Thriving by Creating

Creativity and a sense of purpose:

As adults age, their lifestyles and priorities change, and aging well is frequently top of mind. According to a study published in the Journal of Aging Studies, study participants, aged 60 to 93, identified six features of successful aging: a sense of purpose, interactions with others, personal growth, self-acceptance, autonomy, and health. Creative activities, such as writing, painting, or knitting, encourage a sense of competence, purpose, and growth—all of which contribute to aging well.

A sense of purpose is significant for older adults, especially if they spent most of their younger years defined by a career or by raising children and running a household. Once those responsibilities are lifted, older adults can sometimes develop an uncertainty about their purpose later in life. This can affect health and overall well-being. Participating in artistic activities, however, bolsters problem-solving skills and satisfaction that older adults can take into everyday life. Also, when older adults can share their handmade gifts with friends and family, they develop a sense of pride in what they have created.

Creativity the benefits of art on older adult’s health:

It’s no secret that individuals today are living longer and embracing new and different activities well into their older years. Longer lives beg the question, what can be done to age well? Keeping one’s health in check with proper nutrition, physical activity, and regular checkups is typically the go-to answer. But it is also important to consider other, seemingly insignificant activities that can benefit older adults’ health. Participating in and enjoying artistic endeavors – even when seniors are not necessarily creatively inclined – can have a positive impact on health by creating a sense of purpose and keeping the mind busy.

Creative Professionals:

Examples of individuals who turned to art in their late adulthood include Grandma Moses (Anna Mary Robertson Moses) and Grandma Layton (Elizabeth Layton.) Grandma Moses began her career as a folk artist and painter in her 70s and continued for much of the remaining 30 years of her life. Grandma Layton took a contour drawing class at the age of 68 and continued to create for the rest of her life, crediting drawing with curing a 35-year depression.

Creativity at Epworth Villa:

Currently there are classes taught by a former art teacher.  Some of the students are accomplished artists, but some are new.  The veterans of the group are experimenting with new mediums.  For example, one Resident had only painted with oils, but was recently experimenting with pencil drawings and watercolors.    Our core belief at Epworth Villa is Enhancing Lives so People Thrive, and creativity through art, sewing, knitting, quilting, drawing, coloring and creative writing is how we encourage that sense of purpose.  We are thriving together.


We wanted to share this letter to COLUMNIST DEAR ABBY. As many of our friends and clients consider a move, there are naturally some fears. ABBY gives some great advice!


Moving to a New Community Brings Out Social Insecurities

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are moving to a retirement community where we won’t know a soul. I hate leaving our friends and the relationships we have formed here. I have never been especially outgoing or good at making small talk, but I know I will have to to fit in.

I believe you have written something for people who have this challenge. Can I get a copy? What are some tips on how to get started? We’re relocating soon. — FACING IT HEAD ON

DEAR FACING IT: You and your husband are opening an exciting new chapter in your lives. Managing it successfully will depend upon your attitude, so think positive. Please understand that the majority of people have the same insecurities you do. Not everyone is born socially adept. It is a skill that can be learned and polished with practice.

Everyone wants to be the kind of person others find interesting, attractive and worth knowing. The key to being well-liked by both sexes is: Be kind. Be honest. Be tactful. Don’t be afraid to offer someone a compliment if it’s deserved. Be well-groomed, tastefully dressed and conscious of your posture. Confident individuals stand tall. You do not have to be the smartest person in the room. Ask others what they think and encourage them to share their opinions. My booklet “How To Be Popular” contains many useful tips for polishing social skills for people of all ages. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. Remember, part of fitting in is showing an interest in and an appreciation of others. Be a good listener and people will think you’re a genius. Good conversationalists are interested in what others have to say rather than feel pressured to fill the air with the sound of their own voices. It isn’t necessary to be an authority on every subject. Keep in mind that most people can concentrate on only one thing at a time. Forget about yourself and your own insecurities and concentrate on the other person. If you try it, you will find that it works.

Clean Team Week!

This week at Epworth Villa, we have been celebrating Housekeeping Week.  We are celebrating those who keep our homes and common areas sparkling clean.  With a property this big, one can only imagine the enormity of that task.  But our team – under the leadership of Gerard Watson do a fantastic job.  Celebrating them only one week of the year doesn’t seem to do them justice.  Our Housekeeping team is comprised of our Housekeepers, Laundry Professionals and Floor Care Specialists.

