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12 Meaningful Questions for your older loved one.

Our parents, grandparents and other older family members are brimming with incredible experiences, and they are often eager to pass them down. Asking our loved ones to share their wisdom, stories and memories can lead to closer relationships. By revisiting the past, seniors can feel nostalgic and grateful for their life.

Here are a few questions to ask:

  • 1. What was a lesson your parents taught you that you still remember?
  • 2. Did you have a favorite teacher or professor? Who was it and why?
  • 3. Have you ever been in love, and how did you know?
  • 4. What is your recommendation for living a fulfilling life?
  • 5. What would you like to experience differently if you could? Would you do anything over?
  • 6. What was your favourite age or age range in life?
  • 7. How did you get through trying times in your life?
  • 8. What was your favourite aspect of your job or career?
  • 9. What was it like watching all of the technology evolve around you?
  • 10. What is something about your heritage that you want to pass down to future generations?
  • 11. What is your most memorable travel story?
  • 12. What’s something that you learned later in life that surprised you?

Find Home Care Services That You Can Trust at ComForCare start a conversation with us at 613-792-3663.

 

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The Importance of Expressing Love as We Age

In this busy world it’s so easy to get wrapped up in our everyday practices. Between personal and work obligations we can easily neglect the most important aspect of our relationships with our loved ones: expressing love. 

There’s a reason receiving love and affection feels so good. It’s a phenomenon which happens at the chemical level, with the release of oxytocin. Think about how wonderful it feels to be told that you are loved; how meaningful it is to be shown love through an act of appreciation or a planned activity that came by way of surprise. Expressing your devotion and affection for your loved one can help them feel appreciated. This is especially important for older adults to recognize because they may feel like a burden as their health declines and they become more reliant on others to care for them. 

How to approach acts of kindness toward your loved one is sometimes easier said than done. Particularly as we age, activities that we engage in may have to be adapted to accommodate a new normal. It's a fact of life: as we age, our bodies will also begin to change. How we approach these changes can determine how big the impact will be on our lives. By understanding the common age-related changes older adults may face, we are better positioned to adapt to those challenges and ensure a high quality of life.

Consider these tips: 

  • Keep things age appropriate  

  • Prepare safe activities

  • Have meaningful conversations

  • Engage WITH your loved one. Remember, being together makes any activity valuable

Adapting acts of kindness for the older adult:
First, keep in mind common chronic conditions and how they can impact one's ability to engage in an activity and make an effort to adhere to their ability level.

  • Arthritis is the most common age-related change many older adults face. Joint pain often leads to discomfort, which may cause withdrawal from activities. However, by teaming with a doctor to create a fitness activity plan, individuals can successfully manage joint pain and still enjoy an active and comfortable lifestyle. 

  • Many older adults are also living with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Accepting these challenges together with your loved one creates opportunities to express love and caring. Developing lifestyle changes that include exercise, healthy eating and having fun together can eliminate the stress of daily life and create a bond that eases the symptoms of whatever condition they may be living with. Although every relationship has its own unique dynamics, certain foundational factors tend to permeate all relationships. The ability to show care, kindness and love is the key to a fulfilling life.

Second, consider implementing these age-appropriate activities that are sure to be a delightful experience for your loved one.

  • Reminisce together! Do you have a bunch of old photos laying around? Perhaps getting those out and putting them into photo albums could be a great way to spend quality time together.

  • Cook together! Even as your loved one’s condition changes, cooking together can be modified to support their ability level so they can still engage and feel like they’re contributing. Don’t worry about how long it takes to put the meal or dessert together - just being together is what makes a difference.

  • Enjoy classic movies together and have a conversation about “the good old days.”

  • Listen to favorite songs together and if possible dance together even if you're seated.

  • For more ideas, check out our 60 meaningful activities list: https://docs.google.com/document/d/17QG25QixMz0zKrIf6r-RbX3JCtUCM9vG280t6wkpxsI/edit?usp=drivesdk

Sharing the joy of everyday activities together can be extremely rewarding as we age together, and the conversations that we share as we reminisce about past experiences can be just as satisfying as the original experience. With age comes perspective and the ability to see how much we have to be grateful for and that shared experience can deepen our love for one another. So whatever challenges we face as the conditions of life and aging catch up with us our love can actually become stronger. If we keep communicating and engaging in life as it flows along we can experience great joy and satisfaction. After all, change is inevitable and changing together should be beautiful and full of love.

Find Home Care Services That You Can Trust at ComForCare start a conversation with us at 613-792-3663

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Five Ways Home Care Can Help

Here are five of the many reasons in-home care might fit for your needs, whether you’re planning your own long-term care or helping a loved one.

  1. There’s no place like home! Nine out of 10 older adults say they want to spend retirement in their current home. Care providers like ComForCare can help with everyday tasks that allow people to live at home safely.
  2. Home care can help reduce chances of rehospitalization. In Canada, one in 12 patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge. Preventing readmission can be as simple as having someone present during the transfer of care who can process information.
  3. It’s estimated nearly a third of older Canadians fall each year with about half of those falls happening in the home. Many ComForCare locations offer no obligation fall risk assessments and caregivers are available to help with tasks that often lead to a fall, such as bathing.
  4. Loneliness is common among older adults, and it can have negative health effects such as an increased risk for heart disease, dementia and depression. ComForCare can provide companionship by incorporating Meaningful Activities into a daily routine or providing transportation to social activities.
  5. Family members can’t always be there. Whether they live far away or are busy with their careers or children, relatives often chip in but can’t do all of the caregiving themselves. Plus, everyone needs a break sometimes. We help aging adults continue to live at home and do the things they love.

Find Home Care Services That You Can Trust at ComForCare start a conversation with us at 613-792-3663.

Making Masks More Comfortable for Older Adults

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COVID-19 is a major concern for us all, but older adults are a particularly at-risk group. Following safety protocols is critical for keeping everyone safe, especially the seniors in our lives. As we know, frequent handwashing with the proper technique is important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Canadian public health services also advise wearing a non-medical face mask when it is not possible to distance from others.

