10 Fun Fall Activities for Older Adults

There’s something magical about fall, isn’t there? The amber and gold leaves and the crisper air makes being outside a pleasure and cooler nights make home feel especially cozy. To make the most of this glorious season, we’ve rounded up 10 fun fall activities for seniors that can be enjoyed alone, with family and friends, or with a caregiver.

Go apple picking

This quintessentially fall activity is a great way to enjoy some fresh air and nature before heading indoors to enjoy your bounty, be it a bushel or just a small sampling. The grandkids will love it, too!

Do some baking

Whether it’s baking apple pie or crumble after a day at the orchard, or making a batch of your favorite cookies—baking is a wonderful way to spend a fall day. Have a little baking party with your family or friends, or together with your caregiver who can pick up what you need from the baking aisle and help with cleanup afterward.

Head to a pumpkin patch

No matter where you live, chances are there’s a pumpkin patch just a drive away. Many pumpkin farms offer other activities to help you make a day of it, like hayrides, petting zoos, and refreshments. Make it a family outing or have your caregiver accompany you to enjoy the crisp autumn air and help you pick out a pumpkin for baking or carving a jack-o-lantern for Halloween.

“Enjoy” a day of yard work

When aging in place, raking leaves and other yard work can be a pain, but with a little help from others, you can make a fun day of it! Your caregiver can help you whip up some fall-themed snacks and hot apple cider that you can enjoy outdoors with your loved ones. If fires are permitted in your area, grab some blankets and marshmallows and relax by the fire after the yard work is done.

Attend a fall fair

It’s fall fair season so why not venture out and enjoy the sights, sounds, and flavors. You can head to one of the many large agricultural fairs in the province or visit a local community fun fair or church bazaar.

Check out the stunning foliage

We are blessed to live in a beautiful country that’s especially magnificent when the leaves change colours. Take advantage of all the leafy goodness with a walk in a local park or a drive along a scenic road. Our caregivers are always happy to accompany you or do the driving if you like!

Try your hand at some fall crafts

You don’t need to be crafty to make something beautiful. The internet is full of free tutorials for fall/Halloween and winter-themed crafts for people of all skill levels and ages! Fallen leaves can be strung together to make a festive fall garland and pinecones and acorns gathered and painted to display in bowls and on mantles. Enlist the help of your caregiver or a loved one to gather or shop for the things

Try new soup recipes

It’s officially soup season and the perfect time to try out some new soup recipes with in-season ingredients. Pick up a cookbook from the library and find soup recipes online, buy the ingredients, and get cooking! Let your family and friends or caregiver get in on the fun and help with cleanup.

Tips to Help You Avoid Caregiver Burnout

Caregiving is a balancing act of career, family, relationships, and numerous other responsibilities. Based on the most recent stats, 7.8 million Canadians aged 15 and older were caregivers in 2018.

Trying to juggle caring for your loved one with everything else you have going on can be physically and mentally exhausting. It also puts you at risk for what’s known as caregiver burnout.

What is caregiver burnout?

Caregiver burnout is defined as a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. It results from taking on more than you’re able or not getting the help you need.

Like many other caregivers, you may feel guilty taking time for yourself because you feel you should spend it with your elderly or ailing loved one. Chances are you’re also placing unreasonable demands on yourself, as so many family caregivers do because you feel like all of the responsibility of caregiving has to be yours. While these all stem from your love for your parent, it’s important to understand that it can be damaging to your well-being and health if you don’t take action now.

You may be so used to just making it work that you don’t even realize that you may be headed to burning out.

A person experiencing caregiver burnout may:

  • Feel tired often
  • Suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Feel hopeless and helpless
  • Experience irritability and bouts of anger
  • Lose interest in the activities they used to enjoy
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Withdraw from friends and family

Some people also experience feelings of wanting to hurt themselves and have thoughts of suicide.

How to avoid caregiver burnout

There are things you can do to help you avoid caregiver burnout when caring for an elderly parent or loved one.

Here are some tips.

Educate yourself on your loved one’s illness

If looking after a loved one with an illness, become familiar with the condition and how it manifests so you know what to expect.

You can find information through a healthcare provider or online.

Put together a support team

Put together a support group of relief persons, including a professional caregiver for 4 hours, once or twice per week, or as needed.

