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As Johnny’s mother’s dementia got worse, he began to worry about himself. His grandma had Alzheimer’s years before she passed away, and now his mom has it.

Johnny has heard before that dementia could be hereditary, and now he kind of believes it. Although taking good care of his mom is now his firstpriority, Johnny thinks that he needs to find a way to prevent, or at least slow down, the progress of developing dementia. Is this actually something that could be achieved, or is it just wishful thinking? Today we’ll find out.

Is Dementia Preventable?

Although there is no clear evidence that dementia can be prevented in all cases, researchers found that a healthy lifestyle could significantly lower the risk of dementia as we age.

Two of the most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia. It has been shown that having a healthy lifestyle can decrease some risk factors of developing dementia.

Risk Factors of Dementia

Before we talk about the risk factors, there’s one thing you should know: risk factors are not the direct causes of a disease, rather, they present as the possible reasons that increase the chance of developing the disease.

Below, we have listed several risk factors that were demonstrated to increase the likelihood of developing dementia:

  • Age

The very first rist factor is obviously aging. As we age, we are more likely to suffer from dementia, even though it is not a normal part of the aging process.

The strongest known risk factor for dementia, on the other hand, is advanced age. Alzheimer’s disease affects one in every twenty Canadians over the age of 65. Individuals younger than 65 are not immune to developing dementia.

It’s called “early-onset dementia” for a reason.

  • Sex

Believe it or not, sex is another prominent risk factor for causing the disease, and  women are more likely than men to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

A number of factors, including longer lifespans for women and fluctuations in estrogen levels throughout the course of a woman’s life, have been linked to this phenomenon.

  • Genetics

There are at least 20 genes that may enhance the chance of Alzheimer’s disease, according to researchers.

PSEN1, PSEN2, and APP (the three types of genes) are all known to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and familial Alzheimer’s disease generally develops before the age of 65 in those who have one of these gene mutations.

There is a 50% risk that a kid will be born with one of these genes if their parents are carriers. However, the other genes connected with Alzheimer’s disease enhance the risk but do not guarantee that the condition will occur.

  • High Blood Pressure

Dementia is more likely to occur in middle-aged people with high blood pressure (hypertension) than in those with normal blood pressure. Because of its effect on the heart, arteries, and blood circulation, high blood pressure can raise your chances of developing dementia, particularly vascular dementia.

  • Smoking

Smokers are more likely to develop dementia than non-smokers or ex-smokers. According to the data from a 2019’s study, current smokers are 30% more likely to develop dementia in general, and 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Also, a longitudinal study found that smoking habits causes a decline in memory, cognitive function, and attention ability.

  • Diabetes

Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are more common in people with mid-life type 2 diabetes (ages 45 to 65).

  • Obesity

Middle-aged obesity (between the ages of 45 and 65) raises the risk of dementia. A person’s risk of having type 2 diabetes is increased by obesity, which increases the chance of developing dementia, as we explained previously.

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Researchers have found that traumatic brain injury has a moderate to severe correlation with dementia. The disease usually starts years after the patient’s original TBI. TBI could be linked to memory loss, decrease in concentration, incapability in communication, and even personality change.

  • Malnutrition

Many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, can be exacerbated by a diet heavy in saturated fat, sugar, and salt. See our blog post on “Senior Nutrition Guide to learn more.

  • Alcohol

Heavy alcohol consumption (more than 14 drinks per week for women and more than 21 drinks per week for men) raises the risk of dementia.

  • Depression

People who suffer from depression in their middle or later years are more likely to suffer from dementia.

However, even though dementia and depression may be linked, it has yet to be proven. There are conflicting views on whether depression is a risk factor for dementia or even an early indication of the illness.

  • Loss of Hearing

Dementia and cognitive decline can occur even at low degrees of hearing loss. Hearing loss can lead to social isolation, diminished self-confidence, and difficulty doing daily tasks. However, the specific impact on cognitive decline is still unknown. In our previous blog post, we have explained how to take care of a family member with hearing loss , which we hope can inspire you if you are in the situation.

  • Senior Isolation

Hypertension, heart disease, depression, and dementia are all made more likely by a person’s lack of social interaction. Senior isolation is a serious issue that occurs in many elderly people. If you or your loved one is suspected of experiencing loneliness and isolation, check out our blog post on “Senior Isolation to find out how to avoid that.

After reviewing a number of risk factors, you may now know that dementia is highly related to certain diseases such as diabetes, or stroke. In that, lowering the risk of getting dementia is still possible.

How to Lower the Risk of Developing Dementia

Albeit more studies are needed to be done before researchers know specific means to prevent dementia, there are still some steps we can do to promote our general health and lower the risk of many related diseases.

  • Quit Smoking

Smokers are more likely to develop many chronic diseases, and dementia could be one of the consequences. Quitting smoking can be a difficult process, but the end result is worth all the effort. Find support from friends and family; success will be difficult if you walk this road alone.

  • Manage Health Problems Including Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and High Cholesterol

Contrel and monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar level. Eat a well-balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. Make sure to include particular protein sources that contain omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

  • Be Physically and Socially Active

Being physically and socially active could not only help you to manage your weight, but also keep senior isolation at bay. Try to do some aerobic exercises that could raise your heart rate but won’t harm your joints. Enjoying these activities with others could make the process much less boring!

  • Practice Cognitive Skills

Another way to maintain your brain health is to constantly stimulate it. You can try to learn some new skills or new languages. It is also helpful to play some games that require some brain power.

  • Avoid Head Injury

Always be careful when walking or jogging. Wear comfortable shoes and use the anti-slip mats in areas you constantly use. If you are an aging adult, always use railings in stairwells and wear a helmet when doing sports if necessary.

  • Limit Alcohol Consumption

Try to eliminate alcohol as much as possible in your diet. If it is too hard for you to quit, try to limit your alcohol intake to a certain amount, which means 350ml for beer, and 148ml for wine each day.

References:

https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-conditions/brain-and-nerves/dementia/prevention.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/alzheimers-prevention/faq-20058140

 


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“Last Sunday, my grandson brought my beef jerky. He knows that it was my favorite snack when I was his age, but I hadn’t had it for years,” said Richard.

“And then a weird thing happened…I found that it was too tough for me to chew.

I asked my son why it was too dry and too hard, and he said it was the same kind of beef jerky that you can buy anywhere. Then I started wondering if it was my problem.”

“Well Richard,” replied Anthony, Richard’s good friend. “You’re a tough man, but sometimes you gotta admit that you’re old, and not as tough as you used to be! 

I’m not far from you. I haven’t been able to eat hard foods like beef jerky since my neck surgery, and Jane only has liquid food now because of her teeth. Now you won’t spot any crackers or nuts in our house. By the way, I have some really nice juicers if you want one.”

