Maintaining the health, wellness, and safety of our residents is our number one priority. Due to the COVID-19 situation, effective immediately we are restricting visitors to our community. This is in cooperation with federal mandates regarding this situation. Letters regarding specific details are being sent to the responsible parties for our residents to provide them with more detailed information. In addition to restricting visits, our staff will be screened prior to the starting of their shifts and have been trained on the symptoms of COVID-19 as well as infection prevention techniques. This is a fluid situation and we will keep you informed as the situation changes. We appreciate your cooperation and patience. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
12 April 2021
Spring is finally here, and that means warmer weather has begun! Let’s hope it’s here to stay! After a cold winter, a spring celebration is almost necessary. Here are some fun ways to welcome the new season with your loved one who requires senior assisted living help or for your loved ones requiring memory care support services.
It is obvious that flowers are associated with spring – this is the season that flowers start to grow and flourish. At this time, flowers are bountiful and available and therefore less expensive. Why not bring some fresh ones into your home? Not only do flowers bring a wonderful scent (for those of you that like floral smells) into an environment, but a study done at Harvard has also found a few other positive effects: 1) Feelings of compassion and kindness for others are increased for people who have fresh cut flowers in their homes for only a week. 2) Negative feelings, such as anxiety, worrying, and sadness are decreased after being in a home with flowers. 3) Living with fresh cut flowers can increase energy, happiness, and enthusiasm at work. For those who enjoy creating, make pastel drawings or watercolors of the flower arrangement.
Gardening is a good way to get away from everyday worries for a little bit. It has been shown to be good for your health in a number of ways: 1) Time away from electronic devices by focusing attention on nature can relieve stress. 2) Gardening decreases symptoms of depression. 3) It is a form of exercise that gets the blood moving. 4) The increase in physical activity associated with gardening has been shown to decrease risks for dementia. Start seeds indoors if it is a cold, rainy day.
After birds’ migration to warmer weather during the winter months, hanging a bird feeder in the spring is a great way to welcome our feathered friends back for the spring and summer months. Bird feeders can promote education and learning about birds and can also be a way to connect with nature. Early risers can watch the birds feed in the early morning if a bird feeder is near the breakfast table, or you and your older adult are able to venture outside.
Why not switch up the daily routine and take a meal outside? Picnicking allows you to slow down and enjoy what you’re eating. It can also improve your mood and connect you with your surroundings and the people around you. The fresh air that you get while picnicking can revive your body and clear your mind. If the person you’re caring for is able to walk to the picnic spot, s/he will get a little exercise in, too.
While cleaning isn’t always everyone’s favorite thing to do, it is a great way to start a new season, especially spring. Cleaning for the spring, or any time, offers many benefits including having a clean and organized home, ridding your home environment of mold, mildew, dust, and bugs, decreasing clutter, prolonging the life of your appliances, and an overall sense of well-being and accomplishment. Dusting and straightening objects, even folding laundry, can be soothing tasks for people with low focus and restless energy. Everyone needs a sense of purpose and to know they can contribute.
After being “cooped up” in socks and warm shoes all winter, your feet are probably itching to be free. What might surprise you are the many benefits that walking around barefoot can have. Choosing to forego socks and shoes can give you greater balance, strength, and healthier feet, which decreases the number of foot conditions. It can also give you greater circulation, better posture, decreased blood pressure, and reduced inflammation (shown to be the number one cause of disease in the 21st century). Who would have known our bare feet could be so beneficial!
If the thought of being barefoot seems silly to the senior you’re caring for, or makes them chuckle, encourage them to talk about the time they were barefoot as a child, teenager, or as a young parent raising barefoot children.
These are just a few ways to embrace the warmer weather and the benefits that come with spring, but even simply appreciating the sun and outdoors (even from inside) can be a celebration and bring a new sense of purpose to life.
At Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem, we know caring for an older adult brings joys and challenges. Our mission is to change the way the world ages. We provide seniors with quality care that enables them to live happier and healthier lives. Our services are distinguished by the caliber of our caregivers, the responsiveness of our staff and our expertise in Live-In care. We embrace a positive, balanced approach to aging centered on the evolving needs of older adults. For more information, contact us here at Gateway Gardens anytime!
5 April 2021
Well, Easter 2021 has come and gone. Hopefully, all of you out there shared precious and memorable moments celebrating Easter with your family. Now it is time to celebrate Spring and a systematic return to more pleasant weather. As most of you know, here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care we offer regular and recurring advice via this blog to educate our residents, their family, caregivers, and friends.
Over the weekend, a neighbor who cares for her senior father confided that her Dad didn’t celebrate her traditional Easter meal as he normally does. It was just a passing comment and in no way meant to be critical. It gave me pause to share with her a few things to keep in mind about the aging process, one of them being about aging and its effect upon the sense of taste. More on that in a moment.
When you think of the aging process, you may think of wrinkles, diminishing vision, hearing impairment, or muscle loss. These are obvious signs of growing old, and they happen to almost everyone. However, there are effects of aging that many people overlook. These concerns may go undetected for some time, so it is important to know how our bodies are continually changing. The following are four results of growing older that you may not have considered.
Growing old is something no one can avoid. Remember to be aware of the ways your body may change so that you will know if or when they happen. At Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem it is our privilege to keep your loved one loved, healthy, and cared for.
22 March 2021
It is probably never going to feel like the right time to have “The Talk” about a memory care facility with a parent who is the caregiver of a spouse with dementia. Many adult children avoid bringing it up because it’s such a complicated and sensitive topic. Here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care (Bethlehem), we’ve helped countless people like you prepare for this most difficult conversation whether your need is for professional assisted living care services and professional memory care services. Today, we’re going to focus on those of you facing memory care needs, but much of this advice applies to transitioning to assisted living as well.
But the best time to approach this tough issue is right after the initial diagnosis. As dementia progresses, it’s possible that your parent could have specialized needs that can’t be met at home. Being proactive in having the talk about your parent’s plan of care as the disease progresses ensures a plan is in place that allows your caregiving parent to get the support they need to provide quality care.
If your parent is the caregiver of a spouse with dementia, it may take some time to process and identify where the line is between being able to provide quality care at home versus when the support of trained, specialized care providers should be sought. Through regular conversations where you show that you’re genuinely concerned about both of your parents’ well-being, you can be instrumental in identifying potential future problems and instigating change.
Before you bring anything up, do your homework so you problem-solve with your parent, not dictate the solution or convince through arguments. Learn about how the disease will progress and how it could impact your parent’s ability to stay at home.
The Alzheimer's Association website is a great resource for information about how to help your loved one remain as independent as possible, how behaviors change as the disease progresses, strategies caregivers can use to manage stress and how to decide which care options may be the best fit.
Research the memory care facilities in your parents’ community so you can come to the table with some options that are available in your area.
Test the waters before you broach the subject. Give your caregiving parent a call to see how they’re doing and to get a sense for how they might react when you bring up the topic of a memory care facility. Caring for a loved one with dementia can take its toll, so say something like, “How's your health? The doctor say anything new?" If your parent responds openly, show that you’re ready to be a helpful resource by saying something like, “Is there some way I can be helpful?"
Avoid the temptation to plan a family meeting. Family meetings can feel threatening and overbearing and more like an “intervention” than family support. Instead, have the conversation in a more natural way, such as at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee. After relaxing and enjoying each other’s company for a little while, look for an opening when you can move into a more serious conversation.
Depending on your relationship with your parent, you might want to take the more direct approach by saying something like, “I noticed that you’ve been more tired than normal and that you were so busy last week that you forgot your own doctor’s appointment. Are you getting enough time to take care of yourself?”
If your parent is more self-conscious or private, consider taking a more indirect approach by saying something like: “I read in the paper about a husband who was taking care of his wife with dementia. He got so worn out that he had a heart attack, even though he had no history of heart disease. It made me think about you taking care of Dad and how hard that can be for one person to do.”
No matter which approach you take, be gentle. Talk in a calm tone of voice, offer a reassuring touch and follow your parent’s cues.
Adult children can be eager to solve their parents’ problems, but your parents are just as committed to maintaining a sense of control. Additionally, caregiver grief and guilt are common reactions to moving a spouse to a memory care facility. Yes, you want your parents to be safe and secure, but your parents need to feel heard, respected and valued, too.
If there is resistance or conflict, pay close attention to the feelings being expressed, and recognize and respond to the things that matter to your parent. Make sure they feel supported and understood by using reflective listening. Say something like, “I hear you saying ... but it's also worth thinking about this … ”
Remind them that they won’t always be able to safely take care of their spouse with dementia at home alone and that they can be a better partner if they aren’t totally exhausted by all of their care needs. Find ways to be reassuring, and frame the discussion as a place where everyone’s opinions can be heard.
It’s important to understand that “The Talk” really isn’t a one-time conversation. It’s simply the first in a series of discussions over time. After some time passes and your parent has had a chance to think about it, look for other opportunities to raise the issue again.
If your parent shows signs of warming up to the topic, show them that you are trying to be their advocate, and offer to go with them for a tour of memory care facilities. If they say something negative, be patient, but don’t give up. Connect them with a caregiver support group, which might help them come to terms with the idea that sometimes the best decision for the health and happiness of everyone is to consider moving the spouse with dementia into a memory care facility.
Remember that, ultimately, this is your parent’s decision. The best thing you can do is remain positive and supportive throughout the ongoing discussions about a potential move. And remember, whether you need guidance related to senior assisted living or memory care support services, we’re here for you. Let’s talk.
15 March 2021
Our blog posts are syndicated to various social media sites in the interest of educating and keeping our residents and their family informed. GOOD NEWS! The visitation policy update is posted on our home page, but we feel important to place it here in our blog to facilitate maximum exposure.
We are pleased to announce that the in accordance with the Executive Order for Long Term Care the community is allowing Family Visitations. The recent decline in Covid-19 cases in the County allows us to safely have visitors in the community. Each of our properties has specific guidelines for the families to follow and currently visitation is by appointment. Please feel free to contact the community directly for hours and schedule. Additionally, communities are open for Dining and Activity Programing. We are also pursing or have opened our Hair Salons depending on each community’s specific plan for reopening.
8 March 2021
Today we dedicate our discussion to those of you wondering if the senior loved ones under you care are safely served by being online and active in social media circles. For reasons you can likely conclude on your own, your concerns for your loved one who requires memory care support is much greater than those receiving senior assisted living support. Regardless of the type of care you provide, all of us here who deliver professional assisted living and memory care support services understand, respect, and value the quality of life enhancing results that healthy online living delivers. So let’s get to it.
Ten years ago, few people would have predicted that seniors would become some of social media’s most passionate users. But a study last year by Pew Research Center found that 62% of online seniors are on Facebook. Other studies show that social media use among seniors is rising at a rapid rate. As more and more seniors use social media, there are growing concerns. With that said, most research indicates that social media improves quality of life for elderly adults. But some senior care professionals are increasingly worried about the dangers that social media could pose to seniors’ well-being.
On the whole, social media seems to have a positive effect on seniors’ well-being. Internet use has been shown to reduce seniors’ risk of depression by as much as 33%. One study found that seniors who use Facebook show marked improvements in cognitive function. Another study found similar results when seniors were trained to use email, Skype, and Facebook.
Social media also opens new avenues for seniors separated from children and grandchildren by long distances. Facebook makes it easy to keep in touch with family members. Video-calling is particularly popular with seniors, who use services like Skype to connect with their grandchildren.
So why are some people concerned about the dangers of social media for elderly well-being?
One common concern is that social media could, over time, make seniors more depressed. When researchers have surveyed social media users of all ages, they’ve found instances where social media use is linked with higher risk of depression. However, this concern might be overblown among the elderly — after all, research has found that online seniors are less depressed than others.
A study out of the University of Missouri might explain why. In that study, researchers found that the risk of depression only rose in social media users who were using sites like Facebook to compare themselves to others. Depression was tied to an increase of jealous feelings and lower self-esteem. If users were using social media primarily to keep in contact with others, their risk of depression did not increase. Since most seniors use social media for keeping in contact with family and friends, it makes sense that most seniors aren’t at high risk of depression due to social media use.
A much bigger concern is how social media affects seniors’ in-person interactions. Senior isolation is a serious problem among the elderly, one with devastating health effects. Social media use can alleviate some of these effects, but it’s not enough. Seniors need to regularly spend time in the physical presence of others to avoid the emotional, mental, and physical effects of senior isolation.
If seniors and their families start to treat social media as a replacement for in-person interaction, that could put a greater percentage of seniors at risk for feelings of isolation and loneliness. “There are obvious benefits to social media use among seniors,” says Larry Meigs, CEO and President of Visiting Angels. “If social media is used to augment in-person contact, that’s fantastic. But there’s a real concern that seniors and their family members might have less of these interactions the more they rely on social media.”
Ultimately, social media is a positive tool for seniors, families, and senior care providers. But it’s something that should be approached with a degree of caution. If social media is your loved one’s main avenue for social interaction, or if you’ve noticed they’re spending less time with others now that they’re on Facebook, it may be time to consider a change.
Spending more time with your loved one is always a welcome solution. But it might not be enough. If you live far away or have a busy schedule, frequent visits aren’t always practical. When it’s time for you to seek help from a team of proven senior living or memory care professionals in and around Bethlehem, we’re there for you. Always.
1 March 2021
From all of us here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care, we appreciate the positive feedback from our blog readers regarding the practical utility of our blog posts. Many of our readers are at home taking care of their loved one’s Assisted Living support needs and/or their Memory Care support requirements. We are honored and humbled to lend a hand via our weekly blog posts. Today, let’s try to find a laugh in it all with some help from our friends at DailyCaring.com.
“I was kneeling beside Mom’s bed last night when she was saying her bedtime prayer. This night she prayed, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the LORD my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray he takes me like an earthquake.’ Instead of …my soul to take. I said ‘what?’ Mom laughed and said, ‘well, I couldn’t remember the rest and …well, it rhymed!’ ~ Amen!”
Funny moments happen while you’re caring for an older adult. Look to recognize and celebrate them. Of course, chronic illnesses or diseases like Alzheimer’s are certainly no laughing matter. But even in the middle of the worst day, there’s still room for laughter.
Let’s talk about why it’s good for both you and your senior to find humor in caregiving and why you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
Even if you’re caring for an older adult with a debilitating illness or in declining health, the world doesn’t have to be dark, gray, and depressing all the time. It might sound counter-intuitive, but these are the times when a dose of humor is most needed.
Besides, being angry, miserable, and tense won’t change a bad situation or make your senior’s life more pleasant. So why not try to look at the funny or positive side of things whenever possible? Like we do here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care, look for ways to engage the creative spirt! Your certain to find reward and humor in it all.
It turns out that humor is a very effective way of coping with the difficult emotions that come with caregiving and aging.
In research studies, over 75% of recurrent cancer patients and those facing terminal illness said that maintaining a sense of humor was very important. It was right up there with being pain-free. That’s a pretty big endorsement.
A common reason why caregivers resist looking for humor is that they feel guilty about seeming mean or disrespectful of their senior. In truth, part of being a wonderful caregiver is to let yourself laugh and to encourage laughter in your older adult.
After all, you’re not laughing at the person you love and care for. You’re laughing at a funny, ridiculous, or ironic situation. Best of all are the times when your older adult laughs even harder than you do.
“I came home yesterday from work and Mom came out to the kitchen to greet me. I said, ‘Mom, you have on my sweat pants!’ We each have a pair of soft, comfy pea green sweats. Hers are a size 14 and mine are a few sizes bigger! She says, ‘I thought I had lost a lot of weight!’ Then she pulls up her shirt to show me she had them pinned to her bra to keep them up! We had a good laugh!”
No caregiver and no older adult will feel like laughing all the time. But giving yourself permission to notice when funny things do happen and encouraging your senior to laugh eases the burden and makes life more positive for both you.
Are you at home providing assisted living and/or memory care services of a loved one. Know that you are never alone. Contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care anytime. We know your challenges and can help!
22 February 2021
This is the third of a three-part blog series designed to help those of you considering a transition to professional senior assisted living care here in Bethlehem. So far, we’ve covered when is the right time to move and how to prepare for a move. Today, we’ll cover what to expect after the move.
It’s important to remember that it can take a while to adjust to your new environment after any move. After a move is complete, everything will be new: new place, new people, and new routines. Here are our recommendations for making your move as smooth as possible:
The right moves for seniors are often made with ample research and planning. We recommend evaluating your situation carefully. Maybe the simplest advice is to lean on us here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care every step of the way. We are honored and confident in our ability to help you achieve the smoothest transition possible. Contact us!
15 February 2021
Last week we discussed when is the right time to move into a managed senior living community. This blog post is targeted for those of you who have decided that now is the right time to transition to assisted living care here in Bethlehem. Today, we’ll discuss how to prepare for you or your loved one’s move.
Moving can be challenging for seniors and their families both emotionally and logistically, even if the move is ultimately the right decision. In order to make helping seniors move as easy as possible, here are our top tips to help make sure you’re prepared:
When the time comes for you to seek a consult regarding caring for your loved one’s senior assisted living care needs, please know that Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem stands ready to help you every step of the way! Contact Us anytime to learn how we do this!
8 February 2021
While there are countless benefits that come with managed senior care, all of us here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem understand that it can be a stressful topic for individuals and families. Transitioning to managed care means saying goodbye to a home that’s comfortable, familiar, but may no longer be safe. A high percentage of new residents and their family members here within our senior assisted living community contemplated moving for months. They did this for good reasons. Transitioning from independent living is without doubt one of the most difficult decisions anyone will ever make.
Our advice is to acknowledge these feelings but to also focus on the positive aspects of moving. It’s also important to seriously evaluate and consider your current and future needs. Some reasons why considering a move might be the right choice include:
1 February 2021
We’d like to share some keen insight with you from Dr. Elizabeth Galik (Phd, CRNP) and Dr. Richard Stefanacci (MD, DO) regarding their views on improving care for patients with dementia. It is a professional obligation for the staff here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care (Bethlehem) to exercise continuing education on the subjects of professional assisted living care services and professional memory care services. The big takeaway here is the need for those of you caring for a loved one with any form of dementia to be honest and proactive to position both you and your loved one from suffering avoidable (and sometimes unrecoverable) quality of life crisis.
With over 5.8 million individuals living with dementia, and after failures of all the recent attempts for treatment or cure, there is no better time to get back to basics in the geriatric management of dementia. As in most geriatrics care, providing quality dementia care requires a caring collaborative for the best clinical, psychosocial, and financial outcomes.
Most think of dementia care in the long-term care (LTC) setting as occurring in the late stages of the disease within the confines of the LTC units of a skilled nursing facility. However, an increasingly large number of early-stage dementia patients are coursing through the subacute units of skilled memory care communities. So in addition to addressing acute medical comorbidities and rehabilitative goals of traumatic injuries, these subacute stays often signal a major change in cognition, function, or behavior for individuals with dementia.
