How to 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. It can also be a crucial element in preserving a high quality of life. Seniors with a more fulfilling social life can typically avoid many of the most common physical, emotional and cognitive risks associated with continued isolation.

Health Benefits of Socialization

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. Some of the biggest impacts that regular socialization can have on senior health are:

  • Stress relief. When you are more socially active you can see significant improvements in your cardiovascular health and improved immune system—two qualities that are linked to the ability to better handle stress.
  • Longer lifespan. Spending more time socializing can actually help seniors to increase longevity.
  • Lower risk of depression. You are much less likely to experience prolonged depression and feelings of loneliness if you are engaged in consistent socialization.
  • Better fitness levels. When you have a great group of friends and family to spend time with, you are much more likely to stay active and exercise regularly.
  • Improved self-esteem. It’s much easier to maintain a good sense of self-worth and better overall self-esteem when you have other people to share your life with.
  • Less anxiety. Seniors who socialize regularly also report reduced anxiety levels.

 

Cognitive Benefits of Socialization

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.

Positive social interactions are ideal for keeping your mind stimulated and intellectually engaged. In fact, research suggests that regular socialization can be beneficial in preventing cognitive decline, including memory loss and forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease. Studies also show that people who have the opportunity to connect with others more often tend to perform better on memory tests and other cognitive assessments.

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.

7 Simple Tips to Boost Your Social Life as a Senior

1. Go Out and Meet New People

Even if you aren’t a naturally outgoing person, putting yourself in situations where you are face to face with others on a regular basis is a great way to meet new people. Get to know your neighbors, strike up a conversation at your favorite morning coffee stop and take the time to notice other seniors along your daily routine.

2. Organize an Event

Do you have a favorite hobby that you think others may enjoy learning about? Whether you already have a group of good friends or you’re more of a solo player, this is a great way to meet new people. Host a game night with bingo or card games, inviting anyone who is interested to come in and play a few rounds. If you get enough people involved, you can even organize a few cool prizes for the winners.

3. Workout

If you’re a senior who is interested in staying fit, going to a gym or yoga class can be a great way to meet like-minded individuals. Working out with others is the perfect way to stay motivated and have someone there to help keep you accountable for getting in that regular workout. If you can’t find a workout buddy on your own, there’s a good chance that your favorite fitness class will have a few new members joining each week.

4. Get Online

Using technology to grow and maintain your social circle is simple and easy. Spend a few minutes setting up a profile on your favorite social media platform and you can instantly reconnect with old pals, meet new ones and plan your next get-together. Technology can also help long-distance families and friends keep in touch, no matter the distance between them. From video chatting to sending a quick text, new technologies offer a unique opportunity to socialize and communicate with loved ones.

5. Volunteer

Most seniors find themselves with an excess of free time on their hands after they retire. So why not give back to your community and make some new friends by volunteering your time? There are plenty of wonderful volunteer opportunities in the greater Charlotte area that you’ll love. Choose from working with kids at one of our local museums, giving your time at a local shelter or fostering adoptable cats or dogs. Whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to make new friends while volunteering!

6. Explore New Places

Sometimes all it takes to grow your social circle is to push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit. If you find that you spend most days following the same old routine, now may be the perfect time to shake things up. Go hiking on Saturday mornings with a nature group or tour a nearby winery. Either way, you’ll get to step out of your regular routine and maybe make a friend or two along the way.

7. Adapt a Positive Mindset

Being proactive and on the search for new friends is important as we age. Where you once had school, work and your family to rely on whenever you wanted to make a new friend – in your retirement years things are different. Actively try to meet new people and be sure to mix up your routine every now and then. As you gain confidence, you’ll find that making lasting connections becomes much easier and you’ll begin to see the benefits of an active social life.

How Can Retirement Communities Help Increase Socialization for Seniors?

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 continuing care retirement communities, such as The Cypress of Charlotte, offer their residents a variety of classes, clubs, and activities that allow them 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, we are all about creating a safe, fun, and healthy environment for our residents. That’s part of the reason why we dedicated so much time and energy into planning great events and activities for our residents and their loved ones to enjoy year-round. Whether you are a social butterfly looking for a new class or you’re interested in improving your physical health in our fitness program—there is something for everyone to enjoy here.

While we encourage our residents to stay active and socialize, we also know that being the center of attention isn’t for everyone. So, we strive to offer a wide variety of activities and social events that every resident can enjoy. Some of our most popular activities include:

  • Live Concerts
  • Continuing Education Courses
  • Water Aerobics
  • Field Trips
  • Dances
  • Card Games
  • Yacht Racing
  • Movie Events
  • Guest Speakers
  • Art Classes
  • Fitness Programs
  • Pickleball
  • And More!

 

Discover Senior Events and Activities at The Cypress

When you work hard at maintaining an active social life, you’ll be rewarding yourself in more ways than one. Increased socialization for seniors not only relives boredom and feelings of isolation, but it can help to improve your physical health and cognitive function as well. Your golden years should be a time of rest, relaxation, reflection, and fun! 

At The Cypress of Charlotte, our residents have access to a wealth of interesting events and activities to choose from. We want to make it easy for you to find new friends and maintain as active of a social life as you would like. 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 life here at the Cypress or to schedule a tour, please contact us today

9 Reasons to Move to a Senior Living Community While You’re Healthy

When you reach your retirement years, you find yourself ready to sit back and enjoy that big, beautiful home you worked so hard to purchase. Yet without the kids, it may start feeling like too much space, and too much work. If you’re thinking about downsizing or changing your living arrangement, you may want to think about moving into a senior living community. While you may not need support services, moving into a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) while you’re still healthy and active has several benefits that are often overlooked. Here are some of the reasons to make the switch to independent living at a CCRC.

