The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

The Bristal Assisted Living Blog is a guide for seniors and caregivers. We offer information geared towards helping you remain active, healthy and happy and provide valuable resources to determine if and how to initiate the assisted living process. Access our resources here to see what our assisted living communities around Long Island, Westchester and New Jersey have to offer.

How Alzheimer’s Disease Was Discovered

Posted by: The Bristal

The neurodegenerative disease we call Alzheimer’s is named for the German physician Alois Alzheimer, who first identified and described it more than a hundred years ago.

In 1901, Dr. Alzheimer, grief-stricken because of the recent death of his wife, plunged himself into clinical work with extraordinary fervor. To divert his mind from sorrow, he began personally examining all new patients admitted to his Frankfurt-based hospital at length, compiling extensive documentation on their conditions and prognoses.

Among the patient examined by Dr. Alzheimer was Auguste Deter, a 50-year-old woman experiencing memory loss, suspicion, agitation and other extreme psychological problems.  After Auguste … read more

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care, Senior Care
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Kitchen Safety Tips for Seniors

Posted by: The Bristal

The modern kitchen is central to American life, so much so that Julia Child’s actual kitchen from her Massachusetts home is a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. As we get older, however, the kitchen can become an increasingly dangerous place, where a senior’s physical or cognitive impairments inflate the potential for fires, accidents and food-borne illnesses.

Fortunately, there are simple steps that seniors and their loved ones and caregivers can take to help reduce or eliminate the common dangers posed by the kitchen. Here are important kitchen safety tips.

Avoiding kitchen fire hazards:

Do not … read more

Posted in: Lifestyle Blog
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Outdoor Walking Tips for Seniors

Posted by: The Bristal

Some 2,400 years ago, the Greek physician Hippocrates said: “That which is used, develops. That which is not used wastes away.” Today, that bit of ancient wisdom is often reflected in a more succinct phrase: “Use it or lose it.” Whichever way one says it, the concept has never lost its validity. In fact, it has become especially relevant to the subject of walking as a means of helping seniors preserve their mobility and overall state of health.

Virtually all medical authorities agree that walking is a vitally important form of exercise for older adults (including those who use a cane … read more

Posted in: Lifestyle Blog
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How Dementia Can Affect Communication

Posted by: The Bristal

People with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia can find themselves gradually closed off from the world due to increasing cognitive dysfunction. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this condition affects their ability to remember, speak and understand what they hear from others. Other challenges can include difficulties with writing and reading.

Your loved one may notice difficulty in finding the right words when speaking. He or she may describe a familiar object because they cannot recall its name—nouns are the first type of words to be affected. Trains of thought are frequently derailed, and logical word sequences become … read more

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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How Caregivers Can Help Loved Ones with Oral Care

Posted by: The Bristal

As seniors age, they become more vulnerable to dental and gum problems. The danger is especially great for persons with dementia, who may lose the ability to properly practice oral care and be unable to alert caregivers to developing problems. However, caregivers can take several important steps to help their loved ones head off or lessen the effects of oral problems.

Several factors combine to make dental and gum problems more common among seniors. The Centers for Disease Control notes, for example, that gum recession, common in advanced age, exposes more and more of the dental roots to food, often resulting … read more

Posted in: Caregiving & Family
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Dancing May Improve Brain Health in Seniors

Posted by: The Bristal

The intense search for effective Alzheimer’s treatments has uncovered persuasive evidence that performing certain complex tasks may help the brain form new neural pathways that can slow cognitive decline and help ward off dementia. Most of those tasks are mental in nature, such as reading and doing challenging puzzles. However, there is also at least one physical activity that has been shown to help improve brain health: dancing.

Attention first began to focus on dancing with the results of a landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2003. It showed that among 11 forms of … read more

Posted in: Lifestyle Blog
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Why Assisted Living is a Great Choice for Seniors

Posted by: The Bristal

Today’s seniors often live longer than members of previous generations did, but health challenges — both physical and cognitive — in the senior years can make it difficult or impossible to go on living independently at home. For seniors, the most basic daily chores; dressing, bathing, doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, vacuuming and so on; require more effort. While many elderly people want to remain in the old family house or apartment — with all its comforts and memories — the inability to keep it up can become an overwhelming burden.

Assisted living communities provide a great option for … read more

Posted in: Transitioning to Assisted Living
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Understanding the Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by: The Bristal

Alzheimer’s disease progresses slowly through a series of stages, gradually worsening over the period of a decade or more. By understanding those stages, a caregiver is better prepared to support his or her loved one, and to benefit from the activities and emotional connections that are still viable in the early and middle stages.

Because experts differ on how precisely they characterize each stage of the disease, opinions as to the actual number of stages vary. The Mayo Clinic, for example, delineates five stages, while other authoritative sources break down the characteristics of the disease into more or fewer categories. For … read more

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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Helpful Relaxation Techniques for People with Dementia

Posted by: The Bristal

Anxiety and panic attacks often afflict people with symptoms of dementia, especially in the early stages of the disease, as they first come to grips with the loss of memory and declining cognitive capabilities. Caregivers can help calm their loved ones with a number of time-tested relaxation techniques. Not all of them will work in every circumstance, or with every individual, so a caregiver may have to take a trial and error approach to determine what steps are most helpful in getting a loved one to relax.

Begin by making your own assessment as to what factors seem to trigger anxiety … read more

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care, Caregiving & Family
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Top Ways to Help Seniors Reduce Stress

Posted by: The Bristal

Reducing stress is a major concern for seniors, often even more so for those with a chronic illness or a sedentary lifestyle. When we’re under stress, the brain releases hormones that support our “fight or flight” instincts. It’s a survival mechanism that makes us temporarily stronger and faster. However, “In late life, when the immune system tends to show functional decline, the effects of stress are especially potent. Stress can not only mimic, but also exacerbate the effects of aging,” as revealed in a National Institutes of Health study.

Moreover, seniors who lead an inactive existence, whether by choice … read more

Posted in: Lifestyle Blog
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