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A True Love Story – Guest Post with Patti LaFleur

This month we had the pleasure of hearing from Patti LaFleur, former care partner for her Mom. Her story of caring for her mom is powerful, and we know you'll be touched.

Introduce yourself and share about your background. How did you come to be a part of the caregiving world?
I am the former care partner for my Mom, Linda, who had younger-onset mixed dementia. I cared for my Mom for three years in my home after my Dad was no longer able to care for her as her health declined. He ended up getting diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, which required me to provide care for him as well. He moved into an assisted living facility and I provided “long-distance care” to my Dad, while caring for my Mom in her home. My Dad passed in November 2021 and my Mom passed in March 2022, a month after a magical trip to Disneyland. We shared fun, love and joy together every day.

My Mom and I were meant to be. She adopted me and I reciprocated that love back to my Mom as her care partner....

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5 Engaging Activities for You and Your Aging Loved One at Home

Are you the primary caregiver or care partner for your loved one living at home? Perhaps you spend a few hours with a special older individual each week? If so, you may be trying to come up with some activities to do with them, and we've got a few ideas to share with you!

First off, how about getting your hands dirty with gardening? Try planting the easiest to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs. It will be rewarding to harvest them and to enjoy the fruit of your labor together. If you’re not interested in growing your own food, try growing flowers. Picking and arranging flowers could be another activity. If you’re not into growing flowers, just buy them from the store or farmer’s market and have fun arranging flowers together. If gardening and growing flowers aren’t working for you, how about simply going on nature walks? See what plants, flowers, birds, insects and other wildlife you can find. Bring a camera along, and take photos of the beautiful...

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What Are the Benefits of Physical Movement for Seniors?

Physical activity has numerous benefits for older adults. For example, people who exercise tend to have improved immune, digestive, and cognitive function. Getting the body moving can also lead to better blood pressure, bone density, muscle tone, mobility, flexibility, balance and coordination. Maintaining regular physical activity can lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, mental health issues and heart disease. Another benefit of note is that it can help decrease risk of fall. In general, physical activity can help combat the effects of aging.

Walking is probably the most basic form of exercise and is great for cardio and keeping the body active and in shape. Stretching also counts as exercise. A little bit of stretching each day will do wonders for the body and is a great regular activity. Did you know that music is a natural motivator for physical movement? The rhythmic nature of music helps the brain and body work together to move in time with...

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Guest Post: Bill Cohen, Caregiver Supporter and Advocate

A caregiver support consultant is a key person to have in your corner on your caregiving journey. This month, we're pleased to feature a guest post from Bill Cohen of Cohen Caregiving Support Consultants. Bill offers an invaluable and much-needed service to caregivers by providing resources and support, guiding them through tough decisions. He is extremely knowledgeable and draws from first-hand experience, having been his mother’s caregiver. In addition, he is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA). Having known him for 6 years, I've gotten to see how he connects with others, how much he CARES and the wealth of knowledge/resources he offers. 

Introduce yourself and share a little about your background and how you came to be a part of the caregiving world.
Hi, I’m Bill Cohen. I am a caregiver support group leader and speaker, an Alzheimer's
 Association volunteer, a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®, and the owner of Cohen Caregiving Support...

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Introducing Relish!

An estimated 6.5 million Americans age 65 and older are currently living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This number is projected to more than double by 2050. Worldwide, an estimated 54 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (2022 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures). These numbers are staggering, and there’s currently no straightforward cure, but there are ways to combat decline, slow degeneration, and improve quality of life.

At Bridgetown Music Therapy, our main focus is the modality of music to improve a person’s wellbeing. Music can engage and positively affect individuals cognitively, emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially and more. This can lead to outcomes such as partially or temporarily restoring language and communication, sparking memories, and reducing stress or anxiety. Music is not the only way to engage a person and enrich their life though. Many other engaging activities and therapies exist that...

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What Are the Benefits of Deep Breathing for Older Adults?

