Category Archives: Blog

How Dementia Changes the Brain

How Dementia Changes the Brain

Memory is tangible, so when someone has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, changes begin to occur inside the brain that impacts the ability to recall events, names, and even skills correctly. These brain changes can be classified in two ways: structural and chemical. Our memory care specialists in Sussex County, NJ will go over both structural and chemical changes, what they mean and how they may affect your senior loved one with dementia.

Structural changes that happen in the brain

Dementia conditions are progressive, which means they worsen over time. While researchers don’t know what causes these conditions or how to stop them, they have been able to study how the disease progresses. Essentially, parts of the brain become damaged – specifically, the neurons that communicate with the nerve systems in the body and the brain tissue itself. The brain actually shrinks in size, often reducing to 1/3 of the original size. 

Healthy brains work to repair themselves as everyday damage or wear and tear occurs, but this doesn’t happen when the damage is caused by a dementia condition. This is because the oxygen and blood flow to these parts of the brain are reduced, blocking the flow of nutrients and oxygen that cells need.

As its cells are damaged, brain function is reduced. This impacts memory, but also other parts of the nervous system controlling metabolism, problem-solving, communication, thought generation, and physical movement/coordination.

At the same time, people with dementia suffer from inflammation of the brain. While inflammation can be helpful in response to trauma, ongoing inflammation like this increases the damage to the brain. It creates a cycle where cells dying triggers inflammation and the inflammation causes more cells to die. It also increases the presence of certain proteins that scientists believe are responsible for Alzheimer’s disease and other similar memory conditions.

Chemical changes that occur in the brain

Our brains and bodies run on chemicals that tell our organs, nerves, muscles, and glands what to do and when to do it. These chemicals carry tiny electrical charges that trigger activity on a cellular level, triggering our ability to think, walk, speak, remember, and much more.

When someone has a dementia condition, this communication breaks down. This is thought to be caused by the presence of two proteins called beta-amyloid and tau. We’re not sure why these proteins occur, but we can see how they damage the chemical interactions in the brain.

Beta-amyloid causes a type of plaque to form on the brain’s neurons. This plaque essentially covers the neurons up so that they can’t communicate well with one another, creating a block between thoughts and movement. It also disrupts an important protein that communicates with the hippocampus, our center for creating new memories.

Tau works differently, creating twisted strands of protein that tangle through the cell and neuron networks. This works a bit like a strangling plant vine, cutting off supplies of oxygen and nutrients to the affected neurons and spreading throughout the brain – killing cells in the process.

Memory care in Sussex County – Supporting dementia residents at every stage

When your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it can be overwhelming, scary, and sad to think about what’s next. It takes a strong support system and professional memory care to navigate the road ahead successfully. If you find yourself in this position and would like to learn more about memory support for seniors with Alzheimer’s, it’s time to talk with our Tapestries team at Bristol Glen.

We’re part of the United Methodist Communities network and provide specialized memory care to seniors in New Jersey. Our goal is to help seniors with dementia conditions to experience a fulfilling, active, and abundant life through treatments, cognitive exercises, and meaningful social experiences.

Contact us today for more information on our memory care services in Sussex County or visit our website at

https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org/  

4 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s with Your Senior Parents

Celebrate New Year's with Your Senior Parents

New Year’s Eve is a time to reflect on the past and celebrate with the ones you love. If you’re fortunate enough to have your senior parents in your life, New Year’s Eve is a great opportunity to bond over last year’s memories and have fun ringing in the new year. If mom or dad is usually in bed before the ball drops, don’t worry! Our assisted living team in Sussex County has put together a list of ideas on how to celebrate with your senior loved one at any time of day. 

#1 – Champagne brunch to ring in the New Year at noon

Who doesn’t love brunch? Cooking up a storm and serving everyone’s favorite breakfast foods is the perfect way to say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022. Invite friends, family, and neighbors – especially those that are elderly or who don’t have a family event to go to – to share in the cheer of ringing in the New Year. You can have a countdown to noon, complete with champagne, noisemakers, and silly hats! Any leftovers can go home with guests to enjoy later, and you can even make fun care packages filled with treats and goodies to start the year off on the right foot.

#2 – Dance the night away through the decades

Line up a playlist of all your loved one’s favorite bands from their best years and get ready to dance through the decades. Have all your guests dress up to fit the theme, make a signature cocktail to enjoy, and start dancing. You can even have a dance competition or invite a dance teacher to host some lessons!

