On Thanksgiving, Canadians give thanks for a successful year and harvest. The Thanksgiving holiday tradition in Canada dates back to when the English explorer, Martin Frobisher, came upon the land we now know as Canada while searching for a Northern passage to the Orient. When Frobisher arrived in Canada on his third voyage in 1578, he held a formal ceremony where he gave thanks for surviving the long journey – one of his ships had been lost on the way. South of the border, it would be another 43 years before the Pilgrims sat down to celebrate their first Thanksgiving meal. Happy Thanksgiving 2020!
Thanksgiving became a nationally recognised holiday in Canada in 1879. The date of the holiday has moved around a few times since then, and settled on the current date in 1957. Apart from taking place years before its American counterpart, Canadian thanksgiving also takes place over a month earlier. One reason is that the harvest season starts earlier in the more northerly Canada than it does in the US.
Today, it is celebrated by gathering with loved ones and preparing the Thanksgiving Day meal, which usually includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and many other dishes. There are often regional variations on the meal.
In the regions where Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated, most government offices will be closed and so will many local amenities. Public transport is likely to run on a holiday or Sunday schedule. Banks will be closed along with the Toronto Stock Exchange.
What are you thankful for this year? Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
October 1 of each year is National Seniors Day, which coincides with the United Nations International Day of Older Persons and is an occasion for Canadians to celebrate the profound contributions of seniors in our homes, communities and workplaces. For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to safely mature and grow older — places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity. This year marks the 10th Anniversary of National Seniors Day in Canada and due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, a more solemn milestone as well.
Join CARP and special guests for an interactive online event honouring Canada’s seniors and those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 .
More than 82% of COVID-19 related deaths are connected to long-term care homes—over 7,500 vulnerable residents have succumbed to the virus to date. More than just a statistic, this number represents real people with names and faces, and with important life stories that must be remembered.
With this in mind, CARP is hosting Canada’s largest-ever virtual meeting of seniors to talk about what happened and why, as well as how to protect our vulnerable older people in the coming months. Just as importantly, the event serves to remember those who lost their lives; not as statistics, but as parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors—real people who we failed to protect. A national Minute of Silence will serve as a powerful reminder that one death due to negligence in long-term care is one too many.
The free online event, comprising both a national and regional portion which will directly tackle seniors’ issues in your part of Canada, brings together a panel of very special guests to explore critical topics affecting older adults and offers an empowering message of hope on this milestone occasion.
Click Here for Event Information: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/carp-national-seniors-day-online-event-tickets-115086631212
CARP (Canadian Association for Retired Persons) is Canada’s largest advocacy association for older Canadians. Today CARP has more than 320,000 members. As a non-partisan association, CARP is committed to working with all parties in government to advocate for older Canadians. Its mission is to advocate for better healthcare, financial security, and freedom from ageism. CARP members engage in polls and petitions, email their elected representatives, connect with local chapters and share stories and opinions on urgent issues. Most CARP members also subscribe to ZOOMER Magazine, watch ZoomerTelevision/VisionTV, and listen to Zoomer Radio (AM740/96.7FM/ZoomerRadio.ca). For more information, please visit https://www.carp.ca
“National Seniors Day is a way for Canada to celebrate seniors for their generous contribution to our families, our communities, our workplaces and our country. Celebrating the day annually will help raise awareness about seniors’ contributions and the important roles they play in Canadian society.” – Government of Canada
Government Resources: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/seniors/forum.html
Age Safe® Canada develops training programs and certifications to empower senior services providers to better help decrease falls and fall-related injuries.
Advancing Successful Aging at Home™
July 1 commemorates the joining of Canada’s original three provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Canada province, which is now Ontario and Quebec) as one nation in 1867. On July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation of provinces. The anniversary of this date was called Dominion Day (for the Dominion of Canada in the British empire) until 1982. Since 1983, July 1 has been officially known as Canada Day.
Since 1958, the government has arranged for an annual celebration of Canada’s Birthday where originally the Canadian Secretary of State was in charge of the Co-ordination of events. The format of trooping of the colours on the lawn at Parliament Hill, a sunset ceremony, and live band with fireworks was the main order of the day. However since 1980 seed money has been distributed by the government of Canada and now popular and amateur activities are organised in hundreds of communities by volunteer groups to mark the day. The sovereign Queen Elizabeth 2nd has attended many times including the Canada Day centennial.
Typically, Canada Day is celebrated with fireworks, concerts, cookouts, and sports games. Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario, hosts tens of thousands, and countless events and festivals to be found throughout the city in the city streets, parks, and museums. Fireworks are launched from Parliament Hill to conclude a day of patriotic festivities. Today, amid COVID-19 restrictions, No live fireworks, no star-studded concert on Parliament Hill, and no crowds of tourists: Canada’s official birthday celebrations on this year for the first time ever will be completely online. Although things are different, you can still show off your national pride on this 153rd birthday!
