Posts Tagged "seniors"

Aging Parents and Adult Children Living Together? Talk Before You Pack

Posted by on Feb 24, 2011 in Housing Options, Living Arrangements | 0 comments

Are you considering moving in with your adult children? Are you thinking about having your aging parent(s) move into your home? Whatever your reason, you can expect that some intergenerational households will work well, but others are filled with tension. Moving in together can work, but success is greater when everyone pays attention is paid to each others’ autonomy and where certain things are negotiated beforehand:   Respect Autonomy Seniors have been making their own decisions for a long time. Asking them to give up this independence can create feelings of tension and disrespect – even when the adult child is trying, out of love, to help the parent stay safe and healthy. To the senior, it can feel like the adult child is dictating to them how to live their lives.   Negotiate Important Matters If you are considering living together, ask these questions of yourself and discuss them with each other.  Why do you want to live together? Is this the best choice for all concerned?  Have you evaluated other options: home care, assisted living or a personal care home?  Do family relationships allow you to communicate openly and discuss mutual concerns?  Have you enjoyed extended periods of time together before? Can you have a “trial” period?  Where grandchildren are present, who will be responsible for discipline?   How will you provide privacy for each generation?  How will household chores be divided?  What are the financial issues involved?  How long might this living arrangement last?  What will you do if the arrangement is not working?  Are the parent’s health concerns escalating? Will more care be required?  Do adult children have career commitments, health problems or other issues that may affect their ability to cope?  How will the adult child have respite and holidays?  Who else will help?   Whatever reasons may prompt you to decide to share a home, your family can enjoy the mutual respect, support and contributions of each generation. But please: Talk before you pack!   Vol.2, No.10; © 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. We provide clear, concise and practical directions for Canadians with aging parents. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.  ...

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Heat Stroke

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

Summertime brings the benefits of fresh air and sunshine, but hot, sunny days pose a risk of heat stroke, particularly for seniors.  What is heat stroke? Heat stroke occurs when the body can not regulate its temperature. It can develop quickly; internal body temperature can rise as high as 106 degrees in as little as 10 to fifteen minutes. Heat stroke can lead to brain damage and even death. Why are seniors at greater risk of developing heat stroke? As the body ages, sweat glands which help cool the body become less efficient.  Blood vessels carry less blood to the skin. The skin itself goes through natural changes that may slow the rate of heat release or “cool down”.  Bodies of the elderly may be slower to respond to heat and therefore may not produce sweat until body temperature is already quite high. Diseases of the lungs, heart and kidneys, and illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure can affect the body’s ability to cool down. Drugs that treat depression, motion sickness and high blood pressure also change the body’s ability to regulate temperature. What are the symptoms of heat stroke? Red, hot and dry skin (with no sweating) Heavy sweating together with cold clammy skin Dizziness Throbbing headache Nausea Rapid pulse Confusion Unconsciousness How can you prevent heat stroke? On extremely hot days, stay indoors in an air-conditioned room.  If there is no air conditioning at home, spend time at a local mall, library or movie theater. Wear a hat when golfing, gardening or hiking. Always have water with you or near by.  Drink 8-12 cups of water daily to maintain hydration, more during hot days or physical exertion. Choose fruit juice or sport drinks if your activity means you’ll experience heavy sweating. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  Also avoid extremely cold drinks, which can cause stomach cramping. Eat small nutritious meals throughout the day rather than large meals.  Reduce your intake of  protein, which can raise body temperature. Increase intake of potassium-rich foods, e.g., potatoes, apricots, bananas, cantaloupe and broccoli. Take frequent breaks from physical activity. Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. If you see symptoms of heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately.  Vol. 3, No. 14 © 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...