#3 – Oh no, there’s been a murder!

Murder mystery evenings are so much fun, and they work for all ages and fitness levels. While you can plan your own party, there are also plenty of pre-made murder mystery kits available to purchase if you don’t have a ton of time to get a story and props together for your event. These kits are usually themed, so look for something that your loved one will really enjoy – maybe one that connects with their favorite books, decade, or hobbies. We’ve found a  classic Sherlock Holmes mystery, a Great Gatsby-themed mystery, and even one themed around golf.

#4 – Adopt traditions from around the world

Every country has its own interesting and fun New Year’s Eve tradition, so why not try a few out? Every hour, you can ring in the New Year with a different twist. For example, ‘first footing’ is a Scottish tradition that’s part of Hogmanay celebrations where you visit a neighbor and bring a small gift for good luck through the New Year. In Spain, the tradition is to try eating 12 grapes as quickly as possible and making one wish for each month of the year before the clock stops striking 12. Whoever wins gets the most luck!

Fun-filled family events for celebrating the New Year in assisted living

Bristol Glen is a part of the United Methodist Communities network of senior living communities across New Jersey. And because we’re supporters of a full and abundant life for seniors, we’re brimming with plans for celebrating New Year’s at our community in Sussex County! With a vibrant calendar of events, enthusiastic associate members, and an active set of seniors, we’re ready to welcome your loved one into our assisted living community in the new year.

To find out more about us, contact us today or visit our website at: 

https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org

Top Questions to Ask an Independent Living Community Before Your Loved One Moves In

Independent Living Community

Moving into an independent living community is a big commitment and it’s important for you and your senior loved one to feel confident, comfortable, and happy with the community selected. Is the independent living community located close to where your loved one lives currently? What type of social programs can they offer your mom or dad? And, most importantly, how do you know if the community is the right fit? Here are some helpful questions to ask when researching different independent living options that will help you find the right senior living community for your loved one, as well as the whole family.

#1 – What type of lifestyle do you offer senior residents?

There is such variety in today’s senior living communities, with many centered around different lifestyles. For example, there aren’t just seaside or countryside options, but communities based around different faiths or that are situated in the heart of bustling, city-like communities! Think about the kind of lifestyle that best suits your loved one’s personality, needs, and interests. This will help to discover places that will support their quality of life most efficiently.

#2 – How would you describe your senior residents?

Ask about the demographics of the community to get a good idea of how your senior loved one would fit in. What is the ratio of couples to single people? What age groups are in the community? Are there a lot of younger, more active seniors? This information helps you see how well your loved one will fit in, make friends, and enjoy the community on a social level.

#3 – How active is the community? And what activities are provided?

The last thing anyone wants is to join a senior living community and then feel bored! Activities, clubs, and events aren’t strictly for entertainment – they also help to build social bonds, improve physical and mental wellbeing, and keep seniors independent and healthy for longer. Talk to the community about what your loved one is interested in and see how the focus of that community meets these needs, whether it’s through outings, cultural events, on-site clubs, or daily physical activity programs.

#4 – Can we join you for a meal?

It might not be possible to have a meal when scouting out a senior living community, but it’s so important to get a good idea of how mealtimes work and what the food is like. Some senior living communities only have communal restaurants, while others have both a restaurant and the option of making your own meals in your apartment. These meals should be nutritious and delicious, and they should be able to accommodate any dietary requirements your loved one may have.

#5 – How is pricing structured?

When it comes to senior living services, you want to make sure your loved one is getting the support they need within your budget. Every community prices its services differently, so it’s very important to get an idea of what costs are involved from the get-go. Some communities offer their services at a flat rate whether your loved one makes use of them or not, while others offer services a la carte based on what your loved one requires. Most communities offer a combination of the two – for example, their apartment, housekeeping, and security expenses are at a flat monthly rate, and additional services like memory care, bathing or grooming assistance, and nursing care are charged additionally on an as-needed basis.

#6 – Can I look over the details of the contract?

You should never feel pressured to sign a contract before you have had a reasonable amount of time to look it over. These contracts can be quite complex and can be tailored to each organization’s specific business model, so it’s a good idea to have your lawyer or financial advisor look it over in detail, so you know exactly what you’re agreeing to.

