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Memory Loss & The Holidays

Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss During the Holidays

Typically, the holiday season is a time of festive gatherings, visiting with family near and far, and that special cheer that seems to be all around. For some though, it is also a time that brings added stress and a feeling of being overwhelmed – those caring for a family member or loved one with Dementia care, Alzheimer’s care, or another form of memory loss assistance, oftentimes, fall into this group. Especially this season, with the COVID-19 Pandemic surging once again, this time of year looks very different for everyone and can be quite challenging for caregivers.

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Living With A Loved One Who Has Memory Loss

If you are the caregiver with your loved one living at home with you, try and use the holidays to focus on togetherness and lifting your family member’s spirit. For those loved ones dealing with memory loss, this time of year may bring more emotions including sadness or anxiety, and by focusing on creating moments of happiness, regardless of how small, you can move through the next few months together in a positive way. Share stories of the past, create holiday-inspired art projects or recipes, or decorate the tree together. And it’s okay to ask for help. If you have other family members in your household, lean on them for additional support to make the holidays as enjoyable as they can be for all of you, but most importantly, your loved one.

Make The Holidays Extra Special For Those In Assisted Living

If your loved one is in an assisted living community, there can be added difficulties due to the current pandemic & many states still having visitor restrictions in place. Talk to your community’s executive leadership or activities department to see how they plan to make the holidays extra special and see what options are available to you and your loved one. Many times, regular phone calls or virtual visits can still be scheduled and items such as your loved one’s favorite holiday cookies can be dropped off and delivered to them to bring an added sense of familiarity and comfort.

At The Wesley Communities, our teams have gone above and beyond to ensure our residents and their families stay connected during this time, and the holiday season is no exception. Whether it’s setting up virtual Thanksgiving celebrations or decorating our residents’ rooms with holiday wreaths and garland provided by their children, our focus on the well-being of those who call our communities’ home and their families remain our top priority.

How To Care For Family in Memory Loss Care

It’s also a good idea to speak with other members of your family about what may be best for your loved one with memory loss during the holidays. Have an open discussion about how you are going to approach this time and together, devise an appropriate plan for interacting with a loved one in Dementia care or Alzheimer’s care.

Some compassionate options include:

  • Send your loved one a letter from each of you and have them arrive on Christmas Day.
  • Send in a family video singing your loved one’s favorite Christmas songs.
  • Provide plenty of pictures to serve as active remembrance of the holiday season and togetherness.
  • Schedule structured activities such as music therapy, religious programs outings & exercise at The Wesley Communities.
  • Support the opinions of each other and stick to your decided approach.
  • However, any decided upon approach won’t be a one size fits all, it may make sense to mitigate the holidays as much as possible if you think it will upset your loved one or cause a new sense of confusion.

Help Those Caregivers You Care About

If you aren’t a caregiver but are close to one, take some time to put yourself in his or her shoes. Be considerate, check in on them, and let them know that you are there for them when it may be needed most. Do they need help gathering or wrapping gifts this year? Or maybe they need a day off to themselves. Whatever it may be that would make this time of year a little brighter for them and their loved ones, try and make it happen.

The 2020 holiday season is one of many mixed feelings – all of which are valid and normal given the world we are living in. But, we are family and we are in this together. Be kind to yourself this time of year and know that the role you play as a caregiver in your loved one’s life is selfless and commendable.

Have additional questions about our memory support services?

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Another Study Finds Potential Health Benefits to Living in a CCRC

In a recent blog post, I shared the results of an interesting study out of Washington State University that found that where you live can influence your lifespan. It looked at people’s gender, race, and education level, as well as locales’ walkability, socioeconomics, and working-age population and tied it to the number of centenarians in that location. The results of the study were rather surprising. To learn more about the results of this study among others, click the link above.

Passions Continue with Friends at Wesley Glen

At Wesley Glen Retirement Community, there is a variety of opportunities for residents to explore and find where their passions lie. And, if there is something that may not be on the regular calendar of activities that sparks interest, residents are encouraged and supported in creating their own activities, groups, or in this case, committee. What started years ago as some residents with an interest in various aspects of the natural environment that surrounds Wesley Glen, has turned into an organized, structured, and innovative resident Nature Committee – one that we are fortunate to have. Click the link above to read more about the Nature Committee and one of its recent, exciting projects.

When is the Best Time to Move to a CCRC?

For many older adults who are currently independent but like the idea of living in a setting where healthcare services are available if needed down the road, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) can be an ideal solution.

A popular question among prospective CCRC residents is, “When is the best time to make the move?” There is no perfect answer to this question because everyone’s situation will be different. However, waiting too long can mean missing out on some of the very reasons people are attracted to these communities in the first place.

