5 Ways to Boost Mental Health in Seniors

Though most Canadian older adults report having good psychological health, the risk of mental health issues increases as we age due to life transitions such as chronic illness, mobility issues, caring for a spouse, and the death of a partner and other loved ones.

Addressing issues early is crucial, but you don’t need to wait till you get that bridge to cross it, so to speak. There are ways to boost mental health in seniors to reduce the risk of developing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety or improve outcomes for seniors who may already be struggling.

In honor of Mental Health Week, we’ve rounded up 5 proven ways to improve mental health in seniors.

Volunteer your time

Helping others helps you, too, according to research which shows that volunteering has numerous mental health benefits, particularly for seniors because it offers a way to stay connected to others. People who volunteer experience improved life satisfaction, happiness, and self-esteem, and lower psychological distress and depressive symptoms.

There are endless volunteering opportunities available for older adults, including virtual volunteering from home, such as:

  • Mentoring youth
  • Tutoring
  • Friendly callers support
  • Telephone fundraising

To find an organization, you can do a quick online search of volunteer opportunities for seniors or contact your local church or community center.

For seniors aging in place, an in-home care provider such as Living Assistance Services, can help with transportation to and from volunteering outside of the house or with setting up online and telephone calls for the care recipient.

Get exercise

There is no doubt that mental and physical health is fundamentally linked. Having poor mental health increases the risk for chronic health conditions. On the flipside, having a mental health condition puts you at higher risk for chronic physical health conditions.

Exercising boosts the production of endorphins and other feel-good chemicals that lower stress and anxiety, reduce depressive symptoms, and improve your mood, and help you sleep better. And all it takes is 30 minutes!

If able, get out for a walk on your own, with a friend or loved one, or an in-home caregiver. For those with mobility issues, seated exercises can give you the mental health benefits while helping improve circulation and strength.

Care for a pet

Having a pet has been shown to increase happiness and decrease loneliness in people of all ages. Pet owners also experience health benefits like improved heart health and better fitness, too.

There are extra benefits for older adults who care for a pet because of the daily routine it provides. Pets also provide seniors with emotional support and give them something to talk about, which can help connect with others and make friends.

An older adult can reap the health benefits of a pet regardless of the type of pet, making it a possibility for anyone. If unable to have a cat or a dog due to pet regulations in a building, consider a fish! If mobility issues are a concern, an in-home caregiver can help with feeding and walking so that the care recipient can still enjoy the love and companionship of an animal.

Stay social

Our social networks tend to dwindle as we age, which is why senior loneliness and isolation is so prevalent. Adult children often move away and are busy with careers and their own children, friends become ill or pass away, and illness or age-related changes affect mobility and independence.

Remaining socially connected is crucial for the mental well-being of older adults and worth the effort of trying to make new friends and interacting with others in person and virtually.

Joining a club, participating in seniors or community events, going to church, and getting out and about to meet up with a friend are just some ways to stay social.

For adults who are bedridden or have difficulty leaving the house, an in-house caregiver makes for great companionship and can help arrange other social activities, such as preparing a meal to share with a visiting friend or family member or by providing transportation to social outings.

Take care of your spiritual well-being

This suggestion comes from the Canadian Mental Health Association which says that spirituality can provide us with meaning and solace, help us overcome challenges, and help us build connections with others.

The way to achieve spiritual well-being is to learn to be at peace with who you are and how we do this doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. For some, it’s about religion, but for others it simply involves living with purpose and finding solace in activities that make us happy.

Some ways to take care of your spiritual well-being:

  • Attend a religious service (in-person or virtually)
  • Practice deep breathing or meditation
  • Spend some time outdoors
  • Do some gardening

Good mental health translates to a better quality of life and improved physical health. This is something older adults can work towards on their own or with the help of loved ones and/or a professional caregiver, and if needed, their doctor and a mental health care professional.





