The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Seniors

Posted by: The Bristal

Most people associate the term “physical therapy” with recovery from serious injury or with alleviating the effects of a chronic ailment. Physical therapy (or PT), however, also can be an effective and versatile tool for helping to prevent injury, especially for seniors. For example, as we age, muscles tend to weaken, bones become more brittle, and a host of conditions may negatively affect our balance – all of which makes older adults more vulnerable to falls and serious injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the number one cause of injury among people 65 and older. A principal objective of PT for seniors, therefore, is to counter those age-related physical tendencies and help keep seniors independent and active.

How does PT aim to accomplish that? With exercises and various forms of therapy that improve strength, range of motion, balance, coordination and flexibility, and often help to relieve chronic pain as well. Different types of therapy may involve the use of heat, ice, electrical stimulation, water (hydrotherapy) or manual manipulation.

Helping to prevent falls and serious injuries is only one potential benefit of physical therapy for seniors. Here are some chronic conditions among seniors that often see improvement from PT:

Arthritis. Different therapeutic techniques are brought into play for the many parts of the body that can be affected by arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation says a physical therapist can, among other things, “Teach you proper posture and body mechanics for common daily activities to relieve pain and improve function.” The goals of the therapy should include improving mobility and restoring the use of affected joints.

Osteoporosis. This is a fairly common condition in which bone density has declined to a point where the person becomes susceptible to fractures, including stress fractures, which can occur even without a fall. The condition is most prevalent among women, but men can be affected, too. Therapists usually treat osteoporosis with weight-bearing exercises or resistance training. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) recommends both, but cautions that people who already have had a fracture or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis should stick to low-impact exercises, such as fast walking, stair-step exercises and low-impact aerobics. It’s always best to consult your physician before starting any new regimen.

Parkinson’s disease. Physical therapy helps sufferers increase mobility, strength and balance, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. A special form of PT, known as amplitude training, is designed specifically to slow the physical effects of the disease. You can read more about it

Spinal stenosis. When the spinal cord is compressed because the space within the spinal canal has narrowed, the condition is known as spinal stenosis. The Mayo Clinic notes that people with this condition tend to become less active to avoid pain, which leads to muscle weakness, resulting in greater pain.  Physical therapy can help by rebuilding strength and endurance, and helping the flexibility and stability of the spine.

These are just some of the conditions that may be improved with physical therapy. Others include headaches, tendinitis, bursitis, foot pain and some types of post-operative pain, notes Stanford University’s Stanford Health Care division.  Start a discussion with your doctor to determine if PT might help improve your condition.



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CBS News: Study Suggests Dancing Could Slow The Effects Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by: The Bristal

The Bristal at Lake Success and the Feinstein Institute continue to work together on a study focusing on the impact that dance therapy has on the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

We are so proud of the Feinstein Institute for the amazing research they are conducting at our only community fully dedicated to memory care, The Bristal at Lake Success. We hope that this ongoing study will lead to breakthroughs that could benefit not only residents of The Bristal, but anyone living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Check out some clips from the program:

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Helping a Loved One Quit Smoking

Posted by: The Bristal

Help a loved one quit smoking

Given the multitude of ways in which smoking can harm a person, helping a loved one quit smoking could very well be a life-saving achievement, but do not expect an easy task. The Harvard Medical School notes that only about six percent of smokers who try to quit the habit for the first time succeed at being smoke free for more than a month, and on average, it takes five to seven attempts before the smoker quits for good. Therefore, neither you nor your loved one should ever lose heart because of relapses. Success comes with perseverance.

Your attitude and behavior, as the helper, can be an important factor. Experts caution against being judgmental, nagging, bullying or expressing dismay when an ex-smoker slips back. Try to display patience and understanding at all times, especially when your loved one is experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Here are some concrete suggestions to follow to improve the chances for success:

Create a smokeless environment. Avoid anything that might trigger an urge to smoke. Discard ashtrays, matches and lighters; and remove the smell of smoke from clothing and household fabrics, and freshen the air. Do not allow other household members or visitors to smoke on the premises. The same treatment should apply to the car as well. Is your loved one still working, even part time? Don’t forget the office either.

Encourage avoidance of external smoking environments. Casinos, racetracks, clubs and even the site of the occasional poker game are places where smoking may be endemic. With gentle persuasion, your loved one may decide to avoid them while trying to kick the habit.

