Posts Tagged "aging"

Dental Health May Slow Aging

Posted by on Mar 1, 2021 in Health Signals |

Flossing our teeth is a simple habit, costing next to no time, money or effort, that can add years to our life.  According to, brushing and daily flossing can reduce your “biological” age by as much as 6.4 years - and possibly extend your lifespan by that amount. Gum disease is the most common “infectious disease” in the world. Seven out of ten Canadians will develop gum disease sometime in their lives. Sore, swollen gums and bleeding are among the first symptoms. In advanced stages, receding gums and even tooth loss can follow.  There may even be a link between gum disease and heart disease? The American Federation for Aging Research cites evidence that links chronic gum disease to release of toxic substances and bacteria that enter the blood stream.  This can lead to plaque formation in the arteries, increasing your chances of heart disease.  The Federation states that increased risk of stroke and accelerated aging are also possible. NOTE: The Canadian Dental Association cautions that current evidence is insufficient to be certain gum disease can lead to heart disease.  They don’t dismiss current studies, but say more work is necessary to be positive that links between gum disease and heart disease are not influenced by other factors.  Remember these basics for good oral health: Brush at least twice each day Floss at least once daily Don’t smoke Eat a healthy diet Have regular dental check-ups. Regular exams can help in the early diagnosis of oral cancers, diabetes and even osteoporosis. Vol.2, No.7; © 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 and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.  ...

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Long Term (Care) Planning: It’s Not Just for the Old

Posted by on Feb 24, 2021 in Planning |

Canadians have been quietly caring for their elderly for hundreds of years. Suddenly, however, it seems that long term care has worked its way from obscurity into the national limelight virtually overnight. If you consider the state of the country, the reasons are obvious. Canada’s population is aging rapidly. According to a Statistics Canada 2001 report the number of people aged 65 and over is expected to double from nearly 4 million in 2000 to almost 8 million by 2026. By 2016 at the latest, Canada will have far more seniors than children aged 14 and under, a phenomenon never before recorded. The most rapidly growing age group, however, will be those over 80. Canada’s health care system is being restructured province by province; change and upheaval are the norm. The only sure thing seems to be less money and care for the old who require the most care. Canadians are worried. By 2031, over 750,000 Canadians will have Alzheimer Disease or related dementia unless a cure is found before then. Almost 25 per cent of Canadians now have someone with Alzheimer Disease in their family. Family caregivers are beginning to understand that caring today does not last for a few weeks or months as it did in the ‘old days’ – it can now last up to twenty years or more, completely disrupting one’s personal, work and financial life. There is an undeniable financial burden involved in long term care. No matter where care is provided - in the home or in an institution - families invariably end up paying for some products and services out of their own pockets. In fact, informal caregivers’ financial subsidy of cost of services delivered to the home, and in casual expenditures (food, laundry, gas, parking, etc.) - total about $100 mission a week or more, suggesting that caregivers spend at least $5 billion a year. Many caregivers report they have had to cut back on their personal budgets, use up their savings or borrow money to meet their caregiving financial obligations. Although many of us are aware of these care realities, Canadians continue to put long-term care planning on the back burner. “It won’t happen to me”, “My spouse will look after me”, “The kids will look after me”, “The government will provide for me” – continue to replace critical planning steps we all need to take.  These include: 1.    Looking after our health. Diabetes and obesity are running rampant among adults – and our children 2.    Talking to our parents and spouses about what we all want as we age 3.    Talking to our financial advisors about what we want as we age, and together coming up with a plan to ensure we have the financial and social resources to care for ourselves till the end of life.   It’s never too early or too late to start planning for long term care. As the saying goes: Just do it! Guest Author: Karen Henderson, Founder, Caregiver Network    Vol. 2, No. 20; © Karen Henderson, 2005...

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Why Geriatrics and Gerontology Matter

Posted by on Feb 24, 2021 in Caregiving, Health Care Team and System |

Aging is complex – and unique to each individual. When older adults experience acute illness, they need – and deserve – specialized care. Health professionals specialized in Geriatrics or Gerontology have the expertise to recognize normal aging, identify common diseases of old age and provide holistic care. The term “Geriatric” refers to the study, diagnosis and treatment of common diseases associated with aging. The term “Gerontology” is derived from Greek, and means “the study of elders”. Gerontology is multidisciplinary and therefore looks at physical, mental and social aspects of a senior’s life.  Why know these terms? There are a variety of practitioners in your community. Knowing how to find those with specialized knowledge and expertise will help you or a senior family member get the best possible care. In hospital: A geriatrician is as important to an older adult as a pediatrician is to a child! So ask for a geriatrician – a physician who can work with the health care team to determine an appropriate plan of care. Geriatricians have been certified in Canada since 1981. For more information, visit their website: In a long-term care facility: Ask for a Certified Gerontological Nurse. These nurses have written national certification exams to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Their education makes them exemplary problem-solvers. As part of the health care team, their focus includes avoiding the dangers of over-treating as well as under- treating chronic and acute health problems in older adults. In the community: If a senior is still healthy and wants to stay that way as long as possible, look for a Geriatric or Gerontological Nurse Practitioner. Contact your local health authority or the provincial nursing association to locate resources near you. For more information, visit the Canadian Gerontological Nurses Association website: Vol.2, No.9; © ElderWise Inc. 2005 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 and subscribe to our...

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Fitness with Exercise Bands

Posted by on Sep 9, 2021 in Staying Active |

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 and subscribe to our...

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Services for Aging Parents at a Distance

Posted by on Sep 8, 2021 in Caregiving, Health Care Team and System, Planning |

You and your aging parents are cities or provinces apart. Your dad has early dementia and lives at home with your mom. You’ve agreed as a family that your elderly parents need help at home. Mom agrees - now where do you look?  First, know what type of service you want and the terminology to use when searching.  Adult day care programs are offered in the community to provide social activities and health or medical care.  The individual might attend one to five days a week.  Home care or community care programs are offered to help people remain in their own homes, reduce admission to hospital or long-term care, and to allow earlier discharge from hospital. These services are offered through public and private agencies. Public programs are managed by local health authorities and vary across the provinces. Private services are offered by for-profit agencies and fees/services vary across the specific agency.  Respite care is temporary support, given to provide relief to the family.  If Mom is taking care of Dad at home and needs a break, you will want to find respite, or relief services.  Generally, these programs are offered by the local health authority or through voluntary or private companies.  Start your search with terms like “home health care” in your parents’ city/town, as well as “seniors services” by province or municipality.  Vol. 3, No. 9, © ElderWise Inc. 2007-2013.  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 and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter....

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