Article Resources
About Pets and People. (2019). https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html
Mental Health for Life. https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/mental-health-for-life/
Yeung, J.W.K., Zhang, Z. & Kim, T.Y. Volunteering and health benefits in general adults: cumulative effects and forms. (2018). https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-017-4561-8

Getting Extra Help for Seniors to Reduce Fire Risk

Along with taking the precautions we just covered, you can get extra help with fire safety for seniors living at home.

Contact your local fire department

Your local fire department will be happy to help you, your family, and caregiver with fire prevention, free of charge.

They can help you test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make safety recommendations based on your home and any special needs, or help you prepare a fire safety plan.

Hire a professional in-home caregiver

Most fires happen when seniors are home alone. Having a caregiver in the home can help reduce the risk of accidental fire and burns for seniors, while still allowing the senior to live independently. This is especially beneficial for seniors at a higher risk for accidental fires, such as those who smoke, are forgetful due to age, illness, or side effects of medications, or are living with reduced physical or mental capacity.

With someone else in the home you can significantly lower the chance of a fire because of a forgotten pot, candle or cigarette, or improper use of a space heater or a fireplace. An in-home caregiver can also monitor side effects from medications and conditions that can impair a senior’s judgment or contribute to forgetfulness or falls.

A caregiver can take on the cooking or be present while the care recipient is cooking if they enjoy doing it themselves. They can also help seniors maintain a clutter-free home, test smoke detectors, and pick up and replace batteries, etc.

Along with all of these things, a caregiver can also provide companionship and assist with other tasks that can make aging in place safer.


Article Resources

Fire and at risk populations in Canada – Analysis of the Canadian National Fire Information Database. (2017). http://nfidcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Murdock-U-NFID-Report-At-Risk-People.pdf
Seniors Fire Safety. Central York Fire Services. http://www.cyfs.ca/fire-prevention/Pages/Seniors-Fire-Safety.aspx

Fire Safety for Seniors Living At Home

Fire safety is an important consideration for any senior who chooses to age in place. With some planning and a few precautions, you can greatly reduce the risk of accidental fires in the home.

Here are some important considerations when it comes to fire safety for seniors:

  • An escape plan.Everyone should have two potential escape routes in mind in case of a fire. When it comes to planning a fire escape for seniors, keep floors free of clutter, especially in bedrooms, hallways, and staircases. Have a light and telephone within reach of beds and any areas that you (or your ageing loved one) spends a lot of time. In-home caregivers are trained to spot potential tripping and other safety hazards and can ensure areas are clear and that the care recipient has what they need nearby when they go to sleep.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.There should be a working smoke detector on every level of the home and a carbon monoxide detector outside of sleeping areas. Each one should be tested monthly and batteries replaced yearly or sooner if needed. As this usually requires reaching high and/or getting on a chair or ladder; the responsibility can be assigned to a caregiver who can do it safely.
  • Cooking safety. You can reduce the risk by keeping flammable materials away from burners, setting timers, and turning pot handles away from you to avoid accidentally knocking pots over. Don’t cook wearing long or loose sleeves or any clothing that can dangle and make contact with the stove. Meal preparation is one of many in-home care services offered by Living Assistance Services. Having a caregiver take over cooking can eliminate the risk. For seniors who love to cook, a caregiver in the home while they’re cooking can also help. This is especially important when cooking multiple dishes or deep-frying.
  • Space heater use. Space heaters on common in most Canadian homes thanks to our frigid winters, but they’re a common cause of accidental fires in homes. Choose heaters with an automatic safety shutoff that turn off when moved or tipped over. When using a heater, keep it 3 feet away from curtains, furniture, and any materials that can catch fire. Post a note as a reminder near the door to shut off heaters before you or the caregiver leaves the home.
  • Smoking safety. The risk of accidental fires is higher for seniors who smoke. It’s important to never smoke in bed or when tired because of the risk of falling asleep with a lit cigarette. You can also reduce the risk of smoking-related fire by using special products, such as a smoker’s bib to protect clothing from a dropped cigarette or ashes, or an ashtray with a remote tube that leaves the lit cigarette over the ashtray at all times while you smoke via the tube.

