursing home.

If you are considering bringing in home living assistance, remember that it’s always worth giving something new a trial basis. This can alleviate some pressure and help your parents realize this is a better option for their health and well-being.

Remember to Listen

While you may have all the facts and plenty of easy ways to start a difficult conversation, it’s also important to listen to what your parents have to say. Discuss how losing some of their independence makes them feel and be sensitive to this change. Be empathetic but strong, and remind them they can still have control over many everyday decisions. If your first attempts are dismissed, don’t be afraid to try again. With the help of family, friends, and trusted community members like a physician or pastor —you can help your parents realize that everyone is looking out for their best interests.

Learn more about our Charlotte CCRC

The Cypress of Charlotte is a membership-only active senior living community. We provide high-end amenities and exceptional care services to our residents. Learn about the life your aging loved one could enjoy at our CCRC – contact our team today.

Fun Things to Do in Charlotte This Summer

Summer in Charlotte is the perfect time to go outside, enjoy the amazing weather, and take in all of the fun things to do in the Queen City. In particular, Charlotte plays host to a number of limited music and food events that are must-sees. With that in mind, here are the four limited-time events and festivals that you should be certain to catch this season:

For the Music Lover: The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Pops Series

Lovely weather plus Charlotte’s world-class symphony: what could be better? This summer, the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra will be holding a series of five outdoor concerts at Symphony Park in SouthPark to allow Charlotte residents to bask in beautiful music and gorgeous weather. As part of their Summer Pops series, the Charlotte Symphony has chosen a different theme for each Sunday in June, including classic Hollywood themes, famous jazz standards, iconic Broadway show tunes, and the sounds of Star Wars. In honor of the nation’s birthday, the Charlotte Symphony will be holding a special concert featuring patriotic favorites on July 1st entitled “Celebrate America!”. So, bring a picnic basket and a blanket, and enjoy music al fresco.

For the Foodie: Taste of Charlotte and Charlotte Restaurant Week

Charlotte residents who enjoy a little culinary adventure can rejoice and take advantage of the city’s two summer dining events. The first, Taste of Charlotte, brings together samples from over 100 of the area’s best restaurants as well as cooking demonstrations, live music, street performances, shopping opportunities, and more. Located in uptown Charlotte on Tryon Street, this three-day festival will be held from June 9th through June 11th. Best of all, admission to the festival is free; simply purchase festival coins to try out some of the best food that Charlotte has to offer.

If the samples at Taste of Charlotte merely whetted your palate, you also have Charlotte Restaurant Week to look forward to. This twice-yearly event will be held from July 21st to July 30th. With over 130 of Charlotte’s top restaurants participating, you can snag a gourmet three-course dinner for just $30.

For the Movie Buff: Movies Under the Stars

Those that miss the classic drive-in movie can come close to replicating the experience at one of Charlotte’s many free outdoor movie events this summer. While there are almost a dozen options to choose from, two stand out thanks to their setting and movie selection. The first, Symphony Park at SouthPark, turns one of Charlotte’s most beautiful parks into an outdoor movie theater each Friday in August.

Want to enjoy a craft beer and some fine artisanal cheese and charcuterie as you watch your movie? Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop puts on a different movie every Friday at sundown all summer long. With Hollywood staples such as Dial M for Murder, action adventure classics like Jaws, and modern comedies such as Anchorman, everyone can find a movie screening to enjoy.

Want to take advantage of all that Charlotte has to offer all year-long? At the Cypress of Charlotte, we aim to create a vibrant community that supports staying active and energetic throughout your retirement years. For more information about our community, please contact us today

Just a Walk in the Park: Visit the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

Not too far from The Cypress is over 400 acres of beautiful gardens, nature paths, numerous water fountains and the only glass house to be found in the Carolinas. The Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Charlotte is a great place to stroll around and enjoy the many flowers, orchids, heirloom plants, birds and other delights of nature.

There are so many great events and classes at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. Whether you are into leisurely walks, learning, cultural events, or community involvement, there is something for everyone. We’ve compiled a list of some great ways to enjoy the gardens below.

Sip and Stroll: Every Thursday, enjoy the golden glow of the evening while sipping on your favorite beverage. Relax and unwind while strolling slowly through the many nature paths to explore. On certain evenings, you can even listen to live music at Lost Hollow’s Hillside Theatre and purchase food from local vendors.

