How to Build a New Social Life as a Senior

When people live in a tight-knit community, they don’t typically have many problems making friends. But for seniors who are aging in place or have just recently moved to a continuing care retirement community like The Cypress of Charlotte, chances are they may be feeling a bit isolated. One of the greatest benefits of making the move to a retirement community is the opportunity to stay active with a busy social life.

Whether you enjoy arts and crafts, you love to read, or you’re a fitness buff – there are bound to be other seniors in your community with similar interests. However, if you are a more introverted person, breaking out of your shell at the next book club meeting may be tricky. Luckily, our friendly and experienced staff have a few expert tips to help you reach out and enjoy a more active social life in your senior years.

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 forced to interact 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.

Discover Senior Events and Activities at The Cypress

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. You can attend live concerts, check out a movie, get into games or take up a new fitness class – all right here on campus. For more information about life here at The Cypress, contact us online to schedule a visit!

Back to School for Seniors in Charlotte

Why Lifelong Learning is Good For You, and Finding Learning Opportunities for Seniors in Charlotte

Autumn is coming and that means one thing – it’s back to school season for seniors in Charlotte! That’s right – school is back in session for people of all ages in Charlotte, NC. That’s because learning and continued education is good for everyone, not just children. Older adults can benefit from lifelong learning as it enhances understanding of the world, provides better opportunities and improves quality of life.

Research shows that education can provide real health benefits. Scientists believe that lifelong learning can help maintain cognition, which is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through experience, thought and the senses. Cognitive function, which includes reasoning, memory, attention and language, helps a person attain knowledge.

Cognition can decline as you age. In fact, cognitive health seems to be a “use it or lose it” proposition, in that learning keeps brain cells working at an optimum level. Keeping brain cells active helps limit age-related cognitive decline and memory problems.

Benefits of Lifelong Learning for Older Adults

Harvard Business Review (HBR) says that lifelong learning is “good for your health, your wallet and your social life.” HBR notes studies that show well researched and substantial links between formal education and lifetime earnings, for example, that a person with bachelor’s degree can earn $210,000 more over a lifetime than could someone with a high school diploma. While older adults are not always interested in boosting their income after retirement, many enjoy taking advanced classes in their careers.

Learning new skills can promote cognitive function, according to research, and can even extend the time you will remain sharp as you age. That research shows that learning a new skill changes the white matter in the parts of your brain responsible for memory and other important executive functions.

The results of one study showed that cognitively active older adults were 2.6 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than were those adults who engaged in less cognitive activity. In that 2012 study, known as the Rush Memory and Aging Project, researchers studied the cognitive activity and cognitive decline in more than 1,200 people. While education cannot change the physical biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, according to another study, it can support better cognitive performance.

Research also shows that lifelong learning is good for your physical health. One study suggests that every year full of  formal learning can add six months to your life.

Lifelong learning can also keep you connected socially. Adult education helps you meet new people with common interests and discover new ideas about the world around you.

Engaging in lifelong learning provides a sense of satisfaction, achievement and fulfillment. Most adults simply enjoy the feeling of accomplishment or knowledge they gain by engaging in lifelong learning.

Where to Participate in Lifelong Learning in Charlotte, NC

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers professional development classes and certificate programs in business, accounting, law, human resources, management, paralegal, engineering, project management, information technology, event planning and exam preparation.

UNC Charlotte has three convenient locations: UNC Charlotte Center City, UNC Charlotte Main Campus and Online. They also offer in-house custom training programs on-site.

Queens University of Charlotte

Queens University of Charlotte offers many non-degree programs and classes that help older adults stay sharp and connected. Older adults can attend this small, private university nestled in the historic neighborhood of Myers Park for such programs as:

– Certified Financial Planner

– Creative Writing Certificate

– Estate Planner’s Day – covers estate planning, tax, accounting, insurance and state and federal law

– HR Leadership Summit

– Music Academy Lessons or Music Therapy Clinic

– Senior Scholars – education program for adults aged 50 and older who want intellectual stimulation without a long-term commitment

– TWIST Conference for Women in Leadership

Central Piedmont Community College

Central Piedmont Community College offers practical and personal enrichment courses in topics that include automotive, culture, culinary arts, personal finance, language learning, floral design, Alzheimer’s disease, fitness, dementia care and more.

