Posts by wuerscher

Dementia or Normal Aging?

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Health Signals | 0 comments

Worried about an elderly person’s behaviour change? How do you distinguish between normal memory changes that occur with aging – and the more serious possibility of dementia, such as Alzheimer Disease?  A few things to watch for: Forgetting things – including peoples’ names and events – is more common as we grow older. But forgetfulness together with confusion could be a warning sign of more serious problems. And forgetting names of family members or familiar places is not an expected change. Here are some other warning signs: Doing or saying the same things repeatedly Difficulty making simple everyday decisions or completing everyday tasks Appearing restless and agitated Withdrawing and doing nothing for extended periods of time Also, look for personality or behaviour change, such as someone suddenly becoming stubborn and uncooperative (as opposed to displaying a longtime character trait). Talking to oneself – for company, or as a long-standing habit – may not be a concern, but noticeably nonsensical monologues could be your tip-off that something’s wrong. If you are worried, seek medical help. Underlying medical conditions can cause these types of changes – and treatment can be effective. For more information, visit http://www.alzheimer.ca   Vol.2, No.1; © ElderWise 2006 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s “go to” age-smart planning.  Visit us at www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter....

Read More

Healthy Eating for the Elderly

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Healthy food choices for those in mid-life and senior years may not be as straightforward as for younger people. If the joy of food isn’t what it used to be, or if you’re concerned about a family member’s nutrition, it’s worth noting that healthy eating might be affected by: Physical changes associated with aging Social factors, such as living alone Mobility and transportation Decreased energy and functioning  Older persons may need fewer calories, making it more challenging to ingest enough nutrients. Physical activity may be curtailed, leading to reduced appetite levels. Taste and smell senses alter with age, so food might have less appeal. Medical conditions can change energy level or increase digestive problems, causing some people to start avoiding meals altogether. If this reflects your situation: New spices and recipes may add interest to food. More than ever, choose brightly colored foods over “whites”. Set regular meal times, and create a social aspect around meals.  Reduce portion sizes. A smaller plate can be more attractive and easier to handle.  If time pressures, transportation or mobility are issues, consider grocery delivery services. Online services allow you fill your cart from home and have the food delivered to your door. (Many offer organic food products.)  If you prefer to choose your own produce, some stores offer home delivery. In many communities, cooked meal delivery and other services are available. Learn more about Meals on Wheels, and related organizations offering seniors’ meals with a social component, across Canada at http://www.mealcall.org/canada/index.htm   Vol.2, No. 5; © ElderWise Inc. 2006 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our...

Read More

Assisted Living Care Homes

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Living Arrangements | 0 comments

Assisted living (or supportive housing) refers to a broad range of care homes primarily designed for seniors. These “congregate-living” residences combine housing, meals, and supports such as housekeeping and recreational activities. Most offer transportation for shopping, outings and medical appointments. Some also assist with personal care, such as bathing and dressing, and administering routine medications.  You can rent, own or have a life lease in an assisted living care home. Some provinces provide “designated assisted living” facilities, where the resident pays the accommodation charges and the health authority pays for personal care and support services.   “Assisted living” care homes provide for those who need regular personal assistance but do not require the complex range of professional nursing services available in a long term care home. What standards exist in assisted living care homes? British Columbia was the first province in Canada to regulate assisted living residences through the Community Care and Assisted Living Act (2004). An Assisted Living Registrar was appointed to protect the health and safety of seniors and people with disabilities in assisted living residences. Other provinces have followed suit, and developed accommodation standards for all care homes. What are the costs? Many assisted living developments can be beyond the means of low- to modest -income seniors, but more choice is becoming available. Subsidized housing, available in most provinces, can be an affordable option for low-income seniors. These publicly funded lodges usually provide accommodation, meals, housekeeping and social activities. Costs and eligibility criteria differ between the provinces – and even among different lodges. How do you choose an assisted living facility? You will find considerable variation in services, philosophy, and staffing in assisted living or supportive housing. We recommend your family visit several local residences, and ask many questions, before choosing the facility that best meets your specific needs. Here are TWO very important questions everyone should ask:   1.     Can a resident remain in the setting if physical and emotional needs change? Ask: Why do people move out? 2.     What emergency contacts are available 24-hours/day? Is someone on site or do residents rely on family or emergency response systems? Also, speak with current residents and their family members about their experiences. If possible, arrange for a short-term stay. Quality of meals is important for physical health, and socialization around meal times can contribute to emotional health. Ask to have lunch at the facility to get a feeling for the atmosphere and culture. Ask about the menu: how often it is changed, what choices are available, and who ensures that meals and snacks are nutritious. Finding an appropriate assisted care home can play an important role in improving the quality of life for seniors and increasing peace of mind for family members.     Vol.2, No.19; © ElderWise Inc. 2006 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.  ...

