“My dad lost his way home when he got back from the park, again,” Shawn complains to his friend,

“I have told him so often not to go outside alone, but he doesn’t listen.”

“Shawn, you should not blame him for that.” Replies his friend,

“Your dad has the right to go outside. It’s just that you can’t be with him all the time.”

That’s true. Like many middle-aged people, Shawn has his own family and is busy working most of the time. However, time never waits for anyone – now, his aged father needs him more than ever.

“Maybe it’s time to consider home care?” Shawn’s friend suggests, “My mom was in the same situation, so we hired a care worker for him. It does cost quite a bit, but it’s all worth it.”

Home care could be the silver lining to your situation if you are just as clueless as Shawn. Don’t worry. This article will guide you through what home care is and everything you want to know about the service.

What are home care services?

Home care service isn’t hiring someone to take care of your home. It is a kind of professional support that allows a senior to stay safely at home.

Many families hire a home care worker rather than send their parents to a long-term care facility. It is because:

Seniors can maintain their independence while living in familiar surroundings, with family members able to visit at any time. Some seniors and their families prefer to interact only with a caregiver who has been assigned to them.

There are different home care services: Personal care and companionship, nursing care, and home health care. Each serves a different purpose and is provided by caregivers with different qualifications. Now, let’s see what these care services are.

Personal care and companionship

Just as the name suggests, personal care and companionship support involve helping the senior with daily activity and supervision. In this type of home care, the care levels can range from weekly meal preparation to incontinence assistance.

Personal care aides can be hired privately or by agencies. Such home care service can meet many seniors’ needs, such as:

– Companionship

– Transportation

– Getting dressed, bathing, and grooming

– Meal preparation

– Basic housekeeping

Who provides it:

Personal Support Workers (PSW) are eligible to provide such support. The care can be provided by shift or full time based on clients’ needs. Personal care and companionship do not require a doctor’s prescription, but they require the worker to possess a PSW certificate.

The cost:

Personal care and companionship support are usually charged by the hour. According to the statistics of Ontario, the average cost of PSW is between $28 to $36 hourly. Usually, there will be a minimum hour requirement for each shift, either 3 or 4 hours per visit.

Depending on the agency, the cost would be mostly privately paid and rarely covered by long-term care and health insurance.

Who’s suitable for personal care and companionship

Seniors who have no severe medical concerns but need help with basic daily activities can consider personal care services. It also works for the seniors who often feel isolated, just like Shawn’s father. After all, meeting psychological needs are as important as meeting basic living needs for seniors. See our blog on “Senior Isolation” for more details.

Nursing care

Nursing care is also known as home-based skilled nursing or hourly nursing. This type of service is provided for those with more complex and ongoing medical demands but still prefer receiving care in the home setting.

Nursing care service includes specific medical care such as IV therapies

(administering shots), wound dressing, palliative care, pain management, etc.

Who provided it?

Nursing care is provided by Registered Nurses (RNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs); the nurse will use clinical criteria to create a nursing diagnosis list. Like personal support service, nursing care can be provided by shift or full time. However, it needs to be prescribed by a doctor since it involves medical practice.

The cost:

The cost of home-based nursing care is more expensive than personal support care. The average cost of nursing care in Ontario is $55 to $88 per hour, and again, it has minimum hours per visit, just like personal care.

You can choose to pay by yourself. Various sources such as health insurance and work benefit can also cover the cost. So, check the policy before hiring a nurse. It may save you some bucks.

Who’s suitable for nursing care

Persons who have specific long-term medical needs would be suitable for nursing care. The concerns include but are not limited to diabetes, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the need to administer medication, feeding tube care and ventilator care.

Home health care: 

Home health care is more physician-directed than the other home care services, which involve physical therapies, occupational therapies, medical social work and short-term nursing services. It is performed on a relatively short-term basis than the other two, and it can be stopped as soon as patients’ goals are met.

Who provides it?

Since home health care is more medical-centred, it can be provided by licensed professionals such as physical therapists, registered nurses, occupational therapists and so on, depending on the needs.

Home health care is usually provided hourly or by session. It also required a doctor’s prescription to receive specific therapy.

The cost:

The average price of home health care in Canada is around $125 per hour. In most cases, the cost can be covered by health insurance or private insurance.

Who’s suitable for home health care:

Home health care may benefit someone who has recently been wounded and requires rehabilitation. It is also appropriate for individuals who have recently been discharged from the hospital or are recovering from surgery. After their urgent medical needs have been met, patients may seek nursing care or home care.


Home care services provided cares that can be divided into different types based on different needs. Personal support and nursing care are provided on an ongoing basis, while home health care is for those who have recent injuries and need short-term therapies. Hiring a caregiver could be stressful sometimes, but CareStory Home Care is here to provide the best service and give you relief. In our next few blogs, we will talk about the tips and things you should know in the recruiting process. Stay tuned!







A woman’s dad has been living at home since retirement. Everything has been good until he shows memory loss and some physical inconvenience. The woman thinks she should keep her father at home or send him to a long-term care home. However, her father insists on staying at home, so she’s in a dilemma now.

Who’s suitable to age in place? 


– Lives in a safe and age-friendly neighbourhood:

low criminal rate, quiet and peaceful

– Has the home remodelled for accessibility :

stairs, grab bars, alert system(smart home tech)

– Has stable health condition :

does not constantly visit an emergency room or hospitalization

– Does not have severe cognitive/memory problems

Able to read and think, stay safely at home

Care and Support

– Has a support network available:

community support, volunteer

– Have families or friends live together, or live nearby

less than 20 min of drive, respond rapidly

– Hires a caregiver or has a family to take care of him or her


– Has stable and sufficient income or financial support

Benefit, pension, or financial support from families to afford remodelling and home care

– Able to manage bills or has a family to manage the bills

Financial security, prevent fraudulence

Shirley’s father has been enjoying his life at home since retirement. It has been 30 years, and everything has been great … until last month he fell down in the kitchen. The old man ascribes the fall to the slippery floor, while Shirley clearly knows that it is not this simple – her father has shown some cognitive impairment recently, and it does harm his mobility to some degree.

Shirley is usually busy working, and as a single mom, she dedicates her free time to taking care of her two kids. She has suggested that her father goes to a long-term care home. Not surprisingly, her father declines her suggestion without any hesitation.

It is not just her father. Shirley feels guilty about sending her father to a long-term care home, too. – she knows how much her father enjoys everything in the house, the garden, and the lovely neighbourhood vibes.

“Should I leave him at home?” The question bothers Shirley every night when she lays down in her bed.

Shirley is in a dilemma now, and we know some of you are in the same situation, just like her. According to our experience, letting a senior age in place is possible, but there are prerequisites. Here, CareStory has summarized these requirements that can allow your loved one to live happily and safely at home.

Who Is Suitable to Age in Place?


– Lives in a safe and age-friendly neighbourhood:

You never want your loved one to live in an environment with insecurity. Check your local police online report to see the crime rate in the area. It is also important that the community that your loved one is living in is age-friendly, meaning it is quiet, peaceful, has various forms of transportation and many accessible community services. These factors can promote senior living quality and wellbeing. A very straightforward way to check if a community is age-friendly is to see how many assisted living homes are around the area – if there is one or more than one long-term care home in the area, it means it’s the right place.

– Has the home remodelled for accessibility:

One of the most important things to age at home is to make the place remodelled for seniors’ needs. For example, install grab bars in bathrooms and your family’s bedroom if she or he has mobility issues. If she or he needs to use a wheelchair, it is necessary to add outdoor ramps for your family to enter or exit the house. Make sure to add anti-slip flooring in the bathroom and kitchen to prevent falls. Sometimes you can also use smart home technologies such as an alert or sensor systems to monitor your loved one’s security. A full home remodelling project would cost around $10,000, but it will provide your loved one with a better and safer environment to age.

