How Can You Have Interesting Conversations With Seniors

How Can You Have Interesting Conversations With Seniors

The art of conversation has been prominent since its beginnings in Ancient Greece; however, experts suggest that there has been a decline in modern applications due to the advent of technologies and social media interactions. Speaking person to person has never been so crucial. We all have a lot to talk about, and we cannot ignore tackling meaningful discussions with older adults. Engagement is key. And remember, it is not any different from starting a conversation with someone your age!

Their Past - If we could all recall the best times in our life, it would make for a fascinating discussion! Take time to ask a senior about their past. What are their favourite childhood memories and memories from adulthood? Events and trends are continuously shifting as time goes by, so they may talk about something that you don't even understand! Ask them what the best lesson they learned was and why and then perhaps this is something you could apply to your own life.

Views and Opinions - Imagine being part of a world that did not include technology! The difference would be astounding. Any senior can attest to how different the world is now, so take the opportunity to ask them about what life was like when they were your age. Ask them what one piece of technology in their day impacted their life. How did they view the world, politics, religion, even conventional notions like beauty and humour? Then, ask what made them happy this week – because it is vital to be present and mindful of today's gifts.

The Future - It is always interesting to proposition the future, albeit we are living in the future today with everything becoming digital. So, what do you think an older adult would imagine the future from now to be? Talk about what they imagine their grandchildren accomplishing, what will the planet be like, how would they like to be remembered? This is a fun opportunity to daydream and conjure a promising world with perhaps flying cars and robot teachers?

Accomplishments - In this discussion, you can both discuss what you're most proud of. How did a specific experience shape who you are today, and what is a lesson you would want to pass on to future generations? Try to relate to their stories and ask the right questions to find out more details. People like to sell themselves when talking about successes, giving each other a well-deserved spotlight while enjoying the conversation.

A good conversation is wise, subtle, and, at best, a work of art between two creators. We hope that you can find meaningful ways to start a conversation with an older adult and that you both get to learn something new and exciting in the process!

4 Older Adult Conversation Topics


5 Common Health Concerns for Seniors

What Are 5 Common Health Concerns for Seniors

What Are 5 Common Health Concerns for Seniors - Things to Look out for

Health challenges increase as we age, so it is vital to be aware of common conditions so you can avoid serious illness later in life. This blog post examines some top health concerns for seniors –

#1 Arthritis People 65 and older deal with this condition the most. It most cases, it leads to pain and a lower quality of health. Seniors should consult with their doctor to develop a personalized activity plan, along with other treatments that can be helpful.

#2 Heart Disease As a chronic condition, heart disease is the leading killer of people 65 and older, affecting 37% of men and 26% of women. Some risk factors that contribute toward heart disease are high blood pressure and high cholesterol, so seniors should exercise, eat nutritiously and sleep well at night to prevent the chances of having a stroke or heart attack.

#3 Cancer Cancer is the second leading cause of death among people 65 and older and affects 28% of men and 21% of women. Early screening can prevent cancer from spreading, and routine check-ups like mammograms and colonoscopies can help as well. Work with your doctor to develop healthy senior living recommendations.

#4 Diabetes We can identify diabetes and address early warning signs by testing our blood sugar levels. It is important to address if you are at risk for diabetes. You can make changes right away, mainly by eliminating sugar from your diet. 3 simple tips - get rid of table sugar, swap out soda for water and saying no to processed, baked goods.

#5 Falls The risk of falling increases with age. Every year 2.5 million people 65 and older are hospitalized because of falls. Most falls occur at home, where seniors are more susceptible to trip over area rugs or slip on wet bathroom floors. Seniors should avoid wearing loose clothing, wear shoes and install grab bars and handrails to help prevent falls from occurring.

Being an active and healthy senior can help prevent these health concerns from occurring. Incorporate daily walks into your schedule and perhaps try so lightweight resistance training or yoga. Eat a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, and be sure to drink plenty of water! We can’t avoid every health concern out there, but we can do our best to stay active and healthy.

 

5 Common Health Concerns for Seniors


Fight COVID-19 - Top Dos and Don'ts

How Can You Best Fight COVID-19: Top Dos & Don'ts

How Can You Best Fight COVID-19: Top Dos & Don'ts

As we have all been dealing with COVID-19 – working from home, practicing social distancing – let's examine some dos and don’t’s that everyone should follow to continue to stay healthy and safe.