Get answers to all your questions at our senior living community in Sussex County NJ

If you have any questions about independent senior living, it’s time to talk with our team at Bristol Glen. We’re part of the United Methodist Communities network, and we take pride in providing a Continued Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in Sussex County that gives every resident a fulfilling, active, and abundant life. Contact us today for more information or visit our website at:

https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org

United Methodist Communities at Bristol Glen Rated “High Performing” by U.S. News Best Nursing Homes and Short-Stay Rehabilitation Lists

Each year U.S. News and World Report research over 15,000 nursing homes across the country to help people find reliable, high-quality care for themselves or their senior loved ones. United Methodist Communities (UMC) is pleased to share that their Sussex County location, UMC at Bristol Glen (Newton, NJ) has been included on U.S. News’s Best Nursing Homes and Short-Stay Rehabilitation lists for the 2021-2022 year.

The publication’s rankings class eligible nursing homes and rehabs as high performing, average, or below average based on a variety of data points. This year, scoring incorporated standards for COVID-19, flu, and pneumonia vaccinations, data surrounding use of antipsychotic medications, and emergency room visits. For example, facilities that had a staff COVID-19 vaccination rate below 75% were removed from consideration in the “high performing” category.

Out of 13,175 nursing homes that received a Long-Term Care Rating, UMC at Bristol Glen’s skilled nursing is one of only 1,063 to achieve high performing status. Among the 13,500 facilities to receive a Short-Term Rehabilitation rating, UMC at Bristol Glen was one of only 1,651 to earn the high performing designation.

David Rayha, UMC’s Vice President of Operations, commented, ““We are thankful that our associates are being recognized for their hard work and dedication to providing quality services to our residents.”

To learn more about UMC at Bristol Glen, visit bristolglen.umcommunities.org. To schedule a tour, please complete the form on the website or call Nicole Doerr at 973-300-5788.

5 Technology Benefits for Seniors

Technology Benefits for Seniors

Technology continues to lift a huge weight off today’s seniors and their loved ones. Being able to stay in touch is vital, as we know that social connections help ease isolation, depression, and loneliness. There are many ways that technology can help older adults live fulfilled lives and keep their bonds with family and friends strong. Today, our assisted living team in Sussex County will focus on the 5 best benefits of technology for seniors.

#1 – Supports essential social activity. Technology has made communication and socializing easier and more rewarding for seniors, letting families video call and chat with the simple click of a button. Devices like larger smartphones and tablets are especially senior-friendly, with simple, distinct buttons, an easy-to-follow design, and adjustable background lighting. Most operating systems and apps have become much more user-friendly and accessible, even reading out emails if you are visually impaired or allowing voice search capabilities.

If your loved one finds it a little difficult to use this tech, apps like Team Viewer and Dameware can allow you to remotely access their device and help make that connection for them.

#2 – Enhances senior health and safety. We regularly cover senior health risks on this blog – for good reason. From falls to medication errors and illness, health risks are a major concern for seniors and their families. Technology is helping to ease these fears, reduce risks, and even help improve response time if a medical emergency occurs.

Wearable tech can monitor heart rate, activity, sleep, location, and care patterns, while wireless systems can help secure the home, prevent wandering and allow your family to check that doors and windows aren’t accidentally left open or unlocked. You can check on your loved one at any time, from any place.

Many of these systems also allow seniors to contact emergency response and family members at the touch of a button if they need to call for help.

#3 – Makes life more fun! For most of us, technology adds plenty of fun to everyday life – and seniors are no exception! Today, there are many senior-friendly apps and games to enjoy on TV, tablets, and smartphones. From TV streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu to games like Words with Friends, Elevate Brain Training, Duolingo, and Audible, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Even advanced tech like virtual reality is a great option for seniors when used safely, and is currently being used in research to help open up new horizons for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia conditions.

#4 – Helps make everyday life a little easier. Technology may be complicated, but learning to use it has never been simpler. With voice assistants like Siri and Google assistant, seniors can use smartphones and smart home devices to easily check the weather, tune in to their favorite music station, find a TV show, call a friend, or set reminders on their calendar. These tasks can all be done with simple voice commands. All you need is your device and an internet connection to order groceries online, chat to a friend, or even get medication reminders.