When an individual wears a face-covering correctly, it can “reduce the spread of his or her own infectious respiratory droplets.” Unfortunately, infected individuals can unknowingly spread COVID-19 through these droplets even when they are asymptomatic. It is for this reason that masks should be worn in public areas, regardless of whether symptoms are apparent.

Many older adults experience discomfort when wearing face masks. They can be uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are several ways to combat this issue.

Choose the Right Mask

Choosing the right type of face covering is the first step toward comfort. The PHAC recommends two layers of tightly-woven fabric, and cotton is one of the most comfortable and breathable options available. Multiple layers of high thread count cotton can help in preventing the transmission of smaller COVID-19 particles.

Fit also makes a difference. A face mask should feel secure but not tight. Ideally, it should not obstruct the wearer’s vision. The presence of a flexible metal strip along the bridge of the nose can aid in this.

Clean Your Mask

Treat a face mask as you would underwear, and wash it after each use. A clean mask is more comfortable and easier to breathe through. It is best to have multiple masks on hand as a wet or even damp mask is ineffective.

Spread Out Your Trips

One way to make mask-wearing more bearable is to take breaks. Try to schedule errands in a way that allows a stop at home. If a face-covering becomes too uncomfortable, find a safe, unpopulated, outdoor space where it can be removed for a bit. In the meantime, the key is to remain calm and focus on breathing.

Minimize Facial Products

Limit the use of facial products while wearing a mask. Thick moisturizers and makeup tend to melt off and clog the pores. This alone can cause discomfort. It also makes skin issues around the mouth and nose more likely.

Again, wearing a face-covering is important in managing the spread of COVID-19. Using the tips above can ease the discomfort reported by older adults. To do your part in keeping everyone safe, continue to practice good hygiene, distance from others and wear a mask.

What to Look for When Visiting Older Adults During the Holidays

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For many families, the holidays are the only time they have to spend together, and COVID-19 has made that more challenging. Phone calls and emails are great ways to connect with loved ones from afar, but the distance can make it hard to notice changes in a person’s appearance or surroundings that could indicate they need help.

During socially-distanced, masked visits or on video chat, families should pay attention to:

  • The condition of the home:strong> Is it messier or more cluttered than usual? Is there spoiled food in the refrigerator or cupboards? Are bills not being paid on time? Are household goods being put away in the wrong places?
  • The person’s condition:strong> Do they have unexplained weight loss? Are they wearing clothes that are dirty or inappropriate for the weather? Are they having trouble with toileting or basic hygiene such as showering or brushing their teeth? Have they fallen recently? Do they appear to be off-balance? Are they having difficulty sleeping?
  • The person’s behaviours:strong> Are they missing scheduled medical visits or telehealth appointments? Are they forgetting to refill prescriptions or take medications as prescribed? Do they seem confused when you talk to them about topics they’d normally understand? Are they exhibiting any personality changes or mood swings?

These sorts of deficits could be a sign that they need extra help. At ComForCare Home Care, we understand the challenges that can arise with aging. Home care can help older adults continue to live independently in their own home and do all the things they love. Contact us today to learn more about how we help people live their best lives possible.

7 Reasons to choose us for in-home care

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Whether it’s due to injury, illness or recovery, sometimes people need a little extra help at home. That’s where home care comes in.

When it comes to choosing an in-home care provider, here are some of our advantages:

  • We make it easy. At a full-service home care agency, caregivers are agency employees, not independent contractors. If a caregiver is hired through an online registry or a private hire, the client becomes the employer and is responsible for these tasks. We take care of all the details so families can spend more quality time with their aging loved ones.
  • We only hire the best. When it comes to in-home care, you want a caregiver who is professional, compassionate and qualified. We conduct comprehensive screenings, assess skills and require relevant certifications, employment history and references.
  • We provide ongoing caregiver training. Each of our caregivers must complete a full skills orientation. We also train caregivers to work with client-specific needs and provide ongoing education. To ensure caregivers are following protocols and clients are pleased with their care, we conduct unannounced quality assurance calls and visits to clients’ homes.
  • We customize our care. Our personalized approach to care sets us apart. We understand that every person and situation is unique. Our Care Process begins with a thorough in-home consultation to identify a person’s specific needs and preferences. Next, we create a personalized plan. We then continue to communicate with our clients and their family members, conduct reassessments and adjust the care to reflect a client’s changing needs and condition.
  • We’re flexible. Our caregivers are available for a few hours a week up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. We’re also available around the clock to answer questions.
  • We provide more than home care. Activities of daily living such as eating, dressing and bathing are essential for healthy lives. However, we also offer music programs to bring people joy and purpose and a fall risk management program. If someone is found to be at high risk of falling, we’ll make recommendations that can help keep them safer, such as home modifications and lifestyle changes. 
  • We created DementiaWise® to enhance the lives of those living with dementia and their families. DementiaWise teaches caregivers about the changes caused by dementia as well as appropriate care methods and behavioral interventions.

Contact us today to learn how we can help the transition to in-home care for your patients.

6 Socially Distanced Winter Activities for Seniors

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Winter is here, and some of us are already experiencing those colder temperatures. As even chillier weather rolls in, seniors become more limited in activities because they can’t spend as much time outdoors. The current pandemic is even further limiting to our older loved ones. So what can you do to spruce up the season and provide some safe enrichment and fun in their lives? Here are some ideas.

Story-Go-Round

Have older adults and their families write a collective story. Give a pen and paper to a resident for a set time period (2-3 minutes), and then pass it on to the next person to continue.

Decisions, Decisions

Families and their older loved ones can play the “Think Twice in a Jar” game. A variation of “Would You Rather,” "Think Twice in a Jar" involves players pulling questions from a jar. These questions prompt players to make a choice, such as, “Would you rather listen to music or paint?” Have them answer the question, and then encourage them to explain why they chose the answer they did.