Dos:

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds, as often as possible, throughout the day.
  • Use soap and water for washing and hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands.
  • Be cognizant of the virus' symptoms, which are: fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you have a runny nose, you probably have a common cold.
  • It’s best to stay out of public places, especially if you are over 60, have a health condition or are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.
  • Do your best to stay 3-6 feet away from other people and avoid gatherings altogether if you can.
  • As you self-isolate, remember to take good care of yourself – exercise, meditate, eat well. You need to build a robust immune system during this time.
  • Do make sure to clean surfaces as the virus can live on surfaces from a few hours up to several days.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t touch your face, specifically your mouth, nose and eyes. Touching can help the virus enter your body more easily.
  • If you have a fever, avoid travelling. If you’re already on a flight, tell a crew member right away, and when you arrive home, contact your doctor.
  • Never panic. As much as the pandemic is a serious issue, if you take the proper precautions, you can reduce your risk of getting infected.
  • Don’t see a doctor unless it’s urgent. You don’t need to see your dentist right now either. Health care workers are focusing on emergency treatments, so unless your symptoms are severe, you might not need to see a doctor directly.
  • You don’t have to avoid products manufactured in China. The virus can’t survive the process of moving from one country to another and in different temperatures and conditions.
  • Don’t go out if you can avoid it, and busy public spaces are a big no - say no to public transportation and ride-sharing.
  • Don’t reach for antibiotics. They only work with bacteria and COVID-19 is a virus.
  • If you have extreme warning signs, don’t hesitate to contact help immediately. Severe signs that you might be infected are intense pain or pressure in the chest, confusion and blue lips or face.

We hope that these easy to follow dos and don’ts help you throughout this challenging and unprecedented time. If you would like to share what your experience has been so far, we would love to hear which dos and don'ts you relate to most!

Fight Covid-19 Top Dos and Don'ts

 


3 Ways to Practice Mindfulness - Reading a Book

How Can You Practice Mindfulness - 3 Simple Suggestions

How Can You Practice Mindfulness - 3 Simple Suggestions

Meditation is the act of practicing mindfulness by reducing outward thoughts and focusing on inward sensations. We can use the breath to help establish a focus as the main goal is to reduce outside noise as much as possible.

Studies have shown that meditation drastically improves concentration and has even been linked to improving overall health and wellness. There are many short-term benefits to the nervous system, such as lower blood pressure, improved blood circulation and less anxiety. The following ways will help you incorporate a mindful practice into your day-to-day routine:

#1 Do a Digital Detox Remove technology from your space and go back to practicing an analog lifestyle. Even if for only one day, this will help to clear your brain. Technology can affect our memory, attention spans and sleep cycles, so a digital detox can empower you to regain some aspects of your physiology that you don't even consider regularly.

#2 Read a Book Take a trip to your local library and enjoy the scenery on your way there. Then find a great book to read, feel the pages, the bumpy or smooth surface of the cover and head home. Once you're at home, make a pot of tea and find a cozy seat to read. Studies suggest that reading not only improves your brain's connectivity, it also increases attention spans, focus and concentration.

#3 Make a Fancy Dinner – Stepping away from the daily grind can be breathtaking. When you prep ingredients, follow a recipe and focus on constructing a delectable meal, your mind thinks methodically, and this can help you to relax. Post cooking duties like washing the dishes can also calm your nervous system. Research shows that by focusing on the present moment, you can decrease nervousness, release endorphins and enhance mental creativity. See, your fancy dinner is going to be one step fancier!

The list can go on and on, but try the three methods above. Your mind will not regret it!

3 Ways to Practice Mindfulness


How Can You Keep Your Brain Healthy - 4 Digital Games

How Can You Keep Your Brain Healthy - 4 Digital Games

Maintaining psychological well-being is just as important as maintaining physical well-being. There are tons of digital apps and games which can help to improve cognitive function, an incredibly important task for seniors. Our brains tend to slow down over time, and if we are not exercising them regularly, there can be unfortunate results.

Some of the many benefits of brain games to seniors can include:

  • Improved memory
  • Faster-thinking skills
  • A greater sense of independence
  • Better hand-eye coordination
  • Improved motor skills
  • Enhanced reaction times  

Studies have shown that people who engage their brains in such games are also less likely to develop brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

There are countless apps out there which have the purpose of training and exercising your brain, and we have compiled a list of some that we recommend.