– Has stable health condition:

It is important to know your family’s medical requirements and his or her health needs to be stable. If your family has some acute symptoms that need to visit the emergency room or need hospitalization constantly, then he or she isn’t suitable for staying at home – it could be exhausting and worrisome for both you and your senior family.

– Does not have severe cognitive or memory problems:

Your loved one might have someone to take care of him or her, but he or she needs to be able to stay safely at home. If he or she has severe mental or cognitive memory deterioration, there’s a chance that your family can’t even keep up with all the support you can provide to him or her, and it will potentially increase the distress of you and the caregiver.

Care and Support

– Has a support network available:

There are many senior support networks that are offered by the government or non-profit organizations such as the Red Cross. These senior support programs are meant to provide daily support for older adults and their caregivers, which include phone call companionship, nutrition and transportation, emergency services, friendly visiting, etc. These services are provided by volunteers, so they don’t require a penny from your pocket. So, register one for your loved one. It will be extremely helpful for his or her in-home living.

– Have families live together or live nearby:

It is important that at least one family member live together with your senior family or have family members live close to him or her. We would recommend the distance between seniors and their family’s home is less than 20 min of drive, so you or other family members can make frequent visits to the senior’s house. If anything happens, the families can also respond rapidly to the emergency, which will give you a lot of reassurance of letting your loved one stay at home.

– Hires a caregiver or has a family to take care of him or her:

If you are the primary caregiver to your family, and you are getting more and more stressed about your workload, it is time to hire someone to alleviate your pressure.

“All You Need to Know About Long Term Care in 2022” There are many sources of home care options. You can consider hiring an agency to arrange a caregiver, or hire a private caregiver yourself, see our blogs on “How to choose a home care service” to see which one suits your needs. 


– Has stable and sufficient income or financial support

Staying at home comfortably does cost a pretty penny. As we mentioned, all these home remodellings, home care and the facilities that your loved one needs at home adding up could cost more than living in a long-term care home. So, make sure your senior family has a stable income, such as a pension, or any financial support from family and the government, so that he or she can afford these expenses.

– Able to manage bills or has a family to manage the bills

Seniors are prone to financial abuse such as fraudulence or exploitation. Also, they might forget to pay bills or make unnecessary purchases due to aging. In that, it is essential that they have someone reliable to manage their expenses and bills if they can’t do it on their own. Financial security is just as important as physical security, and your loved one might need your help with it.

At the End:

Staying at home or moving to a long-term care home could be highly personal. It is better to talk it through with your loved one and find the best solution that’s beneficial for both of you. If you would like to know how to communicate with your senior family, see our previous post on “How to Communicate with Seniors” to find the guide.








Cindy knows it’s time to look for a caregiver for her mom when she gets busier after her promotion. So, she talks about it during lunch with her colleagues to see if they have ever hired one for their parents.

“I had an awful experience with hiring a caregiver,” one of her colleagues replied. “The PSW was always late, and one time, my mom waited an hour for her to show up.”

“Same here!” agreed another colleague. “My dad always received a different caregiver every time, and they didn’t know how to handle him because of different communication styles.”

Cindy is scared. And if you are looking for a caregiver just like Cindy, you’d probably be scared by the conversation, too.

However, not all caregivers are tarred with the same brush, and it depends heavily on the home care agency that you are hiring. It is important to find the right agency in the first place to avoid these undesirable outcomes.

In this article, CareStory will provide you with ten essential questions to ask over the phone when you contact a home care agency and how you examine their responses. If you would like an in-depth version of the question list, check out our “25 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Home Care Agency” blog post to find out more information. 

Top 10 Questions To Ask Over the Phone When Hiring a Home Care Agency

1. What type of services do you provider 

Although most agencies provide similar services such as bathing, grooming, companionship, etc., it is good to know if they can handle your loved one’s situation if he or she has special needs. Some agencies have specific caregivers that focus on dementia care and mobility assistance, so ask them if they offer the option if you have such concerns.

2. How much is the cost per hour? And what are the minimum hours per shift? 

Price is always something you should ask first. The price of home care in the GTA can vary drastically, and the minimum hours are usually 3 to 4 hours. Choose the one that you think the price and duration are reasonable.

3. Is there a discount for overnight/full-time/extra hours care?

Some agencies offer discounts for full-time (24 hrs) or extended hours of care. If you

know your family needs long-term care, it’s good to ask about the discount. You

can compare the rate of different agencies but note that the one offering a discount

does not necessarily mean it is the best option.

 4. Are the caregivers licensed and insured?

A legit home care agency should ensure their caregivers are licensed as Personal Support Workers (PSWs) or Registered Nurses (RNs) so that they are properly trained. Also, the caregivers should be bonded and insured so that they can protect themselves from theft, damage, or loss.

5. What if my caregiver is late or doesn’t show up on a scheduled shift?

Being punctual is something that a caregiver should achieve. But rare events might happen sometimes. If lateness or a no-show occurs, the agency should have a backup plan that sends a secondary caregiver or offers late-minute coverage to your family. In most cases, home care agencies should have a clock-in and clock-out system that tracks every caregiver’s arrival and departure at each home.

6. Can you accommodate for language/cultural preferences?

If your loved one only speaks another language or holds strong cultural values, it is good to look for a caregiver that can communicate with your family and share the same cultural background. It is vital in building connections and understanding what should be concerned in the caregiving process. A good home care agency should be culturally inclusive and can meet different clients’ needs.

7. Will it is the same caregiver visiting each time?

Consistency in caregiving is key. If there is a different caregiver visiting each time, there will be misunderstandings and confusion in communication. It also shows that the agency’s turnover rate is high, which is not a good sign.

8. Who should I contact if there are concerns or complaints?

It is not uncommon that your loved one doesn’t get along with a caregiver or for something unexpected to happen in the caregiving process. If it is either an emergency event or a complaint, the agency should have a well-developed system to handle your situation and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

9. What insurance do you accept?

While most home care agencies don’t accept insurance, there are still some of them that do. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they accept health insurance to alleviate your financial burden.

10. How soon can you place a caregiver?

Some agencies may have a waitlist in your region, while others can provide care immediately. So choose one that suits your family’s situation; good care never requires you to wait too long.


Home care services are in high demand in Canada nowadays. 80% percent of seniors who are over the age of 60 choose to live an independent, comfortable, and high-quality life, according to recent studies. In correspondence with the huge demand, the home care industry is growing rapidly as well – finding a personal support worker (PSW) is no longer a difficult task.

Due to the enormousness of the home care industry, the service quality and the price of home care could vary drastically. In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the hourly rate of home care visits ranges from $28 to $65 an hour, depending on the location. So, although finding a PSW is easy, finding one who is affordable and who can provide quality care isn’t.

Knowing your worries, we have surveyed many quality home care agencies in the GTA and picked out the most highly rated and sought-after ones. Here is the list of them:

Best 7 Home Care Agencies in the GTA 

Nurse Next Door

Just like their name, Nurse Next Door always has their caregivers ready for families. In the GTA, they have 8 locations that can dispatch their diligent and hardworking care staff to your family. Plus, Nurse Next Door has a full spectrum of services that can serve most seniors while matching each senior’s needs with the most suitable professionals.


  • $$$$


  • Comprehensive Home Care
  • Dementia Care
  • In-Home Nursing Care
  • Companionship
  • End-of-Life
  • Homemaking
  • Meal Preparation
  • Personal Care
  • Relief/Respite Care
  • Transportation/Accompaniment
  • Around the Clock Care


  • Rigorous screening for every caregiver
  • The “Happier Aging” program that supports seniors’ mental health
  • Provides dementia care

Business Information:


Home Care Assistant of Toronto

Home Care Assistant believes that seniors have their own freedom to choose the lifestyle they want, so they offer multiple types of service. For home care, Home Care Assistant has different caring options, from companionship to hospice care. They are also proud of their programs, such as “The Balanced Care Method,” which focuses on a healthy mind, body and spirit, holistically promoting seniors’ nutrition, physical activity, mental health, and social interaction.


