Posts Tagged "senior"

Safety for Older Drivers

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Safety Concerns, Staying Active |

An aging population means more aging drivers.  The leading edge of the baby boomers is entering their 60’s, and the fastest-growing segment of seniors are the over-80’s. Both groups are experiencing age-related changes that can affect safe driving.  Generally, those over 65 are relatively safe drivers; unfortunately, those over 80 have more collisions. Many of today’s seniors learned to drive the family car or truck in their teens, and did not even take a road test to get a driver’s license.  Some developed driving habits that are unsafe. With age-related changes in vision and hearing, slower reflexes, and reduced flexibility, drivers over 60 need more than ever to depend more on good driving habits.  Are YOU thinking ahead about the day that you may have to give up your driver’s license? Are you willing to take a refresher course to increase the likelihood that you can continue to drive safely for years to come? Here are a few questions to help you check your driving habits:  Do you check and adjust the rear view mirror and side mirrors before starting your car?  Do you know where the headrest should be for the best protection?  Some situations can be especially challenging for older drivers. Are you aware of the safest behaviours when…making a left turn? Merging? Changing lanes? Check your safe driving knowledge: Who has the right-of-way during a merge?  If two drivers arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, who has the right-of-way?  How many collisions are caused by “distraction” (inside and outside the car)? For answers, visit the Canada Safety Council’s website: http://canadasafetycouncil.org/senior-safety/safety-tips-older-driver/    Vol.3, No.2 © ElderWise Inc. 2007. 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 midlife and older adults seeking information and support on health, housing and relationships. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com  and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.  ...

Read More

Older Caregivers Face Extra Risk

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

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 help from family, community or private services, caregiver burnout – physical and emotional exhaustion due to prolonged high levels of stress – is almost inevitable. Not only can physical health problems multiply, but mental health issues, such as feeling powerless, resentful, and isolated, can compromise a caregiver’s well-being. Most of these seniors may not think of themselves as caregivers, but that’s exactly what they become when they take responsibility to help others with their daily needs. Caregivers are from all walks of life and income levels. They are predominantly female but increasing numbers of men are taking on the role. But what they often share in common is stepping unaware and unprepared into a demanding role.  Caregiving responsibilities can occur suddenly, but they typically become long term (chronic), and they don’t always have a happy outcome. Responsibilities can continue even when the person receiving the care moves from a private home to an institution. Older caregivers are up against more challenges than their younger counterparts. They are unlikely to have the strength and energy of a younger person. Older caregivers may have to manage their own chronic health problems (e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes or arthritis) while caring for another. Doing yard work, shoveling snow, or going up and down the stairs with the laundry basket may be more than they can handle. Other caregiver duties can be mentally demanding. Managing finances, scheduling appointments, and other household decisions take more time and energy as you age. Conflicting emotions can drain energy as well, particularly when the personal relationships between caregiver and care recipient are strained.  Caregiving for a spouse can be especially demanding. The marital relationship is more intense, private and personal than many. A spouse’s illness results in greater stress, yet spouses are less likely to ask for help from others. Often, there’s a belief that what is happening should be kept private. Without greater awareness, understanding and action, more seniors will run the risk of burnout, which can lead to physical and mental collapse. Older caregivers face extra risk, and that has significant implications for families, communities and our health care system. For more insight on this topic, purchase our downloadable e-publication: Caregiver Burnout – How To Spot It, How To Stop It Vol. 5, No. 6 © ElderWise Publishing 2009. 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, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

Read More

Introduction to Old Age Security (OAS) in Canada

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Financial and Tax Matters |

 As a senior or concerned family member, are you looking for ways to make the most of your income and assets?. Low income seniors face even greater challenges. Many seniors don’t take advantage of all the seniors’ benefits available to them. Filing a tax return can make a real economic difference, especially to low income seniors. Many government 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. The Old Age Security Program is the foundation piece for seniors’ benefits in Canada. The following information is adapted from the Government of Canada’s webpage Services for Seniors Guide:  What is the Old Age Security (OAS) Program? OAS provides a modest pension at age 65 if you have lived in Canada for at least 10 years after turning 18. If you are a low-income senior, you may be eligible for other benefits as early as age 60. The OAS program offers four types of benefits: The Old Age Security Pension If you are 65 or older and are a Canadian citizen or a legal resident of Canada, you should apply for the Old Age Security pension. You may be entitled to receive this pension even if you are still working or have never worked. Apply for the Old Age Security pension six months before you wish to receive benefits of turn 65. Normally, you must apply on your own behalf. If you are applying for someone else, please contact the Income Security Program for more information (see telephone numbers below). The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) The GIS provides additional money, on top of the Old Age Security pension, to low-income seniors living in Canada. To be eligible for the GIS benefit, you must be receiving the Old Age Security pension. Because this supplement is based on marital status and income, you may qualify now, even if you did not qualify in a previous year. The Allowance If you are 60 to 64 and your spouse or common-law partner receives the Old Age Security pension and is eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, you should apply for the Allowance. The Allowance for the Survivor If you are 60 to 64, have little or no income, and your spouse or common-law partner has died, you may qualify for the Allowance for the Survivor. How can you receive OAS benefits? Old Age Security benefits do not start automatically. You must apply for them. For more information,: Call toll-free 1-800-277-9914 in Canada and the United States. If you have a hearing or speech impairment and use a teletypewriter (TTY), call 1-800-255-4786. If you live outside Canada and the United States, contact Service Canada at: 1-613-957-1954 (collect calls accepted) Have your Canadian Social Insurance Number at hand.    Vol. 5, No. 3 © ElderWise Publishing 2009. 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, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