Stand Proud. Stay United. Be Safe.
Bathroom Safety Tips
Creating a safe home environment for senior citizens starts with the bathroom — the place where, for the elderly, most at-home accidents occur. Whether it’s a slip in the shower or tripping on the way to the restroom at night, falls and injuries are especially common in the bathroom. To improve bathroom safety at home, you need to know how to handle the hazards. Here are some important bathroom safety tips to help keep you or your loved ones safe.
- 1. INSTALL GRAB BARS Grab bars give you something to hold when you’re getting into and out of the shower. They also offer a way to catch yourself if you’re about to fall. Add grab bars and safety rails to the shower/ tub and near the toilet. Make sure they’re anchored well enough to support an adult’s weight.
- ADD NON-SKID SURFACES While skid-proof decals are a step in the right direction, they don’t cover the entire bathtub surface, so slips are still possible. Look instead for a mat that covers the surface of the bathtub floor. Likewise, you may want to add a mat with a rubber backing to the bathroom floor.
- PUT IN NIGHTLIGHTS For those middle-of-the-night trips back and forth to the bathroom, nightlights add illumination that can make all the difference between seeing your way safely to the restroom and tripping on something along the way.
- LOWER THE WATER TEMPERATURE Set the whole-house water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower so that an elderly person is less likely to get burned.
- PROVIDE SEATING Extended periods of standing to brush teeth, wash up for bed, etc., can be wearying to an elderly body. Add seating to the bathroom so a person can sit while getting ready. Likewise, consider adding a shower chair with a rigid back that allows for a seated position while showering.
- RAISE THE TOILET SEAT To prevent overexertion from having to go to the bathroom, add a raised toilet seat that makes sitting down and getting up much easier. For anyone with knee pain, hip pain, joint pain, etc., this can be a great, practical way to improve bathroom safety.
- HAVE ITEMS WITHIN REACH Whether it’s shampoo and conditioner easily reachable in the shower, or toothpaste and soap easy accessible at the sink, keep items in the places where you use them. This helps eliminate unnecessary reaching, searching and standing — and the potential for accidents that comes with them.
- PROVIDE SUPERVISION In some cases, the best and most important way to protect a senior citizen in the bathroom is through the care of a loved one. Whether it’s a relative, friend or home health aide, having someone nearby greatly reduces the chance of serious injury.
Being diagnosed with dementia is life altering, not only for the one who has the disease, but also their friends and family. Most people are overwhelmed with all the new precautions and information they are given at diagnosis. We’ve done the research for you to help make this difficult time just a bit easier. Here are some tips for caring for loved ones with dementia and memory care activities for seniors.
Try to Ease Frustrations
One of the side effects that is common with dementia is increased agitation and frustration. Mayo Clinic gives essential tips on how to help alleviate these side effects.
Make a daily routine- By maintaining a daily routine such as waking up and going to bed around the same time, this can help limit confusion among your loved one. Also, notice when your loved one is most alert and try to schedule doctors appointments or bathing during those times.
Be patient- Simple tasks may become longer than they used so make extra time when scheduling out your loved one’s day. And always try to be patient, you have to remember this is a difficult time for your loved one as well.
Give independence- Try to allow your loved one to do daily activities or tasks by themselves, or with little assistance, if they are able to. This can be done simply by laying out their clothes and having them dress themselves. This will help bring some normalcy to a difficult time.
Avoid napping- Your loved one may often be exhausted and want to lay down for a midday nap. Do not let them do this. This will disrupt their sleep cycle and leave them feeling restless at night. Perhaps try to recommend doing activities, such as going for a walk instead of taking a nap.
Give choices- Allow your loved one to make some of their own choices, however, be supervised by you. For example, give them two choices of outfits and they can choose one they want to wear. Or you can have them choose between going for a walk or playing a board game.
Seniors with dementia may often forget about activities they once used to love. As a caregiver, try your best to incorporate those activities back into their everyday life, as they can help stimulate their memory and emotional connections. Here are some activities your loved one can do:
- Read Books, Newspapers, Magazines
- Arts and Crafts
- Take long walks
- Sing and Dance
Make their environment as safe as possible
Dementia also affects one’s ability to make judgements and their problem solving skills. These losses can often lead to an increased chance in one being harmed if precautions aren’t taken. Mayo Clinic provides some guidelines to help ensure your loved one is protected while at home.
Try to prevent falls- Loss of stability can be common in dementia, therefore making extra precautions to avoid falls is highly recommended. Put handrails and grab bars in areas where your loved one may be prone to fall i.e. the bathroom, shower. Check out these home safety tips for seniors for seniors from Age Safe® Canada.