The Cypress of Charlotte

The Cypress has a full-time Concierge and an Activities Coordinator on hand who can help you arrange taking continuing education courses, study the arts, listen to a range of speakers and join field trips that help keep your mind active.

Lifelong learning can help slow the cognitive effects of aging, expand your social circles and even pad your wallet. For more information on continuing education, contact us today.

Top Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

The summer months are typically packed full of activity for most Charlotte residents. However, with the chance for temperatures to rise into the high 70s and 80s, it’s important that seniors and their loved ones have the proper tools in place to prevent overheating this summer. Whether you dedicate much of your free time to enjoying the great outdoors or you’re simply preparing for a weekend barbecue, proper sun and heat protection is something you should never go without. With the proper precautions, seniors can greatly reduce their risk of battling several heat-related illnesses.

Your body is always working hard to regulate your internal temperature and keep you comfortable. During the summer months, excessive heat forces the body to work overtime and without proper sun care, you could force your body to work beyond its limits. For seniors, this can be especially dangerous. As you age, you need to take special care to avoid sunburns, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. So, before you head out on your next outdoor, summer adventure, be sure to follow a few heat safety tips from The Cypress of Charlotte community

7 Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

Stay Hydrated

If there’s one thing to focus on this summer while you’re out and enjoying Charlotte, it should be drinking plenty of water. Seniors are much more likely to experience dehydration than other adults, so it’s a good idea to set reminders to make sure you are drinking lots of water each day. Try investing in a water bottle that helps to highlight your daily intake or an app on your smartphone that will help keep you on track with your goals.

Protect Your Skin

You should never leave the house in the summer without applying sunscreen. Putting on a good layer of sunscreen doesn’t take a lot of time and can really save you from suffering from a nasty sunburn later. If you know you’ll be outside for a prolonged period, make sure you’re bringing extra sunscreen with you as well. You can also wear a hat to help limit the amount of sun exposure on your face and neck.

Limit Exercise/Strenuous Activity

Your body is already working hard to keep things cool in the summer, so the addition of any strenuous activity can result in a number of heat-related health issues. If you do exercise regularly, make sure you’re getting in your workout in the early morning hours or late in the evenings. Also, if you must work outdoors, be sure to take lots of breaks to prevent overheating.

Stay in Touch

With summer temperatures soaring, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’ve got clear lines of communication open with friends, family and neighbors . Seniors should always let their friends and family know if they’re planning to spend an extended period outdoors in the summer, even if it’s just a few hours of gardening or running errands.

Keep It Shady

Vision problems are very common among seniors and prolonged sun exposure can irritate the eyes. To prevent sun damage, seniors should wear sunglasses whenever they are outdoors or driving. Sunglasses are a great way to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and should even be worn when sporting a hat or sun visor to preserve your vision.

Beware of Your Hyperthermia Risk

Abnormally high body temperatures in the summer can result in a condition known as hyperthermia. In advanced stages, hyperthermia can result in heat stroke, so it’s important for seniors to be aware of common symptoms related to the condition, including:

– Headache

– Nausea and vomiting

– A body temperature greater than 104 degrees

– Heavy breathing and/or rapid pulse

– Fainting

– Dry, flushed skin

– Behavioral changes (acting confused or agitated)

– Lack of sweating despite high temps

 

Invest in Bug Spray

Bug bites in the summer can certainly be annoying but in some cases, they come with their own health consequences as well. Seniors are especially prone to West Nile Virus and other diseases carried by mosquitoes. So, if you spend lots of time outdoors, you need a good bug spray to keep the critters at bay. Use mosquito repellent whenever you head outside to help reduce your risk of getting bitten.

Enjoy a Safe and Happy Summer in Charlotte

With so many great things to see and do in Charlotte, it’s no wonder so many seniors love calling our continuing care retirement community home. And if you follow our simple summer safety tips, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to enjoy a fun-filled summer season with your loved ones. Interested in more great health and lifestyle tips for seniors? Be sure to check out our other blog posts and visit our friendly team online today for more information about life here at The Cypress of Charlotte.

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 you to retire.

What is Life Like in Charlotte, NC?

Charlotte is a great metro area, made up of equal parts old-fashioned southern charm and modern cosmopolitan city. 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 sports teams, festivals and lots of great shopping options in both standard malls and boutiques.