Race Cars

Older adults can engage in friendly competition, racing remote control cars around the home.

Personalized Activity Baskets

Seniors will love these because they’re tailored to their interests and abilities. For avid readers, families can consider putting together a basket with some books, perhaps some festive bookmarks and some teas or flavoured coffees. For skilled crafters, the basket may include colourful yarns, knitting needles, crochet hooks or items for a needlepoint project. For those with dementia, families can create a memory or rummage box that can help them reminisce.

Movie Night

Suggest a home movie night to older adults and families. They can pass out the popcorn and relax with a classic film.

Get Moving

For those who need physical activity, families can try Tai Chi, wall exercises or short walks around the home.

Government of Canada Recommendations for Seniors

Keep the Government of Canada health recommendations in mind when planning any winter activities for your seniors. For older adults, the Government of Canada recommends:

  • Washing hands often
  • Avoiding close contact (2 metres)
  • Covering mouth and nose with a mask when around others
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, followed by 20 seconds of handwashing
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily with soap and water, then a household disinfectant
  • Monitoring health daily, which includes being aware of COVID-19 symptoms, such as coughing, fever, and shortness of breath; taking temperature if symptoms develop, and following guidelines if they do become sick

Plan Some Fun, Safe Winter Activities

You can take these activities and run with them or get creative and make up a dozen more. Either way, they should bring your residents and loved ones some excitement, and most importantly, allow them to feel a sense of warmth and connection.

Autumn Activities for Older Adults and Their Families

Autumn in Canada brings chilly breezes and the fiery colours of the changing leaves. And, though we may miss the long days of summer, these festive activities will help everyone in your family from the young to the old welcome fall and family togetherness.

Be a neighbourhood environmentalist. Collect large seeds, leaves, flowers and other plant life during a family outing at the park or even in your yard. Then organize them by size, shape, type or colour. See which family members, young or old, can identify what type of plant it. If you need a little help, consult this guide.

Take a new family photo. Use the backdrop of autumn for your next family photo. Accessorize with hay bales, piles of leaves, pumpkins or baskets of apples. Just make sure older adults and young children keep warm during the photoshoot in case it runs long. You may need to keep warm drinks and blankets on hand. Your younger and older family members can wrap these and use them as gifts for extended family members during the holiday season.

Make leaf art. You can easily make leaf rubbings with crayons, paper and leaves. Lay a leaf with the veins facing up under a sheet of paper. Then, rub the side of a crayon gently over the paper. Turn a single leaf rubbing into a collage by adding different colours of the same leaf or multiple types of leaves in the same colours. Be creative with colour – the leaves don’t have to be greens, reds, browns, yellows or oranges. You may need to hold the hands (or papers) of the very young or very old to help them complete this activity. Step-by-step directions for leaf rubbings are available here.

Create a family tree. Talk about your family lineage. Ask older adults to share stories about their parents and grandparents while another family member writes those names on a family tree. You may want to start with the youngest person in your family at the bottom and work up to the oldest or start from the left with the youngest person and work to the right to the oldest. Click here for more information.

Spread the light. Find empty glass jars or clear plastic tumblers. Insert leaves, pine needles and acorns in and around the sides of the container. Add battery-operated tea candles to the bottom, then tie ribbon, string or jute around the outside of the jars. Then, include them as the centrepiece on the dining table for Thanksgiving.

Bring pumpkins to life. Instead of carving jack-o-lanterns with knives, young children and older adults can decorate pumpkins with washable markers, oil pastels, stickers or crayons. Take some time to talk about faces you could draw – spooky, gleeful, silly or angry – and then get started. Using washable or removable materials may help prevent stained hands and clothing, and it allows them to get the pumpkin’s features just right.

Bake apple treats. Autumn is the best time to make apple-flavoured baked goods. Older adults can share family recipes with their children and grandchildren. Bakers of any age can help measure, stir, grease pans, lick spoons and be taste-testers.

ComForCare Home Care offers in-home care services for older adults, such as bathing and grooming, transportation and light housekeeping, so family members can have time to enjoy fall festivities with their older loved ones.

12 Questions to Truly Connect With Older Loved Ones

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Have you ever heard that you are the main character in your own story? For most of us, we are the protagonists, and everyone else is acting as a supporting character in our life. We can become so wrapped up in our own stories that we forget that those around us are the protagonists in their own lives. They have their own interesting stories that we could hear if only we asked them to share.

Our parents, grandparents and other older loved ones are brimming with incredible experiences, and they are often eager to pass them down. The key is to get the conversation started. Here are 12 questions to help you truly connect with and understand the life of your older loved one. Their answers may surprise you.

  1. What was a lesson your parents taught you that you still remember today?
  2. Did you have a favorite teacher or professor in school? Who was it and why?
  3. Have you ever been in love, and how did you know?
  4. What is your recommendation for living a fulfilling life?
  5. What would you like to experience differently if you could? Would you do anything over?
  6. What was your favorite age or age range in life?
  7. How did you get through trying times in your life?
  8. What was your favorite aspect of your job or career?
  9. What was it like watching all of the technology evolve around you?
  10. What is something about your heritage that you want to pass down to future generations?
  11. What is your most memorable travel story?
  12. What’s something that you learned later in life that surprised you?

At ComForCare, we help older adults live their best life possible with personalized in-home care Services.

How You Can Emotionally and Mentally Support Older Adults During the COVID-19 Outbreak

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During this period of social and physical distancing, it can be challenging for people to stay connected to their friends and family. This is especially true for older adults.

According to the Government of Canada, it is imperative that people limit contact with people at higher risk like older adults and those in poor health because they are the most at risk for contracting coronavirus.