Just like Richard, Anthony and his wife Jane, and many older adults are facing the same situation – not being able to eat certain foods because of chewing difficulties.

In fact, chewing difficulties can also be ascribed to many other reasons, such as gum disease, physical changes from jaw/mouth surgeries, stiffness or pain in the jaw muscles, infections from radiation therapy, etc. These factors would greatly interfere with your eating, and there are risks that come afterward.

Risks Associated With Chewing Difficulties

Malnutrition is the most common outcome related to chewing difficulties. Generally speaking, many liquid foods such as soups, juices, and shakes are not able to provide enough nutrients and calories as foods that are dry and dense in their texture. A lack of macronutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) can cause harmful infection in seniors who already have compromised immune systems, and also increase the chance of developing dangerous heart arrhythmias.

In addition, improper chewing can elevate choking risks, which could be life-threatening. So cultivating good eating/cooking habits and eating the “right” foods become crucial at this point

Tips For Seniors with Chewing Difficulties:

–       Drink Beverages/Soups

Drinking liquid could help moisten the food and make it easy to chew and swallow. It is better to drink beverages or soups than drinking water since these can provide extra energy and minerals with your regular meals. Note that sugar-free and low sodium beverages/soups is recommended, especially for seniors with cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

–       Use Dentures

When the teeth don’t work anymore, look for the ally! A set of artificial teeth can work the as same as your old teeth, so letting your “old friends” retire and replacing them with new ones would be a good idea.

–       Pace Your Consumption

A slow eater is always an elegant eater, and they are unlikely to choke. Cut your food into smaller chunks and let your fork rest on your plate between bites would be very helpful for your teeth in order to grind the food thoroughly. It also prevents acid reflux and engages all your senses while you eat.

Tips For Meal Planning: 

–       Follow Nutrition Guides

Even if there are many food groups you should avoid, it is still necessary to follow a nutrition guide to ensure both the variety and the balance of our diet is achieved. Check out the “Health Eating Food Pyramid” or “MyPlate Food Guide” for reference to food portions and types of foods we should include in our diet every day.

In brief, by the healthy eating principle, your diet should be composed of:

–       50 percent of vegetables and fruits

–       25 percent of grains

–       25 percent of proteins

 

–    Use The Right Cooking Methods

Selecting easy-to-chew foods isn’t enough; changing the way we cook is also important, and it gives you more options of foods to add to your diet.

Try to add low-sodium liquid to moisten the foods, and use a food processor to soften them afterward.

Steaming and simmering will also help the food absorb liquid and become soft enough to eat while frying and grilling will take the water away from the food. However, for some vegetables that are moisture-rich, frying and grilling will still make them soft and easy to swallow. So next time your elderly parents use your wagyu beef to make beef stew, don’t laugh. They are choosing the right way to cook for themselves!

–       Remove Seeds/Stones to Avoid Choking

When the teeth can’t process the food well, you will use the tongue. But for the foods that contain seeds, such as watermelon and grapes, our tongues are not useful to grind the seeds down. So it is important to remove the seeds before you eat to prevent choking or to avoid them altogether.

Here’s a chart of the food to avoid and choose for people with chewing difficulties.

Food To Avoid/Food To Choose:

Foods to Choose: 

  • Foods that are soft in texture, easy to chew and swallow.
  • Foods that are chopped into bite-size” (no more than 2 cm in size), ground, mashed and moist

Foods to Avoid:

  • Foods that are dry, hard, and stringy in texture.
  • Foods that are sticky and gummy.

Avoiding certain food does not mean you can no longer taste the gourmet. Here are some recipes that CareStory recommends if you have chewing difficulties. Enjoy!

Recipes: 

1. Pumpkin Sausage Soup 

(Rich and satisfying. This is the perfect soup to enjoy in cold weather!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 ounces unsalted chicken stock
  • 15 ounces pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp. sugar or sugar substitute equivalent
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups shredded smoked cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1.     Add oil to a soup pot or dutch oven. Add the onions and carrots, then cook them for 5 minutes as you stir them.
  2.     Add salt, pepper, and chopped garlic to the vegetables.
  3.     Break up the sausage into smaller pieces as it cooks in the pot. Make sure the meat is cooked well before you tilt the pot to the side and scoop out any extra fat.
  4.     Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and mix them well. Add water up to a boil and cook for 20 minutes.
  5.     Add seasoning, and it is ready to serve.

 

2. Creamy Butter Mashed Potatoes

(It’s easy, it’s creamy, it’s good for any occasion.)

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2  sticks softened unsalted butter
  • 8 ounce sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

  1.     Cut the potatoes into small pieces to ensure they can all cook evenly.
  2.     Boil potatoes in water until they are fork-tender.
  3.     Drain potatoes and add in the cream, sour cream, and butter.
  4.     Mash the potatoes with a potato masher until it’s smooth. Add milk for thinning.
  5.     Add seasoning.

 

3.Tropical Oatmeal Smoothie

(It’s packed with fibers and vitamins, and a load of sunshine!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quick coats
  • 1 peeled banana
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk 
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup frozen mango cubes
  • 3/4 cup frozen pineapple cubes

Directions:

  1.     Add the oats to the blender, and blend to a fine powder.
  2.     Add banana, coconut milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and continue to blend.
  3.     Add the mango and pineapple, and blend until smooth.

 

4. Peanut Butter Avocado Smoothie

(A one-minute drink that keeps you full and energetic for the whole day. Why not?!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Half an avocado

Directions:

  1.     Blend the above ingredient in a blender until smooth.
  2.     Enjoy!

 

5. Tiramisu

(Who can resist Tiramisu? If you are looking for a no-bake dessert, here it is!)

Ingredients:

  • 9 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces frozen whipped toppings
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 10 1/2 ounces ladyfinger cookies
  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

  1.     Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth in a large mixing bowl.
  2.     Soak ladyfinger cookies in coffee in a square container.
  3.     Top the soaked ladyfingers with the creamy mixture.
  4.     Layer with whipped toppings by using a spatula.
  5.     Dust cocoa powder on top.
  6.     Refrigerate for 5 hours. Serve cold.

 

References:

https://extension.okstate.edu/fact-sheets/nutrition-for-older-adults-chewing-swallowing-and-nutrition.html

https://thegeriatricdietitian.com/nutrition-care-dental-health-in-older-adults/

https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Dental-health/Managing-Chewing-Problems.aspx


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Summer is here, and it is all about getting active! Just like many other Canadians, Jim treasures every single bit of the sunshine and breeze.

