This weekend, many family members will get together to celebrate Easter or Passover. Some will travel great distances to see parents and loved ones who they may not have seen in months or longer. Often, in addition to sharing a meal, conversation and memories, concern may arise if there is a seemingly sudden change in a loved one since a last visit. Often, right after significant holidays, websites like www.senioropolis.com, see a bump in searches and inquiries as worry about the future sets in for the children of elderly people who don't seem to be managing well.
While we always recommend that planning ahead is ideal and creates more opportunities for choice and adjustment, for those who haven't had that opportunity, the sooner you can begin your research, the better. Keep in mind that for any kind of assistance or relocation to work, as long as your loved one is mentally competent, you must have their agreement and cooperation.
There are signs you can be looking for when you visit, that may point to the need to begin discussions; things like kitchen safety issues, a noticeable weight loss or even substantial gain, changes in habits, behaviors or personality, evident difficulty with personal care or cognitive tasks, difficulty managing in general in the home or unexplained physical injury all may be cues to caregivers to start talking about options with your loved one.
There is really no 'best time' to have this conversation, but there are better ways to approach it and deal with it. Timing is important - so not at the holiday dinner table. Know your facts. Speak to other family members that may have more frequent contact about your concerns and find out their observations. Listen to your loved one. Don't attack or bombard. Tell them what you see and why you are concerned. Be supportive. Create a plan that starts with the least intrusive assistance and do some research about options available moving forward. Make it about problem solving and not about forcing them into something they don't want or understand a need for (we have an extensive article about this in our book and in the PDF download on Care Options for Seniors in Ontario https://www.senioropolis.com/BookInfo.asp).
Friday, 9 March 2018
Learning is nutrition for the body and mind. The mind is designed to investigate, discover and expand. The advent of the internet has completely revolutionized the way people learn. Seniors now have the opportunity to engage and participate in the world like never before by learning new skills, joining communities and finding learning opportunities.
According to Wired magazine the learning revolution is taking place at home. People are participating in self-teaching and connecting with the world in a more individualized way. An entire industry of online schools, academies and entertainment sites has made it more accessible for people to acquire information and knowledge. For senior citizens, this has given them an opportunity to continue learning and finding new activities.
There is a plethora of online learning courses and activities that teach people new subjects and skills. Some popular learning ventures for seniors include:
Art/Photography courses. These can be a great way for seniors to engage with their creative side and learn new skills of the trade. Courses, such as photography, teach people new ideas while encouraging them to go out into the world. Painting courses and tutorials also encourage hands on practice. Many host painting parties that invite people to engage creatively and share their projects.
Arts and crafts. For seniors that like to work with their hands, arts and crafts are a great way to satisfy that urge. You can learn anything from making jewelry, fabric and needle crafts and other small projects.
Music lessons. The Guardian newspaper reports that learning a musical instrument has documented neurological benefits that keep the mind sharp as people get older. Many online music schools will teach people to pick up an instrument and learn to play through step-by-step instructions and instructional videos.
Dancing. Seniors can also engage in learning new activities through the internet sources or local classes. One of the best benefits of dancing is that you can do it in the privacy of your own home or in a classroom setting, which can help you socialize. It’s also a great way to get in shape and learn about your own body’s abilities and limits in a healthy way. Seniors should partake of at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day, and dancing is a fun and great way to do it.
Book clubs. For seniors that like to read, joining a book club is a great way to communicate with others and engage in conversations. There are many local or online book clubs where people socialize or communicate through discussions.
The learning revolution has given seniors a connection to the world around them. The benefits of this type of self-teaching are plentiful.
Convenience. As people get older, it becomes more difficult to move around town. With many of these online activities, seniors can do the bulk of the learning from the comfort and safety of their own living rooms. As the New York Times reported, even colleges have taken to offering online courses for retirees and seniors.
Health & healing. Participating in physical activity like dancing is a great way to improve mental and physical health. Finding a new hobby and finding passion for learning new skills will help seniors who are recovering from addiction. Expanding and challenging the mind will do wonders for self-healing and leaving behind destructive behaviors.
Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford’s famous quote, “Anyone who keeps learning stays young” is applicable today. This is an exciting time in history, when knowledge is available and open to everyone. Seniors have an opportunity to use the modern world to their advantage. Learning and staying active from home has never been easier or more fun.
Contributed by: Marie Villeza, ElderImpact.
Marie Villeza is passionate about connecting seniors with the resources they need to live happy, healthy lives. So she developed ElderImpact to provide seniors and their caregivers with resources and advice.