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Living in a big house is nice; many of us enjoy our leisure time with trees and flowers in our backyard, but what about those who live in an apartment or a retirement home, what does gardening for those seniors look like?

Jenny moved into a long-term care home last winter after her husband died. It’s been over six months now, and she misses him more than ever when summer is here. Jenny’s husband used to always make their garden nicely landscaped and decorated. The stone steps to their living room were surrounded by tulips, and there were several ball trees beside their cute little pond. Jenny remembers her husband putting so much effort into their little garden, and spending time with him on their beautiful porcelain tiles when evening came and held some of her favourite memories. Now, Jenny is living in a small apartment. She wants her happiness to last longer, just as if her husband was still alive, so she decided to try having a little garden on her balcony.

Living in a limited space doesn’t mean gardening is impossible; you can still have your beautiful “backyard” with even less mess and maintenance. There are a few things you need to prepare before you start to build your garden, and we will be discussing them below.

 

What You Need to Prepare for Gardening

 

Picture The Garden In Your Mind

What vibe do you want your garden to have? Where do you want to place your plants? It is better to plan the scenery in your mind before making it come true.

 

Invest In Tools

It always requires some investment when you are building your dream green place. For beginners, here are a few tools you might need to get your garden started, and you can either get them online (e.g., Amazon) or at stores like Home Depot:

  • Plants, seeds, or bulbs (of course)
  • Potting soil
  • A handheld shovel
  • Pruning shears
  • A watering can
  • Plastic or ceramic planter containers, according to your taste and need
  • Gardening gloves

 

Choose The Right Plants

The key to building a beautiful and easily maintained small garden is to choose the right plants that suit your residency and your preference.

Hibiscus is a great choice for a room with abundant sunshine, especially if your window faces south or west. Aloe vera, jade, and jasmine are other good options.

A spider plant is an excellent choice for a hanging planter in a room that receives a lot of light but also has a lot of indirect sunshine.

African violets are also a great choice because of their beautiful blossoms, which can brighten up any space.

If your balcony or living room is shady most of the time, it’s hard to provide an environment for your plants to grow well. However, there are still options: A philodendron is a good choice for low-light areas; just be sure to water it once a week. Dieffenbachia and ferns are two other low-light plant options as well.

 

Safe Gardening Tips for Seniors

 

Rest and Stay Hydrated

It is important to remember that as we get older, our physical abilities decline, therefore we need to take more time to rest and avoid pushing ourselves too hard. Fatigue can lead to dangerous falls, so it’s important to take a breather every 10-20 minutes.

It is also important to stay hydrated while you are doing hard work, especially when you are working under the sun. So, remember to bring a water bottle with you and have it in your sights; it will be a good reminder if you are indulging yourself in the blooming buds.

 

Wear Comfortable Clothes To Prevent Falls

Wearing the right attire is as important as getting enough rest while you are gardening. Remember to wear light clothes with some sun protection (e.g., a long-sleeved shirt and a wide-brimmed hat). You can also bring waterproof shoes since the grass can be dewy and wet. Avoid wearing slippers, as they will give no protection from slips and falls.

 

Pick The Right Time Of The Day

We know that gardening is not just about trimming plants, but also about enjoying the sunlight. However, it is important to choose the right time and enjoy it safely. The hours between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm are peak sun hours, so avoid doing gardening or any other intense outside activities during this time.

 

Ask For Help From Others

When it comes to doing heavy-duty tasks, it is good to have a friend or family member by your side in the event of any falls and injuries. On top of that, working with friends and family is also a terrific chance to add some social interaction to your day and tighten bonds.

 

References:

https://www.caringseniorservice.com/blog/gardening-tips-for-seniors

https://www.seedsandspades.com/best-gardening-tools-for-seniors/

 


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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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Shelly’s mom has just recently moved into a long-term care home, and it seems like a new start for her. However, her mom has always been an introvert, and moving into a new environment made her even more reluctant to speak to others. So, Shelly thought that her mom just needed some time to adapt to her new life.