1. Avoid the Problem of Loneliness

After a lifetime of school and work responsibilities, retirement can feel like an amazing freedom, yet it is also a major life change. Isolation and loneliness are major challenges for those 50 and older. Children are busy in their careers and raising their own families, while friends have often moved to live closer to family and coworkers are not yet at retirement age. Add to this the fact that 45% of seniors over the age of 65 are divorced, separated, or widowed, thus living alone, and you have the recipe for loneliness.

If you’re in this situation, or simply want to expand your social circle, then a senior community could be the answer. Moving to a senior living community means you are surrounded by people. From the staff to fellow residents, there is always someone to talk to and interact with. This can combat the problem of loneliness quite quickly. Plus, since you’re still young and active, you can spend your time exploring the surrounding area and finding events and activities to do with your new friends.

2. Eliminate the Time and Hassle of Home Maintenance

Do you really want to spend your retirement painting your home and mowing your lawn? When you live in a senior living community, maintenance is included in your monthly cost. You don’t have to do any repairs in your home or apartment and can focus on enjoying your retirement. If the air conditioner or stove break, they’ll be replaced without any frustration or cost on your part.

In a retirement community, you will be free of the many tedious tasks of home ownership and can spend your time discovering new interests or reviving the hobbies you didn’t have time for while you were working.

3. Have the Health to Enjoy Amenities

Many senior living communities are full of amenities. From education classes that will teach you new skills to yoga and other types of fitness classes, you will find plenty to do to keep you busy. Many communities also have pools, game rooms, water features, walking paths, gardens, and more.

While these activities are available to all, including those who require assistance, you’ll likely enjoy them more if you are still healthy. You are retired and have the time, why not make the move so you can also have the energy to fully enjoy the amenities of your new home?

4. Stop Having to Cook

Independent living homes have all the amenities you love in your current home, including a full kitchen, so you’re free to cook whenever you want – but you don’t have to. Often, cooking for one or two isn’t as enjoyable as it was to cook for your family or friends. Neither is cooking every evening when you’d rather spend your time in other pursuits.

When you move into a senior living community, you can enjoy gourmet meals served in a luxury dining setting. These foods are carefully designed for flavor and nutrition, so you can be confident that they will help you stay healthy and nourished without having to step foot in the kitchen.

5. Enjoy Regularly Planned Activities

Retirement means plenty of time, but sometimes you’ll find yourself struggling to know how to use that time. One of the benefits of moving to a senior living community is the many activities built into the day. In addition to the classes that are among the amenities you’ll enjoy, you may be offered excursions into town, live entertainment, inter-generational activities, pet therapy, and more. Activities directors work to ensure there’s always something fun on the calendar.

A lesser-known benefit of planned activities is the chance to try something new. Maybe there’s an activity you’ve always wanted to try that’s scheduled for next month, or a class on something you never considered learning before. You could find something you love that you wouldn’t have pursued without this opportunity.

6. Tackle the Move While You’re Healthy

There’s no denying that moving is a stressful experience. Packing, deciding what to keep and what to give away, and then making the actual move are all activities that require a lot of energy and stamina. If you add health problems to the mix, you may find it overwhelming. That may mean you would have to hire professional movers, which is not an ideal situation for your budget.

If you make the move while you’re still healthy, you have more control over the process and can tackle it head on. This gives you the freedom to do some of the work yourself, even if you use the pros for the hardest parts.

7. Enjoy Increased Safety

Older couples and seniors who live alone often fear what would happen if they had an accident at home. When you live in a senior living community, you have caring staff who will check in on you from time to time, even if you don’t yet need any help. Also, many have emergency call systems integrated into their apartment homes, so you can request help quickly if a problem arises. Chances are you won’t need these features any time soon, but you and your family will enjoy peace of mind knowing they are there.

If something does happen, you’re also more likely to receive the help you need quickly, which may help prevent further problems down the road.

8. Enjoy More Independence

If you’re hesitant to make the move to a retirement community because you fear giving up your independence, the truth is actually the opposite. This change gives you more independence, because you will no longer have to rely on your friends and family to help with things you are no longer able to do.

For example, many senior living communities offer regular transportation services that can take you shopping or drop you off at your doctor’s office. Since you will have staff ready to assist you, you won’t need to worry about contacting others to help. You can spend your time with your loved ones just enjoying them, not asking for their help.

9. Continuum of Care

Many retirement communities offer several levels of care. At Cypress of Charlotte, our Charlotte continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offers independent living, memory care, assisted living, and skilled nursing. This means that even if you join our community as a healthy adult, you won’t have to move to a new community should you need more intensive care later on. The rest of your life will be worry-free, no matter the level of care you need, and you can stay with your new friends and our trusted staff as long as you need to.

Moving into a retirement home or luxury senior living community while you are still active and healthy is a smart choice. At The Cypress of Charlotte, we make it easy for you to make this decision, with our spacious independent living cottages that have all of the comforts of home. You’ll enjoy all the services, amenities and activities our senior living community has to offer. Take a virtual tour of Cypress of Charlotte or contact us today to see what senior living is like and why now is the right time to make this switch.

When is it Time to Move to a Senior Community?

Moving isn’t something that most people look forward to. While it can be exciting to relocate due to a career change or the addition of a new family member, when it’s time to leave their current home, many seniors would rather stay put. However, downsizing and moving to a senior community has a ton of benefits. Not only will seniors be able to say goodbye to time-consuming chores around the house, but most continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) offer their residents access to great amenities and activities, medical care, social outings and delicious dining choices as well. It’s never too soon to start thinking about your retirement options. So, keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of retirement communities like The Cypress of Charlotte.

