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Retirement Insider

Aging in Place ~ What it Really Means

You’ve heard the term ‘Aging in Place’ but what does it really mean?
The formal definition of Aging in Place is “having the health and social supports and services you need to live safely and independently in your home or your community for as long as you wish and are able.”

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Socialization is Good for Seniors

We all know how satisfying and enriching it can be to spend time with friends, but did you know that it can also improve your health, boost self esteem, and may even ward off dementia?
The benefits of having an active social life have been studied for years, and according to some seniors who are currently living in a residential community setting, these findings have merit. In fact, these folks say they are living proof that socialization is good for you.
“To be honest, I think having people right outside my door every day and spending every meal talking with other seniors has prolonged my life,” said Joan Carter, from her home in a senior’ residence in Calgary. “Back when I was living alone in my home, I would see people just maybe once or twice a week, I barely felt like I was part of the world anymore.”
Irene Stintson says before she moved into AgeCare Seton, she had lost all desire to live, and spent all her days buried in memories from her past. Now, she shares her meals with others, goes to activities offered in her community, and even enjoys joking with the attendants and other staff in her place. Says the 81-year-old, “I’ve really come around. These days I have every intention of sticking around for a few more years.”

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Seniors Targeted in Scams

We live in a world where fraud, theft, and privacy violations are a very real and common threat. This is a tough reality for all of us, and even more of a concern for seniors who are vulnerable on so many levels, and often the target of elaborate and convincing scams.

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Rolling into the New Year – Moment by Moment

Yes the time clock is once again rolling over and many of us find ourselves preoccupied with the task of taking inventory of our shortcomings and measuring our achievements. We tally what went wrong in the outgoing year and make resolute intentions to change things up. We envision grand improvements for the year ahead and set off earnestly in a hopeful new direction. All of this is logical, normal and well-intended.

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Holiday Gift Giving for Seniors

Consider the 3 Es: Experiences, Expressions and Edibles

’Tis the season of joy and of course, you want to spoil your favourite senior! The question is… what can you give your loved one that they will cherish, without overwhelming them or adding clutter to their simplified living space?

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Senior Loneliness — How You Can Help

For many, the holiday season can be a particularly lonely time. This is especially true for seniors who are living on their own and don’t have close family ties.
“My husband and so many of our friends have passed on now,” said 79-year-old Donna Watson of Calgary. “I have a nephew in town but I don’t like to burden him over the holidays, he has his own kids and grandkids to occupy his time.”
New research shows that isolation and loneliness is a growing trend for ageing Canadians, and this problem can lead to a deterioration of physical and mental well-being. In some instances, loneliness in the senior population is considered an epidemic and is linked with dementia and premature mortality.
For Donna, regular attendance at her local YMCA is key for her overall health, but she admits that her confidence in driving beyond her neighbourhood is waning and she is struggling to keep up her positive outlook as another winter sets in.
“Over the years, I have mostly found myself retreating inward around this time of year. I do puzzles and watch old movies and hope the Christmas season passes quickly,” said Donna. “But last year I had a wonderful surprise, a friend I swim with invited me to join her family on Christmas day. I had to push myself to go but it turned out real nice. It did my heart good to be around people and see the young children playing with their new toys.”
In recent years many communities have rallied around a mission to help seniors feel connected and cared for. In some cities there have even been public campaigns calling on volunteers to reach out to seniors with regular visits by phone or in person.
Other suggestions on how people can come together to ensure elderly people are not feeling alone and isolated, are:

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Remembrance Day – The Power of Stories

A young high school student in Alberta recently shared with us an interesting story about an English assignment he had just completed. The task was to write an essay about someone in his life who had experienced adversity, and to describe how these hardships shaped that person’s character.

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Hanging Up the Keys

For some, one of the most distressing aspects of aging is the prospect of losing their driver’s license. The freedom and independence of driving is something most of us take for granted for several decades of our lives. Giving it up can be quite a struggle.
If you are in this predicament with your aging parent, or if this transition is in your imminent future, you may be wondering how best to determine when it’s time to hang up the keys. Obviously, there is no definitive answer that suits all seniors in all circumstances. For instance, an aging farmer may be just fine driving within a short radius of his property until age 85, while a healthy senior living in a busy city may feel pressed to stop driving at age 75.
I spoke to a driving instructor at AMA and he was particularly helpful in offering general guidelines. His advice was simple, don’t leave this decision in neutral for too long. While it may be stressful for a senior to lose their driving privileges, it is more stressful to be involved in a driving accident. He suggested that a gradual phase-out of driving is an ideal measure where possible. Otherwise, it could be that laws, an unfortunate accident, or a medical crisis will dictate an abrupt end with less time to adjust.
One of his recommendations was that you have your aging loved one answer questions on this CAA driving assessment survey. The score will help to evaluate safety and competence, and the best steps to move forward.
Subsequently, here is a 10-Point checklist to help you form your own opinion on how your loved ones are doing behind the wheel.

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