These changes in condition will require a reassessment of the plan of care for these patients, regardless of whether they return home, move in with their family, or transition to professional memory care on a permanent basis. The subacute stay provides an excellent opportunity to modify the plan of care for patients with dementia and their families.
Dementia — a chronic or persistent disorder of cognitive processes and functional impairment — is predominately progressive in nature. With a known trajectory of decline in cognition, language, motor function, and perceptual abilities, proactive planning for future care is important to minimize negative outcomes and optimize person-centered care approaches. All too often, this planning is put off for far too long.
In most situations, advance planning for eventualities such as the inability to drive or take medications safely or the need for increasing support to maintain activities of daily living is not addressed until a crisis occurs. As clinicians, we can all play a role in addressing these issues sooner rather than later. One benefit in addressing care and safety needs sooner is that it may be easier for the patient to adjust to a change in routine, a new caregiver, or a new supportive environment early in the course of dementia.
Moving to a more supportive and supervised environment early, when the symptoms are less severe, can actually improve the individual’s and caregiver’s health and well-being. If the move to a new setting occurs later, after the patient’s dementia has progressed to the moderate to severe stages, an accelerated decline may occur afterward.
Often there is a small window for the change to be beneficial. Once that window closes — and if the individual’s needs for increased supervision, assistance, and care, potentially with LTC services, have not been addressed — both caregivers and clinicians must prepare for a rescue mission. They may be confronted by an impending crisis that arrives in the form of a traumatic fall, motor vehicle accident, getting lost, or other major catastrophic event.
The post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) interdisciplinary team frequently works together with individuals with dementia and their families to address realistic care and rehabilitative goals. They may deprescribe unnecessary or inappropriate medications, optimize quality of life, and assess and manage the complicating medical comorbidities and behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.
If you live in or around the Bethlehem area and ever have questions about the challenges of creating a 24/7 safe and loving atmosphere for your senior loved on, we’re here to help. We want to develop a relationship with you based on trust and a common love for our ageing loved ones. We trust that when the time comes, you’ll team with us for your professional senior assisted living or memory care support services. Together, we’ll provide the best loving care possible. Give us a call. Let’s talk.
25 January 2021
Deciding on how to best care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be overwhelming. As professional assisted living and memory care service providers here in Bethlehem, we know this all too well. Whether you’re here with us now, or struggling at home to care for a loved one, education, relief, and comfort are just a phone call away.
In the early stages, many people prefer to try to keep their loved one at home, either with the help of family or part-time caregivers. However, caring for someone in the advanced stages of dementia can be a full-time job. Most family caregivers are simply not able to dedicate 100% of their time. Also, in the long run, the family home is often not the most suitable environment, mostly due to safety concerns.
Professional Memory Care communities like ours here at Gateway Gardens are designed with Alzheimer’s and dementia care residents in mind. From the physical structure of our building, our grounds, specially trained staff, personal attention, and carefully planned activities, all aspects of Gateway Gardens living is tailor-made to meet the particular needs of residents in all stages of dementia with a variety of other health issues.
Safety & Security: Injuries are the single biggest risk to folks with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Wandering is a common behavior and can be a source of many problems. Residents are lovingly monitored 24 hours a day.
Personalized Care: Each resident has a customized care plan based on his/her particular needs. Our low staff to resident ratio allows for each resident to receive the best possible care and frequent contact with staff.
Staying Engaged & Socializing: Isolation can be very detrimental to the health and wellbeing of folks with dementia. We strive to help residents stay engaged and socially active. Residents are encouraged to spend much of their time with other residents in the dining and common areas.
Staying Active: The programs and staff are focused on helping residents stay as physically active as possible throughout the day. While residents have their own apartment, the communities are designed to encourage residents to move about the community. There are also secure outdoor walking paths for residents to enjoy.
Maintaining Independence: Although memory care residents often need help and care with many basic daily activities, we encourage residents to maintain a healthy level of independence, allowing them to age in place with dignity and grace.
Having Fun: Throughout each day, there are a variety of programs that offer residents the opportunity to have fun and enjoy themselves. Some of these enriching activities include games, gardening, field trips and outings, music and art therapy, and spiritual programs.
We hope you benefit, are encouraged, educated, and enjoy our blogging efforts. When the time comes for you to seek a consult regarding caring for your loved one’s memory care needs, please know that Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care Bethlehem stands ready to improve the quality of both you and your loved one’s lives. Call us!
11 January 2021
The difference between simple entrepreneurial and genuinely loving professional senior assisted living care and truly loving professional memory care services is volunteer investment in our residents, their families, and the local community. This blog here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem is a perfect example. We publish topics that we know benefits a much wider community than our Manor Lake family and we take great professional reward in so doing. Today’s blog is duly credited to our friends at Elmcroft who earn our respect as like-minded community servants.
Everyone is forgetful sometimes. Forgetting an item while grocery shopping, misplacing your keys, missing your exit while driving or not remembering an appointment every so often are no real causes for concern. Forgetfulness can seem to get worse when you’re experiencing stress, are especially busy, have taken on a new challenge, or haven’t been getting enough sleep. Occasional memory lapses are apart of the normal aging process, and there is probably no cause for alarm if forgetfulness or absentmindedness are not getting significantly worse or accompanied by other problems like personality changes, disorientation, frequent struggles to find the right words or difficulty completing familiar tasks.
The difference between normal forgetfulness and dementia is that dementia causes memory loss and other issues that disrupt daily life and become disabling.
Unlike normal age-related changes in memory and thinking, which may be occasionally bothersome or frustrating but don’t significantly disrupt a person’s life, dementia is not part of the normal aging process. Dementia is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the impaired ability to remember, think or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, but there are several other forms of the disease.
According to the CDC, symptoms of dementia can vary widely from person to person. People with dementia often have problems with memory, attention, communication, reasoning, judgment, task completion, problem-solving, mood, behavior, and spatial and visual perception.
Early signs a loved one may be developing dementia include:
These signs do not necessarily mean someone is developing dementia. Many of these symptoms can also stem from emotional stress or grief, mental health issues like anxiety or depression, reactions to a new medication, and medical problems like head injuries, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorders, infections, stroke and tumors. That’s why it’s important to consult a medical professional if your loved one has several of these symptoms, or if the symptoms seem to linger after a stressful event.
According to the National Institute on Aging, some seniors can also develop a condition known as mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. This means they have more memory or other thinking problems than other people their age, but they can usually care for themselves and participate in normal daily activities. MCI can be a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, but not everyone diagnosed with MCI will progress to the more severe diagnosis. The Mayo Clinic says that while about 1% to 3% of older adults develop dementia every year, studies suggest that around 10% to 15% of individuals with MCI go on to develop dementia each year.
If you or your loved one is having trouble remembering, thinking, concentrating or participating in familiar activities and everyday tasks, it’s important to see a doctor. A thorough examination will include blood tests (and other diagnostic tests, as needed), a review of prescription medications, cognitive and mental health evaluations, and discussions about recent stressors and lifestyle choices. The results of that examination may help a doctor uncover a treatable and even reversible cause of the symptoms.
Dementia-like symptoms caused by depression, pharmaceutical side effects, drug or alcohol abuse, tumors and other structural problems in the brain, metabolic or endocrine conditions, and nutritional deficiencies can be reversible.
If the doctor suspects dementia after the examination, a course of management and treatment can be recommended. Neurodegenerative dementias, like Alzheimer’s disease, have no cure, but medications are available that can help slow their progression or reduce symptoms like disorientation, anxiety, delusions or behavioral changes. Research is underway for more effective treatments.
A healthy diet, active lifestyle, memory/brain games, strong social support and community involvement can offer some protection from memory loss and may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or related forms of dementia. Environmental modifications and breaking down tasks into simpler steps can help increase independence and safety and reduce frustration and confusion. Non-medical treatments may also help lessen symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with dementia. These include:
If you or your loved one struggle with sleep issues, talking with your doctor is a good place to start. Our assisted living and memory care community here in Bethlehem is designed to support our senior residents by providing a safe, secure environment where their everyday needs are met. We not only offer comfortable housing accommodations but also indoor and outdoor amenities, events, and fitness programs to keep you physically and mentally active during your senior years. We are proud to deliver professional assisted living and memory care services that measurably improve quality of life.
We welcome your call and/or visit to learn more. Contact us today!
4 January 2021
Here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care, our team of professional memory care and assisted living care providers constantly seek ways to improve the quality of life of our residents, their family, and their friends. Today’s blog addresses one of the most prolific thieves of quality of life, untreated hearing loss. There are many different causes of hearing loss, and in many cases, hearing loss is something that happens steadily over time. This can make it difficult to notice. For many of us, the idea of getting our hearing checked can be frightening.
If you think a loved one might be suffering from hearing loss, however, it is important to get it checked out, as being hard of hearing without seeking help can be quite isolating. Here are four signs to look out for in your loved ones that you suspect might be hard of hearing.
1. They often complain that other people are mumbling.
If your loved one is suffering some hearing loss, to them, it does sound like others are mumbling. Try speaking a little slower, making sure to clearly enunciate your words, and see if that helps them. Louder is not always better — be sure you are looking at them so they can also see your mouth and lips moving as you speak. If your family member is still struggling to understand what you are saying, the problem likely is their hearing, not your speaking style.
2. They have a difficult time hearing women’s or children’s voices.
The pitch range of most women and children’s voices is a higher frequency than that of most men, and women and children tend to speak more softly than men, as well. High-frequency hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss. If your loved one is having trouble hearing women and children when speaking, it might be time to suggest an appointment with a specialist.
3. They answer inappropriately to questions or seem to be answering another question.
If such odd answers are an increasingly common occurrence, try asking the same question again, looking your loved one directly in the eye and speaking a little more slowly. If they can understand and answer the right question when you take extra steps, it might be time to consider a checkup.
4. They avoid social situations or frequently miss phone calls or a ringing doorbell.
It is common for people experiencing hearing loss to withdraw because they are worried about not being able to hear conversations, whether in person or on the phone. Talk to your loved one, either in person in a quieter setting or even via email if they use that and see if there might be other reasons for their isolation. If not, it could be time to talk to them about hearing loss options.
If you have any questions regarding your loved one’s real or suspected hearing loss here at Gateway Gardens, contact us anytime. We will be glad to consult you regarding how to address the subject with your loved one and the local options that you have for professional hearing treatment services.
21 December 2020
Manor Lake Assisted Living Communities are Considered 1-A Long Term Care Facilities by the Georgia Department of Public Health. With the 1-A status our residents and Staffs will be among the first to be offered the Vaccine. We have already contacted the two approved providers for the Vaccine Walgreens and CVS pharmacies to ensure our staff and residents are scheduled for Vaccination Clinic dates as soon as possible.
Get more information from Gateway Gardens here.
To learn more about the Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution plan from the Georgia Department of Community Health follow the link below to the Plan Document.
Manor Lake Assisted Living & Memory Care is Accepting New Residents. For many of our seniors Assisted Living or Memory Care at Manor Lake is currently the best option. Considering the enhanced safety measures that Manor Lake is taking, moving into a senior community may make more sense than living isolated alone at home and not getting adequate care.
Maintaining the health, wellness, and safety of our residents is our number one priority. Due to the COVID-19 situation, effective immediately we are restricting visitors to our community. This is in cooperation with federal mandates regarding this situation. Letters regarding specific details are being sent to the responsible parties for our residents to provide them with more detailed information. In addition to restricting visits, our staff will be screened prior to the starting of their shifts and have been trained on the symptoms of COVID-19 as well as infection prevention techniques. This is a fluid situation and we will keep you informed as the situation changes. We appreciate your cooperation and patience. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
14 December 2020
Our team of professional memory care and assisted living care providers here at Gateway Gardens in Bethlehem are there for all of you, young and seasoned alike. Today’s blog offers numerous “brain exercises” that we all can to do improve memory and focus. Again, these exercises are not directed at our assisted living and our memory care residents, but to their families and indeed, all members and family members of the staff here at Gateway Gardens here in Bethlehem. We send due credit to “Healthline”, who authored these superb ideas.
The brain is involved in everything we do and, like any other part of the body, it needs to be cared for too.
Exercising the brain to improve memory, focus, or daily functionality is a top priority for many people, especially as they get older. That said, people of all ages can benefit from incorporating a few simple brain exercises into their daily life, which we’ll explore in more detail in this article.
Research has shown that there are many ways you can hone your mental sharpness and help your brain stay healthy, no matter what age you are. Doing certain brain exercises to help boost your memory, concentration, and focus can make daily tasks quicker and easier to do, and keep your brain sharp as you get older.
Let’s take a deeper dive into 13 evidence-based exercises that offer the best brain-boosting benefits.
1. Have fun with a jigsaw puzzle
Whether you’re putting together a 1,000-piece image of the Eiffel Tower or joining 100 pieces to make Mickey Mouse, working on a jigsaw puzzle is an excellent way to strengthen your brain.
Research has shown that doing jigsaw puzzles recruits multiple cognitive abilities and is a protective factor for visuospatial cognitive aging. In other words, when putting together a jigsaw puzzle, you have to look at different pieces and figure out where they fit within the larger picture. This can be a great way to challenge and exercise your brain.
2. Try your hand at cards
When’s the last time you played a game of cards? Researchers who conducted a study in 2015Trusted Source on mentally stimulating activities for adults, say a quick card game can lead to greater brain volume in several regions of the brain. The same study also found that a game of cards could improve memory and thinking skills.
Try learning one of these tried-and-true card games:
3. Build your vocabulary
A rich vocabulary has a way of making you sound smart. But did you know you can also turn a quick vocab lesson into a stimulating brain game?
Research shows that many more regions of the brain are involved in vocabulary tasks, particularly in areas that are important for visual and auditory processing. To test this theory, try this cognitive-boosting activity:
4. Dance your heart out
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control notes that learning new dance moves can increase your brain’s processing speed and memory. In other words, bust a move on the dance floor and your brain will thank you.
Want to test it out? Give one of these dance activities a try:
5. Use all your senses
A 2015 research report suggests that using all your senses may help strengthen your brain.
To give your senses and your brain a workout, try doing activities that simultaneously engage all five of your senses. You could try baking a batch of cookies, visiting a farmer’s market, or trying a new restaurant while you focus on smelling, touching, tasting, seeing, and hearing all at the same time.
6. Learn a new skill
Learning a new skill is not only fun and interesting, but it may also help strengthen the connections in your brain.
Research from 2014 also shows that learning a new skill can help improve memory function in older adults.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do? Perhaps you’d like to know how to repair your car, use a particular software program, or ride a horse? You now have one more good reason to learn that new skill.
7. Teach a new skill to someone else
One of the best ways to expand your learning is to teach a skill to another person.
After you learn a new skill, you need to practice it. Teaching it to someone else requires you to explain the concept and correct any mistakes you make. For example, learn to swing a golf club, then teach the steps to a friend.
8. Listen to or play music
Do you want an easy way to increase your creative brain power? The answer may lie in turning on some music.
Listening to happy tunes helps generate more innovative solutions compared to being in silence. Which means, cranking up some feel-good music can help boost your creative thinking and brain power.
And if you want to learn how to play music, now is a great time to start because your brain is capable of learning new skills at any point in your life. That’s why you’re never too old to start playing an instrument like the piano, guitar, or even the drums.
9. Take a new route
Don’t get stuck in a rut when it comes to your daily tasks. Instead, be willing to try new ways to do the same things.
Choose a different route to get to work each week or try a different mode of transport, like biking or using public transport instead of driving. Your brain can benefit from this simple change, and you might be surprised by how easy it is to change your thinking.
Daily meditation can calm your body, slow your breathing, and reduce stress and anxiety.
But did you know that it may also help fine-tune your memory and increase your brain’s ability to process information? Find a quiet spot, close your eyes, and spend five minutes meditating each day.
11. Learn a new language
A 2012 review of research has overwhelmingly proven the many cognitive benefits of being able to speak more than one language.
According to numerous studies, bilingualism can contribute to better memory, improved visual-spatial skills, and higher levels of creativity. Being fluent in more than one language may also help you switch more easily between different tasks, and delay the onset of age-related mental decline.
The good news is that it’s never too late to reap the rewards of learning a new language. According to researchers, you can boost your memory and improve other mental functions by becoming a student of a new language at any time in your life.
12. Take up tai chi
It’s no secret that tai chi can benefit your health in many ways, including your mental health. Plus, it can also help center you when life seems out of balance.
Taking up a regular practice of tai chi can help reduce stress, enhance sleep quality, and improve memory. A 2013 study found that long-term tai chi practice could induce structural changes in the brain, resulting in an increase in brain volume.
Beginners do best by taking a class to learn the different movements. But once you know the basics, you can practice tai chi anywhere, anytime.
13. Focus on another person
The next time you interact with someone, take note of four things about them. Maybe you observe the color of their shirt or pants. Are they wearing glasses? Do they have a hat on, and if so, what kind of hat? What color is their hair?
Once you decide on four things to remember, make a mental note, and come back to it later in the day. Write down what you remember about those four details.
Focusing on your brain health is one of the best things you can do to improve your concentration, focus, memory, and mental agility, no matter what age you are.
By incorporating brain exercises into your everyday life, you’ll get to challenge your mind, sharpen your cognitive skills, and possibly learn something new and enriching along the way, too.
If you have any questions regarding professional, safe, and loving assisted living care or professional memory care services here in Bethlehem, contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care today.
7 December 2020
We found the following educational and uplifting story from the University of Utah and feel compelled to share it with you. As professional senior assisted living, memory care, and respite care support providers, we know that music has always been a therapeutical tool to enrich our dear resident’s lives. The month of December is comparatively the most music intensive month for residents and staff alike. So, we’d like to share this story with you and encourage all of you to involve music in the loving care of your family. So, now off to the wisdom of the fine folks at the Univ of Utah.
Ever get chills listening to a particularly moving piece of music? You can thank the salience network of the brain for that emotional joint. Surprisingly, this region also remains an island of remembrance that is spared from the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the University of Utah Health are looking to this region of the brain to develop music-based treatments to help alleviate anxiety in patients with dementia.
“People with dementia are confronted by a world that is unfamiliar to them, which causes disorientation and anxiety,” said Jeff Anderson, MD, PhD, associate professor in Radiology at U of U Health and contributing author on the study. “We believe music will tap into the salience network of the brain that is still relatively functioning.”
Previous work demonstrated the effect of a personalized music program on mood for dementia patients. This study set out to examine a mechanism that activates the attentional network in the salience region of the brain. The results offer a new way to approach anxiety, depression, and agitation in patients with dementia. Activation of neighboring regions of the brain may also offer opportunities to delay the continued decline caused by the disease. For three weeks, the researchers helped participants select meaningful songs and trained the patient and caregiver on how to use a portable media player loaded with the self-selected collection of music.
