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The Cypress of Hilton Head Island

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The Benefits of Nurturing Your Creative Side as You Age

Aging well is the goal of every senior citizen. While physical activity and social interactions are important elements of staying healthy and mentally sharp in your golden years, developing your creative side can offer a wide host of benefits for your health, mental cognition and emotional well-being.

Even retirees who have never indulged in creative activities before can benefit; indeed, psychologists at the University of Toronto have found that changes to the brain that come with age can help boost creative faculties and the ability to innovate. With that in mind, here are some of the best reasons to take up painting, singing or writing in your retirement years.

Improved Cognitive Function

Creative activity has a profound effect on the cognitive abilities of senior citizens. Neurological research has demonstrated that engaging in the process of making art can produce new neural pathways as well as stronger dendrites in the brain, both of which contribute to a boost in cognitive function. Even viewing art alone can help the brain adapt and restructure, helping improve memory.

Reduced Anxiety, Depression and Loneliness

Creating art has the ability to boost the mood of seniors and alleviate the effects of depression, anxiety and boredom. Gene Cohen, the director of George Washington University’s Center on Aging, Health & Humanities, conducted an in-depth study on how involvement with the arts affects the quality of life as we age. Cohen found that participants who engaged in creative activities reported improved morale and an increase in positive outlook.

Increased Sense of Purpose

According to a study conducted by the Journal of Aging Studies, maintaining a sense of purpose is one of six key elements of aging well. This study also found that engaging in creative activities of all kinds, from knitting to writing, helped promote a feeling of purpose and personal fulfillment in seniors.

Decreased Need for Doctor Visits and Medication

Incredibly, participating in creative activities can reduce your need for both over-the-counter and prescription medication as well as lowering your number of doctor visits. According to the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2006 Creativity and Aging Study, those who participated in ongoing arts programs experienced an improvement in their overall physical health that led to decreased need for medical intervention as compared with those seniors who didn’t engage in creativity activity.

Boosted Immune System

For those of all ages, mental outlook can directly influence the functioning of one’s immune system. In his 2001 study, Dr. Gene Cohen of George Washington University found that creative seniors have a more positive view of life and a greater sense of well-being than their non-creative counterparts, which led directly to improved immune systems.

Better Sense of Balance

Another surprising side-effect of remaining creative in your golden years: a reduction in falls. The NEA’s 2006 Creativity and Aging Study also found that creative seniors reported fewer falls as they aged while non-creative retirees saw an increase in falls.

Greater Social Interactions

Because creative activities often happen in group settings, becoming involved in the arts in retirement can help increase the opportunity for social interactions. Given that a robust social life provides seniors with a range of mental and physical health benefits as well, this is a valuable byproduct of creative endeavors.

Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle on Hilton Head Island

At the Cypress of Hilton Head, we seek to foster a fun, vibrant and creative community for our active retirees. Our luxury Life Plan Community offers a host of services, amenities and activities that promote a healthy and vigorous lifestyle for our members. To learn more about our facilities or to schedule a tour, please contact us today.

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9 New Hobbies To Try This Spring

After a long winter, it’s always nice for the days to grow longer, to hear the birds chirping and to see new blooms on the trees. Now that springtime weather is finally here, it’s the perfect time for seniors in Hilton Head to get out and have some fun outside. Whether you’ve always been one to seek out new activities or you’re interested in taking up a hobby, there are plenty of fun things to do this spring.

9 Healthy Spring Hobbies for Seniors

1. Creating Art
Creating art and crafts is a fun way to stimulate your brain and relax with a soothing hobby. When living in such a beautiful area of South Carolina, it’s easy to find inspiration all around in the springtime. Whether you want to try painting, knitting, scrapbooking, sewing or photography —there’s a great art project out there for everyone to try.

2. Volunteering
Giving back to others in the community can be a great way to spend your free time. There are plenty of local organizations that are always looking for a helping hand. From the local animal shelter to fundraising events and more —volunteering can be an easy way to socialize and make lasting connections throughout the community.