  • $$$


  • Hourly Home Care
  • Live-In Home Care
  • Alzheimer’s Care
  • Dementia Care
  • Stroke Care
  • Parkinson’s Care
  • Hospice Support
  • Post-Hospital Care
  • Retirement Home
  • Assisted Living and LTC Facility Care


  • Various types of care can meet different patients’ needs
  • A balanced approach to senior care

Business Information:


CareStory Home Care

CareStory Home Care offers the most affordable home care service in the GTA. If you are tight on budget or struggling to find a reliable caregiver with empathy for your family, CareStory would be your solution. By combining its profile service that is built for every senior, CareStory’s caregivers are able to deliver the most customized and sympathetic care to your family. In addition, seniors’ families can use the profile to record seniors lives, which provides seniors with a sense of purpose along with meeting daily living needs. 


  • $


  • Companionship
  • Home Care Services
  • Dementia Care
  • Meal Prep & Housekeeping
  • Transportation
  • Online Profile Building


  • Person-centred care
  • Family-like caregivers
  • Senior profile & life story building platform

Business Information:


Home Instead Senior Care

Nothing feels worse than seeing your family slowly lose his or her memory, and Home Instead Senior Care can totally understand this feeling of hopelessness. Therefore, they have a CARE training program (Changing Aging through Research and Education) that essentially focuses on dementia and Alzheimer’s care. Home Instead Senior Care is a pro on managing memory loss in seniors – if this is your concern, Home Instead is the choice.


  • $$$$


  • Personal Care Services
  • Nurse Directed Care
  • Hospice Support
  • Meal Prep & Home Helpers
  • Transportation
  • Companionship


  • Memory loss care
  • Grant programs that provide families with Alzheimer’s patients with financial assistance

Business Information:


Home Concierge Toronto

Home Concierge always tries their best to make sure that your family receives care from the same team member(s) since they believe building a rapport between caregivers and the seniors is vital in the caring process. Also, they offer a companionship service option that is apart from home care that is served by PSW workers. It is suitable for seniors who don’t need personal care but needs company to feel less lonely, which is also cheaper than personal care services.


  • $$$


  • Home Care Services
  • Transportation
  • Provides Expert Advice on Searching For Retirement Homes
  • Meal Prep & Grocery Shopping
  • Light Housekeeping


  • Companionship assistance
  • Consistent caregivers
  • Good concierge services

Business Information:


Guardian Home Care

Whether your family is in a retirement home, a hospital, or just staying in his or her own house, Guardian Home Care can deliver its professional team to provide compassionate care. This is also why Guardian Home Care has gained so many compliments from its customers – its care staff always try their best to meet the senior’s goals and make the process comfortable enough at the same time.


  • $$


  • Personal Care
  • Nursing Services
  • Companionship
  • One-on-One Private Duty
  • Overnight Care
  • The Day-to-day Care


  • Respite care
  • Full-time care with a discount

Business Information:


At The End:

Choosing and inviting a caregiver to your home can sometimes be stressful. Thus, researching and screening home care agencies or caregivers is extremely important. See our article on “Top 10 Questions To Ask Before Hiring a Home Care Agency” to help find a “perfect” candidate.



It has been the fifth time that Millie’s mom, Heidi, forgot that something was cooking on the stove. As an aging person, Heidi unavoidably has experienced memory loss. Heidi often sits at the window, gazing into the distance without moving. She is in a world of her own. One day, she turned to Millie and said, “Orchids were planted here instead of roses five years ago.” But when Millie asked whether she still remembered the gardener, Gage, also planting hydrangea, Heidi looked at Millie with great confusion.

“Who is Gage?”

It’s quite normal for seniors to experience “senior moments.” As we age, we may not have as strong memories as we used to be and often experience memory loss. However, memory loss is also a common symptom of dementia, which is not a part of normal aging. 

Indeed, early-onset dementia often goes undiagnosed because the initial symptoms are too similar to those of senior moments. As a result, when our loved ones experience memory loss or memory changes, we worry that they are experiencing dementia. 

Millie feels the same way. As a precaution, Millie took Heidi for a medical checkup. Thank goodness Heidi only showed signs of normal aging. Millie shared this experience with us, and we decided that it might be helpful to discuss the different levels of memory loss, so here we go.

If your loved one is experiencing difficulties with memory…

  • Does their memory loss noticeably disrupt their daily life?

  • Are they experiencing difficulty speaking and disorientation?

  • Does their memory loss affect their ability to complete tasks as they usually would?

  • Are they experiencing difficulty learning and remembering new things?

Keep your answer in mind and continue reading…

Age-Associated Memory Impairment 

If your loved one is experiencing difficulties with memory, but they can still complete daily tasks and don’t find it difficult to learn new things and remember recent events. Your loved one most likely has what’s known as age-associated memory impairment.

In general, age-associated memory impairment is a normal part of aging. When you find your loved ones experiencing age-associated memory impairment, it doesn’t mean they have dementia. Yes, they may occasionally have trouble remembering things, such as where they put their keys, the names of their former classmates, the name of the gardener from five years ago, but these are NOT signs of dementia! True, they may not remember things as quickly as they used to, but don’t worry about it most of the time.

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Pay attention when your loved one starts to experience some cognitive decline, such as difficulty speaking and disorientation! They may have mild cognitive impairment. MCI is in between age-associated memory impairment and dementia. Indeed, mild cognitive impairment affects memory and other cognitive abilities, but the symptoms are not as severe as dementia. Seniors with MCI can still carry on their daily functions and routines without interruption. More specifically, seniors who experience MCI may experience memory problems, impaired thinking skills, language difficulties, disorientation in time and space, poor judgment, and impaired depth perception. 

What’s even more concerning is that MCI may increase your risk of developing different types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, not everyone diagnosed with MCI goes on to develop dementia. Some seniors remain stable, and some may even improve cognitive abilities over time. Therefore, when you find your loved one is in a mild cognitive impaired condition, don’t be too pessimistic. Actively participate in cognitive therapy and stay positive!


For seniors with dementia, their memory loss is probably severe, depending on their stage. Besides being unable to retrieve their memory, memory loss also strongly affects their daily life and ability to stick to their normal routine. Seniors with dementia may find it difficult to complete the tasks they are used to. Moreover, learning new things also turns out to be hard for them. 

As we can see, just as aging is a continuous process, the differences between each stage are very subtle. Therefore, as the children and grandchildren of our dear elderly, we need to notice the signs and take them for regular checkups. 

But how does our brain change? The GEMS®: Brain Change Model, developed by Teepa Snow and based on the Allen Cognitive Scale, provides a fantastic visual demonstration of how our skills and abilities shift at any given moment.

In the Sapphire stage, seniors have optimal cognition and a healthy brain. It may be hard for seniors to find words that can describe what they are thinking at this stage. They may often talk to themselves because they try to give themselves cues and prompts. They can learn new things, change habits and make decisions, but give them more time! 

In the Diamond stage, seniors have clear and sharp cognition. When seniors feel happy and supported, they are easygoing. However, when they feel distressed, they can be cut and rigid. Sometimes they may see help as a threat and cause conflict among their family, friends, or care team. At this moment, it’s hard to tell if seniors are choosing their behaviour or truly have limits in their ability.

In the Emerald stage, seniors tend to be focused on their wants or needs but may not be aware of their changing abilities. They probably won’t remember the details of the time with you and other family members, but they will still remember how your body language and tone of voice made them feel. Since they are experiencing memory loss, their brain starts to make up information to fill in the blanks. Try not to correct them or argue, as this may turn them off or make them suspicious of you.

In the Amber stage, seniors may be caught in the moment. They start to do simple tasks repeatedly and repeatedly move and touch, smell, and taste or take and tear items apart. At this time, seniors’ mouths, hands, feet, and genitalia are highly sensitive, so they are most likely to react to you based on how you look, sound, move, smell, and respond to them. Be careful, notice their reaction, and stop if they are resisting.