How Do You Know That It’s Time to Make the Move to a Senior Retirement Community?

Timing a big move to a senior living community can be tricky because the decision is a highly personal one. Some families chose senior living because their loved ones are no longer able to support themselves in their current residence. While others decide to make the move to address future medical, social and personal needs. Whatever the case — moving to a retirement community is a decision that shouldn’t wait until the last minute. Transitioning to life in a continuing care retirement community early on (before the need is evident) is the best possible choice for a person’s long term mental and physical well-being.

| One of the top recommendations we hear from our residents is “I wish I moved sooner.” 

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are designed for active older adults who cherish their independence and want to live fulfilling lives in retirement. Communities like The Cypress of Charlotte offer luxurious independent living for these seniors; and as residents enjoy their retirement, they can rest assured knowing they’re covered with services included in a lifelong Membership like assisted living or memory care if or when they need additional healthcare. 

CCRCs offer homes or apartments to rent or buy for seniors to enjoy independent living. These individuals (often 55+) enter the community in independent living with the opportunity to enjoy the numerous services and amenities that the community has to offer. If one’s health begins to slip, they are supported by a caring nursing staff who ensure the individual can still enjoy as much independence as possible. 

Too Many Close Calls

As we age, accidents can become much more common and even the most mundane of daily activities can result in a medical emergency. If you are prone to home falls or other incidents where help or medical attention is needed, you may want to consider the benefits of living in a senior living community. Increased access to care, security and assisted living or rehabilitation are all available within a CCRC setting.

Slower Recovery Times

Quick recovery time after an illness or injury is a good indication of health. However, when recovery times begin to increase significantly, there may be cause for concern. For example, it’s normal for adults to experience a cold now and then, but if your health frequently declines or easily advances into something more serious, you may benefit from an increased level of care.

Hard-to-Handle Household Chores

For most older adults, keeping up with regular home maintenance is a difficult task, even at the best of times. With home ownership comes the seemingly constant flow of yard work, minor repairs and simple housekeeping chores. If you are tired of or unable to handle basic household chores, making the move to a senior retirement community can help take away that extra layer of pressure and clear up time to enjoy your golden years.  

Drastically Changing Moods

Everyone struggles with maintaining a positive mental attitude all the time – and it’s completely normal to have a down day every now and again. However, if you live alone, you may begin to experience frequent episodes of depression or loneliness, which is a cause for concern. Living alone can be taxing, and their depression can become a serious health concern for seniors. One of the biggest benefits of moving to a senior retirement community is the social calendar. There are numerous activities to participate in on a daily basis, and since residents are around the same age, they can spend time with peers who have similar life goals.

Lack of Hobbies or Difficulty Maintaining Friendships

Staying active in your golden years is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Whether you go to a weekly bridge club meeting, volunteer at the local animal shelter or have weekly lunch catchups with family, maintaining a full and healthy social life is essential. However, if you notice that you are spending more time alone, transitioning into an active lifestyle at the retirement community could be the change you need to enjoy a positive and enriching life.

What Makes Life Great at The Cypress of Charlotte?

With many years of experience in the industry, we know better than anyone that it’s never too early to start thinking about your retirement years. Whether you’ve been itching to sell your current home and downsize to independent living or you’re interested in enjoying on-site medical care here at The Cypress of Charlotte, there are many amazing benefits of moving to a Charlotte CCRC.

Making the move to a senior living community means that your golden years can be stress-free and comfortable. Interested in learning more about the Cypress of Charlotte? Please contact one of our friendly move-in coordinators today for more information.

9 Things to Consider When Selecting a Retirement Community

Choosing the right retirement community is a decision that families shouldn’t take lightly. As more seniors across the U.S. are interested in living independently, they are met with a variety of more retirement community options to choose from. However, when you start to consider different locations, there are a number of questions you should be asking. The idea of making a final choice can be quite overwhelming; luckily, with a bit of research and the help of a few trusted family members and friends, discovering a great continuing care retirement community doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Keep reading to learn more about our top tips for selecting the best retirement community to fit your needs.

9 Things to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Community

1. First Impressions

Whether you’re making your first visit to a retirement community in person or online, it’s always a good idea to pay close attention to your first impressions. Trusting your intuition is important for many big decisions in life, so it’s smart to put some stock in how a retirement community makes you feel right off the bat.

Tip: Ask yourself: Is it warm and inviting? Are you interacting with friendly staff members? What does the food and dining room look like? If you can picture yourself enjoying life among the other members, that may be a good sign.

2. Location

Location is key when selecting a retirement community. For most people who are enjoying their retirement years, access to local shops, cultural destinations and nearby outdoor spaces are all important factors. Additionally, proximity to family and friends is something to consider; and of course, whether you prefer a more rural or urban setting.

3. Type of Community

With so many retirement options available to the modern senior, it can be tough to know where to start when selecting the right type of community. You have the option of choosing between communities dedicated to assisted living or memory care to continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), like the Cypress of Charlotte — and everything in between. So, take the time to research your options, and visit communities that meet a majority of your personal preferences.

4. Levels of Service

Not all retirement-aged seniors have the same needs and therefore, not all retirement communities provide the same level of service. Take stock of your current health and safety needs, discussing what your future may look like over the next 5, 10 and 15 years. This will help you determine whether you are best served by making the move to an independent living community, assisted living or whether you need access to skilled nursing care services.