#5 – Keeps seniors physically and mentally active. No matter your interests, hobbies, or abilities, technology can enhance your life and help support the mental and physical health of your senior loved one. Audible can read books to you, Duolingo can teach you a new language, brain training apps can support cognitive function, and connected tech allows you to access senior health and fitness classes online with ease. Supporting mental and physical activity is one of the most effective and powerful ways of ensuring healthier senior years, and tech opens up an entire world of opportunities for seniors to do this. The winter months can be the perfect time to explore what’s available, as chilly temperatures and inclement weather often mean it’s not as easy to get out and see friends, participate in hobbies, or get enough physical activity.

Bristol Glen is part of the United Methodist Communities’ network of senior living and care options. We’re passionate about providing a space where seniors have the assistance and resources, they need to live a full, abundant, and independent life. If you want to chat about independent senior living in NJ or how to use technology for seniors, get in touch with us or visit our website at

https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org/

How to Prevent Diabetes from Developing in Older Adults

diabetes prevention tips for older adults

World Diabetes Day is on the 14th of this month, which means it’s the ideal time to spread awareness about this serious health condition. For those who may not know, diabetes causes higher than normal glucose levels that we obtain from our food. Our bodies produce a hormone called insulin that processes our glucose levels to create energy. When our bodies do not produce this insulin fast enough, they can’t process blood sugar levels properly – which can be life-threatening, especially for older adults with other existing health conditions. 

Crucial to act now, as there are many ways to prevent diabetes from developing in seniors. In this article, our short-term rehab specialists in NJ will go over some diabetes prevention tips in detail.

Diabetes prevention tips for seniors

  • Enhance your diet. A healthy and nutritious diet is one of the most effective things you can do to help prevent diabetes. This is because it not only nourishes your body and mind, it keeps blood sugar levels stable so that the system isn’t under pressure from a high influx of sugars. It’s best to stay away from sugar and processed food and eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, and wholegrain carbohydrates.
  • Go plant-based. Plant-based vegetarian and vegan diets are very good at controlling blood sugar to prevent diabetes and other health conditions – and they are tasty too! Try to slowly introduce plant-based foods into your week, trying out new cooking styles, and prioritizing heart-friendly foods. Even just a few plant-based meals per week can make a big difference!
  • Control your portions. Everything in moderation is key for preventing diabetes – and it’s a good maxim to live by because it doesn’t mean you have to avoid the food you love. For example, you may love fries, but your heart doesn’t – so try to have a small portion of fries maybe every 2 weeks. Or you might love chocolate, so you can have a brownie, but limit yourself to one small brownie and treat yourself every few weeks.
  • Increase your fiber. High-fiber foods take more time to digest, so they release sugar in a slower, more controlled fashion. Diets rich in fiber can also help prevent other health conditions like colorectal cancer, hemorrhoids, and constipation. Ideally, you should have 25-30g of fiber, which can be found in leafy green vegetables, wholegrain cereals and bread, brown rice, beans, and fruit.
  • Start exercising –Everyone should have at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to process glucose, control blood sugar levels, and support heart health. It’s best to choose something you enjoy, as this is easier to stick to. Think of nature walks, chair yoga, dancing, gardening, and water aerobics, and find someone you can exercise with!
  • Limit alcohol, quit smoking –Smoking and alcohol have very bad effects on your heart and circulatory system, clogging arteries, causing blood sugar levels to spike, and affecting the performance of your heart, kidneys, and liver. If you smoke, it’s best to try to quit. If you drink alcohol, then you can quit or stick to the national guidelines of no more than 2 drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.

Preventing and controlling diabetes in seniors is an essential part of maintaining a full, healthy, and happy life – which is something the team at Bristol Glen is all about! If you’d like more information on our assisted living community and how we can manage health conditions in older adults, please get in touch with our short-term rehab team in New Jersey or take a look at our website here

https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org/ 

4 Fun Halloween Crafts for Seniors to DIY

Halloween Crafts for Seniors

Who says that Halloween is just for kids? Halloween is an opportunity for everyone, both young and old, to have fun and get in touch with their spooky side. One great way to do this, besides having a costume, is to create Halloween decorations from scratch. Crafting is a chance to get the whole family together to bond and celebrate the fun of this holiday. If you’re looking for inspiration, our assisted living caregivers at Bristol Glen put together 4 fun Halloween crafts for seniors to take part in with their families.

#1 – Mummy jars

So simple and easy to make, mummy jars are a great place to start your Halloween crafts! All you need is:

  • Mason jars
  • Bandages
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue

Wrap the jars in a layer of bandage, leaving the top of the jar open. Use the glue to secure the bandages, keeping in mind that some mummies prefer a messier look. Then, stick the googly eye onto the outside of the jar – done!

