Posts By: The Bristal

Chef’s Table: The Bristal at Garden City’s Mick Gehnrich Shares His Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Posted by: The Bristal

Chefs have many reasons they like to cook: they were inspired by a certain dish, they find it challenging and artistic, they connect cooking with fond memories or people from the past, and so on. All good reasons, but for chef Mick Gehnrich at The Bristal at Garden City, he keeps it simple.

“I love to eat,” he says. “My number one reason why I like to cook is not because I like to cook, but because I like to eat.”

Besides his love of food, his interest in cooking grew from two main childhood memories. One was his parents, who both worked. If Mick wanted to eat breakfast in the mornings, he says, it was up to him to make something.

Second, Mick’s father belonged to a hunting and fishing club, which hosted a wild game dinner each year.

“I’m still helping out with that wild game dinner,” he says. “My dad’s no longer around, but I’ve taken up the reins on that.”

The Dining Experience at The Bristal at Garden City

Mick’s culinary background evolved from there, eventually landing him a job at The Bristal. He then took an offer to head up the kitchen at their new community in Garden City when it opened in June 2018. He says working at The Bristal is an atmosphere that’s both challenging and rewarding.

“It’s definitely wearing a lot of different hats, and satisfying the residents is a big part of it,” he says. “Going out and talking to them, listening to their stories … we’re getting a (resident) food council right now, and the four people on it are so excited.”

Passing his own love of food on to the residents and other employees at The Bristal is another aspect of the job that Mick enjoys.

“I love the fact that I’m able to teach people how to cook and enjoy eating,” he says. “That’s one of my biggest passions, explaining the dish to the residents and taking that extra minute to talk to the residents about the food.”


Get The Bristal’s chef Amanda Ciniglio’s blueberry carrot cake recipe >>


Learning to Like New Foods

Of course, there’s bound to be a dish on the menu that some residents might not care for. But Mick says that’s yet another aspect of the job he enjoys: showing someone that something they thought they didn’t like is actually delicious.

“Usually 60 percent of the time people try it, and they’re like, ‘I thought I didn’t like it, but I’ll have another bowl,’” he says.

Next up on the menu at The Bristal at Garden City? Mick plans to use his favorite fall vegetable and whip up butternut squash soup with a Thai twist. While squash isn’t always people’s favorite, he’s hoping to change that perception. Try it for yourself at home by following his recipe.

Thai-style Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Servings: 8

Prep time: 20 min.

Cook time: 30 min.

Total time: 50 min.

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, very roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh ginger, from a 2-inch knob
  • 2 ½ pounds pre-cut butternut squash (or one 3-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed)
  • 3 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cups quality chicken broth
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (full fat adds to the creaminess, but can be made using low fat)
  • Juice of half a lime, plus more limes for serving
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Optional garnishes:

  • Sriracha sauce, for drizzling
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not brown; reduce heat if necessary.
  2. Add the squash, carrots, broth, fish sauce, sugar, and curry paste. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Using a hand-held immersion blender, purée the soup until silky smooth. (Alternatively, cool the soup slightly, then purée in a blender in batches, making sure to leave the hole in the lid open to allow the steam to escape). Stir in the coconut milk, lime juice, and salt (if the coconut milk is solidified, use the immersion blender to mix it in). Bring to a simmer, then taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle with the Sriracha and garnish with the scallions, peanuts, and cilantro, if using.

Enjoy!

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Discover 5 of Long Island’s Hidden Gems this Fall!

Posted by: The Bristal

discover 5 of long island's hidden gems this fall

Nestled into the rich history of Long Island are many hidden gems full of family, friendship, and longevity. Long Island features beautiful shorelines where many travelers stepped foot into America long ago, bringing with them the hopes, dreams, and aspirations which enriched Long Island’s culture, making it home to some of the most highly sought-after destinations in America.

Take a few minutes and journey with us to discover five of Long Island’s valued hidden gems.

1. Mattebella Vineyards

rose wine from mattebella vineyards

Established in 1640 and covering 22 acres of sloping land, Mattebella Vineyards is found in one of New York’s oldest towns, Southold, along Long Island’s eastern end.

With their strong commitment to protecting the environment, Mattebella continues business the old-fashioned way; by hand.

“Our goal is to create an environment in the vineyard where our customers can taste and experience our wines coming to life,” states their website.

Reservations can be made to spend the day taking a tour of the vineyard, then head to the cottage for a tasting experience of their local wines.

2. Jordan Lobster Farms

jordan lobster market

Family owned and operated for over 50 years, Jordan Lobster Farms, in Island Park, only serves the best! Originating in Brooklyn, New York, with the creation of Jordan Lobster Dock, this hidden gem doesn’t disappoint with its gourmet lobster and seafood.

When visiting Jordan Lobster Farms you can pick out your own lobster, with the specialty being Select and Jumbo. Stop by the market and discover their large selection of fresh seafood, prepared dishes, and gift items. This is one hidden gem you won’t want to miss!

3. Woodside Orchards

u-pick apples at woodside orchards in north fork

Located in Jamesport and Aquebogue on Long Island’s North Fork, Woodside Orchards has been a family working farm since 1982. Offering a variety of 28 apples, they create a cider that is to rave about!

“Folks are friendly, and the cider is tasty,” states a review on their Facebook page. Woodside Orchards is also well-known for their cider donuts, a customer favorite. In addition to the cider donuts, Woodside Orchards offers a hands-on U-pick experience, when in season. When stopping by the orchard, you can have a personalized tasting in their cozy Hard Cider Tasting Room.

The orchard also offers cider slushies, honey, Christmas trees, seasonal baked goods and much, much more! As they state, “there’s something always in season at Woodside Orchards!”

4. Lavender By the Bay

blooming lavendar at lavendar by the bay on long island

Rated by Country Living as one of the top six stunning lavender farms to visit in America, Lavender By the Bay offers relaxation to the mind, body, and soul. What began as one families’ hobby has now flourished into 17 acres with over 80,000 plants of fresh lavender.

