Views, Reviews & Thank You's -

Words of Appreciation from Residents and Families of The Bristal

The Bristal has helped numerous families make the choice for Assisted Living. And when they come, they realize The Bristal provides even more than they were looking for. Consider the kind words and expressions of joy collected for you below.

These are letters from actual residents and families of The Bristal, and you'll find them composed in their original form - unedited - just as they came to us. What better way to express our commitment than having you read firsthand what our residents and families so generously say about us? We encourage you to visit The Bristal personally, so you can see what life is like here for yourself.

We'd like to thank those families represented here for their kind expressions of gratitude, and for allowing us to post their thoughts in their own words.

Can Apple Juice Cure Anxiety?

Posted by: The Bristal
Can Apple Juice Cure Anxiety?

Apples & Anixety

Dear Readers,

According to a study published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia, apple juice could help reduce anxiety, agitation and delusions in people with moderate-to-advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Investigators found a 27% improvement in symptoms when nursing home residents were given a four-ounce glass of apple juice twice a day for one month. Researchers believe fruits and vegetables help delay the disease’s onset and progression.

Regards,
Maryellen McKeon

Source: McKnight’s Long Term Care News, 07/10; Vol.31; No.7

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog, Senior Care
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Caregiving: Tips for Handling Frustration

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

I am concerned with my dad’s constant complaints. I’m frustrated. What can I do? -Maura, Oyster Bay, NY

Dear Maura,

Loss of function, understandably, would make anyone angry. Think about how you might feel if you were gradually losing your abilities. Which would impact you the most: the loss of some sight, a little hearing, dexterity, taste or mobility? Any one of these would frustrate you, so think about what it does to your Dad when there are probably several of these threatening his sense of independence.


When our children demonstrate limited abilities, we understand. So, why do we get so frustrated when it happens to our parents? The fact is, we expect infants and children to require care, so we’re mentally and emotionally prepared for it; we know they will progress. With seniors, it’s a little different, and the “not knowing” scares us. Listen to your dad. What does he really want: someone to talk with or someone to vent with? Here’s some tried and true advice…

  1. Stop: When you start to lose patience, don’t respond immediately. Take time to think about what’s really going on and try to react appropriately.
  2. Think: What does Dad really need from me? Think of an appropriate answer.
  3. Respond: Take action based on your Dad’s needs, not your emotions.

Best of luck to you, Maura. I hope this helps.

Regards,
Maryellen McKeon

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog, Senior Care
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Monthly Rent At The Bristal

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

Who determines the monthly rent at the Bristal? —Bob

Dear Bob,

There are several factors figured in when we determine the rate at our communities. Location is one that weighs heavily because of taxes. As well as what the expenses will be to run our community. We also do competitive analysis of other Assisted Living communities in the area and base our rates on the quality and service The Bristal communities provide. I always say there are many choices out there as well as many rates. I compare it to how you choose your vacation hotel. You can stay at a Motel 6 or The Hilton.

Regards,
Maryellen McKeon

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog, Senior Care
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Is Assisted Living Expensive?

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

Is Assisted Living as expensive as we hear? -Michelle, Manhattan, NY

Dear Michelle,

It’s definitely time to set the record straight, and I’m glad you have given me a chance to do so. Yes, there is a perception out there that Assisted Living is expensive, perhaps even prohibitively so. Yet, in actuality, it’s more affordable than many people think. Of course, every family’s situation is unique, but so are Assisted Living arrangements. They come in all tastes, shapes and sizes.

Options like apartment size, additional services and level of required care can all impact the cost to a family. And, of course, each Assisted Living organization has its own rate structure. But when families do a complete cost analysis, they usually end up with surprising results. For instance, how much is it really costing mom to live alone? Even if her house is paid off… between taxes, utilities, maintenance, insurance, personal and professional home care, and more, the total cost is always more than families believe. Plus, mom must still cook and clean on her own. Although, since most seniors won’t cook just for themselves, the reality is, she’s probably spending a fortune on takeout.

There are key financial factors that can greatly mitigate the cost of Assisted Living. Perhaps there’s a long-term care policy in place. If not, social security and a pension can also cover a big chunk. There are also Veterans Programs available. The lesson here is to do your homework. This is a decision far too important to make on notion and hearsay alone. Do the research. Make the calls. Take the tours. You’ll find Assisted Living quite affordable… and, for my money, preferable.

Regards,
Maryellen McKeon

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog, Senior Care
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Signs Your Parent Needs More Help

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

When do we know it’s time to consider a change for our mother? – Jen, Hewlett, NY

Dear Jen,

As an adult child, the first thing you look for are subtle changes in mood, surroundings and behavior. Perhaps your mom is not taking her meds properly. Dad is having difficulty getting around. Bills are piling up, forgotten or ignored. Interest in life issues begins to wane. Your loved one no longer leaves the house, so she really isn’t socializing anymore. They spend hours glued to the TV, dosing to the point where they can’t sleep at night. These are all telltale signs of a growing sadness and isolation. She may need more hands-on care, in a setting where she can stay active.