You can get as fun or as spooky as you like, adding a mouth or even some fake blood. Fill the mummy jars with candy, Halloween decorations, or place a small candle inside to create a spooky glow at night.

#2 – Halloween wreath

Don’t let those wreath-making skills go to waste until Thanksgiving or Christmas! Alternatively, if you don’t know how to make a wreath, now is the perfect time to learn. There are so many tutorials online about how to make wreaths, and they can be adapted for any occasion. Here’s are the supplies you’ll need:

  • Some vine, floral wire, or a metal wireframe.
  • Foliage – we love dry grasses and pumpkins for the fall
  • Flowers – Choose Halloween colors, dried flowers, or small painted pinecones
  • Decorations – Bats, skulls, and spiders – oh my!
  • Glue

Start by wrapping the grasses around the frame to create a continuous circle, gluing it in place. Plan out your flowers and decorative natural elements, gluing them in place or attaching them with floral wire. Finally, add your Halloween decorations for maximum spookiness. If you have bats or ghosts, you can make them ‘fly’ off the wreath by attaching them to a little floral wire.

#3 – No-sew pumpkins

It’s just not Halloween without pumpkins, but that doesn’t mean you need to get carving. Here’s what you really need:

  • An old shirt in fall colors
  • Twine
  • Rubber bands
  • Cushion stuffing
  • Fabric glue

First, cut off the shirt cuffs, and then cut it off at the shoulder so that you have a tube of material. Turn this inside out.

Cut about 6 equal lengths of twine that are about 5 inches longer than the tube of material. Tie these together about 2-3 inches down. Put the twine inside the shirt sleeve so that the knot sticks out the slightly wider shoulder end.

Secure the tube of material at the knot using a rubber band. Now, turn the sleeve inside out. Fill with the cushion filling and secure the top with another rubber band. Space the long pieces of twine equally around the outside of the stuffed sleeve, pulling them each up to the top, around the sleeve to create those pumpkin sections.

Secure this with a rubber band and wrap twine around the top section that you’ve just secured to create a stalk. You can also add artificial fall leaves.

#4 – Pinecone owls and witches

Perfect for the mantlepiece or windowsill, these are easy and fun to make. All you need are:

  • Clean pinecones
  • Black, white, and yellow felt
  • Glue

With this project, you can get as creative as you’d like! Make simple accessories out of the felt and glue them on to create spooky characters for your Halloween display. We love big, round yellow and black owl eyes with a cute beak, witch and wizard hats, even bats with big scary wings!

Our assisted living team in New Jersey loves Halloween as much as our residents do, and we’re planning to make this year a great one! If you’d like to find out more about our community and the assisted living services we offer in New Jersey, contact us or visit our website at:

https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org/

Why Hip Fractures in Seniors Are So Dangerous

hip fractures in seniors

Hip fractures in older adults are very common – accounting for over 300,000 hospitalizations each year according to the CDC. Hip fractures aren’t just painful and challenging to recover from; they can also be dangerous if the person in question has additional complications. The risk of mortality can be especially high for people with chronic health conditions, cognitive impairments, mobility issues, and hip fracture treatments that don’t involve corrective surgeries.

For these reasons, it’s important for seniors and their caregivers to know how to help prevent hip fractures, understand the risk factors, and have insight into the best treatments. Here are some answers and advice from our short-term rehab team in Sussex County.

What can make a hip fracture deadly?

As we age, we tend to heal more slowly, develop complications more easily, and experience more severe symptoms than when we were young spring chickens. Hip fractures are especially dangerous because they involve a major bone that directly affects our ability to move. This inability to move impacts circulation, overall health, and healing, putting seniors at risk for:

  • Blood clots – Frequently occurring in the lungs and legs, clots may block capillaries, cutting off blood and oxygen supply to limbs (deep vein thrombosis), or may travel through the bloodstream and get stuck in the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
  • Urinary tract infections – UTIs can quickly become serious health issues for both men and women, causing severe discomfort, fever, pain, and even confusion or delirium. These infections put the body under a lot of stress and are especially dangerous if the person has kidney-related health problems.
  • Pneumonia – This is a lung infection that is especially dangerous to seniors, filling the lungs with fluid or pus and reducing the capacity of the lungs. Severe pneumonia has a death rate in seniors of around 20%, according to the American Lung Association. To help prevent pneumonia, it’s recommended that seniors stay up to date with a pneumococcal vaccine.

