The Health Benefits of Reading

During the winter months, it is easy to stay in and watch your favorite holiday programs whenever the weather is too cold for outdoor recreation. And while no one can fault you for catching a couple of those holiday classics on TV, what should you do if you get tired of watching TV? Instead of cozying up with your remote this winter, reach for a good book to pass the time! If your reading habits have been limited to Facebook posts or Twitter news feeds, now is the perfect time to give your brain power a boost by reading a book or two.

The Many Amazing Health Benefits of Reading

 

When was the last time you read an entire book? If you’re like many Americans, it may have been quite some time since you’ve enjoyed a book instead of browsing through headlines and current events online. If you don’t make a habit of reading books or substantial magazine articles regularly, you could be missing out on a wealth of health benefits, including:

1. Mental Stimulation

Numerous studies have shown that keeping your brain stimulated is one of the best ways to slow the progress and possibly prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. By keeping your brain engaged and active with a great book, you can help boost your brain power. Just like the other muscles in the body, the brain requires lots of exercise to stay healthy and strong.

2. Stress Relief

Whether the stress of the holidays is getting to you or you’ve had some recent issues come up in your daily life, let your stress fade away for a while as you get wrapped up in a good story. A well-written book can easily distract your worried mind and transport you to a far-off place. This distraction is ideal for letting those daily stresses drain away and perfect for a bit of relaxation when you need it the most.

3. Expand Your Vocabulary

The more you read, the more words your brain is exposed to. And the more often you’re exposed to new words, the more likely they are to slip their way into your regular vocabulary. Being well spoken and better able to articulate yourself is something that seems to be fading with the times, so why not take it upon yourself to sound more well read? With a larger vocabulary, you can easily keep up in social situations and even give your confidence a boost too.

4. Knowledge

When you read a substantial piece of work, your brain absorbs a ton of new information. Whether your brain picks up a bit of information on how to change a tire or you discover a better way to fold your sheets, the more knowledge you gain from reading, the better equipped you’ll be to tackle new challenges.

5. Improved Memory

When you read a novel, your brain has to remember character names, their backgrounds, story arcs and plot changes to get through to the end of the story. While that may sound like a lot of work, for the human brain it’s relatively simple. But the great health benefit to you is the fact that each time your brain creates a new memory, it strengthens and creates new brain pathways to help keep your memory sharper.

6. Better Focus

In today’s world of computers, smartphones and the internet, it’s totally normal to have your attention pulled in a million directions at once, which can be very mentally exhausting. However, when you take the time to read a book, you are allowing your brain to decompress and focus on one simple task. Even with just 15 to 20 minutes of reading each day, your ability to focus and concentrate will improve tremendously.

7. Improved Writing Skills

Reading comprehension goes hand-in-hand with the ability to write more clearly. Similar to expanding your vocabulary through reading, when you read your brain absorbs all of that perfect sentence structure and grammar. Over time, this will help to improve your own writing as well.

8. Strong Critical Thinking Skills

If you’ve ever read a mystery novel and been able to figure out the puzzle before finishing the story, then you’ve put your critical thinking skills to good use. From solving everyday mishaps to preventing accidents around the home, reading gives your brain a boost to help process important details more clearly.

Snuggle Up with a Good Book This Winter at The Cypress of Charlotte

At The Cypress of Charlotte, we want to ensure that all of our residents enjoy a safe and relaxing winter season. So instead of spending those colder days inside watching TV, reach for a book and reap the many benefits of reading! Want to learn more about life at our continuing care retirement community? Contact us today to schedule a tour.

Advice for New Caregivers

Becoming a new caregiver can be daunting. You may have moved gradually into this role or you may have found yourself stepping up to take care of a loved one in a crisis. Here are few tips to follow to help you transition naturally into the role of caregiver.

Prepare Ahead of Time

In crisis situations, you may not have a lot of time to prepare. However, it is important to have tough conversations with the senior in your life as early as possible. Many adult children wait until their parents are age 70 or older to talk about future care. However, it is better to bring up these topics about expected responsibilities and financial situations as soon as possible. This helps you plan out the level of care you will be able to provide to the senior and also figure out what type of monies are available to subsidize care. You also need to discuss wills and power of attorney early on. Taking the initiative will help you avoid facing the unknown in the future.

Become Informed

The best thing you can do as a new caregiver is to learn everything possible about caring for your senior family member. If the senior has been diagnosed with a particular medical condition, research the condition and reach out to a medical professional to set up a consultation. Work alongside the senior’s medical team to make sure you’re following medical protocols while acting as a caregiver. The healthcare provider could also suggest courses you could take to assist you in learning the basics of proper care giving.

Join a Support Group

When you act as a caregiver, you may find yourself facing frustrations time to time. Not all family members will be supportive or offer up their time for you to vent. You may also feel uncomfortable venting to friends and family. Community support groups are the perfect place to connect with others to talk out your concerns and also solicit advice from those going through similar situations. If you don’t have a local support group, don’t worry. Online support groups are available round-the-clock and are a fantastic place to connect with other caregivers virtually.

Practice Good Self-Care

When you are a caregiver, it’s important to take care of your own needs by getting plenty of rest and eating nutritious meals. Take breaks and participate in activities you enjoy. If a certain task is overwhelming, such as bathing or preparing meals, find someone to assist you. Recognize your limits and know when to take a breather. If you’re noticing increased irritability or have issues sleeping, then you need to re-evaluate your current situation. Sometimes, a vacation is enough to feel renewed and get you ready to jump back into your caregiver role.

Get Help

No one should be a martyr. You have your own life and sometimes the responsibilities of caring for an elderly family member is too overwhelming. Not only should you share care giving responsibilities with other family members, but also consider seeking outside support. Continuing care retirement communities offer a reprieve for both you and your family member. Professionals are on hand to make sure every need is met within a relaxing environment. If a higher level of care is needed in the future, this is an option open to you within the community. Don’t feel you are somehow forfeiting your role as caregiver by having them make the move. Your ongoing love and support will make all the difference. Continuing care communities are welcoming to visitors and are likely to have family-themed activities planned to include everyone during your visits. 

The Cypress of Charlotte can act as a sanctuary to both you and your senior family member. Our award-winning community has a country-club vibe with luxurious amenities to make all residents feel right at home. Onsite healthcare and our home health agency will help address any medical issues. Contact us to learn more or to schedule a tour of our community.  

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