Caregivers Resisting Help

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013 in Caregiving | 0 comments

Originally published January 2012 at Reprinted with permission. I have never been very good at asking for help and, like many family caregivers, I didn’t think that my own needs mattered. Thinking I had to do everything all the time caused me to have two breakdowns; once during my early years of caregiving and again in the last year of my 17-year caregiving journey. I wish I had known about the following statistics from a recent MetLife Study: Family caregivers experiencing extreme stress have been shown to age prematurely...

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Avoid Investment Fraudsters

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Financial and Tax Matters | 0 comments

This guest post is courtesy of the Alberta Securities Commission. Many people approaching – or already in – retirement are looking  to maximize the returns on their savings and investments. Sadly, many fall victim to fraudsters who are skilled at preying on our emotions, insecurities and vulnerability at this critical time. Up to 27% of Canadians have been approached with a possible fraudulent investment. Older persons are targeted for several reasons, but often because they are perceived to have the most disposable income or...

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Downsizing Stress

Posted by on Jun 21, 2011 in Housing Options, Living Arrangements | 0 comments

You have made the decision to move and “downsize” your living arrangements. You have either decided on your own, acted in part because of pressure from family, or put the decision off for so long that now you must move to a care home for medical reasons. Whatever the reason, downsizing can be a stressful and uncertain life transition. There are common reasons behind the stress, and each person will experience them uniquely and in different proportions. Some common stress triggers are grief, resistance, uncertainty and overwhelm. Here are some...

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Hope, Promises & Reality: Eldercare Costs (Part 2)

Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Financial and Tax Matters, Planning | 0 comments

  In Part 1 of this article, we looked at the costs of home adaptation and the options for in-home care assistance for the elder Olivers. Part 2 examines mobility – both in the home, through assistive devices, and transportation options for seniors – as well as a few important tax considerations.   Assistive Devices/Aids for Daily Living   Brian Oliver reads off for his brother a price list of common devices that help frail seniors stay safely in their own homes: “Stair-lift, $3,000; walker, $350; custom...

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Hope, Promises & Reality: Eldercare Costs (Part 1)

Posted by on Apr 24, 2011 in Financial and Tax Matters, Planning | 0 comments

Snapping his laptop shut, Brian Oliver looks at his brother. Mom’s recent fall has brought them both back to the family home for the first time in two years and they’re dismayed at what they see.   “No matter what I do, it doesn’t balance. We promised Mom and Dad they could stay at home but the money just isn’t there. Maybe you can kick in $1,000 a month, but I’ve got two kids in university”!   Here is the brothers’ worry list:   Mom has advancing osteoarthritis and Dad is showing...

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Dementia, Depression or Delirium?

Posted by on Jan 18, 2011 in Health Signals | 0 comments

Three of the most common mental health problems experienced by the elderly start with the letter D: dementia, depression, and delirium. Their symptoms may, at times, appear similar. Comparing the conditions and highlighting the differences can alert you to when medical help may be needed. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer Disease. Incidence increases with advancing age. It is not curable.  Depression affects about 10% of the general population, can occur at any age, and affects both men and women. Incidence is higher when other...

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37 Reasons to Review Your Will & Estate Plan

Posted by on Nov 16, 2010 in Wills and Estate Planning | 0 comments

Whether we like it or not, some parts of life are complex. We need to enlist help with areas where we lack experience or expertise. This is certainly true when it comes to certain legal, financial and tax matters – all of which can come into play with estate planning. But we can also use expert insight when it comes to the emotional pitfalls and relationship issues that arise during estate planning.   Here is the first of 4 common mistakes we outlined in ElderWise Info (Vol 6.No. 11) Estate Planning – Part 2: ...

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Memorial Societies in Canada

Posted by on Aug 26, 2010 in Final Wishes | 0 comments

When considering and planning your funeral arrangements, one option to consider is to become a member of your local memorial society. These are not-for-profit groups who can (a) guide you in documenting your wishes for funeral arrangements and (b) qualify you for preferred member rates for your funeral expenses. These societies enter into specific rate agreements with one or more local funeral service providers. Click here for: Contact information for all memorial societies operating in...