A professional caregiver can take on some of the duties of caregiving so you don’t have to do it all. They can also provide respite and spend time with your loved one so you can take some time for yourself.

Find activities the care recipient loves

Putting on their favorite record or movie is a nice distraction for your loved one that will also buy you some time for a break.

That 40-minute long Frank Sinatra record can allow you time for a cup of tea or chat with a friend.

Join a peer support group

Connecting with others in a similar situation can make you feel less alone and allow you the opportunity to talk freely about the issues you’re struggling with without judgement.

You can find one online through the Ontario Caregiver Organization or by calling their helpline at 1-833-416-2273 (CARE).

End of rope support

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and having trouble coping, reach out for help. Caring for a loved one can be incredibly stressful. You don’t need to do it alone.

If you need someone to talk to, visit the Crisis Services Canada website to find local resources and supports.

If you’re thinking about suicide, call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 (24/7) or text 45645.

If you’re having thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, call 911 for immediate help.

 

 

 

 

Article Resources
The experiences and needs of older caregivers in Canada. Paula Arriagada, Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75-006-x/2020001/article/00007-eng.htm
Managing Caregiver Stress. University Health Network. https://www.uhn.ca/PatientsFamilies/Health_Information/Health_Topics/Documents/Managing_Caregiver_Stress_caring_for_a_loved_one.pdf

Competitive Card Games That Keep the Ageing Mind Sharp

A little friendly competition in the way of card games with others could be the key to keeping the mind sharp as we age, according to various studies linking playing cards and other games with better memory and brain function, and reduced risk of dementia.

While solo games like solitaire are good for the mind, too, playing with others has added benefits that come from social connections.

To reap the brain benefits of card games, seniors can play with friends and family, get in on games at the local community or senior centres, or play cards with their caregiver. We can tell you that our caregivers are always up for a friendly game!

Here are some competitive card games to play to keep the mind sharp.

Bridge

This four-person card game is the perfect example of how playing cards can keep the brain sharp. It requires memory and sequencing and helps improve skills like reasoning, logic, and concentration. The social aspect is the icing on the cake.

Poker

Poker’s not just for card sharks! Anyone can enjoy this competitive card game for 2 to 7 people. You don’t need to play for big money; you can play for pennies or snacks! Hosting a poker night is great fun and your caregiver can help. Make it a low-key game just between the two of you or have your caregiver help you host friends or family.

Go Fish

Card games don’t need to be complex to stimulate the mind. A game of Go Fish is a favorite with many of our clients and one that most people already know how to play. This classic card game isn’t just for seniors; it’s great for all ages! Play with your grandkids or friends, or challenge your caregiver to a game or two to help improve your memory and reduce stress.

Gin Rummy

This classic card game is easy to learn, but requires concentration and memory. Classic gin rummy, or “gin” for short, is typically played with two people, though different variations of the game can have more players.

Euchre

Gather 4 friends or family members or join a game at the local seniors centre for a game of Euchre. It takes a little time to learn the rules, but once you get the hang of it, you’re sure to love this competitive game. It involves strategizing and concentration, which is as beneficial for your brain as it is exciting!

Playing cards is a wonderful way to sharpen memory and keep boredom and depression at bay. Card games can be enjoyed with a caregiver by seniors who don’t have friends or family to play with. They’re also a wonderful way to connect with others and build your social circle if you join a club or the odd game at the local community centre or library.

 

 

 

 

 

Article Resources
Cognitive Activity and Onset Age of Incident Alzheimer Disease Dementia. Wilson RS, Wang T, Yu L, Grodstein F, Bennett DA, Boyle PA. https://n.neurology.org/content/early/2021/07/14/WNL.0000000000012388
Playing Bridge May Boost Immunity. Kristin Leutwyler. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/playing-bridge-may-boost/
Try These Activities with Loved Ones Affected by Memory Changes. Cleveland Clinic, HealthyBrains.org. https://healthybrains.org/try-activities-loved-ones-affected-memory-changes/

Hoarding – Why We Do It and the Services Available to Help

Hoarding disorder is a recognized mental health diagnosis in which a person has persistent difficulties parting with things. Hoarding often involves saving items like newspapers and magazines, clothing, and household items. Some people with hoarding disorder collect an extreme amount of animals.

Although hoarding usually begins in early adulthood, the condition becomes more severe with age, especially as they face age-related medical and social challenges.

