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War Reflections: From a Seven Year Old’s Perspective

The grandfather of my children is a wonderful man. A man of great wisdom, pride and patriotism. At 92, Joe is still remarkably sharp and witty. Although, at this time of year, he becomes quiet and pensive. When he does we all suspect he recalls the details of his time served on the front lines of WW11.   “I spent the night of my 19th birthday in a foxhole with the sound of live artillery firing overhead,” He said when I visited recently. “A runner came by and told us ‘keep your heads down tonight boys’, which meant artillery was firing proximity shells that could explode if they came close enough — and boy let me tell you — they did sound Read More...

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How to Move Aging Parents: Engaging a Realtor

It can be a difficult process for families when the time comes to sell your aging parents’ home and transition them to a new living situation. If there are several family members involved in this process, there will likely be varied opinions and this may lead to family conflict.   Some realtors are particularly attuned to these challenges and can offer some advice to help pave the way for a smoother transition.   “When I meet with a family to discuss listing their parents’ home, I first ask to have a discussion with all relevant family members present, so I can get a sense for who is invested and what their feelings and expectations are,” says Bonnie Wilke, a 25-year CIR realtor. “This tends to mitigate the chances of misunderstandings and heartaches later.”   Bonnie encourages families to engage in  Read More...

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Appointments and Outings: Planning Ahead for Seniors

As your senior loved one ages, you may find that taking them out for appointments and outings can be a stressful ordeal for them, and for you, if you are not properly prepared.   Are Conditions Optimal? In some instances, your best course of action may be to cancel an appointment or outing if the conditions before you are not optimal. Consider that while it may not be common practice for you to alter your plans for reasons such as ominous weather, poor road conditions or ill-health, seniors are a different story. They can be fragile and easily flustered and something as basic as a blustery day or the onset of a cold can be just enough reason to justify a change in plans.   All Systems a Go If you do plan to venture out, consider the following: Ensure  Read More...

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Managing Finances: Appointing your Powers of Attorney

As people age, giving up power over important life decisions can be a struggle. Often this transition is tied to denial that a person is experiencing confusion, or noticing a diminished ability to handle their own affairs. Ideally, before this happens, when a loved one is reaching later senior years, it is wise to begin having conversations with them about who they feel they can trust to handle their affairs should they become unable. Without pressing or persuading a loved one to act outside of their comfort zone, discussing the need to appoint a Power of Attorney is highly recommended. ‘I hated the thought of other people having control over my finances – I’ve always been very capable of handling things on my own.”  -Irene Classes (Age 80)   What is Powers of Attorney? A Power of Attorney is a  Read More...

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Managing Finances: What Seniors and Families Need to Know

As we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage our financial affairs. For many seniors, diminished ability to deal with their money and personal business is of paramount concern. If possible, the best solution for most elderly people is to engage a trusted family member in the process of paying bills and tending to financial obligations early on. This step, along with subsequent collaborative actions, can bring much needed resolve to the stress of managing finances during senior years. If your senior loved one is coming to a stage where they need this kind of help, the following measures are worth considering:   1)    Lend a Hand If your loved one is still relatively independent but is expressing concern about staying on top of bills, taxes and other aspects of their financial affairs, this is your cue to lend a  Read More...

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Your loved one has changed… perhaps it’s time for a Retirement Residence

Like the Season… Things Change. Special holidays often bring families together and while reunions can be joyful, sometimes they also bring to light some concerning changes occurring in the lives of our senior loved ones. Specifically, family members may notice that their loved one is not managing well on their own and would fare better – even flourish – in a retirement living environment.   The decision about when to move your senior loved one to a retirement living residence is sometimes difficult. Perhaps they are resistant to the idea of leaving their home, or not all family members are on board with the change. If there are no critical considerations, such as serious health or mobility issues, the decision may prove even more difficult, and yet there is so much to be gained from a timely move to just  Read More...

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War Reflections: From a Seven Year Old’s Perspective

The grandfather of my children is a wonderful man. A man of great wisdom, pride and patriotism. At 92, Joe is still remarkably sharp and witty. Although, at this time of year, he becomes quiet and pensive. When he does we all suspect he recalls the details of his time served on the front lines of WW11.   “I spent the night of my 19th birthday in a foxhole with the sound of live artillery firing overhead,” He said when I visited recently. “A runner came by and told us ‘keep your heads down tonight boys’, which meant artillery was firing proximity shells that could explode if they came close enough — and boy let me tell you — they did sound close enough,” he explained.   This story and countless others Ed relayed to my children as they grew and wrestled  Read More...

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Meet Our Resident ~ Winton (AgeCare Orchard Manor)

I sat down with Winton in his cozy suite at Orchard Manor that he shared with his wife until her passing. Winton was born on November 21, 1926 twelve miles south of Coronation to parents Joe and Annie Wangsness.   His parents came to live in Alberta in 1924 from Minnesota. I had 3 sisters and 1 brother. They have all passed away. Winton says they were a poor family but he never felt poor as they had a great life full of fun. Winton and his brother would play cowboys and Indians, make up things to do by using our own imaginations.   Winton’s father Joe worked as a farmer for quite some time while his mother Annie took care of their growing family. When they were able, Winton’s folks rented a farm of their own and farmed it  Read More...

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Meet Our Resident ~ Al (AgeCare Valleyview)

Meet AgeCare Valleyview Resident Algirdas Arelis (aka Al), born in Lithuania in 1929.   Al was in his youth during World War II. Like many in his generation, life was profoundly affected by the enduring conflict in Europe and around the world.   Al was moved ahead twice in grade school. Thinking this was odd, even though he was a fine student, he later discovered that his peers in the higher grades were pulled from school to fight in the war. “By the time I was in grade 7, I found my studies to be really challenging,” Al reveals.   Another difficulty was the passing of his father, Liudas, when he was 13. His mother was left to care for five children, and as the eldest, Al was expected to pitch in. “Although there was a war going on, I  Read More...

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Meet Our Resident ~ Mary (AgeCare Orchard Manor)

Meet one of AgeCare Orchard Manors' long-time residents. Mary may be 90 years old, but she still recalls the carefree hopscotch days of her youth, growing up in sunny Three Hills, Alberta.   “I really liked skipping – I even won the Double Dutch skipping contest one year,” she told AgeCare Orchard Manor’s Retirement Living Consultant, Carol Gilhooley. Mary recounts many tales from her cheerful small-town childhood as the youngest of three with a father who was a telephone operator and a mother who devoted her time to caring for the home and family.   In her teens, Mary played basketball and volleyball and hockey; she loved to attend the community dances. She chuckles when she tells the story of the time she was dancing with a boy who didn’t believe her name was Mary Smith… “He said, okay then  Read More...

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Grandparents’ Day: Keeping grandchildren connected with their grandparents

Grandparents' Day is an opportunity to recognize the great influence the older generation has on children’s lives. Seniors share family traditions and teach children valuable life skills and knowledge. Grandparents continue to play an important role in the family structure. When parents must work economic reasons, grandparent's increasingly offer childcare support.   This September 11, take the opportunity to strengthen the bond between grandparents-grandchildren. Whether you live close by or far apart, there are many ways to stay in touch this Grandparents’ Day and throughout the year.   Looking for ways to stay connected? These tips might help:   #1 Letter Writing Handwritten letters are an excellent way for younger children to practice their writing skills and grandparents can see the evolution of their grandchildren's writing too. Encourage your grandchildren to draw a picture of the family and include it  Read More...

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