Archive by Author | carlaestes

Night Lights

Most everyone knows that Chicagoans prize their outdoor space, since sometimes it’s hard to come by.

If you haven’t been on the Greenview garden terrace, you’re missing a treat. During daytime it is a lovely and comforting place to visit. You can spend time with fellow residents, view the city at large, watch summer campers from Saint Luke Academy play, or simply enjoy the weather while reading a book. As an extra special pleasure, you can even watch the rehearsal for the Chicago Air & Water show, as the fighter jets and cargo planes fly directly overhead in their routines.

Terrace at nightBUT, if you haven’t been on the Greenview terrace at night, you’ve simply got to visit us to see it. It is now an enchanting experience where you can gaze at the stars, enjoy the nighttime city views, or unwind and relax as you sip a drink of choice before bedtime.

Lighting has been installed on the terrace by our crack maintenance team, lead by Bill P. These lights afford visitors lighted pathways in addition to creating a delightful ambience that will serve as the background for frequent dances and other evening events.

We invite you to make the Greenview terrace your outdoor destination in the city!

Holiday Joy and Sharing

HO! HO! HO! Everyone. No matter your religious or ethnic background, this is a time of year when joy and sharing are infectious. Smiles, hugs, and gifts abound. But for those who might not have loved ones present or the mobility to get out and participate in holiday festivities, the holidays can be something to endure rather than celebrate. tango_face_smile_big

If you want to experience meaningful joy and sharing this year, reach out to someone who isn’t able to have a cheerful holiday. Give that person an hour of your time, include him or her in a holiday event, offer to share your home-cooked meal, or simply provide a hug and kind wish for 2014.

That act will deliver joy and sharing to both of you!

Merry Christmas from everyone at Greenview Place. Happy new year!

Let the Sunshine In

tango_face_smile_bigRemember the hit song by the 5th Dimension,  Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In? It was released in 1969 and is popular to this day.  Here are a few of the lyrics from that song:

Open up your heart and let it shine on in
When you are lonely, let it shine on
Got to open up your heart and let it shine on in
And when you feel like you’ve been mistreated
And your friends turn away
Just open your heart, and shine it on in

© Polygram Int. Publishing Inc., Jajapo Music, Songs Of Universal Inc., Senseless Music, E.P.H.C.Y. Publishing, Universal Music Corp., Emi U Catalog Inc., Channel H Productions

Those songwriters were on to something. Sunshine does lift our hearts and spirits. Countless studies have been conducted and articles written about the health benefits of sunshine – both physical and mental. But we really don’t need those statistics and opinions, do we? Just look at the importance of sunshine in producing our food. No sunshine, no food. Let’s hear it for amazing Vitamin D! Woohoo!

image001

Why do we tend to be more depressed in the winter months than other times of the year? Sunshine- or the lack thereof. Let the sunshine in and it will have positive impacts on your mental and physical state.

How much sunshine do you need? Studies point to 10-20 minutes a day. If mobility is an issue for you, just step outside, face the sun, and drink it in.

Of course you don’t want to get burned. Did you know that you can spend several minutes in direct sunlight without burning? But, do prevent sunburn by moving back and forth between the shade and direct sunlight every few minutes.

Take advantage of the benefits from the sun. Take a walk, open up your heart, and let the sunshine in.

These benefits are guaranteed!

No More Social Security Checks

ssaOn March 1, 2013, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has begun phasing out delivery of monthly benefits via paper check. Since they can’t stop paying those benefits, recipients currently receiving paper checks will continue to do so. However, the SSA will begin an aggressive campaign to get all recipients on electronic deposit.

This can happen two ways. First, you can have your check deposited into your bank account. If you don’t have a bank account, and don’t want to open one, the SSA has an alternative. You can have your benefits deposited onto a “Direct Express” card. There are no monthly fees for the card. You can use it to shop, pay bills, and withdraw money.

The SSA will save over $1 billion over the next ten years by converting paper check payments to electronic deposits.MP900433118

Let’s all make sure we are contributing to this savings by getting our benefits via electronic payment.

Uncle Sam needs all the help he can get.

Source: Catherine New, The Huffington Post, 1/9/2013

Downsizing Your Life Part 2… limited abilities and mobility don’t mean life is over!

Are you a former runner, athlete, business person or busy mom? Used to be on your feet all day? And now you have difficulty walking or find yourself in a wheelchair? You can’t get around like you want to or even get out to the store by yourself? You may have had to give up your car. Senior Man Holding Menu at Restaurant

Downsizing your physical life can cause an upheaval. In a previous blog we identified steps to assist you in downsizing your personal space. In this blog we identify steps to help you thrive with your downsized physical abilities and mobility. You can manage this, and you can continue to be happy, be as active as you want, and enjoy life. It’s all about taking control and making decisions.