There are no statistics available on the prevalence of hoarding in Canada, but based on data from the United States, hoarding affects 2 to 6 percent of the population.

Why we do it

Experts still don’t fully understand what causes hoarding disorder. Brain injuries and traumatic life events are believed to increase the risk of the disorder.

Some research has found that hoarding in the elderly generally starts before the age of 40, worsens after middle age, and is linked to social isolation.

Geriatric cases of hoarding are often associated with depression. Seniors with hoarding disorder often also tend to have other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or PTSD, or medical conditions, such as arthritis.

Research shows that hoarding that begins late in life is often associated with memory, attention, and executive function deficits.

Signs and Symptoms of Hoarding Disorder

It’s not always easy to spot the signs of hoarding because it’s often a private behavior. A buildup of clutter is usually the first sign, along with a person getting and saving items they don’t have the need or space for.

The clutter can become significant, often taking over spaces until they’re unusable and unsanitary and even hazardous.

The Importance of Getting Help and Who to Turn To

Hoarding disorder in older adults increases the risk for injuries, falls, and fires. The condition also often leads to social isolation and loneliness—something elderly adults are already at risk of.

Eviction and legal issues are also a concern when a dwelling begins to impact neighbours, such as if offensive odours or clutter makes its way into common spaces or neighbouring units or if there’s a fire.

While hoarding and the accompanying clutter can seem overwhelming and impossible to deal with, there are services available that can help.

If you’re worried that you or a loved one may have a problem with hoarding, it’s important to reach out for help. There are services that can help you maintain your home to improve your quality of life and health and safety.

CAMH recommends contacting a health professional to address any underlying mental illnesses, as well as services to help declutter and clean the home. Hoarding disorder and related mental health issues can be treated using therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), skills training, and medications.

Here are some resources that can help:

  • Primary healthcare provider – Reach out to your or your loved one’s healthcare provider for a referral to a mental health professional with experience treating hoarding disorder.
  • Your local hospital – Many Canadian hospitals and anxiety clinics offer therapy groups for hoarders over 60. For instance, Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Center’s Thompson Anxiety Disorders Clinic and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Anxiety Treatment & Research Clinic both run a 16-week CBT hoarding group.
  • Support groups – You may find it helpful to a hoarders support group and connect with others who know firsthand what you are going through. These groups can also be a great way to find other helpful resources. There are also support groups for family members of hoarders, as the disorder affects everyone.
  • Hoarding cleaning companies – There are cleaning companies that provide extreme cleaning services for hoarding. Some also deal with extermination and related issues.
  • An In-home care agency – In-home care services aren’t just limited to health care. Our caregivers can also help with housekeeping, running errands, and accompanying care recipients to therapy or support group meetings. They provide companionship, which can help stave off isolation, loneliness, and depression. Having a caregiver also means an extra set of eyes to help spot the signs of an issue, like excess clutter or shopping, and ongoing help maintaining a clean, clutter-free home.

 

 

Article Resources
Characteristics of hoarding in older adults. Diefenbach GJ, DiMauro J, Frost R, Steketee G, Tolin DF. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3530651/
Hoarding – Where to go when you’re looking for help. CAMH. https://www.camh.ca//-/media/files/community-resource-sheets/hoarding-resources-pdf.pdf
Hoarding in the elderly: A critical review of the recent literature. Roan D, Landers A, Sherratt J, Wilson GS. (2017). https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics/article/abs/hoarding-in-the-elderly-a-critical-review-of-the-recent-literature/0562B3D59971F23439270219F0D14F36

5 Most Nutritious Foods for Elderly Adults

You are what you eat, they say and healthy foods really can help you be healthy.

Incorporating nutritious foods in our diets is important at any age, but for elderly adults it’s even more so. Older adults who eat a poor diet are vulnerable to infections and chronic illness. A poor diet can also weaken muscles and bones, having a negative impact on an elderly person’s quality of life and independence.

On the flipside, healthy foods can boost the immune system and lower the risk of illness, increase energy levels, and help elderly adults stay healthy and independent longer.

Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or boring. Incorporating nutrient-rich foods into the diet provides the vitamins, minerals, and proteins needed for optimum health. Nutritious foods can also help the pocket book because they keep you full longer than highly processed foods and those full of empty calories.