Read More

Action for Common Aging Concerns

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Caregiving, Health Signals, Planning |

In previous newsletters, we showed how you can approach sensitive topics during holiday visits with aging parents. During the visit you may have noticed new areas of concern, or old problems that are calling for action. Now, you may feel anxiety or uncertainty about what to do next. Taking that first step, no matter how small, creates momentum towards positive change. Here are some first steps for common concerns: 1. Health Changes in physical or mental health are usually at the root of all other challenges facing your aging parents.  Many factors combine to keep seniors healthy. Among the most important are good medical care, proper exercise and nutrition, and a sense of purpose and belonging. A good first step is to become more informed about your parent’s health. Educate yourself about normal aging, and learn more about their chronic health conditions. With your parents’ permission, talk with their family doctor about your concerns. 2. Hygiene Personal care may slip when a senior’s eyesight, physical energy, or state of mind are affected. First, gently point out some physical evidence (e.g., stained clothing) and share your concern. Encourage your parent to get a physical check-up and/or an eye exam.  3. Housekeeping Loss of strength or mobility can make household chores more difficult. Start a conversation about getting more help – either from other family members, or by hiring someone. Some seniors are reluctant to ask for help or to invite “strangers” into their homes. Suggest that help with household duties may mean that your parents stay in their own home a little longer. 4. Hazards Safety hazards at home increase when health and strength start to fail. Here are some simple adaptations that make life safer: rearrange cupboards to easily reach things, install grab bars in the bathroom, remove loose scatter rugs, and add brighter lighting, especially over stairways. You can also look into personal emergency response systems. Worn on the wrist or as a pendant, they enable your parent to call for emergency help when they cannot reach a telephone. Initiating some of these changes may require a “community” effort. That can mean recruiting help from other family members, friends, neighbours and/or getting outside help – private or public. In larger towns and cities, families can call on their local seniors’ resource centre for more information on support programs. In rural areas, churches and other members of the community traditionally step up to help neighbours. Concerned families can also ask for an assessment of the senior by their local health authority, to see whether their family member (who must consent to the assessment) qualifies for public assistance. Vol. 5, No. 1 © ElderWise Publishing 2009. 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, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

Read More

Workplace Issues in an Aging Canada

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Workplace |

Canada’s aging population has increased dramatically in the last five years. We can expect significant changes to our economy and our workplaces as a result. Census 2006: Age and Sex, released in July, shows nearly one out of every three Canadians is now a “boomer”. Canadians aged 55 to 64 are the fastest growing demographic, up nearly 30 per cent from the last Canadian census five years ago. Higher life expectancy means there are more seniors than ever – now one in seven Canadians. At the same time, declining birthrates mean fewer children. Statistics Canada projects that within a decade, seniors could outnumber children younger than 15. Our over-80 population is the second-fastest growing group, increasing by more than 25 per cent in the last five years, followed closely by centenarians (aged 100 and over) whose numbers grew by 22 per cent since the last census. Today there’s a one-to-one ratio between those entering the workforce and those nearing retirement. But in 10 years there may be more people leaving the workplace than entering it. In twenty years, there may be only two workers for every senior – down from a five-to-one ratio today. The aging population may lead to more jobs in the private and public sector dedicated to servicing this demographic. New businesses and organizations are already being created to reflect demands of the aging population. Baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) will continue to re-define society, as they have practically from day one. The question is: how will they do it? Already many boomers are rejecting or re-defining retirement. Many are healthier and more active than previous generations, and may find traditional retirement unsatisfying. Others may not be in a financial position to retire. Fears about worker shortages may not be realized if boomers keep working longer, but expect new dynamics in a multi-generational workplace. Employers will have to adapt to retain workers, and to maintain productivity and stay competitive. Boomers who stay in the workforce will continue to be squeezed by the demands on generations on either side. The seniors in their lives – parents, in-laws, aunts and uncles, neighbours and friends – will live longer. This is the “sandwich generation”.  Boomers who take on caregiving roles will be doing it longer, all while they juggle the demands of work, “boomerang” kids, grandchildren, and time for themselves. The implications for individual health and well-being and for our overall economy are significant. Governments, employers and businesses in the private sector, service agencies and extended families all face challenges in adapting to these population shifts. Vol. 3. No. 19  © ElderWise Inc. 2007. 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, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

Read More