Newsletter June 2008

Elder Care Advice From The Managing Director

Warm weather is here! Summer sun and hotter temperatures are something that many of us look forward to with great anticipation. Being outside and enjoying the season is a great joy for people of all ages.

Seniors however, should be aware of the “hazards” that the sun and heat brings especially as we age. Dehydration is of primary concern during the summer months. Dehydration symptoms are brought on when the body doesn’t receive enough water to carry out its functions. These symptoms include headache, fatigue and hallucinations. Prolonged dehydration can even lead to death.

Seniors are at increased risk of dehydration because their brains fail to effectively gauge how much water their bodies need, new research out of the University of Texas suggests (1). A neuron in older adult brains turns off the “thirst” guage earlier meaning that seniors often do not drink enough fluids to compensate for the fluid loss they are experiencing due to heat.

While many seniors may resist drinking more fluids in an attempt to reduce incontinence, it should be noted that scheduled drinking may be a good way to reduce dehydration in older adults and with the summer heat may not cause an increase in incontinence at all.
Summer is the time for fun and relaxation so, whether you are young or old, sit back with that iced tea, and sun hat and soak up that sun!

1) “Aging brains increase seniors’ risk of dehydration: Study” CBC Article 12/18/07

Aging at Home or Aging in Place have truly become “buzz words” in the media and in geriatric care management circles. Where and how we live are key factors that affect our health and how we age. As the first of the boomers begin to turn 65, more and more are beginning to demand services that will not only allow them to continue living independently in their own homes as they age but also to be better able to stay active in their communities.

While many provincial governments are launching new initiatives for healthy aging, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care announced a strategy specifically focused on aging at home. The new Aging at Home Strategy will, over the next three years, aim to provide support to seniors and their caregivers to enhance their ability to live healthy and independent lives in their own homes and communities, close to family and friends.

The strategy specifically targets those seniors who:

  • Wish to continue to live independently in their own homes;
  • Are at risk for a medical crisis that would require a visit to an emergency department;
  • Remain in hospitals awaiting more suitable placement; and
  • Are inappropriately admitted to a long term care home or hospital because of insufficient supports.

What types of supports does one need to “Age in Place” ? A variety of supports can be put into place to assist a senior with staying in their own home.

Some of the services that might be of consideration are: a personal emergency response system, assistance with bathing and/or dressing; assistance with laundry and housekeeping, home maintenance; assistance with finances and bill payment; occupational and physical therapy assessments and treatment; home accessibility renovations. This list is by no means extensive and it can sometimes be difficult to determine which services would be beneficial. Geriatric Care Managers can assist. Care Managers can provide assessment services to determine the level of need and services required and provide recommendations on how to stay at home for as long as possible. Care Managers are also a great wealth of information on the range of service providers in your area and can be of great assistance in selecting the appropriate services.

In our next issue….
When Staying at Home is No Longer an Option

Phone: 416-658-8887 Toll Free:866-473-8887

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