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Volunteer Spotlight: Mack, AgeCare Columbia

Mack has been an AgeCare Columbia volunteer in Lethbridge for the past 18 months. He shares that during his time as a volunteer, he has been astonished to see how recreational activities can drastically improve an individual’s well being physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively.   As a 4th-year Neuroscience/Psychology student, Mack has also learned a great deal about aging and expressed that his positive volunteer experiences at AgeCare have solidified his interest in pursuing Medical School.   Mack’s warmth, support, and energy have also made a lasting impression with both the residents and staff at AgeCare Columbia. The staff at the community explain that residents often ask, “when is Mack coming?”   As a volunteer, Mack supports residents with computer Read More...

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Maintain Your Brain: Vary Your Routine

Many of us love our daily rituals and routines; they help us to feel a sense of control and manageability in our lives. Older adults tend to be especially attached to their routines, mainly because many of them find that as they age they are less able to juggle different events and keep track of information. To cope with these challenges and maintain their independence, seniors find it necessary to create precise patterns (e.g., where they keep their important things and what time they get the mail), and often they resist the idea of changing their daily routines.   While it’s important to understand and preserve some consistencies in their day, it’s also important to challenge seniors to create variations in their patterns, recognizing that in order to keep the mind sharp, we need to deviate from rote actions and  Read More...

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Maintain Your Brain: Activities

We all know the brain is incredibly wondrous and intricate, but what we don’t always consider is that it is also high-maintenance. We need to nurture it with positive thoughts and pleasant images to counter all that is negative and unpleasant in the world around us. We need to feed it a steady stream of new information and give it plenty of water, rest and stimulation. We need to try our best to filter what goes in and optimize what goes out. And, especially as we get older, we need to look for ways to keep it sharp.   Over the next few months we will be sharing with you a 4 part series on ways you can keep your brain sharp! Activities There are lots of great activities you can do that are believed to be good for your  Read More...

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Volunteers Making a Difference Every Day

National Volunteer Week this year is April 12-18. There are so many ways our AgeCare Volunteers make a difference in the lives of our residents. Here is one such story... Once Upon a Volunteer She’s small in stature but her bright smile and boisterous spirit makes her presence feel exceedingly large. Every Friday afternoon you can find her at a busy Calgary nursing home, assisting with meals, conversing with residents, and casting a warm glow wherever she goes.   “Volunteering here is the highlight of my week,” says university student, Jenna. “I come here feeling literally depleted after my week of classes and I leave feeling filled up and full of gratitude.”   Jenna started volunteering at this residence two years ago after the sad passing of her treasured grandmother. The idea came to her one night as she indulged  Read More...

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Dementia & Alzheimer’s: What are the Signs

What is Dementia? Dementia is not the name of a disease, it is a broad term used to describe a variety of symptoms related to declining mental ability. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease and the second most common type of dementia, resulting after a stroke, is called Vascular dementia. To learn more about either of these visit Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet or About Vascular Dementia. What are the Signs of Dementia? Recognizing when a loved one has some form of dementia can be extremely difficult, as the symptoms tend to vary greatly and there are other conditions and situations that can cause or mimic similar symptoms. Suffice to say, if you are inclined to read on, chances are you’ve noticed some changes in the mental ability of a loved one, and are wisely seeking information to help you understand  Read More...

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Seniors on the Road: To Drive or Not To Drive?

As we progress into our senior years it can be difficult to alter lifelong patterns – especially those that we associate with freedom and independence. Driving is one such activity that many aging adults are hesitant to give up. When is the right time to become a passenger?   Experts suggest that the main considerations when debating whether or not to give up your driver’s license are related to cognitive function and physical capabilities. Consider these questions: Cognitive Function Do you become disoriented, confused or overwhelmed when you drive? Do you misread traffic signs or forget their meaning? Do you get negative messaging from other drivers? Have your family members expressed concern about your driving skills? Physical Capabilities Do you find simple movements such as swiveling your head to shoulder check, more challenging? Do you notice a slower reflex when  Read More...

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Happy New Year, Happy life: What is the meaning of New Year’s Day?

By Paula Anderson, General Manager at Harmony Court Estate & Care Centre   The meaning of most holidays is clear: Valentine’s Day celebrates romance; July First, independence; Thanksgiving, productivity; Christmas, good will toward men. The meaning of New Year’s Day–the world’s most celebrated holiday–is not so clear. On this day, many people remember last year’s achievements and failures and look forward to the promise of a new year, of a new beginning. But this celebration and reflection is the result of more than an accident of the calendar. New Year’s has a deeper significance. What is it?   On New Year’s Day, when the singing, fireworks and champagne toasts are over, many of us become more serious about life. We take stock and plan new courses of action to better our lives. This is best seen in one of the most  Read More...

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Meaningful Christmas Gifts 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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Tackling the Talk: Important conversations to have with your aging loved ones

If you are going home to visit family over the holidays, you may notice a change in your parents’ mental or physical condition. Perhaps your father is more forgetful, or maybe your mom is struggling with household tasks. If you suspect things are beginning to change, the holidays may present the perfect opportunity to ‘check in’ with them. In fact, if you haven’t found the right opportunities in the past, it may be time to have a conversation with them about inevitable issues related to aging. Specifically: health, finances, driving and living arrangements.   These conversations are not easy! Not for you and not for a senior who may prefer to focus on their strengths and vitalities as opposed to the potential for future challenges. No one wants to plan for getting old. But planning is essential! And if to  Read More...

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Everyday Activities … Exercise in Disguise

You hear it all the time… exercise is good for you. It is important for your physical, mental and emotional health. It makes you stronger, improves balance, controls weight and can boost your energy and your mood. Research shows exercise can ward off disease, reduce the symptoms of chronic illness and possibly even extend your life expectancy. These are all good reasons to exercise!   However, logic and compelling arguments don’t necessarily add up to incentive for seniors who may be contending with the aches and pains of arthritis and experiencing diminishing strength, energy and appetite.   If this is you, don’t despair. Exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing; there are reasonable alternatives in between. Here’s an approach that might work for you.   Reframe it! With a goal of working up to a feasible (age recommended) exercise  Read More...

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Boundless Giving: Caregivers Soldier On

Ensure that you secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others. It’s that simple – take care of yourself first; take care of your loved ones second.   Caregiving for an aging family member is no small feat. It’s a herculean role – often without the hoopla of gratitude, recognition and rewards. Anyone in a perpetual caregiving role knows the toll it can take – the physical, emotional, and often financial strain it can create. And yet not doing it… not providing the best you can for a loved one is unthinkable.   And so caregivers soldier on.   If this is you – one of many vertebrae in the invisible backbone of the health care system, here are a few things you need to know. First and foremost, you are a hero. Perhaps an underappreciated, underpaid, unsung hero –  Read More...

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