It is a sunny and hot afternoon. After a few hours of walking in Stanley Park, Jim starts to feel very tired, so he finds a bench and plans to rest for a while. But after he sits down, he becomes a little dizzy, and his vision starts to blur. Jim’s scared since he came alone, and his bottled water has already been discarded along the way. Just when Jim thinks he might pass out, a group of bikers pass by, and they notice that Jim is not feeling well. They give Jim water and place a wet towel on his forehead.

It’s heat stroke.

Jim thanks the bikers and starts to consider if he’s really suitable for outdoor activities due to his age. It was quite a dangerous situation. Heat stroke is very common when people perform outdoor activities under high temperatures; children and seniors are especially prone to it. However, don’t fear summer just because of it – There are still many safe activities for seniors to experience. Today, we are going to provide some tips for you and your loved one to spend a fun, memorable summer togethrt.

Tips for Seniors to Have a Safe Summer

1. Be Aware of Heat Stress 

Heat stress, also as known as heat exhaustion, is a condition in which symptoms include excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes fainting. It occurs when the body becomes dehydrated and unable to cool down. So, the most important thing to do to prevent heat stress is to stay hydrated and always find shade when under the bright sun. When sitting in a car, it is important to make sure the window is open to allow sufficient airflow to come in and out. When you and your loved one are attending any large events, make sure to take a step away from the crowd once every 10-20min.

2. Avoid Sunburn

We love sunshine! In addition to the good mood it can bring, sunshine is also the best natural source of Vitamin D. However, overexposure to the sun could not only cause heat stress, as we just mentioned, but it also results in damage to our skin. When we age, our skin loses fat and water, which causes it to become thinner and more vulnerable. The symptoms of sunburn include itchiness, sensitivity, and irritation, which can possibly affect our whole body. In that, avoid going outside from 11 am to 2 pm, which is the period when the sun rays are most intensive. Don’t forget to bring a hat, and apply sunscreen when going outside. Note the sunscreen should be applied 20 min before going outdoors and reapplied every 2 hours.

Here’s a list of the best sunscreens that are gentle to the skin but strong in preventing sunburn. You can get them online or at any local drugstores:

  • Neutrogena Ultra Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 55:

  • La Roche Posay Anthelios Sunscreen:

  • EltaMD UV Lotion Broad-Spectrum SPF30+:

  • Coppertone Water Babies SPF50:

3. Keep Summer Bugs Away

We are not the only ones that enjoy the weather. There are plenty of species “booming” in the summer, too. Mosquitos, wasps, ticks, ants, yellow jackets … these little living creatures are not so friendly to humans. Not only can they ruin our mood, but some can also bring deceases to us. So stay away from stagnant water (which is paradise for summer bugs), and bring repelling herbs such as citronella, lavender, and lemongrass to dispel insects. There are citronella bracelets that you can bring with you when visiting parks and the seaside. It is also important to wear long sleeves and pants when going outside. When you are having a  barbeque or picnic, remember to keep the garbage bin sealed and clean up right away after eating.

Safe and Fun Summer Activities for Seniors

  • Go For a Walk in a Park

Doing some low-impact activities such as walking can strengthen bones and decrease the risk of osteoporosis. Pick a nice park around your place and go for a walk. The scenery can help you reduce anxiety, boost your mood, and improve sleep quality.

  • Have a Picnic

Just grab some snacks, a cute blanket, and maybe a speaker and go to your favorite park. What’s more enjoyable than of lying down on the grass and watching the clouds with your friends.  Don’t forget to wear sunglasses and have your food covered when you are not consuming it!

  • Do Some Gardening

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, it doesn’t deprive your of the joy of creating beautiful scenery in your backyard or balcony. It is a very efficient way to exercise and elevate your mood. By planting beautiful flowers and vegetables, your self-esteem will improve, and your immune system will be boosted. It is extremely important in the aging process, especially for seniors who are experiencing the early stages of dementia. So get your hand dirty and have some fun “green time”!

  •  Go to a Farmer’s Market

Summer is always the best season to visit farmer’s markets. The seasonal fruits and veggies they provide are usually organic. Browsing foods can also stimulate your appetite for the hot summer.

  • Watch an Outdoor Movie

There are so many reasons why we love outdoor movies so much: they are cheap, they play classic movies, and you get to chat with your friends freely. Whether you sit in a car or sit on the grass, what outdoor movies can bring you is always more than just movies. Just remember to bring a blanket since outdoor movies always play after sunset, and it gets cold in the evening.

  • Go Fruit Picking

Another option to access fresh fruits and have fun is going fruit picking. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes so that you don’t fall. Here’s a general timeline for summer fruit picking. The exact time may differ according to your location:

  • Strawberries: May – June

  • Cherries: June – July

  • Blueberries and Blackberries: June – August

  • Peaches: July – September

  • Apples: August

  • Go Fishing

Fishing is also a good way to enjoy the outdoors. It isn’t just sitting and staring at the water; it requires body strength when the time comes for a catch. It is also a good way to socialize with others. Just think about it: fishing with friends by a tranquil lake on a beautiful day, isn’t it relaxing enough?

In the End:

There are a lot more outdoor summer activities that are suitable for seniors than what we provided, but always remember to stay cool and hydrated while performing any activity. If you are not so sure about a certain activity, check in with your doctor and find out if you can handle them. Safety is always the first priority!

References:

https://www.nursenextdoor.com/blog/10-summer-activities-for-seniors/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/176441#symptoms

https://www.unicityhealthcare.com/senior-summer-activities-safe-and-effective-ways-to-keep-active-this-season/

 


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“My mom has always had bad vision, but it has become weaker and weaker in the past few years. Now, she’s legally blind. I feel bad for her since she enjoys exploring the beauty of nature, but now she’s even having trouble doing housework due to her vision loss. I can tell that she’s getting depressed because she feels that she’s losing part of the joy in her life. What can I do to make her feel happy, and have a better quality of life?”

This is a message we received from a desperate daughter. As we mentioned in our previous blog post, “How to Take Care of Your Loved Ones with Loss of Smell and Taste”, ) we know that sensory deprivation can greatly decrease one’s quality of life and lead to more symptoms. So, today we are going to focus on how to improve the quality of life of your loved one with vision impairment.

Vision loss can be a very gradual process, so it is vital to identify it when your loved one starts to show the following signs:

  • Finds it harder to focus on things

  • Accidentally bumps into things or knocks objects over

  • Stop doing activities that requires vision, such as reading or writing

  • Finds it harder to find nearby items

  • Constantly falls, or has trouble walking

All the above signs can be detrimental to your loved one’s mental health and lquality of life. However, there are ways for you to save your loved one from suffering.