When visiting Lavender By the Bay, walk through the magical fields of purple, stop for a rest while taking it all in at the shaded pavilion, and before leaving, stop at the Farm Store to purchase fresh lavender products for your home.

Lavender By the Bay is a family owned and operated business, located in East Marion on Long Island’s North Fork, that has been providing products from their farm to homes since 2002.

5. Long Island Live Steamers

long island live steamers railroad ride in suffolk

Located in Suffolk’s Southhaven County Park and built to preserve the art of precision steam model making is Long Island Live Steamers, Inc.

LILS offers nostalgic fun for all on its 8.5 acres of land, that is inclusive of outdoor tracks and trains. If you’re feeling adventurous, on public run days, you can take a train ride on rideable steam, diesel, and electric trains around The Groundline or The Highline track.

Long Island Live Steamers is a great day-out adventure that features members who also build model steam boilers, engines, boats, tractors, and fully functional railroad models.

Long Island: The Island with Something for Everyone

Long Island has destinations to offer for everyone; whether you enjoy the beach and the outdoors or aspire to be a wine connoisseur, the island has options for you! With a deep sense of rich history, and diverse communities full of unique culture, Long Island’s hidden gems are out there waiting to be discovered.

 

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Posted in: Food & Dining, Lifestyle Blog
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Better Your Memory with These 6 ‘Brain Foods’

Posted by: The Bristal

brain foods that better your memory

While there is no magic food to improve your brainpower (yet!), there are a few foods that research has shown may be able to delay dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. While it’s very important to eat a balanced diet (more on that below), it’s always best to check with your primary physician before you make any lifestyle changes.

Which Foods are Good for Memory?

Research has linked these six brain foods to delaying memory loss. Read on to see how you may be able to eat your way to better health.

1. Berries

Berries are rich in flavonoids, which can improve cognitive function, according to this study. Researchers found women who ate two or more servings of berries a day had a slower rate of memory decline- up to 2.5 years.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends women older than 50 consume 1.5 cups of fruit daily, and men over 50 eat 2 cups of fruit every day.


Strawberries and memory: What’s the connection?


2. Caffeinated beverages

Go ahead and enjoy that morning cup o’ joe or green tea. Caffeine has been linked to better memory retention, according to this study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Just make sure to not have it to close to bedtime so it doesn’t affect your sleep quality.

3. Green, leafy vegetables

The kale craze isn’t going away anytime soon. According to a study published earlier this year in the medical journal “Neurology,” one daily serving of green, leafy vegetables could slow age-related memory loss.

Besides kale, other green, leafy vegetables referenced in the study include spinach, collard greens, and lettuce.

4. Extra-virgin olive oil

Researchers at Temple University have identified a key component to the popular Mediterranean diet’s benefits: Extra-virgin olive oil.

The researchers found olive oil “reduces brain inflammation and activates autophagy,” which is how cells break down toxins like beta-amyloid plaques. These proteins have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

This versatile condiment can be used to make your own salad dressings or used in cooking.

5. Fatty fish rich in omega-3s

Fish are a great source of unsaturated fats, like the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. These fatty acids help improve cognitive function, according to these studies by The University of Illinois, which linked omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids to healthy brain aging.

Wild Alaskan salmon, Atlantic mackerel, and sardines are a few of the omega-3 rich, low-mercury foods on this guide from the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector.

6. Nuts

As well as being packed with protein, fiber, and Vitamin E, nuts join a few other items on this list with beneficial ingredients such as unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. This study by Loma Linda University found regularly eating nuts can strengthen brainwave frequencies.

They are also heart-healthy, according to the Mayo Clinic who recommends replacing foods containing saturated fats with a handful of nuts or a tablespoon or two of a nut butter.


Related Read — Alzheimer’s & Mealtime: Tips for Success


Brain Foods and the Importance of a Healthy, Balanced Diet

Besides lowering obesity rates, good nutrition is important to reduce your risk of diseases and help your overall health, not just your brain function.

On top of eating a well-balanced, healthy diet consisting of a variety of foods, consider the following suggestions from the Alzheimer’s Association when looking to boost your brain health:

  • Limit foods with high saturated fats, such as butter and lard.
  • Reduce your intake of refined and processed sugars.
  • Cut down on salt to limit your sodium intake.

Other Ways to Help Your Brainpower

In addition to making healthier choices in your diet, you can also try increasing your physical activity, as well as adding mental exercise, socialization, and stress techniques into your routine. Combine these, and you’ll be well on your way to maintaining a brain-healthy lifestyle!

For more information about these your brain health boosters, check out this blog. >>

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Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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Tips For Preventing, Coping With Sundowning

Posted by: The Bristal

Older woman experiencing sundowning

Sundown syndrome is a state of confusion affecting people with dementia that occurs in the late afternoon into the night. Sundowning can cause confusion, anxiety, and aggression, as well as wandering, which would naturally worry any caregiver.

Here are some tips for managing sundowning along with factors to look out for that can aggravate sundown syndrome in your loved one.

What Causes Sundowning?

There are many factors that can aggravate sundowning, but The Mayo Clinic notes the most prevalent of causes include:

  • Increasing shadows
  • Low lighting
  • Disruption of a regular daily schedule
  • Fatigue or illness
  • Disruption of a person’s body clock
  • Difficulty separating reality from dreams

Related Read: What are the Symptoms of Sundowning?


How To Cope With Sundowning

If you notice your loved one exhibiting signs of sundowning, the National Institute on Aging recommends you listen to your loved one’s concerns and frustrations and gently reassure them everything is OK. More tips include:

  • Reducing clutter, noise, or the number of people in the room
  • Distracting your loved one with a favorite activity or object. Offer your loved one a snack, play their favorite song, or suggest a simple task for them to occupy themselves with.
  • Having a family member or friend call during this time to help soothe and relax your loved one.

Tips For Preventing Sundowning

1. Maintain a predictable routine

The Alzheimer’s Association notes structured daily activities often reduce agitation. When planning your loved one’s routine, consider their likes, dislikes, interests, and what times of day they function best.