Tip: A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) is a great choice for individuals who can live independently now but want the peace of mind knowing they are covered if extra care is needed in the future.

5. Mission and Purpose

You’ll quickly find that one of the biggest factors that separates one retirement community from another is their overall mission. As you do research online or in your local area, pay close attention to each community’s mission statement and make sure that it aligns with your own set of values and beliefs.

6. Travel

If you enjoy traveling or an active lifestyle, it’s important to select a retirement community that offers easy access to public transportation options like bus stations, train stations and airports. Some retirement communities will even offer transportation to nearby travel hubs and valet services.

Tip: If travel is important for you, don’t forget to ask how your retirement community can help to facilitate this hobby.

7. Activities

Having access to a variety of enriching programs is also something that should be at the top of your list. As you settle into your new retirement community, you’ll be looking for new ways to make friends, stay active and enjoy your time. If fitness is important to you, look for a community that has a pool, workout rooms, walking trails and exercise classes. If you like art, then make sure your retirement community offers art classes, trips to local galleries and plenty of beautiful views to act as inspiration for your next piece!

8. Costs

Cost should be one of the first things you consider when comparing retirement communities. It’s important to know your budget and what you can and cannot afford. If you fall in love with a retirement community but it is way out of your price range, it can be a challenge to start looking at different locations.

Tip: As you narrow down your list, remember to think about how the cost of the retirement community and how it compares to the overall cost of your current bills. Are you paying separately for a gym membership, law maintenance company, etc.? Many times, these amenities are looped into the monthly cost of a retirement community.

9. Pets

It’s no secret that most people consider their pets to be part of the family. This means that getting rid of your furry friends to make a move to a retirement community is likely not an option. In addition to providing companionship, pets offer a wealth of benefits for seniors. So, if you are a pet owner, a pet-friendly community is a must.

Contact the Cypress of Charlotte Today

Want to learn more about our elegant continuing care retirement community in Charlotte, NC? Contact our friendly admissions specialists today for more information.

What is Life Like in Charlotte, North Carolina?

Are you just beginning your search for the perfect retirement area? Or maybe you’ve been looking for some time now but haven’t found a city or community that ticks all the boxes? Either way, finding a great location to spend your retirement is no small task. With your kids grown up and having children of their own, your home may seem far too big. And if you have specific medical needs, making the move to a continuing care retirement community may be in your best interest. Additionally, making the move to a warmer climate and an area with a great cultural center is always a plus.

At The Cypress of Charlotte, we couldn’t be happier to call the cultural and commercial hub of North Carolina home! If you’ve been looking for a great area that has plenty to offer – including a modern city center, access to a variety of outdoor spaces and a rich cultural history – Charlotte may be the ideal location for retirement.

What is Life Like in Charlotte, NC?

Like a well-balanced cocktail, Charlotte is equal parts old-fashioned southern charm and modern cosmopolitan. While residents here are very proud and aware of North Carolina’s rich history, Charlotte is also a metro area on the rise with its own unique feel and culture. All of these wonderful features make the city a destination for people – young and old – from all over the world. Don’t worry about finding your stride if you’re not from around here, because most residents aren’t!

A Growing City

In the city center, you’ll find a lively atmosphere of culinary sophistication that is open to all. There are a wide variety of different restaurants to try and regular events that attract people from all over the state and beyond. Once thought to be in the shadow of larger cities like Atlanta or Charleston, Charlotte is now a vacation destination as well. While the city has undergone a bit of a transformation over the past decade or so, many changes are still in the works and it is not uncommon to find a number of construction cranes dotted along the city skyline.

Whether you are used to living in a smaller town or you’re from a larger urban area, Charlotte has something to offer. The population in Charlotte sits around 800,000 residents. This means it’s a big enough city for you to find plenty of activities to enjoy but it’s not so big that you’ll feel overwhelmed upon arrival. In addition to a great food scene, Charlotte is also home to major festivals and lots of great shopping options in both standard malls and boutiques.

If you are a fan of sports, then look no farther than Queen City. Charlotte has a team for every sports lover and their line up continues to grow with the city’s population.  With the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Knights and Charlotte Hornets all located within the confines of Uptown, the Charlotte Checkers are just a short drive from the city center.

The Carolina Panthers are a franchise of the NFL. The team was founded in 1995 by Jerry Richardson, who is the only owner to have also played in the NFL himself. The Panthers played their first season in Death Valley, the home of the Clemson Tigers, while the Carolina Panthers were building their stadium in Uptown Charlotte. In 1996, the stadium opened as Ericsson Stadium and is now called Bank of America Stadium. Since that time, the Panthers have played in two Super Bowls and are a regular playoff team. Charlotte has a strong sense of camaraderie as the two states, North and South Carolina, come together to support their favorite football team.

Charlotte is also home to the Charlotte Hornets who compete in the NBA. Their stadium, called the Spectrum Center, is only a few blocks from Bank of America Stadium. Located across the street from the Epicenter, fans can access the home of the Hornets with ease. This team is a few years older than the Panthers; however, they did leave the city for a short time. They left for New Orleans briefly and, during that time, Charlotte founded an expansion franchise called the Bobcats. After a few years, the team welcomed the Hornets home. The team, owned by Michael Jordan, is extremely popular and games are typically affordable. Charlotte was recently home to the NBA All Star Game in 2019, bringing waves of celebrities, fans and festivities to Buzz City.