After a few weeks, Shelly called the administrator and asked about her mom’s situation. Her mom’s caregiver reported that she is still shy and afraid to talk to people. As Shelly understands how harmful isolation can be to seniors, she knows that it’s time to seek a way to encourage her mom to interact with her neighbours.

Moving into an assisted living community is usually a huge transition for aged people, especially for those who are used to living alone, or have just lost their partners. In our previous blog posts, we have talked about how Senior Isolation can impact one’s mental and physical wellness, and being socially active is vital in defeating loneliness and depression. Allow me to explain how to get your loved one active in social at a long-term care home.

Make Them Uncomfortable

Yes, the very first thing you should do is to “push” your loved one out of their comfort zone. Getting outside your comfort zone isn’t comforting, but in the long run, if avoided, can only “imprison” your loved one in the cage of isolation. IStart with doing some “uncomfortable activities” such as involving your loved one in a conversation between you and others. Just make them realize the power of small talk and getting proactive in making friends.

However, moving into a long-term care home can also be overwhelming for a senior So, allow your loved one to have some time to progress and take it one step at a time. Living in a community actually provides tons of chances for seniors to socialize, and once the senior is familiar with their new lifestyle, it’s going to be easy and fun. Here, we have several tips on how to help your loved one seize the opportunity while joining a new family.

Tips to Help Your Loved One Socialize at a Long-Term Care Home

  • Familiarize Yourself With the Community Staff

What did you do when you first  sent your kids to kindergarten? – you talked to the teachers and checked on circumstances at school to learn the ropes. Is there a place at the community that your loved one may enjoy? Or are there any activities that your loved one can attend and have fun with at the same time? As long as you find a way to push your loved one out of his or her room, the very first step of getting your loved one to blend in socially is accomplished.

  • Register Your Loved Ones for Activities

Does your loved one like dancing? Knitting? Or Wii bowling? There must be at least one interest group in the community that your loved one can join. Sometimes the “newbie” is usually too shy to socialize with other residents, so now it’s your responsibility to open the door for them. If music is your loved one’s strength, ask the staff to encourage your loved one to play an instrument at community events. It might feel embarrassing the first time, but your loved one will enjoy with everyone’s encouragement.

Also, getting your loved one involved in volunteer opportunities is also helpful. For example, he or she can help with gift wrapping during the holiday season. The core concept here is just to get them engaged in any activities that have more chances to meet and talk to people. 

  • Bring Gifts and Food

Who doesn’t love little surprises?! Another good way to help your loved one to socialize is to ask them to bring gifts to the residents. If you or your loved one loves baking, make some refreshments and distribute them around the community. Sharing food is a very easy way to start a conversation, and your loved one will feel content by surprising others, too

  • Make Use of Social Media and Technology

If your loved one has some physical impairments and stepping outside seems a bit challenging to them, technology can provide many more convenient ways for seniors to connect with others. Setting a profile on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to gain more exposure in the community is a great first step. It also allows other to know more about your loved one, just like how CareStory aims to do: knowing is the foundation of caring and sharing.

Takeaway:

The best time to assist your loved one to socialize in a long-term home always starts from day one. It usually takes about 2-3 weeks for your loved one to get familiar with the community, and it is already an overwhelming process. So, be patient with your loved one, but also encouraging him or her to “jump right in” at the same time is the key to making the process easy and enjoyable.

References:

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/social-life-when-moving-to-senior-living-151725.htm

https://www.caringseniorservice.com/blog/ways-to-help-seniors-avoid-isolation

 


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Chad’s mother died in a car crash 10 years ago. While destiny took her life away, it also took away Chad’s father’s love – he hasn’t  been able to fall in love with anyone else after losing his soulmate. As time goes by, Chad thinks it’s time for his father to find good company to spend his later life with. So, he encourages his father to attend dating events and use online dating sites.

The good news is that Chad’s father started to become more open to dating new people. However, he’s still very confused and cautious about talking to people online.

“Are dating sites legit?”

“What dating sites should I use?”

“How does online dating work?”

“What should I do and what should I avoid doing while dating online?”