2. Get enough rest at night

When a person with Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t get enough sleep, they can often become agitated and restless, increasing their chances of experiencing sundowning. For that reason, make sure your loved one gets enough sleep and has proper sleep hygiene.


See how The Bristal applies these techniques, and learn more about our sleep services in dementia care. >>


3. Do not serve alcoholic drinks or caffeine

Both substances can cause confusion and anxiety in a person with Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Make sure your loved one has plenty of exposure to light during the day

Sitting near a window or going for a walk may help reset your loved one’s body clock and encourage nighttime sleepiness.

5. Create a soothing environment for your loved one at night

Use a night light to prevent your loved one from becoming anxious due to dark, unfamiliar surroundings. Try to reduce background noise and play familiar, gentle music. White noise machines work well, too: the sound of waves crashing or rain can help your loved one relax in the evening.

If Sundowning Symptoms Persist

Seeking medical advice is one of the first steps you should take if symptoms of sundowning appear, change or worsen. Your loved one’s doctor may be able to find an underlying cause such as an infection or a medication side effect.

Seeking support and advice from others in a similar situation can also help. Exchanging experiences and successes with other caregivers may spark ideas to help you and your loved one alleviate sundowning symptoms. A casual place to meet other caregivers is at The Bristal’s Our Place Memory Café.  

Our Place Memory Café is a monthly get-together, designed for people with dementia and their caregivers. For caregivers, it can be both valuable and comforting to meet and share experiences with others. For all in attendance, it’s a relaxing afternoon of entertainment and friendship.

>> Find an Our Place Memory Café Near You <<

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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Chef’s Table: The Bristal at West Babylon’s Amanda Ciniglio Shares the Recipe for Her Blueberry Carrot Cake

Posted by: The Bristal

carrot cake recipe

Amanda Ciniglio, Director of Food Services at The Bristal at West Babylon, has always loved food and cooking. In fact, the first badge this lifelong Girl Scout received was for cooking. Growing up in an Italian family, a love for food is in Amanda’s blood.

“I learned from my mother, my father, my grandfather, and food was always important in our house,” Amanda says.

Although Amanda makes all types of food at The Bristal at West Babylon, she credits dessert as her favorite to prepare.

“People are happy when they’re eating desserts,” she says. “Dessert kind of brings people back home; brings them back to memories. Whether it’s cookies, cakes, breads, it can bring you back to happier times. If you’re in a funk, dessert is an uplifting thing. It’s nice to share with people. It gives me a good feeling when I show up at somebody’s house with baked goods that warms their heart, and they enjoy them.”

So, it’s no surprise she chose a blueberry carrot cake with cream cheese and raw honey frosting to share! Read on to learn more about Amanda and to get her recipe.

About Amanda, the Chef at The Bristal at West Babylon

Amanda originally went to school for music therapy but changed her major to culinary because she was having so much fun working in restaurants. After culinary school, she worked at a few restaurants and ended up in senior living, eventually coming to work for The Bristal.

What She Enjoys About Being a Chef at The Bristal

When asked what her favorite thing about working at The Bristal was, Amanda says that it is the people, like the residents and her wonderful staff, that she enjoys most.

“I feel like I have a purpose, helping seniors through food, giving them an excellent dining experience to share with their friends, their families,” Amanda says.

She also says she enjoys having a lot of food freedom at The Bristal. Whereas at a restaurant, you have to follow the recipes to a T, she can stray off the menu here.

“Here, we can have a lot of creative moments with our menus,” Amanda says. “We can change things and do fun events and theme days. You can get as creative as you want with the food.”

Amanda noted creative events like the San Gennaro feast, clam and lobster bakes, Hawaiian day, Oktoberfest, and an apple-themed fall festival as some fun food events she’s enjoyed at The Bristal.


See what’s happening at The Bristal at West Babylon. >>


Being a Chef Outside of The Bristal

When Amanda’s not cooking for residents at West Babylon, she stays busy. For the past nine years, she has judged the junior culinary competition at the Long Island Fair every year, where kids from Nassau, Queens, and Suffolk counties enter their baked goods in the competition.

Amanda is a lifelong Girl Scout and holds a Gold Award. She also participates in numerous cooking competitions and fundraisers, as well as chef showdowns through area fire departments. In 2014, she won the Taste of Long Island. In 2016 and 2017, she was part of the winning team for the Guiding Lights of North Carolina’s Share to Care event.

About Her Brain Food Cake

Amanda says her blueberry carrot cake with cream cheese and raw honey frosting came about because she wanted to look at a different way to incorporate brain foods. She notes they try to get as many healthy ingredients into their menu at The Bristal at West Babylon, and this cake is no exception.

“It’s a fun way to spin a dessert to get them some healthy foods, and it’s very tasty,” Amanda says of her made-from-scratch recipe.

Amanda’s Blueberry Carrot Cake with Raw Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients You’ll Need:

For the Cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups grated peeled carrots
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, washed
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger

For the Icing:

  • 10 ounces cream cheese (such as Philadelphia), room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey

Preparation

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, blueberries, and ginger. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  2. Bake the cakes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off parchment paper; cool cakes completely.

For the Icing:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat at low speed until well blended. Beat in raw honey. Chill until just firm enough to spread, 30 minutes.
  2. Place 1 cake layer on a platter. Spread with 3/4 cup icing. Top with the second layer. Spread remaining icing over entire cake. Arrange walnut halves around top edge. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with a cake dome; chill. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.)

Enjoy!

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Our Sleep Services in Dementia Care

Posted by: Kate Schneider, Reflections Programming Specialist

Senior woman with dementia having issues sleeping at night

When you are the caregiver for a loved one diagnosed with dementia, it can be an emotional and sometimes stressful experience. You may be seeing instances where your parent may not recognize you at times or just aren’t acting like they always did. Then at night, you may see another set of challenges.