Caring Tips for Seniors with Vision Impairment

  • Good Lighting

Make sure the area that your loved one normally stays around is well-lit. Counter lighting would be a good choice given that it won’t take up too much space in your house. Make sure the light isn’t too dim, but not too bright either,  so it won’t hurt yours and your loved one’s eyes.

  • Minimize Fall Risks: Install Grab Bars, Stair Lights, Remove Unnecessary Items

People with vision impairment have more chances of falling. So, it is important to remove all unnecessary items, such as electrical cords on the ground. It’d also be helpful to install grab bars along the stairs, and you can add stair lights to illuminate the way so the risk of falls drastically decrease. If your loved one has some level of dementia or memory problems, it’s better to reorganize the furniture to make the house easy to navigate.

  • Make the Best Use of Contrasting Colors

Decorating your home in contrasting colors is especially helpful if your loved one likes to move around in the house, or perform tasks that have the potential to hurt them. For example, to prevent your loved one from cuting their fingers, you can purchase knives in bright colors and a dark cuting board so your loved one can distinguish.

  • Labeling 

In our blog post, “How To Take Care of Your Loved Ones With Loss of Smell and Taste, we have talked about how labeling is important for food safety. It is especially important for someone with vision impairment or vision loss . Making a larger label of names and expiration dates on foods and medications can help prevent food poisoning and overdoses. You will be surprised at how a single step can make a significant difference.

You can also do the same thing with your loved one’s personal hygiene products, and condiments in your kitchen. Just make the name on the object visible enough so your loved one can’t ignore it.

  • Provide Mental Support

Whoever suffers from vision impairment can lose their independence and quality of life, and depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and inactivity can all be side effects of vision loss for some people. So, it is important to help your loved ones with acceptance and strive for better entertainment for them. There are several forms of entertainment for  people withvision impairment, which we will discuss below. Hopfully it will inspire you on the way to help your loved one live comfortably.

Entertainment for Seniors with Vision Impairment

  • Let’s Go Audio!

It is time to turn all visual entertainment into audio. You can download audiobooks online for your loved ones, such as Audible by Amazon. Or, use the Audio Description Project (ADP) that’s made by the American Council of the Blind. On ADP, you can access tons of TV shows, speeches, and even podcasts to museums.

  • Games

Remember when we talked about how games can be beneficial to seniors? There are games such as Bingo and Trivia that don’t require strong vision, but also good entertainment as well. If you haven’t seen our blog post on that, go check it out Best Brain Games for Seniors). It is a very good way to improve your loved one’s quality of life, and strengthen family bonds if you join in!

  • Enjoy Fragrances

Sometimes, when one sense weakens, other senses heighten! Getting your loved one involved in activities that can stimulate the sense of smell such as gardening and aromatherapy, which can greatly help them reduce stress and agitation. Enjoying natural fragrances can even help seniors to manage pain and fight against viruses. Candle making is also a good activity for seniors – it will not only relieve tension for your loved one but also give him or her a sense of accomplishment when they finish it.

References:

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/making-life-easier-for-older-adults-with-low-vision-177792.htm

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/hobbies-for-blind-and-low-vision-seniors-429359.htm


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Jamie’s mother, Sylvie, has become more and more emotional, which is concerning to him because she wasn’t like that before. Today, Sylvie stormed into his room and yelled at him because the temperature in the living room was too cold. She told him that he did it on purpose to make her to move out. Speechless, Jamie wondered what has changed and how to deal with it.

It’s the middle of July. The hot weather swept across Atlanta, making people desperate for some cool air and an icy Coca-Cola. However, Mrs. Oliver wasn’t one of them. She rushed into her daughter, Ashley’s room, staring at her.

“I know your trick,” yelled Mrs.Oliver.

“You make the room so hot so that I am uncomfortable, and I will have to leave. You just want my money.”

“A wicked woman,” he added.

Ashley was both hurt and confused She had no idea what caused her mom to act out like this all of a sudden.

It is not uncommon that people become more hostile and irritable as they age. Seeing them lose their temper makes you suffer, too. Before we move on to talk about how to deal with your angry loved one, we always need to find out the root cause.

 What Cause Your Loved One to Act Out?

Dementia

In many cases, Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia can cause a person’s personality to change. Anxiety and depression over one’s deteriorating cognitive function may also lead to emotional outbursts. Furthermore, because of their desire for independence, it’s not hard to understand seniors with dementia can sometimes be hostile to others.

Medical Issues

Other than Dementia, some other underlying medical issues such as Urine Tract Infections (UTIs) and sleep disorders are also a direct cause of aggressive behaviours in seniors.

Medication Side Effects

Senior can fill up to 14-18 prescription drugs a year, on average. Certain drugs, including asthma inhalers and antidepressants, can cause agitation, impulsivity, and restlessness in seniors. Also, some prescription drugs may cause mood swings and agitation if they interact with each other.

Vision and Hearing Changes

Loss in senses can surely decrease a person’s quality of life. In our previous blog post, “How to Take Care of Your Loved One With Hearing Loss, we have explained how hearing loss can have an impact on one person’s behaviour and way of communication.

Psychological Concerns

Some mental issues such as depression and anxiety can also alter one’s behaviour and personality. This could be due to the loss of a spouse or changes in living environments. Some seniors may not be open to sharing their feelings, but instead, they choose to express it through behaviour.

4 Things to Do When Your Loved One In In Distress

Evaluate the Underlying Cause

After investigating the potential cause of your loved one’s behaviour, you probably already have a general idea of how to help. Is it because of a cognitive condition that continues to worsen? Or is your loved one’s physical health deteriorating? Make sure to confirmt the reason before finding strategies on how to deal the issue.

Ask, Not React

We have talked about this in our blog post, “How to Communicate with Seniors. Ask, instead of assume – it’s the first step in knowing your loved one and starting a healthy and helpful conversation. Remember to have a calm and gentle tone, and don’t use passive aggressiveness in your questions.

Be Gentle and Respectful

Being respectful is always the key in interactions. Be soft in your attitude and be careful of your words; make sure to let your loved one feel that he or she is being heard and loved. It works well for the seniors who have separation anxiety.

Allow Yourself to Take a Break

Dealing with a capricious individual can be quite exhausting. It’s important to let yourself have some time to relax and move away from the routine. it is also important to let other family members get involved in the caring process, or if there’s no one around, you can consider hiring a caregiver to help you.

References:

https://www.homecareassistancearlingtontx.com/why-is-my-older-loved-ones-behavior-changing/

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/elderly-temper-tantrums-156852.htm

 


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John’s father had a stroke a few years ago and now he can no longer take good care of himself. As the situation worsened, his father started to show signs of loss of bladder and bowel control.