3. Swimming
Looking for a fun way to stay fit and active this spring? Then take up swimming in our relaxing pool at The Cypress. Swimming is a fun way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, balance, flexibility and to boost your energy levels.

4. Walking / Biking
One of the best ways to get out and really enjoy all that Hilton Head Island has to offer is to venture out on foot or on your trusty bike. With over 12 miles of beaches, it seems like there’s always a new trail to explore. Whether you’re interested in a good way to stay fit or you simply love being outside in nature, taking up walking or biking in the spring is a great idea!

5. Gardening
One of the best ways to enjoy the spring weather in Hilton Head is to try your hand at gardening. In addition to promoting relaxation, gardening is great for increasing your mobility and flexibility, while also improving your endurance and strength. Spending time in the garden is the perfect way to enjoy nature as you grow your favorite plants.

6. Golfing
Residents in Hilton Head are lucky to have access to more than 20 championship golf courses! With the spring weather shining down, there’s really no better time to grab your clubs and strike up a new love for this sport.

7. Yoga
Yoga offers seniors many mental and physical health benefits. Not only is yoga ideal for improving your flexibility, strength and ease of motion, it is also a great way to socialize and make new friends who are interested in the same types of hobbies you are.

8. Playing Games / Cards
Brain games are a fun and easy way for seniors to keep their mind active and healthy. Research has shown that adults who spend time playing mentally stimulating games have sharper thinking skills than others their age. Critical thinking games may also help in slowing the signs of, or warding off, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms.

9. Fostering an Animal
If you’re looking for a great way to fill your time, fostering an animal can be rewarding and lots of fun. From teaching them proper behavioral skills, to playing in the park, helping a furry friend find their forever home makes for a fulfilling new hobby.

Enjoy Retirement in Hilton Head

Retirement is a stage in life where you can devote yourself to fun, relaxing and fulfilling activities. A senior living lifestyle in Hilton Head Island is sure to be rewarding, especially when you adopt exciting new hobbies. For more information about the amenities and services offered at our award-winning Life Plan Community in South Carolina, contact us at The Cypress of Hilton Head today.

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Tips, Tricks & Healthy Hints To Improve Your Golf Game

Whether you’ve been playing golf for years or you’ve just taken up the sport in retirement, almost every golfer has room for improvement. A professional teacher who can help you analyze your swing, check your form and give you real-time pointers is certainly helpful, but becoming a better player isn’t contingent on the number of hours you spend working with an instructor one-on-one. By following these four tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to a better golf game.

4 Tips To Improve Your Golf Game

1. Pick The Right Club
Understanding the correct club to use in every situation is key to playing a better round, and the proper criteria for choosing your club is often more complicated than amateurs think. Many who are new to the sport pick their club based on its length: shorter for shorter holes, longer for longer holes. In actuality, you must take into consideration many more factors than length, including your natural shot tendencies, hazards, the current wind conditions and – most importantly – the approach shot to come.

2. Align Your Clubface First
Knowing how you should align yourself toward the target is something many golfers get wrong. Some try aligning their feet, others their shoulders. Ultimately the only correct way to align yourself to the target is by using your clubface. From behind the golf ball, take a look at your target to get the full perspective. Before getting into your stance, place your clubface behind your ball and align just your clubface at the target. Only after aligning yourself in this way should you get into your stance.

3. Maintain A Consistent Stance
An easy assumption to make is that your stance should change as your club does, but this is definitely not true. For all full shots, keeping a consistent stance no matter what club you are using is key to becoming a better and more predictable golfer. Making minor adjustments to the ball position, your stance width and your spine angle is fine, but remaining generally uniform is key. Of course, your stance will change for chips, pitches or putts.