Accidental Fires – A Leading Cause of Death in Seniors At Home

Older adults are more likely to die or be injured in a house fire than other populations, according to the Canadian Safety Council and the Canadian National Fire Information Database.

There are a number of factors that put seniors at higher risk of accidental fires. These include:

  • Vision changes. Seniors with poor or no vision risk falling on top of space heaters or falling while trying to escape from a fire. They’re also less likely to notice potential sources of fire, like combustibles that are placed too close to heat sources, such as dish towel too close to a stove burner or a lit cigarette discarded near paper.
  • Hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss is common and can affect a person’s ability to hear a smoke detector. The risk is even higher during the night, which is when most fire-related fatalities occur. Even seniors with mild to moderate hearing loss are less likely to respond to a regular residential smoke alarm when sleeping, according to research.
  • Decreased sense of smell. Smell is another sensory ability that diminishes with age, which can prevent a senior from being alerted to a fire in the home at any time of day. For instance, a senior may not notice the smell from a forgotten pot on the stove or a lit cigarette that makes contact with clothing or bedding.
  • Diminished sense of touch. As we age, our skin changes and our sense of touch decreases. A diminished sense of touch means that older adults can have trouble sensing pain or heat, and have a slower reaction to tactile stimulation. This can lead to more serious burns if they don’t notice a sleeve has caught on fire while cooking or a hot door handle that could otherwise alert them to a fire elsewhere in the home.
  • Mobility issues. Trouble with mobility makes it harder for a person to react quickly in the case of a fire. It can impede a person’s escape from a burning home. A senior with even mild age-related mobility changes is more likely to accidentally trip over a space heater.
  • Illness. The risk of illness increases with age and many older adults live with chronic illness. Conditions that cause physical or mental capacity can impact reaction time and affect how quickly and well a person responds to a fire. Reduced mental capacity can also make it difficult for some people to recognize fire-risks or engage in activities that increase the risk for fire.

Learn New Skills and Make New Friends—it’s Never Too Late!

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” – Henry Ford

The most wonderful thing about the internet is that it’s opened up a world of possibilities and experiences to everyone. This is particularly exciting for seniors who want to be engaged and learn something new—which can actually make the mind 30 years younger and slow cognitive aging, according to research.

You’re never too old to learn something new and what better time to try your hand at a new skill and make new friends than now! Get your university degree, learn a new language or musical instrument, or pick up social media skills that to have some fun with your grandkids or even become the next TikTok sensation!

Get your university degree online

Taking university courses online isn’t just a way to keep learning and earn a degree, but also a wonderful way to socialize and connect with “classmates” of all ages during virtual classes and even online study groups.

Seniors who enroll in continuing education courses or university programs may be eligible for significant discounts and even free tuition. These savings apply to in-person and online learning.

For example, York University, waives the tuition fee for people over the age of 60, as does Brock University, and the University of British Columbia, to name a few.

George Brown College is one of the many schools offering a 20% senior discount for continuing education courses.

If you want to earn your university degree online, the cost and timeframe depend on a few factors such as the field of study and number of courses needed, and extra costs such as text books and supplies, which are not included as part of the tuition fee.

Typically, an undergraduate degree can takes 3 or 4 years to earn. The average tuition cost in Canada is $6,580, though that would be waived if you enroll in one of the universities offering free tuition for seniors.

The Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) offered by the Government of Canada can also help you finance full-time education or training by allowing you to withdraw up to $10,000 from your RRSP.

You can find all the post-secondary education options in Canada using the Government of Canada Colleges and Universities online search.

Learn a musical instrument online

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to play the guitar, piano, or even the accordion; you can learn just about any musical instrument online.

The social aspect alone makes music lessons especially enjoyable because you get to connect and make beautiful music with others with a share interest through group classes or practice sessions.