Today, John’s father didn’t make it to the bathroom  again, which wasn’t a surprise, because everytime John did his father’s laundry, he finds, stains on his underwear. His father is aware of it and feels embarrassed, too. However, John knows that these infrequent accidents may only get worse in the future.

Fecal incontinence is common among seniors. For persons who are over 65 years old in the US, 17.3% have reported to having accidental bowel leakages of mucus, liquid stools or solid stools. So in today’s blog post, we are going to focus on helping our loved ones with fecal incontinence. If you are experiencing such an issue, just keep reading.

What is Fecal Incontinence and What Causes it?

Fecal incontinence is an inability to control bowel movements, which may result in stool leakage. It happens especially when a person is trying to expel gas, and the stoolpasses without control.

While diarrhea and gastroenteritis might cause  temporary fecal incontinence (FL), it can also be caused by some long-term illness or natural aging.

For seniors, FL can occur due to age related deterioration in the bowel’s muscles and neurons. Chronic constipation can also contribute to FL as well, since the stool “overflows” from the rectum if impacted.

Other Causes:

Some other causes, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, can cause one to lose bowel control. For some seniors, they can even have a bowel movement outside the bathroom, and in some cases, play with there feces, suggesting a connection to past events. See our blog post on “The Power of Telling Senior Stories for more details.

In addition, stress and fear that are caused by temporary changes in their environment can lead to FL in seniors. So, when a senior moves to a new long-term care home, they may be  more likely to be stressed and have bowel leakage.

Some seniors with physical disabilities would also have higher chance of FL. This is easy to understand since they have difficulties in reaching a toilet.

How to Take Care of Someone with Fecal Incontinence (FL)

  • Identify the Cause

We always stress on finding the caause before moving on to solve the problem. So before you “deal with the mess”, it is always helpful to find out the true reason behind your loved one’s FL – is it because thay are  experiencing an acute change of surroundings? Or has a certain medication caused your loved one to be unable to reach the bathroom when he or she in need?

Once you have found the root, you are safe to proceed to the next step.

  • Make Dietary Changes

Another way to prevent FL is by making some dietary adjustments.

If chronic constipraion is the underlying issue, fibre can play a significant role in decreasing symptoms. Increasing fluid intake can also ease constipation and prevent such accidents. 

  • Exercises

Particular exercises that are aimed at increasing anal sphincter function and strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor may be beneficial to control bowel movements. The most well-known exercise that tightens pelvic floor muscles would be “Kegel” exercises. If this is your first time hearing about it, here’s the instruction of how to complete a Kegel exercise.

Step One: Find Your Pelvic Floor Muscle

When you are urinating, stop it in midstream, and feel the muscles that are holding the urine – this is the pelvic floor muscle that you are going to train during the whole exercise. However, we don’t recommend holding your urine constantly as a way to exercise the muscle, as it will increase the risk of kidney infection.

Step Two: Make Sure Your Bladder Is Empty, And Find a Comfortable Position

Empty your bladder to prevent urine leakages during the exercise. Then, you can sit or lie down to find a position that’s comfortable for you.

Step Three: Tighten Your Pelvic Floor Muscles, And Hold For 5 Seconds.

Step Four: Relax The Muscle For 3 Seconds.

Step Five: Repeat 10 times, 3 Times a Day.

  • Bowel Training

Encourage regular toileting and reduce the likelihood of accidents. This, however, takes time to show results.

This is especially meaningful for people with physical disabilities. So set up a schedule that works for them to have a bowel movement, and stick to the schedule, so incidents of leakage and overflow can be prevented.

  • Increase Hygiene

Stools may cause skin irritation, so regular cleaning  and maintaining skin integrity is very important. If the person is using an absorbent product, change it regularly and constantly, so that it won’t cause further discomfort.

At the End:

Fecal incontinence may be embarrassing for both the senior and the family. If you think it causes too much work for you, it is always better to seek extra help such as hiring a caregiver to handle it.

 

References:

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/caring-for-a-loved-one-with-fecal-incontinence-214869.htm

https://www.healthline.com/health/holding-pee#is-it-safe

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000141.htm

 


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Communication has never been more difficult. Jade finds that her mom’s hearing has become weaker and weaker over time. Sometimes when she tries to talk to her mom, her mom thinks Jade’s yelling for no reason. However, Jade’s mom refuses to wear hearing aids and whenever she doesn’t understand Jade, she acts like she can’t hear them at all.

Loss of hearing is a common phenomenon that occurs among seniors. The natural aging process will lead to a decrease in our senses, and this includes our hearing. However, there are a few factors that can expedite this process, such as medications, noisy environments, chronic fatigue, and emotions.

Hearing loss does not just make people “not listen” to you, but it also change their personality – eliciting anger, anxiety, social withdrawal, and even depression. When seniors feel stressed or annoyed, they may just act like they don’t hearing anything. So, when dealing with seniors with a hearing impairment, you need to have more patience, sensitivity, and understanding.

Today, we are going to provide you with some useful tips on how to communicate happily and smoothly with a loved one who has hearing loss. Let’s jump in!

What Is the Best Way to Communicate with a Hearing Impaired Loved One?

  • Find a Quiet Place or Reduce Background Noise

Your loved one may not know you are talking in a noisy environment, so when you are trying to raise your voice, there’s a very high chance that she or he thinks you are shouting and angry. So, make sure there is no music or television playing in the background.

Public places like restaurants with a lot of noise and crowds would make conversation difficult. Selecting locations with fewer background noises and less congested areas can greatly improve communication and reduce distractions.

  • Get Their Attention, and Face Them While Talking

Before speaking, you need to first get their attention. This can be accomplished by touching them on the arm or shoulder in a proper way, and not from behind.

Make sure you are making eye contact, and keep the light on your face. Sometimes, it is also helpful to say their names in a polite way; being respectful is always the key in a conversation.

  • Keep Tour Hands/Mask Away From Your Face While Talking

Same as maintaining adequate illumination on your face while talking, patients with hearing loss need to read your lips. So get rid of your mask or anything that would block your mouth and let your loved one “read” your words.

  • Speak Clearly and Loudly

As we mentioned in our previous blog post, “How To Communicate With Seniors, you need to speak clearly, and raise your voice if needed (but don’t scream). Do not speak too quickly or too slowly, and don’t use slang that elderly people may not understand.

  • Rephrase Your Question or Statement

When your loved one seems to not understand what you mean or not hear what you say, try rephrasing it in another way.

Sometimes your loved one may be confused about certain words, so simply repeating your statement isn’t helpful. Try shortening or simplifying your words and see their reaction.

  • Make Wse of Body Language and Visual Cues

Your posture and facial expression conveys emotion, while visual cues provide instruction. However, since facial expressions and nonverbal movements provide additional information, don’t exaggerate them, as they may be distracting.