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.

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.

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.

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

The idea of being able to settle in a relaxed, comfortable, friendly and safe space as we grow older is something most people can agree upon. With so many big changes to face as you or your loved ones enter your senior years, it helps to have a safe and reliable place to call home.

But often, the home that you have invested your time has functionally become an unsafe place to live. In fact, many seniors find that keeping up with home maintenance is one of the biggest reasons to downsize and move to a continuing care retirement community like The Cypress of Charlotte. In addition to the stress of continued upkeep in the family home, many seniors are interested in moving to a continuing care retirement community so that they can enjoy access to medical care services, activities, great amenities and dining services.

What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

Modern seniors have more options for care than they ever have before – which is wonderful! But sometimes finding the right retirement care plan that fits your health and lifestyle needs can be a confusing and time-consuming process. If you’ve already begun your search for an ideal senior living situation, you may be familiar with independent living communities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Each has a variety of pros and cons, depending on your specific needs. But for many, none of the familiar options make perfect sense. Luckily, a continuing care retirement community works by combining all of these residential and medical care options into one amazing place for seniors to call home.

Continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, are an ideal retirement option for seniors who want to enjoy as close to a standard home setting as possible. As a form of independent living, most CCRCs incorporate some level of skilled nursing care, assisted living services and even memory care services on campus. While the amenities and medical services available at each CCRC will vary, you can expect to find some combination of these basic services available at any location that may interest you. Additionally, some CCRCs may offer a tiered program where residents can choose the amount and type of services they need and if changes need to be made over the long term, they can easily do so.

What Are Some of the Benefits of Living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

One of the biggest benefits that seniors can enjoy when moving to a CCRC is the option to live in a single-family home, condo or an apartment. Residents can choose to live independently, with access to medical services and other amenities, for as long as they want to. This lifestyle model easily creates a high level of independence for seniors and allows them to enjoy a better quality of life. And over time, as you age and need more help, it is available to you. As your needs change you have the option to move to a skilled nursing or assisted living area.

With the ability to live in the same community as you settle into your golden years, you can remain comfortable with your surroundings, the available services and the people you meet along the way. You are better able to maintain a high quality of life as well, as you enjoy access to a wide variety of different amenities, social activities and health services. It also helps to reduce stress on yourself and your loved ones when you know that you don’t have to worry about moving from one location to the next while enjoying the same level of care.

How Are Continuing Care Retirement Communities Different to Other Retirement Options?

The biggest difference that seniors will find with CCRCs is the fact that we’re invested in helping you to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. At The Cypress of Charlotte, we understand that everyone has varying levels of care needs and we want to make sure that you can enjoy as much or as little help from us as you desire. We also understand that everyday tasks like cutting the grass, shopping for groceries and running to the pharmacy can become difficult as time goes on. We are happy to provide easy alternatives designed to increase your quality of life.

Overall, the main thing that sets CCRCs apart from other retirement options for seniors is the fact that we offer customization services that are designed to fit your individual needs at every point in life. We work to ensure the best level of care possible in a relaxed, comfortable and safe environment.

Contact The Cypress of Charlotte Today

Are you interested in learning more about the many benefits of making the move to our continuing care retirement community? For more information on the services and amenities we provide or to schedule a tour, visit the team at The Cypress of Charlotte online today.

Art Classes for Seniors in Charlotte

As you start to settle into your golden years, it is more important than ever before that you take time to focus on your health. Keeping your health in check typically consists of regular doctor appointments, proper nutrition, physical activity and socializing with others. As you grow older, your lifestyle needs and priorities will change and aging well should be at the top of your to-do list. That’s why adding other activities to your schedule is just as important as keeping up with your physical health and nutrition. Artistic endeavors are not only good for the soul but they help to keep your mind active and engage your creative side.

Arts and crafts can help alleviate boredom and keep your mind busy. In some cases, having an artistic hobby can help prevent depression, increase your ability to concentrate and improve your hand-eye coordination. With so many great benefits, it is no wonder that we encourage our members to explore their artistic side! Have you been looking for a fun and interesting new hobby? Taking an art class may be an ideal way to learn a new skill and explore your creativity.