Put it on paper. Sit down with your loved and list all the reasons why he or she wants to quit. Be unsparing and brutally frank about the many horrible diseases that smoking causes or worsens, but also include the more personal goals: watching the grandkids grow up; taking that exotic vacation you’ve long planned; enjoying the hobbies you finally have time for; and taking care of each other in your senior years. Don’t leave out the financial burden that smoking may be imposing on you and your loved one, and the various ways that money could be better spent. When all of that is in writing, choose a quit date and instill the determination that your loved one follow through on it.

Make yourself available. Be sure your loved one knows you are there to listen if he or she needs to talk. Make it clear that you recognize how difficult quitting can be.

Let others know about this plan. With your loved one’s knowledge, tell friends and associates that he or she has quit smoking and enlist their support in avoiding potential triggers for relapse. Doing so also should help them understand any behavioral changes resulting from withdrawal.

Help with chores. The American Cancer Society points out that lightening your loved one’s responsibilities can help relieve the stress that often accompanies an attempt to quit smoking. Perhaps, do some of the cooking or the laundry, or handle the household finances for a while.

Avoid overreacting to a stolen puff. It is not uncommon for a person trying to quit to surrender to an overwhelming urge for a puff or two. This doesn’t necessarily mean the battle is lost. It may simply be a “survival” tactic to carry on the fight. Very few smokers are able to quit cold turkey.

Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms. Irritability, headaches, anxiety and depression are just some of the possible effects of nicotine withdrawal. The symptoms usually begin to taper off within two weeks. Try to divert your loved one with activities he or she particularly enjoys. Be sympathetic and don’t take any aberrant behavior personally. FDA-approved over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies, available as skin patches, gum and lozenges, can be helpful in easing withdrawal symptoms.

If necessary, try, try and try again. As noted above, failure is commonplace, especially in the first few attempts. Emphasize that fact to your loved one and encourage another try. Point out that the failed attempt was a learning experience that will help bring success eventually. Stay positive and express confidence that he or she will in time be a non-smoker.

Consider support groups. Your loved one may find useful outside help in the form of support groups for smokers trying to quit. The American Heart Association lists several major sources of such groups here.

Assisting your loved one in breaking the smoking habit may take months or even years of hard work and determination. Patience and perseverance are rarely easy, but always worth the end result. With a positive attitude, no-quit mindset and empathetic perspective, you can help your loved one quit smoking and get back to a healthier and happier life.

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Massapequa Director of Food Service Asked to Speak at Nassau BOCES Certificate Ceremony

Posted by: The Bristal

The Bristal at Massapequa’s Director of Food Service, Ian Rousseau, was asked to be the keynote speaker at the certificate ceremony at Nassau BOCES. Ian, who has been a team member of The Bristal for almost eight years, was a graduate of the Food Service program at BOCES. Since receiving his certificate from the program, he has gone on to travel all around the world cooking for others, including three U.S. presidents! Fortunately, he found a home here at The Bristal at Massapequa as the Director of Food Service. As he spoke to the graduates he shared his love for his job and encouraged them to be kind, observant and caring in all of their future endeavors. We always love to see The Bristal team members keeping in touch with the people and programs that led them to where they are today, and inspiring others with their stories of success.

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Best of Assisted Living and Best of Senior Living Awards from

Posted by: The Bristal

The Bristal at Westbury, The Bristal at Holtsville, The Bristal at Lynbrook and The Bristal at Lake Success All Receive 2018 Awards from

We are honored to have four of our locations recognized by as 2018 award recipients: The Bristal Assisted Living at Westbury, The Bristal Assisted Living at Holtsville, and The Bristal Assisted Living at Lynbrook have received 2018 Best of Assisted Living Awards, and The Bristal at Lake Success, our first community exclusively dedicated to memory care, has received the 2018 Best of Senior Living Award. We are truly grateful to our residents and their families who have consistently provided us with incredibly positive feedback which reinforces our commitment to provide the best in senior and assisted living. is one of the nation’s top sites for senior care services ratings and reviews. This ranking places The Bristal in the top one percent of senior care providers throughout the nation. We are proud that our communities in Westbury, Holtsville, Lynbrook and Lake Success each have ratings above 4.5 stars as well as the great support from our residents and their families that qualified us for this honor.

Online reviews are extremely important in helping families make informed decisions for their loved ones in terms of the best senior care options. In a study completed by and A Place For Mom, families are over 100% more likely to choose a 5-star community over a community with no reviews at all. We are happy to instill confidence in families searching for the best assisted living care, including Alzheimer’s care, that The Bristal is the best choice for their loved ones.

