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Better Sleep Tips for Seniors

Sleep is an important part of maintaining good physical and mental health throughout our entire lives, but our needs and sleeping habits do change as we age. While a newborn baby needs between 14 and 17 hours of sleep each day, older adults only need around 7-8 hours per night. However, many seniors find it difficult to get this much sleep and often experience disrupted sleep.

What causes seniors’ sleep problems?

Changes to our bodies as we age can make it more difficult to get a solid night’s sleep. One of the main culprits is a weaker bladder. Seniors are more likely to wake up in the night needing to use the bathroom, perhaps even multiple times per night. This can be very disruptive to our sleep patterns, especially for those who find it difficult to get back to sleep after waking up.

Pain can also be an issue. Seniors with arthritis or a chronic pain disorder may find that the pain keeps them up at night. It could also be that certain medications they are taking can cause insomnia or a restless night’s sleep. Additionally, seniors can be more prone to conditions like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, which both lead to disrupted or poor-quality sleep.

Tips for a better night’s sleep for seniors

If you or a senior family member are having trouble sleeping, then it’s advisable to see a doctor about this problem. If there are any underlying health issues leading to your sleep problems, then they should be able to diagnose and, hopefully, treat these. You should also check any medication you are taking to see if sleep problems are listed as a side effect. If you mention your problems to a doctor, they may be able to recommend an alternative medication.

Beyond seeing a doctor, advice for getting a better night’s sleep in your senior years is much the same as it is at any point in your life:

  • Have a nighttime routine – It’s not just children who should have a bedtime. Setting yourself a nighttime routine and going to bed and waking up at the same times every day helps you get to sleep more easily.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol – If you drink coffee too late in the day, you’re likely to find it harder to fall asleep. Try to avoid caffeine after a certain time, e.g. 2pm. Alcohol can also make it more difficult to fall asleep and can disrupt to quality of your sleep.
  • Don’t nap too late – If you do need to nap during the day, then late morning or early afternoon is the best time. Later than this, and you may find it difficult to sleep at night.
  • Prepare your bedroom – Your sleep environment may also be causing problems. Make sure your bedroom isn’t too hot, too cold, too bright, or too noisy.

If you need support caring for a senior family member, then contact Bermuda Village to find out more about our assisted and independent living facilities.

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Disaster Preparedness for Seniors

Disasters like fires, floods, earthquakes, and other natural phenomena may be rare, but failing to prepare for them can be disastrous for both your safety and the condition of your home and belongings. These risks can be even greater for seniors, with serious injuries and death becoming more likely during disasters.

In this article, we’ll provide some tips to help you or your senior family members be better prepared for potential disasters.

Have a plan in place

If a disaster occurs, you should already know what you are going to do and where you should go. It can be difficult to make rational decisions in an emergency, so having a plan in place will eliminate this need. It helps to coordinate this with a neighbor or family member so that you can check on each other to make sure no one is injured.

Pack an emergency kit

When a disaster occurs, you may need to either stay in your home until the danger passes or evacuate your home. Either way, you need to make sure that you have everything you need to survive in an emergency, such as any medications you need, first aid kit, and emergency food and fresh water. Pack an emergency bag like this that you can grab if you need to evacuate, and consider keeping a stock of non-perishable food and fresh water in the house in case you have to stay inside for a few days.

Reinforce your home

Even small home improvements can help to prepare your home to be more resilient in the event of a disaster. Different types of disasters will require different preparations, of course, but some measures are good sense all around. If you live in an area where a certain kind of disaster is common, it’s also a good idea to take additional measures against this. Aging.com has advice for specific types of disasters.

Emergency contacts

You should have a list of local emergency contacts, either saved in your phone or another device, or written down as a list stuck to the fridge or kept in a safe place. As well as the local authorities and specific disaster helplines, this should include the numbers of friends or family members who can help you during a disaster. You may need a place to stay or shelter and, if you don’t drive or have your own car, you should be able to call someone for emergency transport in this situation.

In our independent and assisted living community, we make sure that the proper precautions and plans are in place in case of a disaster. If you need any support caring for a senior loved one, then contact Bermuda Village to find out how we can support or advise you.