If you or your loved one isn’t so familiar with Tinder, he or she must have a lot of questions about online dating. There are actually many senior-friendly dating sites on the internet. So today, we will give you a 101 guide on senior online dating.

Let’s get started.

Why Senior Dating?

Fun fact: 40% of men and women over 50 in the U.S. are single. Although finding love could be a long ways away, there are many benefits of dating and socializing that can serve a purpose on your journey. Having strong social relationships can greatly help seniors to reduce stress and help with heart health. It is also a very efficient way to defeat senior isolation  and increase longevity.

Dating when you are younger is fun, as you have more energy and expectations of future life. But dating when you are older means you have more freedom to choose someone that has a deep connection with you, as you don’t have the pressure of “racing against time” to settle down. If you think you don’t have many chances to meet new people in real life, online dating will open the door for you.

Although some people are be skeptical of online dating, the fact that online dating sites can serve abundant opportunities to meet new people is something to be discussed.

How Does Online Senior Dating Sites Work?

Outline Your Requirement

The steps of each dating site might differ, but the general process is similar to each other. You might be asked to fill out a questionnaire or take a personal test to narrow down your selection. The questions may include age, gender, distance, interest, education level, religious beliefs, etc.

Complete Your Profile

The next step is tobuild your own profile so you can be found easier. You can put your hobbies, occupation (past or present), and what you expect in a relationship in the description box. This will help find the people that are like-minded or looking for the same thing.

Get Ready To Match

Once your profile is completed and photos are uploaded, you are good to connect with potential matches! You may be stunned by how many people are out there and how popular you are to them. But before you dive into the ocean of possibilities, there are a few tips you should know.

Online Dating Tips for Seniors

  • Find Q Reliable Dating Site

The very first step of safe dating is to choose a reliable and reputable site. There are many dating sites out there, but not all of them are legit – actually, most sites are not well-regulated. But there are sites that are even worse, potentially hiring people to “catfish” (creating a fake accout with a false identity to trick you) and gain your trust, then ask you to make some sort of investment with the person you think is the one. This is one of the more common forms of elderly financial abuse, and you can totally avoid that by filtering it out in the first place. The best way is to do a lot of research online or ask your friends to recommend safe dating sites for you. If it seems like too much work for you, don’t worry, we have a list of top-rated dating sites at the end of this article.

  • Don’t Give Extra Personal Information

Staying cautious and safe through online dating is vital. NEVER give too much of your personal information to people that you haven’t met and/or built trust with yet. Your personal information includes your address, your financial information, information about your family members, etc. Being cautious and protecting youself isn’t something to be ashamed of; a good potential mate should understand.

  • Write A Detailed Profile

What do you do when you are seeking your dream job? Yes, you write a great resume. It works for online dating, too. Be sure to upload your best selfies and photos that can represent yourself well. Also fill out your interests, favorite movies/books, and of course, the activities you love to do. Your potential date will find you through your shared interests, and this is how the two of you will ignite a spark.

  • Be Open-Minded

Sticking to your own rules is good, but limiting your options can prevent you from meeting someone that could be a good match. Selectively discard the rules like, “If he or she doesn’t talk to me right away, her or she is not the one” or “If he or she doesn’t listen to jazz, then he or she will never be the right person for me.” Loosen up your standards a bit (but not completely), and have an open remind. Remember, opposites attraact! You may find people that you resonate with unexpectedly.

  • Meet In Public And Tell Your Family And Friends When Going On A Date

Be safe! Always make your first date happens in a public setting. Restaurants, museums, parks, and galleries are all good places to meet for a first date. So, if you find the person is not safe or makes you uncomfortable, you can always seek help from others, or make a smooth escape.

It is also important to inform your family or friends before you are going on a date. You can share your location with them and tell them exactly when the date starts and ends.

Top-Rated Senior Dating Sites

Silver Singles

Silver Singles has an extensive questionnaire (about 100 questions) to help you to narrow down your options. It is designed for people over 50 and has fraud detection to help you screen out potential scams. It also has a video chat feature so that you can get to know each other before meeting in person.