Risk factors

According to the CDC, 95% of hip fractures in seniors are caused by a fall. Your senior loved one is more likely to experience a hip fracture if they have the following risk factors:

  • Age – We lose our muscle coordination, balance, and eyesight as we age, making it much easier to fall.
  • Bone weakness –Osteoporosis and bone weakness are also common (with osteoporosis more common in women than men), so when a senior does fall, they are more likely to have severe damage.
  • Medication –Some medications that seniors take can make them feel tired, lightheaded, or dizzy. Others can even weaken bones and muscles.
  • Poor diet – A diet lacking in calcium, vitamin D, and protein will tend to cause weaker bones and muscles.
  • Inactivity –Exercise is key to keeping bones and muscles strong, as well as promoting balance and coordination, so being sedentary can increase a senior’s risks.
  • Previous hip fracture –If a senior has fractured their hip before, this area of the bone is likely to be weaker, so it’s easier to fracture it again.
  • Home environment –Homes that have stairs, poor lighting, clutter, rugs, unstable furniture, and bathrooms without safety enhancements (no grab bars, etc.) increase senior fall risks.

Prevention

There is no 100% guarantee that you can prevent a hip fracture, but taking the following steps will help to significantly reduce the risk:

  • Medications – Make sure medications are being taken at the right dose, at the right time. If your loved one is experiencing side effects, take a list of up-to-date prescriptions to their doctor to see what can be done.
  • Fall proofing – Clear away clutter, install grab bars and a shower chair in the bathroom, lift rugs, keep pathways through the home clear, install railings on stairs, and make sure lighting is sufficient (especially between the bedroom and bathroom).
  • Healthy living – Encourage your loved one to follow a healthy diet, introduce calcium and vitamin D supplements into smoothies, and try out some senior-friendly exercises together.

Hip fracture treatments for seniors

Depending on the type of hip fracture, the doctor will recommend a hip repair using screws or a partial or full hip replacement. All are major surgeries and will require a good rehabilitation program both in a hospital, in a rehabilitation facility, and at home to help your loved one get back on their feet.

At Bristol Glen, we offer on-site short-term rehab in New Jersey for seniors recovering from surgery or illness through our full staff of nursing, physiotherapy, and rehabilitation specialists on our team. Our holistic approach to care not only allows seniors to get a taste of what staying in our assisted living community is like but also allows them to access 24/7 specialized medical and therapeutic services that family caregivers usually cannot provide.

To find out more about short term rehab in Sussex County, please contact us today or visit our website at:

https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org/

5 Activities for Seniors with Limited Mobility

Activities for Seniors

Many seniors lose mobility due to conditions like stroke, severe arthritis, or other injuries. However, loss of mobility doesn’t mean that seniors can’t stay active and engaged. There are many ways to have fun, boost mood, and keep active without disrupting or worsening pre-existing conditions. If you or your loved one are looking for some inspiration, check out this list of easy and fun activities our assisted living team in Sussex County has put together.

#1 – Dive into new worlds through reading

We recently wrote about the benefits of reading as a senior, and it really is the perfect activity for anyone with limited mobility. It’s an easy and fun way to explore any topic under the sun, from true crime and science to history and drama…a good book is sure to provide plenty of entertainment! Reading also helps to relieve stress, improve cognitive function, strengthen problem-solving skills, improve sleep, and build social connections through book clubs and discussions.  A lightweight e-reader with adjustable text size or audiobooks is always an option for seniors who may have difficulty with their eyesight or holding heavy paperbacks.

#2 – Put your problem-solving skills to the test with puzzles

When we were all homebound in quarantine, plenty of people rediscovered the fun of puzzles! It’s a great cognitive exercise that’s stimulating, doesn’t require lots of moving around, and can be a solo or group activity. Solving puzzles is remarkably addictive and rewarding, and it doesn’t require much in the way of physical strength to do either. To make it as engaging as possible, it’s best to choose puzzles that connect with your loved one’s life and interests, and that provide a bit of a challenge. You can even have a puzzle custom-made from a beloved family photo as a special present.

#3 – Get active and improve range of motion with a chair or assisted yoga

Yoga can be customized for every age and level of ability, helping to strengthen the body, calm the mind, and improve range of motion. With direction from a qualified therapist, yoga can be performed in a chair or with props that allow your loved ones to work at their level and without exceeding their limitations. These modifications allow seniors to get the physical and mental benefits of yoga without the risks of a fall, injury, or overexertion. Many yoga classes also include a time for mindfulness through meditation, which further helps to ease tension and stress, clear the mind, and reduce blood pressure.