In celebrating this week, the team enjoyed cookies, donuts and all sorts of sugary confections.  Deborah, Laundry Professional brought everyone a carrot cake.  Twelve year veteran and Mentor, Saritha brought each person a certificate of appreciation and shared why she loved each of them.  The team also played positivity games and awarded each other for great attitudes.

The Clean Team also celebrated the end of an era for one of Epworth Villa’s longest serving employees. Valencia has been with Epworth Villa for 24 years.  Just this week, she made a Resident’s bed and the Resident told her she made it just the way she would have done it.  We are so grateful for Valencia and the small things she has done over the years to bring joy to our Residents.  We wish her much happiness and rest in her retirement.

It takes a large well-functioning team to keep a property this large looking as spectacular as it does.  We couldn’t do it without these very special people who go above and beyond every single day by focusing on the details and sharing love with those around them.  Congratulations Team on a job well done!


Better to keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world – George Bernard Shaw

Successful Aging-What’s Important to You?

By Blaine Jackson, NASM-CPT, Wellness Coordinator

Successful aging involves focusing on what is important to you, and being able to do what you want to do at an older age.

While successful aging may be one way to describe how well we age, the concept of “meaningful aging” may be another important way to consider how to age well.

Meaningful aging does not involve “winners or losers” in terms of longevity and health, but rather the need to focus on what is most meaningful to a person, especially in older age. Sometimes this involves not doing more to stay active but, perhaps, doing less, giving up some control over our lives, being more mindful of others and being aware of the need to forgive and forget.

Meaningful aging encourages us all to find meaning and peace in our lives, and the effects that these practices have on how we age can, in fact, lead to a form of successful aging.

How can Epworth Villa aid you in successful aging?  We offer services and activities that are directed toward the mind, body and spirit.  Each of these needs can be met – it’s all up to you to choose.

Amusing Aging Advice from Animals part 5

Rabbits — Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Rabbits epitomize a healthy lifestyle. These little vegans eat mainly green leafy foods. Plus, they are active and agile. Their physically fit and flexible bodies allow them to do the binky, which is often referred to as the “happy bunny dance.” This move is when rabbits jump into the air and twist their head and body in opposite directions. If we humans ate more vegetables and hopped (or even walked) around all day, maybe with practice we could do the binky, too.

Of Astronauts, the Moon & Creation by Chaplain Dwight Magnus

One of my very first memories is being awakened by my parents at the age of five to witness history. Neil Armstrong was about take one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. All I remember seeing was a grey blob.

But from then on, I was an avid follower of the Apollo program, faithfully watching the TV coverage and drinking my Tang, so I could be an astronaut one day. While it turns out I didn’t have the right stuff to fulfill that dream, I still devour the coverage of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Along the way, I ran across a fascinating book: Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man’s First Journey to the Moon by Robert Kurson. It is the mission that gave Apollo 11 the ability to fulfill President Kennedy’s promise to land a man on the moon in the decade.

I appreciate one particular event of the Apollo 8 mission. On Christmas Eve, 1968, during a special TV broadcast at lunar sunrise, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman read the creation account from Genesis 1:1-10. That, for me, captures my wonder of space, God’s creative abilities, and my small place in the universe. I echo the sentiment of the Psalmist:

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:3-4

Take time today to praise God for his wonderful creation (including you!)  Chaplain Dwight

Amusing Aging Advice from Animals part 4

Zebras — Own your uniqueness

Each zebra has its own stripe pattern — no two are alike. Researchers hypothesize that zebras’ stripes help them hide in the grass, making it difficult for their predators to discern an individual outline to attack. Another more recent theory is that the stripes ward off pesky insects. Their unique coats set these mammals apart looks-wise from all other animals, but their hides also save them. The human lesson is to be grateful for the skin you’re in.

Our Residents at Epworth Villa are all unique.  Each person brings their own gifts and talents to our community.  What can you bring to Epworth Villa?  We would love to meet you and learn about your special abilities.  Come Visit us today!

Blue Ribbon Resident

Resident, Ann Sherrod attends Early Risers Toastmaster’s meetings. Ann is a Distinguished Toastmaster, has served as Area Governor, has been a past Toastmaster of the Year, and was a finalist in six district speech contests. Recently at a meeting, Ann spoke on what Independence Day means to her.  She won the blue ribbon for best Table Topics speaker.  Congratulations Ann! (Ann is pictured with World Champion Speaker Dave Ross.)

Life Long Learners at Epworth Villa

Many of Epworth Villa Residents are life long learners. We are proud to be associated with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Oklahoma State University. Funded by the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Institutes are found on the campuses of 122 colleges and universities across the United States, with at least one in every state. Each provides a distinctive array of non-credit courses and activities specifically developed for seasoned adults aged 50 or older who are interested in learning for the joy of learning. A wide range of classes are offered each semester at various locations around Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City, with at least two classes meeting at Epworth Villa.

