Posts Tagged "senior"

Emergency Response…Or Crisis Mode?

Posted by on Mar 11, 2021 in Health Emergencies |

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 alone, several provinces away. Your last few phone conversations have seemed strange; your parent is rambling and, occasionally, incoherent. Your phone rings at work. The local hospital informs you that Dad has been admitted to the emergency department. We hope we will never have to deal with situations like these, but it’s unrealistic to believe either that it won’t happen to us or that “we’ll deal with it when something happens”. When eldercare events occur, it helps everyone if we respond and cope well. Otherwise, we may become part of the problem, not part of the solution. Here are four steps you can take to prevent an emergency turning into a crisis:  Acknowledge your emotions Even if you have thought about how you might deal with an elder care event, you cannot predict how you will feel when it happens. Elder care events can involve complex decisions, time pressures and the need to navigate unfamiliar situations and new relationships. Aim to reach a level of calm before responding to the news. Everyone can benefit from deep breathing and a few quiet minutes to wait for the adrenalin rush to subside. Change your self-talk if it’s making you more anxious. Self-talk can either increase your panic, or guide you to a more reasoned response. Tell yourself:  “I am calm and capable. I have handled other difficult situations and I will handle this one, too.” Remember the resources you have drawn on in the past to calm yourself and make reasoned decisions. Assemble your support team. Who might I ask to come and stay with me? Who can give me emotional support on the phone? Who else do I need to call to let them know what is happening? Who can I contact to help me figure out what the right thing is to do for someone else? Implement an Emergency Plan you have worked out in advance. Make a checklist. Some situations to consider: At home: Will you need someone to look after your children or anyone else at home that counts on your care? At work: Notify your supervisor. Ideally, you will have had a prior discussion that helps them prepare for this type of event. If you are at a distance from the event, who will you communicate with to monitor the situation? Will you need to travel? What will you take with you? What will you need if you may spend long hours in hospital? Can you pre-pack an emergency kit? What information and documents will you provide to help health care professionals?  Having a written plan, assembling your support team, and staying calm are important components of planning ahead for and managing an elder care event. © ElderWise Inc., 2013. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article,if 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 direction to Canadians with aging parents…and anyone wishing to do “age-smart” planning. Visit us at and subscribe to our FREE...

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Healthy Eating for the Elderly

Posted by on Mar 1, 2021 in Uncategorized |

Healthy food choices for those in mid-life and senior years may not be as straightforward as for younger people. If the joy of food isn’t what it used to be, or if you’re concerned about a family member’s nutrition, it’s worth noting that healthy eating might be affected by: Physical changes associated with aging Social factors, such as living alone Mobility and transportation Decreased energy and functioning  Older persons may need fewer calories, making it more challenging to ingest enough nutrients. Physical activity may be curtailed, leading to reduced appetite levels. Taste and smell senses alter with age, so food might have less appeal. Medical conditions can change energy level or increase digestive problems, causing some people to start avoiding meals altogether. If this reflects your situation: New spices and recipes may add interest to food. More than ever, choose brightly colored foods over “whites”. Set regular meal times, and create a social aspect around meals.  Reduce portion sizes. A smaller plate can be more attractive and easier to handle.  If time pressures, transportation or mobility are issues, consider grocery delivery services. Online services allow you fill your cart from home and have the food delivered to your door. (Many offer organic food products.)  If you prefer to choose your own produce, some stores offer home delivery. In many communities, cooked meal delivery and other services are available. Learn more about Meals on Wheels, and related organizations offering seniors’ meals with a social component, across Canada at   Vol.2, No. 5; © 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...

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Tax Filing for Low Income Seniors