Confusion and Other Sleep Disturbances

Sleep disturbances can be common in individuals showing signs of memory loss or who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Your parent may wake up confused, such as in the middle of the night and believe it is time to start their day. He may revert back to a work schedule he had when he was younger or he may seem to have his day and night confused and is sleeping during the day and awake at night.

If you’re a caregiver and your loved one is waking upset or confused, the best thing you can do is validate your loved one is upset and talk with them and comfort them. While the method may vary from person to person it is important to have an in-depth knowledge about the individual.

At The Bristal Assisted Living, our Reflections staff follow an individualized service plan and a resident profile. The profiles show past and present likes, dislikes, patterns, interests, abilities, and needs, so that our staff members are able to comfort your loved one in a knowledgeable manner.


Related Blog: Behavioral Changes: Tips for Caregivers


Measures Caregivers Can Use to Promote Better Sleep

There are a few measures caregivers can do to lessen their loved one’s dementia-related sleep issues at night, such as:

    • Provide stimulating therapeutic recreation during the day
    • Exposure to outdoor or natural light
    • Create a ritual and hold to it to promote good sleep patterns
    • Follow similar sleep recommendations for the general population, taking into consideration dementia, like no electronics, caffeine, etc.
    • Incorporate aroma and music therapy
    • Offer a comfortable bed and pillow
    • Encourage proper food intake
    • Use the bathroom prior to bed

The Bristal Assisted Living provides the above to residents in our Reflections memory care areas as part of our individualized services. The Bristal is able to provide a standard mattress and bedding at our communities; however, we encourage bringing your own furniture, bedding, and pillows, as each person has different preferences.  

Try Activities During the Day to Help Alleviate Sleep Issues

You can also incorporate activities during the day to help alleviate sleep issues at night, like therapeutic programming your loved one would be interested in. Adaptive physical programs are always good because they decrease boredom, so the person is active in the daytime. If your parent sleeps well during the night, naps are fine during the day – just watch the duration of the nap, or make it earlier in the day if they start showing signs of difficulty sleeping.

At The Bristal Assisted Living, our Reflections memory care programming includes adaptive physical, cognitive, social, religious, outdoor, and cultural activities, as well as various supervised trips and outings. Remember: keeping the body, mind, and spirit engaged is important, so that when it is time to go to sleep, the body, mind, and spirit is willing!


Looking after a loved one who is showing early signs of dementia can often be overwhelming. Our Alzheimer’s Day Care programs can help.


Establish Bedtime Rituals to Alleviate Stress

Individuals with dementia can pick up on a caregiver’s stress level, so one suggestion to help alleviate your own mental exhaustion would be to start rituals in both of your schedules. Getting a person ready for bed will take time; but with a ritual, it will get easier over time.

One of the ways we incorporate bedtime rituals at The Bristal is by using “sleep hygiene” to utilize the social and physical environment to promote a healthy sleep pattern and sleep experience. Your loved one’s routine is important at The Bristal, so our staff keeps a schedule so that the resident wakes up and goes to sleep at a similar time each day and night.

Educate Yourself About Dementia and Sleep

If you’re a caregiver to a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia or who is showing signs of memory loss, be sure he or she gets a full diagnostic workup and exam, and follow up.

Always check with your loved one’s doctor about medications, as certain substances — such as some pain relievers — and alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can also exacerbate sleep issues in persons with dementia.

There are also many resources available for you to educate yourself about dementia and other cognitive issues. Our TopStories newsletter is a great source to find more information on Alzheimer’s disease and memory care.

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Posted in: Senior Care
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Wellness Apps for Smartphones to Improve Your Health and Fitness

Posted by: The Bristal

Active senior woman in New York utilizing free health and fitness apps on her phone

Are you a senior with a smartphone? You’re not alone! In fact, 67 percent of Baby Boomers (54 to 72) and 30 percent of the Silent Generation (73 to 90) own smartphones, according to Pew Research Center. And those numbers are only growing!

Whether you prefer to play games or keep up with friends and family, your smartphone is a helpful device for all aspects of your life. For example, if you’re looking to get healthier, there are a variety of health and fitness apps available to you. To help you discover the best one for you, we’ve put together a list of five health and fitness mobile applications for your smartphone.

The apps we have chosen to feature (which are not endorsed by The Bristal) can be used on your smartphone on both IOS and Android.

5 Free Wellness Apps for Your Smartphone

Whether you want to track your nutrition or exercise your mind, smartphone apps are easy to use to keep you in your best shape. From mental health to medication management, mobile applications can also help you alleviate stress and improve your mental capacity — all in the palm of your hand.

Discover an app for your lifestyle!

Diet and Exercise

Diet and exercise apps like MyFitnessPal offer a one-stop shop where you can track your goals, log exercise (including the ability to sync your activity tracker like a Fitbit or Apple Watch), and even get support through its community feature. If you’re eating out, this award-winning app features foods from hundreds of popular restaurants, too, making it even easier to count calories and keep track of your nutrition.

In addition to strengthening your muscles, activities like yoga can help ease stress, improve balance, and boost energy, according to research by Johns Hopkins University. One yoga app, Daily Yoga,  offers targeted asanas in addition to routines geared toward weight loss and strengthening. Consult with your primary physician before beginning any new exercise routines.

Mental Health

There are many ways to de-stress, and smartphone apps are one of them. Apps like Calm help users lessen anxiety and improve their sleep patterns using guided meditations, breathing programs, and relaxing music. If you’re looking for more ways you can reduce stress, check out this blog!

Research has linked game playing with healthier brains, so why keep your mind sharp and have a little fun at the same time? One app, Lumosity, links science with entertainment. Scientists and game designers developed this app, which combines tasks to measure cognitive abilities with fun, and the resulting puzzles may help improve your brain health.

Medication Management

If you take multiple medications or vitamins during the day, it can also be difficult to remember which medication you need to take when. That’s where apps can help.

One medication management smartphone app is Medisafe. Medisafe features color coding and timed alarms and can also remind you if you’re going to need a refill. If you have trouble reading your medicine labels, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes your pharmacist can print your the with larger type and can also be a resource to help you with finding out about interactions.

