Home support services for seniors are frequently required as a result of a fall at home resulting in fracture or injury necessitating the need for care.  As a result of declining eye sight, poor balance, arthritic joints, back pain and immobility issues, we must be more careful in performing Activities of Daily Living.  Here are […]

What is ‘Aging in Place’ exactly?  The senior who Ages in Place lives at home until they die.   Various types of support services are implemented to ensure that all the needs of the senior are met.  Home Support Workers, Registered Care Aides and a variety of Nursing staff will help the senior live at home with as little as 2 hours per day to full 24 hour live-in support.

Aging in Place is also the term used when seniors are looking for a residential care home. Once seniors move to a care home, it is very hard on them to move them through various levels of care when care needs increase.  Therefore it is a very important question to ask when interviewing the care facility.  All complex care residences/hospitals will have that capacity.

More and more, seniors and their families are making the choice to remain at home with help.  Emotionally, physically and financially, seniors benefit from Aging in Place.

Falls become a risk as we age due to loose carpet, clutter or balance issues.  The fact that you may have fallen once means you have a high risk of falling again. If you fall – don’t panic.  All your energy and adrenaline will be required to assist your brain and neuromuscular system to respond […]

Many seniors coping with the pain and discomfort of Arthritis find the pain to be overwhelming.  One way to reduce your pain is to build your life around wellness, not pain or sickness such as: Thinking positive thoughts Maintaining a sense of humor Eating a balanced diet Exercising regularly Surrounding yourself with positive people Focusing […]

Did you know that there are many extra benefits when a senior involves in an exercise? As a person ages, the ability to perform ‘instrumental activities of daily living’ (ADLs) diminish.  These activities are important for independent living. They include using the telephone, preparing meals, shopping and handling finances. There are six basic ADLs which […]

Sometimes family members or those very close to a senior may not recognize mental decline as it’s often very gradual.  In identifying areas of concern, it’s important to recognize signs of Alzheimers or dementia so that you can help your senior arrange the help they need in their home to avoid further decline. Here are […]

Parkinson’s Disease is a slowly progressive neurological disorder that effects voluntary movement.  Degeneration in the brain leads to tremor, muscle rigidity, difficulty moving and postural instability.  Normally, you’ll see Parkinson’s in older people – commonly the 50-75 age group. Much less common is early onset.

There’s a link between Parkinson’s and dementia – with approximately 15-20% of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease developing dementia.  In later progression of the disease, a walker can help with balance and self-confidence in walking.  This will keep the individual mobile longer, and socially active.

What are signs of Parkinson’s?  Symptoms to watch for include:

  • A rhythmic tremor in the hand while the hand is at rest.  Emotional stress or fatigue may cause the tremor to increase.  Tremors may also occur in other parts of the body such as eye lids, legs, arms and tongue.
  • A reduced sense of smell.
  • Difficulty walking and a reduction in body movements.
  • Lack of facial expressions with infrequent blinking, and monotone speech.

These symptoms may increase substantially as the disease progresses.

People with Parkinson’s Disease will have difficulty walking.  Often it feels as though their feet are glued to the floor.  They may experience strong tremors trying to gain the first step and once moving be all right. However, the tendency is to take that first step too quickly breaking into short stumbling steps causing that individual to become over balanced which may lead to them falling forward.

Early detection of these symptoms is important to note as exercise will help a persons with Parkinson’s stay in a more positive and happy frame of mind.

An exercise program should incorporate:

  • Stretching
  • Strength Training
  • Aerobic Conditioning
  • Aquatic Exercise
  • Range of Motion exercises

Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease would do well to embark on a program early.  Studies show that individuals with Parkinson’s who embark on a steady exercise program improve their balance and posture and have an easier time managing daily activities.

Care & Company and its associated fitness studio, Fit For Life, can develop an exercise program to help people with Parkinson’s maintain their mobility for as long as possible. Contact them to ask about the program.

Visiting parents or family members with advanced cognitive decline may be somewhat disconcerting at best and requires some advance planning.  Often family members leave a visit feeling lost and confused because they weren’t able to effectively communicate to their loved one.  Verbal communication is not necessarily the only means to effective visitation practices.  Conducting an […]

Leave it to a three year old to put perspective into ‘why people die’.  On a spring morning when my grandson, Luke, was visiting, we walked through Ross Bay Cemetery.  Tears came to my eyes reading the epitaphs of one loved one after another…  One epitaph was a tribute to a loving wife of more than 60 years – my gosh, 60 years of loving!  When Luke noticed those tears he asked why I was crying.  I replied all these people who have died and lived and loved – it’s so sad!  He then remarked in his very forthright three year old manner, “Well Oma Jo – it’s like this – you get born’d, you live and then you die – that’s it”  How right he was! We are born – there is a celebration, then we live and we celebrate again, over and over the birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays of our life and traditions.  But how about death?  Mostly we celebrate that person’s death after they have died.

A memorial concert was held in memory of Kate McGarrigle.  I remember the duo of Kate and Anna’s music with fondness – beautiful melodies and harmonies.  Reading the article of family interaction, frankness and love and the statement of Kate to her sister Anna prompted me to write this article.  “Only once did she say to me one evening: ‘How come nobody asks me how it feels like to be dying?’ So, we talked about it, but I can’t remember what we said. We cried, and hugged. What else could we do? What are you going to tell someone who knows that they’re dying?”

My friend, Lynn, asked me the same question, she felt so alone in her dying, even though her friends and family were always there for the two months prior to her death from ovarian cancer.  I think she wanted it to go away; she looked for peace and a new spirituality.  She asked me to stay with her one night – in her bed – to hold her and pray.  I could not pray – the words would not come – I was lost in prayer and what to pray for.  So I sang – every hymn and chorus I could remember – and she fell asleep in peace.  I worry still that I didn’t do enough – say what she needed – but I tried and I was honoured.

Dying is not a communicable disease one needs to shirk away from.  Dying is an intimate meeting of heart and soul.  We celebrate birth – the coming into this world, why not death?  Are we afraid of the end because it is an end?  Are we afraid of offending the person by asking?  Some people are very private about this topic but others are waiting for you to come to them, throw your arms around them and beg them to spill what’s in their heart.  How healing for someone dying to be able to spill their soul, all their fear or love of life and loss of the moment to someone willing to listen.  It’s a gift to listen, to ask, to be sought out and to share to and with.

Gloria Taylor, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS, recently made headlines in her legal action stating that she wanted the right to die with dignity and with the help of a doctor.  She states “I’m deeply grateful to have the comfort of knowing that I will have a choice at the end of my life – this is a blessing for me …. It allows me to approach my death in the same way I’ve tried to live my life – with dignity, independence and grace.”  What hit me about her statement when I first heard this quote on the radio news is that she puts her death and dying in the same line as life and the fullness of having lived it in dignity, independence and grace.

We may fear death and dying – that is our journey to work through in life and come to a place of peace.  It isn’t for a choice few – we will all die and will have to come to a place where we accept that we will die as we were born and lived.  It – death – is integral to the whole of our life – all of it.

I myself will likely fear dying, not the hereafter, but I will want to know that I can speak about it to others and not have them walk away as if I had a communicable disease.  I would want those I love and depend on to embrace my dying as they have my living – with celebration, with love and deep respect.  If you have a loved one, family or friend, who is at this moment dying, don’t be afraid to ask the question yourself – what can I do to help you through this time.  Ask – you may be blessed.