To Executive Director Noemi Valentino and her team in Westbury, Executive Director George Solano and his team in Holtsville, Executive Director Wendy Gregg and her team in Lynbrook and Executive Director Kimberly Bent and her team in Lake Success: Congratulations on the well-deserved honor of being awarded some of the best in senior living and assisted living in 2018 by!

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The Bristal Better U Hofstra University Lecture – December 2017

Posted by: The Bristal

The Holiday Season Goes Global

The Bristal Better U Hofstra University December Lecture titled “The Holiday Season Goes Global” was presented by Hofstra University Continuing Education faculty member, Dr. Ronald Brown.

Developed in conjunction with Hofstra University Continuing Education and Pace University, The Bristal Better U is an exciting lifelong learning and personal enrichment program that we offer here at The Bristal. This innovative distance learning program is completely voluntary, it is structured in flexible and easily accessible ways, and as the name implies, it’s a great way for our residents to continue exploring, learning and engaging in the fascinating world around them. The BBU presents lectures, discourses and other educational components of interest to residents throughout all communities of The Bristal, covering a wide range of topics of both general and specific interest.

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Alzheimer’s Disease: Tips for Maintaining Independence

Posted by: The Bristal

People with early stage Alzheimer’s disease may notice impairment in language, memory, insight and social skills. The changes in ability to remember, follow instructions and carry out tasks that used to be routine, can become challenging. “Accepting changes in your abilities and adapting new coping skills can help you restore balance to your life…,” says the Alzheimer’s Association. In doing so, you can better remain active and retain a sense of control over your life.

What does a coping strategy look like?

  • Focus on what daily or frequent goals are most important to you. Be realistic about what you can still do. Make lists of the steps necessary to carry out a routine, such as writing checks or going online to pay bills, shopping for groceries and so on. Recruit help from family, friends or caregivers when you need it in order to help make the tasks less stressful to carry out.
  • Stay on a daily routine, with a written schedule of what you want to accomplish and when. This can help you prevent mistakes and omissions.
  • Do one thing at a time, and rather than trying to tackle multiple things on one day, try to complete each task before you start another. Take breaks if necessary.
  • Make time for activity and pleasure—go outdoors if you can, keep your body moving on a regular basis, and do the things you’ve always enjoyed.
  • Accept help from others. Though it may seem like a show of vulnerability, seeking help actually adds to your abilities to remain independent and in control.

Specific ways to stay organized:

Small steps to stay organized can be a big help. Keep a notepad or paper, calendar and/or diary and record everyday tasks, to-dos and things you want to remember later. Have a bulletin board where you and those who live with you or care for you can post reminders, schedules, etc. Label things you use often to identify them and show where they are stored. Get a clock that shows the date and day as well as the time. Select one place to put things, such as keys, glasses and a wallet, so you can always find them as you come in or out.

Maintain a personal phone/address book and be sure that contact information for family, friends, healthcare professionals and services you use often are all in one place and well-organized. Enter all of your important phone numbers and email addresses in your smart phone; ask someone to help you if necessary.

When it comes to medications, a pill box is a must. Set it up each evening for the next day’s dosages. Ask your caregiver to remind you when to take your next dose; if you use a smart phone or other device, set up electronic reminders. Use a pad of sticky notes to mark each medication bottle after you have removed the daily dose from each and put it in your pill box.    Here are additional tips to manage medications:

Technology tips to help stay safe:

  • Make sure that you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home and they are working.
  • Consider wearing a medical alert device that calls for help when you cannot reach a telephone.

Finally, be willing to evaluate how you’re doing, and make alterations when called for. Ask yourself if your daily goals are still practical—should any be added or dropped? Is there a better way to do something that will make you feel more in control? As you live with Alzheimer’s disease, each day presents new challenges as well as new chances to continue to feel independent.

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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The Bristal Better U Hofstra University Lecture – November 2017

Posted by: The Bristal

Thanksgiving: The Holiday That Makes Us All Americans

The Bristal Better U Hofstra University November Lecture titled “Thanksgiving: The Holiday that makes us all Americans” was presented by Hofstra University Continuing Education faculty member, Dr. Ronald Brown.