You can also use aids to deliver your information, such as writing it down, or typing it on your phone and showing it to the person.

  • Ask Them How They Prefer to Communicate

Communication with seniors often requires cooperative efforts. So, it is never a bad idea to inquire about the other person’s preferred method of communication – if verbal isn’t the best for them, ask them if they would like to use any aid such as phones or sticky notes.

In the End

If you have tried many methods to communicate but the condition continues to worsen, it is better to do a hearing test. Specialists will offer potential solutions and techniques to help with hearing problems.

 

Reference:

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/hearing-loss-communication-techniques-144762.htm

https://www.hearinglink.org/living/partners-children-family-hearing-people/how-to-communicate-with-someone-with-hearing-loss/

 


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It took Shannon three months to convince her father to move into a long-term care home, but now she’s facing a new problem: paying for the long-term care home.

Shannon’s father doesn’t have a lot of savings, but she knows her father has pension and other benefits. However, she is not sure if these benefits could cover for a long-term care home, and the response from each community is different.

If you are in Shannon’s shoes, we’ve got your back. Today, we are going to have a thorough conversation on paying for a long-term care home in Canada.

Brace yourself: it’s going to be a lot of information.

How to Pay for a Long-Term Care Home in Canada

Government Pensions

Senior citizens’ most common benefits in Canada are Old Age Security (OAS) and Canada Pension Plan Benefits (CPP).

Old Age Security (OAS)

When a person residing in Canada reaches the age of 65, they are eligible for Old Age Security (OAS). There are three additional supplements to the OAS that allows the senior to gain more benefits:

  • The Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS): Old Age Security (OAS) pension recipients eligible for the GIS receive a monthly non-taxable benefits; this is only available to people with a low income who reside in Canada.

  • The Allowance: OAS participants’ spouses and common-law partners can get an Allowance

  • Allowance for the Survivor: People with low incomes, reside in Canada, and have lost a spouse or common-law partner are eligible for Allowance for the Survivor.

Canada Pension Plan Benefits (CPP):

Another most used benefit would be the well-known “CPP”. As you may have started putting money in it since your first job. And now, it’s time to return.

A full CPP retirement pension is available at the age of 65, but you can apply for and get it as early as the age of 60 with a reduction, or wait untill as late as the age of 70 with an increase. All those who have contributed to this during the course of their working careers are entitled to a monthly benefit.

An additional benefit for those who have paid into the CPP system while receiving CPP benefits is the Post-Retirement Benefit (PRB). CPP Disability Pension and the CPP Survivor’s Pension are two other variants of CPP. So check your eligibility and “get the most of it.”

Workplace Pension Plan

Many people benefit from workplace pension plans that are privately administered by their employers. So, if your loved one’s employer offers a generous pension, you’re unlikely to have a problem paying for high-quality senior housing.

Investments

Investments means the home equity, savings, and other accounts that allows your loved one to use the money to pay for a long-term care home, rather than dipping into the their monthly benefits.

It also includes dividend stocks, mutual funds, index funds, bonds, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GIC), etc. They do carry some risks alongside with the rewards, but as long as the market is “favorable”, they can also be used in later life planning. But before you or your loved one make any decision, don’t forget to seek out the advice from an experienced financial counsellor first.

Insurance Products

If your loved one keeps investing in financial products such as long term care insurance, then it is the time to use it during his or her retirement year.

If your loved one is diagnosed with a critical or chronic disease, and are no longer able to care for themselves, long-term care insurance will cover a fixed part of the expenses, tax free. In addition, long-term care insurance may also cover some personal care services, however, it depends on the policies of each home care agency, so consult with the administrator to see if your loved one could get reimbursed.

Personal Savings and Incomes:

If your loved ones have managed to have a lot of savings, or continue to work by choice, then the payment will become much simpler.

Personal savings do not just refer to the money in the account. Equity, Registered Retirement Saving Plans (RRSPs) and investments can also be considered as part of personal savings.

Another common method that many seniors would choose is renting out their primary home and using the rent payment to cover the long-term care home expense.

What If I Can’t Afford Long Term Care Homes?

It happens. The cost of living in a long-term care home could be huge, and not all families can afford the full payment. However, in Canada, there are several financial assistant programs for long-term care that can help seniors spend their later years in peace with fewer expenses.

Government Assistance

Financial Hardship Assistance is a government subsidized service for those who are experiencing significant financial hardship and in a long-term care home. Financial hardship means the client, the client’s spouse, or the client’s children can’t help to pay the following each month:

  • Food

  • Mortgage/Rent

  • Home Energy (Hydro)

  • Telecommunications (Phone Bills, Internet)

  • Prescribed Medication

  • Transportation

The amount that the program offers depends on assessment of the client’s income statement, and how much the family can afford.

Government-Subsidized Nursing Home

Although health insurance in Canada does not pay for nursing-home care, there are government-subsidized nursing homes that offer rates based on the senior’s income. It doesn’t mean that the government will pay the full cost of the nursing home; the residents would still be required to pay a portion of their “room and board”.

In the End:

Paying for a long-term care home does not necessarily mean you have to pay it in full from your pocket. Make sure you plan your finances well, and make the best use of benefits, insurance and tax credits – these will all make the transition go more smoothly.

References:

https://www.comfortlife.ca/retirement-community-resources/funding-options-for-retirement-homes

https://cubetoronto.com/canada/what-happens-if-you-cant-afford-a-nursing-home-in-canada/

https://www.advantageontario.ca/AAO/Content/Resources/Consumers/About_Long_Term_Care


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The day begins, busy as usual at nursing home.

Ann arrived at her office early to sort and organize her files that she’s going to need for the day. Suddenly, the phone rings, interrupting her work.

“Hey John, what’s going on?” Ann asked as she answered the phone. John is Ann’s brother, and he never calls her on weekday mornings, so she knew that something unusual must have happened.

“I just received a call from the nursing home,” replied John. “The staff told me that dad is going to be be evicted.”

“What? What for?” asked Ann, shocked.

“They said he always screams and is rude to the caregivers and other residents. He always says he wants to leave,” he explained

“Did you argue with them?” asked Ann, irritated. John, you know that’s the dementia talking. He can’t help it. What they’re doing is just so unfair and cold-blooded!”

Ann hung up the phone. She felt angry, confused and ashamed, all at the same time.

We know situations like this are awful, and it makes people angry, too. But it does happen. Today, we’ll discuss about becoming evicted from a long-term care home and what we can do to safeguard our loved ones if this happens.

Why Nursing Home Evicted Residents:

Normally speaking, a nursing home can’t evict a resident and there are regulations to prevent this from happening. However, if the reason for eviction falls under the exemptions to the law, their actions may be justified.