Just a stone’s toss from Bank of America Stadium is BB&T Ballpark, home of the Charlotte Knights since 1976. The Knights are Triple-A Minor League Baseball team and affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Similarly, the Charlotte Checkers are a minor league professional hockey team and affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes that came to Charlotte in 2010. The Checkers battle it out at Bojangles Coliseum, which is just minutes from Uptown. Both teams offer great deals, affordable tickets and fun, themed games to look forward to throughout the season.

As the city continues to grow, there are talks that Charlotte may be adding a Major League Baseball team in the near future.

A Welcoming and Manageable City

If you ask around about the weather in Charlotte, you may hear the word “manageable” used quite a bit. That’s because most people would agree that the climate here is much more manageable than you’ll find in Florida. In fact, even the housing prices and living expenses are much more affordable here than in larger cities across the US like New York, Los Angeles and Miami. If you’re looking to entertain family or you simply want to enjoy a day out on the town, you can find plenty to do without spending a fortune on food and entertainment.

For those who have children or families, one of the high points is certainly Carowinds. If the weather is nice outside, this popular amusement park straddles the NC, SC state line. The amusement park is regularly welcoming new rides and has attractions for kids of all ages. For those who do not enjoy roller coasters, there are also exhibits and plays at Carowinds that people might enjoy checking out. On those blistering hot days, it is a great idea to check out the water slides and the wave pools. Carowinds has a large water park section that is always popular.

A Healthy Community

Charlotte is an active city with lots of fitness offerings for people of all skill levels. You’ll find a very active running community here with a number of group runs, races and other fitness events taking place in Charlotte each year. While we have plenty of health and fitness options available here at our continuing care retirement community, you can also choose to get out and explore the city as well.

Access to the Great Outdoors

Charlotte is also nicely situated so that residents have easy access to the beach and mountains. If you like to get out and explore nature, you’re just an easy two-hour drive to the mountains and about three to three and a half hours from the beach. Planning a day trip or weekend getaway is easy when you live in such a desirable and conveniently located metro area.

There are numerous parks scattered throughout Charlotte that people of all ages enjoy. There is even a park in Uptown Charlotte called Romare Bearden Park. There are festivals and celebrations that regularly take place at this park, nestled right across the street from Bank of America Stadium. Those who are in the mood for trails and hiking should swing by Latta Plantation. There are plentiful hiking paths and diverse wildlife at this nearby park.

Discover Why Charlotte is an Ideal Retirement Destination

Are you interested in learning more about life here in Charlotte? If you’ve been looking for a continuing care retirement community that is situated in a welcoming and lively area, then The Cypress of Charlotte may be right for you. We offer our residents a new approach to retirement living that gives you access to luxurious senior living amenities, countless activities and healthcare options that work to meet your individual needs. For more information on life in Charlotte or to learn more about the amenities we offer, be sure to contact us online today.

Tax Deductions for Senior Residents of North Carolina

While retirement is something to look forward to for most North Carolina residents, not everyone properly prepares for their financial future as they grow older. Of course, not having to punch a time clock every day sounds wonderful. However, when you need to take care of your day-to-day needs on a fixed income, it can be tough to imagine truly enjoying your years over the age of 65. Luckily, the IRS is quite understanding to seniors and offers a few different breaks that can help you save big and look forward to your retirement.

Don’t Miss These Important Tax Breaks for Seniors in North Carolina

Larger Standard Deduction

One of the best financial perks of turning 65? A larger standard deduction! While it may sound silly to count tax breaks as a perk when you get older and your income changes, it’s important to look for breaks wherever you can get them. Even if you were able to save and put money into a retirement plan or 401k, tax deductions can be super helpful as you plan ahead for your future. Whether you are planning on aging in place at home or you’re moving into a continuing care retirement community like The Cypress of Charlotte, it’s always great to save when it comes to your annual taxes.

If you turn 65 by the last day of the year and you file single or as the head of household, the IRS will allow you to add an extra $1,600 to your standard deduction. If you are married or plan on filing a joint tax return, you will be able to add $1,300 for each spouse 65 and older. But don’t worry if you both haven’t reached 65 just yet. Even if just one spouse turned 65 in the previous year, you can at least claim one of the additional deductions.

North Carolina Property Tax Exemptions

This tax break can come in very handy for seniors who have yet to sell their family home and are looking for ways to save up before making the move to an independent living community. If you are aged 65 or over and have an annual income limit of $30,200 or below, you may be eligible to apply for this benefit. If you qualify, you will be exempt from property tax that is relative to half of your homes’ assessed value or up to $25,000 – whichever is greater.

Another helpful tax break program for seniors in North Carolina is known as the circuit breaker property tax deferment. With this program, seniors can limit the portion of their income that is spent on property tax. For example, if you make under $30,200 annually, your limit would be 4 percent of your overall income. However, the tax does not become erased entirely. The deferred taxes instead become a lien on the home and the most recent 3 years of deferred taxes that precede a disqualifying event will become due with interest. These qualifying events include:

– In the event of the owner’s death
– If the owner decides to transfer the residence
– If the owner ceases to use the home as their permanent residence

Additionally, if there are multiple owners of a permanent residence, each must qualify for the circuit breaker property tax deferment before any deferment will be allowed. Homeowners must apply for the tax break each year as well and must apply before June 1 to be considered.

Disabled Veterans Exclusion

Seniors in North Carolina may be able to advantage of the disabled veteran’s exclusion if they are an “Honorably Discharged Veteran” who has been given a 100% total and permanent service disconnected disability or an unmarried, surviving spouse. With this tax break, the state excludes property taxes up to $45,000 of the appraised value of a permanent home that is owned and occupied by the qualifying disabled veteran. If you qualify for this benefit, you only need to apply once and are not required to renew annually.

