Combating the over-medication of seniors

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to the effects of too many prescriptions

Combating the over-medication of seniorsWorking aggressively to reduce their daily medication burden may be the single best thing we can do to improve the quality of life of our aging parents and grandparents. The issue of too much medication in Canadian seniors is finally starting to be recognized as the serious problem it has become. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to…

Put end-of-life wishes at the top of your to-do list

People who have conversations about their end-of-life preferences are much more likely to be satisfied with the care received

The new year is a good time to put making end-of-life wishes at the top of your to-do list. It's a perfect time to tell family and friends your health-care preferences in case one day you're unable to speak for yourself. This advance care planning is good for your peace of mind and for your loved ones,…

Early dementia diagnosis helps patients live fuller lives

There comes a moment when the doubt disappears and the panic sets in

Early dementia diagnosis helps patients live fuller livesThere comes a moment when the doubt disappears and the panic sets in. For one retired executive, that moment came in January 2015 while he was driving his car to pick up a book at the library near his home in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey, B.C. As he was heading to his destination, he…

Three ways you can help families affected by autism

Small gestures can make all the difference to someone’s day

Three ways you can help families affected by autismAbout one in 68 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (one in 42 boys). ASD often includes those with a wide range of challenges and abilities, including linguistic, social and sensory impairment, along with fine motor and gross…

Navigating health and social system a challenge to caregivers

The time it takes caregivers to navigate medical and social care systems may surprise many health policy analysts, but not caregivers

Navigating health and social system a challenge to caregiversBy Amélie Quesnel-Vallée McGill University and Miles Taylor Florida State University The Canadian population is aging. For the first time, Canadians 65 years and over outnumber those 14 years and under. To face this major demographic change head on, we need to adapt. In particular, to meet the preferences of the great majority of Canadians who want…

A common-sense approach to eldercare

Acute Care for Elders (ACE) is designed to treat elderly patients in a way that respects their abilities and limitations, speeds healing and promotes safe discharges home

A common-sense approach to eldercareDr. Samir Sinha is Canada’s guru on aging. We should listen carefully to his ideas because 42 per cent of all hospital patients in our country are over 65 and they account for 60 per cent of all hospital days. Senior patients consume 60 per cent of acute-care budgets and almost half of all health-care…

Caregivers don’t need a pat on the back; they need more support

Governments must begin to accept their responsibility to improve caregivers access to support services and patient care resources

Caregivers don’t need a pat on the back; they need more supportAre you aware of the significant contributions that family caregivers make to society? In 2012, eight million Canadians – 25 per cent of the population! – provided care and 2.2 million Canadians received that care in their homes – most often from family. In 2009, the estimated value of family care was more than $25…

Siblings who become caretakers often lack adequate support

Individuals with developmental disabilities live longer than ever and that means the responsibility for care is shifting to siblings

Siblings who become caretakers often lack adequate supportA combination of better medical care and good lives in the community mean longer life expectancies for individuals with a developmental disability. That’s good news. But many are outliving their parents, who have taken care of them over their lifetimes. Once parents are no longer able to provide the same level of support or care,…

Families are key members of patients’ hospital care teams

Wards are staffed based on caring for a sick but otherwise self-sufficient patient population. The reality is patients need family caregivers in the hospital

Families are key members of patients’ hospital care teamsFamily care is a key part of hospital care, so let's start talking about it that way. When a loved one is admitted to hospital, family caregivers want to offer comfort and support at the bedside. But in order to perform their healing role, they need to be recognized as key members of the hospital…

Canada a warmth of caring in the frozen north

Canadians tend to see caring as just the stuff of everyday life – ordinary people doing what comes naturally

Canada a warmth of caring in the frozen northThere’s much to celebrate in Canada. Our country’s natural beauty and abundant resources give us many reasons for gratitude and celebration. But there’s an invisible resource that underpins our collective prosperity that deserves special mention: the caring people of Canada. Every day, their natural caring actions touch almost every one of us. According to the…

Why Canada needs a plan to address dementia and Alzheimer’s

There is no magic bullet, but a national action plan can improve care and quality of life

Why Canada needs a plan to address dementia and Alzheimer’sBy Howard Feldman University of British Columbia and Carole Estabrooks University of Alberta Canada needs a national action plan to address dementia and Alzheimer’s. One of the biggest threats to quality of life and health in aging is the loss of cognitive abilities and autonomy associated with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Today, 750,000 Canadians live with dementia and…

Coping with the family burdens related to caregiving

Our Family Ties column examines the issues of caregiving in Canadian society, and what we can do to alleviate some of the burden

Coping with the family burdens related to caregivingAn aging Canadian population and smaller families, combined with reduced health and social care budgets, mean the challenges of providing care to seniors will only worsen. Legions of families are buckling under the emotional, physical and fiscal burdens of caregiving. These pressures will be exacerbated by growing numbers of people living with demanding health challenges such…

Small acts of kindness turn the myth of self-care into reality

Building self-care into natural caregiving requires a mind shift. Natural caring relationships are reciprocal. Our job is both to give and to receive care

Small acts of kindness turn the myth of self-care into realityThe refrain of “care for the caregiver” rings loud and hollow for many natural caregivers. A Google search turns up hundreds if not thousands of links to finger-wagging articles full of instructions to “take a bath” or “just take a break.” Natural carers are told that once they have taken care of their loved ones’…

Caregivers play a central role in their loved one’s health

Family caregivers and professional providers must work together to achieve well-being for people with chronic and complex diseases

Caregivers play a central role in their loved one’s healthAchieving health and well-being is never a solo act. Throughout our lifetime, the people who are closest to us – our family and friends – are the greatest influence on our health. As we are on theirs. This is interdependence. Far too often when the professional care system is involved, recognition of interdependence falls by the wayside.…

A caregiver’s perspective: Do you see what I see?

No professional care provider can see what we see – what was, what is and what can be for our family members and friends

A caregiver’s perspective: Do you see what I see?The term visionary is rarely used to describe natural caregivers. Yet vision is indispensable when we take care. No professional care provider, no matter how trained or prepared, can see what we see – what was, what is and what can be for our family members and friends. Visionaries make the truth visible. Caregiving requires…