In the Ruby stage, their obvious losses on cognition make their remaining abilities harder to notice. Seniors in this stage can only move and do really simple things, and sometimes, they may not be aware of their needs. Therefore, we need to anticipate, identify, and respond to their needs. Due to losses in visual skills, chewing abilities, balance, and coordination.

In the Pearl stage, seniors are near the end of their life. At this stage, focus on spending more moments of connection to create a sense of wholeness and value. Seniors will enjoy these beautiful moments with you and with all family members. Though they can still respond to familiar voices and gentle, rhythmic movements, their brains are losing the ability to control and heal their body. “The greatest gift at this time in my life is to let me know that it is okay to go.”

Comparing Normal Aging & Dementia

Here are some of the signs of normal aging memory loss compared to the signs of dementia to have a clearer understanding of the different conditions of memory loss in older adults. However, we at CareStory are not doctors and by no means experts in dementia. All that to say, these are just references. If you are concerned, please visit your doctor for further discussion. However, we are going to hire personal support workers! If you’re interested and would love to refer your qualified friends to join us, click here.

signs of Memory Loss Due to Normal Aging

  • Unable to recall the content of conversations or details of events a long time ago.

  • Fails to recall the name of an acquaintance.

  • Forgets and is slow to recall dates, things, and events occasionally.

  • Words are often on the “tip of the tongue” in conversations.

  • Executive functions remain normal but have longer cognitive processing and reaction time.

  • They are worried about their memory, but families and friends are not.

Signs of Dementia

  • Forgets recent event details or conversational content but also repeats the same conversations.

  • Unable to recognize or know the names of family members.

  • Forgets things, events, and appointments more frequently.

  • Has trouble coming up with desired words in conversations and has frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words.

  • Unable to perform complex daily tasks

  • Friends and relatives are worried about their memory, but they are unaware of these issues.

Please remember that these are only the most common symptoms. Not all symptoms are listed here. Please visit professionals and ask for further help.

How to Support Seniors Experiencing Cognitive Impairment


According to the American Academy of Neurology’s practice guidelines, aerobic exercise is one of the best methods to maintain brain health. Besides, social and mental support is also salient. Just take 20 minutes out of your day to exercise! More recommended exercises are here.

Senior Care Services!

Find more professional assistance once you find out that your loved one is experiencing cognitive impairment! Ask yourself what kind of services are best for your loved one. Should you be looking at Long-term Care Homes or Home Care services? All the information is in our “All You Need To Know About Long-Term Care” and “Should I Send My Parents To A Nursing Home” blog posts. 

We Should Provide More Information for Care Staff!

Caring for the elderly is never an easy task. Because of this, we need to give more attention to them and provide them with the best care. Often, this is where we need more professional help. Superior quality care builds on close connection and communication with older adults. Caregivers also need to anticipate seniors’ needs. Therefore it’s consequential to know seniors’ habits, interests, and important life moments. 

“Having extra care information handy has connected me more to the residents. Never felt closer to them.” 

“With the whole COVID-19 situation happening, it feels great to be involved more and know my dad is doing well.”

We’ve interviewed hundreds of families and caregivers. We know your concern for the elderly, your worries about the care your loved one receives, and your willingness to share more information about your loved one to their care staff. 

We have prepared our solution for you – CareStory. The CareStory app allows family members to share background information about their loved ones. Staff, caregivers, and nurses can share each seniors’ unique care preferences and provide individualized holistic person-centred care as if they were part of the family. Here’s a short video for you to know more about our app! 










As Dylan’s father, Griffin, gradually turned 65 years old, he found it increasingly difficult to be independent. Dylan had heard that Griffin struggled with daily activities such as eating and bathing. As a long-distance caregiver, Dylan was very concerned about his father’s condition. He was looking for home care services and some guidance on care services. Now, many unanswered questions still linger in his mind:

  • Does Griffin even need home care services?

  • What kind of services should home care professionals provide to Griffin?

  • Who should I hire?

  • When should we start the home care process?

  • How can I prepare a senior-friendly home for Griffin?

If you have similar questions, you’ve come to the right place! You know what? You can find all the answers here! 

A Brief Introduction to Home Care

Home care is a bridge that can keep your loved one home for as long as possible. Home care provides health care services in the comfort of your home. Once a contract is signed, home caregivers will visit your home on a set schedule. Home care is a general term representing a wide range of services, from supporting daily activities to providing in-home healthcare services to individuals with an ongoing chronic condition like dementia. Therefore, home care professionals and the provided services include: 

  • Registered nurses (RNs) provide skilled medical care to our loved ones. They can give medication, monitor vital signs, dress wounds, and use and teach patients’ family members how to use complicated equipment at home.

  • Therapists specialize in helping our aging loved ones restore or maintain their motor, speech, and cognitive skills.

  • Home care aides provide high-quality personal services to our loved ones, such as preparing meals, feeding, bathing, dressing, toileting, house cleaning, and transporting to medical appointments.

So, when is a good time to start arranging for home care services? What kinds of services should home care professionals prepare? You will find all the answers in this blog post! For more information on home care, please read our blog on all you need to know about home care.

When To Start the Process of Home Care

It is difficult to predict when our loved ones might need home care services. However, several factors might increase the probability of needing home care. Use these factors as a guide only. If your parents are in line with most factors mentioned below, please make an appointment with your doctor for further discussion!


Although there is no specific time that your aging loved one probably needs home care services, analysis shows that 65 is a critical age. Seniors over 65 have a nearly 70% chance of needing care services for their remaining years, including home care and long-term care. If our loved ones are about to turn 65, be prepared to arrange care services in advance! Choosing home care services is a good starting point since they will be more receptive to care from their own home.

Living Condition

Overall, seniors who live alone are more likely to need care from paid caregivers than elderly adults who live with their spouses or children. Suppose your parents or grandparents live by themselves. In that case, it’s a good idea to arrange a home caregiver for them to support their daily activities and care for their overall physical, mental and social wellness. 

Family History of Health

A family history of health also contributes to the need for care services in seniors’ later years. Conditions that require special attention are physical disabilities, sensory disabilities, cognitive disabilities, and other chronic diseases. As their children, we should be aware of common symptoms of aging disorders and inherited or acquired disabling conditions. We should also check their health conditions regularly and prepare for care services!

In addition, some signs require special attention, for instance, a decrease or increase in appetite, drastic unexplained weight gain or loss, changes in appearance or dress (become sloppy), and memory loss, especially when they cannot recall recent events or retrieve short-term memory. If our parents and grandparents have experienced several of these signs that lasted for more than two weeks, it’s time for us to seek further assistance and talk with our doctor. 

How to Start the Process of In-Home Care

The decision to find home care services for our aging loved ones can be difficult. There are various reasons for choosing in-home care. Needs are divergent, so we need a comprehensive assessment before preparing our loved ones for home care.

Is Home Care needed For My Family?

Here’s a pop-quiz for you to see whether or not your loved ones need home care.

  • Q1: Does your loved one often forget things, such as forgetting where to put the keys, whether they have cleaned the house or not, and whether or not they have turned off the appliances?

  • Q2: Does your loved one fall frequently or have difficulty walking without help?

  • Q3: Does your loved one have difficulty eating or bathing on their own?

If your answer is “Yes” to any of those questions, your loved one probably needs to receive home care. However, they may be resistant to receiving in-home senior care since they have to give up some aspects of independence and freedom. We should talk with our loved ones about this by using appropriate communication strategies as family members. Want to learn how? Take a look at our blog post on effective communication with seniors. Remember, we have to make a trade-off between respecting our loved ones’ wishes and protecting their overall wellness. 

What Services Are Needed?

After you have concluded that your loved one needs home care, the next step is to identify their care needs and determine the care services you would want home caregivers to provide. We have a checklist to help you with this difficult process. Feel free to download it and use it as a reference guide: Home Care Needs Self-Assessment

Who To Hire?

When it comes to this stage, there are several options available:

  1. designate a family member to provide care for your loved one,

  2. hire a registered nurse directly, or

  3. hire a home caregiver through an agency. 