Price (in US dollars)

  •   3 months: $49.95/mo

  •   6 months: $37.95/mo

  • 12 months: $27.95/mo

OurTime

If you are looking for a well-established dating site, OurTime should be one on your list. It provides matching opportunities for local folks who are over 50 and organizes events in multiple cities for people to meet each other. The site is easy to use and it offers a free version for people who just like to browse.

Price (in US dollar):

  •     Basic: Free

  •     Standard: 6 months, $3.75/week

  •     Monthly: $7.49/week

eHarmony

eHarmony is the largest dating community online for all ages. The site is easy to use and can provide different levels of matches according to the user’s needs. The site is designed for heterosexual individuals so if you are LGBTQ+ it might not be the best for you.

Price (in US dollars)

  •     Premium light: 6 months, $65.90/mo

  •     Premium plus: 12 months, $45.90/mo

  •     Premium extra: 24 months, $35.90/mo

Takeaway:

No matter what site are you using, just make sure to stay safe and trust your guts – if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. At the same time, don’t forget to enjoy and have fun on your journey to meeting new people – who knows if the next person you meet is going to be your soulmate!

References:

https://www.mensjournal.com/style/best-dating-sites-for-seniors/

https://blog.silvercuisine.com/senior-dating/

 


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Food has always been the main attraction at family reunions regardless of culture and race, and it is especially prominent in Jen’s family.

Today is the day that Jen picks up her mom from the nursing home, and welcomes her back home. Jen has put a lot of effort into preparing this family reunion dinner, and she had been studying recipes for the past few weeks, just to make sure her mom would be satisfied.

The dinner went well, except for the fact that Jen’s mom only ate a little and finished eating very soon after the dinner had started. Jen asked her mom if the food didn’t taste good, and her mom replied: “my taste buds arent as strong as before, not because of covid or anything else; my sense of taste has been getting weaker and weaker over the years.”

This is very normal among seniors. In fact, nearly 5% of seniors who are over 75 years old have  chronic issues with their sense of smell. Loss of smell and taste occurs when people enter their 60s, and some start as early as 40s.

What Causes Loss of Smell and Taste?

Loss of smell and taste can be attributed to many reasons. Certain medications that treat cardiovascular disease that contain beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, may cause lose of senses  in seniors. Also, other common causes such as aging, poor dental hygiene, nasal and sinus problems, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and smoking, etc. are all correlated to loss of smell and taste in elderly people.

Consequence of Loss of Smell and Tast

Our five senses are gifts from nature, and a disappearance of any one of them would lead to serious consequences.

  • Safety Issue

Our smell is linked to sections of the brain that process emotions and memories, and it may alert us to dangers such as gas leaks, fires, or rotting food. It can also trigger pain signals to be sent to our brain when we smell or taste anything unpleasant, as it could be a warning that something horrible is about to happen. For example, some polluted water may taste metallic. If seniors drink a glass of water without being aware of a metallic taste, the chemicals may put them at risk of metal accumulation in their bodies. Therefore, loss of smell could cause safety issues such as food poisoning and chemical poisoning.

  • Change in Dietary Habit

Flavour is a combination of taste and smell, so changes in the senses could also change someone’s food preferences and eating patterns. Seniors with a loss of taste would tend to “over-salt” their food, which is linked to high blood pressure. Also, a loss of interest in certain foods can cause malnutrition, which would cause substantial weight loss in seniors. So, if you notice your loved one skipping meals and slimming down, it is better to get checked out.

  • Decreased Quality of Life

Food brings happiness, and that’s why human beings are so enthusiastic about food. If an individual experiences loss of smell and taste, feasts are no longer appealing, and he or she may find it hard to reminisce by the smell of certain foods.

Smells have the power to evoke deep feelings and memories in humans. So, one’s quality of life might be severely hampered by the diminished or distorted perception of smell.

How to Help Your Loved One with Change in Sense of Smell & Taste

  • Get Checked

First and foremost, get checked by a doctor. You can book a nasal examination for your loved one to see if there’s inflammation or something else, such as  COVID-19. Sometimes it emerges from collective issues, and loss of smell is just a signal of more troubles down the road.