4. Keep A Good Grip On Your Club
As with your stance, finding and keeping a good, solid grip on your club is critical. Begin by gripping your club using your gloved hand with the handle between your palm and first knuckle. From there, take your ungloved hand and allow it to wrap comfortably around your club’s handle. If the index fingers and thumbs of each hand make a V that points toward your right chest or shoulder, you’ll have a good grip.

Go Golfing in Hilton Head Island

Retirees looking for a place to work on their golf game need look no further than the Cypress of Hilton Head. Located within the beautiful Hilton Head Plantation, the Cypress of Hilton Head has a three-hole executive golf course and offers an upscale retirement community for healthy and active seniors interested in continuing their country club lifestyle. Just contact us today to find out more about our unparalleled array of amenities and services.

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Top 10 Reasons to Retire to Hilton Head Island

The South Carolina coast is one of the most beautiful and inviting places in the United States. Located just a short drive away from the historic city of Savannah, GA, Hilton Head Island is an ideal place to retire.

While this relaxing beach town is well known as a vacation destination for locals and visitors alike, the crashing waves and smell of saltwater in the air are just the beginning of the delights available here. Whether you’re new to the area or have had your eye on Hilton Head Island for years, this happening beach town is a desirable location to relax and set down roots later in life.

10 Reasons Why Hilton Head Island is the Best Retirement Location in SC

1. Over 12 Miles of Beaches

Perfect for beach frolicking or a morning run, there are 5 public access points for residents and visitors to enjoy. As an added bonus, the entire 12-plus miles of beach are all open to the public, so it’s easy to explore the beach from end-to-end.

2. Amazing Food
Whether you’re entertaining family from out of town or you’re in search of a new local brunch spot or delectable lowcountry cuisine, Hilton Head is home to a variety of delicious eateries. From the high-end to the family-friendly, there is something for everyone here.

3. Laid-Back Nights
Warm nights in Hilton Head are plentiful and with a gorgeous ocean breeze to rely on, it’s easy to relax and melt your cares away.

4. Shopping
With two outlet centers and a number of great boutique shops, Hilton Head is a shopper’s paradise. You’ll always find the best deals here and with so many shopping choices, you can easily outfit yourself and any guests you may have in the latest beach fashions.

5. Family-Friendly
There are great activities available throughout the area that are suitable for visitors of every age. You’ll find something here to entertain everyone from your youngest grandchildren, all the way up to your oldest friends.

6. Golfer’s Dream
There are more than 20 championship courses located in Hilton Head, making this the ideal spot to work on and perfect your swing!

7. Bicycle-Friendly
With over 50 miles of multi-use trails available on the island, seniors can stay active and healthy traveling around on two wheels.

8. Fruitful Fishing
Fishing is perhaps the most popular sport on the island. Whether you’re interested in hitting water on your own or feel like chartering a boat, there are plenty of opportunities for the perfect catch.

9. Gullah Heritage
Hilton Head is very proud of its Gullah heritage, with numerous resources available for those interested in learning about the island’s history.

10. Green Living
Hilton Head is the first eco-planned community in the US and the city is continuously working to expand and improve its sustainable programs and initiatives.

Make Your Home on Hilton Head Island

With so many great things to see and do on Hilton Head Island, it is no wonder that so many choose to make the island their retirement destination. At The Cypress of Hilton Head Island, we believe that each of our residents can enjoy a low-maintenance and relaxing lifestyle in their senior years. For more information about life in South Carolina’s inviting Hilton Head Island, please visit us online today.

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What is the Difference Between Independent Living and CCRC?

Cypress members in home

Making plans for your golden years can feel overwhelming as so many retirement community options exist. However, most seniors who currently live on their own consider one of two choices: an independent living facility or a continuing care retirement community (also known as a CCRC). How should you weigh these two retirement options?