“When you put headphones on dementia patients and play familiar music, they come alive,” said Jace King, a graduate student in the Brain Network Lab and first author on the paper. “Music is like an anchor, grounding the patient back in reality.”
Using a functional MRI, the researchers scanned the patients to image the regions of the brain that lit up when they listened to 20-second clips of music versus silence. The researchers played eight clips of music from the patient’s music collection, eight clips of the same music played in reverse and eight blocks of silence. The researchers compared the images from each scan.
The researchers found that music activates the brain, causing whole regions to communicate. By listening to the personal soundtrack, the visual network, the salience network, the executive network and the cerebellar and corticocerebellar network pairs all showed significantly higher functional connectivity.
“This is objective evidence from brain imaging that shows personally meaningful music is an alternative route for communicating with patients who have Alzheimer’s disease,” said Norman Foster, MD, Director of the Center for Alzheimer's Care and Imaging Research at U of U Health and senior author on the paper. “Language and visual memory pathways are damaged early as the disease progresses, but personalized music programs can activate the brain, especially for patients who are losing contact with their environment.”
However, these results are by no means conclusive. The researchers note the small sample size (17 participants) for this study. In addition, the study only included a single imaging session for each patient. It is remains unclear whether the effects identified in this study persist beyond a brief period of stimulation or whether other areas of memory or mood are enhanced by changes in neural activation and connectivity for the long term.
“In our society, the diagnoses of dementia are snowballing and are taxing resources to the max,” Anderson said. “No one says playing music will be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but it might make the symptoms more manageable, decrease the cost of care and improve a patient’s quality of life.”
As always, we remind you that for anyone out there with questions regarding professional senior assisted living care here in Bethlehem, memory care services, or respite care services here in Bethlehem, reach out to us anytime!
Credit for this work goes to: The University of Utah’s K.G. Jones, M. Rollins, K. Macnamee, C. Moffit, S.R. Naidu, E. Garcia-Leavitt, R.K. Gurgel, J. Amaro and K.R. Breitenbach at U of U Health and University of Utah, E. Goldberg from the Jewish Family Services of Utah, J.M. Watson from University of Colorado and M.A. Ferguson from Massachusetts General Hospital also contributed to this project. This work received support from A. Scott Anderson and the American Ontological Society.
30 November 2020
Whether you’re a cherished resident at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem, a family member, or a valued fan of our blog, we trust you had a great Thanksgiving Holiday and are looking forward to the magic of the entire Christmas Holiday season. But it is winter, and winter can be a challenging time to remain physically active. We’re going to address this challenge in today’s blog post.
In winter, staying active becomes increasingly hard to do. Between preparing for the Holidays and the higher likelihood of severe weather, our walking groups tend to part ways until the next spring season. As the opportunities to get outside grow limited, unless you are an avid fan of the cold, the amount of exercise you get can plummet. However, there are several easy and fun ways we can remain active during the upcoming colder months!
Chair yoga is a fun and easy way to stay active indoors. Never tried yoga? No problem! Chair Yoga adapts many of the more complex positions into accessible movements for beginners. Yoga has many health benefits, such as improved balance, mindfulness, and agility. As we are gearing up for winter, chair yoga is the perfect routine to help stay warm in the cold months ahead.
Exercise doesn’t always have to be accomplished in workout clothes. Dancing is an excellent form of exercise as it builds muscle strength, balance and coordination as well as heart health! The best part is that dancing can be done on your own or with a group of friends. All you need are a few of your favorite tunes and some dancing shoes. Did you know that in addition to being a great form of cardio, dancing can even improve your memory? A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine cited that dancing could prevent the development of dementia as we age.
With so many great reasons it’s hard not to want to move those couches to the wall and hang up the disco ball!
Before you head outdoors this winter, remember to do a few quick arm and leg stretches. Snow and ice can obviously be slippery but warming up your muscles before you head out in the elements can do wonders for your balance as you walk across the icy bits. You should also take water with you. Unpredictable weather and increased exertion against wind and snow increase the likelihood that you are outside for longer than expected.
The extra layers we put on to keep warm make us sweat, which means we need to up the intake of water we drink in the day. Drinking cold water in cold weather isn’t enticing, so keep a few water bottles out until they become room temperature!
No matter what kind of activity you choose, it is important to remember that safety should always come first. Staying hydrated during the winter is particularly essential since all the extra layers can make your body sweat more than usual. Also, stretching before heading outdoors will decrease your likelihood of falling on the icy sidewalks.
Managed healthy and safe activities within our assisted living community here in Bethlehem, our memory care community, and within our respite care services is a source of great pride for us here at Gateway Gardens. Come see it for yourself. Contact us anytime!
9 November 2020
When it comes to happiness later in life, there is one factor that countless studies show is key for most people: Social connection. More important than money or one’s past career success, research from around the world shows people need social activity to genuinely enjoy their “golden years.”
Keeping active and engaged is important at any age, but for seniors, it is vital. When it is time to think about living arrangements for the latter part of one’s life, it’s so important to consider how various communities do or don’t foster those social connections. We’re certain you’ll find that Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem will pass all your tests.
Happiness and connection are tied to physical health as well. For example, one study looked at 1,110 seniors without dementia. Their social activity levels and cognitive functioning were measured over 12 years, and the results were amazing. Those seniors with a higher level of social activity had a rate of cognitive decline that was 70% lower than those with less social activity. Studies also show that happier senior citizens live longer.
The problem is that many seniors find themselves without those social connections. Over the years, family and friends move away and pass away, and opportunities for connection dwindle as people retire from jobs and their children leave home. Lives that once bustled with business and social activity can become quiet and lonely.
Fortunately, there are senior assisted living communities like ours that foster social connections and help keep seniors engaged, connected and happy. Whether you or a loved one seek professional assisted living services here in Bethlehem, professional memory care services for a loved one in or around Bethlehem, or professional respite care services here in Bethlehem, Gateway Gardens is here for you.
We provide living arrangements that give seniors both the level of autonomy they want and the support they may need. Amenities like chef-quality meals served three times a day and weekly housekeeping services mean there is more time to engage in activities, develop new friendships and spend time with family. An array of activities and opportunities promotes an active lifestyle and lets seniors pursue their passions and explore new interests.
For more information, please browse our Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care website.
2 November 2020
Getting swept up on a great television series can make us laugh, provide a shared interest with others, or simply forget our worries for a little while. Streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Disney+, offer an enormous variety of options for television (as well as movies) but it might seem like these services target only younger people. In fact, seniors are likely to find many shows they enjoy. We’re here to help by recommending a few streaming TV shows for older adults.
Note that some of these shows air on network television or cable, but can be watched using streaming services for more choice and flexibility.
For our assisted living community residents here in Bethlehem, the need for readily accessible entertainment, like a streaming service, is important, especially when:
Unlike “regular” television, streaming services allow someone to watch an episode or two whenever it’s convenient. Many seniors like the ability to pause for short breaks or rewind if they miss something. They can even make plans to watch a show at the same time as a friend or family member, to share the experience.
There’s also evidence that our memory care residents here at Gateway Gardens Bethlehem can benefit from the social context of watching TV with people who are close to them.
The term “scripted television” came into fashion to differentiate shows that tell stories from reality shows. Scripted shows include comedies or dramas or, increasingly, a mix of the two. Comedies are an especially good choice for when it’s time to unwind. A 2014 research study even concluded that “laughter therapy” improves the general health of seniors.
One of the biggest changes streaming television has brought to the industry is diversification of stories and characters. There is more representation than ever of different ages, abilities, ethnicities, gender identities and other traits. Gone are the days when most senior citizens on television were caricatures — the overbearing mother-in-law or the cranky next-door neighbor, for example. Senior adults are more often portrayed on TV as having rich inner lives with hopes and dreams as well as flaws. The following are just a few examples.
Many popular streaming series are set during different time periods, often with no expense spared with regard to sets, costumes and music.
Game shows and reality competition shows can provide excitement, humor and insight into different hobbies and interests. These are some popular ones.
Sometimes the “best” television shows are the ones from our youth. From I Love Lucy (Hulu) to Star Trek (Netflix), any classic show you ever loved probably lives on a streaming service now. Watch it again in its entirety or just your favorite episodes.
You can always talk to friends and family for additional show recommendations, but we think some of these will give you a starting point to find your new favorite streaming TV series. Here at Gateway Gardens, our goal is to meet the needs of all our residents, from their medical care to the little things they enjoy doing each day. Get in touch to learn more about life here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem.
26 October 2020
Today we hope to educate all our Bethlehem-area assisted living and our Bethlehem memory care community residents, family, neighbors, and friends on the subject of healthy sleep. Sleep disorders affect people of all ages, but they become more prevalent during your senior years, putting you at risk for a range of other mental and physical health issues. Today’s blog is intended to educate and provide some things to consider, but with that said, we need to make something clear. As it pertains to any and all health-related topics, your medical team is (and always should be) your final source for guidance.
While occasional sleep problems are common, insomnia or other abnormal sleep behaviors are a cause for concern. You can help combat them by identifying the root cause and implementing various natural remedies and routine changes.
It is common knowledge that a chronic lack of quality sleep can negatively affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. During sleep, the body has a chance to repair cell damage and refresh the immune system, subsequently building up your defense against disease and sickness.
For older adults, insufficient sleep puts them at higher risk of depression, anxiety, and memory problems. Additionally, you or your loved one may become more susceptible to daytime sleepiness and nighttime falls. Other more serious conditions that may result from insomnia and other sleep disorders include an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer.
In order to improve your quality of life, it’s important to get a good night’s rest on a consistent basis. If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, then consult your doctor. You, your doctor, and your family should team together to identify the underlying problem and then applying the appropriate treatment.
In general, adults function best when they get an average of seven to eight hours of sleep each night. It is normal for your body’s internal clock to evolve as you age, causing you to feel sleepy earlier in the evening or to wake up earlier in the morning. Additionally, lower levels of growth hormone production lead to a decrease of slow-wave or deep sleep, resulting in less melatonin and more fragmented sleep.
However, there are a variety of more severe sleep disorders that can negatively impact your ability to feel truly rested. Insomnia, or difficult falling and staying asleep, is the most common, but seniors can also suffer from other sleep-related issues. Some of the main causes of sleep disturbances or insomnia in older adults include:
If you want to improve the amount and/or quality of sleep you are getting, you must treat the underlying problem. For certain root causes—such as pain, medical conditions, or your medications—you should speak to your physician about making changes to your treatment plan. They may also recommend specific solutions to your sleep disorder.
In general, however, there are several preventative measures and routine changes that may help counteract the common causes of insomnia or sleep impairment in seniors:
If you or your loved one struggle with sleep issues, talking with your doctor is a good place to start. Our assisted living and memory care community here in Bethlehem is designed to support our senior residents by providing a safe, secure environment where their everyday needs are met. We not only offer comfortable housing accommodations but also indoor and outdoor amenities, events, and fitness programs to keep you physically and mentally active during your senior years. We are proud to deliver professional assisted living and memory care services that measurably improve quality of life.
We welcome your call and/or visit to learn more. Contact us today!
12 October 2020
Greetings once again to all of our Bethlehem-area assisted living and our Bethlehem memory care community residents, family, neighbors, and friends. We’re entering flu season here in Bethlehem, and while most focus today is rightfully centered on COVID, you simply must address the dangers of flu season and what you need to do now!
As people around the world continue focusing on the COVID-19 crisis, the time of year when the seasonal flu begins to make its rounds is approaching. It’s important not to overlook the safety measures designed to protect us all from the influenza virus. Compared to the severity of the coronavirus, the flu may not seem as serious of a health risk. The reality, however, is that the seasonal flu can still be deadly for seniors. In fact, seniors comprise nearly 85 percent of influenza-related deaths and up to 70 percent of hospitalizations in a typical year.
The annual flu vaccine is considered to be the gold standard when it comes to prevention, but it’s not the only one. Lifestyle also plays a key role in determining who will—and who won’t—get bitten by the flu bug.
These last few recommendations are likely ones you’ve heard frequently since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but they bear repeating:
Finally, contact your physician at the first sign of the flu. There are prescription antiviral drugs that help lessen the severity of flu symptoms and may even be able to shorten the length of time you are sick. But these medications must be taken before the flu progresses too far.
We exist to add quality of life to both you and your beloved. People turn to us daily for advice and consult. We’re here for you! Contact us today to schedule a tour!
28 September 2020
Welcome back to our blog page for our Bethlehem-area assisted living and our Bethlehem memory care community. No matter what stage of care need your elderly loved one is at, you can trust that you have proven professionals right around the corner here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care to deliver genuine quality of life improvement to you both. Today, let’s visit the subject of heart health.
The heart is obviously a foundational muscle and the moment its integrity is compromised, or it starts to fail in some way, our bodies react. Just like with the brain, there are so many smart ways that we can go about keeping our hearts healthier as we age. We’re going to look at proactive heart health, why it’s important, and the best ways to keep our tickers going strong.
According to the heart foundation, heart disease is the number-one killer of Americans and each year, it claims more lives than every form of cancer combined. Heart disease, including all forms of strokes and cardiovascular diseases, kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. With so many deaths annually, it’s important to note the most common reasons our hearts give out on us.
When it comes to the health of our hearts, some habits are better than others. According to Harvard Medical School, there are five habits that can be extremely destructive to the heart. They are:
If any of these things apply to you, you could be doing your heart a huge disservice, but it’s never too late to make valuable changes to your health! Reach out to us to learn more about our proactively managed heart health activities!
In the meantime, check out our community’s accommodations and reach out to us if you’d like to learn more about assisted living and/or memory care services here in Bethlehem. We exist to make your life easier, your elderly loved one’s existence better, and your family’s quality of life the best it’s ever been. Contact us today to schedule a tour!
21 September 2020
Helping your parent or a loved one make the move to professional assisted living care here in Bethlehem or professional memory care here in Bethlehem can be overwhelming for all involved. However, there are steps you can take to make the transition as easy and comfortable as possible. The key is thinking ahead and taking a little extra time to plan. Here are five essential tips to keep in mind as you prepare.
Once a community is selected, it’s time to create a road map for the move itself, including what items will be stored or sold and identifying logistics and costs for moving day. Gather important personal information such as Social Security and Medicare information and legal and financial records, so that all critical information is at your fingertips. If you have time, it’s also a good idea to schedule visits to the community with your loved one in advance of the move so that their new home starts to become familiar and comfortable even before they move in. Schedule a lunch or check out the community’s daily calendar for special programs or events to help break the ice and get to know residents and staff members.
During all that has to be done, keep in mind that this is a big change for your parent or loved one. Approach the discussion with dignity and respect, and with the understanding that your loved one will be a primary decision maker during this transition. Read the signs and ask thoughtful questions to explore concerns or fears that may lead to a larger and more honest discussion. If your loved one is asking pointed questions, then find out what the underlying concern may be. Gently enter the discussion so that you can discover how best to provide support in a way that is comfortable for them.
Sorting through treasured items can be a serious undertaking. As you go through a lifetime of belongings, we recommend familiarizing yourself with their new accommodations. You’ll want to pack the essentials, but also look for ways to make their new space feel like home. Help your loved one identify some key items that are emotionally significant to them, like a favorite art piece, family photos, or a treasured keepsake. Carefully consider which rooms your family member regularly occupies and the items they touch most to gauge what their needs will be in their new place. For example, if they are no longer entertaining regularly in their home, then they can probably leave the china cabinet behind, but may want to bring a favorite teapot or coffee mugs for cozier encounters. Most importantly, include your loved one during each step of the process – choosing things for the new place will help them feel more at home when they arrive.
Any move can be difficult, especially if you are managing it by yourself. Gather a support team of family and friends. If someone offers to help, let them! Identify a team leader and key decision maker, then delegate tasks such as canceling utilities, scheduling movers and packing boxes. If you find yourself in a bind, don’t hesitate to talk with the staff at the community – they’ve helped lots of families in the same situation and can offer advice and support, along with helpful resources for the big move.
Although it is important to support your loved one through this significant transition, it is equally important to give them time and space to adjust to their lifestyle change. Independent living can offer seniors more opportunities to remain self-sufficient by providing services like transportation, an on-site fitness center and salon, daily social activities and delicious dining options. Assisted living provides the added security of licensed nurses and a well-trained staff around the clock, while also helping your loved one to be more socially active by offering activities and outings that may not have been available to them at home. Here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care (Bethlehem), we ask families to provide a life story upon move-in so that we can get to know new residents and their interests more quickly and introduce them to activities and people they might enjoy. Our team can offer guidance to help you find the right balance of support and independence for your loved one at their new community.
If you have specific questions or need help in planning your loved one’s move, get in touch with a member of our highly trained staff for more information on how to prepare your loved one for their new home.
14 September 2020
We routinely receive finance-related questions while providing professional assisted living services here in Bethlehem and loving memory care services in Bethlehem as well. A commonly asked question pertains to whether or not establishing joint bank accounts between seniors and their family. We want to recognize “A Place For Mom” who authored great guidance on this subject that we share with you today.
So, are you considering opening a joint bank account with an aging parent? While it may seem like a convenient way to pay the bills, a joint account has drawbacks that could be financially damaging to you both. Weigh the pros and cons here before heading to the bank.
A joint bank account is an easy way to assist your aging parent with managing day-to-day finances. Having a joint checking account can help you:
Depending on your financial situation, the decision to combine accounts could be detrimental to both you and your parent. Here are some risks to consider before opening a joint account with your elderly loved one:
Money is the main reason adult siblings fight over their parent’s care, and joint bank accounts can lead to disputes. If one sibling is a primary caregiver, or helps their aging loved one pay bills, it may seem sensible for them to take over an elderly parent’s finances or to set up a joint account.
But siblings could question how and why money is being spent, says Mike Travers, a certified financial planner in Ontario, Canada. They may accuse the joint account holder of financial abuse, especially if the funds appear to be misappropriated. “Parents need to be mindful of what they may set their children up for,” says Travers.
In families with multiple children, a joint checking account with one child has consequences regarding inheritance. “In most states, upon the parent’s death, the money in the account automatically goes to the child whose name is on the account, thereby disinheriting the other children,” writes Takacs. This is because joint accounts are usually held with rights of survivorship, which means ownership passes automatically from the deceased to their survivor.
A joint account can preclude a will in the case of your loved one’s death, no matter when the account was established. This means the child on the shared account would receive all the money in the account.
The FDIC guide to joint bank accounts provides a potential solution: “While most joint accounts are held with rights of survivorship, in rare instances joint account owners are ‘tenants in common,’ which means ownership does not necessarily pass from decedent to survivor. Instead, each co-owner can bequeath his or her share of the account to whomever he or she chooses.” With this provision, the aging parent could assign their share of the account to a separate child, ensuring it’s split evenly. Consult a financial advisor to see if this provision could apply to your family.