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Six Excuses for Stalling Estate Planning

Posted by on Aug 12, 2010 in Wills and Estate Planning | 0 comments

  “Most people take more time planning their annual vacation than they do planning their estate.”  This common saying may sound like an exaggeration, but the reality is that more than 50% of Canadians do not have a properly planned and executed Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive.  Why not? In a word: procrastination. Most of us experience some combination of fear and avoidance when faced with the challenges of thinking about our own death…We know procrastination is the most common estate planning mistake....

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When Aging Parents are Unwell (3 of 3) Where to get help if your parent has a mental illness

Posted by on Sep 1, 2009 in Health Care Team and System | 0 comments

When Aging Parents Are Unwell: Part III Where to get help if your parent has a mental illness Mental health problems can occur at any age and any stage of life. Some individuals have chronic mental health problems that they must manage during their life time. Other people develop mental illness in later life.  The most common problems are depression and anxiety. Depression Depression is not an emotion!  It is a disorder with affective (mood), cognitive (mental), and physical symptoms. Depression is not feeling sad about a loss or...

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When Aging Parents Are Unwell (2 of 3): You CAN Prepare for a Visit to the Emergency Department!

Posted by on Jul 30, 2009 in Health Care Team and System | 2 comments

When Aging Parents are Unwell You CAN Prepare for a Visit to the Emergency Department Frail seniors are likely to go to a hospital emergency department because of falls or serious acute health problems such as stroke. In most emergency departments, 50% of the patients will be over the age of 65. You may be the first family member called when a parent is taken to hospital.  There are some things that you and your parents can do to be prepared for the visit to the emergency department. Talk before the call comes! Talk to your parents about...

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When Aging Parents Are Unwell (1 of 3): Who’s who on the healthcare team

Posted by on Jun 27, 2009 in Health Care Team and System | 0 comments

Originally published in the Lifespeak newsletter, January 2009. Compared to the younger population, seniors are more likely to use the health care system, including visits to the doctor’s office, medical clinics, the emergency room, and hospitals. Many older persons also require home care provided by the local public health services. During each encounter, senior sand family members will meet a variety of health care professionals. It can be confusing to figure out: Who is the best person to ask about problems or concerns? What role do these...

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Responding to the Crisis Call

Posted by on Sep 15, 2008 in Caregiving, Health Emergencies | 2 comments

What can you do when you get the call that your parent has a health or medical crisis? You are likely to feel the pull of trying to be in two places at the same time. Now is the time to recruit help, both personal and professional, to assist you.  What kind of help is available? Financial resources will influence some of these suggestions. Consider the following ideas: Inquire about public health care services such as home care, companion programs, and palliative care programs. Be sure that your parent is receiving the services that are...

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Caregiving From a Distance

Posted by on Sep 15, 2008 in Caregiving | 0 comments

  Living at a distance from aging parents presents several challenges. Visiting your parents for short periods – probably at special occasions – you may not be aware of how they are managing their day-to-day lives. Can they still do the everyday household chores? What about seasonal demands of yard work, snow removal and regular upkeep? With increasing age and frailty, are they living safely, particularly if still in their home? And when the crisis occurs, how can you manage the demands of your own work and family life and still...

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Talking About Finances

Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in Financial and Tax Matters, Power of Attorney | 0 comments

Many families experience problems with financial discussions – and therefore avoid them. The older generation may avoid discussions with adult children out of fear of losing privacy and control. Adult children may wish to respect a parent’s privacy but they wonder – not only about a parent’s well-being, but also whether a parent’s finances could affect their own retirement plans. In other families, money is a taboo subject or one that simply brings up too many negative emotions.  Why do adult children need to...