Tax Credit for the Elderly and Disabled

This is a significant tax break that is available to retirees across the US. To qualify you must be a US citizen or resident alien who:

– Is 65 or older by January 1.
– Retired on disability before the tax year ended and were deemed permanently and totally disabled when you retired.
– Is under the age of 65 at the end of the year and has yet to reach the mandatory retirement age as of January 1. But retired on permanent and total disability and has received taxable disability income.

There are several income limits that can affect your eligibility for this tax break as well. For example, if your filing status is single, your adjusted gross income must be equal to or less than $17,500. You can find more information on how to qualify on the IRS official page.

Taking Advantage of Important Tax Breaks and Deductions

If you’re considering a move to The Cypress of Charlotte, chances are you’ve been taking a very close look at your finances. Not only is this beneficial for a big move but it can help to make sure you are able to enjoy a comfortable life as you look forward to your golden years. Interested in learning more about our continuing care retirement community in Charlotte? Contact our friendly admissions specialists today.

Best Day Trips Within One Hour of Charlotte

When you’re looking for a something new and exciting to do around Charlotte, sometimes you must venture outside the I-485 highway loop to find your next adventure. While there are many things to see and do within Charlotte’s borders, you can check out our city guide for a few ideas, the areas surrounding Charlotte are chock-full of farmland, mountains, towns and endless beauty to explore.

Here are some of our favorite day trips for Charlotteans to take within an hour of Uptown and our Cypress of Charlotte campus.  

U.S. National Whitewater Center

Adventure is right around the corner at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. The vast recreation grounds are free to explore (apart from $6 parking), but thrill-seekers can purchase a ticket and enjoy one of their many attractions. A Day Pass gets you access to any of the following outdoor activities: Whitewater Rafting (with a guide), Kayaking and Paddle Boarding, Ziplining, Rock Climbing, Ropes Course and 100-Foot “Hawk” Jump.

Individuals can also purchase a Single Activity Pass if they want to try a single experience. In addition to their paid activities, visitors can take advantage of the center’s 35+ miles of hiking and biking trails. Check out the Whitewater Center’s Daily Activity Schedule for more information about activity availability during your day trip.

Are you more interested in a relaxing day trip near Charlotte? The Whitewater Center has something for the whole family, no matter their age or physical capabilities.  You can pull up a seat and watch the daring rafters descend the artificial whitewater course or join in on the center’s daily yoga practices. The grounds are also host to frequent festivals, a beer hall, restaurant and much more for your enjoyment.

Crowders Mountain State Park

Crowders Mountain State Park is located in Gaston County and hosts 5,126 acres of a beautiful terrain. Crowders mountain towers above the surrounding flat terrain with two peaks atop the mountain: The Pinnacle and Crowders Mountain. Depending on your level of physical activity, try one of the state park’s relaxing 0.8-mile loops, Fern or Lake Trail, or make your way up Crowders Trail to experience the stunning overlook.

For the outdoorsy and adventure seekers, some activities include: hiking (easy, moderate and strenuous), fishing, camping, rock climbing and water sports.

Historic Latta Plantation

Step back in time as you explore the grounds of a restored 1800 cotton plantation. Located in Huntersville, NC, Historic Latta Plantation is just short drive north of Charlotte. Access to the 1,343-acre Nature Preserve at Historic Latta Plantation is free, however guided tours at the living history farm and plantation home is $9 for adults, and $8 for seniors and students.  Pack a picnic, go fishing or walk around the beautify grounds for a relaxing, nature-infused day trip with family or friends.

Visitors with young family members may enjoy the educational programs that run throughout the year. These fun activities include animals, workshops, re-enactments and more! Make sure to check their gift shop for handmade artisan goods, traditional toys and books before you leave.

Wise Acres Organic Farm

Travel southeast of Charlotte to Wise Acres, a u-pick organic farm in Indian Trail, NC. This family-run farm uses natural methods to grow their produce and offers fun activities for people of all ages. Depending on the season, you can enjoy: seasonal produce and décor, pumpkin and strawberry picking, a free corn maze, wagon rides and farm animals.

Don’t forget to stop by the Wise Acres barn store for local goodies like an apple cider slushy, organic popcorn and cotton candy, local honey and jam, and much more! Perhaps the best part of Wise Acres Organic Farm is their Wise Pie Pizza. Enjoy the farm’s delicious wood-fired pizza, boasting all-natural flavors from the farm, open Friday to Sunday during open seasons.

Kids will love climbing, swinging, riding or zip lining in the Wise Acres playground or playing in the giant corn pit.  Check Wise Acres’ frequently-updated website for open dates and more information about their seasonal activities and services available.

The Cypress of Charlotte

If you’re a resident of Charlotte, NC or are looking for a fun, new place to live during retirement, visit us at the Cypress of Charlotte! We are not a public space; however, our luxury retirement community is a spectacle that is enjoyed by all residents. Contact us or take a tour of our campus today!

Try These Hobbies to Reduce Stress

Whether it’s due to health, money or any other number of reasons, many Americans live with stress and finding the time to relax doesn’t always come easily. While most would assume that students and those with challenging careers must deal with the most stress, modern seniors have plenty of stresses that they need to navigate as well.

While a nutritional diet and an active lifestyle will help to reduce your blood pressure and lead to decreased stress, sometimes you need a fun and interesting hobby to help take your mind off of things. If you’ve already started yoga or you’ve been reading more and want something new to try as a stress-reliever, check out our list of great hobbies below.