Developed in conjunction with Hofstra University Continuing Education and Pace University, The Bristal Better U is an exciting lifelong learning and personal enrichment program that we offer here at The Bristal. This innovative distance learning program is completely voluntary, it is structured in flexible and easily accessible ways, and as the name implies, it’s a great way for our residents to continue exploring, learning and engaging in the fascinating world around them. The BBU presents lectures, discourses and other educational components of interest to residents throughout all communities of The Bristal, covering a wide range of topics of both general and specific interest.

Posted in: Bristal Better U
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What to Do When Your Loved One Is Coming Home from the Hospital

Posted by: The Bristal

Your loved one is about to come home from the hospital. Are you properly prepared for the homecoming? The answer to this question can be critically important, helping to determine whether your loved one’s return leads to a successful recuperation, or with a readmission to the hospital.

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, one in five Medicare patients is readmitted to a hospital within 30 days of discharge, and a frequent contributing factor is inadequate access to proper resources at home. Advance planning and preparation can help ensure that your loved one has the resources he or she needs, and remove much of the stress and anxiety that you, yourself, might experience as a caregiver.

Bear in mind that it’s never too soon to start planning. If the hospitalization is sudden because of an emergency, start thinking about your loved one’s discharge as soon as his or her condition is stabilized. If it is a planned hospital stay, make the homecoming a major part of the overall planning process right from the start. Talk to your loved one’s doctors about how long the hospital stay is likely to be, and the special services or equipment he or she may be likely to require at home, such as a hospital bed, shower chair or part-time nurse. Also, discuss whether a rehabilitation facility may be advisable before a return home.

In the hospital, get acquainted as soon as possible with the social worker or discharge planner, both of whom can be helpful in keeping you apprised of a planned discharge date and preparing for it. Be certain not to let a discharge date take you by surprise. Medicare has strict rules about covering hospital stays and may not cover any days in which hospital-level care is not considered necessary for your loved one.

Here are specific factors to consider when preparing to bring your loved one home:

Managing the medication. This can be a surprisingly complex task, especially if medicines taken for the reason your loved one was hospitalized need to be included, along with medicines taken for unrelated conditions. To avoid unwanted drug interactions, always make sure the hospital doctors and your loved one’s private physician are each aware of all the medicines being taken. Make a master list of all drugs to be taken at home, the amount of each, and how often each should be taken. Also include any potentially serious side effects to watch for, and what to do if any show up. All of this should be clearly written down to avoid confusion and mistakes.

Accommodating special equipment. Some basic medical assist items, such as walkers, shower chairs and wheelchairs, can be acquired and stored with relative ease. Others, however, will have special space and power source requirements for which advance planning is necessary. Hospital beds and oxygen concentrators, for example, fall into this category. Safety bars in the bathroom, if required, may have to be installed on tiled walls. These are important factors to consider before the hospital discharge date.

Assessing one’s own caregiving skills. Depending, of course, on your loved one’s condition, he or she will require varying levels of care upon return from the hospital. A useful step in the planning process is to make an honest self-assessment of the depth of one’s own skills and capabilities as a caregiver to a recuperating patient. Ask your loved one’s doctor for a thorough description of the tasks that will be required, and measure them against your own physical and emotional state. Be as realistic, loving and compassionate as possible in order to accurately determine how much outside assistance you will need to ensure your loved one receives adequate care. If you expect to perform potentially complex nursing tasks for your loved one, insist on adequate training from the hospital staff. In addition, do not exclude relatives and friends who may be able to help with your planning.

When a loved one is in the hospital, it is not always easy to focus clearly on matters beyond the immediate situation. Advance thinking about the day he or she returns, however, can head off problems, make life easier for the both of you, and lead to a successful recovery.

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New Link Between Poor Sleep and Alzheimer’s

Posted by: The Bristal

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a loss of mental ability that is progressive and has a severe impact on daily life. New longitudinal study evidence presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in the summer of 2017 points to a connection between breathing disorders that interrupt sleep (sleep apnea), and certain biological markers for Alzheimer’s disease.

In people with sleep apnea, the breath can pause for seconds up to minutes, as much as 30 times in an hour, causing the sleeper to go from deep to light sleep, or jerk awake. The condition cannot be diagnosed with a blood test or office visit. Unless an individual is present to hear the snoring or observe the broken sleep, the sleeper may never become aware of it. Apnea is frequently caused by blockage of the airway, which can cause loud snoring, and also frequently affects people who are overweight, as well as children with tonsil enlargement.