Here are the 5 most nutritious foods for elderly adults.

Low-fat dairy

Low-fat dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and other vitamins and nutrients. Research shows that increasing the intake of nutrient-rich dairy products improves bone and muscle health in older adults. It’s also been linked to lower blood pressure and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.

There are plenty of low-fat dairy products to choose from, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.

Here are just some healthy-and tasty—ways to enjoy low-fat dairy:

  • Top yogurt with fruit, nuts, or granola—or all three!
  • Add fruit to cottage cheese.
  • Pair your favourite cheese with apple or pear slices, or with fig preserves.
  • Spread light cream cheese on a bagel and add a bit of your favorite jam for a sweet treat!
  • Shred low-fat cheese on scrambled eggs or an omelette for a protein-packed meal.

Fatty fish

Fatty fish, such as salmon, cod, and mackerel are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which play an essential role in brain and heart health.

While fresh fish is nice when you can get it, it’s not essential for getting the benefits. Canned and frozen options are easily accessible, don’t require extra prep, and are budget-friendly.

Here are some nutrient-rich fatty fish options to consider:

  • Canned sardines
  • Frozen wild salmon, cod, or pollock.
  • Tuna—canned or fresh—is great in sandwiches or salads.

Whole grains

Whole grains are fibre-packed and filling, and have been linked to successful aging. Successful aging, you ask? That’s defined as the absence of disability, cognitive issues, depression, and chronic disease. Whole grains have also been shown to improve heart health and metabolism, lower LDL cholesterol, and keep you regular.

The options are endless when it comes to whole grains with options that are great for any meal or snack, whether you or your ageing parent prefers savory or sweet.

Here are some ways to incorporate whole grains into your elderly loved one’s diet:

  • Whole grain crackers, which are great on their own or with cheese, jam, or hummus.
  • Oatmeal or oat cereal, which lowers cholesterol and improves heart health.
  • Swap white pasta and rice for whole grain pasta and brown rice.
  • Granola bars and oat bars, which are healthy and filling snacks.

Nuts

Not just a delicious snack—nuts have numerous health benefits for the ageing population! Nuts are packed with proteins, fibre, vitamins, fatty acids, and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have protective effects for the heart and brain. They lower the risk of disease, help with cognitive disorders and frailty.

All nuts have health benefits so which ones you incorporate into your or your loved one’s diet comes down to preference. People with missing teeth and dentures may find nuts too hard to eat—literally. If this is the case, opt for nut butters instead, like peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter which is delicious on bread, in baked goods, or on apples or celery. Nut milks are also a good addition to any diet.

Lean protein

We can’t stress enough the importance of protein for elderly health. It helps with muscle and bone strength, energy levels, and more.

Lean protein isn’t just limited to lean cuts of meat; there are plenty of non-meat sources of protein, too, including:

  • Beans (chickpeas, navy beans, fava beans, kidney beans…)
  • Lentils
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Tofu
  • Green peas
  • Quinoa

Healthy eating can be easy and fun. Experiment with different foods and recipes. The internet is full of delicious healthy recipes to try! For those who can’t get out to shop on their own, you can have your caregiver accompany you to the store or have them do your shopping and even your cooking for you.

Make a fun day out of food shopping by having your caregiver accompany you to farmer’s markets for fresh produce and eggs or to your favorite bakery for fresh whole grain breads and treats!

 

 

 

 

Article Resources
Advantage of Dairy for Improving Aging Muscle. Du Y, Oh C, No J. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6774446/
Rusu ME, Mocan A, Ferreira ICFR, Popa DS. Health Benefits of Nut Consumption in Middle-Aged and Elderly Population. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6719153/
Healthy Eating for Seniors. Government of Canada. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/tips-for-healthy-eating/seniors/
Whole Grain Tips for Seniors. https://wholegrainscouncil.org/sites/default/files/atoms/files/whole-grains-tips-for-seniors.pdf

Our Vaccinated Caregivers: Ready to help mom or dad get back out there

Vaccines are here and normal activities are opening up. You need a caregiver. We can provide. And they are vaccinated.

It’s been a long and difficult journey, but thanks to Canada’s impressive vaccine rollout, vaccines are getting into arms and things are opening up again.

