How to Plan for Senior Living

It is so important to start planning for retirement and living as a senior from an early age.  Oftentimes, government pension plans and assistance don’t cover the costs of the average senior and so they must rely on their personal savings, their families, or go back to working after being retired a few years.  Most seniors don’t want to feel dependent on their loved ones and they also don’t want to have to enter back into the workforce after having been retired, so it is important to plan ahead and have access to other savings put aside earlier in life to take care of yourself in your senior years.

As a society, we are living a lot longer than we once did which is a great thing because it means that we now have more life to live.  With modern science and healthcare, today’s seniors have a longer life expectancy than seniors even twenty years ago.  Unfortunately, many of today’s seniors didn’t expect to live as long as they are and are finding it financially a burden to try and live their daily lives. Seniors today are outliving their resources and it’s a challenge in our society that going forward needs to be addressed.

Mental and Physical Health

Although in Canada we have a great universal healthcare system, not every cost is covered. When planning for senior living, you must factor in the possibility of needing different medications, or other tools for everyday living.  These can include wheelchairs, hearing aids, walkers, etc. that all need upkeep.  Often in the past seniors have either underestimated their life spans or the resources that they have needed which then extends the burden of care to family members.

Where Will You Live?

One of the biggest costs and considerations when planning senior living is where you will live. A lot of seniors prefer to live in their homes, while some move into assisted care facilities.  In either situation, it is important to plan ahead and budget for the costs of these options.  Living at home has the same costs you’ve always had.  General upkeep of the house, property taxes, but the added cost of home care should be considered.  For many seniors, home care becomes necessary when they can either no longer drive themselves to appointments, or movement becomes more difficult throughout the house creating challenges with cooking and cleaning of the house.

For seniors that choose to live in assisted care facilities or senior homes, it can be a little easier to predict the costs of living.  At these facilities, seniors pay a set amount per month and have a combination of their accommodations, food and care included in the cost.  These facilities often include other amenities as well that can make senior living fun!

Although planning for senior living and ensuring you have a safety net of money set aside for your senior years is important, it is also important not to stress too much about money because the stress can cause other health issues.  Most seniors have great support systems in their families and including them in decisions can also be a big help. This way your family will know your wishes and be able to help you achieve them in your later years.

Seniors – Eating Safer and Smarter

Our bodies, metabolisms and taste buds are constantly changing and for seniors, nutritional needs and patterns are extremely important to watch and ensure that a healthy diet is being followed. Although a healthy diet is important for everyone despite age, seniors are more likely to have health problems, dietary restrictions based on a doctor’s recommendation, and changes in appetite.

Eating Patterns

Eating patterns and food preferences can change for seniors for several reasons. For some seniors, symptoms of depression can also coincide with changes in appetite. Depression is a common issue for seniors because sometimes seniors feel inadequate when they feel they need others to take care of them. If a person feels that they are unable to do things on their own, it can lead to a feeling of being useless. This is why depression can be so common with seniors. Depression is a known contributor to eating poorly, so its important to look out for signs and symptoms. Isolation can also be a contributor to poor dietary habits. Food and eating is often used as a tool for social interaction. For seniors who are feeling lonely or isolated, it can be hard to have a proper diet. Sometimes it can be easier to eat snacks or easy to make foods than to cook a properly balanced meal. This disinterest in cooking can also be a huge factor in an improper diet.

Medical Conditions/Medications

A lot of seniors have medical conditions and medications they need in order to keep these conditions under control. Common conditions can include high blood pressure, low circulation and high cholesterol. Many seniors are able to use their diets to improve these conditions or are required to have a specific diet based on the medications they are taking. It is important to know which nutritional requirements your medical condition or medication needs. Some medications, for instance, must be taken with food and others cannot be taken with food. Being aware of the requirements your medications/conditions can completely change the way you need to eat. Checking with your doctor or pharmacist or working with a nutritionist can be helpful to get to know what types of food you should be eating.

The Body

Eating smart and healthy options becomes extremely important in your senior years because the body starts changing and proper nutrition can prevent or help to slow down future health issues. After living for so many years, the immune system becomes less reliable and so proper nutrition to prevent sickness and keep your body strong is invaluable.

