Nutrition and Older Adults

Good nutrition is a significant key to living a healthy life and this is even more important for older adults.

We should encourage our loved ones to make healthier choices.  This is not easy as older adults have a tendency to be set in their ways and resist change.  Offer your loved ones a variety of foods from each of the four food groups – fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy or alternatives and meat or alternatives.  Try replacing one food at a time so as not to overwhelm them.

Whole grain bread, for example, is a better choice than white bread.

The food we eat should provide nourishment and sustenance and not just empty calories.

“An apple a day will keep the doctor away” is a well-known expression but clearly it has not been demonstrated to be true. Fruits and vegetables in combination with a balance diet have been proven to be beneficial to good overall health.  Canada’s Food Guide recommends a minimum of 7 servings per day for adults 51 years of age and over.  Small portions left in containers in the refrigerator are more likely to be consumed frequently during the day.

Salt is an essential part of a balanced diet in modest amounts. However, in larger quantities, it is associated with a host of health challenges for older adults. The Heart and Stroke Foundation has indicated that 80% of the salt we consume comes from processed or fast foods. The good news is that reducing salt intake can lower your blood pressure and the risk of diseases.  Your loved ones would benefit from home cooked meals that can be frozen and stored for easy access when required.

Drink water!  The importance of staying hydrated is often preached by doctors and other health experts.

This is particularly important for seniors who are more prone to de-hydration than younger Canadians.

Aging affects the thirst mechanism in the body and several hours may pass before feeling the need to hydrate.  Once symptoms such as dizziness or light-headedness are experienced, one is already severely dehydrated. Loved ones should be encouraged to keep a bottle nearby which can be re-filled as soon as it becomes empty.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol.  They have been determined to increase blood pressure, heart rate and in some cases, cause heart palpitations and an irregular heartbeat. Caffeine can also result in headaches, jitteriness, agitation, stomach problems and abnormal breathing. In combination with a large meal just before bed-time, these stimulants cause restlessness and poor sleep.

Try to encourage your loved ones to eat a well-balanced diet. You can call Living Assistance Services at 416-483-0070 or ask your doctor about the benefits of good nutrition for older adults.


Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care

Resources for Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia and Alzheimer’s is something that affects many Canadian families. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, over 72% of those affected are women. The disease is very hard on family members, many of whom are tasked with caring for their parents (or other relatives) as the disease progresses. Continue reading Resources for Dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease

Retirement Homes

A recent article stated – “Home Care is a cheaper option than moving into a retirement home, especially when only a small number of hours a week is required.  When an elderly care recipient requires 7/24 coverage the costs of home care could exceed that of a retirement home.”

While this statement is generally true, one must be careful when assessing elderly care options and the ancillary costs to ensure you have all the facts to realize the broader picture. In most retirement homes, monthly rent is frequently not as all-inclusive as one may think. Many care homes charge extra for the services which will likely be required, such as continence care, assistance with dressing, personal hygiene, bathing, and dispensing medication. Such was the case when one of our elderly care client family members recently contacted us to lament the fact that the nursing home staff was charging them an incremental hourly rate (rounded to nearest 15 minutes) of $75.00 for a Registered Nurse to dispense medication. Her mother required a single pill four times daily! Many care homes have 24/7 care staff available at a high hourly rate, but they do not match the level of personal attention a home care agency Personal Support Worker (PSW) can provide with one-on-one elderly care assistance.

Individuals and families obviously do not wish to spend any more money than required, but even more dislike not receiving value for their money, or as our client said, being “nickeled and dimed”. Families often find that they can spend a bundle at a retirement home and still be disappointed with the level of care received.

Deciding upon home care versus a Retirement Home or Assisted Living Facility goes well beyond just the difference in costs. However, ultimately, families want what’s best for their parents. They want them to receive the services they need to maintain normal life as much as possible, and we want them to be happy and comfortable where they live. A one-on-one personal relationship with a home care qualified PSW who attends when needed can provide a higher level of service than most retirement homes. In survey after survey more than 80% of seniors report that they want to live where they want to be…at home! Why? Because their home is familiar, they know where everything is, they have a social network in place, friends and family can easily come and go, and they don’t like change as they understand that moving and selling a home is extremely disruptive.

The cost of home care is always important but only part of the equation when considering options for loved ones. Quality of life together with value for money should be an integral part of the conversation.


Written by Robert Lee

Be Brave – Ask for Help

It is encouraging that so many of us choose our careers because we love to help others. Many individuals, particularly in times of need, love to help others. It’s very noble to assist those in need, yet, conversely, most people dislike asking for assistance and often decline it when offered. For some strange reason, asking for help is perceived as a sign of weakness and no one wants to appear weak. But we have discovered that it takes strength and courage seek out home care assistance. Think of persons with addictions, who after years of denial finally admit they need some rehabilitation and start the long arduous process of recovery. It takes real courage.

We are often asked what the biggest challenge in the field of home care is, and it’s not the elderly care itself or our competitors or Assisted Living Facilities. Our biggest challenge is convincing those who need home care assistance to accept the help that is available. Our Care Recipients are primarily seniors, but our clients (the people that hire us) are invariably their children who, in some cases, have been begging their parents for years to accept home care help.  Seniors themselves almost never contact us.

Survey after survey indicate that the majority of seniors wish to stay in their home as long as possible and we also know they want to maintain their independence as long as possible. In most cases, providing them with some home care greatly assists them in achieving this goal.

Falls and physical injuries are the number one reason for senior hospitalizations and admittance to long term care. Having elderly care help in the house can vastly reduce the risks as well as add years to a loved ones independence.

So stop being stubborn. Instead Be Brave and ask for help!


Written by Robert Lee