Labour Day 2019!

Labour Day 2019!

 

Labour Day is famous for barbecues, also known unofficially as the holiday that marks the end of summer, the Labour Day Classic and a Monday off. For many it’s an opportunity to take a late summer trip, or enjoy the company of family or friends at picnics, fairs, festivals and fireworks displays. For teenagers and other students, the Labour Day weekend is the last chance to celebrate with a party or to go on a trip before school re-opens for the new academic year. It’s a holiday that celebrates the contributions of the millions of hardworking Canadians that Labour every Day to make this country great!

 

Canadian football fans may spend a large proportion of the weekend watching the Labour Day Classic matches live or on television. The Labour Day Classic consists of three games between high ranking teams in the Canadian Football League. One match is played on the Sunday before Labour Day and two on Labour Day.

 

The origins of Labour Day can be traced back to April 15, 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for worker’s rights. The aim of the demonstration was to release the 24 leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union who were imprisoned for striking to campaign for a nine-hour working day. At this time, trade unions were still illegal and striking was seen as a criminal conspiracy to disrupt trade. In spite of this, the Toronto Trades Assembly was already a significant organization and encouraged workers to form trade unions, mediated in disputes between employers and employees and signaled the mistreatment of workers.

 

There was enormous public support for the parade and the authorities could no longer deny the important role that the trade unions had to play in the emerging Canadian society. A few months later, a similar parade was organized in Ottawa and passed the house of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John Macdonald. Later in the day, he appeared before the gathering and promised to repeal all Canadian laws against trade unions. This happened in the same year and eventually led to the founding of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1883.

 

Labour Day was originally celebrated in the spring but it was moved to the fall after 1894. A similar holiday, Labor Day is held on the same day in the United States of America. Canadian trade unions are proud that this holiday was inspired by their efforts to improve workers’ rights. Many countries have a holiday to celebrate workers’ rights on or around May 1.

 

 

 

OMG!  I CAN’T FIND MY KEYS

OMG! I CAN’T FIND MY KEYS

forgetfulness

It may be hard to know the difference between age-related changes and the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease. For example, if the person was never good at balancing a checkbook, struggling with this task is probably not a warning sign. But if their ability to balance a checkbook has recently changed, it is something to share with a doctor. To help, the Alzheimer’s Association has created this list of warning signs for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Individuals may experience one or more signs in different degrees. If you notice any of them, please see a doctor.

Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.

Challenges in planning or solving problems.
Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.

Confusion with time or place.
People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Vision changes related to cataracts.

New problems with words in speaking or writing.
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.

Withdrawal from work or social activities.
A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

Changes in mood and personality.
The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.

What’s a typical age-related change?
Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

 

If you’ve misplaced your keys, you’re probably just experiencing what millions of other Baby Boomers are: normal age-related memory difficulties. Here are some suggestions to help you with memory issues:

 

• Keep a routine
• Organize information (keep details in a calendar or day planner)
• Put items in the same spot (always put your keys in the same place by the door)
• Repeat information (repeat names when you meet people)
• Run through the alphabet in your head to help you remember a word
• Make associations (relate new information to things you already know)
• Involve your senses (if you are a visual learner, visualize an item)
• Teach others or tell them stories
• Get a full night’s sleep
• Learn more about what you can do to maintain your brain health and strengthen your memory

 

For better brain health, consider these options:

Challenge yourself: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/challenge-yourself

Be socially active: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/be-socially-active

Follow a healthy diet: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/make-healthy-food-choices

Be physically active: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/be-physically-active

Reduce stress: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/reduce-stress

Protect your head: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/protet-your-head

Make healthy lifestyle choices: www.alzheimer.ca/en/aboutdementia/brain-health/choose-wisely

 

If, on the other hand, you suspect a loved one may have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or a related dementia, it is important to get a proper diagnosis from a licensed doctor.

Be aware that many illnesses can cause confusion or dementia, and in some cases, those illnesses could be treated. For example, a urinary tract infection may cause confusion, but it can be treated. By having a correct diagnosis from a doctor, the doctor can decide on the best treatment and the family can start planning for the future. While there is no cure for AD and some other dementias, a loved one diagnosed with AD can maximize the quality of his or her life by receiving an early diagnosis.

The first step in getting an accurate diagnosis for an individual is visiting with that person’s primary care physician. Below are some quick tips to help you prepare a loved one for a visit to the doctor.

• Keep a journal of physical or mental complaints, unusual behaviors, and questions. Record such things as: What symptoms have you noticed? When did the symptoms first appear? How have the symptoms changed over time? Be specific and include minor symptoms. Present this to the doctor before the visit, if possible.

• Make a list of current medications. Include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs— even vitamins, supplements, herbs, and eye drops. Be sure to include a list of any drug allergies, as well as a list of current and past health problems.

• Schedule the appointment. You may want to talk with a loved one about making an appointment. Discuss this topic with a loved one, unless you think it will be upsetting. Ask a loved one if you can go along to the visit.