If the risks of a joint bank account outweigh the benefits in your family’s circumstances, consider these alternatives:
Every family’s financial situation is different. Consider consulting a certified financial advisor to understand how to best help your elderly parents. Visit the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards to search for one by city, state, or ZIP code. Certified elder law attorneys are often also experts in financial issues related to aging. Visit the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys to find one in your area.
Before selecting an advisor, ask about their experience with elderly finances. Registered financial gerontologists have extra training in providing financial advice to aging adults and their families. In addition, some geriatric care managers offer financial advising or can link you with an advisor who specializes in elder-care finance.
Please know that our professional expertise is in providing assisted living and memory care services. We are not financial advisors, however, we view this as prudent guidance that helps your formulate questions and concerns that you can direct to a qualified financial consultant. As always, we stand ready to answer any and all questions you might have regarding the benefits of professional care services. Call anytime!
31 August 2020
We witness and understand that there are certain stresses involved in visiting the doctor and the dentist. We discovered some very practical advice provided by Dr. John Voytas, M.D., a Doctor of Geriatric Medicine. He focuses on preparation for the visit and how it can make things go so much more comfortable and effective for the patient, family, and providers alike. All of us here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care (Bethlehem) thank Dr. Voytas and the great folks at Graceful Aging for putting together this short presentation that we trust you will find useful.
Please know that we manage this blog as a free service to help all of you, like us, who provide loving assisted living and/or memory care services for a loved one. Also know that we stand ready to answer any and all questions you might have regarding the benefits of professional care services. Call anytime!
24 August 2020
Our team of professional memory care and assisted living care providers here at Gateway Gardens here in Bethlehem are there for all of you at home care providers. Much of our blog is dedicated to works designed to assist you in your selfless commitment to your senior loved ones. Unfortunately, there will come a day when solo home care or professionally assisted home care is no longer enough. For those of you who have arrived that moment, please know that your friends here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care are ready with open arms to provide the loving care necessary to deliver the quality of life that both you and your challenged loved one(s) deserve. So let’s start with the basics.
Everyone ages differently. While some age-related changes are inevitable, such as slower reflexes and vision challenges, other issues can vary greatly from person to person. Lifestyle and to a lessor degree, genetics, are key determinants in how healthy you are at every age.
This is important information to keep in mind as you search for a senior living community, whether for yourself, a spouse or aging parents. It might be that a senior is active and independent at the time of a move, but what happens when needs change?
Moving is tough at every age, but more so for older adults. This is why making a second move during the retirement years is something to avoid if possible. Understanding what types of care a senior community offers and what happens if care needs change over time are important issues to address before making a decision to relocate. This includes if one parent needs more or different care than another.
If you aren’t familiar with different types of senior care, this quick overview might be helpful:
At each community you visit, ask the staff about how they handle changes in needs after a senior becomes a resident. Are different types of care available on the same campus? Can residents move from one to another seamlessly?
When you are weighing options for yourself or your parents, choosing a community that offers multiple levels of care is something to consider. If one person develops different care needs, a couple can still remain a part of the same senior community. Even if these changes require separate living arrangements, they will still be in an environment that is familiar to them surrounded by team members they know.
Now is the time for you to seek a consult regarding how Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem can improve the quality of both you and your loved one’s lives. Call us!
17 August 2020
We often hear horrible stories from families concerning an elderly loved one who was short-changed or downright scammed, financially or otherwise. Our caring professionals here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care focus this blog post on the topic of con-artists and scammers of all stripes. While this blog post is geared towards the senior community, it is certainly germane and relevant to folks of all ages. It certainly applies to all of our faithful blog readers whether your providing assisted living and/or memory care support. So let’s discuss the very real risks out there.
Safeguarding your money, your assets and your identity from theft and fraud.
Con-artists come in different shapes and disguises, but the objective is always the same!
This clever actor charms elderly victims by phone with an affable “nice guy” approach. Deceptive and dishonest, this tele-trickster is the last person you would want to invite into your home! You’re right if you guessed… he’s a con artist!
According to the U.S. Congress, Americans lose an estimated $40 billion each year due to the unethical activities of fraudulent “salespeople.” Con artists will try to take money as well as property and other valuable assets. Sweepstakes tend to be the most prevalent of all con artist scams but they might also be disguised as home improvement deals, real estate investments, inventions, or even false charities. Knowing how to spot these scams will help you identify a con artist and may someday save you from heartache and financial disaster.
Most people are not likely to fall for a scam if it actually sounds like one, so these phony deals are usually disguised as something else:
Most con artists use key words and phrases to make you feel important or to pressure you to act quickly. For example:
“You have been selected as one of ten finalists for our sweepstakes offer.”
“As a senior citizen, you have already been pre-approved.”
“This is not for every one, so keep it a secret.”
“Cash or credit card only, no checks.”
“You must decide now. If you hang up, you will lose this opportunity.”
The object of any con game is to get you to part with your money. Most of these scams are initiated by people who approach you on the street or call you at home. Be suspicious of ANY plan, idea, scheme, or so-called business deal that requires you to give money – or access to your money – to a stranger. Here are some of the more common scams:
The Bank Examiner
Someone calls you claiming to be a bank examiner or police investigator who needs your help to catch a “dishonest” bank employee. He usually asks for your account number and account balance. He may tell you that the bank records show a much smaller balance and that he suspects a teller must be stealing the money. He asks you to withdraw a large sum of money from your account and give it to him so he can do an audit or check serial numbers, after which the money will be re-deposited. Of course, you never see him or your money again.
Often times con artists will try to get you to subscribe to a magazine or offer a cure for a medical condition. They may also offer a free inspection of your home for problems with your furnace, hot water tank, appliance, or garage door. Whatever the con artist has to offer, simply say no and report them to your local police. More than likely they need to have a solicitor or business license of some type from your local city hall in order to conduct such door-to-door business. The con may even have an I.D. that appears to have been issued by your local government office. Check it carefully.
The Fake Lottery Ticket
Someone with a foreign accent approaches you on the street and tells you he has a winning lottery ticket, worth $100,000 or more, but he cannot cash it in because he is not a U.S. citizen. He even verifies the winning numbers by calling a number and letting you listen to a phony recording of winning lottery numbers. He offers to sell you the ticket for just a few thousand dollars. You jump at the chance to make such easy money and help someone out at the same time. Of course the lottery ticket is worthless and you have lost your money. (Someone close to me actually fell prey to a similar scheme.)
Home Improvement Scheme
A man drives up to your house in a commercial van or pickup truck, dressed in workman’s clothing. He tells you he has just finished a large roofing job (or driveway resurfacing, etc.) and has some materials left over. He tells you he will use the leftover materials to repair your roof, driveway, or other repair work, at a large discount. If you agree, he will do a quick, shoddy job with cheap material.
The Phony C.O.D. Scam
The con artist will scout a neighborhood to find an unoccupied home, then check a city directory to find out the homeowner’s name. Armed with this information, he will fill out a phony shipping label and apply it to a box of rocks or other junk. Returning to the house dressed as a delivery man, he will knock or ring the bell, properly setting the stage for his next act. Getting no answer, he will go to a neighbor, you, and ask that you accept the package and pay the C.O.D. fee.
Credit Card Fraud and Stolen Identities
These days you have to be especially diligent in safeguarding not just your credit cards, but your identity as well. It is very easy for a criminal to steal your good name and then proceed to destroy it, leaving you with a pile of debts and scores of angry creditors. Identity thieves often search through people’s garbage to find what they need to assume your identity. Even something as innocent as old discarded phone or utility bills can put you at risk. Con artists use these documents to obtain a phony ID with your name and their picture. Then, they can go all over town applying for credit cards in your name and running up big bills. Thieves also steal from mailboxes. New checks and credit cards are favorite targets. Also, if you leave bill payments out for the mailman to pick up, this mail can be stolen and your checks “washed” to remove dollar amounts and payee information. Your signature is left untouched. The crook then makes the check out to a phony name for a much higher amount and cashes it.
The Funeral Chaser
Shortly after a relative dies, someone delivers a product to your door that the deceased allegedly ordered before his or her death. You may even get a bill for an expensive item along with a request to make the final few payments. This scam artist uses newspaper obituaries to prey on bereaved families. Please understand that you are not responsible for anyone else’s purchases. If a claim is legitimate, the estate will settle the matter.
Medicare Number Theft
Since many seniors rely on their Medicare health insurance, it’s no surprise that many elder fraud scams originate from that source. Often, fraudulent medical equipment companies offer free supplies to unsuspecting seniors in return for their Medicare numbers. However, the patient’s doctor is required to order and sign for all equipment and products before Medicare will pay for them. The most important tips when it comes to spotting health insurance fraud include:
You do have choices
If the sweepstakes offer, deal or business opportunity sounds too good to be true, your instincts are probably correct. If you’re not interested, hang up the phone! However, if you believe an offer is legitimate, take steps to protect yourself and those close to you:
If you have any questions or concerns regarding how to provide fraud free loving and safe care for your senior loved one, contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem.
3 August 2020
We appreciate the positive feedback from all of us here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care regarding the practical utility of our blog. It is now August and the increasing heat index can be deadly for the young and senior alike. The safety of our cherished residents in our top concern, and it should be for all of you at-home care givers as well. We feel a heartfelt responsibility to freely share our professional knowledge regarding professional assisted living , memory care, and respite care services. So today, we’ll talk about the uber-importance of senior hydration and leave you with some ideas of how to keep your loved one safe.
Summer provides opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. After a long winter stuck inside, a lot of people look forward to it. From picnics and barbecues to outdoor concerts and beach trips, many people spend summer largely outside. For older adults, however, summer presents unique health risks. One is dehydration. While heat and humidity can be a dehydration or heat stroke threat to people of all ages, older adults are especially vulnerable.
Sometimes the increased risk is caused by a medical condition that weakens a senior’s sense of thirst. Other older adults have problems adjusting to temperature changes. Their bodies don’t produce the sweat they need to cool down. Taking extra steps to stay hydrated during the summer is important.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends adults consume 48–64 ounces of fluid each day. If you are outdoors in the heat, you should consume even more. Fluid can come in the form of fruit and vegetable juices, soup, water, and milk. While sodas and coffee are liquids, many health professionals say they shouldn’t be counted in your daily total. If they contain caffeine, which is a diuretic, they can increase the risk for dehydration.
These tips can help seniors stay hydrated:
Our final tip is to limit consumption of alcohol on hot days or when spending time outdoors. Like caffeine, it can cause fluid loss that increases the chance for dehydration.
It’s also important to learn warning signs that could indicate the early stages of dehydration. They include:
If a senior you are the caregiver for is exhibiting these symptoms, call the doctor or seek treatment at an urgent care center or a hospital emergency room. The older adult might need IV therapy to restore fluid levels.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding how to provide both loving and safe care for your senior loved one, contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem.
13 July 2020
Hello once again from our team of Bethlehem-area assisted living and Bethlehem-area memory care professionals. Since it is dangerously hot outside these days, you all are probably looking for things to do inside to have some fun and beat the heat. Today we thought it might be inspiring to consider our list of “Inspiration Women over 60” to introduce to you some uplifting introductions and to inspire you to research further about any of these inspirational women that you find particularly interesting.
So, here you go. Twenty inspirational women over 60:
Many of these women have been pioneers in their careers. Some are less well known, while some have made it into the history books. Some of them are no longer with us, while others continue to make incredible strides. All of them, however, inspire us to live our best lives.
1. Iris Apfel, 97
She’s been called unique, iconoclastic and a “rare bird.” The subject of a brand-new documentary entitled “Iris,” Iris Apfel has spent the last 60-odd years as a legendary designer of jewelry and clothing, as well as an interior designer who has consulted for nine presidents at the White House. At age 84, she and her designs were the subject of an exhibition at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and at age 90 — just a few years ago — she inspired a line of MAC cosmetics.
2. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 85
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was, of course, only the second female justice in United States history, nominated in 1993 at the age of 60. She continues to serve on the Supreme Court and influence key decisions furthering the rights of women, and she has been on the Forbes list of “100 Most Powerful Women” as well as the subject of the popular Tumblr blog Notorious RBG celebrating her judicial accomplishments as well as her status as an inspirational part of women’s history.
3. Debbie Allen, 68
Debbie Allen will be a familiar face to anyone versed in the world of dance and choreography over the past several decades. Though this former Broadway star and member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities is best known for her work on Fame — not only the original film but the TV series and 2009 remake — she’s also been a TV and stage producer, a judge since 2007 for So You Think You Can Dance, and founder of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy for youth in Los Angeles, California.
4. Joan Rivers, 1933-2014
This sharp-tongued icon of comedy was the first woman to host a late-night talk show on network TV, “The Late Show with Joan Rivers,” which debuted in 1986 when she was already 53 years old. In 1989, she went on to host a daytime talk show, which would run for four more years, and appeared on a number of other cable TV shows on fashion and entertainment. She wrote 12 books, received a Grammy nomination, and contributed to a number of philanthropic causes. By the time she died in 2014, she was known as one of the greatest trailblazers for female comedians.
5. Joan Ganz Cooney, 88
Joan Ganz Cooney might not be a household name, but her accomplishments have definitely reached countless households: as the founder of Children’s Television Workshop, which produced “Sesame Street” and “The Electric Company,” Cooney has received numerous Emmy Awards, including the Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in 1989. She has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she’s been inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame, and in recent years, her innovations in children’s programming have inspired various literacy and learning programs named in her honor.
6. Georgia O’Keeffe, 1887-1986
Georgia O’Keeffe is one of the 20th century’s best-known painters, famous for her lush close-up depictions of plants and flowers as well as her images of Southwestern landscapes. The wife of pioneering photographer Alfred Stieglitz, O’Keeffe continued producing art in various media, including drawing, painting, and later, sculpture, until two years before her death at age 98.
7. Tao Porchon-Lynch, 100
Tao Porchon-Lynch has been an actress, a model, a dancer, a wine expert and she’s set a Guinness World Record for the oldest yoga instructor. Born in India, this sometime winner of the title “Best Legs in Europe” has traveled the world, meeting luminaries like Mahatma Gandhi, Charles de Gaulle, and Martin Luther King, Jr. She became a full-time professional yogi in 1967, and has continued to do yoga (and dance) throughout her life, releasing a yoga DVD as recently as 2013. In “The Imperfect Environmentalist” by Sara Gilbert, Porchon-Lynch was quoted as saying, “I’m going to teach yoga until I can’t breathe anymore.”
8. Dr. Ruth Westheimer, 90
Although Dr. Ruth Westheimer has long been an advocate for safe, healthy and enjoyable sex, it wasn’t until she reached her mid-50s that she became known for her frank, down-to-earth advice via her radio show: “Sexually Speaking.” Since then, she has continued to educate the public through television, magazine and newspaper columns, books, teaching college classes, and providing advice on her website — and she continues to operate a private practice in sex therapy. She has won countless awards, including Honorary President of the Council on Sexuality and Aging.
9. Jacquie “Tajah” Murdock, 87
This former Apollo Theater dancer and Harlem native is not only smart and educated (she holds a master’s degree from NYU), she continues to be a fashion icon well into her 80s. She’s always had a love of fashion, and the glamour of movie stars like Marlena Dietrich and Lena Horne inspired her to create a unique style of her own. She was recently featured in the documentary Advanced Style, about older New York City women who still rock the fashion world. In a recent interview with Soul Train, she said, “I want older women to know that there is life after the ages of 50 and 60. I want them to know that you must be active — you cannot just sit there and twiddle your thumbs. They should keep active, do something they like and get involved because life is for the living.”
10. Aung San Suu Kyi, 73
Suu Kyi is Burma’s best known opposition politician, and the chair of the National League for Democracy, working tirelessly over the last 25 plus years on behalf of non-violence, peace, human rights and democratic rule in Burma, despite spending almost 15 of those years under house arrest by the existing government. She has received numerous international accolades for her efforts, including the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and as of 2014 was listed by Forbes as the 61st most powerful woman in the world.
11. Beatrice Wood, 1893-1998
Wood, a ceramic sculptor and sometime actress, died at the astonishing age of 105 after becoming known as the “Mama of Dada” and a compatriot of many of the key figures of modernist art. Anais Nin, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp are just a few of the avant-garde artists in her circle of friends. At the age of 90, she added “writer” to her list of artistic accomplishments, publishing her autobiography entitled: “I Shock Myself,” in 1985. Regarding her longevity, she said, “I owe it all to chocolate and young men.”
12. Alice Waters, 74
Alice Waters is the founder of one of America’s most renowned restaurants, Chez Panisse, and is credited for inspiring California cuisine as well as being the first woman to win the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef in America award. After pioneering the use of fresh, organic, and local ingredients in her Berkeley, California, restaurant (founded in 1971), Waters went on to write several cookbooks, consult on school lunch reform, and train many younger chefs to celebrate healthy food ideals.
13. Annie Leibovitz, 68
This well-known entertainment photographer has taken many of the last century’s — and the current century’s — most iconic pictures of celebrities, including the famous photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in a bed, taken on the day Lennon was murdered in 1981. She’s photographed everyone from Lady Gaga to Queen Elizabeth II to Benedict Cumberbatch.
14. Bernadette Peters, 70
Another showbiz great, Bernadette Peters has starred in musicals, films, and television shows since the 1960s, and is still going strong — just one of her recent accomplishments was a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album in 2004. While my own generation might know her best as Lily St. Regis from the 1982 movie Annie, it was her role in 1974’s musical Mack and Mabel that catapulted her into the spotlight. Most recently, in addition to continuing her performances on stage and screen, she’s also begun writing children’s books, and contributes to many charitable causes.
15. Jane Goodall, 84
After 55 years of studying chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, Jane Goodall is considered to be the world’s leading chimpanzee expert. She’s been the subject of films and books for both children and adults, the recipient of dozens of awards, and in her later years, continues to be an activist on behalf of animals and the environment. Oh — and she’s even been the grand marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade, in 2013.
16. Katharine Graham, 1917-2001
A pioneering journalist who President George W. Bush called “the beloved first lady of Washington and American journalism,” Graham led the Washington Post newspaper to prominence during the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 and the Watergate scandal in 1974. She took over the company in 1963 at the age of 46 and didn’t leave until 1993; during that time, she became the first woman to lead a Fortune 500 company and to serve as director of the Associated Press. Her memoir, written in 1997, went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for biography.
17. Sister Madonna, 88
It isn’t surprising to hear that someone who has earned the moniker “the Iron Nun” wouldn’t show any signs of slowing down even at age 84. Spokane nun Sister Madonna Buder competed in her first triathlon at age 52 and since then, has competed in nearly 50 Ironman events and over 325 triathlons worldwide. Just this past month, she was dubbed the Ironman All World Athlete Champion for her age group — of course, because of her age, the Ironman organization keeps having to create new age brackets for her to compete in!