Elderly Man Touching ChinStep 1: Begin with a new vision. Don’t take this mental exercise lightly or for granted. To keep a sense of purpose and significance, you need to look long and hard at what you now want for your life. And you have to do this within the confines of your current abilities. You can do it! A good exercise to create this new vision is to randomly write down words and phrases on the left side of a piece of paper that define your new reality and identify your new vision in terms of your needs and wants. Here are some examples:  want a pet for companionship, need help bathing, can’t drive, bus is one block away, like to play cards, Peapod delivers groceries, want to continue volunteering at the library, church services important and seven blocks away. Next, on the right side of the page, address each item you’ve listed by answering the question, “so what can I do to get what I want?” Following are a few examples:

Take a water aerobics class at YMCA Ask a friend who also goes for a ride
Church services important and 7 blocks away Call church to arrange for pickup
Want a pet Ask my son to take me to get a rescue cat
Want to continue volunteer work Call for bus routes and wheelchair access
Compile list of agencies and support groups Call Dept. on Aging and ask them for a list of other agencies and support groups

Looking at your needs and wants one at a time will help you identify alternative ways to get what you want, when you want it, and where you need it. Success! Senior Woman Holding Bible

Step 2: You need support. Not everyone has family or friends to take them to the bank, grocery store, or church. Even with that support, most of us want to remain as independent as possible. Let’s problem solve this together. Reach out to agencies and proprietors who can help you. Consider changing providers based on the services they will provide. For example, at some small banks, a banker might agree to visit you once a month to handle your banking needs. Some grocery stores let you shop online or over the phone and then deliver to your door. Many churches have parishioners or staff who pick up disabled members for services. There are also a myriad of support agencies available to help you achieve your vision. Ask family, friends, neighbors, your church, or anyone else in your support community to help you compile a list of agencies and support groups.

Step 3: Happiness is a choice. We see frequent news reports on courageous individuals who have endured physical loss and overcome tragedies and hardships to lead productive, happy lives. That can be your life story too!

The most important thing anyone ever taught me is that HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE.

MP900422365Seems pretty simple and obvious, doesn’t it? In fact, it is very profound. When we find ourselves feeling lonely, unhappy, angry, or hurt, we have a choice. We can wallow in those feelings, which is not fun and injurious to our physical and mental health, or we can take power over our own lives and choose to be happy. As soon as you believe it’s your choice, you will be able to make that choice. Give yourself those five minutes to be angry, sad, hurt, etc. Then, put a smile on our face and move on. Choose to be happy. Keep moving. Live the life you want, not the life aging and other forces have tried to thrust upon you.

Don’t let them win. Enjoy!

Downsizing? Worried? Don’t be… we know what to do!

A smaller apartment, less closet space, new neighbors! Lifestyle changes can be worrisome, maybe even just a bit scary. Sometimes we resist change. We desire consistency in our space, our belongings, and perhaps most of all,  our freedoms. So, what do we do when it’s time to move? 

Here are some great tips!

  1. Embrace that the change is going to happen. Fighting it isn’t going to achieve any desired results, so accepting and working with the changes is an important mental shift. You’re the one in control.
  2. Acknowledge the accompanying anxiety when it shows up. When you realize stress and anxiety are going to be part of the process, you can take steps to minimize their impact on the process and your health. When stress and anxiety arrive on the scene, take some time to leave the downsizing activities and take care of yourself. Rest, walk, play a game, watch TV. Do anything to get your mind off downsizing!

There are two sides of your life that can be downsized; your personal space, moving to smaller living space –  your physical being,  finding yourself having limited physical abilities and/or reduced mobility. You may have one or both of these happening at once. Today, we look at steps to help you minimize the trauma surrounding the downsizing of your personal space. In a later post, we’ll discuss ways to overcome physical limitations that limit your movement and alter your lifestyle.

Downsizing Your Personal Space – don’t worry, you can do it!

Step 1:  Get a Positive Attitude. View this move as an opportunity to unclutter your life and have more time to do things you value more than house upkeep. Embracing the change that is going to happen will allow you to become positive. Once you do, you will be free to keep a positive attitude about moving to a smaller home. And let’s face it, uncluttering is a good thing!

Step 2:  Get Organized. Create 4 lists:

  1. I’m taking it! Identify the items that are too precious to leave behind. Before finalizing this list, you may want to ask your new landlord for a floor plan. You, and friends and family if they can assist, can place your furniture and other items onto the floor plan to make sure everything fits.
  2. I want my family or friends to take it! There may be important items that you don’t want to give up but there is no space in your new home. An example might be a grandfather clock. Perhaps a family member or friend can take the item, and you still have the benefit of visiting it!
  3. Donations make you feel good about yourself! Most organizations pick up. Many take furniture and appliances. The more you give, the better you’ll feel – and you’ll be making a difference in someone else’s life.
  4. Time to throw this OUT! You know what items go onto this list.

Step 3:  Oh, those closets! Here, you need three boxes/bags:  Keep, Donate, Throw Away. You may have an item or two in your closet you want to give someone else, but remember that most people don’t want your closet items. Any clothing over two years old, donate or throw away. Household items such as cleaning supplies and lightbulbs, throw away the open bottles and anything you won’t need in your new home. Kitchen cabinets? Donate items that aren’t going to fit in the new kitchen. Your friends and family probably have overfilled cabinets themselves. You can ask them if they want anything. If they do identify items, ask them to take them as they leave. Finally, if you are holding on to clothing that you are planning on fitting into at some time in the future, donate it! Chances are, when you do fit into it again it will be out of style. Also, you will have something to look forward to. If you lose the weight, you’ll have to get some new favorite clothes. Yippee! Shopping!

Step 4:  Implement! Try to not procrastinate. Enlist all the help you can get. Try to make the process as short as possible, and keep that positive attitude. 

Step 5: I hate my new place!  This is not uncommon. You may have had little input into where you now find yourself. You long for your previous home. You are becoming depressed. Now is the time to identify what you do have control of and use that control to make choices given your current situation. Make a friend. Force yourself to get involved in something – anything. Keep moving. No matter your physical abilities, find a way to exercise your body. All of these activities will be important steps to becoming a happier person. It’s tough but it’s worthwhile.

Remember to check out my blog in December. There will be some great tips for making adjustments to reduced abilities and/or mobility. You can have the lifestyle you desire!

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