Start Exploring More Senior Friendly Health and Fitness Apps

Please note, The Bristal is not endorsing any of these apps listed above. This list is just to help you start exploring your options in Apple Store or through Google Play. There are so many apps out there — let us know what your favorite one is that we may have missed!

If you’re looking for more health tips, don’t forget to subscribe to TopStories to get health tips like these and other information from The Bristal!

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Posted in: Lifestyle Blog
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Stay Healthy This Summer With These 14 Tips for Seniors

Posted by: The Bristal

With longer days and cool nights, summertime brings plenty of opportunities for older adults to enjoy the outdoors. We’ve put together a list of summer activities and precautions to consider in order to you stay safe and healthy while you’re enjoying everything summer has to offer!

5 Ways Seniors Can Stay Healthy This Summer

While staying fit should be a prime objective for seniors all year round, there is no denying that warm weather allows for a range of outdoor activities that can make daily fitness more fun in the summer. Here are some of them:

1. Do aerobics in a pool

You don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer to get enormous benefits from exercising in a pool. In fact, you don’t have to swim at all. For example, the simple act of walking in waste-high water is a great muscle-toning exercise. Many gyms and community organizations offer water exercise classes for seniors.

2. Take early morning walks

A long walk before the temperature gets too high can be an invigorating way to start the day. Do it on your own if you prefer a contemplative experience, or arrange to do it with your spouse or friend. You can also join a walking club. Walking improves circulation, strengthens bones and muscles, supports your joints and may even help avoid dementia, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

3. Tend a garden

It doesn’t sound strenuous, but gardening requires a lot of movement and uses many different muscles. For seniors who have a sufficient range of movement, it is an excellent way to retain strength and flexibility. Gardening also can be a highly social experience. Consult the 126-year-old National Garden Clubs for information about a club in your area.

4. Ride a bike

It’s said, one never forgets how to ride a bicycle, and that must be true, because according to AARP, seniors comprise the fastest growing group of cyclists. Health benefits are one of the major reasons for this trend. If bike riding appeals to you, it’s best to stick to parks and streets that have designated bike lanes.

5. Consider Tai Chi

The ancient Chinese practice of Tai Chi Chuan is an exercise that involves a series of relaxed and graceful movements that “have the potential for a wide range of benefits” for seniors, according to Mount Sinai Hospital. Those benefits include improved balance, coordination and flexibility, as well as reduced stress. Many non-profit organizations, including some YMCAs, offer Tai Chi classes for seniors. Classes often are conducted in parks in the early morning.


Click Here for Additional Ideas on How to Stay Socially Active Outdoors


9 More Tips for Staying Safe in the Summer Heat

The hot, humid months of summer can present unique challenges for seniors. There are a variety of potential problems you need to be on the lookout for this summer ranging from sun poisoning to a heat stroke. We thought it would be helpful if we shared a few summer safety tips for seniors.

1. Stay hydrated

You’ve probably heard and read plenty of times by now that health experts recommend drinking eight glasses of water every day. In the hazy days of summer, make it a priority to hit that mark, especially when outdoors. It is one of the best ways to prevent heat-related illness and sunstroke. Many foods have a high water content that can help to improve hydration. Among them are watermelons, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, green peppers, cauliflower and berries.


Read More About The Importance of Hydration for Seniors


2. Limit sun exposure

The hottest time of the day is between noon and 4:30 p.m. It is best to avoid going outdoors during those hours of the day when the mercury rises over 80 degrees. If you enjoy outdoor activities like walking or gardening be sure to do these things in the morning or later in the evening.

3. Review medications for side effects

Drugs commonly prescribed as we age can increase the risk for heat-related illness. They include medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some of the anti-inflammatories. They could result in heat exhaustion and sunstroke occurring more quickly. Consult with your doctor to find out if any of your medications pose a potential problem.

4. Don’t skimp on sunscreen

One of the most common health mistakes people make in the summer is not using an adequate amount of sunscreen and not applying it frequently. As we grow older, our skin becomes thinner. It means we can experience sunburn more quickly and potentially even develop sun poisoning. Dermatologists recommend applying at least the equivalent of two tablespoons of sunscreen every two hours.

5. Cover up in the sun

While that might seem counterintuitive when you are trying to stay cool, it will help protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Make sure you have a hat that shades your face, sunglasses and a loose-fitting, lightweight shirt to throw on before heading outdoors.

6. Tick patrol can prevent Lyme disease

An increased amount of time spent outdoors puts people at higher risk for attracting ticks. That also applies to your furry friends. Before heading back indoors, make sure to go on tick patrol. Inspect your body and your pets for any signs of ticks.

7. Prevent food poisoning during summer barbecue season

No summer is complete without a few barbecues with family and friends! One of the difficulties of outdoor picnics and potlucks is maintaining the proper temperature of the food. Foods that are considered high risk during the summer heat include prepared salads, dairy products not kept on ice, beef, seafood, fish, pork and poultry. Food poisoning can be especially dangerous for older adults who have health conditions that may weaken their immune system.

8. Overheated homes are especially hazardous for older adults

Rarely does a summer go by that we don’t hear about a tragic outcome for someone who lived in a home without air conditioning. Older adults may be more reluctant to use air conditioning even if they have it because of the expense. Still others may forget to turn their systems on, or their units are in disrepair. Whatever the reasons A/C is not used, the warmer it gets, the cooler the elderly must remain, particularly when they are ill.

According to research conducted at the Harvard University School of Public Health, even small rises in summer temperatures may shorten life expectancy for seniors with chronic medical conditions. Following the lives of 3.7 million seniors with chronic medical conditions over 20 years, the massive study found that for each 1° Celsius of increase in temperature, the death rate increased from 2.8 percent to 4 percent.

Make sure your family has a safe place to cool off during the hottest times of the day. Senior centers, the local mall and the library are all good places to go to stay cool.

9. Finally, be sure to review and learn the warning signs of heat-related illnesses

The key to helping someone who runs into problems in the summer sun is to get medical attention immediately.