If you’re the type who prefers to fly solo, you can take individual classes or even learn an instrument by watching YouTube videos. There are also numerous music apps available that you can use on your smartphone or tablet, too, if you’re app savvy!

A 30-minute music lesson typically starts at $25, depending on the instrument and the teacher. You can save money by taking group classes or purchasing a package of lessons. Many instructors and schools offer seniors discounts and a free introductory class.

Here are some options:

The Music Studio’s Virtual Seniors Connecting Through Music Program

Canada Music Academy

BestBeginnerGuitarLessons.com (also available on YouTube)

Learn a new language online

If you ever dreamed of learning a new language but thought you were too old, think again. There’s no critical period for language learning, according to experts, and learning a second language is in many ways easier for older adults than it is for youth.

Online group classes are loads of fun and there are plenty of apps available to help you learn and practice skills on your own, too. Babble and DuoLingo are just two popular options.

Online language classes are available through most colleges for around $350 and most offer senior discounts.

You can find information on classes offered by different schools at OntarioLearn.ca. Your local community center and public library may also offer language classes online.

Learn how to use social media apps online

Social media apps, like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok offer numerous benefits for seniors, according to research. Not only can social media help seniors stay connected to family and friends; it can also keep you learning and improve the way you live by giving you access to information on healthy cooking and lifestyle habits.

Seniors can learn how to use social media online thanks to free online workshops offered by local libraries and other organizations. Seniors Tech Services.ca, for instance, offers various workshops each month for Canadian Seniors on social media, as well as things like online safety, online shopping, and online dating for seniors.

If you have grandkids, having them teach you how to use social media is a great way to bond and continue to engage with them now and once it’s safe to get together in person again. (It’s also a great way to cinch your status as Coolest Grams/Gramps Ever!



Article Resources

Brock Tuition waiver for Seniors. Brock University. https://brocku.ca/retirees-association/tuition-waiver/
CEGEPs, Colleges and Universities Search. Government of Canada. https://tools.canlearn.ca/cslgs-scpse/cln-cln/rep-fit/cu/af.cu.clsea-eng.do
Cognitive Effects of Social Media Use: A Case of Older Adults. Kelly Quinn. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2056305118787203Continuing Education: Seniors. George Brown College. https://coned.georgebrown.ca/policies/seniors
Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP). Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/rrsps-related-plans/lifelong-learning-plan.html
Tuition fees for degree programs: Interactive tool. Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/71-607-x/71-607-x2019011-eng.htm
Waivers and Payments by a Third Party: Academic Fee Waivers for Senior Citizens. York University. https://sfs.yorku.ca/fees/waivers

Ways for Older Adults to Find Happiness During The Pandemic

It’s a well-known fact that people – especially older adults – fare better emotionally and physically when they’re engaged in socially and mentally. They’re happier, healthier, and live longer, according to research.

The trouble is that remaining active and social is hard at the best of times for a demographic that’s more likely to be dealing with chronic illness, mobility issues, and loss of a partner. The ongoing social isolation due to the pandemic only makes it worse.

Learning strategies to help older adults find joy by way of meaningful activities and social connections is more crucial than ever.

Let’s go over some tips that can help.

Maintain a daily routine

It may not sound all that exciting, but keeping a routine and some sense of predictability can provide a sense of security in these very uncertain times.

Studies show that older adults thrive when they keep to a routine. Following a routine reduces stress and anxiety, and improves sleep.

Scheduling daily phone calls or video chats with family and friends, activities, or visits from a senior care provider can provide this.

Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet is about more than just what you eat. Being involved in the selection and preparation of foods, and sharing a meal with others is enjoyable and good for the soul.

Placing online grocery orders is helpful for those unable to get out to a store. Make a list of recipes you enjoy or want to try and create a grocery list so you can partake in the process even if family member or in-home care professional is doing the shopping and meal prep.

You can continue to enjoy good conversation over a meal safely during the pandemic by coordinating mealtimes with friends and family so you can dine together over Zoom or Facetime.