  • Encourage Him or Her to Eat

A loss of smell and taste would alter one’s appetite. In that, encouraging your loved one to savor foods becomes a vital topic here. Making social events and family gatherings is a good way to help seniors eat more food than usual. Also, you can try to use more herbs and spices that stimulate their appetite and increase food flavours without increasing blood pressure. Moreover, food is better served hot than cold in terms of its flavour. However, watch the temperature carefully so it won’t be too hot and burn your loved one’s tongue and throat – the best temperature served is about 150 F.

  • Follow Nutrition Guides

In our previous blog post, “Nutrition Guides for Seniors”, we have provided nutrition requirements and macronutrient charts for seniors. You can use the chart for planning for tasty meals for your loved one. Eating balanced meals is essential for seniors, no matter if they have lost their smell or not.

  • Label Foods with Dates Clearly

Since some seniors aren’t able to distinguish rotten or spoiled food by smell (as the look of food may not change much as they go bad), it is important to label fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, meat, and other foods with their purchase date, and best before date CLEARLY. Write the date in a bigger size so your loved one will notice.

  • Make Sure the Gas Detectors and Fire Alarms are Working

Again, guaranteeing your loved one’s safety at home is the primary thing we should focus on. In case he or she may be forgetful, or isn’t able to smell any “dangers”, you need to be proactive. Install and make sure gas detectors and fire alarms are in good working condition to greatly relieve your tension when you are away.

 

References:

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/help-seniors-whove-lost-smell-hearing-vision-172651.htm

https://www.everydayhealth.com/senior-health/when-aging-steals-your-sense-of-taste.aspx


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It’s just an ordinary morning. Jane wakes up and goes to the kitchen to get some water.

“Mom,” her daughter says, “umm, you kind of smell like old people.”

“Maybe it’s just because I haven’t brushed my teeth yet,” replied Jane.

Jane tried her best to be a good sport about it, but her daughter’s comment stayed with her for the rest of the day.

“What do old people smell like? And why do I smell like that – I’m only 55,” she thought. Obviously, this is something Jane wants to deal with right away.

“Old people smell”, as Jane’s daughter pur it, is actually very prevalent, and there’s a Japanese word that specifically describes it: Kareishu. The word has a negative meaning to it, mainly referring to a sweaty or unbathed smell. Not showering regularly may result in the smell, as it can with anyone of any age, however it is not the most prominent cause of changes in oder as we age.

Other Causes Of “Old People Smell”

  • Chemical Changes With Aging

You know the fresh and warm scent of a newborn baby? That goes away as we get older due to a chemical breakdown. The most popular hypothesis is changes in the chemical 2-nonenal. 2-nonenal may be responsible for causing older adults to have changes in odor.  When a person enters their 40s, 2-nonenal will present in the body and keep increasing as aging progresses.

As we become older, our skin produces more lipid acid, which is a type of fatty acid, and antioxidant protection in our skin decreases with age as well. In that, 2-nonenal is formed when fatty acid is oxidised, and is therefore what gives off that infamous “old people smell”.

However, scientists still haven’t confirmed how much of a role 2-nonenal plays in odor changes, as it might be a result from the interaction of the compound with skin secretions and bacteria.

  • Diseases

Some chronic diseases are also the source of changes in oder as we age. Diseases such as diabetes or uremia have a negative impact on skin function and can cause skin disorders. Also, skin problems like acne and eczema might exacerbate the issue. For example, diabetic dermopathy is caused by changes in small blood vessels, which could cause changes in skin maintainance.

Odor changes while aging is perfectly normal, but of course, we still want to smell fresh. There are several ways to manage changes in order as we age.

How To Manage Changes In Odor As We age

  • Engaging in a Heathy Lifestyle: Regular Exercise and Clean Eating

The best and most effective way is to change your lifestyle and quit bad habits. Make sure you are regularly exercising and eating clean. Eating clean means not eating too much fat, sugar, and sodium, given that these things would also alter our skin condition. Also, having enough rest and doing exercise can reduce our stress, which is huge ineliminating our unpleasant scents.