But how can you keep your bond strong during this time? Here are a few ways to help your older loved one stay emotionally and mentally well:

  1. Chat over the phone or through video: Set a specific time every day to check in with your loved one. You can simply call them or see each other by using apps such as Facetime or Facebook Messenger. Go through your old photos, select a few to hold up to the screen, and share memories and stories from that time.
  2. Take breaks from the news: Encourage your older loved one to check the news once a day on T.V. or online to discourage overstimulation and anxiety. Reading, listening and watching a constant stream about the pandemic can be unsettling.
  3. Watch Tune-in Tuesdays: During this time, ComForCare is providing live concerts featuring classic hits from the ‘30s to ‘60s. If seniors or caregivers have a Facebook account, show them how to “tune in” every weekday at 1 p.m. ET on the home office’s Facebook page. It started out on Tuesdays, but we’ve moved it to every day.
  4. Gain a new skill or hobby: Encourage your older loved one to learn something new. These can include watching Ted Talks, finding a new recipe online to try, or taking a paid class on websites like Udemy, Coursera or Lynda. Ask them to share what they learned during your scheduled calls.
  5. Watch Netflix together: A free Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party allows you and your older loved one to watch shows and movies at the same time on the computer. It also allows anyone in your group to pause, play, fast forward and rewind the movies, so you're always at the same place with your loved one. There's also a side chat bar where you both can discuss what's going on in the movie or show. Learn how to add the extension on your computer.

During this time of uncertainty, it’s extremely important that we band together and lean on each other, even if the way we support each other is a little different than before.

Documents to Have in Order for Your Older Loved One

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Does your senior loved one have a medical and financial power of attorney?

The Canadian government urges older adults to understand the importance of a power of attorney, but that is just one affair that older adults should have in order.

As we age, it becomes more important than ever to have our essential paperwork and documents available and sorted. We can never know for certain when we may face serious health concerns, and being prepared can ease the burden placed on families in the event of an emergency.

Seniors can have a lot of documents to go through and may need the help of a family member or caregiver to navigate the process. Here’s how you can help your older loved one get their important information in order:

Types of Documents to Find

First, you’ll need to find all of the essential documents. These documents often include:

Personal Documents:

  • Birth records
  • Driver’s license/ID
  • Passport
  • Citizenship certificates
  • Contact list for any important people
  • Legal documents, including a will
  • Marriage license or divorce paper

Health Care

  • Government health card
  • Private insurance card if applicable
  • Preferences for health care and desires for how to handle potential health situations
  • Health care power of attorney
  • List of medicines and allergies
  • Personal medical history
  • Emergency information

Financial Documents

  • Financial power of attorney
  • Deeds or titles for any property or vehicles
  • Bank account information
  • Documentation of loans or debts
  • Information about retirement accounts or funds

Estate Planning

End-of-life planning is important for all adults, but the matter is even more time-sensitive as we age. Families of older adults who pass away without end-of-life documents may experience a greater legal and financial strain than they would otherwise. For end-of-life planning, your loved one should have:

  • End-of-life wishes
  • Trust documents
  • A will
  • Life insurance policy information

Organizing The Documents

Once you’ve located all of the key documents for your older loved one, it’s time to sort and store them. For documents to be helpful, they must be easy to find. There are several ways to store such documents, but the key is that they should be well-organized and secure. Create electronic copies to store on an external hard drive or cloud storage, but make sure to password-protect them for added security.

ComForCare wants to help older adults live fulfilling lives at home. You may need a little extra help while getting documents in order for your loved one, and we are here for you. Our team of compassionate, experienced caregivers can help your loved one no matter what level of care they need. Find your ComForCare caregiver today HERE.

5 Questions to Ask a Home Care Agency

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If you’re researching home care agencies for an older patient or a family caregiver who needs help, you may not know what to look for when exploring the options.

Here are five questions to ask when interviewing an in-home care provider:

What Services Do You Provide?

Common home care services include bathing, dressing, feeding and preparing meals, transferring to and from a bed or wheelchair, and transportation to appointments. For instance, if an older gentleman needed help shaving and making dinner, he wouldn't need specialized care - just standard in-home care services. You'll also need to assess how often your loved one will require care; they may only need home care services twice a week.

How Much Do Your Services Cost?

Non-medical in-home care is typically paid for out-of-pocket. However, there are other ways to defray the costs, such as some extended health plans and the Veterans Allowance. A representative of the home care company you are interviewing can help clarify the available options for your situation.

How Do You Hire Caregivers?

When choosing home care, you have a decision: private hire or agency.

With an agency like ComForCare Home Care, finding the caregiver is handled by the company, which makes it easy for you. The company will provide workers' compensation, pay the caregiver, handle taxes and control scheduling. You can rest assured all the details are being managed. With an agency, you also have the ability to request different caregivers, if needed, or additional caregivers for around-the-clock care.

Since you won't be hiring the caregiver, you should inquire about the company's hiring process: What qualifications do applicants need to become a caregiver? Do caregivers have relevant work experience? Are they certified paraprofessionals or licensed professionals? Do they need to pass a background check or drug screening?

Are Your Caregivers Trained for Specific Conditions?

Does your loved one have a chronic or complex medical condition? When caregivers receive training on a clients' health conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia, it increases the quality of care your loved one receives.

Ideally, the agency will have a registered nurse, where allowed, who oversees the caregivers and develops a personalized care plan that details what services your loved one will receive and when, including any condition-specific care.

When Can I Call Your Office if I Have Concerns or Questions?

The correct answer is 24/7. There should always be someone ready to help you at any time. However, should you have a medical emergency, call 911, not the agency.

Researching a home care company is easier when you have the right tools. So, download or share our one-page "Home Care Checklist" to see what in-home care services could benefit your patients.

If you have additional questions, call 613-792-3663 or visit our Website.

Importance of Handwashing

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Handwashing is an essential practice for limiting the spread of disease and is even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is important for people of all ages and demographics to correctly wash their hands, it is even more crucial for vulnerable populations like seniors. According to Global News Ca, older Canadians are at higher risk for developing complications with COVID-19, which is why seniors and their caretakers must be even more vigilant about proper hand hygiene.