18. Olga Kotelko, 1919-2014
Another star runner, Canadian athlete Olga Kotelko‘s real athletic career began after her retirement from a 30-year teaching career. A baseball player in her youth, she took up slow-pitch softball and, in her 70s, started training in track and field, eventually earning the distinction of oldest female high jumper in history. She’s broken world records and won dozens of awards. Scientists have even studied her amazing physical fitness levels, the results of which inspired the 2014 book: “What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives.”
19. Vivienne Westwood, 77
English fashion designer Vivienne Westwood is perhaps most famous as the co-creator (along with Malcolm McLaren) of the punk and new wave style, including all those safety pins, spiked collars, and bike chains. She continues to design clothing for the catwalk and for notable entertainment clients including Pharrell Williams, whose iconic hat was in one of her 1980s collections. She is also an activist for a number of civil rights and environmental causes.
20. Maya Angelou, 1928-2014
A prolific, influential writer and the author of internationally recognized autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou has been known and respected as a spokesperson for women and people of color throughout her life, giving lectures and readings well into her 80s. She published poetry, essays, and an impressive seven autobiographies, the most recent of which was published in 2013. In 1993, she recited a poem at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration, and during the later 1990s and 2000s, she continued to be active by collaborating with R&B artists, creating a line of Hallmark cards, and campaigning for the Democratic party.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding how to provide both loving and safe care for your senior loved one, contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem.
6 July 2020
In our continuing effort to support those of you who lovingly support your senior loved ones, our team of Bethlehem-area assisted living and Bethlehem-area memory care professionals thought it would be wise to share eight facts you should know about summer and senior care. We want all of you at-home care providers to fully understand that older adults are especially susceptible to heat-related injuries and heat stroke.
So, please consider and take heed knowing that:
If you have any questions or concerns regarding how to provide both loving and safe care for your senior loved one, contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem.
22 June 2020
Whether you spent Father’s Day with Dad here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care (here in Bethlehem) or not, start thinking about your next tribute to remind him of how special he is to you and your family. If life got in the way and you could not be with Dad this past weekend, it’s not too late to make next weekend something very special.
It is our pleasure to share our professional experiences and lessons learned regarding assisted living, memory care, and respite care support services. One lesson learned is that paying tribute to your aging Dad should not be a Father’s Day only affair. Look deep into your creative self and do something more from the heart than the wallet.
Here are four particularly rewarding tributes that Dads of all ages will enjoy:
1. A Handmade Family Tree
Even if you think your father isn’t nostalgic about the past, people do change as they get older. Some discover, in their senior years, a sudden passion for genealogy. Others simply want to talk about the past more often than they ever used to do.
Either way, a thoughtful gift might be a handmade family tree from you.
There are templates you can use which merely require you to fill in the names of the generations by hand. Then, you can take your finished product to a copy store and have it printed out for framing.
Choose good quality paper and you’ve created a real family heirloom.
2. Top-of-the-Line Gourmet Food
Some seniors become picky eaters as they age. What used to taste great may now be undesirable. It could be because dietary needs change as we get older. Sometimes it is the side effect of a medication.
One way to jump-start an older father or grandfather’s appetite is to offer up something irresistible.
3. A Photo Printer
Fathers these days tend to have a lot of digital pictures stored away on hard drives. Whether its pictures of grandchildren or places they’ve traveled to, the images are stored digitally and therefore viewable only on a device.
If your father is like most in his generation, he may yearn for the days when photos were printed and easily accessible in a shoebox. One thoughtful present would be to give him a photo printer.
That way, he can print out the photos he loves and have them in the format he’s used to.
4. A Digital Transformation of His Old Slides & Movies
This one is the opposite of the idea above. Seniors also tend to have lots of slides and movies tucked away, too. Just think: their child-rearing days coincided with the first home movie cameras. Going back even further, they may also have slides of their early days before you were even around.
The trouble is slide projectors and old reel-to-reel projectors have a funny way of failing after several decades of lying around in storage in a closet. That means all those great memories are locked away on outdated media formats.
There are companies who specialize in this. You give them your old slides or reel tapes. The company returns them along with a CD that contains everything in digital format.
The best part about this special gift is that you get to share it together. In fact, viewing the old memories can become a family event. One that is truly a memorable and meaningful gift that is sure to warm the hearts of everyone. Prepare for tears!
8 June 2020
We hope you realize by now that we pride ourselves here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care (here in Bethlehem) for helping more than our residents and their families. We take great pride in helping you, our neighbors here in Bethlehem who lovingly provide at-home assisted living and/or memory care services to your loved ones. Trust us, we know your challenges and consider you all heroes for your selfless and loving investment to family.
An at-home care giver communicated that her mother is 81, her arthritis is painful, but she gets around with a walker. Her mind is okay for now, though she is sometimes forgetful. She feels lonely. Her care giver is worried about her safety and has been telling her for several years that she needs help. She hates the thought of her falling and not having help, There is a fantastic assisted living close by, but will she listen? No! She just stubbornly says that she’s fine so I should leave her alone.”
Well, she’s likely right that her mom would be safer if she had someone checking on her regularly. Also, depending on her mom’s personality, her mom might be happier with the easy availability of companionship that assisted living offers. Why the resistance?
We often forget that our parents are adults who have lived long, and in most cases, responsible lives. They may have been poor parents, ordinary parents, or stellar parents, but the fact that we are trying to help them at this stage implies that they most likely did raise us. While occasionally you’ll meet an elder who willingly turns over all decisions to others, most will continue to want their autonomy. They want to make the decisions that rule their lives.
So, when they need help, what do you do? You take a step back and then try a different approach.
When possible talk with your parents about all kinds of things, not just their health and impending frailty. In other words, have real conversations.
Within those conversations, you’ll likely see opportunities to discuss their ideal wishes. Even if they are already at a stage where they probably should make adjustments in how they are living, approach it by asking how they see their future. Let your parent or parents know that you want to follow their wishes if you can, and you will always do your best to care for them, but that you need information in order to do that.
Try this: Rather than “Mom, you aren’t safe alone and you need help,” say, “Mom, I’m wondering if you could benefit from some help around the house?”
Suggesting some housekeeping help could open the door to the idea. From there, you could move to help with showering, medications, and other daily needs.
If she says she doesn’t want people in her home (she probably will), you could bring up assisted living. Again, mention that she might be able to benefit from this arrangement.
Why does it matter how you present the issues? My mantra is put yourself in their place.
Sometimes it’s about fear. Other times it’s simply about saving face. Whatever the reason, ask yourself how you’d feel if someone decades younger than you suddenly started telling what you needed to do to “stay safe.”
Remember, YOU want them safe. They want to live their lives. Think about where they are rather than your fear for them.
25 May 2020
For more information and/or for any concern, contact us anytime!
11 May 2020
In the months leading up to a senior loved one’s transition to an assisted living community like ours here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care Bethlehem, family members are busy (often overwhelmed) juggling all of the details of the move. From helping your loved one to downsize and sell their home to figuring out a floor plan for their new suite or villa, the busy days often leave little time for much else.
Once your family elder has made the move, you may find yourself coping with a range of emotions. Guilt, worry, and sadness are common. Your role has changed in your family member’s life and that will be an adjustment. You might also be asking yourself what comes next. How can you stay connected to your loved one, while also giving them the space needed to get involved at the assisted living community?
Today we offer three simple suggestions that you we’re certain will help you with the transition.
1. Create a visitor’s calendar: After your relative is unpacked and settled, work with them to set up a schedule for visitors. Having people drop in during the first month or so following the move enables your loved one to have company on a consistent basis. Setting up a calendar can help to avoid prolonged periods of time where no one stops by. Planning visits can also give the older adult something to look forward to as they adjust to their new surroundings. Be sure to include extended family members and people your loved one is close to in these plans. Encourage visitors to ask the senior to show them around and introduce them to fellow residents and staff they’ve met.
2. Participate in resident activities: We take a holistic approach to wellness by offering residents an opportunity to participate in activities that nurture the mind, body, and spirit. There are events and activities designed to appeal to every hobby and interest. Sit down and review the current month’s calendar together. If your loved one is reluctant to take part in activities on their own, it may help to have you and other family members participate, too. At least until they’ve met some new friends and are comfortable attending alone.
3. Get to know the staff and some of our residents here at Manor Lake Assisted Living & Memory Care: When you’ve been intimately involved in an elder’s care, it can be tough to turn those tasks over to someone else after they move. You may worry if the senior will get the attention they need. It will likely give you peace of mind if you get to know your assisted living team here in Hiram. We’re here to care for you as well with a wealth of knowledge that is certain to give you peace.
Call us anytime as we're here for you!
4 May 2020
We pride ourselves here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care (here in Bethlehem) for helping more than our residents and their families. We take great pride in helping you, our neighbors here in Bethlehem who lovingly provide at-home assisted living and/or memory care services to your loved ones. Trust us, we know your challenges and consider you all heroes for your selfless and loving investment to family.
Today we give full credit to the professionals at “Caring.com” for a wonderful work regarding smart things to do regarding managing the finances of your loved one. More than four in 10 family caregivers spend $5,000 or more annually on caregiving, according to a new Caring.com survey of 2,767 family caregivers. Close to half rely on family funds to cover costs. And with nearly 40% of respondents also spending more than 30 hours per week on caregiving, caring for a loved one has become a full-time, unpaid job for many — one that leaves little time for a caregiver to plan for their own financial future.
“Quite often caregivers find themselves dipping into their own pockets to pay for caregiving expenses,” said Tim Sullivan, Vice President at Caring.com. “Without a plan in place, savings can be depleted, and retirement delayed. It’s so important to make the time to speak with your loved ones about finances, eldercare and planning for the future,” Sullivan added.
Caregivers who seek to educate themselves about their options can avoid the unnecessary stress of common financial mistakes. This guide can help you discover the tax advantages, professional services and investment strategies that can lessen caregiving-related financial strain.
Financial Questions to Ask your Aging Loved Ones
Managing your own money isn’t easy under the best of circumstances, so it’s not surprising that most people feel overwhelmed when it’s time to step in and take over the management of their parents’ finances. The first step is to accept that you won’t know what kind of shape their finances are in until you ask. Money is always a sticky topic, especially for adults who are beginning to lose their independence, so it is best to approach the discussion fully prepared to ask the right questions.
Finding answers to the following questions will put you on the path to becoming a more confident, and more capable guardian of your loved ones’ financial future.
1. “Do you have a durable power of attorney?”
The durable power of attorney (DPOA) is considered one of the most important personal legal documents for any older adult to have. Along with a healthcare proxy, it will give whomever your parent designates — whether it be you, one of your siblings or someone else — the power to make financial and legal decisions (or, in the case of a healthcare proxy, to make medical decisions) if your parent is incapacitated.
Without a durable power of attorney in place, you’ll have to go to court to get appointed as your parent’s guardian. That’s the last thing you’ll want to have to think about in a time of crisis, and it’s a notoriously complicated and messy legal process. With a durable power of attorney and healthcare proxy in place, you can seamlessly make decisions and access accounts on your parent’s behalf without getting the courts involved.
2. “Have you updated your will, insurance and retirement account information recently?”
Many people never take another look at their insurance policies or investment account beneficiary designations after they sign the initial papers, but both should be reviewed every year. Beneficiary designations — of who will receive the proceeds from an account if the policy or account holder dies — can be affected by any change in family circumstance, like the birth of a new child, a death or a divorce.
A yearly financial and insurance review also provides a good moment for your parent to review his asset allocation and evaluate whether he has enough, or too much life insurance. If, for example, his children are grown and his spouse has other funds on which to live after he’s gone, your parent could think about cutting back on the amount of life insurance he carries to save money on annual premiums.
3. “Do you have plans or insurance in place to pay for long-term care if it’s needed?”
Even if your parent is in good health today, eventually, he’ll likely need some type of long-term care — and the costs are staggering. A year in a nursing home costs more than $50,000 on average, and much more in some states. Usually, neither health insurance nor Medicare cover any of these expenses, so your parent should have some type of plan in place to pay for such care should it be needed. Long-term care insurance is a good option and can be added to existing life insurance policies, possibly at a discounted rate.
Medicaid also covers some nursing home costs, but your parent should consult an elder-law attorney now to find out if he qualifies for Medicaid. If not, the attorney may advise spending down assets – literally, the process of spending money without gifting or transferring assets until your parent meets the strict income requirements necessary to qualify for Medicaid. Without a plan in place to pay for long-term care, you and your siblings will be on the hook to pick up the cost unless your parent has very deep pockets.
4. “Who’s advising you?”
Although most adults are fiercely private about their finances and want to maintain their independence, it’s important in case of an emergency that you know how to contact your parent’s attorney, financial advisor, accountant and insurance agent. At the same time, as your parent ages, you can keep an eye on whether his financial and legal advisers are scrupulous, objective and well-versed in elder financial issues, with no vested interest in selling specific products. Getting the details on exactly who is advising your parent is a good way to protect him from scams, as well as to ensure that he has funds in case of an emergency.
5. “Where is all this stuff?”
If your parent has a stroke or heart attack, the last thing you’re going to want to worry about is what his Social Security number is, what health insurance he has or whether the mortgage has been paid. That’s why it’s important to sit down with him before a crisis hits and find out what kind of bill-paying system he has in place, what insurance he has and where all his important papers are located.
Although some may balk at sharing this kind of personal information, reassure him that you don’t have to see any of his private papers now; you only need to know where they are to ensure his financial well-being in the event that he’s not able to take care of it himself.
20 April 2020
If you ever watched a comedic sitcom or movie on television, you likely seen this common scene. An elderly person loses their hearing aid, causing them to mishear certain lines from another character. As a result, a comedic situation is played out. However, it’s only a satirization of a subject that we take very seriously here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem. Approximately 10,000 Americans become sixty-five every day, so the need for recognizing, understanding, and treating hearing loss is increasingly important.
Due to misconceptions of hearing loss, most people don’t know the truth and facts about the subject. The reality is that we will all experience some form of hearing loss at some point of our life. It will also be in varying degrees. The reason why is because of the biological change a person experiences as they grow older. However, because of public perception, people don’t realize the facts about this ongoing health issue for seniors. Here’s what people should know about hearing loss.
Aside for the medical issues that hearing loss can bring, it can also bring on several emotional problems for seniors. Due to most seniors feeling embarrassed by their conditions, they tend to resort to defensive mechanisms and deny their conditions publicly. For example, an assisted living resident here at Gateway Gardens might begin to avoid social gatherings because of their hearing loss. But our caring assisted living professionals are trained and attentive to both the tell-tale signs of diminished hearing and related behavioral changes like new tendencies to isolate themselves from others.
It’s powerfully rewarding providing loving assistance to our cherished residents. Helping residents and their families recognize the need for initial or recurring hearing treatment is an important aspect of enriching the quality of life of those we serve. To learn more about our approach to professional assisted living, professional memory care services, or professional respite services, call us anytime!
13 April 2020
Greetings all. Your caring staff here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem are fully aware that this is the third pandemic-related blog post in a row. Rest assured we’ll move on soon enough to more uplifting messaging, but we can’t turn our head to the fact that defending against this pandemic is our number one priority.
Below, we offer a number of insights for you at-home care givers, some of which most of us by now are fully aware of and implementing, other things that maybe you haven’t given thought to do. Rest assured that these are things being implemented within both our assisted living and memory care communities. Regardless whether you’re a Manor Lake resident, family member, or neither, you’re all precious members of our community and we will always do our part to help out in any way we can. So here you go:
Caring for a Senior at Home During a Pandemic
1. Frequent handwashing: One of the best ways to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands in hot, soapy water throughout the day. This guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines a 5-step process for proper handwashing.
2. Use hand sanitizer: While hot water and soap will always be the best option, hand sanitizer can help when you are out in public and don’t have access to a restroom. Choose one that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
3. Don’t touch your face: Most people don’t realize how many times an hour they touch their face until they try not to do so. A quick rub of the eye or a scratch on the nose happens more often than you think. If you’ve been exposed to a virus and have it on your hands, touching your face can easily transfer the bug.
4. Take good care: A healthy diet combined with exercise and a good night’s sleep help keep your immune system strong. That’s vital for fighting off viruses of all kinds.
5. Limit public activity: Social distancing is another important step in protecting a senior family member from COVID-19 and other viruses. To the extent that you can, avoid going out in public while viruses are spreading. Utilize services like home delivered meals, drive-through pharmacies, and online shopping wherever possible.
6. Screen all visitors: Be vigilant about limiting who can visit your home or the home of your loved one during this time. People who are out in public may be carrying the virus and not showing any symptoms. By allowing others into your home, you are placing yourself and your loved one at risk.
7. Explore virtual physician visits: If a senior has a routine medical appointment scheduled, call the physician’s office. Many doctors are moving to virtual visits until the pandemic is under control.
Supporting a Loved One When You Can’t Be There
If your aging parent or another senior loved one resides in an assisted living community, you may not be able to visit during an outbreak of the flu or a pandemic emergency. This can be stressful for all involved. Finding ways to stay connected can help keep everyone’s spirits up.
Here are a few suggestions for doing so:
Dementia and COVID-19
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, having dementia doesn’t increase a person’s risk for contracting COVID-19. However, some behavior-related issues linked to dementia might. Also, because people with dementia are typically older, their odds of getting the virus are higher.
One risk for those who experience memory loss is that they may forget to wash their hands or refrain from touching their face. Both are known risk factors for viruses of all types.
Another complicating factor is if a senior with dementia has lost or impaired verbal skills. They may be unable to communicate that they have a headache or are experiencing chest pain, two symptoms of COVID-19.
Here are a few suggestions that may help you lower your family members risk for the illness:
Stay Updated on the COVID-19 Pandemic
Finally, learning more about COVID-19 and staying informed about changes in the state of the pandemic is important. While it’s not necessary to watch the news stations around the clock, staying updated on new information is a method of self-protection.
Here are two resources you can turn to for novel coronavirus education and updates:
Most states and local governments also share frequent updates on the pandemic. Call your local officials to learn more.
If you or a family member is a resident of Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem, please know that we actively welcome your calls so that we can personally reassure you of the steps we are taking to keep residents and team members safe.
6 April 2020
Today we offer you an outstanding article written by Linda Dono, a featured writer with AARP. We believe all readers can take something away from this. To protect the most vulnerable residents against COVID-19, assisted living, memory care, and respite care communities (like ours here at Gateway Gardens here in Bethlehem) are raising the bar for casual visits — following federal and health care industry recommendations as coronavirus infections spread across the country.
So, what can you do to keep a loved one engaged and not socially isolated? Here are ideas to show you are still there in spirit and still care.
1. Send snail mail
Handwritten cards and letters are more special than ever, perhaps because electronic communication is increasingly supplanting them. Recipients can display the cards and re-read correspondence to remind themselves that you care.
2. Share a virtual meal
Plan a long-distance date. Order what your loved one likes — and pay for it — via a meal delivery service such as DoorDash or Grubhub and make sure the meal gets there at the appropriate time. Then call to talk during the meal, making sure that your resident knows how to use a speakerphone feature on her cellphone or landline phone.