Shopping and meal prep can also be performed by a professional caregiver who also makes for wonderful mealtime company!

Tackle home projects

Is there anything more gratifying than decluttering a space or finally getting around to tackling a home project you’ve always wanted to? Cleanout a closet and set aside items to donate and/or throw out. Organize your kitchen drawers or cabinets (we ALL have a junk drawer!). What better time to do those things you’ve been putting off than when you’re home during a lockdown! Your caregiver can lend a helping hand.

Keep your mind stimulated

The old adage “use it or lose it” is good advice when it comes to our brains. You may not be able to leave the house and see others, but there are enjoyable ways to keep your mind stimulated at home. Games like chess are a great way to do this and the magic of the internet lets you do it with others while remaining safely apart.

Reading is another activity that can keep the brain sharp. Share your love of books with likeminded people by joining or even starting an online book club.

Our caregivers are a happy to engage in stimulating games and activities, too. Play cards or board games or work on a puzzle or other hobby with your caregiver.

Learn a new skill

There’s evidence that learning and participating in a new activity improves memory function and cognitive function in older adults.

Fortunately, there are hundreds of new skills you can learn or hobbies you can take up in the comfort and safety of home.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Painting or drawing
  • Scrapbooking
  • Writing or poetry
  • A new language
  • Musical instrument
  • Sewing or quilting

You can find support – and supplies – online thanks to virtual workshops, classes, and groups. Your local library is also a great place to check for workshops.

Your caregiver can run errands and help with anything that you can’t order online or have delivered.


Article sources

  • Contribution of Routine to Sleep Quality in Community Elderly. Zisberg A, Gur-Yaish N, Shochat T. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/33.4.509
  • The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Synapse Project. Park DC, Lodi-Smith J, Drew L, et al. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613499592
  • Social participation and the health and well-being of Canadian seniors. Gilmour H. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2012004/article/11720-eng.htm

Does Your Elderly Loved One Have A Care Plan?

How an elderly care plan helps the care recipient and the entire family

Having a care plan in place for an elderly loved one is an important tool that you can use when planning your loved one’s home care, whether that care is temporary following a hospital stay or long-term.

What is an elderly care plan?

A care plan is a document that lays out the care needed for your loved one at home. It ensures that everyone involved in your loved one’s care understands his or her needs and coordinating all aspects of the care so that these needs are met by all involved, be it a professional caregiver, family members, and medical professionals—or all of the above.

Getting started on home care plan

Many family members come up with their own informal care plan based on their own observation and familiarity with their loved one. For those only requiring basic assistance rather than more involved care or advanced home care for medical conditions, this type of informal plan may be sufficient. If, however, your loved one requires more assistance that you or your family can provide, a care plan should be created with a professional.

This begins with an in-home assessment by our Director of Care RN (registered nurse) who will identify your loved one’s needs.

While your loved one’s health-related needs take top priority, their emotional, social, and spiritual needs are also taken into consideration, along with your loved one’s personality and preferences.

With all of these considerations, the RN will determine which home care services needed and work with you and the care recipient to fine tune the care plan, ensuring that all bases are covered.

The importance of involving the care recipient when creating a care plan

In order to help preserve their dignity and autonomy, it’s important that the person receiving the care take part in the creation of their care plan if they’re able.

Well-meaning family members often dismiss the opinions or recommendations of their elderly loved one because they believe they know what’s best. While this usually comes from a good place, it’s important to allow their voice to be heard and respect their decisions and wishes as much as possible.