Correct Handwashing Technique

When done properly, handwashing is the most effective way to reduce the spread of communicable diseases and infections. Seniors and those who live with or take care of seniors must be extra mindful of the proper handwashing methods.

Some important tips the Infection, Prevention, and Control Canada suggest include:

  • Use soap and water when hands are visibly soiled. If hands do not have visible dirt, use an alcohol-based hand rub with more than 60% alcohol.
  • Remove any hand or arm jewellery prior to washing your hands.
  • Whether using soap and water or hand sanitizer, rub for at least 15 seconds for effective cleaning.
  • Thoroughly scrub all parts of your hands, including the backs of your hands, under your nails, and between all fingers.
  • Do not use a common towel to dry hands, as it may carry germs. Use disposable cleaning cloths.
  • Make sure to protect your hands from excessive drying. Skin is only a valuable line of defence when it is intact. Prevent chafing by making sure to wet your hands before using soap and use an alcohol-based rub when possible. Alcohol-based hand rubs actually contain emollients that reduce skin irritation.

When to Wash Hands

In addition to methodology, timing is also crucial for the effectiveness of handwashing. To reduce the spread of contaminants, you must wash your hands at some important times. According to IPAC Canada, you should wash your hands during the following instances:

  • After any personal functions like blowing your nose or using the toilet.
  • Whenever hands come in contact with bodily fluids.
  • Before handling, serving, or eating food or feeding another person.
  • Before and after invasive procedures.
  • After assisting another person with personal care.

Senior Handwashing

Every person must commit to proper handwashing in order to reduce the spread of any virus or illness, especially COVID-19. For vulnerable populations and their caretakers, handwashing is an even more important method of prevention. For helpful tools and resources on handwashing, visit IPAC Canada.

You never have to worry about correct handwashing with ComForCare. Our dedicated ComForCare team is educated and trained in the proper handwashing and hygiene techniques from IPAC Canada. Every member of our team takes the time to help teach families and older adults proper handwashing techniques. We have your senior’s best interests at heart and monitor them for correct handwashing while also reminding them not to touch their faces. For the best quality, in-home care, look no further than ComForCare. Contact us today to find your perfect caregiver HERE.

Keeping Older Adults Active During COVID-19

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COVID-19 is a serious threat to us all, but older Canadian adults are at a high risk of experiencing serious complications. While social distancing and vigilant hygiene are helpful in limiting the spread of the virus, taking care of your overall health is incredibly important. The Government of Canada states that looking after both mental and physical health should be a priority for older adults.

However, Statistics Canada found that only 1 in 5 older adults in Canada achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week! Understandably, it’s been even more difficult for older adults to exercise during the pandemic. Fortunately, with a bit of creativity, it’s more than possible to keep older adults active in this challenging time.

The Importance of Exercise for Older Adults

Being active has many benefits for older adults. In general, staying active helps seniors reduce falls and injuries, improve balance, stay independent and prevent disease. During the pandemic especially, staying active supports health and wellbeing. Additionally, it aids in keeping older adults occupied, engaged and positive during these difficult times in which they may not have as much social interaction.

Types of Activities for Older Adults

There are many different ways that older adults can stay active and improve their health. The Canadian Government recommends that seniors get 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week and that they spread out the activities into 10+ minute sessions. Some examples of different types and intensities of activities include:

  • Aerobic: Defined as a continuous activity.
    • Pushing a lawnmower
    • Biking
    • Brisk walking
    • Dancing
  • Moderate Aerobic Activity: Speeds up breathing and heart rate, but simultaneous talking is possible.
  • Vigorous Aerobic Activity: Increases your heart rate significantly. Talking while taking part in vigorous aerobics will be difficult without getting out of breath.
    • Jogging or running
    • Cross-country skiing
  • Strength Training: Prevents bone loss and improves balance and posture while keeping muscles and bones strong.
    • Lifting weights or using resistance bands
    • Yoga
    • Pilates
    • Climbing stairs
    • Curl-ups or push-ups
    • Helping Older Adults Get Active

Even while group activities are restricted and many seniors are unable to enjoy group workouts or classes, there are still several ways that older adults can stay active right now. There are many online resources detailing a wide variety of workouts that seniors can try, not to mention virtual exercise classes.

No matter where you or your loved one are in your health journey right now, ComForCare can help. We are committed to your health and safety, and we will do our part to help older adults stay active during COVID-19. To learn more about our personalized care plans for each and every senior, contact us HERE.

5 Reasons to Choose In-Home Care

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Whether you’re planning your own long-term care or helping care for a loved one, there are lots of options to consider

Here are five (of the many) reasons in-home care might be the best fit for your needs and preferences.

  1. There’s no place like home! Nine out of 10 older adults say they want to spend their retirement in their current home. In-home care providers like ComForCare can help with everyday tasks that allow people to live at home safely, such as personal hygiene assistance, grocery shopping and medication reminders.
  2. Home care can help reduce your chances of being rehospitalized. In Canada, one in 12 patients is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. Often, preventing a readmission can be as simple as having someone present during the transfer of care who can receive all of the information from the hospital, read and understand it, and convey that information to the rest of the family and care team. ComForCare Home Care provides transitions of care services.
  3. Fall risks increase with age. It’s estimated nearly a third of older Canadians fall each year with about half of those falls happening in the home. The good news is, most falls can be prevented. Many ComForCare locations offer no obligation fall risk assessments and caregivers are available to help with tasks that often lead to a fall, such as getting into and out of the shower. In addition, you can download our infographic Protect Yourself Against Falls to learn about self-care techniques that can help reduce one’s risk of falling.
  4. Loneliness is common among older adults. And, it can have negative health effects such as an increased risk for heart disease, dementia and depression. ComForCare caregivers can provide much-needed companionship by incorporating Meaningful Activities into one’s daily routine or provide transportation to social activities, visits with friends and family or services at a place of worship.
  5. Family members can’t always be there. Whether they live far away or are busy with their careers or children, relatives often can chip in, but can’t do all of the caregiving themselves. Plus, everyone needs a break sometimes. ComForCare can help aging adults and those with complex needs continue to live at home and do the things they love. We can also provide respite care to give family caregivers time to rest and recharge.

