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Travelling as a Senior

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Seniors are some of the lucky few who have time off from work to go and travel. Although it isn’t a requirement, it is always a great opportunity to go and enjoy the world. If finances allow it you can explore so many new places that will cater to your age. Weather you are a sight seeker or an adventure taker there is always something around the corner that might get you the travel bug. Some services specifically cater to older explorers such as “Ladies On The Go Travel Club” which focus’ on older women who want other female travel companions.

Here are some tips to traveling as a senior:

  • Go during April – Mid June or September and October
  • Find out what travel insurance you need. Get covered because you may need it.
  • Pack light  – bring accessories for accessibility such as glasses for reading detailed maps.
  • Have your doctor give you a list of medications you take in their generic names. This way you can more easily translate what you need to the language/area you are in.
  • Take care of yourself by checking the bag and avoiding heavy lifting. Use the commodities airlines offer such as the shuttles and preferred seating.
  • Find out if your accommodation has stairs or is cramped. This way you can book on the ground floor for more convenience.
  • Be aware that renting a vehicle as a senior may not be as accessible. Find other modes of transportation if possible such as taxi’s and busses.
  • Take advantage of seniors discounts where they are offered.

- tips from Savvy Senior Travelers by Rick Steves

 

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Senior Voting

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This may not come as a surprise but unfortunately seniors do have barriers to voting. Elections Canada points out that there are internal and external barriers to voting. Internal barriers are those consisting of medical problems or cognitive issues. External barriers are those pertaining to living arrangements, transportation and documentation. Canada has addressed these barriers in many ways. For example, they bring out voter registrations to seniors homes, in Quebec they have added photograph voting and there is electronic and by mail voting. On top of that, Yukon, Newfoundland and Labrador have provided driving services to the polls and back. If there are any barriers for your living arrangements or health conditions make sure you call 1-800-463-6868 or email Elections Canada at info@elections.ca . They can provide you with different methods of making your political voice heard.

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Dental Care for the Senior

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The demographic that is rising for all healthcare providers is the geriatric population. This includes dental care. Providing dental care services to seniors has changed as well. For example, the amount of people with natural teeth in their elder years is growing. Many things have to be considered when providing care, such as comorbidities, medication, mental state and physical state. You may have communication barriers while providing care for people who have hearing problems, or have cognitive impairments. Oral health in any demographic is important, considering oral health is imperative to other factors of your health, such as eating. For this and many other reasons oral health is continuously encouraged as one ages. Speak to your dentist, doctor or dental hygienist about keeping up with your oral health and services that are provided.

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What is a Caregiver’s Role?

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Caregiver’s take on many roles. They are responsible for their clients and the one’s they love in many ways. According to the BC Hospice and Palliative Care Association the many roles of a caregiver include the following:

  • Listen without judging.
  • Maintain confidentiality.
  • Be honest and sincere.
  • Be available and accountable.
  • Be knowledgeable of resources.
  • Provide encouragement and support.
  • Recognize limitations – yours and others.
  • Communicate with team members.
  • Follow the family agenda – not yours.
  • Expect repetition and go with it.
  • Be flexible and go with changing needs.
  • Be informed – but not the teacher.
  • See where you fit it – you may not always be the primary support person.
  • Stick to reality – promise only what you can deliver.
  • Do not equate talking and activity with support. Doing and speaking may not be helpful.
  • Be aware that you can’t be everything to everybody.
  • Sit on your urge to do something.
  • Be okay with silence.

Taken from the personal and practical care module from the BCHPCA website.

 

 

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Different Ways of Keeping Memories

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When loosing a loved one it can be very difficult to find ways to honour them. Sometimes it may be too difficult to display their photos and be reminded of the person they were. When family and friends are ready to find a way to remember their loved one it is always nice to have different ideas on how to do so. Here are a list of ways you can remember your loved one in your home:

  • Plant a tree or flower
  • Collect memories in a scrap book from friends and family. It doesn’t have to be photos, it could be poems and stories, anything that can fit in a book really. Some companies make copies of them and it can be distributed amongst every person who would like a way to remember.
  • Refurbish their clothing onto a doll or teddy bear
  • Frame a garment of clothing or textile
  • Make a quilt of photos and clothing
  • Collect a library of books they were interested in. This can continue the knowledge they might have shared.
  • Put up momentos or trinkets from their life. For example, display something from their hometown or a place they enjoyed. Put up a piece of something they may have collected.
  • You and others can make art or drawings of memories that you have.
  • Redecorate a space in your home in their taste or in a way that recaptures a memory with them. For example, if they enjoyed the Hollywood, have a Hollywood themed room.
  • Imprint photos onto different items, such as boxes or clothing.
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Take Caution with Social Media