If the nursing home follows regulations carefully, their eviction will be legal. The common exemptions of eviction would be as follows.

  • Financial Issues

If the resident is not able to pay the bill, and his or her health benefits don’t apply in the nursing home, it could be the reason for eviction. However, there are always government funded assisted living homes that could help low-income seniors.

  • Behavioral Issues That Create Risks For Other’s Health and Safety

Although most nursing homes have developed senior behaviour management strategies, if the senior’s behaviour is hard to control and causes a threat to other residents and the staff, the home will have sufficient reason to ask the resident to leave.

  • Nursing Homes Can No Longer Meet the Medical Needs

If the resident needs more personal care and personal assistance, and these needs cannot be provided by the nursing home, the home will suggest his or her family to transfer the resident somewhere else that can assist them better.

  • The Home is Closing Down

It is obvious – if the nursing home is going out of business, no one is going to stay!

What Is There To Do When Facing Eviction?

  • Understand Your Loved One’s Situation

If the nursing home that your loved one resides in states that they can “no longer meet his or her needs”, ask them what excatly has made them come up with the decision, and explain what type of care your loved one actually needs. Is it because your loved one’s situation is too severe that the nursing home doesn’t carry enough resources to make their quality of life sustainable? Or do they think that your loved one has regained her or his health so nursing care is no longer needed? If so, what situation is your loved one is facing and what type of long-term care do they suggest you to consider?

The nursing home should have a justified reason to propose an eviction, so you can make better relocation choices according to your loved one’s health condition.

  • Find A New Home

Not all eviction is legal; some involuntary eviction is actually against laws that protects senior citizens. In that, you have rights to ask the nursing home to transfer your family somewhere else that can “meet their needs”. When transferring to another home, try to be honest about your loved one’s situation. We understand that occasionally families minimise their loved ones’ health conditions in order for the community to accept them, but this is not beneficial in the long term – you never want your loved one to transfer from one place to another on a regular basis.

  • Find  Home Care

Home care is quite a good alternative for families that love to keep their loved ones at home. If nursing homes make you upset, it is time to consider hiring a caregiver for your loved one and let him or her enjoy family vibes. In our blog post “In-Home Care vs. Nursing Homes: Which One is Better?”, we have summarized the pros and cons of each option, so feel free to check it out if you are undecided.

What If I Don’t Agree with Their Decision?

  • Assessing The Eviction: carefully assess written notice given 30-60 days in advance, a summary of reasons for eviction, and post-discharge plan (alternative care)

  • Appealing the Fischarge: to appeak, contact the local ombudsman, get a lawyer involved, or ask for legal aid.

In order to have voluntary eviction, the eviction notice should contain the following:

  •  Written notice given 30 days in advance

  • A summary of reasons for eviction

  • Post-discharge plan of alternative care

  • The full contact information of ombudsman program

If you are not satisfied with the eviction, you can always appeal an involuntary discharge notice, and it is your right to do it.

Internal appeals are available in some homes. However, if internal appeal does not fix your issue, or the home doesn’t have an internal appeal process, it is time to look for a local ombudsman and ask for their help – helping residents in assisted living communities and resolving problems with other senior living communities are their primary responsibilities.

A lawyer could also be useful in this situation. They can ensure that the home is not trying to skirt the law, and it is better to seek legal representation as soon as you get the result.

At the End:

Being kicked out of a long-term care home could definitely be stressful for the senior’s family, but there are ways to defend our loved one’s right of being a resident and protect them. Sometimes leaving is not necessarily a bad thing: You can still have lots of alternatives to choose from, and provide your loved one a happy, healthy lifestyle. Remember, always allow yourself and your family to breathe – take your time, don’t add pressure on your loved one, and get professional help if you need it.

References:

https://ncler.acl.gov/getattachment/Legal-Training/upcoming_event/Basics-NH-Evictions-Practice-Tip.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US

 


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True love can happen at any age.

Jay’s wife died 12 years ago, however they had separated many years before her death. Just when everyone thought Jay would “die alone”, he found “the one” just two weeks after moving into a long-term care home.

“Rose is a special woman,” gushed Jay to his family and friends. “I never really thought I could fall for someone after 50.” 

Actually, everyone knew Jay met someone before he started talking about her. He started buying flowers, paying much more attention to his looks, and always had a smile on his face. These are all telltale signs to indicate that someone is in love.

Doing all kinds of romantic things with Rose makes Jay feel young again; however, there is one topic that can’t be avoided, especially with elderly lovers: SEX. This has been bothering Jay for a while.

“We love cuddling naked and fondling one another, but I can’t stop thinking about how old I am,” continued Jay, shyly. 

“We have a couple age-related concerns when it comes to sex, but it is a little embarrassing mentioning it to others. An 80-year-old man wanting to have sex? It would make people’s jaws drop!”

It’s not uncommon that Jay possesses such a thought. Sex is a relatively sensitive topic itself. However, people more so tend to intentionally ignore the sexual needs of the elderly because it is uncomfortabl. This is why some seniors feel embarrassed to even put it on the table.

There are some beliefs about sex in seniors that are commonly held by society, and not all of them are true.

Common Beliefs of Sex in Old Age. What’s Wrong & What’s Right?

Wrong:

  • Sex Is For the Young

It is right that sexual functioning declines after middle age, but sex is never just for young people to enjoy. In fact, a study at Duke University has shown that 30% of married couples over 75 years old are still sexually active.

  • Old People Are Not Interested In Sex

Human sex interest can start as early as age 10 to 12, and last throughout life. In fact, according to statistics from the same study, 50% of 80-year-olds still have moderate libido.

 Right:

  • There Are Physical Restrictions

Changes in physical conditions after you age does limit your sex performance and safety. For women, a change in hormone level in old age will cause the vaginal walls to become thinner and drier, and thus more prone to viruses and bacteria. For men, erectile dysfunction is common in old age. Losing feelings in the genital area and a decrease in sex drive will happen when humans hit a certain age, and it is completely normal.

  • There Will Be Emotional Barriers

In men, the most common emotional barrier is worrying about sexual performance. While in women, the most common concern is body image and a fear of being unattractive to their partners. The effect of psychological barriers are still less than the impact of physical challenges, which will further decrease the chances of having a satisfying sex life.

However, having challenges doesn’t mean that good sex doesn’t exist after you enter old age. We at CareStory did our research, and found  some pointers to overcome these challenges, and help you to have a healthy sex after 60!

How To Overcome Challenges

  • Nutrition and Exercise

When it comes to intense feelings from sex, no matter if you are male or female, it’s all about blood flow. Some foods containing antioxidants, such as dark chocolate, can boost your blood circulation and give you stronger feelings of arousal. Also, exercising three times a week can greatly enhance your stamina and libido. So, stop being a couch potato! Step foot in a gym and get active!