The researchers at Wheaton College in Illinois studied both cognitively normal and mildly cognitive impaired subjects. They found that interrupted sleep caused by apnea and other types of disordered breathing can be connected to an increase in beta-amyloid deposits in the brain, which is a biological marker of Alzheimer’s disease. The studies also showed that interventions to reduce sleep apnea may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

As reported in The Washington Post, one of the presenters of this new data at the conference, Megan Hogan of Wheaton College, stated, “During sleep . . . your brain has time to wash away all the toxins that have built up throughout the day. Continually interrupting sleep may give it less time to do that.” Her hypothesis based on the study results is that sleep apnea may impede clearance of these toxins. According to Ronald C. Petersen, Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, a failure to spend time in the deepest stages of sleep because of breathing obstruction may cause build-up of “bad amyloids” in the brain tissue.

Another study done at the University of Wisconsin and published in the journal Neurology, found that self-reported disordered sleep in otherwise healthy adults with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease put them at greater risk for the disease, and suggests that strategies for improving sleep may reduce disease risk.

Suggested ways to help promote good nighttime sleep for seniors include keeping up a regular schedule for meals and bedtime; avoiding alcohol, caffeine and nicotine; getting exposure to sunshine in the morning, exercising daily, but not within four hours of bedtime, and relieving pain. Depression, sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome and other treatable illnesses can contribute to poor sleep; a thorough evaluation by a doctor can detect and relieve these conditions and make for a better night’s rest.

Posted in: Alzheimer’s & Memory Care
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The Bristal at East Northport Named “Caring Super Star of 2018” by

Posted by: The Bristal

The Bristal at East Northport Honored as “Caring Super Star of 2018” for Excellence in Assisted Living

Positive Consumer Ratings Led to This Industry-Leading Distinction from


The Bristal at East Northport is pleased to announce it has been selected as a “Caring Super Star of 2018” for service excellence in Assisted Living in three or more years since 2012. In ratings and reviews from family caregivers and older adults themselves, The Bristal at East Northport earned a 5-star consumer rating (the highest possible score) within the last year, while also having a high volume of positive reviews and meeting other qualifying criteria for this national honor year after year. Nationwide, there are 267 senior living communities honored as Caring Stars for 2018, and 78 who have earned the Caring Super Stars designation, so The Bristal at East Northport truly stands out as among the top senior living communities in the country.

In New York State, only two assisted living communities were named Caring Super Stars of 2018, and The Bristal is so proud that East Northport was among those honored.

Online reviews help Americans research and select the best senior care providers for aging or ailing loved ones. In multiple research studies, the majority of family caregivers have indicated that they turn to the Internet and consumer reviews when narrowing their options among senior living communities in their area, and have relied on these perspectives as much as or more so than in-person recommendations from geriatric professionals or medical personnel. Now entering its seventh year, the Caring Stars annual list helps consumers see which senior living communities are top rated by other families just like theirs.

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Tips for Seniors to Cope with Loneliness

Posted by: The Bristal

Loneliness is a challenge we all face at some times of our lives, even when we’re not actually alone. Loneliness can impose an extreme mental and physical burden, taking a large toll on mental well-being, but also on health and longevity as well as the ability to carry on activities of daily living.

According to doctors at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, studies show that persistent loneliness “causes accelerated aging with multiple health consequences.” They add that loneliness is “associated with problematic changes in the cardiovascular, hormonal and immune systems.”

Among the factors that give rise to loneliness in seniors, along with chronic illness and reduced ability to get around and manage for oneself, are physical isolation, deaths of loved ones and other lapses in emotional support networks, which can happen quickly and deprive a senior of a positive outlook. For older adults whose horizons may be shrinking due to the loss of loved ones and decreased mobility, it is possible to adjust and continue to enjoy a vibrant life.

Effective ways to cope with increasing isolation and loneliness among seniors do exist. Here are some that are widely recommended by medical authorities and other experts on aging:

Venture into the community. Adult education courses, houses of worship, senior centers, volunteer charity programs, civic affairs committees, even grass-roots political action groups offer a huge bounty of opportunity to get out and meet people with like-minded interests. New friendships are waiting to be made, not to mention the benefits of meeting new challenges and the sense of achievement that comes with new learning or promoting a good cause. Do not overlook all of the ways your local community makes it possible to meet new people and relieve the sense of isolation.