3. Use other delivery services
You know the snacks your loved likes. Since you can't bring a few packages of treats during a visit, arrange for a bulk delivery.
For those in assisted living or independent living who still like to cook, you can get their grocery lists and do the shopping for them or use a shopping service such as Instacart. Deliver the food as close in as you're allowed and make sure to put the name and address or room number of the recipient on the boxes or bags.
4. Create your own FaceTime book club
If your kids are at an age where they love being read to, make sure Grandma or Grandpa has some kids’ books they can read aloud — if they don't, order some online — using the video-calling feature on their digital device.
Among the most popular video calling apps is Apple's FaceTime, but that's for iPhones, iPads and Macintosh computers only. Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo, IMO, Skype, Viber and WhatsApp also work on Google Android, Microsoft Windows and other devices.
Be sure to coordinate so that everybody is on the same platform. This way, grandkids of different siblings can be on the same story time call.
Older kids can make the call more like adults’ book clubs. Both grandparent and grandchild can read a couple of chapters of the same book and talk about their impressions or what they learned.
Watching the same TV show, such as a documentary on Netflix or Amazon Prime, also can help spark discussion that spans generations.
And if reading a book or watching a documentary isn't an option, perhaps because of your loved one's memory loss, help the kids in a sing-along. Singing old, familiar songs — “Happy Birthday,” classic hymns if they're religious — can bring back memories and is a skill that often remains even if speech is difficult.
5. Order a jigsaw puzzle — of your family
Mail-order companies specialize in custom puzzles from photographs or perhaps your child's artwork.
If your care recipient is a puzzle lover, you can have a puzzle delivered that contains 2,000 or more pieces. But also available are those with as few as 15 pieces, which might work well for people with dementia or less dexterity.
While you're at it, order a coffee mug with the favorite family photo, too.
6. Play a board game
Think about the games your family loved growing up, such as Clue, Monopoly, Life, Scrabble or Sorry, or if you have young kids, children's classics such as Candyland or Chutes and Ladders. Familiarity with the rules is important.
Backgammon, bingo and chess also will work if you've played those in the past and both sides know the lingo of the game. Make sure identical game boards are set up at your house and your loved one's home. You and your family then can play the game over the telephone, talking about how the dice landed and what moves your game piece is making.
A cellphone set on speaker will work well for this because games sometimes take hours. A video call also will add dimension but isn't necessary if everyone commits to narrating their actions.
7. Assemble a hobby box
This is the time to find a nice box at a craft store, perhaps decorate it and fill it with items that your loved ones can come back to again and again.
Put in items that will work with their existing hobbies or ask what they've always wanted to try. Think crossword puzzle books for those who like a brain challenge, paints and suitable paper for those who have been artistic in the craft room, squishy balls and miniature Slinkys or other toys for those with a silly streak, yarn and hooks for crocheters.
You can rest assured that maintaining the health, wellness, and safety of our residents remains our uninterrupted number one priority. We want you to know that we are here to help. Contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in Bethlehem anytime with questions and/or concerns.
31 March 2020
All of us here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem are adjusting dialing to the unprecedented challenges to providing professional assisted living and memory care services. One of the most rewarding services that we conduct is group exercise classes which of course are both disallowed and unadvised during the COVID-19 outbreak. But it is important to encourage older adults to stay active and maintain gains in strength, balance, and flexibility that reduce fall risk, strengthen the immune system, and improve quality of life.
Older adults may be concerned about their safety as they prepare to exercise within their personal space, but research has shown that the risks of solo exercise is no greater than exercising in a group setting. Use these tips and resources when communicating with older adults about the importance of staying active during this time.
Rest assured that maintaining the health, wellness, and safety of our residents and staff is our number one priority. We want you to know that we are here to help. Contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in Bethlehem anytime with questions and/or concerns.
Credit: Jennifer Tripken, EdD, ncoa.org
17 March 2020
Maintaining the health, wellness, and safety of our residents is our number one priority. Due to the COVID-19 situation, effective immediately we are restricting visitors to our community. This is in cooperation with federal mandates regarding this situation. Letters regarding specific details are being sent to the responsible parties for our residents to provide them with more detailed information. In addition to restricting visits, our staff will be screened prior to the starting of their shifts and have been trained on the symptoms of COVID-19 as well as infection prevention techniques. This is a fluid situation and we will keep you informed as the situation changes.
Again, maintaining the health, wellness, and safety of our residents and staff is our number one priority. We want you to know that we are here to help. Contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in Bethlehem today with any questions and/or concerns.
2 March 2020
We have a lot in common with those of you out there providing at-home assisted living services or memory care services in and around Bethlehem. For instance, the challenges related to loss of appetite within our aging loved ones is common to both professional and at-home care givers alike. We believe you’ll find this blog post both educational and actionable in addressing the loss of appetite within the loved one under your care.
A Loss of Appetite in a Parent or Senior Loved One
A loss and changes in appetite are a natural part of aging. Although poor appetite doesn’t necessarily indicate a serious health problem such as dementia in the elderly, it is still critical to make sure seniors get enough nutrients. Along with some warning signs to be mindful of, there are some easy ways you can help your senior loved ones get the right nutrition.
Although it’s normal for our appetites to change with age, several different factors can also cause a loss of appetite in the elderly:
“I remind my clients often that a loss of appetite (and thirst) is a normal part of aging and doesn’t always mean something is wrong,” says Heather Schwartz, RD, at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. “However, minimizing the detrimental effects of poor nutrient intake is always important, no matter from where the low appetite stems.”
It is also critical to rule out any underlying health problems or symptoms. If your loved ones aren’t eating well, a good first step is always to consult a physician.
What Should I Be Concerned About?
The aging process brings with it many perceptual, physiological and other changes that can lead to decreased appetite in the elderly patient, including:
However, if your parents or senior loved ones are making poor food choices because of their changing tastes, or if they aren’t getting enough to eat, then that’s cause for concern. Seniors must get the right nutrition for their changing dietary needs. Vitamin or nutrient deficiencies can cause significant health problems for vulnerable groups, especially the elderly. Changes to taste or appetite also occur in conjunction with some serious illnesses, including:
Any unexplained changes to your loved ones’ dietary health, including unexpected weight gain, loss or general malaise, should be checked out with a physician so you can rule out or confirm symptoms of dementia.
How Can I Stimulate an Appetite in the Elderly?
If you’re concerned about a lack of appetite in your elderly loved ones, whether dementia is a concern or not, there are a few practical things you can do to help them get enough nutrition:
Be aware of medication side effects.
If the problem is dry mouth, Schwartz says, “Chewing sugarless gum, brushing often or using an oral rinse before meals can improve taste sensation, and ultimately nutrient intake.” If meat is tasting “off” — and a common complaint is that some medications make foods taste metallic — then try other sources of protein like dairy or beans. If water doesn’t taste right, try adding herbs, or sliced fruits or veggies like lemon or cucumber.
Consider using an appetite stimulant.
Some seniors have had success with prescription appetite stimulants. A healthcare provider must be consulted to inform the patient and caregiver of the side effects of the stimulant and to also make sure it is appropriate for your loved one.
Encourage social meals.
People of all ages may experience a reduced appetite when the thought of eating alone comes to mind. For seniors, accessibility and availability of social contact can be even more of a problem, especially if they suffer from dementia. Schwartz suggests checking out the meal options at senior centers, temples or churches, and community centers. Additionally, meal “dates” with friends, family or caregivers and even meal delivery services can help.
Increase nutrient density, not portion size.
“I ask caregivers not to increase the volume of food they serve to seniors who may have low appetites,” says Schwartz. “Rather, increase the nutrient density of the foods they serve.” In other words, don’t intimidate them with a huge helping. Alternatively, add healthy extra calories in the form of avocado, olive oil or a little peanut butter.
Set a regular eating schedule.
“Our bodies tend to thrive off regularity, as do our hunger and thirst signals, so when we stray from our usual patterns, so does our appetite,” says Schwartz. She suggests starting slowly by adding a small beverage and/or snack during a normal mealtime. This can help stimulate the body’s hunger signals.
Eating to Encourage a Good Night’s Sleep
In addition to experiencing serious changes in appetite, older adults and individuals with dementia often experience changes in their sleeping patterns. Such changes may be as a result of sleep disorders, such as insomnia or sleep apnea.3 They may also be related to pain or discomfort. It is not uncommon for people to be uncertain when addressing their elderly loved ones’ lack of eating and sleeping. However, both adequate sleep and nutrient consumption are critical for promoting optimal health.
Not eating during the day and feeling hungry at night can make sleeping even more difficult. Such unhealthy patterns increase the frequency of night awakenings. If dementia is involved, this can be very disorienting. Alternatively, chronic fatigue can make elderly adults less likely to finish meals. Consistent sleep deprivation can contribute to feelings of depression and a lack of physical activity, which can also negatively impact the senior’s appetite.
Foods To Eat for Better Sleep
In addition to getting enough to eat throughout the day, it is important that caregivers pay special attention to what is on a senior’s plate during the hours directly preceding bedtime. Try encouraging the following items for dinner and nighttime snacks:
Make sure to limit meal sizes late at night and avoid overly greasy or spicy foods. Such foods may irritate the stomach and cause difficulty falling asleep. As a result, the patient might avoid future evening meals. Also, older adults should avoid alcohol before bed since it affects normal sleeping patterns.
We want you to know that we are here to help. Contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in Bethlehem today.
Credit: Heather Schwartz, RD
24 February 2020
As professional assisted living and memory care support providers here in Bethlehem, we know it is often times intimidating when providing care for senior living, assisted living, memory care, or respite care loved ones. Today we’re asking all of you in this loving struggle to take a moment and reflect if you might unknowingly make some simple mistakes that make it harder on both you and the loved one under your care. The keyword there is “unknowingly” and if we connect with just one of you out there and motivate some new degree of peace and happiness, well, we celebrate mission accomplished.
Today’s due credit is provided to Health Central, an award-winning non-profit dedicated to improving the mental and physical health of both the young and old.
Please realize that this list is only a start. While reading, when/if you discover “that’s me”, then consider avoiding or rewording these questions and statements may improve your caregiving partnership. Also, realize this blog post really is a call for you to take a moment to dedicate a few moments of your time to honest reflection. You can be your own best asset regarding constructive criticism, and when you are and you react accordingly, both you and your loved ones can enter a happier space. So, off we go.
1. “Do you remember?”
It seems natural to ask your dad who is living with Alzheimer’s (or simply the very natural memory recall decay associated with aging) about events from his past. However, doing so directly can be a problem. Why? Because he may not remember the event, but the expectation that he should remember could make him anxious. Instead, when you want to engage him in conversation about the past, leave the topic open. You can say, “Dad, I’d love to hear about what your favorite thing to do was when you were growing up.” He can then take you along on any adventure that comes to mind.
2. Don’t argue.
If your wife says that she used to live in a house that you’ve never heard of or seen, you can say “Really? I’d forgotten that.” Being right doesn’t matter and correcting or arguing will get you nowhere good. Go along for the ride. You might learn something interesting. If not, no harm done.
3. “You’re embarrassing me!”
A reminder for us all is that people living with dementia (or non-dementia memory decay) aren’t giving us a hard time – they are having a hard time. If you are at the store with your husband and he becomes anxious which causes him to become belligerent, soothe him by holding his arm in a comforting manner, use a calm voice and put the “blame” on yourself. Tell him that you forgot something and really need him to help you by going back home. Do not tell him that his behavior embarrasses you. He can’t help it.
4. “Why are you doing that?”
If your husband is pulling on the fringe around a couch cushion, he isn’t being purposefully destructive. People living with Alzheimer’s often have a need for tactile feedback. Additionally, they may have a compulsion for their fingers to be doing something. Some people will pick at their skin and cause sores. Others will spend hours tearing up pieces of paper or tissues. Your husband won’t know why he is doing this, but you can help him by buying him a lap pad or “fiddle pad.” These products, now widely available, provide both tactile stimulation and keep fingers busy.
5. “What shirt do you want to wear?”
People living with dementia have a hard-enough time navigating this confusing world without being asked open-ended questions. Preserve dignity by offering choices, which is a vital part of care, but simplify the choices by holding up two shirts and asking which she’d like to wear. He may mention the color of one shirt, but point at another, so go with the one he points to and say, “This one?” Then he’ll say yes or no, or else nod. You can say, “Great choice! Let’s put that on,” and then help him dress.
6. “That’s an orange, not an apple!”
It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter. It’s up to you to remember that the person living with dementia may have a hard time with words. Don’t make your mom feel worse by criticizing her words. If you ask her if she’d like an orange and she says yes but digs for an apple, let it go. If she has what she wants, then everyone should be happy.
7. “You are home!”
No one approach will work every time, but what is consistent is that your loved one is looking for a feeling of safety and comfort when she asks this question. If you can distract her by asking her to snuggle on the couch under a blanket and watch a DVD, that may work. Or you may ask her if she misses home a lot. If she says yes, ask what she misses about it. Engage her in a conversation and, eventually, the anxiety that causes her to want to ‘go home’ should subside. There are many guides for dealing with this common issue.
8. “You just ate!”
People living with dementia often don’t remember if they ate so they may want to eat again. Often, keeping snack foods around can help. Instead of scolding your dad for asking to eat again when he just ate, when he wants to eat again you can suggest some treat that he likes and then offer a small amount. That snack may be enough to satisfy without arguing about the fact that he just had supper.
9. “We need to hurry!”
Your dad has an appointment to see the doctor and you’ve waited a month for this, but he is stuck in a fearful mode and becomes angry and throws things rather than getting dressed. Obviously, he is stressed and trying to hurry him won’t help. Calm yourself down first and offer support by agreeing that this is a stressful situation. Take time to sit and comfort him. If you began preparing early, this may work. If not, you may have to cancel the appointment. Sometimes you must just let it go and hope for a better day.
10. “Here, let me do that!”
Your husband who is living with dementia will become easily confused, and stress just makes the confusion worse. Trying to get a button in a buttonhole can be a massive frustration, yet he may not want help. Sometimes, you can distract him from the task at hand and later do it yourself, but when possible, have patience and let him finish. Note: When it comes to getting dressed, adaptive clothing can be helpful. An ingenious shirt with magnets instead of buttons can look dressy yet be easy to put on. With some digging, you may find shortcuts for other tasks, as well. The idea is that your patience is gold. Allow room for slowness and mistakes. None of this is worth a blowup on your part. Your anger or anxiety only accelerates his anxiety and can ruin what could be an otherwise decent day.
When interacting with a person living with any type of dementia it's generally better to use statements rather than questions unless you are offering a simple, obvious choice. Say, “It’s cold so we need jackets,” rather than “Do you think you need a jacket?” As your loved one’s disease progresses, words will become increasingly hard to process and decisions can be impossible to make. Watch for this progression and adjust your speech so that you have a slower cadence. Use short sentences but speak with a smile. Sometimes your body language can say it all.
You’ll never stop learning in your journey of loving care. If we helped you learn one thing here today, then we both win! When the time comes for you to seek a consult regarding how Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care Bethlehem can improve the quality of both you and your loved one’s lives, call us!
17 February 2020
Prologue: All professional memory care and assisted living care providers like us here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem understand and respect those of you who so lovingly carry the burden of care for your loved ones. Part of our community service campaign is to educate via this blog so that you can enjoy the maximum time at home with your loved ones. However, statistics show that unfortunately there will come a day when solo home care or professionally assisted home care is no longer enough. To every extent possible, we’ll be here for you via this assisted living and memory care blog, week in, and week out with insights that hopefully helps ease your loving burden. When that burden becomes too heavy to bear, know that your friends here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care are ready with open arms to provide the loving care necessary to deliver the quality of life that both you and your challenged loved one(s) deserve.
(Due credit for this blog post and its insights is provided to Ms. Carol Bursack, of agingcare.com. We think you’ll value her work and insight as much as we do.)
Family caregivers are now better able to take advantage of services offered by home care companies. I certainly took advantage of these services throughout my time caring for multiple seniors, including my parents and an elderly neighbor.
The biggest challenge I faced, though, was when I hired professional caregivers for loved ones who had dementia. The caregivers were not always sure how to handle unusual behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s or the tricky situations they created. Thankfully, due to increased awareness of the unique challenges that Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia present, reputable home care companies across the country are providing their employees with proper training in dementia care. Experienced and informed caregivers can provide benefits to both seniors and their family members that make in-home care well worth considering.
Dementia Care in a Familiar Environment
The biggest value that home care offers is that it allows elders to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. This option is far less disorienting for a dementia patient than a move to an assisted living facility, a memory care unit or a nursing home. Familiar environments offer a great deal of security and peace of mind for individuals with dementia. If a company’s caregivers are well versed in dementia care, in-home care can be the ideal starting point for families who need extra help with their loved ones but want to prevent or delay placement in a long-term care facility.
Dementia Patients Benefit from Routines
Just as familiar surroundings are safe and soothing, the same can be said for daily routines. Maintaining a schedule like the one a senior followed pre-dementia can help reduce anxiety and confusion. For example, an elder who watched the nightly news after dinner each evening for years may feel a sense of normalcy when it’s switched on, even if they don’t completely understand what they are seeing and hearing.
A fundamental aspect of home care is that services are provided for all clients (with and without dementia) according to personalized scheduling tools called care plans. This organizational technique easily translates into a set routine for dementia patients who thrive on familiarity and repetition. Professional caregivers are trained to facilitate daily activities, including chores and personal care tasks, at the appropriate times and provide assistance as needed. Humans are creatures of habit and preserving these very personal and deeply ingrained routines can help elders retain a sense of control and understanding of what is going on around them.
Specialized Training in Dementia Care
Home care companies aid with activities of daily living (ADLs), companionship and many other core services. In addition, many companies offer professional training in dementia care for their employees. Common aspects of this training include methods for staying engaged with the senior, managing often unpredictable behaviors through validation and redirection, communicating effectively, and breaking down activities into smaller steps that are easier to manage. There are several training programs and schools of thought when it comes to dementia care, so be sure to inquire about the particular education a home care company provides to or requires of its caregivers.
Safety training is also part of professional caregivers’ initial and ongoing education, since seniors with dementia may be prone to wandering and other risky behaviors. A 2013 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 90 percent of community-residing persons with dementia had unmet safety needs, particularly for fall risk and wander risk management and home safety evaluations. Increased supervision and assistance from both informal and formal caregivers are crucial components in helping elders reduce safety risks while they continue living in their own homes.
Meaningful Activities for Dementia Patients
Knowledge of the clinical aspects of dementia allows professionals to better serve their clients and enrich their lives with social interactions and activities. Perceptive caregivers can provide a positive environment for dementia patients by learning about a senior’s interests before they developed the disease and adapting the way they engage in these meaningful hobbies both in the home and in the community. For example, if golf is something an elder enjoyed, they may visit a golf course for a walk or to watch others play the game.