Opening up means medical appointments and procedures that were postponed because of the pandemic are finally being scheduled again. It also means a return to the workplace for many, along with other pre-pandemic activities and responsibilities. While this is certainly a welcomed change of pace, it makes for a bit of a juggling act if you care for an ageing parent. That’s where we come in.

A vaccinated caregiver can help get mom or dad get back out there, safely

After months of helping seniors stay safe at home during the pandemic, our caregivers—who are fully vaccinated—are ready to help seniors stay safe as they begin to venture outside the home again.

Our caregivers can safely accompany your ageing loved one to:

  • Doctor/dentist appointments
  • In-store shopping
  • Social and spiritual activities
  • Walks and other outdoor activities and exercise
  • Meeting friends

Our caregivers can help if your parent is having surgery, too. This can include pickup from the hospital after surgery and/or in-home care services to help during recovery, such as meal preparation, light housekeeping, and personal care. If your parent requires more advanced home health care after surgery, we can also provide RN supervised in-home care, such as administering medications and injections, wound care, pain management, and more.

If your loved one is ready to finally get back out there, give us a call and let one of our vaccinated caregivers help them do it safely.

We’re available 24/7 by phone or email:

  • 1-855-483-CARE (2273)
  • info@LAServices.ca

Taking a Vacation When You Have an Elderly Parent

Hire a caregiver for just 4 hours a day. No commitment but all the peace of mind.

Borders are opening back up and we could all use a vacation after this long lockdown. For people with elderly parents, getting away can seem like an impossible feat. With all the worries and responsibilities, many family caregivers find it easier to just forgo a much-needed vacation than try to deal with all the details, and let’s face it, the guilt. But what if you had some help?

You can hire a caregiver for just 4 hours per day with no commitment so you can enjoy your time away knowing your parent is being cared for.

The importance of vacation for caregivers

Family caregivers are already overstressed and over worked. Research shows that people who look after a loved one, even if just for a few hours a day, often suffer from anxiety and depression and have an increased risk of burnout and illness. The pandemic has made this even worse.

Getting away gives you the opportunity to rest and recharge so you can be at your best for your loved ones.

How a professional caregiver can help

You don’t need to commit to a full-time, live-in caregiver if that’s not what your parent needs. You can hire our friendly caregivers to help out just 4 hours per day, no commitment.

Our friendly and fully vaccinated caregivers are available to help your parent with the same tasks that many adult children often take on. Things like laundry and tidying up, cooking, and shopping. You may be surprised to learn that our caregivers can also help with pet care by taking your parent’s pet for a walk. And, let’s not forget that our caregivers can also provide companionship in the way of a chat over a cup of tea, playing cards and games, or going for walks together.

If you’re ready to travel, give us a call to learn more about how one of our caregivers can be here for your parent while you’re away.

How to ~Lovingly~ Persuade Your Elderly Parent to Exercise for Better Health

Exercising is one of the most important things older adults can do for their physical and mental health, but getting motivated to do it isn’t always easy. Health limitations, fear of injury, and simply falling into a sedentary routine—especially during the pandemic—can prevent elderly people from getting the exercise they need.

Staying active can help prevent many age-related health conditions and make it easier for seniors to live independently longer—something we all want for our parents.

If you’re worried about your ageing parent’s activity level, the following strategies can help you persuade your parent to get moving.

Share the benefits of activity

Highlighting the benefits to staying active can be all the motivation your parent needs to get moving.

Touch on the actual health benefits, like a reduced risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s, as well as tangible benefits and goals, like having an easier time enjoying activities they love and keeping up with the grandchildren.

Let them take the lead

Let’s face it; no one likes to be nagged. Putting the pressure on will put a damper on their motivation. It’s also likely to be met with resistance if your parent is worried about losing their independence and the right to make their own decisions.

Support and encourage them, but give them the space to take the lead.

Identify and address obstacles

Find out what’s stopping your parent from being active. If they’re not forthcoming, ask if they’d be more comfortable talking with a doctor about it. If they still don’t want to share, look for clues that could give you some answers.

For instance, wincing and groaning with movement are signs of pain. Getting easily winded after moving just a little could be a sign of an underlying heart problem. These are just a few things that could make the idea of exercise unappealing and even scary.

Pinpoint their preferences

Contrary to popular belief, lawn bowling and aqua fit isn’t every elderly person’s cup of tea—not that there’s anything wrong with these activities, of course.