Read More

Tax Filing for Low Income Seniors

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Financial and Tax Matters | 0 comments

Seniors may feel the effects of a major change in tax filing procedures for Canadians introduced for the 2012 tax year. As a cost-saving measure, the Canada Revenue Agency is “encouraging” Canadians to file our returns on-line. Beginning this year, paper forms will no longer automatically be mailed out! However, you have these other options: Pick up forms at a post office or Service Canada outlet (tax office). Download and print forms from the CRA website Order a copy from CRA by Internet or by phone. Call 1-800-959-2221. Note that the TELEFILE service has also been discontinued.    Since these changes presents a potential problem for persons with mobility issues, please plan well ahead for yourself and your loved ones…and help spread the word. For more information, consult this web page. April 30 is the deadline for filing personal income tax returns in Canada. Maybe you (or a senior in your family) feel that, because you have a low income, filing your taxes can’t possibly make a difference to you or the government. However, filing a tax return can be especially important for low income seniors. Many Government of Canada programs that help low income seniors require that you file a tax return. In some cases, the application for the program can be submitted with your return. Some low income seniors may struggle to complete their tax return, or may need physical assistance to read and to complete their return. Help is available in many communities, in different formats. • Volunteer Clinics – Volunteers meet with you and help you complete your tax return. Usually clinics run at specific times and places. You may need to pre-book an appointment • Do-it-yourself clinics – Bring all your paper work, T4, tax forms, and learn how to fill in your own return. • Drop-off service – Bring all your paper work and drop it off. Your return is completed by a staff member or volunteer and you return to pick it up at a specified time. Again, you may need to book an appointment.  Volunteer tax preparation clinics are offered every year between February and April in various locations across Canada. For more information about these free services, you can: 1. Search online for “volunteer tax preparation clinic” with your city or town, 2. Call the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281 3. Click on www.cra-arc.gc.ca/volunteer/. This article was updated in February 2013 Vol.2, No.8; © ElderWise Inc. 2006-13. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter....

Read More

Long Term Care Terminology

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Health Care Team and System, Living Arrangements | 0 comments

Long-term care refers to care homes, as well as to a variety of services for people who experience prolonged physical illness, disability or severe cognitive problems. These care homes and services help people maintain a level of functioning rather than correct or cure medical problems. Most commonly, they include help with Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and professional care. They may be delivered as in-home services; or the person needing care may travel to a community services such as adult day programs and respite.  Or this person may need to live full-time in a care home in order to receive the services.  Care homes may provide supportive housing and personal care, such as Assisted Living and Designated Assisted Living. Care homes provide 24-hour nursing and professional care. Depending on your province, they may be called Nursing Homes, Residential Care Facilities (RCF), Homes for the Aged, Extended Care, or Long Term Care Centres (LTCC).  To receive any services provided by government-funded programs, you must undergo assessment and meet eligibility criteria. Here are more detailed explanations for the highlighted terms: Activities of Daily Living (ADL) are everyday activities that most adults do independently including bathing, continence, dressing, eating, toileting, and transferring or mobility (arising from bed and moving around the home environment). Services that support ADLs are called “personal care services” and provided by workers such as Home Health Aides, Nursing Assistants and Personal Care Aides. Adult Day Programs help adults with physical and mental disabilities through group programs that may include personal care services, therapeutic recreation, social activities and meals. Assessment usually precedes government-funded programs, and is completed by a professional (e.g., nurse or social worker) to determine eligibility for the variety of home, community and care home services. Cognitive problems arise from the inability to think, reason, remember or perceive. Alzheimer Disease, for example, is a major cause of cognitive impairment. Eligibility for government-funded programs is determined through a professional assessment and may include criteria such as age, medical status, residence requirements (e.g. living in the province for 1 year) and other criteria unique to each program. In privately funded programs, the client and/or the provider determine eligibility. Care Homes provide nursing and professional care, 24 hours/day, to support individuals with physical and cognitive problems. Each province determines the name commonly used for facilitis offering long-term care. In-Home Services are professional and personal care services are provided to individuals living in private homes, apartments, seniors’ lodges and other congregate dwellings. Professional Care refers to assessment and therapeutic interventions delivered by professionals, such as registered nurses, social workers, and therapists. Professional care may be delivered in-home or in community settings, and is always available in care homes. Respite is designed for family and friends who require rest from the physical and emotional demands of caregiving. Respite services might be brought to the home, or the individual may attend a community program or be admitted temporarily to a care home. Some of these services are provided without charge through government-funded programs, others require a fee. The amount charged varies between programs and between provinces.   Vol.2, No.21; © ElderWise Inc. 2006-2011. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning.  Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.                     ...

Read More