Deep breathing has many physical and mental health benefits for older adults. For example, it can lower heart rate and blood pressure. It can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also increase energy levels, improve mental focus, and lead to better sleep. Not to mention deep breathing helps get more oxygen to the brain which positively affects all kinds of functions in the body. This is why it’s so important for older adults to practice deep breathing every single day.

Deep breathing is focused and intentional breathing. It’s sometimes referred to as abdominal breathing, belly breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing. It’s such a simple practice, why do we so often forget to do it? Deep breathing is like a short cut to release stress as well as improve our physical and mental well-being. According to verywellmind.com, “deep slow breaths activate the parasympathetic nervous system, also called the ‘rest and digest’ system. It also...

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How Does Music Benefit People Living with Dementia?

Did you know that music activates every area of the brain?
It's true, scientific researchers have observed that listening to music and engagement in music-based activities affects all areas of the brain. Music activates the feel-good centers of the brain, and it can even help seniors create new neural connections in their brains, which are reasons why music can be so beneficial for people with dementia.

Music is a natural motivator.
Because music can do all kinds of cool things for the brain and body, it makes the perfect tool for engaging individuals with dementia. A few examples: unlocking their past memories, improving mood, increasing energy levels, and promoting relaxation. Singing has amazing benefits such as relieving stress, boosting the immune system, providing comfort, promoting expressive communication and improving lung capacity.

The benefits of music are abundant and far-reaching.
Music can uniquely touch the lives of people living with disease,...

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Musical Instrument Tips and Recommendations for Seniors

Do you, your loved one or care community own any instruments? 

Instrument play is fun and can provide opportunities for playfulness and self-expression as well as physical movement. Playing small percussion instruments for example can target various physical and cognitive goals by addressing fine and gross motor movement, crossing midline, eye-hand coordination, rhythmic entrainment, visual tracking, body and spatial awareness, and visual or auditory cues.

Small percussion instruments like maracas are generally easy to pick up and play without any previous knowledge or experience. Don’t worry about sounding good or playing correctly. You don’t necessarily need to know how to play. Start by exploring the instrument and see what sounds you can make.

If you'd like to get some instruments for your care home or particular setting, I recommend West Music - they have a huge selection of quality instruments at reasonable prices. Some of our...

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What Are the Benefits of Singing for Older Adults?

Did you know the activity of singing has a ton of benefits? In many ways, singing is similar to exercise. It’s an aerobic activity, so it gets more oxygen into the blood resulting in better circulation which can lead to improved mood. Singing causes the release of endorphins, which give us that wonderful “lifted” feeling often resulting in stress relief. Also, because singing requires deep breathing, a natural outcome is often reduced anxiety.

Here are 10 amazing benefits of singing:

  1. Uplifts mood
  2. Relieves stress
  3. Reduces anxiety
  4. Lowers blood pressure
  5. Boosts the immune system
  6. Improves breathing (by increasing lung capacity)
  7. Promotes communal bonding
  8. Provides comfort
  9. Broadens expressive communication
  10. Strengthens concentration and memory

I LOVE to sing, and I love to help get the older adults you care for singing too. That’s why 80% of our music program for seniors is focused on singing!

Music is good for the mind, body and soul! At Bridgetown Music Therapy, we...

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4 Senior Care-Focused Podcasts We Love ... and Were a Guest On!

We’re honored to have been a guest on several podcasts over this past year. If you’re curious to find out about these amazing shows or listen specifically to the episodes we were interviewed on, you can find them highlighted below. 

The Aging Today podcast is sponsored by ComForCare West Linn. This show will help you “create better days throughout the aging process, connect with professional advice on the subject of aging in place, and learn about proactive aging in the right place with a choice.” I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing with host Mark Turnbull. We’ll be on the show again mid-December to do a special episode called “Christmas in Song.” Stay tuned!

You can listen to the August 30, 2021 episode, “Music as Therapy,” here.

In September, All Home Care Matters invited us back on their show. In this episode, we shared more about our online music program for seniors and even provided a 20-minute demo...

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