Kitchen Chat and more…
Kitchen Chat and more…
Change is difficult for anyone, but it can be especially hard for seniors to transition to an assisted living community. There are many benefits of assisted living, but there’s no avoiding it in certain cases. Moves involve changes that seniors don’t always like.
Senior adults who are moving from their home into assisted living will typically encounter some degree of adjustment disorder. You can limit the effect the transition to assisted living will have on your loved ones by taking a few extra steps and some care:
The Challenge Of Transitioning to Assisted Living
Folks who are in the middle of transitioning to assisted living may experience:
This being said, there are plenty of seniors who may not have any trouble at all adjusting to their new assisted living community and are great from day one. Elders can adapt quickly and come to recognize that the aspects of assisted living that initially bothered them are actually helpful.
Residents may find it relieving to downsize- they no longer have to worry about housekeeping and upkeep. Seniors who were resistant to moving may first experience feelings of abandonment and betrayal may find themselves feeling gratitude based on the realization that their family was acting out of love when they made the arrangements for them to move.
Helping Loved Ones Transition To Assisted Living
Your loved ones will adjust the best to their new home with support from their family during their early days at the assisted living community. Seniors who are relocating need reassurance that this is just a new chapter of their lives- it’s not the end of the life they’ve always known.
Here’s a few tips to help your loved one adjust to assisted living:
Moving your whole life and transitioning to a completely different routine is stressful and traumatic for anyone. It can be particularly impactful for seniors but if we take the time to lift up our loved ones and support them through the hardest times of their transition, it can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience for seniors. Be patient, encourage your loved one to participate, and be there to help validate their emotions and experience.
If you or your loved one is struggling with getting a good night’s sleep, it could be extremely detrimental to your health. If you’re older, it doesn’t just mean a rough start to your day. Having trouble getting to sleep and waking up during the night are a reality when you’re aging, but it’s also one of the leading Alzheimer’s risk factors.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO have released a study that says older people who spend less time in slow-wave REM sleep (the sleep that you need to feel rested and rejuvenated) show higher levels of a brain protein by the name of tau that has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
This study is the first of its kind to show a correlation between REM sleep and tau in early-on Alzheimer’s. Tau is known for forming tangles in the parts of the brain that are critical in memory function. As Alzheimer’s progresses, tau and another protein by the name of amyloid beta slowly spreads through the rest of the brain of the person suffering from the disease.
The research shows that during sleep, our brains can shrink substantially, using this time to clear out the build-up of toxins and proteins like tau and amyloid that cause problems in memory and cognitive function.
Further Revelations From The Study
In order to establish a link between deep sleep and the presence of Alzheimer’s disease, the study monitored 119 people over the age of 60 who demonstrated little to no cognitive decline while they were in their homes.
Participants were given a portable brainwave monitor and a movement tracker similar to a Fitbit for the one week study. Researchers asked participants to keep track of sleeping at night as well as daytime napping.
As we sleep, the brain cycles through different stages- slow-wave REM sleep is one of these. It’s critical to our health to have good quality sleep but not only that- it’s thought to be important for preserving memory or cognitive function.
Researchers measured the spinal fluid and brains of participants for amyloid beta and tau levels during the study. Once they factored in age, gender and movement while sleeping, the study showed that participants experiencing diminished slow-wave sleep had higher levels of tau proteins in their brain and the ratio of tau to amyloid beta was higher in their spinal fluid.
A Lack of Sleep Has An Impact On Health
The National Sleep Foundation claims that sleep triggers changes in the brain that work to strengthen memory and losing even a half night’s sleep can impair brain function. This may be directly related to the brain’s ability to clear out toxins, as it’s only active during slow-wave sleep which often happens during the first half of your night.
People who are lacking in deep or slow-wave sleep can have elevated levels of both tau and amyloid beta, which is interesting considering that older people suffering from dementia often present a symptom called “sundowning”– where mental processes and awareness diminish as the day proceeds.
This could be a direct correlation to the buildup of toxins throughout the day.
Poor Sleep Increases Disease Risk
Losing sleep not only slows you down during the day, it can increase the risk of developing some pretty serious health problems. We’ve established that sleep is crucial to forming memory and creating new room for learning to occur- sleep deprivation puts a person at risk for worsening depression and a lack of adequate response to treatment for depression.
Not only can insufficient sleep allow for a buildup of toxins, but it can also affect mood, memory, metabolism and the immune system. Let’s take a look at some of the risks:
The Wrap Up
Up to 44% of Americans are estimated to get less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Studies have previously shown that poor sleep and brain changes can lead to Alzheimer’s, as it’s one of the leading Alzheimer’s risk factors but this is the first set of research that correlates poor slow-wave sleep to an increase in tau levels during early Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re getting less sleep than you should be, affected memory isn’t the only thing you may experience. Poor sleep can cause serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
It can be a difficult experience when your parents have different senior living needs. Dad may be able to live independently, but mom might need assisted living or memory care services. Living separately not only puts a strain on your parent’s relationship, but it can affect their health and wellbeing.
Of course you want to provide your parents with the care they need as they age, but this can present a number of obstacles. When confronted with these difficult decisions, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and there are options for you to explore.
Your options largely depend on the level of care needed by either parent. In some cases, it may be possible to keep the parent needing more care at home and coordinate all necessary care between you, your mother, and other family members that are around to help. This is a time where having an in-home care assistant making regular visits can help ease your workload.
The time may come, however, where you realize your parents need a more permanent situation. This is when it’s time to explore moving your parents to a senior living community together or wrap your brain around the idea of separating them. There are plenty of options at this stage- senior living communities like Laurel Parc would allow your parents to remain together while receiving the individualized care that one parent needs and allowing the other to retain independence. This can also be a financial decision- can you afford to care for both of your parents?
You may reach the conclusion that separating your parents is a necessary step. This is never easy, but there’s a few things you can do to make it easier on everyone. Be there for both of your parents, arranging regular visits to the care home as well as visits to the parent still living at home. If the independent parent is no longer able to drive offer to drive them to make regular visits. This can be enormously taxing and caregiver burnout is a real concern, so make sure that you set a schedule that everyone is happy with so you don’t burn yourself out too much. Taking care of yourself is important too! Here’s a few ways you can make it easier on yourself:
Situations like this are always difficult but if you have a quality support system combined with quality senior living care, you can make it through! If one or both of your parents need assisted living care in Beaverton or the Portland metro area in Oregon, contact Laurel Parc to arrange a tour of the best possible care to suit their needs. Reach out to us today to ask any questions or arrange a visit.