Health Signals

Learn about normal signs of aging and when there may be cause for concern.

Volunteering: Benefits for Seniors

Posted by on Feb 24, 2011 in Health Signals | 0 comments

Why do Canadian seniors volunteer? A survey of senior volunteers in Canada finds that 95% volunteer for a cause they believe in.  Seventy percent said they volunteered for a cause that had personally affected them. Some volunteered as a way to use their skill base and years of experience (81%). Others were looking for a way to explore their own strengths (57%).  What else motivates seniors to volunteer? Developing new skills and staying connected to their own passions inspires many seniors to volunteer.  Volunteering leads to meeting new people, staying active in the community, and serving...

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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 medical conditions are present. Delirium is often...

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Drinking Problems of the Elderly

Posted by on Sep 16, 2010 in Health Signals | 0 comments

Alcohol misuse or abuse can be dangerous for the elderly and heartbreaking for their families. Is there a senior in your life who:  Drinks and drives?  Drinks too much and falls?  Drinks at a family or public event and causes embarrassment?  Drinks while taking medications?  Drinks and forgets – to turn off the stove or put out the cigarette?  Drinks too much and is told to move out of the seniors’ housing facility? When we first notice a potential drinking problem, it’s tempting to ignore it, minimize it, or find “reasons” to accept it. But once the problem veers toward crisis, the...

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Norwalk Virus Hits Seniors Hard

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Health Emergencies, Health Signals | 0 comments

Each year, many seniors are infected by a Norwalk-type virus. It’s usually not serious enough to cause hospitalization or serious long-term effects, but Norwalk can cause distress and can be spread to other family members. This illness is more common in the winter and affects all age groups. What is a “Norwalk” infection? Norwalk is a viral infection in the intestine – named after it was first identified in a 1972 outbreak in Norwalk, Ohio. Today, we use the term “norovirus” to refer to the group of viruses. Noroviruses are found worldwide and affect only...

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Older Caregivers Face Extra Risk

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Caregiving, Health Signals | 0 comments

Expecting to “take it easy” in your senior years? According to 2007 figures from Statistics Canada, at least 675,000 Canadian seniors have had to curtail travel, leisure and personal interests – and have put themselves at risk for physical and emotional problems – because they are providing care to another elderly person. They could be looking after close friends (30%), spouses (23%), neighbours (15%) – even parents (9%).  One third of these seniors are over the age of 75. Fewer than one in five older caregivers gets a break from these responsibilities. Without...

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Be “Stroke-Wise!”

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Health Emergencies, Health Signals | 0 comments

Every 10 minutes, a Canadian will suffer a stroke, meaning strokes affect more than 50,000 Canadians every year. The good news is that recognizing early warning signs and getting prompt treatment has improved the chance of surviving a stroke. A stroke is a medical emergency caused by decreased blood flow to the brain. Blood flow is interrupted by a blood clot (blockage) or rupture of a blood vessel.  Without oxygen, brain cells die. Depending on the size and location of the stroke, the individual loses some function. You can reduce your risk for stroke by making these choices in your daily...

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