The Joy of Art: Health and Wellness Benefits for Seniors

Whether you’ve been creating for decades or you’ve never picked up a paintbrush or lump of clay, taking an art class is the best way to get your creative juices flowing. But aside from the potential social opportunities available to you in art class and the chance to learn something new, professional art instruction can have a ton of other great benefits, including:

Stress Relief – Higher stress levels can make it hard to learn new things and impair your memory. With an artistic hobby, you can enjoy the benefits of emotional release and reduce your stress levels. In fact, some people like to think of the time spent creating art as meditation, where you can get lost in your work.

Better Hand-Eye Coordination – As you get older, your hand function decreases. While everyone is different, most seniors will experience subtle changes in their coordination, touch, visual and auditory processes over time. Caused by changes in the musculoskeletal system, art can help to improve these sensory processes and your fine motor skills.

Confidence Boost – If you’ve been feeling blue or are finding it hard to adjust to your retirement years, art classes may provide the confidence boost you’ve been looking for. Art classes are great for exploring new interests and with practice, they may even lead to new opportunities.

Increased Concentration – Focused attention is something that seniors typically don’t have much difficulty with. But divided attention, that requires you to focus on more than one thing at a time, may become more difficult as you age. By learning to multitask in art classes, you can increase your ability to concentrate on the most important task first and go from there.

Get Creative with Senior Art Classes in Charlotte

Bead Me by Linda Minor

Get crafty and create your very own wearable art at Bead Me by Linda Minor. Choose from a variety of different jewelry making classes here including “Basic Wire Wrapped Earrings” and “Basic Stringing and Chain Necklaces.”

Braitman Studio

Get lost in the canvas when you take a painting class at Braitman Studio. Students can explore their inner painter with a wide range of classes, including “Modern Art,” “Landscape” and “Creative Figure.”

Charlotte Sewing Center

If you can learn to run a sewing machine, you can learn to create an endless number of amazing crafts. Classes at Charlotte Sewing Center range from beginner to advanced and feature instruction on how to create window treatments, clothing, pillows and much more!

Dish It Out

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at painting pottery? Dish It Out is a fun and relaxed pottery painting studio that features drop-in hours and can easily accommodate private parties as well.

The Light Factory

Learn all about the art of photography with classes at The Light Factory. Students can choose from a variety of classes to help sharpen their photo taking skills that include “Intro to Digital Photography,” “Intro to Black & White Darkroom,” and “Portrait and Studio Lighting.”

Explore Your Creativity and Have Fun with Art

Are you looking to take up a new hobby and are interested in learning more about great senior activities around the greater Charlotte area? Check out our blog for more senior lifestyle tips and information about life at our continuing care retirement community. If you’re looking for a retirement community that has a relaxed and country club style atmosphere, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us online today to schedule a tour!

How Can Seniors Manage Spring Allergies?

Spring can be one of the most beautiful seasons in Charlotte. The sunshine is plentiful, flowers are in bloom, bees are buzzing, but allergens are in the air. Although the spring weather is always welcome, it can bring along seasonal allergies along with it. While many Americans deal with seasonal allergies each year, they can be particularly hard on seniors. In fact, they can be extremely hazardous for those who have a chronic illness and certain allergy medications can have dangerous side effects. So how can you stay comfortable this allergy season? Check out a few of our tried and true tips for managing spring allergies this year.

Top 7 Tips to Help Seniors Manage Seasonal Allergies Safely

1. Get Tested

If you think you may be suffering from seasonal allergies but you are unsure which type of allergen to look out for, allergy testing can help. A simple allergy scratch test can work to determine if you are allergic to something that is a part of your everyday environment. Just be sure to provide your doctor with a list of potential culprits to speed the process.

2. Be Aware

It’s important to keep in mind that allergies don’t discriminate based on age. Many people falsely assume seniors shouldn’t worry about seasonal allergies but in reality, seniors are just as vulnerable to them as anyone else. So be aware of the common warning signs of seasonal allergies like sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose.

3. Don’t Neglect Your Spring Cleaning

If you can identify which allergens are causing your allergies to flare up, be sure to remove them from your home. Proper removal may include changing laundry detergents, investing in a new allergen air purifier and eliminating pollen and dust mites with professional house cleaning services. Additionally, something as simple as switching out your bedding, rugs and furniture for more hypo-allergenic options can be very beneficial in reducing your symptoms.