How a professional determines what’s included in an elderly care plan

If you enlist the help of a professional, such as our Director of Care RN, to help create a care plan for your loved one, the following are things that will be taken into consideration:

  • The current state of the care recipient’s physical and mental health
  • Whether your loved one needs medical assistance, such as medication administration or dressing changes.
  • The amount of assistance required with day-today chores, such as meal preparation and housekeeping.
  • Assistance needed with activities of daily living, like bathing, feeding, and toileting.
  • Any mobility issues inside the home, such as trouble climbing stairs or moving from one room to another.
  • Any assistive equipment or devices your loved one needs, such as a wheelchair or lift.
  • Other caregivers involved, including you or other family members or friends, medical professionals, etc.
  • Whether home care services required on a short-term or long-term, live-in or live-out basis.

On a more personal level, our RN will also take into consideration other things that will help not only your loved one, but the rest of the family maintain the best quality of life, too.

Our RN will want to know:

  • What does your loved one believe she/he needs help with the most to be able to live as independently as possible?
  • What do you and your family members want for your loved one’s care?
  • How much care can you or your loved one’s provide without overextending yourselves?
  • Does your loved one have friends that visit or other social activities they miss or would like to keep up, such as going to senior center?
  • Do they attend a place of worship, such as church, synagogue, or mosque?
  • How can we help your loved one maintain their social connections?

Once a care plan has been determined, the next step will be to choose the best caregiver for your loved one.

Our in-home assessment helps find the caregivers with the experience and personality needed to best meet your loved one’s needs and preferences.

Based on your needs, we select two or three caregivers to visit your home so that the care recipient and/or family can make their selection for the best possible match.

If you would like to book an in-home assessment with our RN, give us a call. We’re here to help.

Winter and the Second Wave of COVID Doesn’t Have to Mean a Second Wave of Loneliness for Seniors

A study that looked at the effects of the pandemic on seniors confirmed what many of us already knew: social isolation took a physical and mental toll on seniors.

Not surprisingly, it also found that many experienced a significant improvement in their wellbeing once warmer weather came, bringing with it the opportunity to get outside for exercise and to connect with others.

With winter on our doorstep and the second wave of COVID-19 upon us, many older adults fear a return to the loneliness of last winter, during which many seniors reported feeling trapped.

Keeping Seniors Spirits Up During a Pandemic Winter

Spending time outdoors walking and gardening, and participating in hobbies and online classes are just some of the things that helped seniors stay positive. Connecting with friends and family through window or physically distanced visits outdoors also had a positive impact.

Studies like this one show us that there are things we can all do to help older adults remain positive while riding out the cold Canadian winter and the continuing pandemic.

The key is to help them keep their social connections and encourage them to remain engaged and active even when icy sidewalks make it getting out challenging.

This may not be easy for everyone depending on your circumstances. Work and other responsibilities can make it challenging to help your ageing parent as much as you’d like to. There are also COVID-related challenges, such as restrictions and concern over the possibility of bringing the virus into the home.

In these cases, hiring a caregiver can be especially beneficial. A professional caregiver can help your ageing loved one maintain social connections and remain active and engaged, safely.

Here are some things that you and/or a caregiver can help your older loved ones this winter.

Physical activity indoors

Exercise – even just a little – has been shown to improve a person’s mood, boost positivity and energy levels, and improve immune function.

Even if they can’t get outdoors, seniors can still keep their activity levels up by walking around their home. Seniors living in an apartment can take advantage of the long corridors in their building by taking a stroll. A caregiver can accompany them while implementing safety measures like masks and distancing.

Online exercise classes for seniors are another fun option that combines activity and the opportunity to connect with others virtually.

A mini stationary bike, which can be purchased for very little online or rented from some mobility device retailers, is another great option that provides a seated workout for the legs or even the arms when placed on a tabletop.

Outdoor activities

Don’t let the colder temps keep you or your elderly loved ones from getting fresh air. A connection with the outside world – even for a minute – can make all the difference.

A caregiver can help you or your parent get outside for a short walk or a physically distanced visit with family or friends. This means ensuring that they’re properly dressed for the weather, following public health guidelines such as masks and distancing, and helping them get in and out of the house safely whether they’re just a little unsteady on their feet or have more significant mobility issues.