Yoga: Whether you are a beginner or advanced level, there is a yoga class for everyone at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. Come stretch, relax, and try a variety of different poses in a gentle and supportive environment with certified yoga instructors.

Birding Walks: From passenger pigeons to Northern cardinals to the Eastern whip-poor-will, there are many fantastic birds to discover in our great state of North Carolina. Bring your binoculars and follow a volunteer guide as you learn to identify birds; and observe nesting patterns among the flowers and trees of the botanical gardens at Meadowood Walk and Persimmon Trail. A truly great way to exercise the mind and the body while learning about the beautiful nature that surrounds us.

Volunteer: There is no better way to get to know the history, community, and all that the gardens have to offer than by volunteering and giving back to the community. By volunteering at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, you can help maintain the grounds, give guided tours to visitors, help with specific projects, or offer your unique skills such as fundraising, entertaining, teaching, or photography. Whatever your skills are, they will surely be vital to help the botanical gardens continue to grow into the future and provide delight and education for generations to come. Volunteering is a great way to make friends and meet people from all walks of life. And you can do all of this while being outside and enjoying the flowers and plants. You can get to know each garden as they change with the seasons and share what you have learned with others.

There are many other events and ways to enjoy the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. From cultural events to oyster roasts and fine art, there is truly something for everyone at the gardens. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to peruse the many unique items available for sale and grab a cup of coffee while you are at it. There is also a glass conservatory that displays a number of different orchids and an indoor waterfall. Come and explore for yourself these pristine botanical gardens near Charlotte.

If you enjoy leisurely strolls through nature, stop by and take a tour of The Cypress of Charlotte. Multiple walking trails with lake views and gorgeous greenery wind through our campus. Contact us for more information about our beautiful, luxurious retirement community in Charlotte, NC.

Healthy Hobbies to Try This Spring

 The warmer weather of spring brings a sense of renewal and reinvigoration, and this season offers the perfect opportunity to try out a new hobby. After long winter days spent indoors, spring provides the chance to step out and pick up a new activity that promotes your health while you have fun. For retirees in Charlotte, a wide range of possibilities abound to get started with an exciting, healthy hobby this spring, and here are five excellent options for active seniors.


Whether you spent decades making family dinners every night or you have generally relied on take-out, taking the time to hone your cooking skills is one of the easiest and most effective hobbies that you can take up to boost your health. Cookbooks and online classes aimed at teaching healthy and money-saving cooking tips are all over the Internet. If you learn better from an actual instructor, or would prefer to mix your cooking instruction with socializing, Charlotte offers many cooking classes in a range of healthy cuisines. In particular, Whole Foods’ Salud! Cooking School provides classes in a variety of cuisines and basic cooking techniques.


Numerous studies have shown that dancing can provide a wide range of health benefits, from improved heart health to stronger bones to lower weight. Dancing is more than just great exercise, though. Whether you’re a novice or you’ve been cutting a rug for years, dancing is fun and exciting, and joining a dance class or club can offer you the opportunity to interact with your peers. Options abound throughout Charlotte for low-cost and easily-accessible senior dance classes. At Open Door Studios, beginners and experienced dancers alike can take classes in ballet, jazz, and hip hop, while the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation department hosts line dancing classes for seniors at the West Charlotte Recreation Center.


Volunteering in your community is a great way to stay active in retirement and physically engaged with the world around you. Moreover, the benefits for your social, mental, and emotional health, provided by the sense of fulfillment and purpose produced through volunteer work, cannot be underestimated. Whether you want to become involved with an ongoing volunteer organization or you’d prefer to try out single-day volunteering opportunities, Charlotte has a wide range of options for volunteers of all ages. Hands on Charlotte maintains a helpful calendar outlining upcoming volunteering opportunities of all kinds.


The list of benefits that yoga can provide for your physical and mental health is extensive. While ongoing yoga practice can help you build physical strength, improve your cardiovascular performance, and boost your circulatory health, regular yoga sessions can also make you feel more energetic, less stressed, and more mindful. What’s more, yoga is extremely adaptable, and adults of all ages and fitness levels can adjust the range of yoga poses to meet their needs. Residents of Charlotte can take advantage of the city’s many free and low-cost yoga classes. The Pizza Peel Plaza Midwood hosts a weekly free outdoor yoga session on Mondays from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM, while the Mint Museum‘s free Wednesday evening gallery tours also feature an hour-long low-priced yoga class.


