Dear Maryellen Blog | Q&A

The Dear Maryellen Blog is designed to giving you first-hand guidance from our Senior Vice President of Operations, Maryellen McKeon. Maryellen offers years of compassionate experience, and offers her counseling to family members of residents with the optimum level of concern. Find answers to your questions about senior living here.

Risk for Seniors in the Summer Months

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

I’m more curious about this than anything else. As you know, we just had a pretty mild winter, and I’ve heard predictions about it being a grueling summer. Shouldn’t folks be extra watchful of their elderly loved ones during the summer? -David, Greenlawn, NY

Dear David,

I’m so happy you’ve raised this issue, because, yes, it is a serious one, and it needs more attention. While so much public debate centers on the existence or non-existence of global warming, the more important issue for me, of course, is that we thoughtfully remind ourselves to look after the seniors in … read more

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Senior Care
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Assisted Living: Enhancing the Quality of Life

Posted by: The Bristal

This is mainly a thank you note for sponsoring the Taking Care of My Parents Webinar last month. I am a Creative Arts Therapist who has enjoyed the privilege of creatively enhancing the quality of life of seniors for many years. I also have gone through many of the steps you described for my two wonderful elderly parents. I am certain that the information presented at the webinar aided many families in finding solutions for their parents.

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Senior Care, Testimonials
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Caregiving & Mesothelioma

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Readers,

Here is some important information about a disease that inflicts Seniors and other populations that have been exposed to asbestos poisoning. This article was sent to me last week by Kelsey Rathbun from The Mesothelioma Center.

The Importance of Mesothelioma Caregivers
The role that caregivers play in the life of someone with mesothelioma cannot be understated. Whether the primary caregiver is a family member, a friend or a neighbor, the responsibilities of this role directly affect the quality of life of the person fighting this disease.

Mesothelioma caregivers are engaged to provide physical and emotional support during the most critical periods of … read more

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Senior Care
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Activity Calendars at Different Communities

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

Hello. I was just wondering why some of The Bristal communities have more daily resident activities than others. -Lisa

Dear Lisa,

All Bristal activities are scheduled at the individual communities with resident input. Each community has monthly planning meetings to discuss and plan events. Please feel free to meet with the Executive Director or Recreation Director with any suggestions or ideas you think may be of interest. We welcome all suggestions.

Regards,
Maryellen McKeon

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog, Senior Care
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Musical Training Can Overcome Age-related Hearing Loss

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Readers,

Hmmmm… did you know that lifelong musical training, particularly when continued late in life, can help overcome age-related hearing loss, according to an interesting new study? Are there any musicians or serious music aficionados out there? Have you heard about “developing an ear”? Well, here’s some good news. Listen up.

Researchers at Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory measured how the brains of young musicians, older musicians, and non-musicians responded to auditory stimuli. As published in the journal of Neurobiology of Aging, they found that older musicians had what they called a “distinct neural advantage” over young musicians and non-musicians — … read more

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Senior Care
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Women Feel More Pain Than Men

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

I’ve heard it said all my life that women tend to “feel” more than men. But does this also include pain? My 75-year-old mom complains about body pains all the time. Is this just age-related crankiness, or could she be somehow feeling more pain than my dad simply because she is a woman? Just curious. -Belinda, Merrick, NY

Dear Belinda,

We certainly don’t need high-profile scientific studies to draw connections between body aches and age. That correlation goes without saying. But interestingly enough, there has been some serious research conducted that suggests women don’t only feel things emotionally more … read more

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Senior Care
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Anorexia in the Elderly

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Readers,

I would like to make you aware of a little known fact regarding one particularly dangerous risk associated with growing old: anorexia — or, more specifically, as it is known: “the anorexia of aging.” The fact that you are witnessing your aging mom or dad slimming down more than usual might simply be due to normal metabolic and behavioral changes that come with getting older. But sometimes, it’s something more.

Studies show that roughly two-thirds of long-term care residents over the age of 65 experience unintended weight loss. That’s a pretty significant number. And this puts residents at higher risk … read more

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Senior Care
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Minimize the Risk of a Stroke

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

My dad is in his mid-eighties, sharp as a tack. We don’t see him dealing with memory problems except the normal forgetfulness that comes with age. (Who isn’t these days, right?!) But before mom died, she suffered two strokes, and I was wondering if there were any diet changes dad can make to help him avoid the same? -Lorraine, Babylon, NY

Dear Lorraine,

A lot of study has been conducted in this area, and many great ideas come immediately to mind. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, and even when death does not … read more

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog, Senior Care
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Financial Assistance for Vets

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

I just wanted to thank you for all you do for seniors and their families each and every day at The Bristal. Please help us get the word to our senior veterans and surviving spouses regarding the VA’s “Non-Service Connected Disability Pension.” Direct them to our site at www.seniorvet.org to see if they may be able to get this wonderful VA benefit. All services are provided free to families as required by Federal Law. Happy Holidays. -David Bolser

Dear David,

Thank you so much for posting that information. I frequently answer inquiries about the availability of financial … read more

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Senior Care
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Volunteering: Give a Bit of Yourself

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Readers,

After welcoming the holiday season with Thanksgiving (both literally and emotionally), it gives me great pleasure to write this entry and to wish all of my faithful and thoughtful readers the happiest, healthiest and most hopeful time — for you and all of your loved ones.

I thank you for another year of challenging Senior Living questions. They have provided me with an invaluable forum for sharing information I believe is touching families… and there is no greater privilege that we are given during this lifetime than to reach out and touch other lives. Not just those immediately around us, … read more

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog
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