Join a book club. Did you think that book clubs are an artifact of a more genteel past? That would be a misconception. According to Publisher’s Weekly magazine, the 145-year-old authority on the publishing industry, book clubs are flourishing, even amidst the growing presence of e-reading devices. In fact, many book stores encourage and support the clubs. It’s a venerable institution that remains a fertile source of new friends and acquaintances.

Draw upon past interests. At a much younger age, perhaps you had an interest in photography, weather science, archeology, or other fascinating topics or activities. Many people do, but then largely abandon their avocational passions as their chosen profession begins to dominate their time. Revisiting those early interests now can lead you to connect with people who share them, injecting a new vitality to your daily experience.

Consider a part-time job. Employment in the community can reinvigorate your daily routine and ease the sense of isolation. Many employers ascribe good work characteristics to retired seniors and are happy to have them on the job. If the work is in retail, you may enjoy the frequent contact with the public.   

 Make a canine connection. If you’re able to care for a dog, you’ll find that in many ways, the dog returns the favor, with an emotional bond that conveys at least some of the benefits of human bonding. Caring for the animal also provides a sense of purpose. It can work with a cat also, but Fido bestows a bonus: a dog regularly gets you out of the house and into the street, where you get exercise and an opportunity to encounter neighbors and other dog walkers.

Make use of local services. If your ability to get around is limited because of a disability, find out what services are available to keep you mobile. Government or charity-sponsored paratransit, such as Access-A-Ride in New York City, can help you overcome the physical challenges of staying connected to the community.

The effects of aging and chronic illness can make the world seem smaller. However, by taking a good look at what your community offers, it’s possible for seniors to maximize opportunities to cope, find companionship and connection, and retain independence.

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Feinstein Institute Teams with The Bristal Assisted Living to Study if Dance Can Slow Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted by: The Bristal

The Bristal and The Feinstein Institute are proud of their collaborative work being done at The Bristal at Lake Success. Below is a recent press release from The Feinstein Institute after a recent event to introduce this amazing new dance study.

Feinstein Institute for Medical Research dance study

Clockwise from right: Dance therapist and member of Dr. Peter Davies’ team, Cecilia Fontanesi with The Bristal Assisted Living residents Berte Odnoposoff, Esther Feldman and Phyllis Roth participating in a dance therapy session.

Assisted living residents are spending time on the dance floor to participate in a new study evaluating if dance can help slow the progression of memory loss. The study is overseen by leading Alzheimer’s disease researcher Peter Davies, PhD, director of the Feinstein Institute’s Litwin-Zucker Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders, and taking place at The Bristal Assisted Living in Lake Success.

“The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other memory disorders among assisted living residents is very high and this really impacts their ability to enjoy life and remain active,” Dr. Davies explains. “I’m thrilled to partner with The Bristal Assisted Living so that we can rigorously research if dance and our other programs can help slow the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory disorders. Residents participating in the program have the opportunity to enjoy themselves and help us to find out if there is some cognitive benefit.”

Assisted living communities are an increasingly popular option for senior housing and care as they provide residents a more enriching environment. It has been shown that activities, personal engagement and physical health have helped keep residents in assisted living longer, delaying the move to a more institutional environment. Dr. Davies with his team – Erica Christen, RN; Amber Sousa, PhD; Jeremy Koppel, MD; and Cecilia Fontanesi, R-DMT, MPhil – will study over the next two years whether dance, strength training and programs to enhance cognitive activities could improve residents’ lives.

“I’m very happy to work with Dr. Davies to encourage assisted living residents to move and connect with each other,” said Ms. Fontanesi. “The dance therapy classes build a sense of belonging, motivating residents to stay engaged in the community, enriching their lives and knowing that they matter.”

Ms. Fontanesi’s first therapy session started with the residents passing around a balloon, initiating purposeful movement while retaining a shared focus, and ended with the residents delightfully dancing to “Cheek to Cheek” by Frank Sinatra.

The study is funded by The Bristal and these activities take place in a 1,100-square-foot clinical space created specifically for Feinstein Institute researchers at The Bristal at Lake Success, which is The Bristal’s first community dedicated to helping residents with memory disorders.

Said Kimberly Bent, MSW, Executive Director of The Bristal at Lake Success: “Not only will our residents benefit from this research, but it is also our hope that the findings discovered here will benefit assisted living residents across the country suffering from memory disorders.”

Check out some clips from the program:

The Island Now also covered the event. Read their story here:

Feinstein Dance Program on The Island Now

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