Independent Living

Independent living simply refers to any housing arrangement aimed exclusively at seniors, most typically those 55 or older. While a range of housing styles within independent living exists, including apartments and detached homes, these types of communities are intended to work well with seniors’ particular needs as they are easy to navigate with little yard work or maintenance. Senior residents do live independently, but the sense of community is strong due to arranged activities, amenities and services. Depending on the community, these features can include swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, on-site spas, continuing education classes, housekeeping services and more. However, one key feature of independent living communities is that they do not offer a nursing staff or on-site medical care; residents are expected to be in good health and need little to no assistance handling necessary daily activities.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (or CCRCs) offer all of the same features as independent living communities with additional services and amenities. In short, CCRCs are designed to offer independent living facilities, assisted care facilities and nursing home facilities within the same community. Any required acute care (such as following a slip-and-fall accident) will occur at a local hospital. In almost every case, seniors are only accepted into a CCRC while they are still healthy and independent enough to live in the independent living facility. However, as residents need increasing levels of care due to advancing illness or age, they can move to the assisted care or nursing home facilities on campus.

Independent Living vs. CCRCs

As previously stated, independent living facilities and CCRCs do have many features in common. Both are likely to offer their residents a variety of recreational amenities. Common dining rooms and planned social activities help build a sense of community in both types of facilities. Most importantly for many seniors, both kinds of retirement communities allow those seniors who are still able to live independently a significant degree of freedom within a supportive community of their peers.

The major difference between independent living and CCRCs – and the reason why many seniors ultimately opt for the latter when evaluating their retirement choices – is the range of available care and options once living independently is no longer possible due to health or age. Residents of independent living must change facilities once they need a higher level of care, losing the community that they had become a part of. Once residents of a CCRC require greater daily assistance; however, they can simply move to the assisted living or nursing home facility within their existing community, providing CCRC residents with a greater sense of continuity of support.

A Continuing Care Retirement Community located in beautiful South Carolina, the Cypress of Hilton Head aims to cultivate a country club atmosphere for its vibrant senior community. To learn more about our independent living options, contact us today to schedule a tour.

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Practice Pool Exercises Year Round In Our Indoor Pool

Pool ExercisesHealth experts widely agree that consistent pool exercise is one of the most effective ways for adults and seniors to stay fit. While gym exercises and other cardio workouts such as running provide numerous benefits, they can also come with risks such as knee damage or strained muscles. The natural traction of water provides ideal support for any exercise regimen without any of the associated long-term risks.

Perhaps the only drawback to pool exercises is that most people don’t have access to a heated indoor pool during winter time. Residents of our award-winning retirement community however, enjoy ample access to one and are encouraged to take advantage of this valuable amenity.

The Cypress of Hilton Head Island offers its residents access to a gorgeously designed interior pool. This pool is part of our 30,000-square foot Cypress Clubhouse which includes a library, bar, fitness center and beauty salon among other amenities.

Five Great Pool Exercises For Adults & Seniors

Some of the key benefits to aqua aerobics exercise are increases to metabolism, cardiovascular health, muscle mass and reaction time. To make the most of these benefits, it is recommended that adults and seniors choose exercise regimens that concentrate on these factors:

Swimming Laps

  • The Front Crawl—Also commonly called the freestyle stroke, this style requires you to kick with your feet in a regular rhythm while stroking your arms ahead of your head, pushing the water back. This stroke usually offers the most speed out of any, and it works out your back, chest and legs equally.
  • The Backstroke—The backstroke is similar to the front crawl, but you float on your back and propel yourself through the water backwards. By keeping your breath in time with your leg kicks, you’ll be able to keep yourself perfectly horizontal and maintain buoyancy effectively. This stroke works out your biceps, triceps, core and legs.
  • The Butterfly—With the butterfly stroke, you combine a dolphin-style kick and a two-handed diving motion before separating your hands and pushing the water to each side. This recruits your core muscles and your chest especially. To make the most of the butterfly stroke, attain a rhythm that takes you through each portion of the stroke.
  • The Breaststroke—Use a frog-style kick to start, and then sweep your arms out from your chest, sweeping them back in to push the water behind you. If your body remains perfectly straight between strokes, you’ll be able to easily attain speed while working out your core, lower legs, arms and chest.

