Dear readers, welcome to our November newsletter. We hope you find this information useful and timely.
Please feel free to reach out to us anytime if you have any questions about seniors planning and support.
It is our passion to ensure that seniors and their family members have the information and guidance they need to make the best plans and decisions for their ongoing health, happiness and independence.
I’d like to share with you all a little story about our dear client and friend Ida Varga. Sadly, Ida passed away a few weeks ago after a short struggle with cancer. She will be dearly missed but will forever hold a place in our hearts. Ida was a lower income senior who was also a single mother and an artist. When we first met Ida over a year ago, she was wanting to stay in her home but her health was poor and she wasn’t thriving there. Her son asked us in, to see if we could help. As it turned out, Ida needed a number of modifications to her life to be able to improve her ability to stay home. As with many of us, change is not easily undertaken, but despite her nervousness and reservations Ida put her trust in us and allowed us into her life.
Ida and our consultant Judy diligently worked through our task list ranging from medical check-ups to participation in an adult day program, from meal support to safety modifications in the house. Ida stretched out of her comfort zone and allowed us to guide her to a much improved state of health and happiness. Every step of the way Ida amazed us with her bravery and her humour. Ida truly brought sunshine to our day.
We want to share Ida’s story of perseverance and positivity and have thus started a fund in her name to help off-set the cost of Proactive Seniors support for low income seniors like Ida. Ida’s family kindly offered to host an art sale of Ida’s vast collection with the proceeds going to this fund.
Please join us on Sunday November 24th at the Ohana Care location to view, and if you like, purchase some of Ida’s original artwork and help support other low income seniors to better health and happiness.
Judy and Ida
Parkinson Disease 101
by Tessa Veikle from the Parkinson Association of Alberta
Parkinson disease affects 1 in every 100 individuals over 60 years old, over 3000 people in the Calgary region, and over 10,000 in Alberta. It is the second most prevalent neurological disease in Alberta, after Alzheimer’s disease.
Parkinson disease is a chronic progressive neurodegenerative disease. Parkinson’s occurs due to a loss of dopamine cells in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate the body’s movements. Less dopamine in the brain means less control of movements and less mobility in general.
Parkinson disease is very diverse and effects everyone differently. Not everyone with Parkinson’s will experience the same symptoms and no two people will have the same variation or severity of symptoms, or progression of disease.
People with Parkinson’s experience both motor and non-motor symptoms. Motor symptoms most commonly can include tremors, slowness, or stiffness – as well as walking and balance issues. Non-motor symptoms can include mood changes (depression, anxiety, apathy), sleep disturbance, memory and thinking challenges, constipation, and speech and swallowing concerns. While this may seem like a long list of symptoms, most people live well for many years with Parkinson’s.
Medication and exercise are the two main ways individuals manage their symptoms and live well with Parkinson’s. Medications replace dopamine in the brain and help to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Exercise helps with symptom management, to increase and maintain strength and mobility, and currently has been the only intervention shown by research to slow the progression of the disease.
There is still a lot we don’t know about Parkinson’s. The cause of Parkinson’s is not known, and there is no known cure for Parkinson disease. Research in the area of Parkinson’s is ongoing, and there is a lot of hope that significant discoveries and breakthroughs will be made in the near future.
If you or someone you know is affected by Parkinson disease, encourage them to reach out for support from the Parkinson Association of Alberta. The Parkinson Association of Alberta offers a variety of programs, exercise, education, support groups, and one-on-one meetings for people living with Parkinson’s and their families.
120, 6835 Railway St SE, Calgary, AB
Proactive Seniors working with clients who have Parkinson Disease
We work with many seniors who have Parkinson Disease and with their families as well. Often our focus will be helping to ensure a safe home environment and support the person with Parkinson Disease and for the primary caregiver. Tasks might include:
Medication management support – timing, packaging, reminders, meal strategies
Nutrition and meal support – optimizing energy through meal timing, nutritional planning, grocery delivery and pre-made meal providers
Physical support – safeguarding strength and balance, preventing falls and supporting safe mobility through exercise, mobility aids and education
Social and mental support – Advice regarding support groups and social engagement programs
Safety modifications – Personal emergency response systems and home modifications
Caregiver support – Ensuring the primary caregiver has the supports needed for their health including finding time for themselves so they have the stamina they need. Caregiving is often a marathon, not a sprint.
Interesting Studies – ‘Blue Zones’
‘Blue Zone’ is a term coined by Dan Buettner in a 2005 article for National Geographic about the secrets of living a long life. This term refers to regions of the world where people live considerably longer than the global average. Some examples of Blue Zones are Sardinia Nuoro province in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica and Loma Linda in California. What is common to Blue Zones is healthy lifestyles and most importantly interconnected populations with strong social bonds.
Susan Pinker, professor from McGill University states that “social isolation is the public health risk of our time”. Regular positive interactions, she implies, are like medications that prolong and improve our lives.
We should all make time to have regular social contact for our health and happiness. Reach out to friends and family for a little visit, join a group or club, volunteer, chat with people at the library or coffee shop. Strive everyday to talk to someone even if it is just a quick hello. This is just as important as your prescriptions!
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If you or someone you know…
wants to stay in their home as they age but doesn’t know what programs and supports they need to do so
has an aging parent and they are worried that no discussions or plans have been addressed and this causes anxiety or worry
wants or needs to move to a retirement residence or care facility but doesn’t know how to choose from all the options
needs subsidized low income seniors housing
needs help getting on track to be better prepared for the coming years
Feel free to give us a call, we are always happy to help!