1. Lumosity

Possibly the most popular brain app out there, Lumosity splits sessions by targeting various goals: attention, memory, problem solving, processing speed, and flexibility of thinking. The app has over 60 timed cognitive games and science proves its efficacy. It also tracks your metrics so you can see your progress over time. There is a free version that limits you to 3 games per day and paid versions of $15/month or $80/year for unlimited usage.

2. CogniFit Brain Fitness

 Developed by a healthcare company called CogniFit, this app is specially designed by them to strengthen your cognitive health. It assesses over 22 cognitive functions and has additional website support so that you can play on the web as well. Available on iOS and Android, this game does, however, have a $19.95 monthly fee.

3. Personal Zen

This app is unlike the others. Its focus is to reduce your anxiety and stress by following two characters in the game – one who is calm and another who is angry. Developed by doctors and researches, the app trains your brain to focus more on the positive and less on the negative. This change can help to improve your resilience in the face of adversity and your mental health overall. The app is free to download for iOS users.

4. Fit Brains Trainer

This program is created by Rosetta Stone to improve mental agility through training. It has over 360 games, and puzzles that will enhance memory, processing speed, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving – and they’re fun to play! The sessions get more complicated the more you play, and the program makes recommendations based on your logged results. The free app is available on iOS and Google Play, and Google Play offers a premium version for $19.95/month.

Cognitive health is essential because it increases your ability to think clearly, to learn and to remember— it is an integral component of brain health. Working on your cognitive health also impacts motor function or how well you make and control movements, as well as plays an emotional role in how well you interpret and respond to emotions. Overall, there are many benefits to playing brain games. We hope this post helps you to consider some options that will contribute to greater cognitive health for your brain, no matter what age you are!

 

Digital Games for Brain Health Homeforce Wellness


Preventing Falls in Seniors

How Can Seniors Prevent Falls – Top 3 Tips

How Can Seniors Prevent Falls – Top 3 Tips

On average, without prevention efforts, one-third of people over the age of 65 will experience one or more falls per year. Falls are the most common cause of injury and the 6th leading cause of death for seniors. The home is the most commonplace for older adults to fall, so there are some precautions seniors can take to reduce the risk of falls. Following these few simple tips and making some changes in your home can be hugely beneficial to preventing injury and even death.

1. Reduce Trip/Slip Hazards

Making small and inexpensive changes throughout your home can prevent falls. Ensure that areas in your home are well lit, and that light switches are easily accessible near doorways. Handrails and banisters are incredibly crucial as they will provide much-needed support. Marking edges of all steps with contrasting colours or non-skid tape/paint increases visibility. Marking should be done on all steps, not just the top and the last – falls can happen anywhere. Avoid the use of unstable step stools if you are unsure of your balance, and place frequently used and heavy items on lower shelves to avoid the use of stools entirely – and don’t be afraid to ask for help! If you have family or friends around, they would be happy to assist you in avoiding potential accidents.

2. Frequent Your Doctor’s Office

Regular checkups and monitoring your health are incredibly important. Know what medications you are taking, even those that are over-the-counter and talk to your doctor or pharmacist about possible side effects. Drugs can have an unexpected impact on your body because, as you age, your body processes drugs differently. Certain medications, or combinations of medications, may make you dizzy, drowsy, or sleepy. All of these factors can contribute to a potential fall. Individuals over the age of 65 should have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year because they have an increased risk of developing some eye conditions and diseases. Those with vision impairments also have higher chances of falls and severe hip fractures. Being proactive and correcting vision problems is a valuable step in fall prevention.

3. Keep Your Body Moving

There is nothing more important than keeping your body moving and functional. The best way to prevent falls is to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Improving mobility and balance will allow you to not only prevent falls but live more confidently. Exercises like Tai Chi can significantly enhance both balance and coordination and are most helpful. Engage in regular physical activity – this can be as simple as taking frequent walks. Talk with your doctor, and they can help you figure out the best exercises for you.

With the help of family, friends and doctors, seniors can stay safe and prevent falls from occurring. Do you have a story about a fall you’d like to share with us? If so, contact us anytime, we are happy to share your experience to help educate our readers!