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Explaining an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis to Your Children

Receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis for yourself or a loved one is always going to be difficult. But if the person receiving the diagnosis has young children or grandchildren, then explaining the situation to them and preparing them for what’s to come is an additional challenge to face.

If you’re in this situation, then read on for some tips on how to handle it.

When to tell children

It’s obviously at your own discretion when to tell your children that their parent or grandparent is sick. But preparing them early and being honest and open with them can help make things easier. Of course, if your child is only an infant, then you may decide to wait until they are a little older when they can better understand what you are telling them.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the condition and its symptoms may not be very noticeable. During this time, it may be easy to hide the condition without telling the children, waiting until it is more necessary to explain any changes in behavior and personality. Alternatively, telling your children while the symptoms aren’t apparent can help to prepare them so that they aren’t as shocked or upset when those symptoms do arise.

How to help them understand and cope

Alzheimer’s is a complex neurological condition that can vary greatly from one patient to the next. This makes it difficult to fully understand, especially for kids and teenagers. The important thing is to be honest with them while tailoring your explanation depending on their age and what they are likely to understand.

It’s important to let them know what kind of behaviors to expect from their loved one to prepare them. A sudden change in personality or an increase in irritability can be upsetting and even frightening, so you should help them to understand that these behaviors are only a result of the illness.

You should encourage children to ask any questions they may have and to answer these questions as best as you can while still remaining comforting. Being open and honest with them will help them feel more at ease and that they can trust you if they want to talk about it.

Encourage them to express their feelings about the situation. Some parents feel like they should hide their grief in order to avoid upsetting their child. However, being open about your own feelings can help to show your child that it’s normal to feel this way and they should feel comfortable expressing their feelings.

If you need any support with approaching an Alzheimer’s diagnosis or caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, then contact Bermuda Village for personal care assistance around Winston Salem, Bermuda Run, Clemmons, and Lewisville. The Alzheimer’s Association website has useful resources for kids and teens to help them understand and cope with Alzheimer’s in the family.

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Learning New Things in Later Life

They say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but we don’t think that’s true at all. In fact, learning new things in our senior years can be fun and fulfilling, as well as being highly beneficial in a number of ways. If you want to learn a new skill, a language, or everything there is to know about a certain subject, then read on for some tips and the benefits of doing so.

The benefits of lifelong learning

Most of us finish formal education in our late teens or early twenties. But the learning doesn’t have to stop there. Lifelong learning involves continuous learning and personal development outside of formal education, whether that’s enrolling yourself in classes, learning how to cook new recipes online, or simply reading a lot or watching documentaries in your free time.

Lifelong learning has so many benefits, such as:

  • Improve brain healthResearch suggests that continuous learning and education can help to reduce risks of dementia and other neurological conditions in later life. We naturally lose neurons as we age, but an increase in lifelong cognitive activity can slow this down.
  • Increase brain power – Keeping your brain active helps to form new neural pathways and strengthen existing ones, improving cognitive ability and memory. This is a good way to keep the mind sharp in later life.
  • Work toward goals – Our careers offer a sense of fulfillment for us throughout our lives. Even if you don’t love your job, it still provides somewhat of a purpose. After retirement, pursuing skills and learning is another way to work toward goals and get a sense of fulfillment in your day-to-day life.
  • Have fun – If you love cooking or reading, then pursuing these hobbies is a great way to have fun while learning new recipes or learning about a new topic. Learning doesn’t have to be a chore.

Tips for learning in later life

After retirement is a time where you can do what you want in your own time. So, the first tip about learning in your senior years is to learn about whatever you want. Find a subject that interests you, an instrument you’ve always wanted to play, or a language from a country that you love to visit. Make it about you and your own goals or interests, and learn at your own pace.

Learning in later life is also a good chance to socialize and meet new people. Look for local classes in your area or see what’s on offer in your community if you live in independent living or assisted living. Learning with others can make it easier to motivate yourself while enjoying the benefits of socializing. It can also make it easier to learn if you have a teacher, especially for skills like playing an instrument or learning a language.

