The Border Is Closed, But You Can Still Travel…

Toronto has plenty of things for you to do

The border may be closed but there’s no shortage of interesting things to do when accessing a world class city like Toronto is easy.  And after months of being cooped up inside because of the pandemic, many older adults are ready to fly the coop and get out for some fun now that restrictions are easing. Still, the idea of venturing out can be a little – okay, a lot – daunting if you have trouble getting around on your own or have concerns about staying safe. This is where a companion caregiver can help.

For 4 to 8 hours every week, you can travel to Toronto and enjoy the attractions with your companion caregiver. A caregiver is the perfect travel partner. Not only do you get to enjoy the friendly company, but they also make it easier to get around while ensuring that physical distancing and other precautions are taken so you can focus on enjoying the outing.

Day Trip Ideas in Toronto for Seniors and their Caregivers

There’s so much to do in Toronto and we’ve rounded up some exciting and accessible options that are fun for all.

Toronto Waterfront

Toronto’s 46-kilometer shoreline is packed with exciting things to see and enjoy, from parks and beaches to art galleries and the Harbourfront Center.

Day-tripping the city’s shoreline offers up something for everyone and wide sidewalks and open spaces make it accessible to most and easy to physical distance.

Meander along the shoreline and stop at one of the many parks or patios and take in the beauty of the water, tall ships, and the skyline while you lunch. Beautiful Toronto Island is also just a ferry ride away! The ferries are all wheelchair accessible and the island almost completely barrier-free so getting around is a breeze.

High Park

High Park is Toronto’s largest public park and chock full of beauty and fun! It’s also one of the most popular Toronto day trip destinations for seniors and all other ages for that matter.  It’s easy to access by car or public transportation and once there you can find enough to keep you busy for the entire day.

The park features wild forests and Chinese gardens, a mini zoo, and Grenadier Pond – the perfect spot for picnicking and watching the ducks and geese. If a picnic isn’t your thing, Grenadier Café is open for breakfast and lunch on the patio so you can dine surrounded by nature.

Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is fun for kids and those who are kids at heart!

The zoo spans over 710 acres with more than 10 KM of walking trails to let you see it all. To make it easier, the zoo has several accessible features like wheelchair accessible parking and pavilions, ramps rather than stairs, and free wheelchairs. Just keep in mind that tickets must be pre-booked for now due to Covid-19 occupancy restrictions.

Toronto Botanical Garden

The Toronto Botanical Garden is a nature lover’s paradise with award-winning and themed gardens that span close to four acres and feature over 4,500 plants, the Willet Creek Ravine, and numerous bird species.

When you’re ready for a break, the Garden Shop and Garden Café are open to visitors with physical distancing and other safety measures in place.

The Access 2 Card Program

Enjoying arts and entertainment with a caregiver is a lot more cost effective for those with an Access 2 card.

The Access 2 card program was launched by Easter Seals Canada in 2004 to make entertainment, cultural, and recreational opportunities available and accessible to all. It can be used at hundreds of venues across Canada, including many of Toronto’s attractions, including the Toronto Zoo, Harbourfront Center, and more.

The card is for people with all types of permanent disabilities who require the assistance of a support person.

A support person, such as a caregiver, is an adult who accompanies someone with a permanent disability to assist with services not provided by the venue. This includes assistance with eating, medication administering, use of the facilities, and more.

Access 2 cardholders receive free or discounted admission for their support person. The card costs $20 for 3 years or $30 for 5 years and is valid at all participating venues during that time.

This side of the border is full of wonderful places and experiences that can be enjoyed year round, so take your caregiver’s hand start exploring!

Article sources:

  • Access 2 Card. http://access2card.ca/
  • Harbourfront Centre. https://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/accessibility/index.cfm?ref=footer
  • High Park Toronto. http://www.highparktoronto.com/index.php
  • Toronto Botanical Garden. https://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/
  • Toronto Island. https://www.torontoisland.com/index.php

The Many Benefits Enjoyed by Caregivers and Care Recipients

Every day I get to witness firsthand just how much our caregivers love what they do. It’s not an easy job by any stretch, but they wouldn’t give up their clients for anything.

A recent home renovation show reminded me again of not only of how special clients are to professional caregivers, but also just how special caregivers become to the person receiving care and their families.

In the show, singer Michael Bublé honored his late grandfather Demetrio’s final wish by renovating and gifting his former house to the caregiver, Minette, who had cared for him in his final years.

Throughout the episode, both Bublé and Minette talked about the special bond that developed between his grandfather and his caregiver.

It was heartwarming to hear how the grandfather – who’d been reluctant to receive in-home care and fought it tooth and nail – eventually grew to love his caregiver and how they became part of each other’s families.

While being gifted a house isn’t all that common, the special relationships between caregivers and care recipients is.

How everyone benefits of in-home care

Caregivers enjoy numerous benefits from taking care of others and it turns out that the person receiving care reaps many of those same benefits.