 

Preventing Falls in Seniors


Running Safety Tips

How To Stay Safe While Running - 10 Tips

How To Stay Safe While Running - 10 Tips

Let's run safe guys! You might be able to avoid risks by using a treadmill inside the gym, but it will be easier to follow a few simple rules as at the end of the day, we all enjoy the fresh air and scenery. There are a few common denominators when it comes to people being attacked while running. They are: being alone, being female and running in an unpopulated area. This is a list of a few precautions you can take to help make your run a lot safer. 

1. Always tell someone where you are going.

2. Plan your short or long sprints on well-lit and people-friendly routes. Also, avoid shady looking areas and alleyways if at all possible.

3. Try to run with another person, in a group or with your trusted animal companion.

4. Ditch the headphones.

5. Bring your phone. If you're in danger, press and hold the side button and either volume button on the sides of your iPhone to trigger the emergency SOS. For an Android, tap the emergency call button toward the bottom of the screen.

6. If you see someone sketchy coming up, cross over to the other side of the street. Better safe than sorry.

7. Vary your routes. Don't be predictable.

8. Always run confidently. Perpetrators are more interested in attacking naive looking people than someone will a full chest and a big smile.

9. You need to be 100% aware of your surroundings. Someone could be hiding behind a wall or bush.

10. Your instinct always comes into play while running. Use it.

 

precautions for safe running


Seniors Staying Active

How Can Seniors Stay Physically Active - 5 Ways

How Can Seniors Stay Physically Active - 5 Ways

Exercise is a critical component in maintaining physical fitness. As we grow older, our need for physical activity increases. By being physically active, seniors can live a happier and more balanced lifestyle, especially during their retirement years. This article touches on five ways seniors can keep active. Have a read and let us know if this information was useful to you!

#1 Slow and Steady — Due to mobility constraints, seniors should take it slow and steady. An excellent place to start is walking on a beginner's groomed trail or running track set on level ground. Taking your time will assist with maintaining balance, and studies show there are benefits from exposure to fresh air and natural scenery. Move slowly, yet surely and be sure to take breaks when needed. Mostly, avoid overtaxing environments or situations that can lead to unwelcome injuries.

#2 Hydration — For everyone and especially seniors, it is vital to stay hydrated during physical activity. Seniors require eight glasses of water a day or more if they are exercising. By using a refillable bottle, seniors can keep track of their water intake, and there are many new and innovative water bottle designs that seniors can carry around, keeping them refreshed and stylish too.

#3 Check with a Doctor — Before starting any new exercise regimen, seniors should check with their doctor. It's crucial to ensure that the routine is safe and effective. Doctors can also review limitations, ensuring the proper techniques are being considered. As seniors often deal with balance issues, exercise will help give them better balance, but it is still vital to keep watch, so they don't fall and require a hip replacement.

#4 Gym — Many gyms offer senior's a discounted membership. Take advantage of individualized sessions with a trainer or have a trainer explain how the equipment should be used. There will always be people around who have similar goals, so seniors can start a conversation, learn some new exercises and better yet, make a new friend! Don't forget to stay hydrated and arrive with some food in your stomach, so that energy levels are high.

#5 Relaxing — While exercising is exceptional, relaxing is even better. Seniors should develop a daily routine that includes some time to relax and enjoy activities that don't require too much movement. Keep it moderately challenging and engage in activities that promote mental endurance, such as Sudoku or playing with the latest technologies. Have fun and keep up with your grandson!

seniors staying active


drug safety precautions

How to Minimize Risks for Seniors – Drug Safety Tips

How to Minimize Risks for Seniors – Drug Safety Tips

Drugs are intended to improve your health, however it is important to implement drug safety precautions. From the pre-purchase process to post purchase and the consumption process, we have some tips to help you stay safe and reduce risks.

Ask the Pharmacist the Following Drug Safety Precaution Questions

  1. Any questions regarding drugs
  2. If generic drugs are available
  3. For written information about the medicine
  4. For easy-open containers.  *if you reside with children, easy-open containers are not recommended as it puts children at risk
  5. To keep a file on elder’s drug usage and medical history
  6. About senior citizen discounts
  7. For large print labels to improve your ability to read instructions, ingredients, and information
  8. About 24-hour telephone and emergency services
  9. About prescription home-delivery services
  10. About year-end tax and insurance statements