Leg Swings
Leg swings are a great and simple way to strengthen leg muscles. Simply hold onto the side of the pool and swing your outside leg forward as far as it can go while keeping your other leg straight. Hold this position for five seconds before swinging your leg back behind you and holding that position for another five seconds. Perform this action between 10 to 15 times before taking a break.

Leg Pushes
In medium-shallow water, bend your right leg at the knee and bring it up until your lower leg is at a 90-degree angle with your upper one. Now place the flotation device around your upper foot and push down until your legs are straight. Now, bring your leg back up slowly, bending at the knee until you return to your original position. Repeat this exercise 15 times before switching your legs for another 15 repetitions.

Arm Circles
To perform arm circles, move to the deeper section of our pool and adopt a balanced stance with one foot in front of you and one behind. Raise your arms just above the water, parallel to the rest of your body. Begin making circling motions while keeping your arms straight and your palms facing downwards. After 15 seconds of repetition, reverse the direction.

Wall Chair
One of the most effective abdominal exercises you can perform in a pool is the wall chair. First, find a section of the pool with a corner where you can support your weight with both arms. Keeping your body straight, slowly raise your legs towards your chest and then release them slowly. Repeat this motion 15 times and try twisting your body as you raise your legs to work out your oblique muscle group.

The Cypress of Hilton Head Is Invested In Your Well-Being

There is a good reason why we’ve invested so much in offering our residents these kinds of activities and amenities in our Clubhouse. The Cypress of Hilton Head encourages its residents to invest in themselves through exercise, rewarding social activity and more—it’s all a part of what makes our community special. The country club atmosphere that we’ve created is one you won’t find at any other retirement community in South Carolina, so give us a call and schedule a visit today.

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4 Ways Seniors Can Manage The Stresses Of Holiday Travel

manage travel stressWhether staying around Hilton Head, South Carolina this holiday season or traveling to another part of the country (or world), the thought of making a trek in uncertain weather amid the hustle and bustle of other busy travelers can be anxiety-inducing for many seniors. Slips, falls, and even fender-benders that may not have fazed younger adults can be more debilitating for those nearing their retirement years. Fortunately, with a bit of research, it can be easy to bypass many of the complexities of modern travel. Read on for some tips and tricks to make your holiday travel as safe, enjoyable, and as stress-free as possible.

1. Research air travel options
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has enacted some shortcuts for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities that can substitute a quick pat-down for an electronic scanner or even allow those age 75 and older to keep on their shoes and a light jacket to avoid temperature discomfort.
Seniors also have the right to request assistance from the time they arrive at the airport until their plane’s wheels leave the ground. From temporary wheelchair use to cart rides to the departure gate, the FAA and airlines are committed to ensuring seniors who travel by air have a comfortable and safe experience.

2. Consider capsule packing
Traveling for more than a few days can often result in sore backs or shoulders from lugging a week’s worth of clothes, shoes, toiletries, and gifts around an airport or rental car agency. Lightening one’s load (literally) with a coordinating capsule wardrobe of lightweight fabrics can free up luggage space and minimize the amount of cargo space required. Large holiday gifts that need to travel a great distance may be better shipped directly to their destination (with a small additional charge for gift wrapping) rather than toted by car, train, or plane.

3. Look into supplemental health insurance
While Medicare provides expansive medical coverage to seniors, it does have its gaps — and those traveling in foreign countries or who incur certain medical expenses may find themselves saddled with a hefty bill if coverage is denied. Before embarking on a trip, it’s worthwhile to investigate one’s current Medicare coverage and any available supplemental policies (like out-of-country travel policies) to ensure any potential injuries or illnesses are covered.

