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Belmont Village Senior Living Shares 4 Mental Health Tactics for Caregivers Helping Aging Adults Combat Loneliness and Isolation Over the Holiday Season

For many families with loved ones impacted by cognitive decline, dementia, or Alzheimer’s, the holidays can be particularly difficult to navigate. According to a recent CDC study, more than 53% of all adult caregivers are afflicted by stress, depression, isolation, anxiety, and an overall decline in their personal health – inhibiting their ability to provide assistance to their loved ones during a time when interpersonal connection and quality time spent are paramount.

“During the holidays, the effects of loneliness and isolation are often exacerbated,” says Joyce Mahoney, Regional VP of Memory Care & Therapeutic Programming at Belmont Village. “Every day, our teams keep our residents engaged in activities and researched-based programming that has been successful in helping them stay mentally, physically, and socially connected. In a similar vein, there are tactics that families at home can utilize to make things a little easier for everyone.”

Tips to make the holidays safer and more enjoyable for everyone:

  1. Plan ahead: Try to keep stress to a minimum. Consider smaller gatherings, prepare for possible setbacks, and have an exit strategy in place in case your loved one becomes uncomfortable, or another situation arises where it is necessary to leave with them early.
  2. Let other guests know what to expect: It’s helpful if friends and family understand that a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia may have trouble following conversations or remembering who people are. Understanding and familiarity with symptoms of cognitive decline prior to holiday visits and patience during the visits are key.
  3. Maintain a routine: Loved ones experiencing cognitive decline thrive on familiarity and benefit from a familiar and regular daily routine. Try to host special holiday events while incorporating and maintaining as much of their routine as possible. This can help avoid needless stress and confusion while providing you and your loved one with a sense of comfort and control.
  4. Build on traditions and memories: A loved one with dementia may not be able to participate in every activity they used to, but it doesn’t mean he or she can’t be involved in the holiday festivities. Modifying your traditions or introducing new ones can keep joyful holiday activities inclusive and engaging for your loved ones. Keep inclusivity in mind while keeping yearly traditions alive, such as watching your favorite holiday movies, preparing traditional family recipes, baking seasonal cookies, or singing your favorite carols together. Create a plan together with family that will be joining the gathering, letting them know what to expect, and what traditions may be modified. When family and loved ones are aware of the goal, they can all provide a supportive environment for the person who has dementia, and the plan will become more successful.

Belmont Village Senior Living communities are designed to balance hospitality, community, and care with leading medical research. Every Belmont community balances quality caretaking with groundbreaking programs and events to ensure residents are engaged and living their best lives. Belmont Village’s leadership and staff have a deep and knowledgeable understanding of the effects of isolation. Through Belmont’s extensive staff training, proprietary programming, over 25-year-long experience in senior living, and the unique approach to the Whole Brain Fitness model, Belmont Village teams work to improve the lives of seniors by prioritizing community socialization and engagement, mental stimulation, and a healthy lifestyle— all of which while help residents build cognitive reserve, maintain cognitive function, and achieve a higher quality of life.

Daily physical fitness and utilizing outdoor spaces with access to nature provide residents with a peaceful and calm environment that is conducive to Belmont’s mission of promoting brain health. Belmont Village’s unique, proprietary, and award-winning Circle of Friends® program addresses the needs and abilities of residents with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early to moderate-stage memory loss. Developed in consultation with Vanderbilt University’s Center for Quality Aging, Circle of Friends® has shown measurable benefits and, in some cases, improved cognitive function for residents.

For residents with more advanced cognitive decline and dementia, each Belmont Village has a dedicated Memory Care Neighborhood with tailored programming designed for each resident that focuses on their individual needs and abilities to help preserve their happiness, health, and dignity. Residents continue to follow a Whole Brain Fitness lifestyle while participating in therapeutic activities overseen by highly trained Memory Program Coordinators, each of whom ensures consistent social engagement via activities ranging from group and individual exercise, yoga, tai chi, meditation and outdoor concerts. All Belmont residents are supported by a licensed nurse on-site 24/7 and carefully selected staff who are specially trained to support each person with care, compassion, and respect.

For more in-depth tips watch “Navigating the Holidays and Memory Loss”.

About Belmont Village Senior Living

Founded in Houston in 1997, Belmont Village is an integrated developer, owner, and operator of high-quality seniors housing with more than 4,000 employees. Its 33 locations across the country and in Mexico City, provide award-winning assisted living and memory care programs and ongoing collaborations with Baptist Health South Florida, USC, UCLA, and more to continually improve their cognitive health and evidence-based enrichment programs. Renowned for distinctive design, high standards of life and safety, and reputation for leading-edge, quality of care, Belmont Village is certified as a Great Place to Work® and has been ranked as one of FORTUNE Magazine’s 50 Best Workplaces for Aging Services since 2018., LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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