Your doctor will ultimately know what is best for you and your health.   It is important to listen to and implement any advice they may have. Food restrictions or foods that will largely positively effect your health are important for you and for anyone else who is preparing your meals. Although it is important for everyone to have good nutrition and make healthy nutrition choices, it can be even more integral for seniors so they are able to avoid other medical conditions and keep healthy.

The Importance of Senior Socialization

Senior isolation is a common problem for many because unfortunately, many seniors live alone. For many isolated seniors, socialization can be extremely daunting, but social relationships can have a positive impact of health during aging. Having a good attitude and lifestyle can make a world of difference throughout the aging process and being social will generally only make seniors feel happier and healthier.

Seniors Living at Home

For seniors living at home, socialization can be a daunting task. Those receiving care at home are in contact with others, but with time constraints on caregivers, these seniors may not be getting to spend as much time with their caregivers as they wish to. This means that these seniors will have to find other means of socialization. Socialization doesn’t have to be a planned activity with a large group of people. It can be as simple as meeting a friend for lunch or spending some quality time with your family members.

Another option for seniors living on their own is to join a club or class where they can not only interact with others, but possibly meet new friends to spend time with. There are many clubs and fitness classes targeted at seniors and these can be a great option to learn a new skill, get fit and meet new people. All these things have great health benefits for seniors who otherwise may have stayed at home on their own.

Volunteering your time to causes can also be a great way to not only socialize with others, but can also be a very healing experience. Looking into local causes and events that need volunteers can be a great way for seniors to interact with others, but also can be a rewarding experience to know that you have helped others.

Seniors in Assisted Living Facilities

Senior homes have a lot of programming availability for their residents, so it is generally easier to get out and meet other people in your community. Socializing can still sometimes be a challenge, but with your caregivers available to you and other seniors also living in the same vicinity as you, joining in activities will be a great way to ensure that you are engaging with others. Physical activities, like fitness classes are especially important because they can have other health benefits as well. Craft and hobby classes as well as excursions can also be great ways to meet other people, learn new skills and gain new experiences. All of this will be beneficial to your health.

Seniors who are out and socializing are happier and healthier because of their lifestyle. The importance of socialization is important to those of all ages, but because a lot of seniors live alone, it is very easy to become isolated. It is important for seniors, and their family members, to ensure that they are making the effort to spend time with others doing activities or even just spending time in the company of others. This time spent with others will ensure everyone’s happiness and health.

Talking to Your Parents About End-of-Life Issues

It is never easy to talk about death, or the challenges that come with end-of-life issues for family members. Although it can be hard to have these discussions, it is important to have them before the inevitable occurs. Death and end-of-life issues can be an easy topic for some families, but for most it can become an ominous and avoided conversation. Having these conversations, will, in the long term, actually benefit families who will either then know or be able to fulfil the wishes of aging parents and can help to prevent fights between siblings and other family members later.

Siblings

All siblings, along with their parents, should be a part of end of life issue discussions. In order to keep all children in the loop and also to ensure that the wishes of parents are honoured, the entire family should be aware of any end of life discussions or decisions made. One way to do this is to approach your siblings and have an open conversation about any information you have discussed with your parents. This way, you may find out some information that will give you peace of mind. If together, you realize that no one has any information, this discussion can be a good way to come up with a plan on how best to approach the topic with your parents.

A Will

Although some people make sure they have a will from a young age, it is important to ensure that your parents have spoken to a lawyer and created a legally binding will. Wills help to guarantee that a deceased person’s wishes are being honoured. There are non-threatening and non-invasive ways to bring this issue up. For instance, instead of asking your parents if they have a will outright, you can soften the question. Suggesting that you want to ensure that you are honouring their wishes if something were to happen to them is an effective way to suggest that writing up a will is a good idea. Verbal testaments don’t hold up in court and in order for your parents to have their wishes completely honoured is to have a written and verified will.

Power of Attorney

In many cases, appointing a power of attorney can save families a lot of strife. The power of attorney is a legal document that gives the authority to one person to act for another person in legal, business or financial matters. In some cases, it can come down to the power of attorney to make tough decisions about course of action regarding furthering or cutting off certain health treatments, but it can also be the person in charge of any other financial or legal matters. Again, instead of asking outright if your parent has a power of attorney, why not suggest that in an emergency you want someone designated to make tough decisions for you and it might be good for them to do the same. Without a power of attorney, any important life decisions will be made by a judge and may not best represent the wishes of the person unable to make the decision. It is important; however, to have discussions with your appointed power of attorney to ensure they know what you would want decided upon in any given emergency situation.

