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Garden Glory!

March 1, 2018

Ahhh, Springtime! That glorious time of year when everything begins to emerge from their hiding … includingflowering bulbs suddenly appearing from the ground and springing to life brilliant colors. A time of new beginnings; perhaps a garden! After all, life did begin in a garden!

19th century English poet Alfred Austin wrote, “The Glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.” Austin foretold today’s scientific findings about the benefits of gardening. Whether 2 years old or 102, playing in the dirt is a rewarding pastime often handed down to us from previous generations.

So, how do you begin feeding your body and soul? First, you must plan on where you want to start your own personal Eden. Second, you need to prepare the soil; either by tilling the ground or putting all new soil into a garden box. Third, plant whatever makes you happy - flowers, herbs, or vegetables. Finally, nurture your plants and enjoy the rewards!

After creating your garden, you can begin reaping some of the benefits of gardening. Other than the obvious benefits, the Alzheimer’s Association as well as Center for Disease Control & Prevention both express that physical activity, such as gardening, is a great way to help avoid a multitude of life-threatening diseases. Additionally, gardening gives you exposure to Vitamin D, helps to fight stress, and maintains mind-boosting elements.

Sterling Estates Senior Living Communities in Marietta encourage outdoor gardening by providing raised garden beds. This offers Sterling Estates residents a place to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers - a place to enjoy the outdoors and the company of others, all while nurturing plants. They discuss ahead of time what they wish to grow and how to do it. Master Gardeners are invited to give helpful tips and garden talks. Everything needed for gardening is provided - the green space, plants, accessible tools with foam grippers and brightly colored handles, a sitting bench, a workbench complete with sink and hose, and finally accessible pathways for walkers and wheelchairs.

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What Do We Do with Our Grief

February 1, 2018

One of the most misunderstood emotions experienced in American culture is the emotion of grief. Most of us think that grief must always be used in the same sentence with death: “My mother died and losing her has caused me terrible grief.” 

But grief is often more than just our response to death. Grief is a normal, natural, and necessary emotional response to any kind of loss: the loss of a job, the breakup of a relationship through divorce or separation, the loss of a home, or the loss of one’s health or independence due to an accident or illness.


Our “Greatest Generation” is particularly vulnerable to grief. Most of them survived the trials of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Korean Conflict. Many have experienced the death of a spouse, family members, or friends. But the only support they received from those around them were firm admonitions like “You should be happy because you know they are in a better place”, “You need to be strong,” or “You’ll feel better if you keep busy.” And that is what they tried to do, but their unexpressed, unresolved grief took up residence in their heart and they carry it still.


Now, years later, some have lost their health, their homes, their friends and access to their religious and faith communities. One of these losses can cause a person to experience significant grief. More than one loss can drastically and negatively affect their ability to enjoy their surroundings and the joy of living. While changes are often necessary to provide a safe, comfortable life-style, the loss of familiar parts of their lives can create a reservoir of grief that, if left unacknowledged and unaddressed, will linger and influence all aspects of life, living, and particularly loving.

One symptom of profound grief is a sense of loneliness. No matter how many activities a person engages in or how many people are around them, if the cause of the underlying grief is not acknowledged and addressed, the loneliness will likely persist.


At Sterling Estates, we want our residents to experience life to the fullest. We want them to find joy in everyday living. We provide them with a comfortable, beautiful setting and a selection of tasteful, healthy meals. Our Life Enrichment Director and our Wellness Director work together to plan a variety of daily activities that are fun, educational, offer the opportunity to stay fit, and to enjoy engagement with other members of the Sterling community. But we also recognize that many members of our Sterling family might be grieving from life losses, both past and present. In our effort to provide holistic care for our residents, Sterling Estates has a fulltime Chaplain on staff to provide emotional and spiritual support to residents who need a caring presence as they constructively deal with their grief and find new joy in their lives.

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The Healing Benefits of Water Exercise

January 1, 2018

The aging process can present many frustrating dilemmas for seniors. One dilemma that can be particularly challenging is exercise. What can we do when the fears of falling or joint injuries rob us of the benefits of exercise? We encourage you to find a Water Aerobics Program in your local area.

Water exercise is the perfect light intensity exercise for seniors. Exercising in a heated, saltwater therapeutic pool that has a depth of approximately 4 feet provides a buoyant, “weightless” environment so that you don’t have to worry about falling and have joint protection. Even though your knees or back may hurt while on land, warm water therapy allows pain-free walking. The benefits of water aerobics also include regaining mobility and strength after injury; decreased pain; improved balance and range of motion; increased strength; and increased cardio respiratory endurance. Conditions such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic back and spine pain can also be relieved through warm water therapy.

Classes usually last 30 minutes to an hour and participating two to three times per week is optimal; although, just getting started is the key! Indoor aquatic pools in the Marietta area can be found at local YMCA’s and certain senior living communities. Both of our Sterling Estates communities in East and West Cobb have indoor, 92-degree heated, saltwater pools where our certified aquatic instructors perform group water aerobic classes and personalized training sessions with our residents. We use foam dumbbells, noodles, and ankle weights as aids for strength and conditioning. We also host classes for individuals who don’t live in our communities but live in the local area and allow Integrated Therapies, an outpatient aquatic physical therapy company, to use our pools to help their patients.

Once you start these water exercise sessions, you’ll be glad you did! Stay Sterling Strong!

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How to Reduce Your Risk for Falling:

December 1, 2017

As you age, your risk for falling dramatically increases. These falls can change your life in many ways. When discussing fall prevention, there are 2 main factors to consider. Assessing and making changes in your environment and fitness level should be the primary focus when trying to prevent falls.