4. Talk to Your Doctor

It can sometimes be difficult for doctors to diagnose allergies in senior patients if they are focused on larger health issues. It is not uncommon for senior patients to have multiple medical conditions, making it hard to separate the threat of seasonal allergies from symptoms of an ongoing condition. If you or a loved one suspect that you may have allergies, it’s best to let your doctor know sooner rather than later.

5. Keep Track of Risks

Be proactive about your health by staying on top of the current allergen trends in the greater Charlotte area. You should be able to find information online, during the nightly news forecast or in your favorite local newspaper that will help you keep track of pollen conditions. If you see that the pollen counts will be particularly high on a certain day, do your best to stay inside and shut your windows.

6. Take Care of Personal Hygiene

Don’t forget to wear sun protection when you head outside for the day. This can include sunglasses to shield your eyes from airborne allergens and cotton or linen clothing that keeps your skin covered but breathes well in warmer weather. Additionally, it is important to make sure that you are not tracking allergens inside your home, so be sure to promptly remove your shoes when you’re inside and shower before getting into bed at night.

7. Be Aggressive

If you notice that you are experiencing the common symptoms associated with seasonal allergies like sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose, act quickly to remedy the issue. Severe allergies can lead to an irritated throat and congested nose, which can both be very dangerous for seniors who have a pre-existing cardiovascular condition. So be aggressive with treatment and seek out medication or lifestyle changes to help prevent a severe reaction.

Enjoy a Safe and Happy Spring Season at The Cypress of Charlotte

At The Cypress of Charlotte, we want to make sure that each of our members has the tools they need to enjoy a safe, healthy and happy spring season. If you have battled seasonal allergies in the past or you have recently noticed some of the early warning signs of allergies, now is the time to talk to your doctor.

Want more healthy living and senior lifestyle tips? Be sure to check out our blog and Facebook page! And for more information about life here at our continuing care retirement community, be sure to visit us online today to schedule a tour.

Warning Signs of Age-Related Vision Problems

Regular eye exams are important at any age but for seniors, eye health and vision care are especially important. Optometrists recommend that Americans 40 and older schedule an annual eye exam to help catch common eye health conditions early on. In fact, depending on the quality of your eyesight and other certain factors, it may be important to get your eyesight examined more often.

In addition to keeping up with your regular eye exam appointments, there are certain warning signs that every senior should be aware of. With proper education, you can easily identify which symptoms are part of the regular aging process and what kind of issues may indicate a more serious problem.

7 Common Warning Signs of Age-Related Vision Problems

1. Scratchy or Irritated Eyes

The occasional eye discomfort is typically not something to worry about. But if you are struggling with dry, scratchy eyes regularly, there could be a bigger problem at hand. Tearing, scratchy and painful eyes are symptoms of dry eye syndrome. While this is often more of a nuisance than a vision-threatening condition, it can have a negative effect on your quality of life. Severe dry eye syndrome is common as we age because the body stops producing high quantities of tears as the body chemistry changes. Luckily, there are many over-the-counter and prescription solutions available that can help.

2. Sudden Floaters or Spots

Typically, floaters in the field of vision are caused by a benign, age-related condition known as vitreous detachment. This condition occurs when the gel-like interior of the eye begins to liquefy and separate from the retina. However, if you notice that floaters or spots are interrupting your vision at a very sudden rate, you could be experiencing a serious retinal tear or detachment.

3. Double Vision

There are a wide variety of eye conditions that can cause double or “ghost” vision in seniors. But there are cases where double vision may signal other underlying health emergencies, like a stroke. If you suddenly experience double vision, it is important to see your primary care physician or eye doctor as soon as possible.

4. Sudden Blurred Vision in One Eye

In seniors over the age of 60, the chance of developing a macular hole in the retina increases over time. Macular holes can affect fine focusing and if they worsen without treatment, they can cause a permanent loss of vision.

5. Cloudy Vision

Cataracts are one of the most common vision issues for Americans over the age of 40, with more than 24.5 million people living with them today. Cataracts are characterized by an opaque or cloudy area in the lens of the eye that interferes with normal vision. Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include blurry or hazy vision, difficulty seeing at night, reduced sensitivity to colors and an increasing sensitivity to glares.