At Bermuda Village, we run a Lifelong Learning Program affiliated with Wake Forest University, so there are plenty of opportunities for our residents to pursue their learning goals. Contact us to find out more.

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What is Skilled Nursing Care?

When we get older or suffer from an injury or illness that reduces our ability to live completely independently, there are, luckily, a lot of care options available to help us. However, this can sometimes be confusing as the differences between different care options aren’t always clear.

In this article, we’re going to explain what is meant by skilled nursing care and how this compares to other types of care provision.

What is skilled nursing?

Skilled nursing is provided on either a short-term or long-term basis to patients who require a high level of care, often around-the-clock. For example, short-term skilled nursing may be required when a patient is recovering from an injury or serious illness, while long-term skilled nursing care will be needed for patients with ongoing conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Skilled nurses provide a high level of care, which may also be specialized care, for example, speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Skilled nursing care is typically ordered by a doctor and includes important tasks like checking the patient’s vital signs to monitor their condition.

Where does skilled nursing care take place?

Skilled nursing care refers to the type of service, described above, rather than a specific location or facility. So, skilled nursing care can be offered in various locations, usually either a hospital, a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or at home. Skilled nursing facilities can provide short or long-term care and must meet certain regulations and inspection requirements in order to qualify as such.

When skilled nursing care is administered in the patient’s home, it is more likely to be part-time rather than the around-the-clock care provided in hospitals and facilities. If in-home care is sufficient for the patient’s needs, some people prefer this as they get to stay in a familiar and comfortable environment.

Skilled nursing care coverage

The terms ‘nursing home’ and ‘skilled nursing facility’ are often used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same. One key difference is that skilled nursing care is usually covered by Medicare, making it easier for patients to get the help and care that they need. As a long-term accommodation option, nursing homes are not typically covered in this way. Click here to find out what services are covered by Medicare in a skilled nursing facility.

If you or a loved one requires care around Winston Salem, Bermuda Run, Clemmons, and Lewisville, then contact Bermuda Village to find out more about our independent and assisted living at Bermuda Run Country Club.

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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.

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Exercising in Senior Living Communities

Activity levels are important at every stage of our lives, even after a move into senior living. Whether you’re in assisted living or independent living, there are ways for you to stay active and keep fit. Of course, differences in mobility and ability levels will have an impact on what kind of exercise you can do. Read on for more information about exercising in a senior living community.

The importance of keeping fit in senior living

Staying active in our senior years is beneficial for our mental and psychological wellbeing as well as our physical health. Exercising helps to fight off symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can become more prominent as we age. Exercising with others can also be a social activity, helping to fight loneliness among seniors. Plus, exercise can lead to improved cognition and mental capacity. This can help to prevent dementia or improve symptoms in residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Physically, staying active basically makes sure that you can keep staying active. Exercise helps to strengthen your bones, making serious injuries and fractures less likely. Working on your core strength also improves balance, which helps to prevent trips and falls. Keeping fit helps you maintain your mobility so that you can keep moving and retain as much of your independence as possible.

How to keep fit in senior living

There are lots of ways to stay active and keep fit in a senior living community. Simply going for walks around the complex is a good form of exercise, and there’s the added benefit of enjoying the fresh air and being in a nice outdoor environment. You can join friends or other residents on walks to make it a social activity, too.

Most independent living communities will also have various classes to take part in and sports or fitness facilities that you can use. Check out what your community has to offer and pick something that suits you. Sign up for an aerobics or dance class, even if it’s something you’ve never tried before. Sporting facilities might include a golf course, a swimming pool, a croquet lawn, a tennis court, and more.

Some seniors might be looking for ways to stay active inside their apartments, particularly if they have low mobility. There are lots of low impact exercises you can try at home, and that you can adjust to your ability and mobility levels. Purchasing a light set of weights opens up lots of different exercises, or you can even use a tin of beans or a bottle of water.