Indoor gardening

Many find gardening to be cathartic and good for the soul. Caring for plants has been shown to be especially beneficial for seniors, offering the opportunity for care recipients to enjoy the benefits that accompany nurturing—a role reversal that many welcome. It’s also been linked to a reduced risk of dementia.

While winter in Canada doesn’t allow for getting our hands in the dirt outside, older adults can still enjoy some gardening inside by way of potted plants and flowers, and indoor herb gardens.

Puzzles and games

Puzzles and games are a fun way to keep the mind sharp and help pass the time when going out isn’t possible.

Joyful companionship is another one of the in-home care services we offer and our caregivers are happy to partake in puzzles or provide seniors with some friendly competition when playing cards or board games.

Games can also be played with friends and family online using platforms like Zoom or FaceTime.

Taking advantage of all the library has to offer

Books, DVDs, and music can all be borrowed from the local library for free and reserved online or by telephone and picked up by a family member or caregiver for seniors who can’t (or don’t want) to brave the cold or risk being around others.

For computer savvy seniors – or their family or caregivers – libraries also offer online content, including eBooks and audiobooks, digital movies and music, digital magazines and newspapers, and more.

And since it’s never too late to learn something new, it’s also worth looking into what eLearning and online workshops your local library system offers. What better time to pick up a new language or learn how to use Zoom?

Connecting with others, COVID-style

We know how hard it is to not be able to get close to those we love right now. Our hearts aches for our clients who miss being able to hug their loved ones. While nothing replaces the joy of being able to wrap your arms around your family and friends, don’t underestimate the power of connecting from a distance.

Tea with a friend, reading the grandkids a bedtime story, or sharing a meal together can be enjoyed virtually thanks to the telephone or internet.

Window visits or even distanced porch or yard visits – with coats and blankets – can also help seniors stay connected through the colder months.

Our caregivers can work with a senior’s family and friends to arrange regular communication and quality time together that’s safe for all.

Article sources

  • The Benefits of Gardening for Older Adults: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Donna Wang D. & MacMillan T. https://doi.org/10.1080/01924788.2013.784942
  • Health and well-being benefits of plants. https://ellisonchair.tamu.edu/health-and-well-being-benefits-of-plants/
  • An Indoor Gardening Planting Table Game Design to Improve the Cognitive Performance of the Elderly with Mild and Moderate Dementia. Tseng W -W, et al. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051483
  • Saskatchewan Polytechnic researchers study impact of COVID-19 on seniors. https://educationnewscanada.com/article/education/level/colleges/2/863389/saskatchewan-polytechnic-researchers-study-impact-of-covid-19-on-seniors.html

You Have A Social Routine -Let the Caregiver Help!

Age-related changes may make life a little more challenging, but it doesn’t have to take your social life!

A caregiver can help you stay on top of your social game – or golf game – by taking on some of the grunt work.

Here’s an example of what a social senior’s week might look like and how a caregiver can help.

  • Monday – Attending the tennis and golf club; caregiver drives and carries your equipment
  • Tuesday – Hosting a bridge game at your home; caregiver prepares and serves the food and drinks
  • Wednesday – Having birthday lunch with a friend; caregiver picks up a card and gift and drives you to and from the restaurant
  • Thursday – The grandkids are coming to visit; caregiver prepares and serves snacks and tidies up when they leave
  • Friday – Going on a nature walk with the walking group; caregiver prepares a healthy breakfast before you go, packs snacks for you to take on your walk, and drives you to the meeting point and back
  • Saturday – Attending a wedding; caregiver takes you shopping for a gift, picks up your suit/dress from the dry cleaner, and drives you to the wedding and back
  • Sunday – A day of rest and catching up with old friends by phone and mail; caregiver tidies the house, helps you arrange the coming week’s activities, and assists with correspondence

The Health Benefits of Being Social

Maintaining a strong social network as we age has been shown to have numerous benefits for our physical and mental wellbeing.

