Twenty-five years ago, Julie Wexler was a caregiver to her elderly father-in-law. She and her husband, a newly married couple, had no choice but to watch as dementia took hold of their loved one.
Now a representative of senior care community Bristal Assisted Living, Wexler took it upon herself to provide the public the information she wished she had all those years ago.
On June 4, Bristal Assisted Living and Burner Law Group, PC, teamed up to host a webinar on Alzheimer’s and dementia in aging populations. This Q&A-style lecture featured Dr. Nicole Absar, an assistant professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital, who specializes in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry. She uses her skills to ensure that patients not only receive proper diagnoses but the necessary supportive care every day after.
“I’m a very optimistic doctor,” Absar says. “I really feel like we have to share the optimism with our caregivers because it’s draining for our caregivers to live with a loved one and see the decline every day. It’s so hard for the caregiver to go through this, so we have to have this optimism.”
She explains that with proper care, patients not only improve their quality of life but also slow down the progression of their disease. She suggests that patients focus on diet, physical exercise, and cognitive exercise. This means following a clinically proven MIND diet (a diet with an emphasis on healthy fats and low carbohydrate intake), walking every day, and keeping the mind active with reading and games such as crossword puzzles.
Absar also uses spirituality and philosophy to empower her patients. She explains, “One of the things Buddha said before he died was … ‘Only three things matter in life. Number one: how much you loved. Number two: how gently you lived your life. And number three, which is the hard one: how gracefully you let go of things that do not serve you anymore.’ Don’t fight the diagnosis. It is what it is. Accept the diagnosis and focus on what you can do. How you can challenge your brain, what more you can do to slow down the progression [of the disease] so you can have a good quality of life for you and your family.”
Improving quality of life is the very reason Wexler, of Bristal Assisted Living, and Britt Burner, of Burner Law Group, hosted this webinar. Both emphasized their drive to provide proper care and support to their elderly clients.
“A part of our mission has always been that we need to bring awareness and education to the community,” says Burner. “So by teaming up with all of you today, we really are trying to continue that mission, so we can get closer to that cure.”
To view the full webinar, click here.