Pets Helping Seniors Live Longer

Unlike a stuffed animal or the second husband that Mary parodies, your pet is always happy to see you. They may express their enjoyment by wagging their tail, barking/purring or rubbing up against you, but one thing is for sure and it is that pet ownership can have an extremely positive impact on the life of an elderly person, especially ones that lives alone.

As people begin to age, their children leave the house, friends and loved ones may pass, and the companionship of an animal can be therapeutic.  As a matter of fact, Assisted Living Communities have begun to integrate pet therapy programs, and more residences are allowing seniors to bring their companion animals with them.

Although all pet owners experience some emotional benefit, pets have a large impact on enriching the lives of the older population. Research has shown that seniors who own pets experience the following benefits:

  • Reduces depression, anxiety and stress: Many owners open up to pets easier than humans because animals are always there to listen and are loyal; they (the senior) become less worried about little things that would normally bother them. Accordingly, pet ownership has been proven to reduce stress related conditions like high blood pressure.
  • Encourages regular exercise: Dog walking engages seniors in a gentle activity as many as two to three times a day; mentally, exercise eases anxiety, sharpens memory and inspires creativity.
  • Provides protection: For your senior loved one that lives alone, in their residence, a dog can alert their owner to potential intruders or possibly get help in the event of a critical situation such as heart attack.
  • Gives a sense of purpose: Having a pet to feed and care for gives seniors a renewed sense of responsibility when they no longer have family to care for.
  • Provide therapy: One of the major difficulties of Alzheimer’s disease is that seniors sometimes express anger in the form of yelling, swearing and other anxiety. During the initial stages of Alzheimer’s pets allow senior to keep their regular routines and live a normal life.

If there is one thing that is certain a furry-friend will love your senior loved one unconditionally and the benefits of pet ownership are immeasurable. Keep one thing in mind though, if your senior loved one is considering getting a pet, have a plan for someone to take care of your pet if they travel or become sick, that way you can be assured that your pet will always be taken care of and loved. Take that Mary! :)

Home Care Etobicoke ON for seniors and elderly choosing to stay home instead.

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Summer Safety for Your Senior Loved One

seniors1Summer is my favorite time of year. I look forward to long scenic bike rides, pool parties and weekends at the cottage. While it’s great to get outside for long stretches of time and enjoy the warm air and bright sunshine, seniors must be careful of season’s heat and humidity.

Part of the reason why older people can’t handle the heat as well as those that are younger is because they don’t sweat as effectively and have poorer circulation. Older adults are also more likely to have medical conditions or are on medications that limit their ability to respond to changes or affect their cooling system, perspiration. Obesity, heart disease, dementia, diabetes and other chronic medical conditions are examples of conditions that compound this risk.

In order to safeguard your senior loved one from heat-related illnesses, as extreme as stroke, there are steps we can take to minimize the risk and ensure that they are able to take advantage of the benefits of this wonderful season.

  • Review weather forecasts and make sure they ride out the extreme heat in a place that is air conditioned. If not in their home, plan for activities in a community centers, museums, shopping malls, etc. where the temperature will be controlled. Perhaps, there is a neighbor of family member whose home they can spend some time at.
  • While margaritas at a beach front patio restaurant may seem attractive for most, these types of beverages will dehydrate your senior loved one and make them prone to the elements. Encourage them to drink plenty of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages, especially water.
  • Dress in loose-fitting, light-colored clothing made of light fabrics such as linen and cotton. Hats are purposeful and can be very fashionable, but make sure that they are loosely woven or ventilated so they don’t trap heat. The best are those that are broad-brimmed so they shade the entire face.
  • Use Sunscreen, with an SPF of at least 30, on all exposed body parts including the face and ears
  • Avoid overexerting with strenuous activity; have family members or caregivers assist with these types of activities or if really necessary do these tasks really early in the morning. Periodic naps might also be a good idea.
  • If you must be outdoors, stay in shaded areas near trees and/or water.