Here are just some of the benefits of being a professional caregiver that care recipients and their families also enjoy:

  • Flexibility – Caregivers enjoy flexibility so that they’re able to work while also raising children, taking care of family, and often attending school (usually nursing). By hiring an in-home care provider, the spouses or children of the care recipient are also able to better juggle their other responsibilities while ensuring their loved one is cared for.
  • Close relationships – Caregivers work closely with their clients, usually on a daily basis, often for years. During this time, they form close connections with the care recipient and their family members and these deep connections have benefits for all involved. The physical and mental health benefits of deep connections and friendships are well documented and include everything from lower stress and anxiety to improved immunity, and even a longer life! There’s also evidence that Alzheimer’s patients who share close relationships with their caregivers experience a slower decline in brain function, similar to the benefits achieved from some drugs used to treat the disease.
  • Better care – Great in-home care is made even better as the caregiver gets to know the care recipient and their family. This strong connection gives the caregiver a better understanding of the client and their needs so that they’re able to provide the best possible care. Everyone benefits from this! In turn, family members can pick up tips along the way that improve their skills when helping care for their loved one.
  • Giving back to society – Caregivers give back in so many ways. By doing what they do, clients are able to age in place safely and happily. Caregivers are also a godsend for the client’s family who are able to recharge and look after themselves while knowing their parent/grandparent is looked after. But the person providing the care isn’t the only one who’s giving back – people who hire a caregiver are also doing something wonderful! By hiring a great worker you’re helping her/him support their family. In turn, the caregiver is able to earn a good living and provide for their family, while also working with someone they respect and admire.

The Right Caregiver

The caregiver and care recipient bond is a special one that provides endless benefits for all involved. For this reason, we encourage our clients to choose their caregiver for the best possible fit.

If you’re considering in-home care for your aging loved one or yourself, give us a call to learn more. Excellent care, trust, and lasting connections are just a phone call away.

 

Article sources

  • Close Caregiver Relationship May Slow Alzheimer’s Decline. (2020). John’s Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/close_caregiver_relationship_may_slow_alzheimers_decline
  • Connect To Thrive. (2012). Seppälä E. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/feeling-it/201208/connect-thrive

Care on the Move

How a caregiver can arrange mobile services so seniors can stay in

In-home care services have been a godsend for seniors isolating due to the pandemic. Caregivers don’t just provide help with a seniors need in the home, though. Caregivers are also able to assist with many tasks that come from outside the home, too.

Caregivers can arrange mobile services so that seniors can continue to get all the help they need even while maintaining their physical distance to protect from Covid-19.

Here are some examples of just a few of these services that a caregiver can arrange for you or your elderly loved so life can go on as you continue to hunker down in the comfort and safety of home:

  • Transportation – Taking public transportation, be it the bus, a taxi, or car service isn’t ideal for seniors while Covid-19 is still in the community. A caregiver can provide transportation services to get you to and from appointments safely so that you can continue to maintain proper physical distancing.
  • Medical appointments – Times have certainly changed since the pandemic began, especially when it comes to healthcare. From doctor appointments to hearing aid consultations, more and more healthcare services are being handled virtually. A caregiver can help seniors arrange and navigate virtual medical appointments, including phone and video appointments. And, for in-person appointments, a caregiver can get you there and back safely, ensuring the necessary protective measures are taken along the way.
  • Pet services – Pets are such an important part of our lives and make such wonderful companions for seniors. Caregivers are able to book vet and grooming appointments so that Fluffy and Fido can remain healthy and happy, too. This can include arranging mobile grooming and vet services that come to you, or taking your beloved pet to an appointment.
  • Haircuts – Don’t underestimate the power of a good hair day! There is evidence that regular hair care appointments have a positive effect on the way older adults feel. Personal care, including regular haircuts and styling, play a role in helping older adults uphold dignity and maintain a sense of self.

To learn more about how our caregivers can help you stay on top of your outside responsibilities while staying safe inside, contact us anytime at 1.855.483.CARE (2273).

Article sources

  • Ward R, Campbell S, Keady J. ‘Once I had money in my pocket, I was every colour under the sun’: Using ‘appearance biographies’ to explore the meanings of appearance for people with dementia. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2014.03.006

Too Many Opinions Spoil the Soup!

Big families are wonderful, but when it comes to caring for a loved one, you can have too much of a good thing when everyone has an opinion.

Everyone wants the best for their loved ones, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has the same idea of what “the best” is when it comes to home care. When daughters, sons, grandkids, and other family members get involved, the dynamic can go from being supportive to quite disruptive to the care recipient’s wellbeing.

Too many cooks in the caregiving kitchen can also impact family relationships. For example, the person doing the majority of the caregiving may feel like they’re being judged for the way they care their loved one and may resent relatives who have opinions but don’t participate in the day-to-day care. On the flipside, the distant sibling/other relative may get upset over what they believe should be done for their parent, despite not really understanding their parent’s actual status or day-to-day needs.

When too many loved ones get involved – especially if they have differing opinions – it’s the care recipient that suffers.

This can lead to:

  • feelings of guilt for being the “cause” of family tension
  • feeling like a burden to their loved ones
  • feeling unsettled and out of sorts
  • increased anxiety and stress, which can take a physical toll as well as emotional
  • feeling as if they have no control over their lives
  • depression

A consistent routine with an objective is key

Studies have shown time and time again that consistency and a clear routine is beneficial for the health and wellbeing of older adults. This is especially important to those living with conditions like dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

A fully trained and experienced caregiver can help your loved one find and carry out a routine so they can enjoy these benefits, which include:

  • reduced stress and anxiety
  • better sleep quality
  • a sense of calm and security
  • improved sense of self
  • a sense of control

A professional caregiver can help with activities of daily living, as well as help your loved one remain engaged by escorting them to social events and activities. A consistent routine will help your loved maintain their sense of meaning and purpose, as well independence and dignity.

Article sources

  • Contribution of Routine to Sleep Quality in Community Elderly. Zisberg A, Gur-Yaish N, Shochat T. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2849790/
  • How routine facilitates wellbeing in older women. Ludwig FM. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/oti.57