1. Create a Safe Environment at Home

Does your home have any obstacles in your walking path? Are there any rugs present? Is there enough lighting throughout? Do your shoes fit properly? Do you have grab bars in your bathroom?

If you want to stay as independent as possible, try to check off this list when examining your home.

• Proper Lighting

• Space to roam throughout

• Type of flooring is even and the same height;

are rugs present

• Furniture is the right height 20” from the floor

• Cabinets are easy to reach

• Support Bars are installed

• Vision Checks yearly

• Proper Fitting Footwear

• Front Entrance is easily accessible

• Medicines that do not have counteractive side effects

2. Start a Fitness Program.

[Before starting a fitness program, always make sure to consult your doctor.]

A well designed fitness plan includes a variety of exercises and should include the following:

• Water Therapy. This will reduce joint stress, assist in eliminating inflammation, and strengthen muscles.

• Strength exercises. Participate in exercises that specifically focus on your small muscle groups to improve your overall balance.

• Dynamic exercises. These are functional exercises that incorporate more than one movement.

• Balance Apparatus. These are machines that are specifically geared towards improving balance and proprioception by teaching the body and brain to control weak muscles and joints. Examples are Biodex Balance Machines that help record your balance challenges and track areas of improvements.

At Sterling Estates, we strive to improve our Residents’ balance and fall risk. We accomplish this by engaging them in Balance Challenges, Warm Water Therapy, Dyna-Fit Classes, and One-on-one Personal Training. All of these exercises help to improve balance and proprioception.

Focusing on Strength, Balance and Room Safety guarantee you are heading in the right direction to reducing your risk of falling!

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Brain Health: “What was I Thinking?”

November 1, 2017

As we age, we sometimes worry about not being able to remember things and if our brains will always function properly. Here’s some great news: studies have shown physical exercise helps us maintain a healthy brain. It is believed that this occurs due to many factors including improved blood flow to the brain. A new report also shows that seniors who stay socially active have reduced incidence of dementia.

Consider: when you go on a walk outside, you must look where you are going, have strength to keep you upright, and think about stepping over curbs or small objects that may be in your way. A lot of interaction with your brain and muscles occurs to move your legs, your eyes to look for what’s in front of you, and your heart to deliver more blood to the muscles so that walking can occur. Research has shown that an all-around exercise program composed of strength, aerobic fitness, balance, and flexibility is most effective at improving cognitive function.

We know that regular exercise has a variety of benefits including improving your mood, reducing anxiety and stress, and helping us sleep better, which all lead to better cognitive ability. Other known ways to maintain a healthy brain includes performing “brain games” such as word finds, crossword puzzles, or Sudoku puzzles. Playing bridge, cribbage, canasta, a friendly game of poker or other card games make you think and also interact socially with others. The time is now, so let’s get started! Be social: get with your friends and go for a daily walk around your neighborhood or local park; find a group of friends to play cards with or work on the daily crossword, Jumble, or Sudoku puzzles.

Here at Sterling Estates, we offer a variety of programs, activities, and resources that can help improve brain function. This includes daily exercise classes such as Tai Chi, seated and standing aerobic and strength classes, water aerobics, and Zumba. We also offer the Dakim BrainFitness program, which engages residents in easy-to-use, personalized mental workouts on a regular basis. We stay very social throughout the day: we gather at mealtime; we have lots of differing activities, educational speakers, musical performances, parties, and happy hours, etc. We take trips to cultural events; plays, symphonies and museums. We can’t stop the aging process, but we can try our best to slow it down!

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Feeling Lonely?

October 1, 2017

Most of us recognize there are many situations that can precipitate loneliness for seniors; just to name a few: loss of a loved one, changes in health, and separation from family. Each circumstance can lead to varying degrees of sadness, lack of motivation, fatigue, weight loss, depression and can further impact other health conditions.

The epidemic of loneliness has become widespread within our society and experts believe loneliness should be treated as a health crisis because of the profound effects it can have on one's mental and physical health.

A Dutch case study followed a large group of seniors over a three year period was recently published in the "Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry" and concluded that loneliness harms the brain and may speed up dementia. Further, it was determined loneliness harms the heart. Other various studies compiled by the "Journal of the American Medical Association" have also shown that the percentages of fatal heart disease are greater among individuals who lived alone than those who lived with a spouse, roommate or in a community setting.

It is imperative for seniors to remain engaged with strong social networks to avoid isolation.

 Here are some of the many ways to fight against Loneliness:

  • Staying connected with family, friends and neighbors on a regular basis
  • Visiting local senior centers, which can open doors to services and resources for seniors who are dealing with loneliness and is an additional way to meet other seniors through the many activities they provide for senior interaction
  • Church organizations are an excellent resource which provide supportive and spiritual help for those dealing with depression and further source of new friends and activities
  • Gathering information about transportation options, as lack of transportation is a big factor behind seniors not socializing
  • Learn something new; whether it a new hobby or subject matter it can provide a gateway to socialization with others

At Sterling Estates, we recognize the symptoms of loneliness and assist our Residents in socializing with their peers within the community and strongly encourage them to be involved in daily activities of interest, including music programs and concerts in house, 'Tech Talks' and educational classes, devotional programs, cooking classes, ballroom dancing, bocce ball tournaments, working in our new communal garden and "Happy Hour", among many others including group outings to cultural events. Further, our Wellness Program offers group classes in water aerobics, balance improvement, strength training, and walking outside on our many walking paths throughout our neighborhood just to name a few. We are committed to providing our Residents with a social and meaningful interactive living experience; hence, a happy and healthy lifestyle!


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