Written  by Fritzi Gros-Daillon

For additional information:
http://www.alz.org/stl/documents/visiting_the_doctor.pdf
http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/About-dementia/What-is-dementia/Normal-aging-vs-dementia
http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/About-dementia/Brain-health
https://www.alz.org/national/documents/aa_brochure_10warnsigns.pdf
http://www.alz.org/mnnd/documents/aging_memory_loss_and_dementia_what_is_the_difference.pdf

Senior Safety Tips for the Bathroom

Senior Safety Tips for the Bathroom

bathroom-safety-tips

 

Senior Safety Tips for the Bathroom. More than one in three seniors over age 65 fall each year, and approximately 80 percent of these falls are in the bathroom. Due to the multitude of unforgiving and slippery surfaces, bathrooms are very hazardous for the home. Seniors are vulnerable to falls for many reasons – eyesight and reflexes aren’t as razor-sharp as they used to be, not to mention the balance issues posed by diabetes, heart disease, thyroid conditions and various medications.

One of the most effective ways to preserve balance is to stay active with an exercise regimen. Ask your doctor about exercises designed to improve balance, stability and overall mobility, such as moderate yoga.

 

But other preventative measures include:

 

  1. Grab Bars:  Place properly installed grab bars next to the shower and toilet to assist seniors with rising and sitting. There are even floor-to-ceiling tension poles available for those spaces where grab bars aren’t an option. Please note that towel racks and soap holders do not double as grab bars because they are not designed to hold a lot of weight. Unlike towel racks and other basic bathroom fixtures, a grab bar is made to be bolted into the studs in the wall and support someone’s weight.

 

  1. Raised Toilet Seat:  This requires no installation! Just purchase one and align it over the existing toilet. The most basic models easily attach to your existing toilet and can raise the seating surface by up to 6”. More advanced models, like the Toilevator Toilet Riser, can be installed to the base of your toilet, allowing you to retain its original look and feel.

 

  1. Safe, Non-Slip Surface:  This can be accomplished by using a simple spray-on product in the tub, shower floor or tile floor. There are also special non-slip mats that can be placed on the bathtub or shower floor.

 

  1. Hand-held Shower Head:  Replacing the typical high shower head with a hand held one allows for the senior to move the shower head to clean themselves rather than move themselves, lowering the risk of falls. Look for a hand shower with a slid-rail for easily adjustable shower head height. Some models feature adjustable spray settings, look for one with a pause setting so the user can easily pause the water flow as needed without completely shutting off the water.

 

  1. Shower Bench:  Adding a shower bench allows the senior to sit while showering so they do not lose their balance and fall. It allows for a safer, less tiring bathing experience and requires no installation! All quality models are made from durable, waterproof materials and come with rubber tips to stop them from slipping.

 

    1. Improved lighting:  Keeping an automatic, LED night light plugged into the wall in the bathroom at all times prevents running into objects by making it easier to see the light switch. According to LampsUSA, a bathroom should have at least 646 lumens of light to adequately cater for seniors roughly 60 years of age. For seniors over 80, this jumps to 968 lumens. Most standard home construction lighting has around 450 lumens around the sink, so you will probably require additional light fixtures or fixtures with greater output.

 

    1. Walk-in-Tub:  A walk/wheel-in shower is ideal for anybody suffering from poor mobility. Stepping over a threshold and into a shower/tub adds an extra risk when bathing, and can be impossible to manage for people who rely on walking aids. Walk-in tubs minimize this threshold and also come equipped with extra features like hydro-jets to help relieve aching limbs or deep muscle pain.

 

  1. Remove Obstacles: Bathroom safety can be improved by removing items that are easily tripped over. Be consistent about putting things away, avoiding clutter and having one place where every item belongs.

 

      1. Adjust the Water Heater:  Turn down the water heater temperature. Elderly people have thinner, more delicate skin and can take longer to notice hot temperatures. Because of this, they are often at risk of burns caused by hot water. Keep hot water temperatures to a maximum of 120F. For the shower, consider installing a thermostatic mixing valve which senses changes in the flow of the two water temperatures and adjusts accordingly to reduce drastic changes in water temperature when someone does something like start a load of laundry while the shower is running. (For more ideas and solutions to fluctuating shower water temperature contact your plumber to find a solution and take preventative measures.)

 

      1. Non-slip Bath Mats:   Make a point to check the back of all rugs to ensure the slip resistant backing is still effective. If the rubber on the back is looking flaky, or balding in places it’s probably time for a new rug. Also, when selecting a rug choose one with a low pile to make it easier for walkers and slow feet to pass over and not get caught. You may want to consider covering the entire bathroom tile floor, if it is small, with a non-slip bath mat material.

 

      1. Towel Placement:  Place towels within easy reach of the tub or shower; reaching or straining to find a towel while standing in a wet shower is an invitation to fall.
      1. Avoid pooling water: Keep the bathroom floor dry, making sure it has no water on it. A weighted shower curtain will help ensure that no water leaks onto the floor.