All options have their pros and cons. For instance, Option A is indeed cost-effective. However, family members may not be as professional as registered nurses or certified caregivers. Both Option B and Option C can provide professional care. However, it will be costly.

Moreover, if you want to hire a registered nurse by yourself, it takes more time, and you have to do all the background checks. If you would like to learn more about the pros and cons of home care agencies vs private caregivers, please check out our blog on how to choose a home care service. Whatever you decide, make sure to give your loved one some input on the decision and respect their wants. 

Guide to Prepare Senior-Friendly Homes for a Loved One

Develop a Plan

Once you decide to use home care services, it’s crucial to know who to hire and what kind of services your loved one would receive. Make good use of the checklist provided above to define the tasks that need to be done by home caregivers and to determine exactly which type of home care is best for your situation. In addition, consider the cost, determine your budget for these services and choose the most appropriate home care assistance.

Make Modifications To The Home

In some cases, your loved one may need a walker, wheelchair, or even a cane, so make sure the house can accommodate the use of these devices. Sometimes, we may have to make major renovations for them. For instance, creating barrier-free entryways that help seniors maneuver a wheelchair in and out of the home is a good start. 

In some cases, our loved ones can use standard products to accommodate their needs. For example, ​​providing bath seats for showering or grabbing rails for support is also a great idea. You should also remove any clutter that could be a tripping hazard and hire a contractor specializing in aging-in-place modifications to come into the home and create a plan.

Prepare A Home Medical Alert System

Medical alert systems are a simple yet effective method to ensure that our seniors communicate with us and their home care professionals 24/7 when they need assistance and can’t get to other communication devices. Normally, a medical alert system can be worn at all times, so it’s easily accessible and can allow us peace of mind when our loved ones might be home alone.

Invest In Technology That Facilitate Communication

Smooth communication is always the basis of providing and receiving high-quality care services. If our home care professionals can know our loved ones better, they can easily deliver empathy and prepare more tailored care for them. If you are looking for a technological solution to facilitate communication, please check us out! We at CareStory are here to ​​bridge the gap between aging populations, families, and caregivers. A quick fact page, personalized music, life stories, and video messages can greatly facilitate caregivers’ daily jobs. Check here to see how CareStory works, and don’t hesitate to get in touch!







It’s been three months since Patricia’s husband, Roger, passed. Rocking slowly on her worn recliner, the house is quiet. She flips through the channels and looks at the empty chair where Roger used to sit. She was lonely. The loneliness didn’t hit until everything had quieted down–no more gatherings, fewer visitors. All that was left were memories. Now what?

Patricia is not alone. Often, the passing of a spouse leads to social isolation and depression. Senior isolation is an epidemic that can lead to serious health issues.

The cure? Activities.

Why Physical Activities Are Important For Seniors

Physical activities always provide the foundation of wellness for all human beings.

For the elderly, doing physical activities will even be more important. A sedentary lifestyle in old age has been shown to lead to greater susceptibility to injury, a higher incidence of obesity, cardiovascular problems, and many other serious diseases. 

No kidding, start exercising! 

Practising enough senior physical activities decreases the risk of stroke, cancers, type 2 diabetes, depression, and dementia. Moreover, physical activity can arrest the deterioration of overall health and enable older adults to maintain their independence for longer periods. 

This is what Patricia did, and to relieve the pain and grief, she decided to run every day.

Physical activities are important, but mental and social activities are also salient to help seniors stay healthy!

Please never underestimate social and psychological harm. Seniors are often at a high risk of loneliness. Researchers from BYU University Communications have suggested that loneliness can be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day! Moreover, feelings of loneliness may lead older adults to engage in other unhealthy behaviours, such as excessive alcohol consumption, binge drinking and smoking, and a reluctance to go out. It turns out to be a vicious cycle.

In addition to potential mental health problems, older adults frequently suffer from mental disorders such as dementia, anxiety, and depression. A decline in mental abilities is unavoidable as we get older. We can, however, slow this cognitive deterioration by engaging in sustained mental activity.

Assume that older adults can actively seek cognitive engagement. These activities can assist them in mobilizing their mental abilities, which can be highly beneficial in preventing or slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Ready for some exercises and activities?

Here we go!

Recommended Activities For Seniors

1. Physical Activities

It’s recommended that seniors aged 65 and older get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise every week. So on average, each senior should dedicate about 20 minutes per day to physical activities! Moreover, it’s important to ensure seniors warm up for 5 minutes before exercising.

Start by walking slowly at first. Slow down a bit. Perfect! Gradually stretch your shoulders, lower back, hamstrings, quads, inner thighs, hips… awesome! Now you are good to go for the other activities! 

2. Balance

We know that seniors are often at risk of falling, and keeping balance and preventing falls have always been the most concerning. To achieve that, activities such as standing on one foot, walking heel-to-toe, tai chi, and yoga are highly recommended!

Here’s a video tutorial for the standing on one-foot balance exercise. Feel free to follow the steps. 

3. Endurance

Walking, dancing, jogging, biking, swimming, tennis, basketball, climbing stairs/hills, raking, and mowing are all good exercises that can improve seniors’ heart, lungs, and circulatory system wellness and help seniors stay energetic! When you exercise, bring your parents and grandparents along too!

4. Strength

We know that some seniors would like to make their muscles stronger, and CareStory is total with them!

We care about our loved ones so much that we don’t want them to do challenging activities like lifting weights, using a resistance band, or doing body-weight exercises like push-ups and sit-ups. Nonetheless, these activities are perfectly safe for seniors.

That being said, proper assessment prior to exercise is critical, and you should never over-exercise.

Mental Activities

The variety of helpful activities that improve reasoning abilities, memory, and the ability to continue to learn are listed as puzzle-solving, board games, reading, and practicing a musical instrument. In addition, writing memoirs is also a fantastic activity that can support seniors’ memory maintenance. Moreover, memoirs can become a family treasure and legacy! If you would like to know more about writing memoirs and family stories, The Power of Telling Senior Stories.

Social Activities

Social activities are highly involved with communication and interaction with others. Sample activities are volunteer opportunities, clubs, etc. The experience of helping others enhances the meaning of seniors’ lives. Also, social activities also assist seniors in allowing others to have meaningful access to their lives, which is a healthy social life since reciprocity is the basis of emotional wellness. Human connection, interaction and companionship are always essential. If you would love to discover more about communicating with your loved ones, please check our blog on How to Communicate with Seniors.

As we always emphasize, it’s crucial to communicate smoothly among seniors, family members and caregivers and deliver empathy.

Care for the elderly as you would care for yourself later in life. If you are looking for a technology solution to facilitate communication, feel free to check us out at CareStory.ca! We are here to ​​bridge the gap between aging populations, their families, and caregivers, and we assist seniors and their families in creating shareable memoirs and recording family stories together!

Check here to see how CareStory works, and don’t hesitate to get in touch or subscribe!


We start to learn how to make our parents “happy” when we are very young, but it becomes harder and harder when they move into old age.

“I used to buy my mother a lot of things to make up for the hours I couldn’t spend with her, but she wasn’t really thrilled and claimed it was a waste of money,” said Ann, a 40-year-old professional woman and her parents’ only child.

“Since the outbreak of the epidemic, I’ve been working from home. I was able to return and live with her for a short time. Everything was OK at first; we were enjoying the reunion feeling. But then she got dissatisfied once more.” Ann expressed her displeasure.

“She’s become so hard to predict, and I don’t know what could make her happy. I tried almost everything, but nothing seems to work.”

We receive a lot from our readers every day, such complaints as this– we know the pain.

First of all, you should stop trying to “please them” in the way that you feel they should be pleased because what you offer is not necessarily what they want. In addition, physically being with your loved one doesn’t mean you provide good mental support. Getting older isn’t easy to do. Changing relationships, shrinking social networks, and growing health issues make this process more challenging. As seniors’ lives progress, their inner worlds evolve, too. Therefore, it is time to bring their emotional needs into focus.

