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Celebrating the Holidays with Seniors- Barrie

The traditions and memories of the holidays can continue to bring joy and light to our lives, no matter how old we are. A great deal of preparation and planning go into the holidays as a whole, but celebrating with ageing family members and loved ones requires some special attention. Thought needs to be directed towards determining how best to structure and navigate holiday gatherings, traditions, and activities that seniors will attend. The emotional and physical needs of seniors that need to be monitored and tended to don’t simply disappear when holiday cheer comes knocking, so some purposeful thought about all pertinent factors needs to take place in the process of planning holidays that will be spent with seniors. Keep Health in Mind There are some fundamental elements relating to the physical health and well-being of seniors that need to be consulted and considered when planning holiday gatherings and events. Essential practices and aspects of care that seniors receive in their day-to-day lives should be incorporated into holiday celebrations, in order to ensure that health is not compromised or forgotten in the excitement of the festivities. Logistically speaking, try making arrangements in advance that will help to create and foster comfortable environments and transitions for seniors attending holiday celebrations. This will prevent them from feeling isolated, or as though they are a burden. Create a comfortable space, arrange transportation, respect physical limitations, and create options for places to seek rest or quiet if things get too overwhelming. A little planning ahead can make all the difference. Navigating the food-oriented nature of many holiday gatherings can be challenging for many...

Seniors and Shingles – Barrie

Shingles is uncomfortable and difficult for seniors, but with support and help seniors can better manage the experience until they feel better. As is the case with any illness, it can be challenging and stressful to care for a loved-one who is dealing with Shingles. An understanding of the basics of Shingles and how it impacts the body can help caregivers to know what their loved-ones need as they work to feel better.  What is Shingles? Shingles is related to the Chickenpox that so many of us had as children. The varicella-zoster virus that causes the Chickenpox can remain within the body and can become active again in adulthood causing Shingles. Shingles impacts nerves throughout the body and causes a rash on the skin. Common symptoms of Shingles are as follows: Fever Achy Body Itchiness Headache Rash/Blistering Burning Sensation Nerve Pain The pain that comes with Shingles can be severe and hard to deal with, and older adults often experience more extreme cases of Shingles. A case of Shingles can stick around for a few weeks (often between three and five). It is important that seniors and their caregivers keep a close eye on how things are going to make sure they can detect any changes that might indicate the development of complications and can seek the help of a medical professional should trouble arise.  Having Shingles When a case of Shingles is active, there are some measures to take to protect others and to ease the discomfort a little bit until it is over. In terms of preventing the spread of Shingles to others, it is important to...

How Aromatherapy Can Help Support Seniors’ Wellbeing – Barrie

The smells that surround us can alter the way we feel and experience a moment or an environment. When it comes to self-care, there are certain forms of soothing things that we know can help us feel better. When we want to feel a certain way, we make use of things that help us get there. A favourite song, a warm cosy blanket, a beautiful view; these are all things that tap into our senses and make us feel better. Sense of smell is a powerful sense, and surrounding oneself with different scents can really contribute to creating a certain mood or feel. Aromatherapy takes the knowledge of how powerful scent can be, and channels it into a form of therapy for the body, mind, and soul. What is Aromatherapy? Aromatherapy is an alternative therapy that makes purposeful use of various aromatic plant properties in the form of essential oils. Aromatherapy aims to improve a person’s state of wellbeing through bettering their mood or helping to sooth certain symptoms of ill-health. Aromatherapy is an incredibly accessible way to engage in self-care and work towards promoting a better state of wellbeing. While there are many specialized places to receive Aromatherapy treatments and services, incorporating Aromatherapy into seniors’ lives can be as simple as using candles at home or choosing bath and shower products with the rights scents and oils in them. When we think of Aromatherapy, relaxation is often the first thing that comes to mind. It is absolutely true that Aromatherapy is an incredible tool for promoting relaxation and an overall sense of calm, but different smells do different...