Ultimately, is there any better way to boost your health and enjoy the lovely spring weather than simply going for a walk outside? Besides being excellent for your physical health, walking is extremely accessible. After all, all you need is a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a place to walk. For added social benefits, retirees in Charlotte can take advantage of the city’s many walking and hiking clubs to find company as they explore new walking paths. From women’s walking groups to walking clubs aimed specifically at retirees, Meetup can help you find the perfect walking club for your fitness level and social requirements.

Get Active at Our Retirement Community in Charlotte, NC

The vibrant and active community at The Cypress of Charlotte helps foster a healthy and active lifestyle for our retirees. As a luxury continuing care community, we offer a wide range of amenities, activities, and services that are designed to promote a fun and thriving atmosphere for our residents. To learn more about our facilities or to schedule a tour, please contact us today.

Build Your Social Life in Senior Communities

Social health and mental fitness are as important for aging well as physical health, but many senior citizens find it challenging to keep up a busy social life as they get older. Becoming a part of an active retirement community can provide you with a variety of ways to fill your social calendar in retirement within a supportive and engaging environment.

The Benefits of Remaining Social and Active in Your Golden Years

Remaining physically active is often recognized as an important part of maintaining your health as you age, but staying mentally and socially active can be just as critical for boosting your emotional health and cognitive abilities as well as for preserving a high quality of life. Many retirees who continue to live independently rather than joining a retirement community find their opportunities for daily social interactions diminished, making them more vulnerable to depression or even dementia. A vibrant social life in your golden years has been shown to reduce the risk factors for a wide range of health conditions, from cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis, to osteoporosis and even some forms of cancer. Seniors who stay social can experience stronger immune systems, improved nutrition and lower blood pressure. Furthermore, social activity has been demonstrated to provide a variety of less tangible benefits such as better cognitive functions, a greater sense of belonging and a deeper connection with the surrounding world.

Ways to Stay Active in Retirement

Staying active in your retirement years can be challenging, but becoming part of a retirement community offers seniors an easy way to bolster their social lives. Many higher-end communities, such as The Cypress of Charlotte, offer their residents a variety of classes, clubs, and activities that allow residents to stay socially connected in fun and engaging ways.

Taking classes or trying a new hobby are both wonderful ways to learn something new while fostering new friendships at the same time. Whether you’ve always wanted to try painting or you are interested in learning to dance, classes allow you to grow your personal network while remaining active and engaged. The Cypress of Charlotte, for example, offers a wide range of art and continuing education courses for its members.

Clubs and social events also provide substantial benefits for building out your social calendar. As with classes, you can tailor your options to meet your own personal interests while still building a robust network of friends. From book clubs and fitness groups, to movie nights, dances and field trips, options abound within luxury senior communities.

A Luxury Continuing Care Retirement Community in Charlotte

At The Cypress of Charlotte, our aim is to foster a lively and engaging lifestyle for our community of active and healthy seniors. As a luxury Life Plan Community, we cultivate a Country Club atmosphere with the availability of assisted living and skilled nursing care, if needed. For more information about our community or to schedule a tour, please contact us today.

Scenic Senior Walks in Charlotte, NC

Walking is a free and easy way to feel healthier! Even a small walk in a beautiful setting can be tremendous for your health, and the benefits increase the older you get. With this guide, you’ll learn about the wonders of walking along the best outdoor trails in Charlotte, NC today.

The Benefits of Walking for Seniors

Walking at any pace is healthy and enjoyable, and seniors receive immense benefits after a daily walk. By walking for just 20 minutes, you can ease arthritic pain while also stabilizing your back. Even if you don’t currently suffer from back pain, walking will help to strengthen your core and prevent future injuries. Plus, a pleasant walk will help loosen your muscles and relieve tension throughout your entire body.