Recognize their needs

According to relationship psychologist Kate Balestrieri, Psy.D., CSAT-S, everyone has their own set of emotional needs that they value the most. Still, as humans, we all have the same basic emotional needs. These basic emotional needs will ensure our relationship thrives, and our sense of self is secured, which includes being emotionally seen and feeling important in our relationships as a person. These needs are met through communication.

How long has it been since you sat down and had a nice long talk with your parents? Making them emotionally heard is the first step in the journey of empathy, and empathy is the key to providing good companionship.

A good conversation is always about giving and taking, but continuously giving would deplete each other’s willingness to keep the conversation going. Try to actively listen to your parents’ words without making quick judgments. Active listening entails listening with all of one’s senses. Maintaining eye contact, nodding your head, smiling, agreeing by saying ‘Yes’ or ‘Mmm’ encourages them to continue.

Also, observe their non-verbal cues such as tone of voice, eye contact, gestures, and body movement as signals to add meaning to the conversation. If they avoid eye contact or constantly move their limbs, it means the conversation has created tension, and they might not be honest about how they are feeling. See our post on “How To Communicate With Seniors” to find out more details.

It is important to let your loved ones see that you listen and are sensitive to their needs. By providing ‘feedback’ and showing sensitivity, the speaking person will usually feel more at ease, allowing them to communicate more freely, openly, and honestly.

Talk about your feelings

As mentioned, the conversation doesn’t come unilaterally, How to Communicate with Seniors. When figuring out the best solution to provide your parents with good companionship, it is essential to talk about how you feel about them, the situation you are facing, and what you wish to improve in the relationship.

Tell them what you were thinking when doing things that you hoped would make them happy but didn’t work out. Let them know the hardship you are encountering, but don’t use victimized language that makes your parents feel they are doing the wrong things to you.

It is critical not to be passive-aggressive with your loved ones. You should not punish them for not knowing how you feel instinctively or for failing to read your mind.

Nobody can expect everyone to meet all of their needs. It takes time and effort to practice knowing your loved one’s needs and offer quality companionship. However, there are several things you can do with your elderly parents to spend time together and get to know them again.

List of things you can do to spend time with your loved one

1. Help them with cooking

Humans connect through food. Having them at the dinner table isn’t the only way to share happiness. Another one of the best ways to interact with our senior family members is to cook together. This not only allows you to bond, but it also encourages them to stay active and feel more involved in family activities. Rather than simply cooking for the elderly, incorporate them into the process to enrich their experience and make them feel important by helping. This is especially beneficial for seniors with dementia, as the process of cooking and meal planning can elevate their moods.

2. Go for a walk after diner

If the weather and your loved one’s physical condition allows, enjoy a peaceful evening by walking and talking with them. Walking boosts circulation after eating, thus increasing adrenaline and endorphin levels, which provide both you and your loved one a happy and energetic feeling throughout the conversation. You can talk about plans, happy memories, and new interests or hobbies during your walk, which reinforces positive emotions with physical activities.

3. Bring your kids to family gatherings

Many seniors love spending time with kids. Although you might think these two groups have little in common, research from the Atlantic shows that both children and the elderly see benefits from spending time together. Seniors generally have less depression, better physical health, and more satisfaction with life after having their grandkids visit. Some communities have preschools and daycares inside the nursing homes themselves.

4. Use nostalgia

Nostalgia might sound like a sentimental thing, but proper use of it can benefit seniors in many ways. This includes helping them deal with challenges from the past, letting go of unpleasant feelings, and gaining a more mature perspective on their current lives.

Memories can be sparked by seeing old photos, hearing old music, tasting old dishes, or even just smelling something familiar. Nostalgia jogs our memories of the good old times —the moments we may have taken for granted when they were happening.

Also, reminiscing helps to strike up a conversation or keeps a conversation going when it goes dry. Asking questions like “Do you remember when we…?” may help to draw closer to your loved one. Moreover, letting your loved ones pass on family stories would greatly enhance their emotional strength and confidence. Using CareStory to record and help your loved one recall sweet memories makes this process easier.

Good companionship can be achieved when you are away

1. Regular video/phone calls

If you live far away and cannot often visit, try to call them as much as you can. Your loved one wants to know what is going on in your life. It will give them reassurance and a sense of being involved. Our best advice is to call them once a day in terms of frequency. You can make a call during lunch or at the end of the day and ask them if they have eaten and what they did. It usually takes no more than 10 minutes, but it will make your loved one feel that they are not losing contact with you. It also helps you know about their daily living and emotional well-being at home or in a community.

2. Take advantage of festivals

Cultures and religions aren’t the only reasons why we celebrate festivals; people get a sense of belonging when celebrating them. Festivals allow the family to come together and celebrate a shared belief, which makes seniors feel valued. Work together with your parents to decorate the home, cook food, manufacture gifts, and more. It’s a great opportunity for you to spend quality time with them and give them a sense of pride.

3. Get them a pet

Getting a companion animal has an astounding effect on seniors. In addition to lowering blood pressure and promoting social connection and physical activity, animals have been shown to alleviate stress and anxiety. Depressive symptoms and feelings of loneliness can also be dramatically reduced when people surround themselves with pets. However, some pets do require more work. Make sure you consider the physical condition of your loved one and ask their preferred animal.

4. Use companion services

If you and your other family members can’t make it to see your loved one regularly, we’re sure you still wish to know their progress and make sure they can manage their daily activities. You can use many companion services, such as drop-in companions and phone call services. Unlike nursing care, companion care focuses on giving emotional support and friendship and practical assistance with everyday tasks for the elderly. Older adults who want to age comfortably and independently in their own homes can use this type of care.

At the end:

Learning to be a good companion needs time, and building empathy is the premise. It is vital to make your loved ones feel heard, understood, and respected. There are many good ways to spend time with your parents and strengthen family bonds, but good companionship shouldn’t depend on whether you are close by or far away.






“The wandering bands of storytelling Sapiens were the most important and most destructive force the animal kingdom had ever produced.” -Yuval Noah Harari.

Making a story for seniors is fun that brings people together and celebrates their lives. Hearing stories told by our parents and grandparents is just like collecting pearls: once you string them together, more surprises unfold. Then, you probably won’t wait to pass the delight to others, which is the beauty of storytelling.

What are senior stories, and why should we make one?

As the name suggests, senior stories could be a description of any major change or experience that a senior had in the past or something that encapsulates these experiences and summarizes their life into one story. It preserves memories and helps to define their personality. Here, we talk about a life story consisting of a set of events in a senior’s life. 

There are many benefits of senior storytelling:

Promote understanding and empathy

Successful storytelling can elicit emotional responses from the audience and create empathy. One example is an Alzheimer’s disease awareness film called “Takeaway,” which was aired on TV.

The scene begins with an older adult looking at the door, waiting for his son to come home. However, when his son comes back, the older adult doesn’t seem to want to open the door.

“Dad, open the door for me! I didn’t bring the key!” the young man knocks on the door and says.

The older adult suddenly panics.

  “I don’t know you!” He yells at the young man with fear, leaving his son completely shocked.

Then it follows with the narrative from the son.

The son says since his father’s memory began to worsen: “He always forgets where the fridge or the bathroom is. He doesn’t recognize his own house when he’s just in front of it. Sometimes he even doesn’t remember if he has had meals.”

The son takes his father out for lunch with his friends one day. When they were almost finished eating, the father saw two dumplings left on the plate. Then the older adult makes quickly grabs the dumplings with his hand and tucks them into his pockets, disregarding the other guests at the table.

“What are you doing, dad?!” the son, feeling embarrassed, grumbled to his father.

“These are for my son,” the father replies.

“I know he loves dumplings.”

The son is stunned by the father’s answer. Just as the name implies, the disease takes away most of the father’s memories and consciousness, but it doesn’t take away his love for his son.

This PSA was unquestionably a success. It won the “Film Lion” prize in the 60th Cannes Festival of Creativity and allowed many people to learn about Alzheimer’s for the first time.