Seniors and Eczema – Barrie

Eczema can be uncomfortable, but there are strategies that can help seniors to ease it. Our skin deals with a lot throughout our lives, and various things can impact the feel, look, and overall health of our skin. One particular condition that many seniors deal with is Eczema.  What is Eczema? Eczema is a skin condition that results in dry, flaky patches of skin that can cause some discomfort. The dryness associated with Eczema comes from a loss of lipids (insoluble fatty compounds) on the skin that help cells to hold on to water. With a reduction of these important lipids, the skin loses moisture and becomes dry and irritated. Eczema can occur on different parts of the body and can also come in different forms (Atopic Dermatitis and Stasis Dermatitis).  Eczema Triggers There are various lifestyle and external factors that can trigger bouts of Eczema in seniors. Being aware of the factors that come into play and how they contribute to Eczema flare-ups can be helpful so that seniors can learn to adjust their behaviours and minimize their interaction with things that trigger Eczema to cause them discomfort. The following are some examples of things that might cause Eczema troubles: Excess Heat: Heat dries out the skin and removes healthy natural oils that the skin needs. Lack of Moisture: The skin requires moisture from outside sources to keep things from becoming dehydrated. Harsh Detergent and Soap: Chemicals can irritate the skin and dry it out further. Irritating Fabrics: Clothing and linens that are too rough for sensitive skin can cause dryness and irritation. Certain Foods: Some people notice...

The Wonders of a Simple Walk – Barrie

The act of Walking can be great for the mind, body, and soul. The list of activities that seniors can take part in to keep themselves busy, engaged, and interested throughout the day is unending. There are so many possible ways to spend time that can meet any interest and can accommodate any level of ability. Walking is one of those activities that is generally accessible for seniors, whether it be a lovely stroll outside, a walk around the mall, a jaunt around any favourite area, or just a walk through the house. Getting out for a walk is something that seems simple, but can be beneficial for seniors in multiple meaningful ways.  How Walks Are Magic When it comes to the ways in which walking can be beneficial, the list is long and the things that resonate will differ from person to person. The wonderful thing about walking is that it can benefit seniors on many levels, from the physical to the emotional. The following are some of the ways in which a walk can help seniors feel better. Increases Balance and Stability: Walking helps the body to become more efficient and capable of keeping balanced and stable. This can be helpful to give seniors extra tools to help prevent falls or to catch themselves if they begin to tumble. Improves Sleep: Walking around is a form of exercise and can help to tire out the body in a healthy way that can help promote a more restful sleep. Walking outside in fresh air can be especially beneficial as the combination of movement and outdoor air can lead...

Seniors and Celiac Disease – Barrie

Celiac Disease impacts the lives of many individuals. Celiac disease is something that has gained a great deal more attention over recent years, with the gluten-free diet becoming more common now than it ever has been before. While most of the attention and literature surrounding Celiac Disease is centered around children and young adults, seniors facing the symptoms of the disease, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, can encounter various harmful health concerns. For this reason, developing an understanding of Celiac disease, its symptoms, and how to address associated concerns is important for seniors and their caregivers.  What is Celiac Disease? Celiac Disease is a condition of digestion that causes an immune reaction within the small intestine whenever a person eats foods containing the protein gluten. This immune reaction causes damage to the inner surfaces of intestines and prevents them from absorbing important and vital nutrients. Some common gluten-containing foods are bread, pasta, pizza, baked-goods, and any other food containing wheat or certain other grains. Gluten is also present within a lot of processed food.  Potential Signs of Celiac Disease There are a variety of symptoms associated with Celiac Disease that can cause problems. Seniors who are facing a combination of the following symptoms on a regular basis should consult their doctor to discuss possible causes and whether Celiac Disease may be the culprit. Abdominal Pain Muscle Cramping Diarrhea Joint Pain Tingling in Extremities Mood Changes (i.e. Irritability, Depression, etc.) Fatigue Anemia Vomiting Constipation Weight-Loss Atypical Stool  Diagnosing Celiac Disease Celiac Disease is not always easy to identify, and it may take a while to arrive at the right diagnosis. The...

Tactile Stimulation for Seniors with Dementia–Barrie

The experience of Tactile things around us can connect us to ourselves, others, and the world. The practice of Tactile Stimulation is something that can help seniors with Dementia to connect to their sense of touch and, therefore, to elements of the world around them in a way that can be helpful psychologically, emotionally, and cognitively. What is Tactile Stimulation? Tactile Stimulation is, in essence, simply making a purposeful use of physical things to foster a connectedness to the sense of touch. Interaction with items of different textures, shapes, sizes, and feelings can help individuals relate to their sense of touch and to things that surround them in their everyday lives. Tactile Stimulation and Dementia Individuals living with the realities of Dementia often face sensory difficulties that can impact their experience of daily life in meaningful ways. Using Tactile Stimulation to help seniors with Dementia better connect with their sense of touch can help play a role is adjusting to some of the facets of life that come along with Dementia. The Benefits Many seniors with Dementia face things like isolation, anxiety, nervousness, sadness, confusion, and other negative emotions that can take their toll. The integration of Tactile Stimulation into seniors’ routines has the potential to help to address and ease the intensity of some of these problems in various areas. Emotional: Tactile Stimulation can foster a boost in mood and a chance to interact and express oneself in a way that can help to improve emotional health and self-esteem. Engaging with things in a tactile way can also help to create a sense of calm that can ease...