  • Use Non-Penetrating Methods

Sex without intercourse can still be considered “good sex”. Skin on skin touching or doing full-body massages can also provide satisfying sensations. This especially works for women. Clitoral stimulation, for example, can help most women reach orgasm. Teasing and exploring each other’s bodies can also ignite the joys of sex.

  • Explore More Positions

Diseases such as arthritis causes pain and can make many sex positions uncomfortable. So, it is important to discover more positions with your partner that help to alleviate pain but also allow you to be active.

  • Speak To Health Care Providers (Family Doctor, Sex Therapists)

Some of your health care providers, such as your family doctor or a nurse, might not bring up the topic themselves. You need to prepare your concerns or questions and display them in from of them. It’s best to bring your partner with you on an appointment so that the health provider can determine what causes the issues and how to avoid them.

If they can’t provide useful suggestions, ask them to refer you to a family therapist or a sex therapist. there are always solutions to your problems.

  •  Communicate With Your Partner

Whether you are with your lifelong partner or a new partner, communication is always the key! You can talk about your concerns, desires, and boundaries with your partner and exchange ideas. Try not toset too many expectations and definitely don’t judge your partner. You can add a little humor to the conversation and make the whole process more comfortable and relaxing.

  • Build Confidence

Having wrinkles and knee problems might intimidate you from enjoying good sex, but who doesn’t get old in this world? You are more sexually experienced as you get older, and this is your privilege! So embrace your experience, discard your self-doubt, and don’t forget to encourage your partner to do the same!

Safe and Better Sex

  • Use a Condom and Lubricant

Lubrication is especially important for older women who suffer from vaginal dryness. Condoms also have lubricants. To make sex more enjoyable, simply use lubrication and condoms to enhance the experience. Also, condoms can reduce chances of contracting  STIs such as HIV, HPV, herpes, and trichomoniasis, which are more transmittable in seniors due to compromised immunity.

  • Foreplay

Lack of foreplay can make it harder for you to enjoy sex, which you have probably heard. So tease and kiss your partner’s body in a gentle way, and take it slow. Foreplay will relieve your tension and fatigue, and is specifically essential in female arousal.

  • Use Sex Toys

With or without a partner, a decent sex toy can do wonders for you to set the mood and experience maximum pleasure in sex. For the most part, some soft, lightweight, and ergonomic devices work well for the elderly. A vibrator or a massager will greatly increase your interest in sex, and help you to reach climax in an easier and safer way.

  • Use Your Month or Hands

Sex isn’t always about penetrative intercourse. Outercourse (sex without penetration), on the other hand, can elicit an orgasm even easier because of its lack of warmth, pressure, and wetness. In some cases, oral sex might be suitable for some seniors since it can add wetness to the whole process, but hand jobs can also give you and your partner strong sensations. Don’t be afraid to share what feels nice with your partner!

  • Sexual Positions

As we have said before, some physical or mobility issues will hamper you from having an enjoyable sexual experience. So, try sexual positions that can decrease stress on the knees and back. Here, we recommend missionary and spooning positions, which are less aggressive than many other positions.

  • Explore Erogenous Zones

As we grow older, our erogenous zones may change places. Let go of the assumptions about where you’re “supposed” to experience stimulation. Instead, try touching different spots to observe how you or your partner respond. Trust us, this could be a  new form of “body language” to communicate with your partner.

Although people in old age still has a sex drive, some seniors with dementia can be overly interested in sex, which is called “hypersexuality”. Seniors with cognitive impairment may demonstrate inappropriate sexual behavior and cause distress in both family members and caregivers. Here, CareStory has summarized some common inappropriate sexual behaviors you may see in seniors with dementia.

Sexual Expression and Dementia

  • Behaviors Expressed Publicly Without Regard For Others

Some seniors with dementia will masturbate or behave sexually in public since the change in brain function causes a lack of control of urges. Sometimes, it can also be attributed to tight clothing or the hot temperature of a room.

  • Misinterpreting Touches, Smiles, and Hugs as Sexual Invitations

Some intimate behavior can deliver the wrong messages to seniors with dementia since, again, the disease will change how the person understands other people’s behaviors and actions.

  • Sexual Acts With Someone Who’s Not Their Spouse.

It is usually hurtful for a spouse with dementia to see their loved one act like a stranger. But what’s even more frustrating is when their loved one behaves sexually toward caregivers or other residents around him or her. Note that this kind of behaviour does not reflect ttheir “true identity”. People with dementia will sometimes interpret sexual behavior as a way to communicate, so try not to be too upset about it.

Your Loved One Has Dementia and is Demonstrating Hypersexuality – Now What?

If your loved one has dementia and expresses the above inappropriate behavior, we, as their family, need to be responsible for it. So – how do we intervene?

  • Use a Calm and Firm Tone of Voice

People with dementia are sensitive to your tone, so stop them by using a calm voice without being judgemental or scolding. See our blog post on “How To Communicate With Seniors” for more details.

  • Call Their Preferred Names to Get Attention

Calling your loved one by their preferred name is a way to grab their attention, reminding them that they are not forgotten. Also, calling them by their preferred name gives them reassurance and thus calms them down. CareStory offers a function that records your loved one’s preferred name and shares it with caregivers.

  • Use Distractions

Just like calling their preferred name, a distraction in the form of other activities can provide your loved one with comfort and keep their hands busy. You can show your loved one family pictures or give him or her a stuffed animal for cuddling and petting. It will greatly relieve stress and satisfy their need for warmth.

  • Take Them to a Private Environment

When your loved one’s behavior seems “unstoppable”, remove them from the scene and provide privacy. Sometimes your loved one’s behavior indicates that they are in need of using the bathroom, so take them to a nearby washroom and see their reaction.

  • Eliminate Triggers

Magazines, TV shows, or other forms of entertainment may all contain visual triggers for your loved one’s ihypersexuality. Sometimes, intimate acts such as touching, hugging, or kissing also can be misunderstood. Make sure to be aware of your body language and have clear boundaries.

At The End

Sex should never be perceived as an embarrassing topic no matter what your age is. Be true to your needs and don’t be afraid to share your ideas with your partner – your sexual needs are an important part of your routine. However, as for those with physical restrictions, it is encouraged to find other ways to have safe sex and consult with professionals.

References:

https://alzheimer.ca/en/help-support/im-caring-person-living-dementia/understanding-symptoms/sexual-behaviour

https://www.greatseniorliving.com/articles/senior-sex



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    Call us

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    Visit us anytime

    294 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada


    Send us an email

    info@emersewell.com



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      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.



      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.