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Living Proof That Pets Enhance Life as You Age

Millie Jameson lost her husband of 49 years suddenly at age 75.   After months of feeling paralyzed with shock and distress, what finally helped her grief subside, was adopting a cat from a local rescue agency. (more…)

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Aging in Place ~ What it Really Means

You’ve heard the term ‘Aging in Place’ but what does it really mean?   The formal definition of Aging in Place is “having the health and social supports and services you need to live safely and independently in your home or your community for as long as you wish and are able.” In a practical sense, Aging in Place has important mental and emotional implications for seniors. It allows them the freedom and ability to make and be supported in their personal choices for as long as possible.   It also allows them: A sense of safety and security The benefits of routine and a social network Proper nourishment and care A sense that they have some measure of control over their aging experience A way to preserve their dignity A quality of life they deserve   For seniors who  Read More...

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Socialization is Good for Seniors

We all know how satisfying and enriching it can be to spend time with friends, but did you know that it can also improve your health, boost self esteem, and may even ward off dementia?   The benefits of having an active social life have been studied for years, and according to some seniors who are currently living in a residential community setting, these findings have merit. In fact, these folks say they are living proof that socialization is good for you.   “To be honest, I think having people right outside my door every day and spending every meal talking with other seniors has prolonged my life,” said Joan Carter, from her home in a senior’ residence in Calgary. “Back when I was living alone in my home, I would see people just maybe once or twice a week,  Read More...

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Seniors Targeted in Scams

We live in a world where fraud, theft, and privacy violations are a very real and common threat. This is a tough reality for all of us, and even more of a concern for seniors who are vulnerable on so many levels, and often the target of elaborate and convincing scams. Recently I learned of a residence in Calgary, where four different seniors were contacted early in the morning by a man claiming to be a Toronto police officer. He told them he was calling to say he had apprehended a criminal who was in possession of these individuals’ credit cards. The ‘so called’ police officer knew each of the senior’s names and addresses, and was very convincing in his account of the crime and the fact that their security was at risk. The seniors, who had been asleep when  Read More...

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Rolling into the New Year – Moment by Moment

Yes the time clock is once again rolling over and many of us find ourselves preoccupied with the task of taking inventory of our shortcomings and measuring our achievements. We tally what went wrong in the outgoing year and make resolute intentions to change things up. We envision grand improvements for the year ahead and set off earnestly in a hopeful new direction. All of this is logical, normal and well-intended.   But being around old folks who have ‘been around’ for a while, sometimes makes one pause and think differently about the rolling wave of time. For our parents, grandparents and the other seniors in our lives, time seems less about measuring missteps and calculating do-overs and more about living well; now… today… this very moment. In recent studies of seniors, they are, it seems the keepers of certain  Read More...

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Holiday Gift Giving for Seniors

Consider the 3 Es: Experiences, Expressions and Edibles ’Tis the season of joy and of course, you want to spoil your favourite senior! The question is… what can you give your loved one that they will cherish, without overwhelming them or adding clutter to their simplified living space? Don’t stress, consider one of the three Es! Experiences (1) Together Time You can never get enough precious moments together. Consider getting tickets to an event they would love, such as the symphony, the ballet, a music concert, a sporting event, or live theatre. Plan the gift of a special lunch out with friends, or an afternoon movie with grandkids. Take them to the zoo or take in a planetarium show at the Science Centre. Visit a museum of interest or an art gallery. If they are well enough for travel, consider  Read More...

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Holiday Stress and Seniors

Lois Helinsky is excited to know she will be spending Christmas with her granddaughter and her extended family but she is also a bit anxious about it. “I’m not used to all kinds of food and activity so it can throw me for a bit of a loop. I’m just not as adaptable as I once was – you find this as you get older,” she told her granddaughter Jessica.   Stress and anxiety may be status quo for most of us during the holiday season, but we don’t always stop and consider that even our aging loved ones, who have less responsibilities, can be overwhelmed by the hype and hustle of the holiday season. Add to that, seniors commonly experience depression at this time of year, as they revisit old memories and mourn the losses and change of times.  Read More...

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Senior Loneliness — How You Can Help

For many, the holiday season can be a particularly lonely time. This is especially true for seniors who are living on their own and don’t have close family ties.   “My husband and so many of our friends have passed on now,” said 79-year-old Donna Watson of Calgary. “I have a nephew in town but I don’t like to burden him over the holidays, he has his own kids and grandkids to occupy his time.”   New research shows that isolation and loneliness is a growing trend for ageing Canadians, and this problem can lead to a deterioration of physical and mental well-being. In some instances, loneliness in the senior population is considered an epidemic and is linked with dementia and premature mortality.   For Donna, regular attendance at her local YMCA is key for her overall health, but she  Read More...

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Remembrance Day – The Power of Stories

A young high school student in Alberta recently shared with us an interesting story about an English assignment he had just completed. The task was to write an essay about someone in his life who had experienced adversity, and to describe how these hardships shaped that person’s character.   The boy wrote about his grandfather.   He began with: “My Papa recently lost his balance and took a fall while on his daily walk with his small dog. He didn’t break any bones, but he was bruised and battered.” The boy went on to share how this recent fall reminded him of the stories his 88-year-old grandfather had shared about his experience as a WW11 soldier. He didn’t often like to talk about those days, but when he did; the boy listened carefully and reflected on the lessons.   He wrote  Read More...

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Hanging Up the Keys

For some, one of the most distressing aspects of aging is the prospect of losing their driver’s license. The freedom and independence of driving is something most of us take for granted for several decades of our lives. Giving it up can be quite a struggle.   If you are in this predicament with your aging parent, or if this transition is in your imminent future, you may be wondering how best to determine when it’s time to hang up the keys. Obviously, there is no definitive answer that suits all seniors in all circumstances. For instance, an aging farmer may be just fine driving within a short radius of his property until age 85, while a healthy senior living in a busy city may feel pressed to stop driving at age 75.   I spoke to a driving instructor  Read More...

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Planning a Trip with a Senior

Planning a trip with (or for) an aging parent can be a wonderful way to grant a wish, or give a gift of immeasurable joy. Perhaps you have a parent who is longing to see a special friend or distant relative, or to visit a land that holds special memories or appeal. Whatever the circumstances, here are some tips for planning a trip with a senior.   Research and plan extensively: Yes this is a given with any travel plans, but when it comes to travelling with a senior, thoughtful organization, careful planning and pre-emptive measures are mandatory. Also, once you have created an itinerary, it’s important to sit and go through it with your parent/s so they can ask questions and mentally prepare for the trip. This can help ease any anxiety and give them a chance to vocalize  Read More...

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