4. Travel with company
Those who are recently widowed or whose children and grandchildren live far away may find the holidays to be a lonely time of year. Heading out on a trip — whether to see family or just cut loose — with a traveling companion or two can make it much more memorable.

One way to meet some active and like-minded friends is by making your new home at The Cypress of Hilton Head. We are an upscale retirement community that accepts only healthy adults aged 62 and over who want to maintain independence while enjoying companionship in a vibrant beachfront setting. If you’ve been longing for a feeling of community, give us a call or check out our website today!

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The Importance of Sunshine and Vitamin D for Seniors

Benefits of Vitamin D for SeniorsWhile excessive sun exposure is often labeled as a health risk, a recent study has found that the benefits of sunlight and the production of vitamin D sun exposure can provide a long list of health benefits for senior citizens. The typical recommendation to stay out of the sun, this study suggests, might not apply completely to older adults. Because seniors generally stay indoors more often than their younger counterparts and because aging skin is less effective at converting sun exposure into vitamin D, older adults might benefit from moderate sun exposure.

The many health benefits of sunlight and vitamin D

While vitamin D is important at any age, getting the appropriate amount of this nutrient is particularly important for senior citizens. Vitamin D is key to maintaining good skeletal and vascular health, which are often of particular concern for older adults. The nutrient has been shown to reduce the risk of many health conditions senior citizens commonly face, including hip and other bone fractures, high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Indeed, vitamin D has even been demonstrated to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Sunlight and the resulting vitamin D production can also help seniors in less tangible ways. Many older adults report issues with depression and insomnia, and vitamin D and sunlight can help reduce the incidence of both conditions while boosting your mood and immune system in general.

How to increase your vitamin D intake

Certainly, one of the easiest ways to boost your body’s vitamin D reserves is to step outside and take in a little sunlight. While long exposure to the sun is still advised against, many doctors recommend that senior citizens get out in the sun for shorter periods of time several days a week. Further research is necessary to determine the exact optimal amount of sun exposure to maximize health benefits for older adults.

Of course, some older adults have health concerns that require them to limit their sun exposure, such as a history of skin cancer, suspicious skin changes or a proclivity for sunburns. These senior citizens–as well as those without sun exposure issues–can boost their body’s vitamin D levels by eating foods rich in the nutrient. Fatty fish, fortified orange juice and milk, yogurt and eggs all contain high amounts of vitamin D.

Supplements containing vitamin D are also available. Senior citizens should check with their doctor before taking a vitamin D supplement because it is possible to have a build-up of too much vitamin D in the body if it’s not absorbed correctly.

At Cypress of Hilton Head, seniors can enjoy soaking up the sun on our 100-acre campus filled with green spaces and hiking trails. Please contact us today to learn more about Cypress of Hilton Head and its extensive amenities for seniors!

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Benefits of Slowing Down

slowDo you feel that you’re constantly busy but can never get everything done? If you’re always rushing — and neglecting self-care in the process — it may be time to take a deep breath and slow down.
While you can’t realistically change the frantic pace of modern life, you can make the conscious decision to practice mindfulness as you go through your daily routine. By tamping down your hurried pace, you can reap a number of benefits.

Here are five benefits of slowing down:
Lowering Stress
Sticking to a continuously packed schedule can cause stress. And stress is linked to all manner of health problems, including diabetes, anxiety and depression, asthma, headaches, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, research has found that stress can cause you to age more quickly.
To slow down as you go about your routine, you can physically move a little less quickly when walking, driving or riding a bike. You also can take a few moments to yourself throughout your day to look around and appreciate life.