9 Awesome Hobbies That Help to Reduce Stress

1. Gardening

Did you know that gardening can lower the body’s main stress hormone, cortisol? It also works as a mood booster and is a great way to reconnect with yourself and the Earth. Enjoy the fresh air and take your time while caring for your plants. Not to mention, when you learn to become a successful gardener, you are lucky enough to receive flowers, herbs and food!

2. Journaling

Keeping a journal is a great way to reduce stress while stimulating your brain cells and improving your memory. Additionally, if you have any symptoms of anxiety or depression, writing down your thoughts can be a great way to reflect on your feelings and make positive changes in your life.

3. Knitting

A common stress-relief hobby among our residents at the Cypress of Charlotte is knitting; in fact, the increase in popularity led to the creation of a new knitting group! While society seems to think knitting is just for the elder community, knitting is becoming a popular hobby for people of all ages because the repetitive movements involved are very calming and have a meditative effect. When your body is in a meditative state, it is more likely to release serotonin, the feel-good chemical that makes you feel positive and calm.

4. Coloring

Like knitting, coloring is a hobby that gets put in a box and most people think it’s just for children. In reality, coloring is a great hobby for people of all ages. Adult coloring books have become hugely popular over the past several years – and for good reason. Studies show that art therapy is very successful at reducing stress and relieving many symptoms related to anxiety and stress.

5. Baking

Whether you feel comfortable in the kitchen or not, baking is a hobby that can be very relaxing. In fact, it’s not even a hobby that demands you take it too seriously. Baking can be very meditative and once you tackle your first few bakes, you can slowly start moving up the difficulty level as you see fit – or not. Remember that you’re not on a reality television baking competition and just have fun with it. And in the end, you’ll have a few yummy treats that you can share with your favorite people as well.

6. Play Video Games

Video games are not only a great way to reduce stress, but they can help to improve your memory and other important mental skills. So, whether you want to play games online or you’re interested in updating to the latest game console, dedicating a couple of hours a week to relaxing with your favorite type of game is a great way to de-stress. Additionally, if you have loved ones who play video games, like Words with Friends, you might be able to connect and play with them online.

7. Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a great hobby to take up whether you have hundreds of photos lying around or you’ve just invested in a new camera. While the convenience of digital photos is great, it’s often more fun and relaxing to log your memories in a physical album that can be revisited and shared with others. Combining journaling and artistry, this a hobby that is more popular than ever – so look for local scrapbooking groups to join if you need a bit of inspiration to get started.

8. Puzzles

Looking for a hobby that can be enjoyed on your own or with a few friends? Tackling a puzzle is an ideal way to take your mind of the stresses of the day while developing your brain power. Additionally, when you put time into a puzzle, you get to enjoy a nice break and a challenge all at once!

9. Get a Pet or Volunteer with Animals

Spending time with pets can be much more than just a leisure activity. In fact, studies show that caring for animals can help to reduce tension and improve your mood. For retirees, pets can also help to give you a sense of responsibility, prevent social isolation and provide you with companionship. So, whether you enjoy spending time with furry friends or you’re interested in purchasing a home aquarium, think about how you can de-stress with the added company of a pet.

Activities to Reduce Stress at The Cypress of Charlotte

This is the perfect time of year to say goodbye to common stresses in your life and invest more time in hobbies that boost your mood. Whether you want to explore outdoors, feel like staying in and baking or you’d like to challenge your brain with a new activity – there are plenty of awesome stress-relieving hobbies for you to explore here at The Cypress of Charlotte.

Interested in more great health and lifestyle tips for seniors? Be sure to check out our blog! And if you’d like more information on life here at our continuing care retirement community in Charlotte, contact our friendly team today.

How Does Watching Sports Impact Your Health?

What is more exhilarating, or sometimes crushing, than watching a favorite sports team? Sports fandom is a roller coaster of emotions, both good and bad, and many do not know how it affects their health. Here’s what you need to know about the connection between sports and your wellbeing. 

Sports and Stress

A little bit of stress is a powerful motivator, but a lot of stress is not pleasant — and it comes with negative side effects. A Canadian study found that watching a hockey game on television increased viewer’s pulses by 75 percent and attending a game in person increase the pulse by 110 percent, which is as high as increased pulse due to intense exercise.

That study may say something about the passion Canadians have for hockey, but the data also indicates that the stress of sports fandom is dangerous for your health. Watching the game increases your risk of sudden death and a cardiac episode. 

What’s interesting is that the pulse rate rose regardless of whether the viewer was invested in the game’s outcome. In other words, it doesn’t need to be your team, like the Carolina Panthers, for you to become stressed by watching. For those with pre-existing heart conditions, the increased inflammation and blood vessel constriction trigger a heart attack that may have been forthcoming. If you are older or if you are overweight, you may be more susceptible to suffering heart problems brought on by the over-excitement and stress of being a mega sports fan. 

Along with stress comes anxiety, especially during playoff season. You may experience cognitive anxiety where you can’t stop worrying about the outcome of the game or somatic anxiety, those physical symptoms such as lightheadedness, butterflies in the stomach or shaky hands. These symptoms are unpleasant, but they usually are not dangerous. Still, if you experience side effects that trouble you, it’s worth talking about it with your doctor. 

While this is distressing, it arrives at a well-known truth of life. Some of the most pleasurable experiences in life may also be bad for you. Consider cheese: While its rich and creamy taste is comforting, and cheese is healthy in moderate amounts, too much can raise your cholesterol and impact your wellbeing.

A moderate course is best, with cheese, sports or anything else. If you are recovering from a cardiac incident, it may be best to avoid the television while games are on, but if you have no health concerns, watch and enjoy. And try to remember, it’s only a game! 