In spite of the potential hazard to seniors, summer is a great season! Knowing about the potential implications of extreme heat and taking preventative measures will ensure that they enjoy summer as much today as they did years ago. It may be that a day at the beach is swapped for some time at a public pool and a fancy “mock-tail” substituted for that margarita but the memory of this summer will markedly be remembered by the quality of time you spend with your senior loved one.

 Home Care Etobicoke ON for seniors and elderly choosing to stay home instead.

Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 416-239-2200”  

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$10 000 Grant to Support Alzheimer Society Peel

Home Instead Senior Care owner Greg Bechard presents a $10 000 cheque, on behalf of the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation to Christoper Rawn-Kane, Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer Society Peel.

Home Instead Senior Care owner Greg Bechard presents a $10 000 cheque, on behalf of the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation to Christoper Rawn-Kane, Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer Society Peel.

The Alzheimer Society Peel faces the growing challenges of serving clients, caregiver and their families with the rising incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias.  To ensure the community has access to help when they need it, the Foundation has joined Alzheimer Society Peel to implement an online education program that will be available anywhere, anytime.  Thus, erasing the barriers of time, distance and mobility.  An e-learning option will help Alzheimer Society Peel continue to promote education awareness throughout the community and reach those individuals who otherwise cannot attend live trainings.

The Alzheimer Society of Peel has provided support for families and individuals dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias since 1983. “It is difficult for many people suffering with Alzheimer’s and their families to travel to attend live training and education workshops. The funding from Home Instead will help erase the barriers of time, distance, and mobility for those who need these services.

The online education program is made possible by a grant from the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation. “Our mission is very similar to the Alzheimer Society of Peel, as we both help enhance the lives of aging adults and those who care for them,” said Roger H. Baumgart, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We are pleased to provide grant funding to the Alzheimer Society of Peel for making a positive difference in the safety, well-being and independence of seniors,” Baumgart said.

 Home Care Etobicoke ON for seniors and elderly choosing to stay home instead.

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Nancy is Etobicoke’s CAREGiver of the Month

 

nancy

Nancy’s like my family.  We have a lot of fun and she knows me better than anyone. Audrey W, client

Nancy has been recognized in the past as a member of a ‘Care Team’ caring for one of our 24 hour clients.   This time we would like to single-out the tremendous way in which she is able to build strong relationships, exceed expectations and elevate the quality of life of this client.

Since day one, Nancy has anchored a team, enabling her to build trust with this special senior. In spite of her busy life and personal obligations, you can always count on Nancy to attend Home Instead sponsored events, meeting and specialized trainings. She is always reliable, responsible and professional.

She takes the lead by being her client’s strong advocate, arranging and accompanying her to appointments, organizing her medications and contacting the office to clarify schedules, lessening any anxiety for her client.  Nancy is empowered and involved.

Her relationship with this particular client has been compared to that of a granddaughter. She is quick to smile and is often found sharing her heart with her client through trading stories.  She is compassionate, thoughtful and herself because to Nancy, ‘it’s personal’!

 Home Care Etobicoke ON for seniors and elderly choosing to stay home instead.

Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 416-239-2200”  

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Happy Mother’s Day

mother's day

Give mom a gift to remember!

Only 2 shopping days left!   Mother’s Day is right around the corner and for most adult children finding the perfect gift for your senior loved one can be a daunting task.  After all, what do you buy for the person whose interests differ from your own and who has repeated for the last 40 to 50 years that she has everything she needs?  Moreover, if your mom is anything like mine, the token bathrobe and slippers will either be returned, or exchanged for 10 items of lesser value, because they are not dissimilar from the ones you bought a dozen other times before and she knows the value of the dollar.

Research shows that money, title or good health has less effect on life satisfaction than strong personal relationships can. So this Mother’s Day, make a commitment to do what you can to improve your relationship and give your mom and yourself positive memories. It is an especially important occasion to honor all that your mother has done, and the years that have passed.

Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Simply plan to rent an old movie, bring the popcorn and watch it together.
  • Set her up and show her how to use Facebook so she can keep connected with yourself and the entire family, those that are near and far.
  • Take her for a scenic drive, or a tour of old neighbourhoods. This prompts discussions of what life was like back then.
  • Create a memorable scrapbook. Take old photographs of mom as a young girl, as well as pictures of her as she started her family. It is a beautiful keepsake.
  • Ask her to help you out. Your mother wants to feel like she is still needed. Depending on her physical abilities, you can work on planting flowers in outdoor pots, or bake bread together.
  • Present an I-O-U card promising to go somewhere or do something special with her.

All of these gifts have one thing in common, your involvement. Any time you can show your mother attention and spend time together is beneficial. Elderly people are very afraid of being forgotten, or being a burden. You can show love by helping to dispel these fears. The golden years should not be tarnished as a result of poor care and feelings of helplessness and un-worth. Take your mother by the hand and walk beside her during this period. That is the greatest way to show your love, on Mother’s Day, and every other day of the year.

Home Care Etobicoke ON for seniors and elderly choosing to stay home instead.

Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 416-239-2200”  

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Stella is Etobicoke’s CAREGiver of the Month

Stella is Etobicoke's CAREGiver of the Month

Our family is so happy and grateful that Stella is looking after our Mom. Stella is very professional and knowledgeable while being gentle, caring and compassionate at the same time – everything we could possibly ask for in a caregiver for our sweet Mom. Thank you and Congratulations Stella!     Martha, client’s daughter

In the months since Stella joined Home Instead, we have grown to appreciate how fortunate we are to have her on ‘our CAREGiver Team’.

Currently, Stella is in a live-in assignment caring for a client with  high needs clients.  Stella has Built Trust with client, her family and the office staff by being consistent, reliable, professional, cooperative and so much more!  Other CAREGivers involved in this senior’s care observe that Stella really Takes the Lead and ensures that they realize the ‘priorities’; care is never rushed.

While in Stella’s care, the client is always  comfortable and understands what activity is being done, a priority because the client is blind and would otherwise experience anxiety.   Stella keeps the client’s family well informed at all times and takes every opportunity to get to know their family’s history so she can have an event closer connection with mother.

In spite of her client’s lack of sight, Stella shares pictures from magazines by describing them to her, their company is always engaging. Stella has very strong communication skills and knows when to take action to protect her client.  Recently, she recognized that her client wasn’t well and her quick actions averted a health crisis.  Stella, you really have a ‘Heart‘ for caregiving and we are delighted you chose Home Instead!

Home Care Etobicoke ON for seniors and elderly choosing to stay home instead. Please call us at (416) 239-2200.

Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 416-239-2200”  

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Facebook: Keeping Seniors Connected

Facebook:  Keeping Seniors Connected

I took a call from “Douglas” today, who was looking to arrange home care services for himself.  What caught me off-guard was that  he mentioned that he found our listing on Facebook.  Did I mention that “Douglas” was 88 years old?  At a time, when I (in my 40’s) have barely grown comfortable using both thumbs to text, more and more seniors are becoming tech savvy.  In fact, senior citizens are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook.

Surveys reflect that older Canadians are increasingly following their younger counterparts into the world of social media, with Facebook by far the most popular way to network, a new poll suggests. They are also jumping on board Facebook,TwitterYou Tube and more (can Google+ be far behind?) as they realize it is fun and provides real benefits.  I can think of several reasons for them doing so, for those living on their own or in facilities, but one reason predominates.

Social Media keeps families connected and closer together.  It’s not unfamiliar to hear a senior say, “I wish I heard more often from my children/grandchildren”. In a day and age where it is unlikely to find someone without a cell phone you’d think that calls to senior loved ones would be more common than ever.  However, a new generation of data plan users have replaced the need to use this technology to make phone calls and replaced it with the benefits of social media.

