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Mental Health and Seniors

As we age, it becomes increasingly important to look after our physical health as we become more susceptible to certain illnesses and complications. However, we shouldn’t just place an emphasis on the physical health of seniors, but also on their mental health. In this article, we’ll look at some tips for managing mental health in our senior years.

Stay connected

Socializing is essential when it comes to managing loneliness and depression in seniors. It’s important to keep in touch with friends and family members, especially if you live alone. If you have a senior family member who lives alone, then make a real effort to visit them regularly. If you live in a senior living community, then take part in the regular classes and social events that the community runs.

Stay active

Exercise isn’t just great for your physical health, but also for your mental health. Walking every day is an effective yet low impact way to keep active and stay in shape, plus enjoying the fresh air and the outdoors can improve your mental health, too. You could also try to find a local sports club or exercise class for seniors, helping you stay active and social at the same time.

Get a pet

Pets make great company, especially dogs who always show unconditional love for their owners. Plus, owning a pet gives you someone to care for other than yourself, providing an even greater purpose in life. If you live in an independent living community or are planning to move into one soon, then check to see if they allow their residents to own pets.

Pursue hobbies and interests

Pursuing a hobby or interest can be a lot of fun, whether you pick an old hobby back up or start a new one. Hobbies also offer a great opportunity to set goals for yourself while doing something you enjoy and care about. This is another good way to give yourself a sense of purpose if you are struggling with your mental health. You could try gardening, drawing, playing an instrument, or learning a new language, for example.

Talk to someone

If you are ever facing mental health challenges, the most important thing is to talk to someone about them. You could talk to a close friend or family member, a carer, a professional therapist or doctor, or even a stranger on the internet. Try not to bottle up your feelings, you’ll feel much better if you get them out and talk through them with someone.

At Bermuda Village we support our residents’ mental health in a number of ways to ensure that everyone is as happy and healthy as they can be. Find out more about independent living or assisted living at Bermuda Village.

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What Are the Stages of Alzheimer’s?

When you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease, or if you or someone in your family has recently been diagnosed, it can help to understand the disease and the progression it takes. This can make it easier to predict what’s to come and how to interact with your loved one throughout the stages of dementia.

Read on to find out more about the stages of Alzheimer’s and what to expect from the symptoms at each stage. Remember, though, that everyone is different and won’t all experience the same symptoms or progress at the same rate.

Early-stage Alzheimer’s

Early-stage Alzheimer’s, also referred to as mild Alzheimer’s, is where someone is likely to start noticing symptoms such as memory lapses. Family and friends may also notice these mild symptoms. However, the patient will usually be able to live independently as before since the symptoms have not progressed too far.

Specific symptoms may include:

  • Forgetting the names of people or places you’re familiar with
  • Difficulty choosing the right word in a conversation
  • Worsened short-term memory
  • Frequently losing or misplacing objects
  • Difficulties with organization and planning
  • Difficulties performing simple or familiar tasks

If you start to notice these symptoms in yourself or someone else, then it’s important to see a doctor to reach a diagnosis.

Middle-stage Alzheimer’s

Symptoms worsen as the disease progresses into middle-stage Alzheimer’s. At this point, the patient will need a greater level of care as they start to lose their ability to live independently. In addition to memory problems, confusion and changes in behavior or personality become common during this stage.

This is usually the longest stage, so symptoms and their severity can vary greatly among middle-stage Alzheimer’s patients. Here are some of the main symptoms to expect:

  • Wandering behavior
  • Changes in personality
  • Irritability, anger, or frustration
  • Confusion, e.g. not knowing who or where they are
  • Forgetting details or events from their past

Patients at this stage may need help with dressing, bathing, household chores, and medication management. When caring for a loved one with middle-stage Alzheimer’s, it helps to learn how to adapt activities to their abilities so they can still take part in the things they enjoy.

Late-stage Alzheimer’s

In the final stage of the disease, late-stage Alzheimer’s, patients have great difficulty communicating and may even struggle to control their movement. Their memory and cognitive skills have greatly declined at this point, which can lead to even greater confusion and distress.

Patients at this stage will need around-the-clock care. Difficulties controlling movement can also lead to problems with chewing and swallowing, which creates risks of choking and malnutrition. At this stage, it is important to keep the patient comfortable and still engage with them in ways that might be comforting, such as playing their favorite music.

Memory care can support Alzheimer’s patients throughout the various stages of the illness. If you need help caring for a loved one who was been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, then contact Brookstone of Clemmons for our advice and support.