Safely Storing Medication Around Grandchildren

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For children, visiting their grandparents’ house can be a fun and exciting place to explore. Not only do they get a chance to see their family and have grandma’s famous stuffed cabbage, but they have a new environment to investigate. As children are notoriously curious and looking to learn about their new world, it is our job to make sure they do so safely. One of the biggest concerns is storing medication safely, as medications can be colourful and often look like candy in the eyes of a child.

If possible, the first thing to do is make sure all medications are stored in their original container with the child safety cap on and sealed tight. After all medications are sealed, it’s important to place them out of a child’s view and reach. As the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” Ideally, it is best to keep all medications locked up in either a cabinet or drawer with a child latch or lock. Additionally, you can use a medication safe that requires a key or combination for entry.

Being ready to address potential medication ingestion is also vital in making sure grandchildren are safe in the home. The Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres (CAPCC) states, “If you have a poisoning emergency, contact your provincial poison centre by telephone immediately. If the victim is unconscious, not breathing or having a seizure, call 911. This site does not provide emergency assistance to individuals seeking information on specific treatment for poisoning or other diseases. A list of all provincial poison centre phone numbers can be found on the CAPCC website.

Finally, it is important to teach children about the importance of not playing with medication containers or ingesting anything that isn’t given to them by an adult. Teaching children early on and knowing what to do can help you be prepared and hopefully prevent possible injuries.

Keeping the Home Safe and Sanitary During COVID-19

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When we take the proper precautions, we can limit the spread of the coronavirus. In addition to practicing social distancing and mask-wearing, we must also take extra care to clean and disinfect the home.

While keeping the home safe is essential for everyone, it is even more critical for older adults. Seniors are a high-risk group when it comes to developing serious COVID-19 complications, including death. Many older adults also have additional conditions, like diabetes, that also increase the likelihood of such complications.

By carefully and diligently sanitizing the home where an older adult lives, we can reduce the risk of COVID-19 and help keep our senior loved ones safe. Read on to learn more about keeping the home safe and sanitary for seniors in this challenging time.

Cleaning vs Disinfecting

Both cleaning and disinfecting are vital for keeping the home safe, but they are different processes. According to the Government of Canada, cleaning reduces germs on a surface, but it does not necessarily kill them. When it comes to COVID-19, cleaning methods involving damp cloths or mops are more effective than dry methods.

Alternately, disinfecting kills the coronavirus and is easy to do when you use disinfectants according to their directions. Health Canada has a comprehensive list of hard-surface disinfectants that show the most effective results when used against COVID-19. The most common ingredients used are Benzalkonium Chloride and Alkyl Dimethyl. You may also use a diluted mixture of bleach.

When and Where to Sanitize

For cleaning and disinfection to work, they must be done at the right times and in the right locations. You must make sure to wipe down high-touch surfaces that people come in contact with frequently. High-touch surfaces in your home include:

  • Toilets
  • Handles/doorknobs
  • Tables and counters
  • TV remotes and keyboards
  • Electronics
  • Laundry hampers
  • Light switches

Clean high-touch surfaces regularly. Additionally, it is ideal to disinfect before eating and to clean on a daily basis.

Tips for Cleaning

Keep cleaning hazard-free. Some of the top cleaning tips from Health Canada include:

  • Do not store diluted bleach; only make as much as you need at the moment. Pour the bleach into the water.
  • Keep bleach and household cleaners stored safely away from children.
  • Do not mix bleach with other chemicals.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation when cleaning.
  • Protect yourself with goggles and rubber gloves.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning with products.
  • Follow all directions on the labels for the products.

ComForCare Can Help

Keeping the home sanitary and safe is very important for seniors, but it’s not always easy to do. That’s where we come in. ComForCare offers personal care services, like light housekeeping. We can help clean and disinfect to ensure that your older loved one is in a clean and safe environment. Learn more about our personal care services or schedule your appointment HERE.

Staying Safe During Summer Vacation

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Summer is here once again, which means sunny days, hot weather, and of course, a well-deserved vacation. Unfortunately, this year we are faced with COVID-19, which will make each of us think about the way we travel. Below are a few ideas on how to stay safe this summer during your travels, as well as guidelines for airplane travel from the Government of Canada.

Anticipate Travel Needs

  • Bring enough of your medicine to last the entire trip.
  • Pack enough alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and keep it within easy reach.
  • Bring enough disinfecting wipes for everyone in the family to use during the trip.
  • Bring a cloth face covering to wear in public places.
  • Prepare food and water for your trip. Pack non-perishable food in case restaurants and stores are closed.

While Traveling

  • Wear a cloth face-covering in public.
  • While in an airport or on an airplane, try to keep your face covering on at all times.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that has 60% alcohol prior to taking off your face covering or mask.
  • Avoid close contact with others by keeping 2 meters of physical distance from others whenever possible.
  • If you’re on the beach, follow current beach capacity guidelines and set up your towel and umbrella away from others.
  • Additionally, if you’re going in the water, maintain social distancing efforts
  • If you’re pumping gas, try to wear gloves when touching the pump and the gas nozzle.
  • If you have no gloves available, you can either wipe down the equipment with a disinfecting wipe or use hand sanitizer after handling.
  • Pick up food at drive-throughs, curbside restaurant service, or stores and eat meals in a public place away from others or in your hotel room.

Flying Requirements

All passengers flying in Canada will be subject to a health check prior to boarding. You will not be permitted to board if you:

  • Show any symptoms of COVID-19
  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be allowed to board any flight until 14 days have passed or you present a medical certificate confirming that your symptoms are not related to COVID-19.
  • Have been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19
  • Are subject to a provincial or local public health order

Wherever you’re going this summer, make sure to have fun and stay safe!