Regardless of age, we’re more likely to exercise if we find it enjoyable, so pinpoint activities they love and choose workouts accordingly.

If your parent is a social butterfly, help connect them with group fitness classes or a walking club, or hire a caregiver for companionship.  If they love to dance, try dance-based workout classes or videos geared to their fitness level. If they have a green thumb, a caregiver can help with runs to the garden center or mobility store to pick up assistive gardening tools.

Remember, there are many ways to stay active

Physical activity doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. An elderly person who resists the idea of exercise should be encouraged to get moving in any way they can.

This can mean pushing a lawnmower, playing golf, or going for a leisurely stroll with a friend or a caregiver.

Give them the tools they need

Exercise is a bigger priority in our generation than it was in your parents’. As such, they may not be aware of all the tools and resources available to help them get fit.

Find local groups or introduce them to people in their age group to enjoy activities with. Get them a pedometer or fitness tracker to help motivate them and track their progress.

If they require assistance, a professional caregiver can accompany them on walks or two and from fitness classes and other activities.

Start slow

It’s recommended that adults over 65 engage in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise weekly. While this is something to strive for, experts agree that some exercise is better than none, and starting slow is important.

Don’t try to rush the process. Instead, encourage your parent to work within their fitness level and set small, achievable fitness goals to work towards. For instance, increasing exercise duration by 10 minutes. Every minute counts and is a step closer to better health!

Be sure to consult their doctor before starting a new activity and for advice on exercising with a medical condition.

 

 

 

Article Resources
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines For Older Adults – 65 Years & Older. https://www.csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_older-adults_en.pdf
Physical activity tips for older adults (65 years and older). Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/physical-activity-tips-older-adults-65-years-older.html

Divorce Over 60: Things you may not consider and how to handle them

The number of seniors getting divorced is on the rise across much of the world, including Canada. Though there’s a lack in official statistics from the Government of Canada on divorces by age, law firms across the country are keeping tabs and, according to news reports, divorce among the 60+ age group has nearly doubled in the past decade.

“Silver splitters” or “diamond divorcees” as they’re affectionately referred to, are finding themselves starting over later in life and the transition is easier for some than others. This is particularly the case for couples who took on traditional spousal roles, with the wife handling all of the domestic duties, such as the cooking, cleaning, and shopping, while the husband handled all the finances and home repairs and maintenance.

Things often not considered when divorcing later in life

Charged emotions and the stress of splitting assets often take over while a couple is going through the divorce process. This leaves little time to consider the significant change to day-to-day life that you’ll be left with once the divorce dust settles.

Here are five things that many seniors are caught off guard by and not prepared for after divorce.

Loneliness

Even couples who say they’re happier and healthier after divorce admit to being caught off guard by loneliness and how much they miss the togetherness of having a spouse.

Along with missing having a partner, you may also grapple with changes to your social circle—something experts say accompanies every life transition.

Loneliness and isolation is an all too common issue for older adults and a life change such as divorce after 60 can contribute to that.

Redesigning your social circle takes time, but it is possible and worth it for your wellbeing as you move to this new season in your life. Staying in touch with friends and family, attending church and community events, and volunteering can help. In-home caregivers can also help fill the gap by providing companionship and assisting with tasks related to hosting friends in your home or transportation to and from social outings if you don’t drive or have mobility challenges.

Maintaining a home on your own

Whether you stay in the home you shared with your spouse or downsize to a new home, being responsible for running a household on your own can be daunting.

Often, older men who find themselves on their own struggle with cooking, cleaning, and other domestic duties that were mostly handled by their former spouse. In-home caregivers can fill the role of cook, house cleaner, and even pet care provider to make the transition after divorce easier. For older adults still busy with work or activities outside the home, home care services can be a godsend for keeping the household in order so you can focus on your other responsibilities and hobbies.

Getting around

Transportation can be an issue after divorce if you’re coming from a one-car household or you don’t drive either by choice or for health reasons.

Finding yourself on your own without an easy or convenient way to get around can significantly impact your independence and ability to get to where you need to go and even to maintain your social connections.

Transportation and escorting to and from appointments and social engagements are in-home care services provided by home care agencies like ours. We can help you get around whether it’s for the long haul or while you’re getting your new life in order.