Discuss and Implement the Following

  1. If forgetfulness is a problem for your elder, create a chart. List the days of the week, name of each medication, times to take each drug, then cross out the drug each time it is taken.
  2. If your relative insists on using a plastic pillbox, keep the original prescription container handy. Keep a sample of each drug in its original container. When traveling, pack the original drug container as well.
  3. Make sure the prescription labels are clear and in large print. Keep a magnifying glass near prescription containers. If your elder wears glasses, remind him/her to wear them when reading labels.
  4. Use pharmacist provided colored containers for different drugs.
  5. When filling prescriptions, check the name of the drug on the label before leaving the pharmacy.
  6. Don’t mix alcohol and drugs.
  7. Consult the doctor before taking over-the-counter drugs.
  8. Ask party hosts if the food or beverages they are serving contain alcohol.
  9. Store drugs as directed. Refrigerate the drug only if told to do so.
  10. Know the expected side effects of the drugs.
  11. Never share or give your drugs away.
  12. Read labels in properly lit rooms.
  13. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if the drug is habit forming.
  14. Discard medicines that have expired or have no labels.
  15. Ask the doctor to order a home visit from a nurse to teach the elder how to manage medications.
  16. Discuss the fact that making rapid movements like standing up too quickly can cause unnecessary falls.
  17. Ask your family member to keep a list of all drugs in use, prescription and over-the-counter, in his/her wallet or purse at all times.
  18. Keep a list of drugs in use on the refrigerator or by the telephone.
  19. Do business with one reliable pharmacy.
  20. Keep each doctor informed of all prescriptions.
  21. Share written medication information with every family member.
  22. Check with the doctor before asking the pharmacist to substitute the prescription.
  23. Check with the doctor before asking the pharmacist to substitute the prescription with generic drugs.
  24. Make use of identification bracelets for allergies and chronic conditions.
  25. Before purchasing over-the-counter drugs, examine the packages for signs of tampering. If the seal is broken or it looks like the box has been opened, get another package and give the other to the store manager.
  26. Keep pills distanced from the bed. This reduces the possibility of taking the wrong drug or wrong combination when sleepy. Do not take drugs in the dark.

With these drug safety precaution tips, risks can be minimized for elders and seniors.

drug safety precautions


age with grace

How to Age with Grace - Regaining Your Health

How to Age with Grace - Regaining Your Health

 

Aging with grace is a phrase we hear often. We call the experience The Golden Years, and so they should be. We imagine ourselves sitting in rocking chairs reading a good book, eating a healthy meal, and playing with our grandchildren in the sun...we all deserve one hundred percent of that and more.

For many the challenge is the body's aches and pains as they start to build into an out-of-tune orchestra that chimes in with every movement, while the mind starts to take subconscious scenic detours away from the details of life.

Of course, there are prime examples of many people staying sharp and agile well into their later years. Benjamin Franklin was 70 when he worked on and signed the United States' Declaration of Independence. Nelson Mandela was 76 when he was first elected president. The oldest man and woman to climb Mount Everest were 76 and 73. Fauja Singh from Britain became the oldest person to complete a marathon at age 92!!!

Personally, my own inspiration to stay strong and healthy as I age comes from my grandmother, who was still leading canoe trips and teaching marksmanship at age 80 as well as competing in the BC Seniors Games as a cyclist.

My question is: How do I increase my chances of being able to do the same?

This blog is a collection of opinions and researched recommendations from people more knowledgeable of the topic than I am. Each article will explore another consideration or simple strategy that can be used to ensure we stay as agile and sharp as possible as we age.

I am open to topic suggestions, so please comment below or use the contact form on this site and I will be sure to research and write about it soon after.

Some areas of interest that are already on my radar include personal nutrition and supplementation, sleep habits, mental training and games (e.g. Lumosity), beneficial daily habits (like daily walks), stimulating skills (like practicing a musical instrument), effects of friends and social environments, strategies for caregivers (especially if family plays the main role), challenges of living with degenerative illnesses (Alzheimer's, dementia, ALS), important planning steps for life events, communication tips for hard conversations, considerations on when to make the move to in-house care or a care home, alternative supportive solutions, a list of things worth celebration, things worth doing, and a look at that bucket list...to name a few.

In no way am I an expert or claiming to have the correct answers or advice (let alone experience) for any of the above topics. Following my own interest and everything I hear from you (my readers), I will research and cite the best available information in each of my posts as I write.

I look forward to continuing this adventure of knowledge, mobility, and health.

May we all age with grace.

Age with Grace