Here at Bermuda Village, we’ve got lots of opportunities for you to stay active, from an Olympic swimming pool to our 36-hole championship golf course within the Bermuda Run Country Club. If you’re looking for an independent living community where you can continue an active and independent lifestyle, then get in touch with Bermuda Village today.

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The Role of Technology in Senior Care

Technology is an ever-changing space, and people from all walks of life can benefit from the usefulness of technology in day-to-day life. This includes seniors and their carers. As technology advances, it opens up more and more ways to improve senior care. Technology not only helps carers look after seniors better, but it can also help seniors retain their independence for longer.

Here are some of the important ways technology plays an evolving role in senior care…

Location services for Alzheimer’s patients

One of the most dangerous habits of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients is their tendency to wander. Without any clear purpose or direction, they may leave their home and simply start walking. This can be a great risk as they may wander out into a busy street or get lost and disoriented somewhere. With a location device on that person, such as a smartphone or wearable tech, their carer can be alerted if they leave the building or a designated area. The carer can use their location to find the patient in case they get lost, greatly reducing the risk of an accident or injury.

Medical alert bracelets and systems

Medical alert systems are ideal for seniors who live alone or only have part-time carers. And this is great for seniors’ independence. Rather than having someone around to watch them at all times, a medical alert system can ensure that a senior gets the help and attention they need if they fall or face another emergency. The senior can trigger the alert themselves, or some systems may trigger automatically in response to certain events or behaviors. For example, a medical alert bracelet may be able to monitor heart rate and alert an emergency contact or the emergency services in response to irregularities in the person’s heart rate.

Medication management

Seniors may have to take various medications at different times of the day. This can be difficult to keep track of, especially if they have memory problems or Alzheimer’s. Technology can help seniors and their carers make sure that they’re taking the right medication at the right dose and at the right time. Pill boxes are available with alarms to alert seniors of when to take certain medications. Certain smart pill bottles can even record data and send it to carers or doctors to make sure the senior isn’t misusing their prescriptions.

Health tracking technology

Carers and other health professionals can use technology to track certain health measures of their patients without intrusive and regular testing. Smart devices can track things like heart rate, blood pressure, and activity levels, sending this data to doctors, nurses, and carers so they can monitor patients’ health and tailor their care to their needs.

Technology can help seniors maintain their independence, whether they’re living at home or in independent living. Find out about the independent and assisted living facilities at Bermuda Village by contacting us today.

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How Could A Senior Move Manager Help You?

Moving home typically involves a lot of stress and hassle. It can be physically demanding as well as taking an emotional toll as you move away from somewhere you built a life and memories. This is especially true if you’re moving in your senior years. You may need to move to a more accessible and manageable house, or you may be moving into a retirement community or independent living.

As well as enlisting the help of friends, family, and professional movers, a senior move manager could also help you through this process.

What does a senior move manager do?

Senior move managers are there to make the process of moving, downsizing, or aging in place easier for seniors. Depending on your situation and needs, they can provide a variety of services to achieve this. They may work directly with you to provide these services or operate in more of a project management role.

Some of the services they may offer include:

  • Organizing your belongings
  • Helping you pack things into boxes or supervising professional packers
  • Arranging for unwanted items to be sold or donated
  • Arranging storage for your belongings
  • Unpacking and organizing in your new home
  • Connecting you with other professional services, such as movers, cleaners, and realtors

Senior move managers are trained and properly vetted to ensure they operate safely and ethically while supporting you through your move. Many also move into this career from a background in nursing, social work, and other related roles. This gives them the experience and a good disposition to support you through a potentially difficult experience.

What are the benefits of hiring a senior move manager?

A senior move manager can offer lots of benefits. Their expertise, resources, and connections not only make your move a lot easier, but they can also help you save money. They can help you get the best deal when hiring movers and other services while also making sure that these services properly meet your needs.

Their service is tailored to you and your move, so they can take a lot of stress out of the process. Moving house is one of those experiences that can cause tension between family members, but having a senior move manager there to streamline the process can help to keep everyone happy and mediate any disagreements.

If you’re thinking of making the move into independent or assisted living, then contact Bermuda Village to find out about our community between Advance and Clemmons, NC.