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Stuck in the Middle: Retirement Planning

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Financial and Tax Matters, Planning | 0 comments

Originally published at on November 5, 2012.   “Many boomers are assisting parents financially or are losing income because of their eldercare obligations,” says Mara Osis, founder of ElderWise, an organization that provides information and coaching to help families caring for elderly loved ones. “They may turn down career opportunities or even retire early, if they feel it’s up to them to take on this responsibility and don’t see any other way of doing it.” Read the complete article:...

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Caring for Aging Parents: Are You Prepared?

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Health Emergencies, Planning, Powers of Attorney | 0 comments

Originally published on June 24, 2011 at   When Iola Pryma was told she needed to have a lung biopsy to investigate the tumours a CT scan revealed, one of the first things she did was make her daughter, Kandis Pryma, her power of attorney for her finances. A 71-year-old widow, Pryma knew that in the event of a long recovery — or worse — she would feel much better checking into the hospital knowing that her finances were in order. This family was lucky. In their case, the parent was able to make this decision on her...

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Retirement: Families Planning Together

Posted by on Apr 3, 2013 in Planning | 0 comments

 Originally published May 2011 on Contribution by Mara Osis, eldercare consultant and speaker on LifeSpeak’s Calgary roster.If one or both of your parents is talking about “retirement”, they are using a term that is being re-defined so quickly and drastically that the word might actually soon disappear. For previous generations, mandatory retirement at 65 was not uncommon; nor was collecting a pension for 25 or more years of service. More recently, retirees were sold the “Freedom 55” concept...

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Emergency Response…Or Crisis Mode?

Posted by on Mar 11, 2013 in Health Emergencies | 0 comments

As family members age, it’s more and more likely that we’ll be faced with an “eldercare event” – a sudden, dramatic change in the status quo, usually related to health. Here are some common examples of what can happen: A frail older person, living alone, suffers a fall, a stroke, or a heart attack and is hospitalized. She must now leave the hospital but cannot safely live alone any more. A healthy spouse who cares for a frail senior dies suddenly. Family members are scattered throughout the country or live overseas. Your parent lives...

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Shingles: A Legacy of Chicken Pox

Posted by on Mar 4, 2013 in Health Signals | 0 comments

“Shingles” is a painful, blistering rash experienced by about 130,000 Canadians every year. Your risk of having an episode of shingles increases after age 50, but the majority of people experiencing shingles are 60 or older. Here are the ABC’s of shingles:   What are the symptoms of shingles? Shingles symptoms begin with headache, fever and the chills, and upset stomach. These often occur before the rash appears. Usually the rash occurs on one side of the trunk of the body but can also erupt on the buttocks, neck, face and scalp. The...

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What’s Your Next Move: Housing Options for Later Life

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

What’s Your Next Move? Housing Options for Later Life Planning ahead for yourself – or together with family members? Join us as we discuss: Options for living arrangements as we grow older How to sort through, evaluate and choose the best option Specific things to do today, to avoid making poor decisions tomorrow This is a free presentation, but seating is limited. RSVP today by calling Courtney at (403) 258-1849 To see the event poster, click on the attachment below.    ...

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Secrets of Successful Conversations

Posted by on Dec 11, 2012 in Family Relationships, Sensitive Conversations | 0 comments

When we wish to talk with our aging parents or our adult children about difficult or sensitive topics, we have two things to manage: the task of the conversation…and the emotions that accompany it. Each party to the conversation has needs which the other can help them meet. Simply being heard is a huge need, but receiving support, understanding, and acceptance are also important.  For each family, the pressing topic(s) will be different. But before you talk about health issues, getting help around the house, downsizing, driving or any...

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Health Risks & Family History

Posted by on Nov 18, 2012 in Health Signals | 0 comments

We don’t choose our blood relatives but, in some cases, our future health may depend on knowing more about them! Our genetic make-up may increase our risk or pre-dispose us to developing chronic conditions or diseases. Knowing our family’s health history may help us take steps today to prolong both our years of life…and add life to our years!   Lifestyle choices have a major effect on our health, but tuning into our family health history helps us know our risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke,...

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