Experts say that when we eat, the brain needs approximately 20 minutes to realize that the stomach is full. If you slow down the pace of eating, you can allow time for the “full” signal to reach your brain before your stomach becomes overly stuffed. To slow down your eating pace, try not to wait until you’re ravenously hungry to get some nutrition.
Reconnecting With Your Creativity
With seemingly unlimited sources for distractions these days — including email, text messages, websites, phone calls, meetings, social media, TV and more — you may have given up on finding a spare moment to hear yourself think. As a result, your creative skills may have become a little rusty.
Whether you enjoy writing, painting, photography, performing music, woodworking, or making crafts, by slowing down you can free up some space in the creative areas of your brain.
Protecting Your Heart
If you stand in a line, you can usually spot a person who’s fuming at having to wait. Getting worked up over life’s little delays can significantly increase the risk of high blood pressure, experts say.
If you feel your pulse rising because someone in front of you is slow, try some soothing self-talk. Focus on the big picture, and take the opportunity to consciously relax your mind and body.
Focusing on the Important
It’s so easy these days to go through the motions of life without taking a step back to evaluate. Chores, errands, distractions and unimportant commitments can steal the precious time you have for focusing on the things that matter most to you. By taking a few moments throughout the day to breathe and think, you can give your attention to the activities that help you truly enjoy life.

At The Cypress of Hilton Head, you can enjoy a low-maintenance lifestyle that frees up your most valuable resource: time. To learn more about life in South Carolina’s beautiful Lowcountry, please contact us today.

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What’s the Difference Between Memory Loss, Dementia & Alzheimer’s?

dementia-595638_960_720If you or a loved one have become more forgetful recently, you might chalk it up to an expected effect of aging. Or you might worry that it’s Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

As we age, it’s not uncommon to experience changes in our brains and cognitive capabilities. But how can you tell what the problem is — memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s — and the proper course of action to take?

Memory Loss

What memory and cognitive changes are simply part of the normal effects of aging? For most seniors, the brain and body begin to work less quickly with age, although intelligence typically remains at the same level.

People also become less flexible physically and mentally, and processing information can take longer. Recalling places, people’s names and other facts often becomes tougher.

In some seniors, memory problems or other cognitive issues can indicate a condition known as mild cognitive impairment, which usually shows up on mental functioning tests and is noticeable to friends and family members.

MCI typically is not serious enough to interfere with everyday activities, but people with the condition are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later.

Dementia and Cognitive Functioning

Dementia patients usually show impairment of two or more types of cognitive functioning, such as memory and language ability. Although many people use the term interchangeably with Alzheimer’s, dementia actually refers to a group of symptoms, including:

  • Language problems.
  • Confusion.
  • Changes in personality.
  • Flawed judgment.
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • Physical coordination problems.
  • Loss of problem-solving abilities.
  • Loss of control of emotions.
  • Paranoia, agitation or hallucinations.
  • Social withdrawal.

A number of medical conditions can cause dementia, including Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, vitamin deficiencies and drug interactions. Dementia often responds to treatment and can be reversed in some cases.

The Slow Progression of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease stands as the most common cause of dementia, believed to be responsible for more than two-thirds of cases among seniors. Medical experts believe that in excess of 5 million Americans currently suffer from the disease, which predominantly strikes older adults but also can affect younger people in its early-onset form.

The only definitive method for confirming Alzheimer’s disease is through an autopsy following the death of a patient.

Symptoms usually appear after age 60 and can include:

  • Trouble swallowing and speaking.
  • Disorientation and confusion.
  • Difficulty communicating.
  • Behavioral changes.
  • Trouble with vision.
  • Difficulty with walking.

In the first phases of the disease, patients may exhibit trouble remembering conversations, names and recent activities. They also may show signs of apathy and depression.

Diagnosing Cognitive Impairment

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s, it’s important to see your doctor. Several different diagnostic tools are available — including blood tests, mental status evaluations and brain scans — to try to understand the source of the symptoms.

At The Cypress of Hilton Head, memory care patients enjoy beautiful green spaces and are surrounded by their own belongings in safe, private suites. For more information, please contact us.

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The Cypress of Hilton Head Island is located at 20 Ladyslipper Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926, within Hilton Head Plantation.


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