Sensory stimulation is another crucial component of dementia care, especially in the later stages of cognitive impairment. Studies show that participating in music therapy, dance or other creative outlets has a positive effect on mental health, physical health and social functioning in older adults. An experienced caregiver will work to engage clients in activities even as their interests and abilities change.
Care That Evolves with the Client
In-home care can be customized to provide as much or as little assistance as a family requires, and changes can be made as often as necessary. Services can be unskilled (companion care and homemaker services) or skilled (personal care and nursing care) in nature and can be provided occasionally for respite, on an around-the-clock basis or anywhere in between. This flexibility is a significant advantage for caregivers and seniors who are dealing with progressive diseases such as dementia. As a loved one’s condition declines, professional caregivers offer the adaptability necessary in caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
When Home Care Is No Longer Enough
In-home services can help dementia patients delay the move to long-term care, but their growing needs will eventually necessitate higher levels of care and around-the-clock supervision. Without a robust team of informal caregivers to share the burden, it becomes necessary to look elsewhere for assistance. While it is possible to receive these services in the home, the cost of 24/7 home care is often too much for the average family to pay for privately over the long term.
The time for thinking about a move to assisted living, a memory care unit or a nursing home is different for everyone. The decision depends on whether family members and hired caregivers can continue to cope with changes in a senior’s condition at home. A competent home care company will closely monitor their ability to provide the best care for their patients. Should a client’s needs surpass what is noted in their current care plan, the company will let the family know that additional services or a change in setting is needed.
We hope you enjoyed, are encouraged, educated, and benefit from this and all our blogging efforts. When the time comes for you to seek a consult regarding how Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem can improve the quality of both you and your loved one’s lives, call us!
10 February 2020
Valentine’s Day reserves special space in the hearts of many of the assisted living and/or memory care loved one’s that we support. Professional assisted living caregivers such as us here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care in Bethlehem have long recognized that this Holiday can become a solemn one for many of our loved ones if the Holiday is ignored by caregivers. The reason is completely understandable when cherished Valentine’s Day memories of a deceased spouse often turn to solemn reflection.
Valentine’s Day is a perfect occasion to show the special people in your life just how much you care. Whether your Valentine’s Day plans include celebrating Valentine’s Day there at home or while visiting your aging parent or loved one residing within a professional assisted living community like Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens, try out some of these ideas to celebrate the holiday:
Research a Special Valentine’s Day Memory
Search your photo archives of Valentine’s Day memories of both your loved one and their loving spouse who has passed. Your time and effort will bring joy to them and to you as well. Do this early in the day so that you both can move on to other activities that are likely to bring smiles to their face. The goal is to maximize positive moments at the expense of solemn reflection.
Spread the love
The “day of love” gives us all an excuse to spoil our loved ones and spread some cheer with a thoughtful gift. While the traditional Valentine’s Day presents of flowers and chocolates are always a hit, some other gift ideas for the senior in your life include things like cozy socks, a no-fuss houseplant, framed photographs or even a gift card to their favorite restaurant. At the end of the day, the best gift you can give your loved one is the gift of your time and presence.
Create DIY Valentines
Crafting is a fun activity that people of all ages enjoy. For senior adults, arts and crafts can be particularly helpful in improving hand-eye coordination and keeping their cognitive skills sharp. When you visit your older loved one in assisted living, bring along supplies to make handmade Valentine’s Day cards for friends, family members, and the caregivers at the assisted living community. Making a craft together is also a great way to keep grandchildren involved and ensure they have a lasting memory of the visit.
Take a trip down memory lane
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to share fond memories and stories with our older loved ones. Learning about an older family member’s life and experiences firsthand is not only a powerful way to connect, but it also helps us understand who we are and where we came from. Once again, try looking at favorite family photos and letters or listening to familiar music to spark memories and prompt meaningful conversations about the past.
Here at Gateway Gardens, we encourage you to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your aging parent or loved one, whether they still live at home or within a professional assisted living community. Simply visiting your loved one and spending quality time with them is the best way to demonstrate your appreciation and make the holiday one to remember. Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care!
5 February 2020
Come and Join us! Fun and More! Feat. Elvis, dancing, raffle, and treats for your sweets!
3 February 2020
In our continued support of you angels out there engaged in the loving sacrifice in providing senior assisted living or memory care support, today we’re going to share a fantastic discussion of one of the single most frustrating conditions that caregivers like you often deal with, your loved one’s paranoia. While most of this article deals with dementia-related paranoia, this article is very relevant to you senior living care providers as you will learn that paranoia is common within non-dementia inflicted seniors. So for all of you who provide assisted living or memory care support to loved ones in and around Bethlehem, know that you can lean on us here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care.
Brain changes from dementia can cause hallucinations, delusions or paranoia. According to Heathman, MD, a Houston psychiatrist, “paranoia, or having false beliefs, is a common trait of later stage dementia. However, it can occur in all stages of dementia.”
What Do We Mean By Paranoia?
Sometimes our loved one living with dementia will believe something we do not. When this results in undesirable emotions such as fear, jealousy or anger, we call it paranoia. It is generally the secondary emotions we are upset by. With the term, paranoia, comes an implicit judgment and the implications that, “My reality is real, your reality and your feelings are not.”
The best thing we can do to alleviate ‘paranoia’ is to discard this judgment. Start from a place of “our realities are real and different.” For the person experiencing paranoia, their reality is as real to them as yours is to you and mine is to me. For the sake of understanding in this article, I will use the term ‘paranoia’. My hope is that after reading it you, like me, will not find a use for the word anymore.
How to Help Soothe Paranoia in Dementia
We can provide reassurance and support so those experiencing paranoia feel safe and loved. Do not fall into the trap of detailed explanations or logical arguments. Try these behavioral techniques to calm someone living with dementia, who is experiencing paranoia.
What we call paranoia in dementia feels very real for the person living with it. It is their reality. Susan London, LMSW, Director of Social Work at Shore View Nursing and Rehabilitation says that, “There is often no evidence that will convince them otherwise.” Try the following in response to your loved one:
Summary – Do’s and Don’ts for Paranoia in Dementia
When it’s time for you to seek help from a team of proven memory care professionals in and around Bethlehem, contact us. Anytime.
28 January 2020
Regular readers of our Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care blog know that we provide loving care to their assisted living or memory care dependent loved one. Today, we offer due credit to “BrightFocus Foundation” as the primary source for this blog post and for their genuine professionalism in funding research related to Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
Today we chronicle the experiences of three caregivers of Alzheimer’s and dementia loved ones. They were asked what “best lessons” they could share with a friend who is new to Alzheimer’s or dementia caregiving. Below are their responses. But before reading further, all the professional assisted living and memory care staff here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens stand ready to share our experiences and lessons learned as well.
Eileen - Years of Grieving. Then Respite. Then Clarity.
Eileen’s husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago. Their adult children and young grandchildren live out of state. While the children are very supportive from a distance, the daily caregiving role is all on Eileen. Through these four years, she has continued to work full time, at a job she loves.
Her husband remains mostly lucid, but increasingly there have been frustrating and scary moments, threatening behavior, and showering and bathing battles. With these episodes, and with her children’s encouragement, Eileen identified a memory care facility in her area, and reluctantly moved him there. The facility instructed her to not visit for two weeks so that he could acclimate. At the end of the two weeks, she went to see him. He was so mad at her, at first, he couldn’t even speak. But that lasted only briefly.
Marie - A Newer Caregiver Learning to Accept
Marie is newer to being an Alzheimer’s caregiver as her father was diagnosed with mid-stage Alzheimer’s just within the last year. He and Marie’s mother live with Marie, her husband and their school-age daughter. Marie and her husband both work fulltime – her workday starts at 6 am, his at 2 pm and Marie’s mother works part time. These schedules allow one of them to always be with her father, which became necessary following his recent wandering incident.
Through tears, Marie expressed her overwhelming feelings of guilt - guilt for being angry with him for having this disease, guilt for being angry that his behavior makes their life more difficult, and guilt when she wishes things were the way they used to be. She has taken classes to better understand the disease, and says she sometimes reads online caregiver comments, identifying with the guilty feelings people express. So far though, she has not been able to resolve these feelings of guilt. She remains frustrated, angry and tired, and feels bad about not yet being able to accept things as they are. She was not sure she had a “lesson” to offer. I reminded her that guilt is normal, and by doing what she is doing—taking classes and reading the online forums, she is doing all she can right now to accept it.
Edgar - Protecting His Wife
Edgar has been his wife’s primary caregiver for ten years. She has dementia, and when I asked him his best lesson as a caregiver, he was not sure he had one. “I am still learning,” he said, adding “I don’t know if I have adapted.” Then, he told me the story of his wife’s fall several years ago. She broke her femur, and then a few weeks later, fell again, and was hospitalized with three broken vertebrae. She had tremendous sciatica pain. She was prescribed pain medication that changed her behavior. From the hospital she went to rehab. Her personality remained changed as a result of the opioid medication. Because of this, Edgar then learned all about the side effects of opioids, and feels strongly that before accepting the use of these drugs, patients and/or families should consult with a second physician. Also, be diligent in weaning someone from them as soon as possible and, ideally, limiting their use to no more than 7 days.
Having said that, Edgar was quick to say that he sees many situations, in his wife’s memory care facility, with different degrees of difficulty. He cannot say his approach would be the right answer for others. His primary message, though, is to send a big caution on the use of medications in this population. He has been successful in minimizing his wife’s use of any drugs, and she has remained stable for several years during the years since recovering from the falls. If she ever has the need for more medication, he will definitely question her physicians about side effects and possible alternatives.
There is Hope and There is Help for all of You
Whether you provide your loved one assisted living support or memory care services, no matter where you are in the caregiving journey, as these stories show, there are struggles and lessons. But through research, we are learning more, and through education and awareness, caregivers can better manage the questions and stresses of caregiving. With more and more resources for caregivers, local community services, and education and sharing, each and every time someone shares a tip or a resource, someone else benefits. And that’s why we offer this story and manage this blog.
When it’s time for you to seek help from a team of proven memory care professionals in and around Bethlehem, contact us. Anytime.
21 January 2020
Suppose your elderly mother or father is struggling with day-to-day activities like laundry, cleaning and cooking. But he or she is not truly ill and doesn’t need a high level of daily health care. You worry about him or her walking up and down stairs or carrying a bag of groceries. An assisted community like ours here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care can serve as the perfect protective measure and path to providing them the very best quality of life possible.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted Living is perfect for seniors who are mostly independent, yet need help managing medications and meals. But there’s much more to Assisted Living than that. Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care’s assisted living services include housekeeping, laundry, and a host of activities that our residents love. Hot and delicious meals are served three times a day and snacks are available all day. Assisted living is a type of communal living that seniors and their families choose when they are healthy but need a bit of extra help. Assisted living is a great intermediate step on the continuum of elderly care.
Assisted living is commonly paid for by individuals’ long-term care insurance. However, long-term care insurance coverage varies widely, and you need to know the details of your policy. In general, long-term care insurance is flexible along the continuum of care. It can pay for both assisted living and memory care services. Some policies allow you to tap long-term care policies for in-home services, but most are written to cover professional services such as ours.
If you live in or around the Bethlehem area and ever have questions about the challenges of creating a 24/7 safe and loving atmosphere for your senior loved on, we’re here to help. We want to develop a relationship with you based on trust and a common love for our ageing loved ones. We trust that when the time comes, you’ll team with us for your professional senior assisted living support services. Together, we’ll provide the best loving care possible. Give us a call. Let’s talk.
13 January 2020
We want to thank in advance “Active Beat” who publishes insightful works on healthy lifestyles. They recently offered advice for senior care givers regarding nutritional health. Here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care, we gladly share the following with you today whether you’re providing senior assisted living support or any form of memory care support services to your beloved. Afterall, we’re all in this together.
If you provide senior assisted living care for a loved one, you may already include supplements in order to boost their memory and protect against age-related memory decline. If you care for an already diagnosed Alzheimer’s or related dementia condition you likely are administering physician prescribed supplements. Regardless, researchers at Yale University claim that the body doesn’t absorb nutritional supplements quite as effectively as it does natural foods.
Whether you’re preventing a family history of dementia and Alzheimer’s, or just looking to reduce risk in general, researchers recommend following the “MIND” diet which is short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. It touts eating a more plant-based diet with limited red meat, saturated fats and sweets, says Mayo Clinic. And when it comes to brain-boosting Alzheimer’s-fighting super foods, these 12 foods should be at the top of your shopping list.
You likely already know that berries—such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries—are considered superfoods. This is due to the fact that they deliver a boatload of antioxidants in each bite! Antioxidants have long been linked to enhance cognitive function in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. However, a study published by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease discovered that high-antioxidant berries were able to reduce plaque in the brain, which is thought to cause Alzheimer’s.
Chatelaine writes that blueberries in particular are among the best. “They contain flavonoids, which activate brain pathways associated with less cellular aging,” writes the source. WebMD also points out that berries have been linked to slowing down the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. We suggest eating about 1/2 cup three times a week.
Do you know what spices like turmeric, cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg have in common? According to the journal Central Nervous Systems Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, these spices contain certain polyphenols and compounds with numerous cognitive advantages. The journal research outlines the many gluco-recovery, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties in these spices and theorizes on their Alzheimer’s prevention connection.
MindBodyGreen also explains that “these spices can all help to break up brain plaque and reduce inflammation of the brain which can cause memory issues.” The foods on this list will not only help improve brain function, but fight off illnesses that cause our brains to age prematurely like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
Natural foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids—namely nuts, flaxseeds, and certain types of fish—have long been linked to Alzheimer’s prevention. And even though much speculation can be found, more research must be conducted for undeniable scientific proof. However, research in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease as well as the European Journal of Nutrition, details how omega-3-rich foods can help decrease the rate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients.
Fatty fish like salmon and trout are particularly good because the iodine and iron “help maintain cognitive function” and they contain “brain boosting omega-3 fatty acids.” You should be eating these types of fish at least two or three times a week.
I know, here we go about the coconut oil—yet again! But really, research from the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants has found evidence of coconut’s oil’s effectiveness in the fight against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Akin to olive oil, coconut oil is known for it’s rich polyphenol content. The same study credits unique phenols in coconut oil with neuro-protective abilities.
Dark, leafy green vegetables are among the best foods for us. No matter what, we should all be eating these veggies. But people who are at a high risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s should definitely be loading up on these. According to findings from the Journal of Nutritional Health and Aging, increasing your consumption of leafy greens will decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia—and they’re just plain good for you!
The best leafy greens are spinach, kale, and romaine. They are loaded with brain-boosting antioxidants and vitamin K, both of which act as brain shields when it comes to warding off age-related cognitive decline. It’s important to note that if you’re taking blood thinners, you should consult with a doctor before loading up on too much vitamin K.
Just like leafy greens, we should all be eating these veggies on a regular basis. They are just as important as leafy greens because like kale and spinach, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are all high in vitamin K. Chatelaine also notes that they are high in glucosinolates which have an antioxidant effect, as well as folate and carotenoids that lower homo-cysteine and fight cognitive impairment, says MindBodyGreen. The source recommends eating at least 1/2 cup every week.
Other vegetables that are important to eat when it comes to improving brain health are pumpkin, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots and beets. MindBodyGreen says when these foods aren’t overcooked they contain lots of vitamin A, folate and iron which can help with cognition.
Beans and Legumes
Foods like beans, chickpeas, and lentils are all good for us, specifically our brain health because they are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. MindBodyGreen writes, “these foods contain more folate, iron, magnesium and potassium that can help with general body function and neuron firing.” The source also states that they contain choline, which is a B vitamin that boosts acetylcholine (a neuro transmitter critical for brain function).
We suggest swapping out red meat for 1/2 up of beans or legumes at least twice a week.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts are one of those foods that can be really healthy for us if we eat them properly. Plus they make for a really easy go-to snack! Our first rule is that they need to be unsalted. The other golden rule with nuts and seeds is that they are to be enjoyed in moderation because they contain lots of healthy fats.
Chatelaine says walnuts are among the best nuts because they are high in “omega-3 fatty acid, a brain-protective nutrient” which also makes them great for fighting off Alzheimer’s disease. The source also suggests eating only 1/4 cup or two tablespoons of a nut butter daily.
Unless you’re a vegetarian, you probably already eat chicken quite frequently throughout the week. Thankfully, it’s a great option and should be easily substituted for red or processed meat whenever possible. However, we suggest only eating one serving a day.
Of course, it’s important to note that we’re not talking about fried chicken or flash-frozen chicken like the boxed version you probably purchased at the grocery store. We’re talking about a nice lean, grilled piece of chicken.
Whole grains play an important role in the “MIND” diet. “Choose fibre-rich whole grains like oats, brown rice, and whole-grain wheat to offset your intake of refined grains,” writes Chatelaine.
Olive oil isn’t a food or snack per se, but it’s a common ingredient used in the kitchen and should be preferred over other popular oils. You should be using it when cooking and can even try it as a salad dressing because unlike other unhealthy options, it contains monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants. WebMD points out that olive oil has “been shown to improve brain function over the long term and protect against dementia.”
You might be wondering what wine is doing on this list, but red wine has actually been shown to improve brain health and protect against Alzheimer’s! WebMD explains that several studies have shown this to be true, however in order for it to work, the wine must be enjoyed in moderation. Women should only drink one glass a day and in the case of men, it can be up to two. It’s important to note, that if you drink too much red wine it could have the opposite affect and make you more likely to get dementia, says the source.
We hope you found this blog post both interesting and insightful as you care for your senior or memory challenged loved one. If you provide assisted living services to a loved one in or around the Bethlehem area, or if you provide memory care services to a loved one, please know that you are not alone in your support challenges. We’re here for you, anytime! Why not give us a call!
6 January 2020
Well, the new year is upon us. It’s early January and from experience, we here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care know that many of you purposely (and understandably) chose to ignore the notion that your senior loved one is now fully dependent. That is something so many of us simply do not want to address during the Holidays. But now you feel you can no longer prolong the fact that you must prepare for a monumental life change, for everyone involved.
When a senior’s health begins to decline, an adult child or other loved one may take on a few tasks to help. Aiding with chores like grocery shopping and mowing the lawn can allow the older adult to remain in their home. As the senior’s needs worsen, loved ones often take on more responsibilities.
For some families, however, it is a crisis of some kind that causes them to assume the role of family caregiver. The senior might have experienced a fall or been diagnosed with a chronic illness. In these situations, a caregiver may find themselves struggling to juggle all their loved one’s needs. It can be an overwhelming transition for people to make.
If you are in this situation, we have some suggestions to help new family caregivers like you manage the role.