A short walk does wonders for your heart as well. Walking for 15 minutes a day will lower your cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. While daily walks are great, you can still see great benefits by walking just three times a week! Another overlooked aspect of walking is how wonderful it is for mental health. Light exercise can ward off depression by increasing the body’s natural endorphins, like serotonin.

How to Get Started

Walking is an easy way to get outside and enjoy a little exercise – typically after you’ve finished this light exercise, your body will be left feeling physically refreshed and energized. Before you go out, you should ensure that you have comfortable tennis shoes to prevent any cramping or pain. Check the weather as well, and wear adequate clothing so you can comfortably walk in any season. Also, be sure to bring a water bottle and a light snack along with you.

Now that you’re ready to go, here are some of the most scenic and enjoyable trails in the Charlotte area:

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

With seven miles of trails with flat to light inclines, an assortment of wildlife and colorful fauna, McDowell is one of the best places to enjoy an outdoor walk near Charlotte. Enjoy the fresh air as you walk through stunning plant life and listen to the calming sound of birds lightly chirping around you. Forget about the hubbub of city life as you take in stunning views of Lake Wylie along with lush forests, meandering streams and a prairie reserve. Many of the walking trails around McDowell Nature Center and Preserve are paved and very straightforward – if you’re looking for something a little more strenuous, there are also un-paved hiking trails scattered throughout the area. Don’t worry about getting lost – there are plenty of trail maps and markers posted within the Preserve and rangers are always helpful with answering questions.

Reedy Creek Nature Center

Reedy Creek is a large and well-maintained reserve that features isolated trails, play areas and vast lawns. Enjoy strolling by fresh ponds, stunning rock formations and forests that hide the nearby city center. Reedy Creek is a perfect area to enjoy relaxing, calming walks.

RibbonWalk Nature Preserve

The RibbonWalk Nature Preserve features numerous paved trails at varying lengths, and you can choose anything from a 15-minute stroll to a longer loop around the main sights. Experience blossoming flowers and wild mushrooms, and pay attention to the numerous butterflies and turtles that are abundant in the region. Along with scenic picnic tables and well-kept amenities, RibbonWalk a slice of natural paradise that you’re sure to love!

McAlpine Creek Greenway

McAlpine Creek Greenway is full of flat and winding trails through lush fauna. Enjoy vibrant flowers and grass, picturesque views, and a pleasant atmosphere away from cars and crowds. You’ll feel recharged and energized after a calming walk along the scenic trails at this greenway in Charlotte.

Little Sugar Creek Greenway

Little Sugar Creek Greenway is made up of a series of interconnected trails, making it the perfect destination for a nice long walk. You can begin your exercise at Freedom Park in Dilworth, and work your way to uptown through channels of trails. Along your walk, you will go through some tunnels and follow alongside the creek. There are plenty of benches available for resting. And if you get hungry, you can always stop at a restaurant in Midtown Charlotte.

Cypress of Charlotte

Each of these walking trails can be easily reached from The Cypress of Charlotte. If you’d rather not venture out to one of the nature preserves, nature centers or greenways, you can always take a stroll through our winding trails with stunning lake views and lush greenery. For information about the club lifestyle you can enjoy at our luxurious Charlotte Continuing Care Retirement Community, please contact us today.

Music Can Help Memory in Dementia Patients

Music is powerful, no matter your age; most people have experienced the sensation of hearing a familiar tune and being transported back in time to when they first heard the song. Past studies have shown that music can have a similar effect on elderly individuals afflicted with dementia or Alzheimer’s, but the reasons behind this effect have been less clear.

However, a recent study found that dementia patients who participated with particular songs experienced greater benefit than those who just listened to music. Through this use of music therapy, even those patients in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s could recall emotions and memories and experience clearer mental performance after singing along with familiar music. Researchers believe that musical activity can help the memory and cognitive function of dementia and Alzheimer’s patients for several key reasons.

Music awakens emotions, which in turn kindles memories.

Music retains its ability to conjure an emotional connection, even for those patients who are in the most advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. In turn, emotion often has the power to kindle memories. As the neurologist Oliver Sacks noted, “Music evokes emotion, and emotion can…bring back the feeling of life when nothing else can.” Researchers have found that combining music with routine daily activities can help boost a dementia patient’s cognitive ability. The music appears to help these patients create a rhythm that allows them to recall memories of their daily activities.

