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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.

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How to Embrace Aging

When we’re young, birthdays are an exciting time. Not just because we get presents, cake, and parties, but also because we’re turning another year older. With that, we start to look and feel more grown-up. But in adulthood, many of us get to a point where we start to dread our birthdays and the idea of becoming one year older.

We think it’s time to shift this perspective and go back to celebrating the idea of getting older. Rather than hiding from our age and constantly trying to look younger than we are, it’s time to embrace aging and focus on the positives of getting older. Here are some interesting positives you could focus on…

A stronger sense of self

For most people, adolescence and young adulthood is a time marked by awkwardness and feeling self-conscious. When we’re growing up, we’re still shaping who we are in a number of different ways, and it can be difficult to truly be yourself and be comfortable with that. As we age, our sense of self and identity gets stronger. We become more confident and care less about what other people think about us. This can be very freeing and make you happier with your life.

Experience

One of the best things we gain as we age is experience. We’ve been through a lot of different situations and experiences that we have learned from and grown from. And what’s great is that you can pass this wisdom and experience onto younger generations, such as children and grandchildren.

A growing family

As you age, so do the younger generations of your family. With this, people might find partners, have children, and bring new friends into the family circle. You get to witness the growth of your family with each big get together, giving you more people to get to know and watch grow up.

Your time is your own

Of course, with age also eventually comes retirement. You suddenly have all this free time to focus on things you want to do. You have more time to relax, spend with friends and family, and pursue your hobbies. Retirement is a great time to take up new hobbies and chase new goals and dreams. You could get active at a local sports club or create something through writing, painting, or other arts and crafts pursuits.

What do you think is the best part of getting older? If you’re looking for a social and comfortable environment to spend your senior years in, then contact Bermuda Village to find out more about our independent living community in Bermuda Run Country Club.

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How to Stay Connected with Your Family

Loneliness is a common struggle for seniors. As we get older, we often lose close friends and family as they move town or pass away. This often means that seniors have fewer visitors to socialize with. Some seniors may also find it difficult to leave the house due to physical limitations, making it more of a challenge to find social groups or activities.

If you or a senior family member are stuck at home, then we’ve got some tips to help you stay connected with your family and friends.

Make frequent calls

A simple phone call is a great way to stay in touch and make your loved one feel cared about. Calling each other on a regular basis will help them feel connected to others and allow you both to learn about how the other is doing. If you establish a call schedule with them, then this will give them something to look forward to if they know when to expect your calls.

Video calls

If your senior family member has a PC, laptop, or smartphone, then you may also be able to make video calls. You could first call them over the phone to guide them through setting up what they need for the calls. Actually seeing each other’s faces and talking screen to screen can be an even greater way to stay connected. Seeing a familiar face can be comforting and you get to read each other’s reactions as you talk. Seeing your loved one regularly on video calls can also allow you to monitor their health based on their appearance.

Some great tools for video calling include Zoom and Skype. If you both have iPhones, then you can also use the Facetime app. If one or more of you have an Android device, then you can use the video call functions in WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

Send a letter

Staying connected doesn’t all have to be about tech. Sending a letter in the mail is a nice gesture that shows that you’ve taken the time and effort to reach out to someone. It’s a more personal form of communication that can really make the recipient feel special. You could write about what you’ve been doing recently and ask them questions about themselves, encouraging them to write back. If you have young children, then you could have them draw a picture to send with the letter. I’m sure they would love to hang up pictures drawn by their grandchildren or nieces and nephews.

When we’re feeling isolated, just remember that there are ways to stay connected with those you love. If you’d like to learn more about staying social in assisted or independent living communities, then contact Bermuda Village.