Benefits of the Arts

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Ideas of How to Incorporate the Arts Into the Lives of Older Adults

By Steve Toll, care enhancement specialist

It has amazed me over the years of working with older adults how much artistic talent humans possess and how much joy is derived from the arts. The arts can focus our attention on connecting with others and these connections can create well-being throughout of lives. In addition, there is growing research that engaging with the arts can improve health – both mental and physical.
There are numerous ways of incorporating the arts into everyday life, whether it be creating art or observing artistic creations. Here are some ideas you may be able to find in your community.

  • Dance. Research has shown that all types of dance “can significantly improve muscular strength and endurance, balance, and other aspects of functional fitness in older adults.” Most communities have businesses that offer dance classes for older adults. These classes are designed to address different levels of function and most can be adapted for any physical challenges.
  • Music. One of the greatest activities that provide an opportunity to socialize and have some fun is group singing and the research proves the benefits. Many communities have community choirs that do not require auditions - all are welcome. Singing together also provides opportunities for older people living with dementia and young people to come together and share a fun musical time. Playing music and listening to music also have proven benefits. If someone plays an instrument - keep playing. If someone loves to listen, learn about their favorite music and listen together.
  • Art. Another great example of how art can be infused into daily life are art museums. Visiting museums is social and engaging and has been proven to be a meaningful activity for people living with dementia. And, of course, making art is fun and rewarding, keeps our creative juices flowing and has major health benefits.

Remember, enjoying and participating in the arts is possible for everyone and discovering the talents and preferences that lie within creates an opportunity to develop relationships as well as support a person’s favorite artistic activities.

Helping a Person With Dementia Live at Home Longer

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By Steve Toll, care enhancement specialist According to CARP, most Canadian seniors want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Under the right conditions, people living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia can stay at home until the end of life, enjoying the peace and comfort of familiar surroundings.

We teach families across the country about dementia care best practices through our DementiaWise® program. One common question we receive is, “How can I tell when it’s time to send my parent/spouse/sibling to live in a memory care unit?”

Our answer often surprises them: Their loved ones don’t necessarily ever have to move away. Here is some information you can share with families when they are considering whether a person with dementia can continue to live at home.

  1. Your loved one can live at home as long they can be kept safe. Safety awareness becomes compromised over the course of several types of dementia. Therefore, the environment has to be modified to compensate for this lack of safety awareness. Even with 24/7 supervision, this is important – every caregiver needs to step away to go to the bathroom or answer the doorbell. Removing potential hazards throughout the house allows the person living with dementia to be more independent indoors. If they want to go outside alone, wandering prevention approaches, such as a fenced yard or alert devices, should be in place. The goal is to help the person living with dementia to feel safe and for families to know that their loved one is secure.
  2. Your loved one can live at home if the necessary care and supervision can be provided. This includes using dementia care best practices at all times. If you hire additional help, you will want to schedule sufficient hours so the caregiver can develop and maintain a good relationship with your loved one. This positive relationship combined with proper dementia care approaches allows care tasks to be done with less resistance and more enjoyment.
  3. Your loved one can live at home as long as possible, including through the end of life. Unless there is a high level of skilled nursing care needed – daily tasks the family cannot handle – the person living with dementia can age in place at home. Palliative and hospice care services may increase both lifespan and quality of life. Excellent daily care should include opportunities for socializing and meaningful activities as well as awareness of the changing needs of the person, especially at the end of life. Most meaningful activities can be modified to address the person’s level of function throughout the progression of the condition.
  4. Move them only when a memory unit or skilled nursing facility is a better environment than home. There are circumstances where a move can be best. This might include a situation where there are advanced medical needs or a home that cannot be made safe.

If you know someone who could benefit from in-home dementia care support, contact ComForCare Home Care (613)-792-3663. Through our DementiaWise program, we have caregivers who are specially trained to engage and enhance the lives of those with dementia, while providing support and education for the family.
Services are available for a few hours a day up to 24 hours a day, including holidays.

Summer Safety Tips When Working With Clients

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Summer can be a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your clients and get some fresh air, especially when many are staying home. It is a great time to get active, but it is also important to use caution with your clients. Here are some easy tips to keep you and your clients safe during the warmer summer months:

  • Avoid being in direct contact with the sun during peak hours
  • Wear a large-brimmed hat and sunscreen to prevent sunburn and other skin damage
  • Wear sunglasses to prevent eye damage
  • Dress in layers so you can remove clothing and not become overheated
  • Take water with you if you plan to be outside for an extended period of time to stay hydrated
  • Take breaks and stay cool. If you or your client start to feel overheated go inside to cool down and recharge. Seniors and children are more susceptible to heatstroke, so be mindful and keep an eye on them.
  • Wear bug repellent to prevent uncomfortable bug bites

During this time, besides our regular summer tips, we also have to be mindful of the “new normal” we are navigating during this COVID-19 global pandemic. At this time, and likely through the summer months, we will still need to practice social distancing measures. This includes:

  • Keeping a 6 feet distance between you and others (this does not include your client)
  • Wearing a mask when needed
  • Using good handwashing measures and using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available
  • Avoiding touching common areas in public, or sanitizing before touching (such as grocery cart handles)
  • Being mindful of any state or city ordinances that may change during this pandemic, such as closed parks or trails

When spending time in the client’s home during the summer months, here are some activity recommendations to keep them engaged and active.

  • Sitting outside and enjoying a glass of ice-cold naturally flavoured water or lemonade
  • Gardening (modifying this activity to meet the client’s ability)
  • Birdwatching
  • Having a picnic
  • Going for a walk (this can include being pushed in a wheelchair)
  • Going to a farmers market
  • Enjoying a cool treat, such as ice cream and popsicles

Loneliness and Aging: An Epidemic

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It is estimated that up to 16% of older adults experience social isolation. According to Statistics Canada, 17.3% reported feeling excluded often or some of the time. What are the factors that contribute to social isolation? Below is a list from the National Seniors Council.