6. Distorted Vision

If you have noticed that you have gradually been struggling to see objects clearly, you could be experiencing the early warning signs of age-related macular degeneration or AMD. AMD is currently the leading cause of vision loss for Americans over the age of 50. This common eye health issue typically includes symptoms like a loss of clear vision, a dark or “empty” area in the center of your field of vision and a distortion of shapes and objects.

7. Narrowed Field of Vision

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of total vision loss in the U.S. and may present in senior patients as a reduction in the ability to see objects on either side of your field of vision. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been struggling with a narrowing field of vision, it is important to get your eyes checked. If left untreated, your peripheral vision could worsen and eventually lead to tunnel vision or blindness.

Preventing Senior Eye Problems

In addition to regular eye exams with your optometrist, there are a variety of different ways that you can help to prevent serious eye conditions as you grow older. Maintaining a healthy diet that is full of lots of leafy greens is one easy way to help lower your blood pressure and prevent or keep diabetes under control. Eye vitamins may also help in the fight to avoid certain vision problems, so be sure to discuss the possibility of adding them to your daily routine with your eye doctor.

Our friendly and knowledgeable team at The Cypress of Charlotte is always here to ensure our continuing care retirement community members have the tools they need to live a healthy and happy lifestyle in their senior years. For more health and lifestyle tips or to schedule a tour of our beautiful community, be sure to visit us online today!

 

7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Immune System this Winter

With the winter season settling in nicely here in Charlotte, it’s important to remember that cold and flu season is in full swing. This can be a risky time for seniors and at The Cypress of Charlotte, we want to make sure each of our Members has the tools they need to avoid coming down with something. So, what can you do to keep your immune system balanced and strong as these common viruses are thriving? Check out a few of our favorite immune boosting tips to stay healthy and avoid infection all winter long.

1. Eat Smarter

Eating a diet rich in healthy nutrients and vitamins is the easiest way to give your immune system a boost. Whether you like to cook yourself or you’re more of a take-out fan, try aiming for meals that feature foods which are high in vitamins A, C, E, and D. Other important nutrients that help to boost your immune system include whole foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and walnuts, as well as fruits and veggies that are high in selenium and zinc.

2. Get More Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to naturally strengthen the immune system while keeping the body healthy and can be found abundantly in fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the best sources of vitamin C include kiwi, berries, citrus fruits, dark green vegetables and bell peppers.

3. Drink Lots of Water

Not only is staying hydrated one of the greatest things you can do for your health, but it also helps fight common viruses like the cold and the flu. Water is a vital element in the production of lymph, which works to carry your white blood cells and other immune system cells throughout the body. So be sure to drink plenty of water this winter and for a little extra boost try adding a few orange or lemon slices to your water to get a bit more vitamin C with each glass.

 

4. Exercise

Not only is exercise a great way to keep your body in shape, but it also works to increase your immune function, improves the quality of your sleep and helps to relieve stress. Anything from a few laps in the pool to a day spent walking around exploring the local museums can be great for getting your heart rate up a bit and sending a boost to your immune system.

5. Don’t Skimp on Sleep

After the holiday rush, it can be difficult to get back to a normal sleeping schedule. But you should be doing all that you can to make sure you’re getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Chronic fatigue has been shown to increase your risk of many different types of illness, so try to get some shut-eye whenever possible. Having a tough time sleeping for 7 to 8 hours straight? Try taking a nap to get a few extra hours of rest each day.

 

6. Try Cooking at Home

Whether or not you fancy yourself a home chef, experimenting with herbs and spices in the kitchen can also be a great way to boost your immune system. Try out a few new recipes that feature healthy herbs and spices like ginger, cayenne pepper, turmeric, garlic and black peppercorn. Each of these common spices contains lots of healthy components that work to naturally give your immune system a boost.

7. Catch Some Rays

Even as the weather gets colder, it’s important that you make an effort to get outside every now and then. Vitamin D is vital for strengthening the immune system and has been shown to fight off the winter blues. We suggest getting out each day for about 30 minutes or so when the sun is not at its highest. An early morning or evening walk is one great way to get in some gentle exercise and enjoy your daily dose of vitamin D.