Like the ads, a vivid story can touch the heart of the audience, making them understand and feel the hero or heroine in the story. So maybe next time, if you want your friends to understand why your loved one loves to collect “invaluable items” such as plastic bags or napkins, tell them the story of how they have been through a difficult time with material scarcity and believes collecting things will be useful in the future. This way, they will understand it and thus avoid some embarrassment of “missing toilet paper” in the washroom.

Help caregivers to deliver better care

Relationships are built upon “knowing” – without sufficiently knowing the person’s identity. It’s hard to have a connection with them. Another point of telling the story of our loved ones is to let the caregivers provide more effective assistance to the one you care for.

Here’s a real-life example that illustrates the idea:

A while ago, an older woman with cognitive impairment, living in a long-term care home, often got up in the middle of the night and walked down the hallways to check on sleeping residents. It was quite disturbing and creepy to both the residents and the staff, and it was hard to resolve since her behaviour seemed “unstoppable” to some degree.

But nothing is impossible to a willing heart. After countless times of trying to stop the behaviour, a caregiver decided to figure out the underlying reason. Starting from learning about her past experiences, the caregiver discovered that the woman was a night-shift nurse for over 30 years! It turned out that she was trying to “do her job”!

After that, everything has solved. Whenever the woman happened to repeat her nurse-on-duty behaviour again, the staff would tell her that her shift had ended and therefore could go back to sleep with relief.

What an amazing story! If the caregiver didn’t look into her past, they wouldn’t know how to help her to rest. Now you can use CareStory to store all your loved one’s experiences and access through a QR code. Quality care can happen in just one scan!

Strengthen family bonds

Although you and your parents and grandparents have lived together for years, it doesn’t mean you know them very well. When you hear stories about them from further back, you are drawn to your family even closer.

You may be surprised when you find out your strong grandfather also has a weak side inside of him, and your seemingly ordinary mother has done something spectacular in the past. Strong emotions are created when we share these experiences and memories as we feel we are more pulled towards them, which is how relationships are strengthened.

Promote well-being

While happy memories evoke warm feelings, which is good for mental health, sharing stories of enduring horrible crises or tragedies can also be beneficial.

These can reveal how the family member dealt with it and overcame the difficult time when handled correctly. These stories can be precious life lessons that teach you how to be strong throughout life. In addition, telling these stories also helps the senior to release stress when you are “experiencing” these memories together with them (research from Advances in Psychiatric Treatment). Re-experiencing these memories encourage the whole family to face the uncertainty of the future, which can further build resilience and confidence in both seniors and their families.

Not only does storytelling have a beneficial psychological influence, but it also has a positive physiological impact. According to research published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in 2021, they have discovered that storytelling boosts oxytocin levels while lowering cortisol levels (a hormone generated in reaction to stress). Oxytocin is a hormone associated with human bonding and enhances feelings of love and empathy.

Although stories capture feelings and tighten bonds, techniques are still needed when gathering them and putting them into words. Here are some tips for creating and adding dimensions to your senior stories.

Tips of effective family storytelling:

1. Choose a central idea

A great story usually embodies a central message, even a life story. When crafting a senior story, you should have a clear idea of what you’re building toward. Consider who your audience would be. Are they the caregivers or your family friends? What is your purpose for creating this senior story? What tone do you use to interpret the person’s life events accurately? Think about these questions before choosing the type of stories to tell. Be clear on the “core” that you base your narrative on, and always stick to it.

2. Make a timeline for their major events

Ask the seniors about important moments they remember. You can write them down or record them through audio. After collecting these stories, highlight the ones that seem worthy to include and align with the story’s central idea. This process may take a lot of time and effort, but it is fundamental to building a coherent story. See our blog on “How to communicate with seniors” to make the process easier.

3. Be specific on what shapes your loved one’s identity

If your loved one is a fun person, focus on the funny moments that happened in their life; if the senior is a loving person, you can put more attention on describing the heartwarming senior stories that you could remember about them. It is okay to add some conflict to the story, but building a consistent identity is vital for the audience to empathize with the senior.

4. Gather memories from other family members

There are always some details we miss from the first-person perspective. Try to ask other family members about the important memories that they share with the seniors and get them involved in the process. It will add more “flesh” to the structure of your story.

5. Explore old photos and gadgets

Some seniors love to collect things such as photos or ornaments. They believe these little things hold their memories and have sentimental attachments to them. Try asking the senior the story behind these “collections.” It helps them bring back more memories and feel more engaged in the storytelling process.

Collecting stories can be the most taxing and rewarding process of generating senior stories. Here, CareStory has provided you with some sample questions you can ask your loved one to sparkle a story. 

List of questions to ask a senior to inspire a story:


  • What was the occupation of your parents?

  • What’s one lesson your parents taught you?

  • What’re one or two stories that you remember the most clearly about your childhood?

  • What was your favourite time of day when you were a kid? Why?

  • What did you want to be when you grew up?


  • Describe your most important friendship.

  • What was your first job? How did you get it?

  • Do you have a significant other? How did you meet them?

  • What do you recall about your first date with your significant other?

  • What’s your greatest accomplishment in your life?

  • What were the most fulfilling times of your life?

  • Were there any difficult times you’d like to share? 

  • Where there any moments you recall as a turning point of your life?

  • What are you most grateful for in your life?

  • What’s the most significant thing you’ve done to help others?


  • What’s your favourite holiday memory?

  • What’s your favourite city/country? Why?

  • What’s your favourite food? 

  • What is the most amazing piece of technology to you?

  • What have you been doing for fun lately?


  • If you could have one superpower, what do you wish it would be? Why?

  • What’s on your bucket list?

  • What are your goals for the next few years?

  • If you could have dinner with one person from past or present, who would it be? Why?

  • What would you say if you could talk to yourself 20/30/40 years ago?

  • If you could go back in time, what time would it be? Why?

At the end

Creating senior stories is not an easy process, yet it has many benefits to it. For the seniors who cannot create their own stories, the help from their families can bridge the gaps and encourage them to share these treasures. Many tools can help you build and share your stories, and CareStory is one of them. We are committed to letting every elder be heard. Feel free to check it out. 







“The only way that people are going to know I’m dead is from the smell in the hallway,” said David. David is 82 and has lived in a condo in Ottawa for 20 years now. His wife died many years ago, and his son lives in British Columbia, more than 4000 kilometres away. 

David only contacts his son through email once a week, and his best friend just died of cancer.

“Aging is a process of losing,” he said,

“You lose your health, career, and the people who used to be around you after a certain age. The only thing you gain is loneliness.”

There are billions of older adults living the same isolated life as David. Senior isolation is not a disease, but anyone who has it usually becomes voiceless and hopeless – all they do is wait to die alone.

What is senior isolation?

Senior isolation is a term that indicates social isolation in older adults. People of various ages can be affected by social isolation. And loneliness in the elderly causes more serious problems than in younger individuals.

According to a National Institute of Aging report, approximately 28 percent of people over 65 years old in the U.S. live in one-person households. However, someone is living alone doesn’t mean they are experiencing loneliness. There are a few factors that contribute to senior isolation, which includes:

– Bereavement of a significant other

– Retirement from work

– Loss of networks with friends

– Change in the living environment

– Mobility or sensory impairment

– Low income or limited financial resources

– Psychological or cognitive issues

– Language/racial/sexual orientation/gender identity barriers

– Lack of transportation or fear toward driving and travelling

Although the causation may differ from person to person, the negative effect of senior isolation could be almost the same for every family.

What is the impact?

The senior:

It starts with health effects. We all know that loneliness is never a pleasant experience for us humans. A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) suggests that social isolation has proven adverse effects on seniors’ mental health, including anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline that’s highly related to Alzheimer’s disease. The study also shows that chronic isolation induces physical issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, and even causes premature death.

Besides the direct effects, isolation also causes seniors to remain trapped in the vicious cycle of elder abuse. People with poor social support are more prone to being emotionally and physically mistreated. As the abuse worsens, a senior who undergoes abuse will likely become even more socially isolated.