 

      1. Replace the bathroom door: Hang the door so that it opens outwards in case of a fall. Remove any door locks.

 

      1. In case of Emergency: Install a medical alert system or communication device.

Remaining in the home can provide seniors with a strong sense of comfort and confidence. By following the tips listed above, you can help make sure that your loved one stays safe as well as maintaining their sense of independence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canes and Walkers Make Falls More Likely As Dementia Progresses

Canes and Walkers Make Falls More Likely As Dementia Progresses

 

If you have encountered a rehabilitation team during your life, whether it is for your loved one, or for yourself, you have experienced them issuing a walker or a cane to assist with balance during recovery of injury or illness. As we age, it may even become part of our everyday existence, first a cane for outside, then a rollator, then progress to a rolling walker even when inside. Heck, they even come in stylish designs and have all sorts of accessories for storage of personal items, or food trays. However, when a person is diagnosed with dementia, does this continue to be the safest option? After all, these mobility aids are meant to aid you in not falling.

Why does this become a dangerous idea for them? For an answer, I referenced Physical Therapy professor Susan Hunter. She believes that using mobility aids are a far more complex cognitive activity than we initially believed. Credit: University of Western Ontario

 

It seems counterintuitive that the using a mobility aid, such as a cane or a walker, can actually increase the risk of falls in older adults. Yet in individuals with dementia, that’s exactly the case. In fact, people with dementia are three times more likely to suffer a fall when using a mobility aid versus not using one at all. By using a mobility aid a person needs to have a lot more cognitive fitness and capacity. You now have one more object to maneuver around obstacles. This can be compared to texting while driving…how many things can you do at the same time to not cause an accident.

 

Professor Hunter has studied this question consistently in her academic career and she has found that using a device only increases the cognitive work slightly in healthy adults. The work load increases up to 40% for people with dementia. This is staggering. Does the extra brain work result in increases of instability? Does the patient actively use the walker without extensive cues? Do they forget to put it away, adding another tripping hazard in a hallway or kitchen?

It is important to assess for reasoning skills when a person is using an ambulation device. If a person with dementia is provided with a mobility aid to help physical support, but, this has become a new complex task, does it make them safer and less likely to fall? Can we do a better job of training our caregivers in the use of these aids?

 

Much of my practice involves safety strategies. I am passionate about fall prevention and accommodations to enable people to remain home. Sometimes this means adding items, grab bars, raised toilet seats, stair lifts, etc. Sometimes this means deleting items, throw rugs, movable obstacles, too many kitchen items for people to manage, etc. If a person is not able to successfully demonstrate reliable, consistent, proper use of a mobility aid, perhaps it is time to rethink the use of it for them.

 

by:

Kristopher Rench, OT, OTD, OTR/L, CLVT, CMT II, CSHSS

CEO, SeniorSAFE, LLC

Age Safe® Advisory Team Member

 

 

 

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

 

It’s a big holiday weekend here in Canada and the United States with Easter and Passover underway. All of us at Age Safe® Canada and Age Safe® America send blessings of joy to you and your families!

 

Why We Celebrate Easter

Easter is the most important feast day on the Christian calendar.

Regularly observed from the earliest days of the Church, Easter celebrates Christ’s resurrection from the dead, following crucifixion. It marks the end of Holy Week, the end of Lent, and the last day of the Easter Triduum (starting from the evening of Maundy Thursday, through Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday), as well as the beginning of the Easter season of the liturgical year. The resurrection represents the triumph of good over evil, sin, death, and the physical body.

In 2019, Easter falls on Sunday, April 21st. You probably already knew that Easter falls on a different date each year… but why? According to a Fourth Century ruling, the date of Easter is set for the first Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first full Moon of Spring, occurring on or shortly after the Vernal Equinox. March 22 is the earliest Easter can occur on any given year, and April 25 is the latest.

 

What Is Passover

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan, April 19 – April 27, 2019. Passover 2019 begins at sundown on Friday, April 19, and ends Saturday evening, April 27. The first Passover seder is on the evening of April 19, and the second Passover seder takes place on the evening of April 20.

Passover (Pesach) commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Pesach is observed by avoiding leaven, and highlighted by the Seder meals that include four cups of wine, eating matzah and bitter herbs, and retelling the story of the Exodus. In Hebrew it is known as Pesach (which means “to pass over”), because G‑d passed over the Jewish homes when killing the Egyptian firstborn on the very first Passover eve.

 

 

 

Happy 150th Canada Day!

Happy 150th Canada Day!

 

On July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation of four provinces: Nova Scotia; New Brunswick; Ontario; and Quebec. The anniversary of this date was called Dominion Day 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.

Today, Canada Day is celebrated with fireworks, concerts, cookouts, and sports games. Canada’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario, hosts the most holiday activities. There are countless events, activities, 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.