Posted by on Mar 1, 2021 in Financial and Tax Matters |

Seniors may feel the effects of a major change in tax filing procedures for Canadians introduced for the 2012 tax year. As a cost-saving measure, the Canada Revenue Agency is “encouraging” Canadians to file our returns on-line. Beginning this year, paper forms will no longer automatically be mailed out! However, you have these other options: Pick up forms at a post office or Service Canada outlet (tax office). Download and print forms from the CRA website Order a copy from CRA by Internet or by phone. Call 1-800-959-2221. Note that the TELEFILE service has also been discontinued.    Since these changes presents a potential problem for persons with mobility issues, please plan well ahead for yourself and your loved ones…and help spread the word. For more information, consult this web page. April 30 is the deadline for filing personal income tax returns in Canada. Maybe you (or a senior in your family) feel that, because you have a low income, filing your taxes can’t possibly make a difference to you or the government. However, filing a tax return can be especially important for low income seniors. Many Government of Canada 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. Some low income seniors may struggle to complete their tax return, or may need physical assistance to read and to complete their return. Help is available in many communities, in different formats. • Volunteer Clinics – Volunteers meet with you and help you complete your tax return. Usually clinics run at specific times and places. You may need to pre-book an appointment • Do-it-yourself clinics – Bring all your paper work, T4, tax forms, and learn how to fill in your own return. • Drop-off service – Bring all your paper work and drop it off. Your return is completed by a staff member or volunteer and you return to pick it up at a specified time. Again, you may need to book an appointment.  Volunteer tax preparation clinics are offered every year between February and April in various locations across Canada. For more information about these free services, you can: 1. Search online for “volunteer tax preparation clinic” with your city or town, 2. Call the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281 3. Click on This article was updated in February 2013 Vol.2, No.8; © ElderWise Inc. 2006-13. 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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Volunteering: Benefits for Seniors

Posted by on Feb 24, 2021 in Health Signals |

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 others. It can help keep cultural or religious traditions alive.  Some older persons also find the chance to fulfill lifelong dreams and create new ambitions through volunteering. Seniors who volunteer report feeling very satisfied with their lives…AND they report that sentiment at a higher rate than seniors who do not volunteer. What can volunteering do for YOU? Volunteering can improve your health.  It can enhance self-esteem, coping abilities, and feelings of social usefulness.  Volunteering increases social activity. Research into health benefits of volunteering suggests that forming these social relationships acts as a buffer against stress and illness. Some experts even conclude that social relationships may be as important to overall health as avoiding risks such as smoking and high blood pressure. How can you find the right organization? The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) suggests asking the following questions to help define the best volunteering opportunity for you: Why do I want to become a volunteer? What are the benefits I am looking for from volunteering? What skills and abilities can I offer? What do I enjoy doing? What do I dislike doing? What issues are important to me? How much time can I give? What times are most suitable for me? Reasons for volunteering may be as profound as feeling an ethical pull to help change Canadian society – or as lighthearted as wanting to get to know people in the community. But getting involved, on any level, not only benefits society. It also benefits the volunteer. Everyone wins. Vol.2, No.12; © 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...

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Who Are Canada’s Elderly? Facts & Figures

Posted by on Feb 24, 2021 in Planning |

The term “senior” broadly refers to someone over the age of 65. Your perception of a typical senior may be derived from the examples of your own family and friends, your socio-economic status, your work experiences, or even from advertising images. Some of these facts may be familiar; others may surprise you. Age and life expectancy: Canada’s population has been aging for several decades. Currently, about 12% of Canadians are 65 or older. The fastest growing age segment in Canada is 80 years or older. In 1997, the average life expectancy at birth was 75.8 for males and 81.4 for females. In the last 20 years, the gap between male and female mortality rates has narrowed.   Gender: Elderly women outnumber elderly men and this margin increases with age. Women make up about 58% of those 65 and older and nearly 70% of those 85 plus.   Marital status and living arrangements: Senior men are more likely than senior women to live with a spouse. By 65 years of age, 7% of men and 32% of women are widowed. For those 85 years and older, 39% of men and 79% of women have lost a spouse. Senior women are more likely to live alone, resulting in a much greater risk of institutionalization. The vast majority of Canada’s seniors – 93% - live in private households, mainly in urban areas.   Education: Many of Canada’s current seniors did not have today’s educational opportunities. Only 8% hold a university degree (compared with 17% of 25-64 year-olds), another 12% have a diploma or certificate. Twenty-five per cent (25%) attended but did not graduate from high school, and 37% have attained an education of Grade 9 or less. Education is closely associated with higher income levels which, in turn, tend to result in better health.   Paid work: About 6% of seniors are in the paid workforce (57% are 65-69 years, and 18% are 75 plus). Employed seniors are more likely than other age groups to be self-employed. Most common occupations among employed seniors are farming, sales, and management.   Income: Senior women have a lower average annual income ($16,070) than senior men ($26,150). The main income sources are OAS, CPP/QPP and retirement pensions. Seniors spend about 59% of their annual income on food, shelter, clothing and transportation. On average they spend 6-7% on health and personal care.   Activities: Thirty-seven per-cent (37%) of seniors take part in weekly religious activities. About 50% of seniors report being physically active on a regular basis. On average they spend 5 hours per day watching television.     Vol.2, No.13; © ElderWise Inc. 2006   Our thanks to Judy Worrell for her contribution to this edition of ElderWise Info.   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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