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In this new era of technology and freedom of information, everything is so easily accessible. Unfortunately, our freedom on social media can negatively interfere with what happens on an individual offline level. Although the internet and all of the resources it posses’ does provide help to caregivers, there are often times when social media has provided too much information. Many intrusive occurrences happen when people on social media are insensitive about the information they are sharing. An example may be when a caregiver has lost a loved one and someone posts a tweet or a Facebook comment about this loss. It is difficult information to share and should be divulged when the caregiver has given the say so. Here are some social media pointers to consider when dealing with sensitive issues:

1. Remember the feelings of everyone involved with the information. You are not the only one affected by it.

2. Think about why you are posting the comment or sharing the info. Does it only benefit you? Does it make you feel superior in some way? If so, maybe the reasons are not genuine or empathetic.

3. Social media is a tool to help communicate not a replacement for actual communication or help. Although supportive comments often do bring comfort, do not forget that actually being there is the best way to show you care.

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Do Not Ask Me to Remember – Poem by Owen Darnell

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This poem’s message is one that many of our clients deal with on a regular basis. The beginning of our position in client’s lives often comes at a time when family is trying their best to hold on to the person they once knew. Unfortunately, due to dementia the client themselves is having so many challenges to just simply be. The balance of this causes a lot of pain and this poem exemplifies how someone who is loosing themselves might feel.

Do Not Ask Me to Remember

Do not ask me to remember,

Don’t try to make me understand,

Let me rest and know you’re with me,

Kiss my cheek and hold my hand.

I’m confused beyond your concept,

I am sad and sick and lost.

All I know is that I need you

To be with me at all cost.

Do not lose your patience with me,

Do not scold or curse or cry.

I can’t help the way I’m acting,

Can’t be different though I try.

Just remember that I need you,

That the best of me is gone,

Please don’t fail to stand beside me,

Love me ’til my life is done.

– Owen Darnell

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Practical Tips to Help with Edema (Swelling)

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Edema or swelling is a very common symptom of health problems. One such health problem that has this symptom is Congestive Heart Failure. This is where your heart is having troubles moving the fluids throughout your body. If fluids can not move throughout your body effectively, the fluids end up staying put where gravity wants them. Yes, gravity is one reason feet are the first to swell. It is beneficial to reduce the edema in your feet or other areas of swelling because the excess pressure can damage the vessels they are in. Skin also starts to show the damage depending on how much edema there is.
Here are some tips to help with this common symptom:
- Reduce Sodium
- Exercise
- Massage
- Rest edematous limb above heart (ex. put your feet up)
- Apply compression bandages – ask a health care professional about the right fit for you
- Protect your skin (ex. use proper footwear, moisturize, clean properly, watch for skin damage)

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Keeping Safe During the Winter

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Wear appropriate footwear. Make sure the soles haven’t worn out. Have proper boots and socks. Anti-slip soles have become available.

Check walkways into and out of your home are for maintenance issues. You want the steps or walkways to be sturdy and in good repair.

Walk with a partner if needed in case of a slip.

Take your time and plan accordingly. No sense in rushing to fall.

Use handrails when available.

Take supplements to help restore and maintain bone health. Due to lack of sunlight in the winter you may be low on vitamin D.

Stay active to maintain muscle mass and strength. Active muscles will help you keep your balance.

When needing assistance do not be afraid to ask.

Have a plan in place in case a fall does occur. Prepare contact methods such as a cell phone, emergency phone numbers, and care giver supports.

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Remember to Honour the Past

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This November 11 remember to honour those who fought for our freedom. We still have veterans who fought in the world wars and we have veterans who fought in many more battles around the world to fight for freedom and values that our country upholds.
Make an effort this holiday to honour them by visiting, making donations, being a part of the ceremonies, or taking part in your community.
Also, do not forget that it is not only the soldiers that were affected by war. There are countless family members and loved ones that were affected as well. Ask about it, if possible, and learn from the past.

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