  • Quit Alcohol and Tobacco

Usually, when you walk past someone who drinks or smokes a lot, you will find that the smell of alcohol or tobacco has lingered on their body. This is because alcohol and tobacco leaves leaves residue on the skin whenever the person touches or consumes it. In addition, consuming alcohol or tobacco accelerates oxidation, which further increases “kareishu” in your body.

  • Drink Plenty of Water and Dilute Fatty Acids

Interestingly, dehydration can cause body odor. Drinking a lot of water can also dilute fatty acids in our body, along with increasingsaliva, which can help get rid of bacteria that causes unpleased odors

  • Green Tea May Help, Too

Green tea, which is rich in antioxidants, can help prevent bad breath, body odor, and stinky feet by neutralising free radicals.

Green tea helps the body rid itself of damaging pollutants by assisting in the secretion of glutathione, an antioxidant, so your body will smell much fresher.

  • Use Body Scrub – Fine Salt

Fatty acid on your skin is insoluble, so simply washing and rinsing with water isn’t so helpful to “wash out” the smell. However, using scrubs like fine salts can help remove the dirt and grease and make your skin much cleaner than just body wash alone. Also, scrubbing can offer feelings of relaxation, which in turn, helps to releave tension.

  • Air Out and Make Sure Living Areas Are Clean

Always keep your space clean! Sometime seniors’ rooms are warm and stuffy, which amplfies odors. Make sure to ventilate living spaces on a regular basis.

Also, make sure to do laundry on a regular basis. 2-nonenal transfers to your clothes and sheets from your skin. Using anti-stain and anti-grease laundry detergent helps to wash off the insoluble 2-nonenal.

At the End:

“Old People Smell” can be difficult to manage, even in those with good personal hygiene. However, don’t be scared of 2-nonenal. It is actually described as smelling like cucumber or old books – the greatest smell ever. And don’t stress about odor changes as you age; it is just a natural process.

 


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Charles hit 70 years old last week.

After his divorce, he took over the task of managing all the housework in the family. Just like other Californians, Charles likes to enjoy the sun and the little serendipities in his life. So, only three days after his birthday, Charles decided to move into a long-term care home to spend more time enjoying the idleness he deserves.

But here comes a problem: Charles wants to sell his house and use the money to cover his long-term care home expenses. However, his son is still living in his house with him. The cost of long-term care homes in California isn’t cheap, and it hurts Charles when he thinks about kicking his son out of the house as well.

Charles is in a conundrum that many seniors are.

Paying for long term care homes isn’t easy in the US. There are different types of long-term care homes. Here, we talk about nursing homes. According to the statistics from 2018, the average annual cost of a private room in a long-term care home across the US was $106,000. For some major cities, such as in San Francisco, the nursing home rate could reach $182,500 a year, and that’s why so many people choose to sell their property to live in a community.

However, selling houses isn’t the ultimate option to pay for a long-term care home There are, in fact, many benefits you should check out to relieve your financial burden.

How To Pay for A Long-Term Care Home in the US

Government Programs:

Just like in Canada, (Paying For LTC Homes In Canada) there are many government programs for senior citizens to use, and you probably already know of Medicare and Medicaid if you are living in the US.

However, there are some differences in range of what Medicare and Medicaid can cover:

Medicare

Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage for people who are over 65 or under 65 and with a disability. Note that it only covers the expense of long term care that requires skilled services and rehabilitative care for 100 days, or a short period of time of receiving skilled home health and skilled in-home services.

Medicare works in the following situations:

  • Hospital deductible: the cost after you have paid a certain amount

  • Short stays in a nursing home to receive medical care that arose after a hospitalization

  • Hospice care

  • Outpatient care, doctor visits

  • Some medication costs

Medicaid

Medicaid, on the other hand, is a combined Federal and State program for low-income residents. It is only available to individuals who meet the requirements set forth by their state, and the modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and the federal poverty line are used to determine financial eligibility for Medicaid.