Sports and Emotion 

When you watch your favorite team, you feel like a part of the team. Sure, you may not have a great throwing arm or be overly fast on your feet, but you belong to the greater sports community, and you are a passionate member of Panther Nation. This happens because adult brains contain something known as mirror neurons, which allow you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagine their experience. 

On a neurochemical level, your brain emits dopamine, the well-known feel good hormone, when things are going well. When you can’t control the outcome of the game, you can enjoy the dopamine hit when your team is ahead. 

Sports also connects you to other fans. This is where many find the greatest camaraderie in watching sports. Whether you attend the game with a group of pals, chat about the game over morning coffee or call in to a sports radio show to dissect the sports news, you connect to others through your love of sports. It’s a bonding experience for generations of adults. 

When you root for the Panthers, or any other team, you get to know the players; how they behave on the field, what they do to celebrate a win, even what their personal lives are like. You start to feel like you know them, thus you are distressed when they lose or fumble a play and share in their joy when the game goes well. 

To avoid watching sports because of the association with stress and bad health outcomes also means denying yourself all the emotional joy that comes with being a sports fan, too.  This joy can foster resiliency and get you through a slump. 

Join an Active Retirement Community 

Staying connected to people who share your interests is important at every age. If you are nearing retirement, it may be time to look for retirement communities where you can pursue your hobbies and interests in the company of like-minded people. Look to The Cypress of Charlotte, an independent living community, for active adults who love where they live, enjoy being active every day and welcome new friends. Learn more about The Cypress or contact us to schedule a tour today.

Best Fall Recipes Featuring Fresh Produce from the Local Charlotte Farmer’s Market

Fall is here, bringing cooler weather, warm colors and seasonal fare to Charlotte farmer’s markets. Think beyond “pumpkin spice” everything with these comforting and fresh fall recipes featuring produce from Charlotte-area farmers.

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash 

As we get older and our metabolisms slow down, many adults try to reduce their intake of simple carbohydrates, like potatoes and pasta. Spaghetti squash is a healthy alternative to pasta and an easy way to sneak extra veggies in your diet. Stuff spaghetti squash with a hearty Bolognese or keep things light with fresh tomato, basil and cheese. 

To enjoy a stuffed spaghetti squash, cut the squash in half lengthwise; scoop out the seeds, then season the interior with salt, pepper and olive oil. Prepare the sauce of your choice or use jarred sauce for an easy weeknight meal. Place the spaghetti squash face-down on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Let the spaghetti squash cool, then use a fork to tease apart the strands of spaghetti squash. Top with your preferred sauce and cheese (optional).

One medium spaghetti squash serves 2 to 4 adults. 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Salad 

Perfect as a dinner-side salad or a hearty lunch, a roasted butternut squash and apple salad combines two fall favorites in one. 

To create this dish, peel and chop a small butternut squash (or pick up pre-peeled, cubed squash from the grocery store). Toss the cubed squash with olive oil, salt, pepper and any spices of your choice. Fresh herbs like rosemary add a robust flavor, while paprika gives a subtle kick.

Roast the squash at 400 degrees until crispy and tender, which takes 30 to 40 minutes. While the squash is in the oven, dice a farmer’s market apple and prepare other ingredients. This is where you can use your imagination and follow the farmer’s market adage of “what grows together goes together.” 

Baby greens like kale, bitter arugula, lettuce or radicchio can form the base of your salad. Thinly shaved root vegetables, whether radish or carrot, add a nice crunch. Toasted pecans lend Southern flair, or you can roast the seeds from the butternut squash and add them to your salad. Serve with a balsamic vinaigrette. 

Spiced Maple Carrots 

Grab a bunch of carrots from the farmer’s market. Rainbow carrots are very attractive in this dish, but any type of carrots will work well. Slice the carrots in half lengthwise, so they cook faster. Measure out 2 cups of carrots, 1/4 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger, 1/2 tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt. 

Place the carrots, water, cinnamon and ginger in a large skillet and cover on medium heat for six minutes until the carrots start to soften. Uncover the skillet, pour in the maple syrup and butter, and cook until the syrup reduces into a glaze, which takes about three minutes. 

Season with salt and serve as a side dish. This works great as a healthier alternative to sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving or served alongside roast and mashed potatoes. 

Cheesy Grits with Kale 

Green juices are all the rage, but you don’t need to have a kale smoothie to start your morning with kale. Adding cooked kale to your cheesy grits is a simple way to kickstart your healthy eating. To create the kale, slice kale off the stalk and chop it finely. Blanch the kale in a pot of boiling water for three minutes, then drain. Set aside while you make the cheese grits. Use one bunch of kale for four servings. 

To create the cheese grits, bring two cups of milk and two cups of water to a boil. Add one cup of coarse cornmeal and whisk. Turn the burner down to low, cover (so the grits don’t spatter) and cook until the cornmeal swells up and becomes creamy. This takes 20 minutes, on average. When the grits are tender, stir in a tablespoon or butter and four ounces of grated cheese. Lastly, add the kale, divide and serve. 

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Here’s another great lunch idea: Combine salad greens, fresh goat cheese and your favorite salad dressing. To make the roasted beets, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel the beets, then slice them 1/2 inch thick. Mix with olive oil and roast until tender, around 15 minutes. Add to the salad, dress and serve. 

Where to Retire in Charlotte, NC

At The Cypress of Charlotte, we believe that adults of all ages should have access to fresh, flavorful fare including farmer’s market fruits and veggies. If you’re looking for a continuum of care where independent living is valued, and wellness is a priority, we would love to meet you. Contact us to more about The Cypress or schedule a tour

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