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Fitness with Exercise Bands

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Staying Active | 0 comments

Most of us know why exercise should be part of our life: reduced weight, toned muscles, and heart health. But exercise can also help with age-related health concerns including: improved balance and coordination, reduced stress, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, and even improved mood.  Research shows that resistance exercise can improve functional independence and also reduce the risk of falls. With all those benefits, elderly persons are wise to include an exercise program in their plan for healthy aging. One easy solution is exercise bands. What are they? Originally developed by physical therapists to help patients recovering from injury or surgery, exercise bands are used for resistance training in the same way people use free weights or some exercise machines. The advantage of the bands is less risk of injury and a gentler, yet effective workout. Exercise bands do feel different than other resistance devices, because their tension is continuous throughout the exercise.  However, you can control the amount of tension – and make the exercise easier – by lengthening or shortening the band. Choose a band with the right resistance. Are all bands the same? Long, thin latex bands, which look like ribbons, are suited to more gentle exercises and stretching.  Other bands are made of rubber tubing and have handles at each end.  Choose these for a more intense workout and to help build muscle.  However, the user must be able to grasp the handles. What can I do with exercise bands? Many popular weight exercises – from bicep curls to quad lifts – can be modified for exercise bands. In fact, you can work your whole body. Many videos, DVDs and books are available on the subject.  Check with your favourite bookstore or library. Before starting any exercise program check with your physician. Where can I get exercise bands? You can find bands at sporting goods stores, home health care stores, and most major department stores. Exercise bands provide a portable, affordable, and reasonably safe way for older adults to exercise in the comfort of their own home. “I watched a TV show for seniors on exercise while sitting safely in a chair. I started using the bands and was surprised by how much strength I gained in my arms.” M.F.  Age 85    Vol.4, No. 1 © ElderWise Inc., 2008 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 www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our...

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Seniors in the Emergency Room

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Health Emergencies | 0 comments

  Each year in Canada, thousands of seniors arrive at a hospital emergency department (ER) – either by ambulance or accompanied by adult children. Many will make more than one visit within the year. About 50% of patients coming to the ER are over 65 years of age. The major reasons that older adults are taken to the ER include: falls; stroke; heart attack; infections; and delirium (acute confusion). For your parent, it may be more a matter of “when” rather than “if” this happens, so being prepared – with the right information and expectations – is key. It can help you to ease your way through the crisis, know what questions to ask, and to take care of your parent and yourself.  What to Expect The ER is often busy and seemingly chaotic. The experience can be frightening and exhausting – for the senior and for family members. You may be there for several hours and even more than one day!  All this time, your parent may be lying on an uncomfortable gurney. The ER might be drafty, too cold, or too hot.  It is likely to be noisy 24-hours a day. Staff is often operating at full speed to cope with the continued flow of patients, many with urgent or life-threatening illness or injury. Most will welcome your willingness to help a family member. What You Can Do Whatever caused the trip to the hospital is likely to interfere with your parent’s ability to speak and act for themselves. You can provide needed information, be a valuable advocate, provide comfort, and help prevent health complications such as delirium and deconditioning. It’s important to look after yourself at this demanding time, even though it may seem appropriate to set your own needs aside. Although the health crisis might pass within a day or so, what follows might require your ongoing support for a long time. For more details, consult the ElderWise e-guide Seniors in the ER Vol. 5, No. 11, © 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 e-newsletter.  ...

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Eating Out…With Diabetes

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Staying Active | 0 comments

Your aging parent may be one of the growing numbers of seniors with Type 2 Diabetes. More than 800,000 seniors have this disease and the number will rise as Canada’s population continues to age. Eating out is one of life’s pleasures and it does not have to stop because of Diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, you can enjoy eating out and take care of your diabetes at the same time. It’s a matter of making the right choices, asking for what you need, and balancing your meals out with healthy meals at home. Not everyone with diabetes has the same nutritional goals. A meeting with a Registered Dietician or Diabetic Educator can help sort out what to do when dining out. How to find a restaurant You can help your parent by picking a restaurant that offers a variety of choices. This will increase the chances of finding appropriate foods. You can phone ahead and ask about the menu. Also, make a reservation to avoid waiting and ensure that your parent can eat on time. This is particularly important if your parent uses insulin. How to order The American Diabetes Association makes these suggestions, based on sound principles of nutrition: You might also adopt these guidelines to prevent diabetes and heart disease. Discuss these ideas with your parent. If you do not know what is in a dish – ask. Ask whether food has been prepared with liquid oils rather than solid fats (that can be high in saturated and trans fats). Choose food prepared with minimal salt, no extra sauce or butter Choose dishes that are broiled, grilled or steamed instead of fried. Try to eat the same portion as you would at home.  Share one order if the serving size is large, or take the extra food home. Ask for sauces, gravies, and salad dressings on the side. Order the baked potato – but top it with a teaspoon of low-calorie yogurt or sour cream instead of butter. Limit your intake of sugar, caffeine, alcohol and soft drinks. Need more information? Call the Canadian Diabetes Association’s toll-free information line at 1-800-226-8464  Email a customer care representative at info@diabetes.ca.  Visit the Canadian Diabetes Association’s .website: www.diabetes.ca    Vol. 4, No. 5 © ElderWise Publishing 2008. 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’ go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our FREE...

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