Medicaid covers the cost of medical care and some long-term care. However, the range it covers may vary state to state, and in most cases, the coverage is very limited. As for California, the Medi-cal program can only cover 30 days of stays and medication in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF).

Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

While Medicaid can only cover a very limited amount of services and expenses, PACE can cover much more long-term care services (including medical and social services) for senior citizens, and it pays some or all of the long-term care expenses for the patients who have Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, PACE is active in 28 states. For more details, visit: https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/long-term-services-supports/pace/programs-all-inclusive-care-elderly-benefits/index.html

Other Programs

There are also many other benefit programs or institutions designed to serve a certain group of individuals. For example, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides long-term care and at-home care for some veterans and their family. If you wish to know how to use different programs according to your situation, you can consult the National Council on Aging (NCOA). NCOA offers a free service called “BenefitsCheckUp” to screen your eligibility and find you a list of Federal and State benefit programs that can help you and your loved one.

Private Payment Options

If you don’t meet the eligibility to require financial aid from your state, and you wish to explore more options other than paying from your own savings, there are some ways you can try:

Long-Term Care Insurance

This type of insurance is purchased when you are younger. Long-term care insurance covers many long-term care services including palliative and hospice care. The cost depends on the amount of services, age and health condition. Thus, the earlier it is planned, the better it can serve.

Reverse Mortgages for Seniors

A reverse mortgage is a particular type of house loan that allows a homeowner who is over 62 years old to get a portion of their property’s equity in return, so they can use the returned amount to cover their long-term care home.

Reverse mortgages have no criteria for applicant’s income or health, only age (>62). Moreover, the loan amount is tax free and can be used for any expense. However, it’s only useful for a mortgage-free property. So if you already owe money on your house in the form of a mortgage or another type of debt, you must pay it off first to get the benefit.

 

References:

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/paying-care

https://health.usnews.com/best-nursing-homes/articles/how-to-pay-for-nursing-home-costs#long

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/17/how-to-pay-for-long-term-care-like-nursing-homes-home-health-aides.html

 


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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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A 97-year-old woman with dementia has found that tens of thousands of dollars are missing from her bank account without her knowledge, so she reported it to her bank.

The bank has found that all her money was transfered to another person’s account – the woman’s power of attorney.

However, when the police asked the power of attorney about the money, the power of attorney said it was because the the woman wanted her to have the money and leave everything to her.

You might be confused about who is telling the truth, but this is a real case that happened in Ontario, Canada, back in 2020, and is a typical example of elder financial abuse.

What is Elder Financial Abuse?

According to the definition. Elder financial abuse means “any inappropriate behavior, with or without the informed consent of the older person, that results in monetary or personal gain for the abuser and/or monetary or personal loss for the older person.” which means elder financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse.
Trust takes years to build, but destruction takes only seconds and can have a serious impact on a person’s health.
In the story above, the woman’s savings were misappropriated by someone she trusted and was destroyed both financially and emotionally. It sounds harsh, but unfortunately, that’s how most stories of financial abuse in older adults go.

Financial abuse can be categorized into the following three ways:

  1. Stealing an elder’s valuables

  2. Taking control of an elder’s power of attorney

  3. Using the elder’s cash or credit cards without permission

Most of these cases are done by someone that the older person trusts, or someone who has always been with the senior – which means they could be family, friends, lawyers, or caregivers.

Today, we are going to talk about elder financial abuse that happens in long-term care homes, and what we could do about it as their family.

How to Recognize If Someone Is Experiencing Financial Abuse

  • Your Loved One Suddenly Has a New Good Friend”

When family members are not around, older adults tend to seek companionship. Therefore, they become more vulnerable and passive when people with bad intentions approach them. It is important to be on the lookout for any new “friendships” that seniors may form. If your loved one begins to rely on this new “best friend” in many ways, even defending their relationship when you have doubts. It is not a good sign, as a good friendship will not keep this person out of their family.