Ensuring Adequate Staffing During Summer Holidays in Senior Homes

Summer time is one of the most popular times of the year for vacations. Whether people are going out of the country, to a cottage or even just taking an extra long weekend at home, for most professions, summer is the time they find they have the least amount of staff. For some companies, its okay if a lot of people have staggered vacations and for some it is necessary to hire seasonal staff, but senior homes do have staffing requirements because the elderly they are charged with need help and support. It is important for senior homes to be adequately staffed for the entire summer because if they are not, the present workers will be overworked and will not have the opportunity to make sure that every senior is getting the full amount of support required.

Cover Vacation Time Early

Since it is common knowledge that many fulltime staff members take vacation time during the summer holidays, it is important for companies to anticipate for staff shortages. If notice is required for staff vacations, senior homes will have the time to look into alternative staffing to ensure that all residents have the full care that they require. Workers should schedule time off early to give administration the time to make sure all hours can be covered.

Hire Contract Workers

It is anticipated in most professions that during the summer holidays, regular fulltime staff is depleted. For senior homes, it is extremely important that a full staff is present because each staff member is required to do a certain amount of tasks per day which ensures that safety and care of a home’s residence. Hiring seasonal employees, instead of daily contract workers can help a senior home to function at its regular level by not disrupting the peace. Since care workers are so highly involved in the lives of the seniors living in their care, it is important that they have a connection with one another. These connections make for a better environment and allow workers and their patients to feel comfortable and happy.

Use BookJane Services

BookJane is a great source for care centres to book qualified support workers in advance or on short notice. If it looks like your senior home won’t have enough staff for any given period of time, by finding a local BookJane worker, your company can avoid a lot of stress and feel confident knowing that they are hiring a competent and skillful worker. BookJane employees have already been vetted and companies can feel safe and assured that they are hiring the best of the best. When covering staff shortages, BookJane is an especially great resource because of all the work of ensuring competency and talent. The BookJane app is user-friendly and very simple to use. With the click of a few buttons, senior homes will have access to great care workers that they care hire on demand. BookJane employees come with a full background check and are professional and reliable. Seniors homes in need can rest assured that their residents are in good hands.

Fidget Spinners – Helpful or Harmful?

Fidget spinners are the newest trend for kids everywhere. These little triangular toys are extremely inexpensive and fit in a child’s hand and spin around. You can even learn how to perform tricks with fidget spinners with video streaming services inundated with how-to tutorials. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a kid who doesn’t have, use or want a fidget spinner and because they are relatively cheap, it seems like an easy toy for parents to gift to their children that will keep some of their time preoccupied.

Although, fidget spinners are considered toys, their original use was seemingly more noble. Fidget spinners were originally marketed towards children with ADHD, anxiety, or being on the autism spectrum.

Helpful

Fidget spinners are being marketed at those with challenges concentrating in class. The idea is, if a child with problems concentrating has an outlet, they won’t be as distracted and “fidget” in class. Fidget spinners are small, handheld and because of this are said to be a good tool in schools for children that have challenges concentrating. Instead of moving around in their seats, looking out the window and having a hard time paying attention to their teachers, children can focus their extra energy into this small toy.

One of the biggest pros of fidget spinners is that they have become mainstream. A lot of students who used to feel like tools like this marked their differences and made them stand out as needing extra help in class, now feel as if this standout tool has been normalized. Learning challenges can be stress enough for a lot of children who don’t want to stand out or be different from their peers. Fidget spinners are regular and common and not only do kids with learning challenges have them, but their friends do as well.

Harmful

There has been a huge outbreak lately with classrooms and schools banning fidget spinners and for good reason. This toy which was originally intended as tool for children with specific concentration challenges ahs become “on trend” and now instead of a few kids in class using these toys, it’s most kids. For children who do not have challenges focusing, the fidget spinner has become an extremely large distraction. Teachers are finding that they don’t have the full attention of their students anymore and that fidget spinners have become less of a tool and more of a toy.

Fidget spinners have evolved from just a triangular device on a ball-mechanic system that you spin in your hand to help avoid fidgeting throughout your whole body. With the multitude of available YouTube tutorials teaching children how to do tricks, its no wonder the tool has become more of a toy. Children are using these spinners in class and they have become a massive distraction.

