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.

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 … read more

Posted in: Lifestyle Blog
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Understanding the Common Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by: The Bristal

Alzheimer’s disease causes changes in the anatomy of the brain, which leads to declining mental functioning and memory loss. The range of symptoms, and the rate at which they progress, vary from person to person. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. In the early stage of Alzheimer’s, the patient or people around him or her may notice changes in cognition. Most people can do things to compensate for cognitive deficits in the early stages.

It’s always important to consult with a medical professional and receive a proper diagnosis when deficits in cognition are noted. Some … read more

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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Tips on How Seniors Can Stay Fit This Summer

Posted by: The Bristal

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:

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.

Take early morning … read more

Posted in: Lifestyle Blog
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When is the Right Time for a Memory Care Community & What to Consider?

Posted by: The Bristal

Alzheimer’s disease is the common form of dementia, whose effect is a progressive loss of cognitive abilities. Some families may choose to place their loved one with Alzheimer’s into a memory care community, a type of long-term care that is designed to meet the needs of a person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It provides around the clock care and assistance with the tasks of daily life, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, medications, etc. They also provide daily recreational programming and outings, all tailored to your loved one’s ability, so there is always something fun and social to do.

Memory care … read more

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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How to Help an Aging Loved One During a Hospital Stay

Posted by: The Bristal

Hospital stays tend to be especially stressful for seniors, who must give up the familiar surroundings of home in exchange for the strange environment of a medical facility. However, there are many things that a senior’s spouse, children or other caregiver can do to reduce the stress and anxiety from an aging loved one’s experience in the hospital.

Here are some helpful tips: For starters, be aware that in recent years, geriatric specialists increasingly have called attention to the phenomenon known as hospital-acquired delirium, a temporary form of mental impairment that may affect seniors in a hospital setting, especially those in … read more

Posted in: Caregiving & Family
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Ways to Boost Your Energy as a Caregiver

Posted by: The Bristal

The physical demands of taking care of a loved one can make the caregiver feel drained of energy at times. The caregiver may even be making the problem worse by practicing eating and lifestyle habits that contribute to the energy drain, or by overlooking opportunities to become more energetic. If you are a caregiver who feels in need of an energy boost, consider the following suggestions:

Eat the proper foods. It is hard to overstate the importance of proper food choices on boosting and maintaining energy levels. For example, while sugary snacks often are intuitive choices for a quick energy boost, … read more

Posted in: Caregiving & Family
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Tips for Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by: The Bristal

Dementia, a decline in mental ability that can interfere with daily life, has more than 100 forms, but Alzheimer’s disease is by far its most common one. For those caring for people with Alzheimer’s, the symptoms of the disease can sometimes be hard to cope with. The more you know about the behaviors of people with Alzheimer’s, the easier it is to be an effective and affectionate caregiver.

Alzheimer’s causes changes in the anatomy of the brain. The range of symptoms, and the rate at which they progress, vary from person to person. Therefore, it’s … read more

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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