  • Reporting Missing Belongings

If your loved one starts to complain about losing or missing something, it could be that someone has taken them from him or her. Note that seniors with cognitive impairment such as dementia may accuse others of stealing from them as well, so it is better to observe for a period of time to see if it is true.

  • Unusual Banking Activity

If you and your loved one have a joint account and see unusual activity. For example, a large bank withdrawal, or a large payment to an unfamiliar account. That’s when it’s time to pay attention! This would be a “deadly trap” where someone is pressuring or enticing your loved one to make a payment, or worse! Your loved one’s card is stolen or controlled by someone else. This would be a “dead giveaway” that someone is pressuring or enticing your loved one to pay, or worse, if your loved one’s card is stolen or controlled by someone else.

  • Sudden Change Of Will Or Power Of Attorney

As in the story above. You already know that a financial power of attorney represents the financial and legal affairs of a client. Therefore, if it is transferred to someone other than a close friend or family member for no apparent reason. This would be a red flag that someone is trying to take advantage of you.
There are some other indicators. Such as signed documents that the senior does not understand, overdue bills and a decline in standard of living. Seniors may not notice these signs, so it is the family’s responsibility to watch their financial situation. There are many agencies and programs designed to combat financial exploitation, and you should get them involved as soon as any of these signs appear.

How To Report Elder Financial Abuse

  • Financial Institutions

Remember what you do when you have suspicious activities going on in your bank account? For senior financial abuse, the bank and credit unions can help to investigate if there’s any misappropriation happening to the card holder as well. If the case is confirmed, the employees at the financial institution will report it as financial abuse immediately.

  • Law Enforcement Agencies

It is always crucial to work with the police and investigate the abuse. Financial exploitation is a crime and you have right to report it and protect your loved one. Also, it will help to prevent more victims from falling into the trap of financial fraudsters.

  • Long-Term Care Regulation Institutions And Senior Abuse Prevention Lines

There are many long-term care regulation institutions across North America. In Ontario, we have the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that is in charge of this. The ombudsman will investigate and escalate the case for you. In addition, you can call the senior’s safety line, where staff will be on the line 24/7 for you, and it is toll free.

How To Prevent Financial Abuse As Their Family

Prevention is better than a cure. It is always good to prevent senior financial exploitation before it is too late. There are some ways to help you with it, which include:

  • Signing Up For Services That Track Their Account

You can use tracking tools such as EverSafe to track missing deposits, unexplained withdrawals, or abrupt changes in spending patterns that take place in your loved one’s account. Or, you can have a joint account with your loved one and see the activity.

  • Setting Up a Trusted Contact For the Account

If there is abnormal activity going on in the account and the bank is unable to reach the one who holds the account. Then, the bank will report it to the account’s trusted contact. The trusted contact may be given access to the account’s details as a view only user. However, he or she will be unable to make any transactions on account holder’s behalf.

  • Staying In Touch With Your Loved One

Nothing is better than maintaining a close relationship with your loved one. In fact, more senior financial abuse cases happen to the ones who are chronically lonely. After all, if your loved ones can’t reach you when they need, they can only trust the people that approach them

  • Geting To Know Their Caregivers

No matter if it is in-home care or long-term care, it is important for the family to know the caregiver of their loved one. In one of our previous blog posts, we talked about how screening caregivers is crucial in the hiring process (Top 10 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Home Care Agency). Screening and observing do not stop after you hire the caregiver. Do this by using the CareStory profile service, which will allow you to track caregiver activities during care. 

References:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/power-of-attorney-seniors-elder-abuse-senior-financial-crime-1.5476820

https://www.nursinghomeabusecenter.com/elder-abuse/types/financial-abuse/

https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2021/prevent-elder-financial-exploitation.html

https://www.rbcwealthmanagement.com/en-ca/insights/financial-elder-abuse-five-common-signs-



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    Contact us


    Call us

    1-647-243-2981


    Visit us anytime

    294 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada


    Send us an email

    info@emersewell.com



    Subscribe


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




      Social networks


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      Twitter

      #CareStory_ca


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      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.



      Copyright by Emersewell Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.