Install locks- Place locks on doors leading outside. This will help prevent your loved one from wandering off when you are not home or when you are in a different room. It is also important to place locks onto cabinets that contain items such as sharp utensils, alcohol, or medicine, that can cause harm to your loved one.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
It is very important to not neglect yourself while caring for a loved one with dementia. HelpGuide notes to create a personal support plan so you don’t neglect your own health while caring for someone with dementia.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help- Reach out to family and friends if you are needing some help or simply just need a break. Try to schedule breaks throughout the day for time for yourself. Incorporate hobbies and activities that you enjoy into your daily routine to help boost your mood and health. It is also important to remember that you are not neglecting your loved one by taking care of yourself. You need to take care of yourself to better take care of your loved one.
Join a support group- It is integral to remember that you are not alone during this time. There are other caregivers out there who are willing to help and give tips and advice on caring for a loved one with dementia.
Plan your life outside of caregiving- Schedule time for your family. It can be easy to forget to spend time with family and friends while you are caring for a loved one with dementia. Make time and plan activities with your friends and family outside of caregiving to maintain your health.
Exercise- Try to exercise at least 30 minutes each day. Exercising can help increase endorphins, thus boost your mood throughout the day.
Relieve stress- Don’t bottle up all your stress. Talk to someone about what you are going through. This could be a friend, family member or a therapist.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be scary and uncertain. But there are tips out there to help you alleviate some of the stress that comes along with being a caregiver, as well as help your loved one with their cognitive skills. Make sure to take extra precautions and to always make some time for yourself.
Melissa Andrews is the Content Marketing Strategist for Paradise Living Centers, an assisted living center for seniors with locations in Paradise Valley and Phoenix, Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and going on hiking trips with her siblings and cousins.
COVID-19 and Caregiving
COVID-19 has dramatically shifted daily life for many people around the world. Nobody is immune, and older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of getting very sick from the Coronavirus. To protect vulnerable individuals, many nursing homes or assisted living facilities are banning outside visitors temporarily in hopes of limiting residents’ exposure to someone who may be infected with the virus. Additionally, many individuals who need care and are currently living in their own homes are feeling isolated and anxious about how to stay healthy and safe.
Caregiving is now taking center stage. With already more than 8 million family caregivers helping loved ones in Canada, experts expect the virus to increase the number of people providing short-term or long-term care to an older or aging loved one. Here’s some guidance to family caregivers with vulnerable family members, especially those who might be new to caregiving because of Coronavirus and its impacts on older populations.
Make it a team effort
While there may be one primary family caregiver, identify other family members, friends and neighbors who can check in or help with shopping and important errands. It’s important that the person you’re caring for doesn’t leave their home and stays out of public places.
Create a list with contact information of friends, family and services in your community that can help you perform key caregiving tasks. For example, find out if services such as Meals on Wheels can help deliver meals, or if there are other local services to help with food or medication delivery.
Inventory essential items
It’s important to figure out what you have so you can determine what you need. Inventory how much food, medication and basic supplies the person you’re caring for has currently. Then make a list of what you need and how often you need to replenish it. Many older individuals often keep minimal extras on hand because they are on a strict budget and are used to regular grocery or medication refills. If possible, help them have a two-week supply of food, water, house cleaning supplies, and medical equipment.
Get medications in order
If you don’t already have one, create a list of medications, medical contacts, and important information like allergies for easy access. If there are upcoming non-emergency, routine medical appointments, reschedule those or, if possible, switch to a virtual visit to receive telemedicine. Ask your pharmacist or health care provider if you’re able to have an extra 30-day supply of essential medications on hand. Don’t forget to stock up on over-the-counter medications like cough suppressants and fever-reducing drugs like acetaminophen.
With current social distancing recommendations, strict isolation will impact many older individuals. To keep connections strong, set up communication using a variety of technology such as FaceTime or Skype, smart speakers, or simply phone and text. Use these to stay connected with your caregiving team as well as your older or aging family members.
If your loved one lives in a long-term care facility, see if they have accommodations for online visits and how they plan to communicate with families. If they can’t support visits via technology, send in cards, letters, magazines, puzzles or other items you know your loved one would be grateful to receive. Talk with your facility management about the safest way to deliver items.
Maintain personal safety and self-care
In order to help slow the spread of Coronavirus, limit physical contact with others, stay in as much as you can and continue to follow guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada. While you are likely very focused on the person you’re caring for, it is essential to also care for yourself.
For high-risk individuals, such as those with dementia and underlying health conditions, consider having the primary caregiver self-isolate with the care recipient. Then, have a back-up plan if the primary caregiver becomes ill. It’s best to be proactive and not have to use plan B, rather than being caught off guard without options.
For more information and advice for caregiving and important considerations in light of COVID-19, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/how-to-care-for-person-with-covid-19-at-home-advice-for-caregivers.html