Other Options

Tactile discs, putties, clays, stress balls, or even fidget cubes are all great options as replacements for fidget spinners. These options can all be used as tools for students that need help focusing on class and their teachers and are often used for children with sensory challenges.

 

 

Challenges of Childcare Centers

It’s becoming more rare to find a family that has a “stay at home parent”. Childcare in some way, shape or form has become a large burden on most families as they are outsourcing the job just to make ends meet. There is a vicious cycle of families needing to work to be able to afford life’s expenses and extras like childcare, just to be able to afford things like childcare. Childcare centers are becoming more expensive and it seems, also problematic for a lot of families in the way they are raising their children.

Affordability

Most families aren’t able to afford a single-parent income with all of life’s expenses like food, rent or mortgage payments, transportation, or any other fixed or extra costs. For most families, it makes more sense to have two incomes and hire a childcare service for their children because of all of the other expenses they incur. Most families cannot afford all of their expenses on one income alone and so one parent is unable to stay at home to take care of their children. In Ontario, full day, play-based kindergarten was implemented to try to help offset the costs and stress of childcare for children, but before and after school care can still be extremely expensive.

Different Children Have Different Needs

It’s commonly known that children do not learn or grow at the same pace and that they don’t all have the same preferences or needs. For childcare centers, it’s impossible to program a full day or half day that will meet the needs of each child. Common issues that will arise for children in childcare centers is the food that is offered. Although, healthy meals and snacks are mandated, that does not mean your child will want to eat it, which can be difficult. Naptimes can also cause friction. Some children may not be tired, or they take a nap and then have trouble sleeping later at night. Since every child is different and has varying needs, childcare centers can only really base their programming on the needs of the average child and try to alter and adjust it for children that are exceptions to the general rule.

Homecare

Home care can be a great option for a lot of families. Oftentimes homecare is charged by the hour rather than a fixed price per child, per day. This is also a great option for parents who work part-time. Home care is a great option for children because they don’t have to be uprooted to a new location and instead their caregiver will come to them in a place they are familiar with. Parents will find that instead of having to arrange drop off and pick up times, having a caregiver come to them will help with their overall flexibility. Childcare centers usually have set hours that parents must work around, but by hiring a homecare worker, you get to choose the times that work best for you.

BookJane can help you with all of your childcare homecare needs. We have many highly skilled and qualified caregivers who are just a click away on our app. Each caregiver has undergone thorough background checks and comes with great references and recommendations. You can hire a BookJane caregiver ahead of time, or if something comes up last minute.

Great Children’s Books to Teach and Help Develop Empathy and Acceptance

One of the most important things a child can learn is to empathize and to be accepting of others. Children often see things through a selfish lens because they haven’t yet learned the importance of different perspectives. Its vital for children to learn from an early age that despite our differences, living creatures all have emotions and can feel hurt by the actions of others. When children are exposed to the idea of acceptance and are taught to empathize with the struggles of others, they become more well-rounded adults who can co-exist more peacefully. Here are some books that explore themes of acceptance and empathy that you can read to or with your child to help them to learn a valuable lesson through story as opposed to a lecture.

Picture Books

One by Kathryn Otoshi

One is a story about colours and their differences and the number that comes along to teach them how to come together and count. This story teaches young readers about numbers and counting as well as primary and secondary colours, all the while also how to learn to accept each other’s differences.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

This story is about a blue crayon that has been mistakenly labelled red. The blue crayon has an identity crisis when everything he tries to colour doesn’t look the way it should. Red, the blue crayon, must come to terms with his inner self despite what his outsides say. This story will teach children that labels aren’t important and that people aren’t always what they seem on the outside.

The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss

The Sneetches is a classic story by Dr. Seuss about two distinct kinds of Sneetches. The plain-bellied Sneetches and the star-bellied Sneetches and how this physical difference keeps them separated. This story discusses segregation and discrimination in a simple way that really gets the point across and will help children to realize that even if they don’t look like someone else, it doesn’t mean they can’t be friends. We can’t judge others based on physical differences.

