Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Senior Health Care

While I write from the point of view as a former caregiver(both of my ill parents have since passed away), it makes sense for all of us to look after ourselves, as well as our aging parents. There is much research to demonstrate that good living precepts make sense no matter your age or stage of life.

We must look after our mind, body and spirit as an holistic principle. We cannot separate out ourselves as human being. If you are experiencing grief, or other spiritual issues, there is no question that it will express itself in your physical body. Much pain, and biological symptoms are embedded in outward demonstrations that our mind or spirit needs help.

For this reason, we all must take responsibility for our biological, physiological, social, emotional, spiritual, and psychological interactions. We know that senior, well or frail, benefit from social, emotional, physical stimulation that includes healthy eating practices, exercise, senior's social groups, Day Away Programs, and activities that include field trips and visits from friends and family. What strikes me is the parallel between Early Childhood Education practices that incorporate Key Experiences for seniors to stimulate the brain, as well as the body.

If you regularly ensure that you or your aging parent gets regular exercise for mind, spirit and body, then you can trust that you are doing the best that you can. Many seniors, who experience excellent health, do so by participating in a wide variety of activities on a personal, volunteer, or paid basis. A Toronto Star article writes about a 71-year old with a paper route. What a brilliant idea! know that our retirement saving have been depleted somewhat with the current economic climate. This idea makes perfect sense to me!

Check your local phone book, or go to, if you live in Ontario, for information on Senior's Centres in your area. This resources provides many other pieces of information:
For example:
Home support
Services to enable older adults to continue to live independently in the community (usually also available to individuals with disabilities).
Long term care facilities
Long term accommodation for individuals who require more nursing or personal care than can be provided through home support agencies. Includes facilities formerly known as homes for the aged and nursing homes.
Retirement homes
Housing options for older adults, usually with meals and some support services available but no on-site nursing care.
Seniors' apartments
Apartments for individuals aged 55-60 years and over who are able to live independently, care for themselves and maintain their own units.
Public and specialized transportation services, particularly for older adults and people with disabilities.

Many of senior's groups feature support in terms of exercise programs, social events, health and wellness activities, transportation, and other practical ideas such as Meals On Wheels, that will help a senior stay at home and remain independent. Keeping both your body and your brain stimulated helps to prevent biopsychosocial issues, such as dementia, and help you enjoy your stage is life. There are some sources that promise you can keep dementia at bay, but I am skeptical. All you can do is to get exercise, physical, social and emotional, and participate in society as best you can. Also important, is to ensure that you get proper medical help and support. Seek out reliable sources of information. Go to your pharmacist and ensure that your medications are correct and necessary. This will prevent issues such as delirium.

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