If you feel that a continuing care retirement community is right for you, here are a few reasons why you may want to consider moving sooner rather than later. Click the link above to learn more about when the best time to make a move really is.

The Season has Changed, but the Global Pandemic hasn’t : How to Stay Active and Limit Isolation with the Colder Weather

The global pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone. Especially for older adults, the lack of normalcy and decreased interaction with others has significantly contributed to feelings of isolation, sadness, and overall mental and physical health decline.

The one saving grace the past few months was the warmer weather of summer. With small group gatherings (if masks are worn) being approved in many states, time spent outdoors has helped seniors feel more social and happier.

Now that the season has changed and the temperatures have dropped, many are worried that being unable to be outside as much could have additional negative effects to an already not-so-great time.

To help try and ease concerns, we’ve complied some ideas and resources to stay active and limit isolation in the colder weather. Click the link above to read more.

Change Your Address, Not Your Lifestyle

Making the transition to senior living can be difficult, but for many residents at Wesley Glen Retirement Community, knowing that they could continue to pursue their passions and interests was something that made the decision a little easier. Joan has always had a green thumb and a love for gardening. Before she moved to our community, she spent a lot of her time outdoors, tending to her home garden, and sharing herbs and vegetables with her neighbors and friends.

Once Joan joined us at Wesley Glen, our team learned about her desire to have a garden of her own and introduced her to Chacey Lane – an entire row of gardening plots right on campus. Without a moment’s hesitation, Joan reserved her space and now her garden blooms with basil, oregano, green peppers, parsley, mint, and black cherry tomatoes, just to name a few! She also loves to help other residents with their gardens and often, offers tips and tricks, and of course, an extra set of hands.

When Joan isn’t cooking her own meals with the herbs and vegetables she grows, she finds a lot of joy in sharing with her Wesley Glen neighbors and our Executive Chef, Kevin. On a regular basis, Chef Kevin holds educational and entertaining cooking demonstrations and sometimes, uses Joan’s garden for ingredients. He recently did a pesto demonstration and Joan’s basil was the star of the show! Click the link above to learn more about Joan’s garden and why it has been a lovely addition to her home!

“This Is My Home” – Jerry Shares His Thoughts on Life at Wesley Woods at New Albany

Jerry Krumdieck came to Wesley Woods at New Albany in 2017 after his wife of 44 years unfortunately passed away. Before moving, Jerry lived in a 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom home in Gahanna and while he loved his neighbors and of course, his home, he began to feel a real sense of loneliness. He and his Bengal cat, Henry, shared the entire house and it started to be a lot of upkeep.

Previously, Jerry and his wife looked at many retirement communities. None of them seemed to be what they were looking for, and they didn’t see themselves living the fulfilling lives they wanted to once they reached retirement. That was until Jerry met Emily Smith-Conlon, a marketing representative from Wesley Woods at New Albany at the Gahanna Senior Center and learned about our community. Interestingly enough, Jerry was familiar with The Wesley Communities as his wife’s step-grandfather was one of the first residents of Wesley Glen Retirement Community, a sister community of Wesley Woods. Although Jerry was somewhat hesitant and unsure about making a move, he agreed to meet with Emily again. During his visit, our community was still in the development stages, but just by the drawings, Jerry said, “I fell in love.” Click the link above to learn more about how Wesley Woods at New Albany has become Jerry’s home.

What is a “Continuum of Care”?

If you have been looking at various senior living options, including continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs, also called life plan communities), you have likely heard or seen the term “continuum of care” used. It’s an important concept when it comes to the variety of services provided by retirement communities, but it is also a term that is unclear to many prospective residents. So, let’s dig in and answer the commonly asked question: What is a “continuum of care”?

First, the definition…click the link above to learn more.

The Role of Diet in Active Aging

Through all stages of life, the concept of maintaining a “healthy diet” is one we are constantly reminded of. Across the board, many regular diets are to include nutrient-rich foods in a variety of categories such as fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, dairy, meat, fish, and poultry.

However, as we grow, our unique health needs vary and many times, diets require adjustments with increases in certain food groups, and decreases in others. Especially for older adults, it’s important to understand the role diet plays in active aging, and how to determine the type of diet that is best for you and your health needs.

A few diets that have been well-received by dieticians and nutritionists specifically for seniors include the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH Diet and the MIND Diet. Click the link above to read more.

Game On: Can Brain Games Improve Your Memory?

There are a number of so-called “brain game” products on the market these days. These typically are computer or smartphone/tablet-based games that claim they can help improve seniors’ cognitive function and memory. But do they really work? Could playing video games be the secret to decreasing the prevalence of neuro-degenerative conditions like dementia? And what about things like crossword puzzles and sudoku—can they help seniors stay mentally sharp? Click the link above to read the full article.