Stay Safe and Have Fun This Summer

While there are plenty of precautions you can take to stay safe this summer, we hope you enjoy this season by taking advantage of the warmer weather and participating in a variety of healthy activities. After all, winter will be here before you know it!

 

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Higher Stamina Levels May Lower Your Risk of Dementia

Posted by: The Bristal

 

Senior couple walking to increase stamina and reduce the chances of dementia

Women with higher stamina — or greater cardiovascular fitness — in midlife could decrease their risk of dementia by 88 percent, according to a new study published in the American Academy of Neurology’s medical journal, “Neurology.”

Study ties stamina level, dementia risk

The study began in 1968 when 191 Swedish women, age 38 to 60, participated in an exercise bike test to evaluate their cardiovascular stamina. During the test, the women were brought to their “maximum workload” or peak exhaustion.

The women were categorized into three fitness groups based on their workload: Low, medium and high fitness. Of the 191 women, 59 were in the “low fitness” group, 92 were in the “medium fitness” group and 40 were in the “high fitness” category.

For the next 44 years, researchers studied the women’s health, including who was diagnosed with dementia and who wasn’t. The study concluded in 2012.


Related: Is my forgetfulness age-related memory loss or is it early Alzheimer’s disease?


High stamina reduced dementia risk by 88%

The study’s researchers found 44 (or 23 percent) of the women developed dementia during the research period. Researches also learned:

  • The women who had to interrupt their test had a very high incidence of dementia at 45 percent, indicating “adverse cardiovascular processes might be going on in midlife that seem to increase the risk for dementia.”
  • The low group had a cumulative incidence of dementia of 32 percent.
  • The medium group had an incidence of 25 percent.
  • The high group had a cumulative incidence of 5 percent.
  • The average age for the onset of dementia was 11 years higher for those in the high group compared to the women in the medium group.
  • Compared to the moderate level, the high stamina level had an 88 percent reduced risk of dementia.

More dementia research is still needed

There are other factors that could have affected the findings, according to the study. Researchers noted examples such as genetics, hypertension, obesity and the effects that other conditions may have on the brain as additional components to consider.

Researchers also indicate the study’s sample was relatively small, and because it only included Swedish women, the number could be different for other populations. They also noted there were a number of women who didn’t show up or who passed away during the long-term follow-up period, and more research will need to be done to determine when in life a high stamina is the most beneficial to reduce your risk of dementia.

The study shows correlation, but not necessarily causation, CNN reported. However, it was noted that the researchers’ findings still demonstrate the importance of physical fitness in all stages of a person’s life.

Keep your brain active with a healthy lifestyle

There are many ways to help boost your brain health in addition to physical activity. Puzzles, eating healthy meals and keeping busy are just some things you can do to help improve your memory. The important thing is that you start taking steps now to help your body later. And if you or a loved one does receive a dementia diagnosis, know there are plenty of resources available to help.

>> See How The Bristal Incorporates Therapies in Memory Care <<

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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The Bristal Sponsors NYSSA 13th Annual All-Star Game

Posted by: The Bristal

Today, the New York Senior Softball Association, a Nassau County softball league made up of 130 players 68 and older, gathered to play in its 13th Annual All-Star Game, the day after Major League Baseball showcased its best players. Sponsored by The Bristal, this year’s softball game commemorated the Yankees’ 1978 World Series win over the Dodgers. “It gives us a reason to get out of bed in the morning,” said player Nick Clarelli. Twice a week, his 15-man squad plays a four-inning doubleheader. Clarelli, 80, is one of the league standouts, ranging from 73 to 92 years old, that competed in today’s game. The league was honored to have Nassau County Executive Laura Curran throw out the first pitch. Clarelli’s team lost 14-5, but he came away with two singles and a Yankees cap. Thank you to the New York Senior Softball Association for allowing us to be a part of the fun again this year!

 

Check out some pictures from the event:

Click here for interviews of the players and coverage of the event:

Posted in: Events, News & Press, Senior Care
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Delirium Is Not Always Related to Dementia

Posted by: The Bristal

dementia care, senior with nurse, assisted living, living with dementia

When an older adult suddenly exhibits confused behavior, loved ones may fear that he or she is experiencing the onset of dementia. Such fear may be unwarranted, however. The cause of the senior’s behavior might well be delirium.

Delirium, says the Alzheimer’s Association (AA), is a “medical condition that results in confusion and other disruptions in thinking and behavior, including changes in perception, attention, mood and activity level.” However, the AA stresses that delirium is not the same as dementia, even though “individuals living with dementia are highly susceptible to delirium.”

To help distinguish between the two conditions, the AA notes that in dementia, changes in memory and intellect emerge gradually over a course of months or years, while delirium comes on abruptly, over days or weeks, or even hours. In delirium, thought patterns become disorganized and the level of confusion can fluctuate dramatically. “The hallmark separating delirium from underlying dementia is inattention,” says the AA. “The individual simply cannot focus on one idea or task.”

Unlike most forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, delirium is usually reversible, and sometimes even preventable. According to the Mayo Clinic, the condition can occur “when the normal sending and receiving of signals in the brain become impaired.” The Mayo Clinic cites an extensive list of factors that can cause, or contribute to, the onset of delirium, especially among older adults. Those factors range from infections and alcohol withdrawal to dehydration, sleep deprivation, metabolic imbalance and emotional distress. In addition, many medications for common ailments, such as asthma, allergies, insomnia, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, and anxiety and depression, can trigger delirium.

Still another potential factor is hospitalization. The Harvard Medical School says delirium is the most common complication of being hospitalized among people 65 and older. Its occurrence is especially prevalent after the patient has had certain forms of surgery. The medical school points out that most cases of delirium in hospitals are of the “hypoactive” type, meaning the patient becomes withdrawn and lethargic (as opposed to “hyperactive,” which means agitated and possibly hallucinatory or belligerent). Since people with hypoactive delirium aren’t disruptive, their condition may not be diagnosed. This is important, says the Harvard doctors, because, “Recognizing delirium is critical to a successful outcome for older patients.” The quicker delirium is treated and resolved, the better the patient’s chances for a full “functional recovery.”

