Activities of Daily Living (ADL) is a term that health professionals use to describe an individual’s daily self-care activities. They use it as a measure of your functional status to assess how fit you are to stay in your home. There are six ADLs including bathing or showering, dressing, self-feeding, personal hygiene and grooming, toileting, and mobility (the ability to move yourself from one place to another).

One of the more important ADL is transferring and mobilizing.  Without functional mobility, you will not be able to go to the dining room to eat or get out of bed to get to the bathroom or dress yourself.  More importantly, all the other ADLs are dependent on your strength and mobility – specifically what we call “functional strength.”

Stay in the home you love longer

The biggest advantage of being a functionally fit person is that you get to stay in your own home as long as possible.  Why is this?  When a group at a local independent living residence involved in a care discussion were asked about staying home, they unanimously agreed it was their top priority. They wanted to sleep in their own bed, eat their own meals, be free to make choices and remain independent. One resident responded that she liked her home because “I’m familiar with my surroundings.” Her neighbor agreed. He said, “I can do what I want to do when I want to do it.”

As we grow older, remaining independent really comes down to one’s functional fitness. You need to stay strong. The good news is, with a little commitment and help, you can maintain, even regain your functional strength. “Whatever activity you do, there is an exercise that will target the muscles and joints required to do the activity and enable you to do them longer,” says Medical Exercise Specialist, Emma.

Fall Prevention

One of the things that happens when your balance deteriorates is a tendency to shuffle in order to try and keep your feet close to the ground.  Medical Exercise Specialists will work with you to build a strong gait pattern and encourage proper posture.  Every time you strike your heel on the floor, it impacts the bones and builds density. Shuffling does nothing for the bone.

The exercises are repetitive in nature to encourage those with Parkinson’s Disease or Dementia to gain a regular gait pattern through neuro muscular facilitation – the messaging which takes place between the muscles to the brain and the brain giving feedback to the muscles.

Picking Yourself Up

Falling is dangerous however getting stranded on the floor after a fall can be deadly. While we certainly don’t recommend any exercises from the floor, we do show you how to get up off the floor, because many people who fall don’t have any way to get up off the ground. We teach a couple of very simple ways to get up again, and there are some fine exercises which target the upper body and legs to assist with the push up off the floor.

In Home Chair Exercises

Even if you have difficulty standing, you can do many of these exercises from the comfort of your own chair and reap the benefits of increased strength.

Recover from surgery and hospital visits more quickly

If you undergo hip or knee replacement surgery, the exercise program you should do post-surgery is very comprehensive. These post-surgery exercises are extremely important. If you don’t do them, the muscles targeted in the surgery will atrophy.

When you leave the hospital, the outpatient program that sets you up with exercises sincerely hopes you will continue to follow-up in the community where you have the support of qualified personnel to assist you.

Seniors are into fitness for a completely different reason. They want to recover from surgery, focus on balance issues to prevent falling and make sure old injuries don’t come back to haunt them.

Engage a physiotherapist or Medical Exercise Specialist to set you up for in-home exercises which incorporates cardiovascular and strength training and specific exercises for balance and core strength.

Written by Johanna Booy, of Care & Company Ltd., SeniorCareVictoria.ca.

More and more seniors are opting to age in place – stay in the home they know and love for many reasons.  Aging in place is by no means a new phenomenon.  Only a few generations ago, many families lived and died at home; families made way for grand dad to sit by the fire in a rocking chair having converted a den to a bed sitting room.  We’ve departed from this style of inter-generational living; we are however beginning to see a shift back to this model of senior care.

 

Aging in place is a term used for individuals both wishing to live at home or at a residential care complex until they die.  Seniors living at home experience rewards such as being able to stay in familiar surroundings, maintain a routine, sleep in their own bed, eat food they like to eat, and stay involved in making choices.  Many seniors and their families relate they enjoy the one on one care and consistency in care of bringing in a care worker to assist the senior to age in place.  However this model of care is not always possible.  When the time comes to interview a community of care or complex care home for your parent or loved one you should ask if they have aging in place capacity.  Our seniors do not do well with numerous moves in advanced age with the upheaval causing much stress and anxiety.

 

In a recent article a daughter remarked on the benefits of aging in place stating that “Emotionally and financially it is more rewarding.  Quality of life and personal attention, consistency of care and one on one care is better.  Family input is welcome and family are empowered.”

 

We often read of couples where one spouse requires a higher level of care due to advanced dementia and is cared for by the other spouse.  The burden is great, and sometimes the couple is split, leaving one spouse at home and the other in care.  Aging in place and providing home support services to keep them together is very important.  Seniors experience benefits emotionally, physically and financially.

 

There are however challenges in aging in place.  One of the greatest challenges seniors face is running out of funds to remain at home.  When the senior can no longer ‘bear the cost of care’ it may be time to make the transition to complex care.  Care agencies should consult with seniors and their families when they foresee an increase in future cost of care due to increased services required to assist the senior to live at home.

 

Another indicator care coordinators use as a benchmark for determining whether aging in place is a viable choice is when our seniors put the care worker or residents of the home or apartment building they live in at risk; this is usually a great indicator for moving.  We all live at risk, our seniors do so when they choose to stay in a home with stairs and experience the many challenges of living at home.  No one lives without risk – we hope as care workers to minimize that risk whether at home or in care home.

 

Seniors and families usually have a plethora of choices for care provision.  Navigating the health care system, knowing the terminology and understanding the various levels of care available to seniors is confusing at times.  Seek out reputable agencies, look into resources available in your community and check in with your local health authority for more information on how to care for your loved one to appropriately prepare for the future.

 

Written by Johanna Booy, of Care & Company Ltd., SeniorCareVictoria.ca.

It’s amazing the items left over when someone you love passes. My mum passed away on her birthday this year. My dad is in an independent living home, having moved only 3 weeks prior to her death. The house they lived in sold and was closing at the end of July. So much to do to complete this chapter of their life.
On the last day before closing, and on the buffet where my mother’s family pictures were arrayed for the past 14 years, were a number of items no one wanted… Antique dolls, photographs of people no one recognized, tacky holiday pictures in frames … That is until a grandson with a sentimental heart arrived on the scene. He wanted the button jar – a mason jar full of buttons! “Buttons” he said “I want those”.

“Really, I remarked – a button jar! What on earth will you do with that?” “Well, it’s obvious someone went to a lot of work to save them”, he remarks.
Those buttons represent 65 years of painstakingly removing small decorative and to today’s standard, antique buttons from items of clothing her three daughters had outgrown or simple garments she acquired from odd jobs she did sewing for her clients in the 60s.

Somethings as simple as this button jar, conjures up more memories that I can recall. Not only did we collect buttons and threads, but zippers, snaps, bows, bling (sequins) and anything we would otherwise have to pay for at the shop.

These buttons in a jar, represent once more things we don’t think of saving in this disposable society. On the other hand, how many buttons and zippers adorn the clothing of our present-day clothing, making this relic a true item of sentiment for one grandson to bring home and wonder…. Why exactly did I pick this?

Memories are made of this!

 

Written by Johanna Booy, of Care & Company Ltd., SeniorCareVictoria.ca.

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 […]

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.