Dealing with age-related changes and/or illness

Age-related changes and illness can be especially difficult to deal with when you find yourself alone later in life. Oftentimes, spouses take on the leading caregiver role, handling everything from medication reminders, to medical appointments, and even more advanced home health care.

In these cases, hiring a caregiver is often the best solution. A professional caregiver can take over the caregiving role once held by your spouse and help take some of the stress off of family caregivers, if any. In-home care services can change as your needs change, too, including as much or as little assistance as required.

The effect on your adult children

It’s no secret that many couples stay together “for the sake of the children”. While couples who divorce later in life still consider their children’s feelings, many underestimate the effect that their divorce will have on their children. They’re grown adults with their own lives, after all!

Kids struggle with parental divorce at any age, but adult children face particular challenges, such as being in the position of having to emotionally support both parents. Then there’s also the stress of helping to care for both parents—something that’s logistically and financially more difficult after divorce.

In these cases, having an open conversation and solid care plan is a must. Consider any existing health or mobility challenges, be honest (and realistic) about your wishes and preferences when it comes to your care and any expectations as to your child’s role.

Enlisting the services of an in-home care agency can help ease the physical and emotional burden of being responsible for caring for two elderly parents now or later.

Divorce isn’t easy at any age, but with some extra planning, support from loved ones, and help from a caregiver, divorce over 60 can be a lot smoother.

 

Article Resources
Family matters: Being separated or divorced and aged 55 or older. (2019). Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2019036-eng.htm
Bein S. Grey divorce: Why are more baby boomers ending their marriages when they get older? National Post. (2018). https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/grey-divorce-why-are-more-baby-boomers-splitting-up-their-marriages-as-they-get-older

Canadian Mental Health Resources for Seniors

Good mental help helps seniors stay physically healthier longer, which in turn allows them to maintain their independence and stay in their homes longer.

In honour of Mental Health Week and our commitment to providing care that helps older adults in the community age in place, we’ve compiled a list of Canadian mental health resources for seniors.

If you or an ageing loved one has mental health concerns, you can also speak to your family doctor or contact your local hospital for support.

211

211 is a free and confidential service that can be accessed by phone, text, chat, and online for information on government and community-based, non-clinical health and social services.

You can access it in any province or territory by dialing 211 on your phone or go to 211.ca to find your local service provider.

Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA)

You can use the CCPA website to find a certified counsellor/psychotherapist in your area for in-person counselling or to access online counselling or tele-counselling.

When using their online search tool, you can search by specialization area. For instance if you search “seniors”, you will be given related options to choose from, such as Older adult/Aging issues and Geriatric counselling. You can also search by conditions, such as anxiety, or types of therapy, such as grief counselling.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)

CMHA is a community mental health organization available in more than 330 communities across every province and one territory.

Visit the CHMA website at cmha.ca to find information on mental health conditions and to find a CMHA branch in your area.

Canadian Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross offers support services for seniors who are living at home, including the Telephone Assurance Program which provides regularly scheduled friendly calls and safety checks.

Visit the Canadian Red Cross website to find senior support services in your area.

Crisis Services Canada

Crisis Services Canada provides access to local distress centers and crisis organizations.

People in crisis and having thoughts of/contemplating suicide can access support by chat, text, or phone through the Crisis Services Canada website or by calling toll-free anytime at 1.833.456.4566.

eMentalHealth.ca

eMentalHealth.ca is an online portal for anyone looking for information about mental health, including:

  • A directory of mental health services and organizations
  • Free online screening tools to help you determine if you or your aging loved one has a mental health concern
  • Info sheets on a variety of mental health conditions and topics

Government of Canada

The Government of Canada website offers reliable information on mental health and wellness topics for all ages.

Visit the Government of Canada Mental Health and Wellness page to access information and services.

Wellness Together Canada

Wellness Together Canada provides free mental health and substance abuse support to Canadians.

The service was created in response to the rise in mental health and substance abuse concerns due to the pandemic, with funding from the Government of Canada.

They offer—free of charge:

  • Immediate text support
  • Phone, video, and text counselling
  • Community and peer support for mental health and substance abuse
  • Wellness programs you can do on your own or with coaching
  • Information and videos on common mental health and substance use issues

Visit the Wellness Together website to get help or information or text the word ‘WELLNESS’ to 741741