While there is no question, the pandemic has forever changed our world, what hasn’t changed is the fundamental fact that humans are wired for connection.
It can become increasingly difficult to manage financial affairs, as we age.
For many seniors, diminished ability to deal with money and personal business is a concern. If possible, the best solution is to engage a trusted family member in the process of paying bills and tending to financial obligations early on. This step, along with other actions, can bring much-needed resolve to the stress of managing finances. If your loved one is coming to a stage where they need this kind of help, the following measures are also worth considering:
Gifting to Seniors
As you set your sights on just the right gift for your senior loved one this holiday season, consider the fact that gifts that involve sharing and caring mean so much more than any gift that will take up space in their compact living area.
George Bowler stopped me in the hallway as I was hurrying along the corridor, trying to catch my stepdad before he assumed his usual spot in the dining room. George is my stepdad’s neighbour across the hall in the retirement community, where they’ve both resided for the past few years.
While George evidently remembered that I was coming to collect Ed for our Tim Horton’s lunch date, it was apparent that Ed had forgotten and gone about his usual lunch routine.
George greeted me with a robust “hello”, and said he wanted to have a word with me. He said Ed had told him that I am a writer and he had a few things he wanted to say to a writer.
As we walked toward the dining room and witnessed Ed begin eating the inhouse lunch offering of tomato soup and grilled cheese, I told George that I had unexpectedly become available for lunch and would be delighted to sit with him and hear what he had to say.
“George!” exclaimed Ed when we pulled our chairs up to his table. “Where did you find my daughter?”
George laughed and made light of my 92-year-old stepdad’s declining memory. His kindness and patience was touching. But what I noticed most was his warm, light-hearted spirit and the way he took the time to engage with everyone in his daily life. On this day, it was me he wished to engage with, and he began by offering me half his grilled cheese sandwich and his thoughts on getting old.
Loneliness and isolation are problematic at any age. But it’s especially concerning when the people suffering are seniors with limited resources.
According to Statistics Canada, as many as 1.4 million elderly Canadians report feeling lonely, and according to the National Institute on Aging, loneliness and isolation can pose serious health risks, including cognitive decline and depression.
Millie Jameson lost her husband of 49 years suddenly at age 75.
After months of feeling paralyzed with shock and distress, what finally helped her grief subside, was adopting a cat from a local rescue agency.
As we enjoy the last remaining weeks of summer, you can still enjoy all kinds of activities that are less accessible in the looming colder months.
For some, it’s that fix of art, music and cultural experiences that will bring them joy. For others, it’s reconnecting with nature and the outdoors. For those who enjoy food, summer brings a chance to get out and sample a plethora of culinary treats.
Whatever the interest, there are many wonderful ways for seniors to live their best life when the sun is shining and the flowers are still in bloom.
In case you need some suggestions, here are some fun summer activities to enjoy:
Every city and town has a vast assortment of summer music concerts of every imaginable genre.
Some will opt for outdoor concerts in the park, while others prefer a cozy indoor venue, maybe even a neighbourhood pub.
The beauty is that there is something for everyone, old, young and in between. Here are a few examples of summer music in the Calgary area: Calgary Concert Listings / Rosebud Theatre Music Festival
Consider a visit to a museum in your area. In most cities, there are several options including natural history museums, music museums, and military museums.
Art galleries are especially fun to poke around in. Most cities offer a listing of the best galleries to visit. For special interests, check out listings of the current exhibitions that may be on in your area. For instance, here is the current Burnaby Art Gallery Exhibition.
Libraries are a lovely place to visit, not just for books, but also music and movies. Some offer book readings, music events, and live plays.
Calgary recently opened a spectacular new Central Library that is located downtown, just steps from the rapid transit system. Seniors may enjoy a C-Train ride and then a tour of this breath-taking venue. For a sneak peek, watch a video of Calgary’s new Central Library.
Sometimes the perfect activity is a visit to a park where there are paved trails and plenty of benches and picnic areas.
Most cities have parks galore, but if rural appeals, why not pack a picnic lunch and take a scenic drive to a provincial park?
It’s wise to go online and find parks and activities in your area that best suit your interest and physical abilities. For instance, here is a list of parks and activities in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country.
Foodies rejoice when the trees bud out and towns and cities welcome food trucks with all kinds of tasty treats.
In most cities, there is a list of the best Food Trucks to help guide you in your search for just the right indulgence.
And of course, an ice cream outing is always a favourite in the summer months. It’s no surprise that most cities will offer you a rating on the most desirable ice cream stops. Check out these hotspots: / Medicine Hat / Lethbridge
Mabel Sparling has a bus pass and she uses it several times a week to visit the mall near her retirement community.
At the mall, Mabel gets her daily dose of exercise, meets her granddaughter Jenny for coffee, and visits the greeting card aisle of her favourite
This week a colleague has gone off to Vancouver Island to celebrate her mom’s 98th birthday.
Her mom is healthy and robust and living comfortably in a senior’s residence in Victoria.
When I asked my friend (Leanne) what she believes is the key to her mom’s astounding resilience, she relayed her belief that there are several keys …
Most importantly she credits her mom’s wholeheartedness and specifically, her attitude of gratitude. She said her mom has had a life-long habit of seeing the world through wondrous eyes and giving perpetual thanks for all things big and small.
After our discussion, Leanne sent me this YouTube video on Gratitude – a family favourite by Louie Schwartzberg.
That led me on an investigation of other key factors contributing to a long life, all equally interesting and inspiring.
Of course, we are all well-attuned to the common ideas around health: eat well, exercise plenty, practice moderation … yadda yadda, but as I polled friends with flourishing senior parents, it became apparent that attitude and wholehearted living practices do indeed play a significant role in resilience.
There’s this buzz word out there that’s not exactly new, but still has a sparkling effect; that sensation that makes us all want to sit up and take note.
Positive Aging. Sounds good right?