There are several steps a caregiver can take to help a hospitalized loved one recover quickly from delirium, or possibly even prevent its onset. The Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Study Group makes the following recommendations to help orient the patient:

  • Speak softly and use simple words or phrases.
  • Remind your loved one of the day and date.
  • Talk about family and friends.
  • Bring eyeglasses, hearing aids.
  • Decorate the room with calendars, posters or family pictures. These familiar items might be reminders of home.
  • Play his or her favorite music or TV shows.
  • If your loved one has delirium, you might be asked to sit and help calm him or her.

In most cases, the delirium is short lived. It need not be related to dementia or result in permanent cognitive impairment. The important thing above all is to ensure that it is diagnosed and treated quickly.

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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Ways to Stay Connected with Old and New Friends

Posted by: The Bristal

ways to stay connected with old and new friends, happy seniors, smiling senior citizens

Social isolation may be unhealthy for seniors. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), “Several research studies have shown a strong correlation between social interaction and health and well-being among older adults…” Social isolation “may have significant adverse effects for older adults,” says the NIA.

Many seniors seem to be aware of this link. A survey conducted by the National Council on Aging, in cooperation with United Healthcare, revealed that a majority of seniors consider remaining close to friends and family a greater concern than financial independence.

As we get older, however, circumstances sometimes make it difficult to stay close to old friends or to make new ones. Here are some suggestions to help overcome those factors.

Embrace new technology (or at least some of it). As of last year, based on several market research studies we researched, it is estimated that the number of Facebook users age 55 and older had grown to about 34 million. How many of them could be current friends or former acquaintances who would love to hear from you? It may be worth finding out. What’s more, at least four out of ten seniors now own smartphones, reports the Pew Research Center. Emailing, texting and sending photos and videos by phone are powerful ways to maintain ties and reinvigorate old friendships. Some smartphones even allow the user to communicate with live video.

Speaking of live-picture communication, the application known as Skype allows people to “meet” face-to-face with friends (and family, too, of course) right on their computer monitors or phone screens. Skype is a free service when used for computer-to-computer calls, but entails a charge when calling a land line or mobile phone. It is a little more complicated to set up than a Facebook account or smartphone usage. If this or any other modern communication device feels a little intimidating to take on by yourself, plenty of help is available. You may know a tech-savvy teenager you can call upon, but if not, consider finding a local volunteer organization who can help.

Embrace the old ways, too. Pick up the phone and dial; write a letter; send a post card. Sometimes, staying in touch is more a matter of overcoming inertia than anything else. If you haven’t been in touch with an old friend for a while, take the initiative and reach out. It is best not to stand on ceremony about who called whom last, or about some unimportant tiff that may have marred your last interaction. Move on from it, for your sake and your friend’s.

Become a joiner. Senior centers abound throughout the United States, about 11,000 of them, according to the National Council on Aging. Join one of them, and perhaps, encourage an existing friend to do so, too. In addition, consider joining a club that interests you. Did you have a hobby that you are passionate about that you gave up to focus on your career? If so, your senior years might be a great time to take that passion up again, and an equally great opportunity to meet new people who share that interest.

Become a volunteer. With your professional career behind you, it is likely that you have a wealth of knowledge and experience that could be used to mentor someone. Mentoring can be a highly gratifying activity, as well as a good way to meet others who are mentoring and are potential new friends. Alternatively, you might find it amply satisfying simply volunteering your time and efforts on behalf of a worthy charity or civic enterprise.

Get a part-time job. Again, that knowledge and experience you accumulated have value, and many employers know that. They also know that older adults tend to be highly dependable. Therefore, consider returning to work on a modest scale as a means of meeting new people and, possibly, forming important new relationships.

However you choose to do it, try to make an effort to make new connections and hold on to the ones you already have. It may be a benefit to your health and increase your enjoyment in life.

Posted in: Lifestyle Blog
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Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Older Adults

Posted by: The Bristal

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Every day, some 10,000 people in the U.S. turn 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “The population of older Americans is growing and living longer than ever,” the CDC says. “As a group, they are living active lives and contributing to the economy.”

That’s great news for seniors as a whole. On an individual basis, however, it’s up to each older adult to embrace habits that promote good quality of life to enhance those extra years. Here is a list of essential lifestyle behaviors to help achieve that goal.

Kick the smoking habit. Virtually everyone acknowledges today that tobacco consumption is bad for your health. In general, we know that it can lead to heart, lung and neurological disease, as well as other ailments. However, consider also its other effects on quality of life, not the least of which is the strain the habit places on your finances. Moreover, the Mayo Clinic points out that smoking can adversely affect stamina and the ability to appreciate tastes and aromas. In addition, older adults who smoke sometimes indulge the habit around their children and grandkids. They may live with the guilt of spreading second-hand smoke. Overall, this is one of the most major steps one can take to improve quality of life than to stop smoking. For help in quitting, consult www.smokefree.gov/build-your-quit-plan or talk to your doctor.

Get active. Although it may sound like glib advice, “use it or lose it” is an important principle for staying independent and maintaining enjoyment in later years. The muscles and joints that we no longer put to work become less capable of working, and the bones that we don’t ask to bear weight grow brittle and less able to support us. The U.S. Surgeon General neatly sums up the facts in this report. The simple act of walking whenever possible can contribute significantly to the health and independence of older adults. More strenuous exercise may be beneficial, too. However, be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Be active mentally. “Being intellectually engaged may benefit the brain,” says the National Institute on Aging (NIA). “Learning new skills may improve your thinking ability too,” the NIA adds, recommending that older adults take classes, start new hobbies, read fiction and non-fiction, and play games, among other things. The point is that researchers think such activities may build “cognitive reserve,” which may help “compensate for age-related brain changes and health conditions that affect the brain.”