Relax and Enjoy a Healthy Winter Season

In addition to following a few of our favorite healthy tips this winter, we think it’s always a good idea to relax and have fun whenever you can. Stress and depression are also big contributors to a weakened immune system, so do your best to have some fun as the weather gets colder. Whether you are spending more time with friends or you’ve joined a book club, setting aside some “me time” can do wonders for your health!

Interested in learning more about our Life Plan Community? For more information on what makes The Cypress of Charlotte so great or to schedule a tour, be sure to visit our friendly staff online today.

 

Top Things for Seniors to do Around Charlotte this Month

With sporting events, fresh foods, top museums, and a high quality of life, Charlotte has a lot to offer older adults. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite activities for seniors to enjoy around the Queen City. 

1. Dine Out for Restaurant Week 

January brings Restaurant Week to Charlotte. Held from January 19-28, the event allows diners to enjoy discounted prix fixe meals at 130 restaurants across nine counties in the metro Charlotte area. For $30 to $35 dollars, excluding tax and tip, seniors can sample fresh food from some of the city’s most inventive chefs. Enjoy a romantic date with your spouse or get a group together for a memorable night out. Reservations are not required during Restaurant Week but they are recommended, as the discounted prices can bring crowds at local favorites. 

2. Get Together for Coffee

After the busy holiday period, why not connect with friends for coffee and conversation? The metro Charlotte area is full of great coffee shops. Some local favorites include Not Just Coffee (which has several locations across Charlotte), Parliament Espresso And Coffee Bar, Central Coffee Company, Hex Coffee and Mugs Coffee.

3. Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame 

You don’t need to be a race car enthusiast to enjoy a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame features the plaques and medals you might expect, but it also explains NASCAR’s history and offers an interactive pit stop experience at the Race Week exhibit. Seniors 65+ receive a discount on tickets. While the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a fun experience any time of year, we like it for chilly winter days when you want to stay active, but don’t want to be outdoors.  We will be taking our members on a private tour on the 23rd!

4. Learn Something New 

It’s always a great time to learn something new or increase your skill with a favorite hobby. While some classes are targeted toward seniors, others take an intergenerational approach. 

In Charlotte, seniors can attend the Senior Scholars Programs at Queens University of Charlotte, where they enjoy lectures from prominent speakers. Past topics have included gerrymandering and the Supreme Court, strategies for coping with difficult people, and a field trip to the Reed Gold Mine. 

Additionally, Central Piedmont Community College offers practical and personal enrichment courses in topics that include automotive, culinary arts, culture, language learning, personal finance, floral design, fitness, Alzheimer’s and dementia care and much more.

5. Spot Birds and Learn About Gardening at Wing Haven 

Wing Haven is a great experience any time of year, but winter features special programming including horticultural lectures, birding excursions, and gardening field trips. Upcoming programs include winter gardening, storm proofing trees, pruning perennials, and the Great Backyard Bird Count, held in February. 

6. Catch Pop-Up Opera

Opera Carolina is hosting a unique pop-up event at the 7th Street Public Market. See the opera’s take on New York Fashion Week gowns, hear top arias and musical theater numbers sung by the opera company’s talent, and get discounted tickets for upcoming performance. The free pop-up event takes place January 26 at 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

7. Explore the Carolinas Aviation Museum 

North Carolina is pivotal to aviation history, and there’s no better place to learn about the history of flight than at the Carolinas Aviation Museum, which (appropriately enough) is located at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. There, you’ll find exhibits about commercial aircraft, military aircraft, and helicopters. When weather permits on weekends, you can visit an active ramp on a docent-led tour of several airplanes. Seniors get a discount on admission.

8. Take the Trolley to Uptown Crawl 

On Uptown Crawl, held January 25 from 9:00-9:00 p.m., art lovers of all ages can take the trolley to local galleries and musicians. You’ll enjoy free trolley rides, free admission, and a chance to experience some of the city’s art scene. 

9. Hear Local Musicians 

Every Friday evening, you can catch local musicians at the Final-E Friday Acoustic series, held at Coco and the Director in Charlotte Center City. Admission is free and bands vary. Whether you prefer pop or country, you’ll find something to appreciate. 

If you’ve visited Charlotte and enjoy the area, have you considered relocating? The Cypress of Charlotte is a luxury Life Plan Community in Charlotte where active and healthy older adults can live independently, enjoy community, and take advantage of all the wonderful things to do in Charlotte.