The systematic memories of musical ability and understanding are some of the last to fade in dementia patients.

While conscious memories can fade quickly in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, systematic memories and abilities are more resilient. As head researcher Linda Maguire found, musical ability and the appreciation for music are some of the most enduring abilities in Alzheimer’s patients. In this way, music helps form a bridge to connect to dementia patients and help improve cognitive abilities.

Actively engaging in music stimulates many parts of the brain.

Researchers noted during their study that the participants used much more of their brains than just the areas directly related to singing. The actual activity of singing engaged the left side of patients’ brains, while hearing the music activated the right side and seeing the rest of the class performing cued up the visual portions of the brain. This overall stimulation of participants’ brains meant that these dementia patients were being encouraged to use more of their mind than normal, laying a pathway for improved memory.

While the exact way that music helps boost memory in dementia patients may not be completely clear, caregivers should feel encouraged by these findings. Using music to help your own loved one improve their memory is as easy as putting on their favorite tunes and encouraging them to sing along.

At the Cypress of Charlotte, we offer a vibrant senior living community for active and independent retirees with resources for assisted living, skilled nursing and dementia care as any need arises. Contact us today to learn more about our senior living programs in Charlotte or to schedule a visit.

Gardening Tips and Tricks for Older Gardeners

The physical and mental health benefits of gardening are well known and documented, but as you grow older, the activity can present particular challenges.

Digging, watering, weeding and moving heavy pots may become increasingly difficult, but even if your physical strength is not quite what it was, there are still many ways for you to create, maintain and enjoy a beautiful garden.

Choose Low Maintenance Plants As The Foundation Of Your Garden
First, choose plants which require a minimum amount of attention and maintenance. Perennials, that are to say those which will survive the winter and bloom again in spring, are a particularly good option. Perennials include a wide variety of attractive flowers, including Forget Me Nots, Hibiscus, Agapanthus, Peonies and Portulacas.  

These kinds of plants will tolerate most climate conditions and soil types and require little care. As well as flowers, you can select a variety of hardy evergreens and herbs, such as rosemary, sage or thyme to provide scent, color and interest during the cold months of the year.

If you’re interested in growing vegetables, choose low-maintenance varieties such as onions, carrots, beans and leafy greens like spinach.

To keep the need for weeding and watering to a minimum, use mulches. These can consist of compost, leaves, wood chips, straw or even cardboard or brown paper. They are readily available commercially, but also easy to source from your own garden. 

Most perennials can be grown very successfully in hanging baskets, raised beds and planters, minimizing the stress on your back and knees. But if you really do need to go to ground, appropriate mobile seating or supportive kneepads can easily be obtained at a modest cost.

Consider An Artificial Lawn
If you’ve always taken pride in your well-tended and perfectly manicured lawn, the idea of artificial grass may be unattractive, but modern products are far superior to the “plastic” grass of old, and much more realistic. They require far less maintenance, are pet-friendly and can provide a very attractive backdrop to your flowers and other plants.

Invest In New Tools And Equipment
Common gardening tools such as shovels, forks and rakes have changed little in their essentials for centuries. But modern materials and design have made available many significantly lighter options, without sacrificing the necessary strength and fitness for purpose.

Well thought out sprinkler and irrigation systems can eliminate much of the physical demands of dragging a hose, although much lighter hoses are also now available.

A pair of good quality gardening gloves is also an excellent investment to help avoid cuts and possible infection. 

Above all – Enjoy!
Gardening can be a great source of year round enjoyment and delight but also a physical burden if not properly managed. So, plan your garden carefully and don’t take on more tasks than you can comfortably achieve. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Family, friends and neighbors may be more than willing – if only they’re asked, and it can then become an enjoyable group experience.

Additional Information
There are numerous books and websites that cater to the specific needs of the older gardener. However, our favorite resources for information on this topic are live events where you can talk face-to-face with an expert and have all of your questions answered in one place, like the Southern Garden Show. This exhibit, held annually in Charlotte, North Carolina, which features gardeners from around the country, is an excellent source of information from professionals.

At the Cypress of Charlotte, we aim to help all our residents enjoy a happy, independent and healthy lifestyle throughout the year. For more information about our approach to retirement living at our luxurious community in Charlotte, please contact us