A study in 2017 suggests that seniors who endure abuse at the hands of a trusted helper may withdraw from socializing due to feelings of shame. Some seniors even 

Believe that abuse is common and even acceptable as time goes by. These circumstances keep the abuse victim mute, thus reinforcing the isolation-abuse cycle.

The family: 

Senior isolation has a detrimental effect on seniors’ families as well.

Elders who are socially isolated and have poor social networks tend to have low-quality relationships with those closest to them, including their family members and friends. This can be attributed to the weakened social skills and a lack of feeling safe caused by chronic isolation. Therefore, seniors living in isolation would make their families feel disconnected and increase their worries when they cannot be around.

In addition, senior isolation is a risk factor for stroke and dementia (report from Centers of Disease Control and Prevention), increasing the family’s burden of taking care of the seniors.

However, as a growing epidemic in modern society, it is impossible to spot someone’s loneliness. The persons going through loneliness may not even recognize it themselves. Here are some signs to look out for:

Signs of Senior Isolation

– Decreased energy

– Feeling foggy or unable to concentrate

– Having trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual

– Change in eating habits: overeating or loss of appetite

– Loss of interest in hobbies

– Loss of interest in socializing

– Increased shopping

– Declining cognitive abilities

– Interacting with/trusting suspicious people

If your loved one is experiencing all the symptoms above, you need to be alerted that chronic loneliness might develop in your family. However, it doesn’t mean that you are in a hopeless position. There are many ways to overcome senior isolation, and CareStory is here, providing you with some valuable tips to help.

If your loved one is experiencing isolation, you can:

Make regular visits or callsVisit your loved one as often as you can. If you live far away from them or are always on a tight schedule, try to make calls regularly. It is essential to make your family feel that they have not lost connection with you. Also, show interest in the topic they are talking about during the visit or the phone call. Making the person feel that they matter would greatly help them erode being left behind.

If you or a loved one struggle to make regular phone calls, try registering for free companion phone call services such as the “friendly calls program”. Volunteers in the program would provide supportive listening and social engagement, and help clients relieve anxiety, despair, and loneliness through phone calls.

1. Encourage social interaction

Don’t let your family deal with emotions on their own, especially when you and other family members are not around. Encourage your loved ones to make friends with their neighbours and the people they may have daily interactions with. Convince them to participate in group outings and actively engage in community events.

According to a study published by the National Institute on Aging, having an active social life improves one’s physical, mental, and emotional health, which is especially crucial for the elderly who suffer from loneliness and depression.

2. Make transportation easier

Many seniors don’t drive, so making transportation accessible is crucial. Choosing a long-term care home with adequate public transit nearby would encourage seniors to join the crowd and explore more outdoor activities. See our post on “How to Choose a Long-Term Care Home” for more details.

You can ask someone to share a ride with your loved one, but it is better to do it yourself. Offering your loved ones a chance to ride with you and assisting them in learning to use public transit will help them maintain a healthy sense of independence.

3. Notify friends and caregivers

If your family seems reluctant to make social connections actively, it is your job to contact the people who are frequently around them to pay more attention. Some seniors are afraid to step out of their comfort zone. To better assist, getting other people involved in their lives would reduce the sense of isolation. Ask the caregivers to chat with your loved one when they are doing housework, or call your friends to offer assistance with cleaning or cooking, so that they have more chances to “break the ice” and let the warmth in.

4. Get a therapy pet (if possible)

If your loved one lives alone at home, try adopting a pet and make it a good companion for your family. These fuzzy little things do have some therapeutic effects: studies show that pets can reduce seniors’ anxiety and blood pressure and encourage positive social behaviours (ontariospca.com). Moreover, taking care of a pet would make the senior feel rewarded and fulfilled.

If your loved one is living in a long-term care home, be clear on the policies of bringing a pet with the residents. For the homes that do not allow their residents to have pets, you can have your friends get their pets for a visit.

If you are the one who’s experiencing senior isolation, you can:

5. Get involved in the community

Staying active in the community gives individuals a sense of purpose. Many seniors benefit from active involvement with their community and meeting new people. If you live in a retirement community, you will find tons of socializing opportunities! For example, you can volunteer to help with gift wrapping during holiday seasons or perform in a local cultural festival. It’s a great way to get engaged and give yourself a sense of purpose. If you live at home, take advantage of joining a local senior center or any community of interest in the local area. Spending time with others can help fight feelings of isolation and depression to a great extent.

6. Be more physically active

If you can, get in more physical activity. Moving your body can assist to release endorphins, or “happy chemicals,” which can help to reduce stress and make you feel “refreshed.” When you’re alone, you may find it difficult to maintain the habit, so it’s time to join an exercise group!

Taking part in a group exercise class will make your workout more enjoyable and push you to keep going, in addition to lessening your isolation and stress. Exercises can also aid in the prevention of memory loss and cognitive deterioration. There is no need for heavy activities such as playing basketball or swimming. Light exercise like walking or even simple gardening may also make a great difference!

7. Explore interests

Hobbies are great for fighting against loneliness and keeping our minds active. “A watched pot never boils.” Rekindling your old interests or discovering new ones will make you feel the time passes faster than spending your day staring at a clock. Also, picking up a hobby can assist you in meeting new people. Try joining a club, a class, or a group and share common interests with others. You will even discover more hobbies thanks to the other club members. It’s also a fantastic method to keep your mind stimulated.

If you don’t know what hobby should you engage in, here are a few ideas to inspire you to start:


Tell your stories and share your memories with your families and friends. There are plenty of benefits to storytelling. Don’t believe us? Check out our blog on “The Power of Telling Senior Stories” for details on that. You can also keep a gratitude journal daily, which will help increase your happiness, promote better sleep, and make you focus on the bright side of life.


Fishing is a calm and fascinating pastime that can keep you entertained for hours on end. It is much more than just staring at the water and waiting for fish to come. To catch some types of fish, you’ll need special tools. It sometimes even requires you to learn specific fishing techniques to catch a fish, which is challenging and filled with fun.


Healing and inspiring – this is the power of the arts. Painting gives you a chance to express yourself and discover the beauty of the things around you. It helps you to release your emotions and bolster memories. Furthermore, it requires hand-eye coordination, which will help to improve your mobility.


Birdwatching isn’t just looking at a bird. Birds are beautiful creatures that connect you to nature. The art of birdwatching requires a keen eye and sufficient patience and knowledge. If you’re new to it, look for a bird reference guide to see which birds visit your region at certain times of the year. You can train your ear to recognize different bird calls and environmental noises. This is also a fun task.


Candle-making can promote dexterity in hands and fingers and boost your self-esteem by giving you a sense of pride and fulfillment. The aroma of essential oils will calm and relax you, especially when manufacturing scented candles. Candles can also be given as gifts during the holidays or sold to supplement one’s income.

Dining with others

Stop taking your plate to your room and eating alone. Having meals with others will create bonds, and that’s why we always choose a restaurant as a dating spot. A shared dining table will provide you with chances for conversation and storytelling and allow you to eat more if you are experiencing a loss of appetite. Dining is a significant part of social interaction. In many senior centres, country clubs, health clubs, and long-term care home communities. It is recognized as one of the most important elements.


Senior isolation is both a standard and dangerous situation that seniors face when living alone. It can be attributed to many external or internal reasons, and the harmful impact would profoundly affect the senior’s family. There are a variety of approaches to overcoming loneliness. Whether it’s about assisting others in overcoming loneliness or assisting yourself in dealing with your situation, staying active in social communities and developing interests is always the key.






Contact us

Call us


Visit us anytime

294 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada

Send us an email



Sign up for CareStory newsletter to receive all the news offers and discounts.

    Social networks







    Contact us

    Call us


    Visit us anytime

    294 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada

    Send us an email



    Sign up for Medicare newsletter to receive all the news offers and discounts.

      Social networks







      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.

      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.