#4 – Learn a new skill and share your own talents

You’re never too old to learn something new, and seniors have a wealth of experience to share! Whether it’s origami, knitting, crochet, painting, or gardening, there are sure to be other seniors who would love to share their skills and help your loved one learn something new. Dabbling in a new hobby is a great way to stimulate cognitive function and a wonderful way to meet new friends, too.

#5 – Stay young at heart with gaming

Whether it’s video games, board games, card games, or anything else, it’s time to play! In the wide world of gaming, there’s something for every mobility level, age, and interest. Games can be played remotely with friends and family, in person, or solo. Besides trying the classics, get adventurous and challenge your grandchild to Xbox virtual reality gaming and find a gaming space to explore and enjoy together. 

At Bristol Glen, our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey with an assisted living neighborhood, we offer beautiful, spacious apartments that are fully functional for limited mobility residents. 

If you want to find out more about assisted living in New Jersey, you can view our community virtual tours, read about our services, and much more all on our website at:

https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org

The 5 Best Books for Seniors and the Benefits of Reading

Best books for seniors

Since Read a Book Day is coming up on September 6th, there’s no better time than the present to highlight the benefits of reading – especially for seniors! Research has repeatedly shown that reading is good for both their physical and mental health. Reading can also help seniors explore a world outside of their everyday lives. To help your senior loved one pick the perfect novel, the team at our CCRC in Sussex County has also put together a list of top books for seniors and why they resonate with our residents. Enjoy!

Reading improves mental and physical wellness

Reading stimulates the somatosensory cortex of the brain, which strengthens connections within the brain even several days after completing a book, helps to maintain and improve memory and cognitive function, and may reduce the overall risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in seniors.

Reading a book also helps to lower blood pressure, stress, and heart rate, which are key risk factors in heart disease, heart attack, and cardiac arrest. It can help improve sleep quality and duration and alleviates the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Seniors who read can ignite their imagination, practice and improve empathy, develop sharper problem-solving skills, and bond with others through book clubs and discussions. Reading is an adventure that’s simply good for the soul!

The top #5 books for seniors

Here are some great books for seniors to try. Remember, if vision, mobility, or focus is an issue, you can find large-text books, increase the text size on a lightweight e-reader, or get an audiobook version.

#1 – The Tuesday Night Club by Agatha Christie

She’s the queen of crime, with mysteries that will send a shiver down your spine! This collection of short stories is perfect for stimulating those problem-solving skills in a way that’s thrilling. From Mrs. Marple, the aging detective that uses her life experiences to explore human nature, to the setting in mid-20th century England, these stories are iconic and engaging from the first word.

#2 – The Body by Bill Bryson

A non-fiction book about the human body and the history of medicine, this author takes complex scientific information and turns it into something a layperson can easily understand. It’s a fascinating journey through the human body and our understanding of it, filled with humor, facts, and incredible stories of discovery. Although this is quite a large volume, it’s clearly divided into chapters and general topics for easy reading.

 #3 – Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Reminisce on times gone by with this witty and delightful novel about a fascinating woman and her incredible life. Once the toast of New York, Ms. Boxfish is a senior with so many stories to tell about the people in her life, the challenges she faced, and the excitement of the advertising industry in the 1930s.

#4 – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber

A short, light, yet wonderful novel, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is all about a man living in his daydreams. Focused on an imaginary life filled with heroics and adventure, escaping from a life that feels mundane and bound in routine. This novel shows the thrill and value of harnessing a powerful imagination in everyday life.

 #5 – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

A World War 2 novel set in France, this powerful story about love and conflict is focused on a family who must learn to live during an invasion. With a focus on the women left behind when their husbands and sons went to war, this is very different from your typical WW2 tale, and shares the story of two sisters separated by years and life experience trying to survive, find love, and survive.

Bristol Glen is part of United Methodist Communities, a collection of senior living and assisted living communities in New Jersey dedicated to supporting abundant, independent living. We offer many group activities on-site to support the well-being of our residents including fitness classes, movie nights, and of course, avid book clubs.

If you want to find out more about senior living services in Sussex County NJ, then please get in touch today or visit our website at

https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org