5 Tips for New Caregivers
Our Final Suggestion
Our final suggestion is to become acquainted with us before you need us. We understand what you’re going through and can help you. We want to develop a trust and understanding and when the time comes, we hope that you’ll team with us for your professional senior assisted living support services. Together, we’ll provide the best loving care possible.
Give us a call. Let’s talk.
23 December 2019
Christmas and Chanukah share a similar spiritual message: that it is possible to bring light and hope into the world. These two holidays occur together this year, which makes this an even more special holiday season.
This is a season to reflect upon how fortunate we are to have you as our customers: our friends and neighbors. During these holidays, we wish you, your family, and your friends a safe, joy-filled, and relaxing season.
Warm wishes for a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, and a most Happy New Year! With peace, joy, and love this holiday season and beyond!
9 December 2019
Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we are smack in the middle of the Christmas/Holiday season. Your loved one who’s now living with dementia or the multiple challenges of senior life have always been the cornerstone of family Holidays and traditions. The challenges increase for all caregivers to continue the tradition with each new passing Holiday season. So, your friends, memory care professionals , assisted living professionals, and respite care professionals here in Bethlehem are back to offer you all some advice as once again you negotiate the Holiday season as a primary care giver.
Shop from home. Shopping, while oftentimes a large part of the season, will most likely bring undue stress to both the person living with dementia and the family caregiver. Avoid the sensory overload, large crowds, and confusing environment by shopping online or through a catalogue with your loved one. They can still choose gifts for the family but will be able to do so in the comfort and safety of their own home.
Create a new take on old traditions. Holiday family outings, such as outdoor ice-skating, caroling, or seeing “The Nutcracker” at a local playhouse, hold fond memories — but may not be feasible in the wake of dementia. Revamp these holiday traditions by taking a snowy day walk, lighting a fire and listening to Christmas music, or finding a version of “The Nutcracker” on DVD for family movie night. Time spent with family is the most important thing during holidays — the ice-skating, caroling and theatre are simply activities.
Remember a few of your favorite things. While it may seem like this year is going to be different than all the rest, it’s important (for both the caregiver and the person with dementia) to reminisce holidays past. Take the time during a holiday family get-together to share photos from previous celebrations, to recall funny family bloopers, and to engage in activities that your loved one is still able to — like decorating the Christmas tree or helping bake holiday treats.
As you’re adjusting to how things will be this holiday season (and those to come) — instead of how things once were — it’s important to remember the good and to hold onto joyful past memories in the wake of holiday stress. Focusing on the positive, rather than becoming overwhelmed by the negative, will not only help you cope and celebrate, but also encourage your loved one to enjoy such a special time, and to be at peace.
For those of you selflessly exercising the labor of love caring for you memory challenged or physically challenged loved ones, all of us at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care in Bethlehem hold you in the highest regard. We wish you and your entire family warmth and peace throughout this holiday season and going forward into 2020.
18 November 2019
By now I think all of you realize that here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care, we invest in managing this blog as a service to our cherished residents, their families, and to the countless angels out there who lovingly provide self-help at-home senior care services. We feel a heartfelt responsibility to freely share our professional knowledge regarding professional assisted living, professional memory care support, and or respite care services. We are fully aware of the vast weight of the labor of love that all of you bear regardless of the level of professional support that you currently secure.
While this Thanksgiving-related blog post is heavily focused on those of you who care for a loved one with memory care issues, so much of this messaging can be directly applicable to those providing senior assisted living support to someone without memory issues.
Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather to give thanks, catch up and share a special meal together. However, when a family member is diagnosed with a dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the family dynamic changes dramatically. Nowhere is this more evident than at holiday gatherings. The hustle and bustle of a typical family Thanksgiving can cause extreme levels of anxiety for someone with dementia, turning a wonderful day into a confusing and agonizing ordeal. Consequently, for the family caregiver, it can become a day full of tension as they watch over their loved one with anxious eyes.
It doesn’t have to be that way. With advance planning and preparation, Thanksgiving can still be enjoyed by everyone, even the family member with dementia. To be successful, however, you do need to plan and structure the day for the best possible outcome.
Here are some tips we’ve gathered, contributed by individuals with dementia, families and caregivers:
If your loved one is one of our cherished memory care residents here at Gateway Gardens, consider bringing some of your Thanksgiving cheer to them, rather than disrupting their routine by transporting them to your gathering.
For more information about senior living or memory care services here in Bethlehem, contact us anytime.
13 November 2019
Today’s blog post is a tribute to our staff who work so hard each day to create the safe, clean, and genuinely attractive living environment that every resident deserves. We invite the followers of our blog to take a walk through our gallery page and see with your own eyes the physical layout of our warm and friendly community. We think you’ll be impressed, and we gladly welcome the opportunity to show it off to you personally.
For those of you who don’t know us well, we specialize in assisted living, memory care, and respite care services to the greater Bethlehem, Ga area and beyond. We freely welcome the opportunity to engage you and your questions regarding the nature and considerations of assisted living, memory care, and respite care services. To do that, contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem.
6 November 2019
Today’s blog post is designed to help those of you out there trying to decide the strategic care plan for a loved one suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related disease. It is very common for all of you care providers to be confused regarding exactly what type of professional care is best now, assisted living or memory care. We are proud to inform that we lovingly provide both services here at Manor Lake Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem. We thought we’d share the following with you while crediting dementiacarecentral.com for insightful and informative narrative on this subject.
Even with help from community-based services and respite services, providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (A/D) or dementia becomes more difficult with time. In later stages of the disease, many people will require more care and assistance than their family members can provide. Even for people who don’t need intensive hands-on care, safety may be an issue and they may not be able to stay home alone. Residential care options may be able to provide best for the needs of some individuals. However, these options are often considerations that caregivers and their families find difficult to plan for, or to even discuss.
Residential Care Options for Dementia
The natural progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as other forms of dementia, will result in the need for care for loved ones. Depending on one’s stage of Alzheimer’s/dementia, and his/her ability to function, the level of care and supervision that is required varies. For most families, this means some form of residential care. This is where assisted living, “memory care” comes into play.
Assisted Living Communities
Assisted living residences, such as continuing care retirement communities, are especially suited for those individuals in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia who do not have many medical problems, but who do need more intensive support for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). Many people with dementia will need help with IADLs. These are activities that we perform from day to day that add to our quality of life, but are not as basic to self-care as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs are the basic activities that we must perform every day in order to take care of ourselves. Individuals with dementia may also need help with these tasks.
The following tasks are considered to be IADLs:
Typically, ADLs refers to the following tasks:
Those who are in the middle-stage of dementia require a greater amount of supervision and care than those in early-stage dementia, and for those in middle-stage dementia, assisted living is also a good option. In assisted living facilities, individuals generally live in a private studio, private apartment, or a shared apartment, and have staff available to assist them 24-hours / day. This type of living arrangement is ideal for those who are still able to live with some independence but do require assistance with ADLs. Transportation to and from doctor’s appointments and social activities are also offered at assisted living facilities. In addition, assisted living facilities have dining halls where residents gather to eat meals.
For individuals with dementia who require a higher level of skilled care and supervision, memory care units are an ideal option. These units offer both private and shared living spaces. Sometimes they exist as a wing within an assisted living facility or nursing home or they sometimes operate as stand-alone residences. Supervised care is provided twenty-four hours / day by staff trained to care for the specific needs and demands of dementia patients. Memory care units offer the same services as assisted living facilities, in addition to activities that are intended to stimulate the memory of those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and possibly slow the progression of the disease. Activities may involve music, arts and crafts, games, and more.
For more information, contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem.
28 October 2019
We take great pride here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care here in Bethlehem to share our knowledge and stories to help as many people as possible. For those of you struggling to care for loved ones in need of memory care support, we understand your challenges and the huge labor of love that you bear.
Today we’ll share with you the most common symptoms shared by Alzheimer’s and related dementia disorders. The symptoms include any combination of the following:
Helping People with Alzheimer’s Disease
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are things you can do to slow its onset and to maximize your loved one’s quality of life. The ability to deliver positive effect is especially enhanced if the disease is still in its early stages.
While you may be able to care for an Alzheimer’s patient in the early stages of the disease, you need to realize that the challenges will become increasingly difficult. Your loved one can present a danger to themselves by wandering off or forgetting to turn off the stove. If this is the case it may be time to consider professional memory care services like those we provide here at our Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care community. For more information about memory care services here in Bethlehem, contact us anytime.
21 October 2019
Many people who are in need of assisted living services in and around Bethlehem or memory care services in and around Bethlehem put off looking for care for fear of how they will pay for it. We are fully committed to providing the highest quality and most affordable assisted living services across the Bethlehem Georgia area. We fully realize that assisted living services, for some, can be cost prohibitive. However, we are fully committed to assisting you with potential sources of financial aid so that you and or your loved ones can secure the care that you deserve.
Check the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Program
Check eligibility for the Veteran’s Aid & Attendance Pension, a program which can provide financial help to those who require assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing and undressing or taking care of the needs of nature.
It can pay up to $1,830 per month to a veteran, $1,176 per month to a surviving spouse, or $2,170 per month to a couple for veterans and surviving spouses (as of 2017). Certain income and asset limits also apply.
This program allows you to keep more assets than most state aid programs, and it provides a higher level of assistance. You cannot receive benefits from both the Veterans program and a state aid program, so you may want to evaluate both to determine which provides the highest level of assistance for you or your loved one.
Check with your state’s medicaid office
Find your state Medicaid office and check on their available resources. To qualify for Medicaid you'll need to have assets and income that are below the federal poverty levels.
Many state programs offer assistance with assisted living costs for those who have no financial resources. Qualifying for such assistance usually means you have less than $2,000 in assets, although exact program requirements can vary from state-to-state.
Find non-profit resources for assisted living and elderly care
With a little digging you may find a non-profit organization that can help. If they can't help they may direct you to additional sources of assistance. Start with these two organizations:
Ask for family support
One home health company has created a free personalized way to stay in touch with those who need in-home care or assisted living through a feature they call CareTogether. It functions like a customized form of Facebook designed just for a senior who needs care, allowing the family to stay updated on what their needs may be.
You could use a feature like this, or a Facebook page, to explain your or your loved one’s needs to extended family and then ask family members if they would be willing to contribute a small monthly amount to provide in-home or assisted living care for this family member.
We want you to know that we are here to help. Contact Gateway Gardens Assisted Living and Memory Care in Bethlehem today.
18 October 2019
We’re establishing a tradition here at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem to celebrate Halloween with our assisted living residents as well as our memory care residents. Each year we research new and exciting ideas to smile, laugh, and share our love for our treasured residents. This year we found this article from SeniorAdvisor.com with a laundry list of ideas which we are not mulling over. We thought we’d share the same ideas we the followers of our blog in the hope that it navigates all of you to some special moments during Halloween.
Halloween Crafts for Seniors
Halloween crafts can be completed early in October so you can use them as decorations throughout the rest of the month.
(Mostly) Healthy Halloween Recipes for Seniors
You can find loads of cute Halloween recipes on the web, but most of them are laden with sugar. Since many seniors have health concerns, we tried to pick out a few of the healthier options that still fit the theme.
Other Halloween Activities for Seniors
If you want to pack Halloween week with more fun, interactive activities that you might consider include:
Halloween’s not for everybody, so you’ll probably have those uninterested in participating in some of these activities, but those that enjoy the season will be happy to have the opportunity to celebrate it in a variety of ways.
All of us here at Bethlehem’s Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care wish you the very best for a joyful Halloween celebration.
14 October 2019
Caring for your loved ones that require significant assisted living support here in Bethlehem or memory care support here in Bethlehem is an exhaustive yet fulfilling labor of love. Without doubt it is very stressful as well. At some point this labor of love becomes an unhealthy tax on both the mental and physical state of the caregiver(s). It is at this point where guilt sets in when we recognize our inability to keep pace with the ever-increasing challenge of providing assisted living care support services. This guilt is natural but fortunately it is usually short-lived once we come to accept the realities of life that, at some point, we must turn to assisted living professionals to help us carry the load.
The key word there is “professionals”. We are programmed to believe that no one outside the family can provide the same level of loving care that a family member can. But that is simply not true. When you enlist the support of assisted living or memory care professionals in and around Bethlehem you are empowering you and your family with the power of scientific research and professional expertise that will enhance the quality of life of your loved one in ways that the non-professional family simply cannot. No offense of course.
So take the step to research your transition to professional assisted living care with confidence (not guilt) that you are about to increase the quality of life of both your loved one AND yourself. Conduct thorough research of the assisted living and memory care communities near you to experience the campus, assess the skill and attentive nature of the staff, and to simply get a feel for the memory care community as a whole. Trust your instinct, it will guide you well.
If you think it's time to move your parent or loved one to an assisted living care community, contact the assisted living and memory care professionals at Gateway Gardens here in Bethlehem. Our team is available to help guide you through this difficult process and answer any questions that may arise.
11 October 2019
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, seniors supported by professional assisted living professionals realize a statistically significant decrease in hospitalization for heart disease. This positive report is attributed to the professional support provided by assisted living and memory care communities such as ours at Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Bethlehem GA that deliver quality of life support programs as well as regular and reassuring professional health consultation.
What We Do?
Provide Fitness and Relaxation
Keeping seniors active and relaxed improves heart health. Workout programs that range from low to moderate impact exercises are managed based on fitness levels and health status. Regular exercise helps lower stress levels and improve quality of sleep. When these two vital factors are achieved and stabilized, a healthier heart is guaranteed.
Promote Nutrition and Healthy Diet
Assisted living communities pay close attention to the nutrition and diet of their senior residents. They make sure that the food served to senior residents are both appetizing and healthy to improve food intake and facilitates consumption of important nutrients that can strengthen the heart. Also, taking note of food that must be taken moderately. Low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet are usually the dietary recommendation for these people.
Provide Smoke-Free Environment
We know for a fact that a smoker has a higher risk of developing chronic heart disorders including atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Gateway Gardens Assisted Living & Memory Care offers a designated outdoor area for smokers separated from non-smokers so that non-smokers will not be exposed to smoke-filled air. This is also a way to encourage current smokers to break the habit. Medical advises are also given to those smokers to support them to give up smoking.
For more information about assisted living and memory care services in and around Bethlehem, contact Gateway Gardens today.
7 October 2019
Modern researchers have discovered that music soothes those suffering from advanced age, dementia, and/or Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at The University of Utah Health recently tested whether they could alleviate anxiety in seniors (with and without dementia) by playing familiar music to them using headphones and a hand-held music device. Anxiety and agitation are two of the most disruptive aspects of living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease for both patients and caregivers.
After the researchers helped the patients pick meaningful music, they used a functional MRI to record the changes in the brain while the music played. The brain images showed that music helped the areas of the brain known as the salience network, the visual network, the executive network, and the cerebellar and corticocerebellar networks all work with better connectivity. These areas of the brain activate language and memory, according to the study’s authors.
“When you put headphones on dementia patients and play familiar music, they come alive,” Jace King, lead author of the study, said in a press release. “Music is like an anchor grounding the patient back in reality.”
Music and movement are the last things to go in the brain.
It’s almost miraculous what music can do for Alzheimer’s patients and the research about the benefits is there.
Health care providers have seen firsthand how much music helps dementia patients. with the clients there.
Play songs from their era that they might recognize. Patriotic songs are also popular.
Music touches people on so many levels.
The reaction by dementia patients to music was also dramatically demonstrated in the 2014 documentary, Alive Inside. Elderly care professionals can set up personalized playlists on iPods for their patients. The music helps the patients access the deep memories not lost to dementia. It also helps them converse and socialize in ways they weren’t doing before the familiar music became a part of their daily life.
4 October 2019
When it comes time to begin the most difficult task of choosing a Bethlehem-area senior living or memory care community take a deep breath and accept the fact that you are about to take on very serious responsibility. We want to help you in that endeavor by offering some guidance on how to move forward. Please know that we are here for you to help and expand upon the following advice.
At the very core of best practices to find the perfect senior living or assisted living community in Bethlehem is to speak with as many staff members and current residents as possible.
Questions to ask
Obviously, you can't just rely on facility tours or promotional brochures to make this crucial decision. First, get your ducks in a row. When you're ready to visit in person, turn to administrators, staff members and residents for answers to pivotal questions.
Consider Before You Visit:
Is the location realistic? Lengthy drives, not to mention flights, will affect visits and add barriers to relationships with friends and family members, including spouses still living at home.
Many families face a tough conundrum. Sometimes it's a matter of choosing between top-ranked but distant facilities versus more accessible locations for loved ones to visit regularly and monitor care.
Ask Administrators and Nursing Directors:
What are the staffing ratios? Bolster your question with research.
What is your staff turnover? Stable staffing is a good sign. In addition, consistent assignment – when the same caregivers are assigned to the same residents on a daily basis – is critically important. That way, staff members really get to know residents, anticipate their needs and can recognize and address problems early.
Which services do you offer? If you're undergoing rehab to recover from a hip fracture, you'll need a higher level of care than some nursing homes can offer. With medical conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, residents may need help managing supplemental oxygen.
Do you provide special care for people with dementia? Memory care means much more than just a locked unit to prevent residents from wandering. Staffing ratios should be no more than five residents per caregiver, including nurses and aides, around the clock. Caregivers should have special training in dementia care, and the awareness and sensitivity to best address these needs.
What kind of food do you serve? Residents rely entirely on nursing homes to meet their nutritional needs. Healthy, tasty food improves everyone's quality of life.
How do you satisfy cultural and individual food preferences? People in nursing homes still want to enjoy meals that evoke family traditions and tastes they've developed over their lives.
Do you accommodate special diets? Residents come in with their own dietary preferences and restrictions. Some also may have medical orders for soft or puréed diets, for example.
Can residents eat when they want? Some people prefer to eat outside routine schedules.
After the formal tour, explain that you'd like a chance to speak with several residents. Drop in at the activities room or a lounge, introduce yourself, say you're considering a move there and ask what it's like for them.
Are you happy here? "Do you enjoy living here?" "What do you like best about living here?" and "If you could change one thing, what would that be?" are positive ways to frame your questions and make residents more likely to respond.
Do you have freedom of choice? Does the facility offer resident-centered care? Are you able to get up when you want? Do you go to bed at the time you want?
When you ask for help, how long do you have to wait? If you always have to wait beyond five minutes for help, you're likely to try doing things on your own, which could set you up for falls.
Ask Activity Directors:
What about activities? How do you keep residents engaged? Ask to see monthly activity calendars. Offerings should be varied and appealing.
Does the facility have a resident or family council? These self-determined groups can provide a strong voice for quality care.
Is reliable transportation available? Sometimes nursing homes only provide transportation for certain medical appointments – and they don't provide transportation for social purposes. Is there staff to help residents get to a granddaughter's play?
Can residents easily spend time outdoors? Attractive courtyards are sometimes the first thing visitors notice. But how often can residents, particularly those with mobility issues, actually go outdoors? Does staff encourage and help them to do so?
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