The great thing about Assisted Living is that residents can still enjoy their independence within the privacy of their own apartments, but the difference is they must share meals within a group setting. This means they have to come out, stay active, interact and socialize with others – all of which helps to keep them well… healthy, sharp and happy.

Regards,
Maryellen McKeon

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog, Senior Care
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Staying Active at Assisted Living

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

With mom 86, and dad recently gone, is Assisted Living a good choice to help mom stay active? -Diana, Manhattan, NY

Dear Diana,

The first thing you’ll want to do is to give your mother the time she needs to fully and sufficiently grieve. Your family shouldn’t make any major decisions during this critical period. And even after that vital time has passed, it’s difficult to suggest with certainty what might be best for her, because there are no cookie-cutter solutions.

However, that said, I can tell you why I personally prefer the Assisted Living approach. Assisted Living allows your mom to feel that she is part of a close-knit community, without feeling that she has given up her much-needed independence. Once she’s there, she will see that many others have experienced a similar loss, and this ability to relate will help her open up and make new friends – friends that will keep her active and engaged.

Assisted Living is a dynamic social environment as much as it is a caring one. Yes, it is a shared experience, but individual apartments offer residents privacy even in the midst of a vibrant community. There is restaurant-style dining, daily activities, hair salons and more, and each day is filled with engaging events that draw residents out of their apartments: workshops, talks, crafts, hobbies, and, more importantly, friends. This lifestyle option may just be exactly what she needs.

Regards,
Maryellen McKeon

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog, Senior Care
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Talking to Your Parents About Assisted Living

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

How do I broach the subject with my father about moving into an Assisted Living community? -Michael, Merrick, NY

Dear Michael,

No doubt, this will be one of the toughest conversations you will need to start with your father but start it you must, especially if he’s beginning to let himself go in care and appearance.

Here’s what I always advise: Acknowledge his need for independence and self-sufficiency, but stress your concern for his health and safety. Tell him no permanent decisions need to be made – and there’s no need to sell his house right away; but, yes, you are hoping he try a community for a month and get a sense of what life can be like again. If he doesn’t enjoy it, no harm done; he can go back home after 30 days. What usually happens in these situations, though, is that when they find themselves alone again, their sense of isolation and discomfort are heightened. They tell themselves: “I could be playing cards, having coffee with friends, or enjoying a fun trip. Why am I here alone?” They may have visited the community just to satisfy their children, and were even determined to dislike the experience, but upon returning home, they admit to themselves that the stay was far better than being lonely. Almost inevitably, they ask to return and stay on a permanent basis. And FYI: They end up making the best residents, because it ends up being their decision, and they truly want to be there.

So, do your research, find a quality community, and propose a temporary stay to your dad. If he’s like the majority of residents I encounter, he’ll eventually move in permanently and thank you for the opportunity.

Regards,
Maryellen McKeon

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog, Senior Care
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Assisted Living vs. Other Senior Care Services

Posted by: The Bristal

Dear Maryellen,

Why should I choose Assisted Living over other senior living settings? -Jay, East Williston, NY

Dear Jay,

In a word, I would say “engagement.” One of the most important things seniors lose with age is their sense of daily purpose – of usefulness and involvement. Their children are grown and busy. Their friends and family have moved away or passed on. Sadly, they spend a good part of their day contemplating the same.

Unlike nursing home care or in-home supervised care, I prefer Assisted Living because the lifestyle is social – not clinical. The Assisted Living day is focused on activity, on interacting with friends and staff, and on residents being as involved as they want to be. When residents seek privacy, they can retire to their rooms; however, they must come out to share meals, so socialization is built into the lifestyle. With the many programs, events and activities that are available, it’s like living in a hotel – and in the best cases, a fine hotel. There are housekeeping services and laundry services. Meals are served formally by a dining room wait staff. And mind you, this is not hospital food. This is delicious gourmet fare, nutritionally balanced for each resident’s individual dietary needs. Likely, there’s an onsite gym to help keep the body well and moving. There are people around 24/7. Medications are planned and consistently given, and doctors and physical therapists come to visit the community on a routine basis, sparing children from having to miss work to help parents keep their appointments. And there are endless movies, trips, computer classes, workshops and seminars to keep the mind sharp.

In short, it becomes “home” with new freedom, where residents, friends and family come and go as they please. Assisted Living residents don’t feel like they are being “put away.” In fact, it’s just the opposite; they experience a whole new lifestyle – one that ensures safe, secure, fun and active community-based involvement. It’s living, Jay, Assisted Living… life with a little help.

Regards,
Maryellen McKeon

Posted in: Dear Maryellen, Lifestyle Blog, Senior Care
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