These benefits include:

  • happiness and greater positive moods
  • increased energy
  • higher levels of physical activity
  • improved immune and cognitive function
  • lower risk of depression, anxiety, and loneliness
  • lower blood pressure
  • lower risk of diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and some cancers
  • a longer lifespan

Don’t let age-related changes slow you down and keep you from spending time doing what you love or enjoying the company of others. Consider a enlisting the help of caregiver – who are great company, too – to help you maintain your social calendar.

We’re here for you 24/7, 365 days of the year. Give us a call at 1.855.483.CARE (2273) or send us an email to info@LAServices.ca.

Article resources

  • Broader social interaction keeps older adults more active. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/broader-social-interaction-keeps-older-adults-more-active
  • Social participation and the health and well-being of Canadian seniors. Gilmour H. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232607486_Social_participation_and_the_health_and_well-being_of_Canadian_seniors

The Throne Speech Has Got People Talking About the Future of Home Care

The pandemic has been difficult – to say the least – and especially so for seniors. The one good thing that has come from the COVID-19 crisis is that it has opened the conversation about aging in place.

More and more adults nearing retirement are reconsidering where and how they want to live and looking to home care to help them stay at home for as long as possible.

The conversation is also happening within our Government who are now shifting the focus to home as the first solution for keeping seniors safe and healthy.

Most Canadians prefer to age in place

Our oldest baby boomers are turning 75 this year and the number of Canadians aged 85+ will more than triple in the next three decades. Aging in place is no longer just what the majority of Canadians want – it’s necessary due to the number of people who will require long-term care in the coming years.

How the Canadian Government is making home care a priority

The Speech from the Throne highlighted the importance of improving senior care and announced that the Government will be taking action to support seniors and help people stay in their homes longer.

To help seniors stay safe at home, the Throne Speech said that Government is committed to:

  • Increasing Old Age Security once a senior turns 75
  • Boosting the CPP survivor’s benefit
  • Looking at targeted measures for PSWs who provide an essential service and invaluable contributions to our society in helping to care for older adults

While the plan was somewhat vague, increasing benefits for seniors will certainly make in-home care even more affordable for seniors and their families.

Making the case for aging in place

Given the current climate, a significantly lower risk of contracting COVID-19 or any other contagious illness is the most obvious benefit to home care over a long-term care family or retirement community.

Other benefits to aging in place and in-home care have been identified, however, including:

  • Personalized care. In-home care services can be catered to your unique needs with one-on-one care provided by a skilled and experienced caregiver.
  • Fewer hospitalizations. Research shows that home care reduces hospitals stays and improves health outcomes. For seniors who are hospitalized, home care during recovery results in faster healing.
  • Reduced stress for seniors and their families. In-home care services can help care recipients and their families avoid stressors. The care recipient is able to maintain their routines and remain in the comfort and familiarity of home and avoid change, which can be stressful, especially for those living with dementia and other health conditions. For families, a professional caregiver provides peace of mind and assurance that your loved one is receiving the care they need. It also provides family caregivers with a break from caregiving responsibilities, reducing stress and the risk of caregiver burnout.
  • Improved socialization and lower risk of loneliness. Isolation and loneliness have serious implications for health, especially in older adults. Aging in place makes it easier for seniors to continue with their social activities and caregiver can help you continue to get out by providing transportation and escorting you. That said, isolation in the home setting is still possible. Caregivers are able to provide companionship and can identify signs of loneliness and isolation, should it occur.
  • Improved quality of life and lifespan. According to reports, older adults who receive home care are more satisfied with their quality of life and have been shown to live longer. This isn’t all that surprising given that reduced stress, access to better care, and lower risk of isolation and loneliness have all been proven to benefit a person’s overall health.


Article sources

  • 2020 Speech from the Throne. Government of Canada. https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/campaigns/speech-throne/2020/speech-from-the-throne.html
  • Effectiveness of home based support for older people: systematic review and meta-analysis. Elkan R, Kendrick D, Dewey M, et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC56889/