Seniors and Stroke – Barrie

The occurrence of a Stroke brings with it challenges for seniors and their loved-ones to face together. A Stroke, and the changes that may come as a result of this health event, can cause meaningful changes in seniors’ lives. Understanding what a Stroke is and what steps you can take to minimize your risk can be important, especially when moving up in age. Stroke? A Stroke takes place when a blockage of blood-flow to the brain occurs suddenly, and the impacts that a Stroke has upon the body are largely determined by which areas of the body receive blood from the blocked vessel. Risk Factors A Stroke is something that can happen to anyone at any time in their lives, but the risk does significantly increase with greater age (particularly after the age of 55). For this reason, seniors are generally at a higher risk of stroke simply because of their age, but there are also other lifestyle and health related risk factors that seniors should be aware of so that they can modify their lifestyles and tend to their wellbeing in ways that address these potential problems. High Blood Pressure Obesity ( and Poor Diet/Lack of Activity) Diabetes Smoking High Cholesterol What are the Signs? Getting medical attention immediately is essential when it comes to a Stroke. The following are some signs that you can look out for that signal a need for immediate medical attention: Droopy Face Inability to Raise Both Arms Slurred Speech Because the areas of the body impacted by the Stroke may vary depending on the blood vessel that has the blockage, there is...

Using Colour as a Tool for Wellbeing – Barrie

Who knew colour could make such a difference in how we feel? When it comes to seeking a better state of emotional health and wellbeing, there are so many possible avenues to explore both within the bio-medical realm and outside of it with more alternative therapies and techniques. Colour Therapy, also referred to as Chromotherapy is a practice that makes use of colour to promote feelings of wellbeing and help seniors address different areas of their emotional health. While there is not a great deal of scientific evidence to speak to the direct impacts that colours have upon how seniors feel, it isn’t hard to imagine that interacting with certain colours can create certain feelings, emotions, and outcomes. Most of us already associate certain colours with different feelings; we may find loud, bright, fun colours make us feel one way, and calmer, more subdued shades make us feel something entirely different. This is the basis of colour therapy, that colour itself can have some impact upon how seniors feel as they navigate their day. The Colours In colour therapy, the different colours each are each able to help seniors connect to different feelings that can help guide their mood or emotional state. Red: Vibrant colours like those in the Red family (ie. Shades of Red and Orange) are meant to stimulate and provide a boost of energy or strength. Yellow: This bright, fun colour is often associated with happiness or a positive outlook, but can also help increase concentration. Green: The connection that the colour Green has with nature and the outside world taps into a sense of calmness...

Sun Protection for Seniors – Barrie

Sun damage can be harmful to health, so protecting seniors from the sun is important. The spring and summer bring about warmer weather and longer days all aided by the wonderful sun which graces the skies with its bright presence. Taking advantage of the sun whilst it is out is great for seniors, especially those who find darker drearier days more difficult to deal with from an emotional standpoint. There are so many wonderful activities that can get seniors out being active, social, engaged, and happy when the sun is out all of which can be incredible for both physical and mental health. The flip side of the wonderful impacts of the sun is that there is a little extra planning that needs to take place to make sure seniors are properly protected and don’t end up harmed by things like burns and sunstroke when they are out enjoying the sun. Protection from the Sun Sun protection is incredibly important for everyone, but when it comes to seniors there is often an extra vulnerability at play as a result of advanced age and some of the health problems that seniors may be experiencing. Senior skin is more vulnerable to damage, and a sunburn can have a more severe impact on seniors than it might have on younger skin.  The following are some simple things to keep in mind that can help seniors avoid any damage or problems as a result of exposure to the sun. Be Aware of Risk Factors: Aspects of genetics, lifestyle, medications, and other health problems can all culminate to create a higher level of risk...