There are also “Inquiring Minds” Classes.  They are moderated by a Resident.  They will start back up in September with Comparative Religions for 4 weeks.  Then another Resident will lead an 8 week study on Winston Churchill.

The Write Group meets on the second and fourth Friday each month.  There are new writing prompts for each session  this month included: Writing about something humble or surprising or unique that you find beautiful or writing about a favorite meal to cook or prepare.  The Write Group provides an opportunity to develop writing skills and to share with others in a friendly environment. OCU Professor Rob Roensch leads this group.

The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t end with retirement.  There is always so much to do and learn at Epworth Villa. You can choose to do as little or as much as you like.

June is Brain Health Month

The Benefits of Exercise: Now and in the Future
By Blaine Jackson, NASM-CPT (Blaine Jackson is the Wellness Coordinator for Epworth Villa)

Don’t look for instant weight loss or muscle tone, but many benefits are instantly noticeable.

How many people set a New Year’s resolution to attend the gym more often? Sadly, most new exercisers quit within six months of starting a program, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Expecting immediate results in the form of muscle tone or weight loss makes it easy to go back to old habits when goals take longer than you’d like. Setting reasonable expectations at the start may help you stick with your program long enough to reap exercise’s benefits — immediate ones and ones that you’ll see over time.

Immediate Benefits of Exercise: Improved Mood and More.

When you begin exercising, bodily changes occur within seconds. Your heart rate speeds up and extra blood is delivered to your muscles. Your metabolic machinery gets into action right away, increasing the rate of calories you burn. This provides the extra nutrient and oxygen needs of your active muscles. A great byproduct of this is improved mood. Your brain releases a number of different feel-good neurotransmitters — brain chemicals — including endorphins and serotonin, also known for its role in mood and depression. In fact, short, 10-minute bouts of activity improve focus and concentration. You will also quickly sleep better, feel better, have more energy and be less stressed. And also be aware that although weight loss takes time, blood fats like triglycerides drop after just one exercise session.

After a Week or Two: Weight Loss, Tone and Flexibility

When you implement a regular exercise regime, you can see a difference in the numbers on the scale in as little as a week. If you combine your physical activity with healthy eating changes and reasonable calorie consumption, you will see bigger weight loss.

Keep in mind that in order to lose a pound of fat you need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories. So to lose a pound in a week you’ll need to either cut out 500 calories a day, burn 500 extra calories a day or do a combination of eating less and moving more.

If you’re striving for greater flexibility, a week of stretching should enable you to feel more limber and agile. Consistent strength training for the entire body practiced alongside cardio and eating a healthy diet can show the beginnings of muscle definition in as little as two weeks

Within Three Weeks: Cardiovascular Benefits

Pushing yourself with cardio four to five days a week should start to produce major changes within two to three weeks. When you exercise, heart rate increases to circulate more oxygen (via the blood) at a quicker pace. The more you exercise, the more efficient the heart becomes at this process, so you can work out harder and longer. Eventually, this lowers resting heart rate in fit people. An average adult’s heart beats between 60 to 100 beats per minute, while a trained athlete may have a resting heart rate as low as 40 to 60 bpm. In addition, the growth of new blood vessels leads to a decrease in blood pressure as you become more fit.

Long-Term Benefits of Exercise

The impact of exercise doesn’t change if you’re over 50, either. The body responds similarly regardless of age. Research studies on the benefits of weight training show that those in their 70’s and 80’s experience the same 20 percent increase in strength after just eight weeks.

Despite slow-to-see changes in the mirror, the inside of your body and the health enhancements experienced by your key body organs come on quickly. So while weight loss and muscle tone may be your initial motivation, continuing a regular exercise and overall healthy lifestyle routine is vital to maintain the improvements you gain.

Regular physical activity not only helps you feel and look younger but helps you stay independent longer, too. Exercise also lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, obesity and high blood pressure. Regular exercise can also help prevent loss of bone mass and can help improve balance, actually reducing the risk of falling.

In addition, older adults (55 to 74 years) with good cardiovascular fitness show increased brain activity patterns in regions of the brain associated with typical age-related decline along with better memory

While changes in hormones, metabolism, bone density and muscle mass decline with age, you can still have a sense of accomplishment from physical activity, and always know that a sedentary lifestyle takes a much greater toll on physical ability that biological aging.