Eat healthy foods. Older adults need fewer calories than before, in part because their metabolism slows down, explains the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

Also, seniors need more of certain nutrients. “That means it’s more important than ever to choose foods that give you the best nutritional value,” says the NCOA. This does not mean it’s necessary to give up all the foods you love. Healthy eating, however, does require a balanced approach to eating, as well as a focus on proper portion sizes. Add lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet. They are rich in nutrients and fiber. Nuts are an excellent source of protein. It helps to lower your intake of processed sugar and of salt. Pay attention to labels. Canned vegetables and soups often contain inordinate amounts of salt. For an extensive list of good nutrition sources for seniors, visit https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/life-stages/seniors.

Prevent falls. As older adults, we tend to grow more vulnerable to falls. However, there are two types of positive action we can take to minimize the chances of falling. The first is to identify potential hazards, especially around the house or apartment, and eliminate them. These include securing loose carpet and throw rugs with adhesives, clearing paths cluttered with electrical cords or small objects, and illuminating dark hallways and bathrooms with night-lights. Also, wear shoes with good support. Become hazard conscious when outside the home as well, taking careful note of sidewalk obstructions, broken walkways, potholes and ice patches.

The second form of action to lessen the chance of falls is to improve one’s sense of balance. The Harvard Medical School recommends the ancient Chinese form of exercise known as tai chi as a good way to help older adults improve their balance. The exercise “uses a series of slow, flowing motions and deep, slow breathing to exercise the body and calm the mind.” The AARP suggests yoga as a good way to improve balance, among other benefits, and offers specific exercises for people in their 60s and 70s. Because seniors may be prone to certain physical conditions and limitations, it’s a good idea to let your doctor know before starting a tai chi or yoga program.

Manage stress. Stress is not conducive to good health at any age. It can cause headaches, stomach upset, poor sleep, and even impede resistance to disease. Stress “can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior,” says the Mayo Clinic, which offers a variety of strategies to control stress. Among them are tai chi and yoga, as discussed above as ways to improve balance. For your long-term health and well-being, pay attention to relieving stress, and make an effort to have fun. Spend time with friends, pursue a social life and embrace the power of positive thinking.

We have every reason to stay healthy in our older years. Make a habit of healthful behaviors to make the most of life.

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How Games May Benefit People Living with Dementia

Posted by: The Bristal

how games may benefit people living with dementia, the bristal assisted living, senior woman playing cards, senior home gamesGames – who doesn’t love them? From our earliest years, we learn, socialize and expand our knowledge of the world by playing all kinds of games: card games, board games, word games, games of chance and many others.

Game-playing is a mentally stimulating activity, and evidence exists that such mentally-stimulating activities can have a positive impact on older adults suffering from dementia.

Let’s take a look at the many ways that games have been found to have value, making the lives of older adults with dementia more fun, engaging and healthy.

Evidence that game-playing is associated with healthier brains

In March 2017, Mayo Clinic researchers published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association linking mentally-stimulating activity with improved cognitive function in older adults. The study, which tracked 1,929 U.S. adults, aged 70 and older, over a period of four years, specifically looked at whether these activities had an impact on the onset of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a condition indicating an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

The study’s researchers observed that “engaging in mentally stimulating activities in late life was associated with a decreased risk of incident MCI. More specifically, playing games and engaging in craft activities, computer use, and social activities significantly reduced the risk of incident MCI.”

Several additional studies support the idea that game-playing is linked with healthier brains, including:

  • A 2011 study of 488 older U.S. adults finding that participating in crossword puzzle games “was associated with delayed onset of memory decline in persons who developed dementia.”
  • A 2014 study of 329 older U.S. adults that linked “participation in mentally stimulating activities, such as card games” with improved cognition and larger brain volume.

While these studies associate game-playing with better cognitive function, it’s important to note that researchers have yet to establish an actual cause-effect relationship between game-playing and reduced incidence of dementia.

The many benefits of gaming for older adults

While the question of whether playing games can actually ward off declining mental function is still being researched, what is certain is that older adults – including those suffering from dementia – can benefit from gaming for many reasons, including:

  • A game for every mind. Games range from the very simple (for example, the classic “War” card game) to astoundingly complex (3D chess). Older adults in the first stages of Alzheimer’s may sometimes feel frustrated by complex games, but may greatly enjoy playing games that are easier to master. Just because a game is simple doesn’t mean that it’s not challenging, exciting and fun.
  • Gaming’s social aspect. Many games, including bingo, poker and even cooperative computer game play, can bring people together in an active endeavor that encourages communication and friendship. Results from a 2002 study of elderly populations in Sweden, published on the website of U.S. National Library of Medicine, suggest that “stimulating activity, either mentally or socially oriented, may protect against dementia, indicating that both social interaction and intellectual stimulation may be relevant to preserving mental functioning in the elderly.”

Gaming with your loved one

Every person is different, and some older adults enjoy gaming more than others. However, it may be worthwhile for you to gently challenge your loved one to a friendly game because of gaming’s many potential benefits. If you do, here are some suggested tips:

  • Do your homework. If you grew up with your loved one, you may already know which games he or she enjoys more than others. Older adults who are now in their 70s were kids or teenagers in the 1950s – the golden age of the TV game show. Ask your loved one which one he or she liked (or didn’t like), and see whether there’s a board-game or computer game that’s based on it. If so, consider bringing it on your next visit.
  • Set realistic expectations. Every person – and every brain – is different, and just because studies associate gaming and better brain health does not mean that it will work its magic with your loved one. It’s best to keep your expectations modest to avoid disappointment.
  • Focus on cooperative games. Many popular games involve competition, and while this can be fun, competitive games sometimes result in frustrating experiences for older adults with declining mental function. A cooperative game, however, in which you and your loved one team up to solve a challenge, aligns you both in a shared cause. A picture puzzle is an example of a cooperative game that you both may enjoy.

Games aren’t work or therapy (although they may have a therapeutic result). At times, even simple games can be less than fun for those with dementia. If it’s clear your loved one isn’t enjoying the experience, move on to something else. Remember that games are supposed to be fun.

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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