Accordingly, seniors are realizing that by using Facebook, it is easier to keep up with what is going on in the lives of loved ones.  It also makes for more frequent and comfortable conversations between generations than most would otherwise experience if the phones were used simply for calls.  Let’s not forget that the overwhelming majority of photographs are now digital and sharing of memories are now easier than ever through social media.   Grandparents can now go online and see pictures taken just moments before by their grandchildren, creating a feeling of closeness that was never possible with mailed photos. Most importantly, with most families living apart and with the worry of missed appointments or medications, potential falls, or other potential vulnerabilities of aging Facebook enables families to check in on their loved one as well.

If this isn’t enough, Facebook is also an opportunity for seniors to engage in recreational activity (games), discounts and giveaways and make new friends.   Our own site provides relevant community events, educational resources, and local news.   Let’s not forget, had it not been for Facebook I might not have had the opportunity to connect with “Douglas”.

Home Care Etobicoke ON for seniors and elderly choosing to stay home instead. Please call us at (416) 239-2200.

Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 416-239-2200”  

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Franchise Excellence

AOE_CatWinner2014_NonTrad_MatEst

Home Instead Senior Care®, the world’s leading provider of companionship, Alzheimer’s and home care for seniors, is the Gold winner of the 2014 Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) Awards of Excellence in Franchising in the Category of Non-Traditional – Mature/Established. The award was presented to Home Instead Senior Care on April 7, 2014 during a Gala Awards Presentation at the 23rd annual CFA National Convention in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Considered the pinnacle of franchise achievement in Canada, CFA Awards of Excellence in Franchising are given annually to franchise systems that have demonstrated the strongest, most mutually-rewarding relationships with their franchisees, based on the results of a comprehensive survey of franchisors and their franchisees administered by third-party firm Association Resource Centre.

“Our franchise owners and their CAREGiversSM  provide an extraordinary level of care to Canadian seniors with a true commitment to enhancing the lives of aging adults and their families across Canada,” said Jeff Huber, President of Home Instead, Inc., the franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network. “To all of us, it’s personal, and we are proud to see this reflected in this prestigious award.”

“The CFA Awards of Excellence in Franchising truly set a benchmark for franchises throughout Canada and we are pleased to recognize Home Instead Senior Care for their commitment to excellence in franchising,” says Lorraine McLachlan, CFA President and CEO. “A solid relationship between franchisor and franchisee is vital to the system’s success and Home Instead Senior Care’s results show that they offer outstanding support to their franchisees.”

Open exclusively to CFA franchise system members who have been franchising for three years or more, the CFA Awards of Excellence in Franchising competition includes four categories to enable franchise systems to be rated against their peers. Participating franchise systems were assessed on their performance in key areas, including franchisee relations, leadership, business planning, marketing, training and support, ongoing operations and communications.

Franchisees’ Choice Designation

In addition to the Franchise Excellence award, Home Instead Senior Care was also honoured by CFA as a recipient of the Franchisees’ Choice designation. The Franchisees’ Choice designees are CFA member franchise systems who voluntarily took part in an independently-administered survey. Franchisees were asked to assess their franchisor in key areas of the franchise business model, including the franchisee selection process; franchisee Information package; leadership; business planning and marketing; training and support; ongoing operations; and the relationship between the franchisor and franchisee. In order to qualify for this designation, a minimum of 10% of a brand’s franchisees must participate. In many cases, franchisee responses were significantly higher. This is the fourth year for the annual Franchisees’ Choice designation program.

 

Home Care Etobicoke ON for seniors and elderly choosing to stay home instead. Please call us at (416) 239-2200.

Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 416-239-2200”   Don’t forget to like us on facebook! th

Marjorie H, Home Instead’s CAREGiver of the Month

IMG_0879

Marjorie truly always has Mother’s best interests at heart…be they physical or social. You can tell how much Mother cares about Marjorie too, as Mother always worries about whether Marjorie has her gloves and scarf and will get home safely. Even the staff remark on how well they interact. We certainly consider Marjorie an indispensable part of our team keeping our favourite “almost 93 year old” as happy and healthy as possible. — Catherine I

Although understated in her character (she is both mild-mannered and gentile), the impact Marjorie makes on her clients is boldly pronounced!  She has a natural ability to build strong relationships and building trust, taking the lead and sharing her heart are second nature to her.

The families of those seniors whom she cares for have grown to depend upon Marjorie as their eyes and ears and she has earned their trust. They indicate that she communicates well, in person, by note and by phone.  “Marjorie provides a real link between family and Mother…. if we are out of town, we know that she will provide care continuity and the one-on-one attention that Mother wants. This provides us with such peace of mind.”

As many of these children have active lives, full-time careers, children, and other commitments, they rely heavily on her ability to take the lead.  She is proactive in supporting them and they are confident that any concerns will be identified and reported.  “She tells us when anything is needed (usually ahead of time), so we can get replacements before mother has to do without.”

Catherine, praises Marjorie for sharing her heart through simple gestures that add value to her mom’s life – things like trying to make her comfortable (rubs cream on legs, adjusts  pillows),  coordinating her outfits, freshening up her makeup and  doing her hair for  dinner, as well as assisting and encouraging her to engage in meaningful activities such as watching golf, going outside, advising on plants/flowers.

We applaud Marjorie on the reputation she has built for herself and for the lives she has impacted!

 

Home Care Etobicoke ON for seniors and elderly choosing to stay home instead. Please call us at (416) 239-2200.

Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 416-239-2200”   Don’t forget to like us on facebook! th

Daily Companion: Now Available on Android Phones

Daily Companion: Now Available on Android Phones

 This is not the time in her life when “Michelle” thought she would be facing this challenge.  She is a 40-something, married, mother of two (both under 10), and until recently her biggest challenge was maintaining a work/home life balance. On top of just dealing with the balancing-act of a full-time job, bakes sales, soccer games, etc. she also provides care for her father, Jim, who has Alzheimer’s. She is exhausted, confused and overwhelmed.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be a frightening and challenging task!

If you’re caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s or other dementia you have help in the form of an app new to Android phones - Alzheimers Daily Companion. You can download this app for free and use it to find tips, ask questions, offer support and find Alzheimer’s care services in your area.

The app includes over 500 searchable tips and practical solutions sourced from the Home Instead Senior Care network and the Alzheimer’s and other dementias caregiving community. The foundation of the content is a book published by Home Instead Senior Care called “Confidence to Care.” The app is a companion piece to the book in order to give caregivers, in need and on-the-go, immediate and easy to access advice for any situation.

Features Include:

  • Free and immediate advice and tips for dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia behaviors and situations.
  • 24-hour caregiving assistance available via toll free phone number or email submission.
  • Access to free Alzheimer’s and other dementias caregiver resources and training materials.
  • Caregivers sharing their own advice through a collection mechanism provided in the app
  • Ability to access all of the solutions and tips without Internet connectivity.
  • Built-in rating system for caregivers to rate each tip so other caregivers benefit from their insight and evaluation of the advice.

This app will help build “Michelle’s” confidence to be able to provide care for her father and will arm her with immediate tips and practical advice for all of the behaviors and situations they face on a daily basis.  She can search for information regarding her particular circumstance and needs, and the app will return immediate and relevant answers. These tips are compiled by experts as well as family caregivers dealing with Alzheimer’s or other dementia illnesses.

Now, Michelle and other caregivers everywhere have a reason to rejoice!  Help has found its way via Molly, Home Instead, and her android phone.

Alzapp

Home Care Etobicoke ON for seniors and elderly choosing to stay home instead. Please call us at (416) 239-2200.

        “Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 416-239-2200”   Don’t forget to like us on facebook! th

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