  1. Age and gender: being 80+; being female (since women live longer on average)
  2. Ethnicity: being an immigrant (specifically, having a different cultural and linguistic background from the general Canadian population or community in which you live); being from an official language minority community
  3. Geography: living in a rural or remote area where service provision and distance between individuals and families is less proximate
  4. Health and disability: having health issues (mental and/or physical)
  5. Knowledge and awareness: challenges relating to technology (costs, literacy, comfort)
  6. Life transitions: loss of a spouse; loss of sense of community; lack of family and friend supports; loss or restriction of drivers’ license; entry into care; living in a nursing home
  7. Poverty and lack of access to resources: lack of affordable housing and care options; living with low income; lacking access to transportation; financial dependence; living in a deprived neighbourhood
  8. Sexual and gender identity: being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered (LGBT+); fear of coming out in older age.
  9. Social relationships: low quality of relationships; having no children or contact with family; living alone; not being married or common-lawed; loss of friends and social network; experiencing ageism

Recently, loneliness and social isolation have been recognised as risk factors for poor health and reduced wellbeing. In a study by the Institute of Health Service Research, Peninsula College of Medicine & Dentistry and the University of Exeter, researchers found that older adults who were socially isolated were less healthy than people their age who were not socially isolated. Another study found loneliness and isolation to be associated with poorer cognitive function among older adults.

The presence of COVID-19 has complicated matters. As we continue to physically distance ourselves from others to prevent the spread of the virus, more vulnerable populations such as older adults are greatly impacted. Keep in mind that social distancing does not mean breaking all social ties. Here are a few ideas that could help you stay connected:

  1. Two-metre social hour: Set a date, and meet two metres away on your older loved one’s lawn, sidewalk or driveway. You could each bring a special drink, like lemonade, to sip while you chat. You could even bring a speaker, and play some of their favourite songs from YouTube, Spotify, Pandora or another streaming platform.
  2. Book club: Choose a book you’d both like to read or an audiobook to listen to. Set aside some time to talk about your favourite parts over the phone, through video chat, via text or even through handwritten letters.
  3. Gift garden: Surprise your older loved one with a garden full of new blooming flowers, a few potted plants or a little herb garden. Giving them something small to care for may lift their spirits.

Our older loved ones need our support now more than ever. If you know of someone who could use companionship services, please share our telephone number (613)-792-3663 so that we can help them live the best life possible.

Staying active in the early stage of Alzheimer's disease

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People with dementia retain memory for some activities, such as reading, painting, typing or playing the piano, depending on which part of the brain has been damaged.

People in the early stages of dementia will likely continue to enjoy activities they have enjoyed before diagnosis. If you are close to someone in the early stage, be aware of the danger of taking over jobs and tasks too quickly in an attempt to minimize your own stress. For example, if she washes the dishes, accept that it might not get done to the standard that you would normally like. Recognize that she will feel she has made a useful contribution, and that’s what is important.

Other tips

  • Encourage the person to enjoy activities on his own.
  • Provide encouragement and reminders.
  • Put any equipment in a place where the prson can see it and reach it easily. If you leave a potato out with a potato peeler, the person might try using it.
  • When you suggest what todo, use short sentences.
  • Set aside time in the day when you are going to focuson doing something enjoyable for both of you, away from the normal routines of the day.

Involving others

Consider inviting other people (including paid workers, family members or volunteers) to spend time with the person to do something they both enjoy, such as going for a walk or playing a game of cards. If you are the sole caregiver, you might find it hard to hand things over and trust others, but they may bring a fresh approach that the person may enjoy in new ways. When you are a full-time caregiver, it can be hard to have the energy to alway

Tips for an Effective Telemedicine Appointment for Older Adults

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More and more states are beginning to open after relaxing rules and regulations regarding which businesses can open and how many people can gather at one time. For many states, this may include doctor offices. However, doctor offices may still offer telemedicine appointments. These can be beneficial to family caregivers because:

  • It limits older adults' exposure to viruses, such as COVID.
  • It’s easier to set up. For example, family caregivers don’t have to worry about transferring their loved one from the car to a wheelchair or calling for transportation. 
  • There’s no need to wait in uncomfortable waiting rooms. Family caregivers just click the link sent to your email when it’s time for your appointment.

But, with anything new, it can be overwhelming. Here are some tips for family caregivers you can share to make an older loved one’s telemedicine appointment effective, whether using a computer, tablet or smartphone:

  • Make sure you are connected to the Internet, whether that’s through a cable line or through Wi-Fi. Test your connection before the appointment by surfing the Internet.
  • Make sure the room your appointment in is quiet and well lit so the doctor can hear and see you well.
  • Have a detailed list of symptoms and a short list of questions for the doctor. If necessary, take high-quality pictures or video to share.
  • Have a list of medications, vitamins and supplements with the dosages and milligrams. 
  • Take their vital signs, if possible. Take your loved one’s temperature and note their weight. If they have a glucometer or blood pressure cuff and you know how to use it, be sure to check those levels too. To take their pulse:
    • At the wrist, lightly press the index and middle fingers of one hand on their wrist, just below the base of the thumb.
    • At the neck, lightly press the side of the neck, just below the jawbone.
      • Count the number of beats in 15 seconds, and multiply by four to get the heart rate.
  • At the end of the appointment, ask for a summary. Make sure your questions were answered and don’t leave confused. 

ComForCare Home Care caregivers can provide transportation and escort older adults to their appointment if their family cannot. Contact us

Whether your loved one needs assistance only a few hours a week or around-the-clock, our team is happy to help! Call (613) 792-3663 to learn more about the transition care services offered through ComForCare Home Care (Ottawa-Champlain, Ontario).

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