Chapter Books

El Deafo by Cece Bell

This is a graphic novel/memoir detailing author Cece Bell’s younger years with severe hearing loss and the Phonic Ear that sets her apart from her classmates. At first, the hearing aid, which is bulky and awkward, prevents Cece from making new friends, but in this funny and truly beautiful graphic novel, Cece is able to learn to control the Phonic Ear and become her own superhero. This is a heartwarming tale that shows its readers that being different isn’t a bad thing.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B White

Charlotte’s Web is a classic and well-beloved tale about a girl named Fern and the love she shares for a pig named Wilbur. This is a must read for all children because of Fern’s true compassion towards animals. Fern looks after Wilbur because he is the runt of his litter and saves him from an awful fate. This is a novel of friendship of a different kind that will teach children the intelligence of animals and that having compassion for all living beings is important.

Wonder by R.J Palacio

This is a book about a young boy with a facial difference that has prevented him from attending regular school. Starting in the 5th grade at a mainstream school, the protagonist, Auggie Pullman, just wants to be treated like a normal kid. Unfortunately, it seems that his classmates have a hard time looking past his facial difference to meet the real Auggie. This is a great book for middle grade kids that tackles feeling different, standing up to your bullies and the struggle of trying to find acceptance.

Each of these stories offer a unique perspective on the differences of those around us that will help your children to learn to find acceptance and be able to empathize with their peers. The younger children are able to learn these lessons, the more tolerant they will be as adults.

The Top Concerns for Seniors Today and How You Can Help

As a group, seniors are facing everyday challenges that are causing stress, feelings of incompetence or failure and instead of being able to solve these issues, it seems only more are added.   It is important that we understand and empathize with these challenges so we are able to provide solace and assistance to our elderly loved ones. Here are some of the main concerns facing seniors today:

Loneliness

A common social concern for seniors is that as they grow older, feelings of loneliness creep in. As we get older, our friends and partners also grow older. A lot of seniors lose these friends and their spouses either to growing health issues or even death. It is important that we spend time with our loved ones and encourage them to spend time with any of their remaining friends. This will help to ensure they feel they have support systems and they are not alone. Considering a pet can also help to create daily companionship.

Financial Issues

Living is expensive and as a senior, a lot of healthcare costs can become cumbersome. As we grow older, it becomes more and more important to keep an eye on our health. This means doctor’s appointments, testing and medications. Although in Canada, we do have great healthcare coverage, it does not cover all of the costs. There is also a higher mortality rate and seniors are living to be a lot older than they once were. All of these possible health concerns and medications can end up costing quite a bit of money, which will impact a senior’s retirement savings.

Other unexpected costs can also affect a senior’s retirement savings. The rising cost of living affects seniors who are on fixed incomes. Their savings won’t cover the higher and higher inflation we face in today’s society. If seniors run out of money, the logical option would be to go back to work, but this isn’t possible for a lot of seniors who are either unable physically or who face possible ageism in the workplace market and can’t get hired.

For most people, it is hard to take on another’s financial burden, but if you are unable to help your loved one’s by providing financial assistance, you do have other options to help tackle some of the stress they can cause. For some this could be providing transportation to medical appointments or coming over and helping your loved one to prepare meals. This is not a huge financial burden, but has the ability to alleviate financial stress for your elderly loved ones.

General Health and Lack of Independence

One of the largest frustrations for seniors is the physical ageing and the lack of independence it brings with it. A lot of seniors become dependent on loved ones or support workers to help them which can be extremely frustrating. Seniors aren’t able to see as well as they once did or move as quickly as they were once able and often require assistance to do tasks they once found menial or simple. In order to help your loved ones to feel more independent, encourage them to do as much as they are able on their own. Good nutrition and exercise can often help to strengthen the abilities of seniors so they are more able.

The Changing Social Climate

One of the largest hurdles for seniors can be the changing social climate which includes a lot of technological inventions which are ingrained in the abilities of younger generations. Using computers, cell phones and other advanced technologies can prove to be a large challenge for a lot of seniors. Either you can try to help give them lessons on how to use these technologies or look into local classes. A lot of libraries and community centers offer free classes (and wifi) which can help to assist seniors with technology. This way, they also won’t feel dependent on you

Fun Activities for Your Kids This Summer that Still Use Brain Power!

It’s the beginning of June and the end of the school year is quickly approaching. It’s time to start planning some fun summer activities for you and your kids. It’s always good to have a mix of relaxing and stimulating activities. Just because school’s out and your kids are on vacation, doesn’t mean that they have to stop learning. Try to use any opportunity you can to keep their minds curious and exploring.

Here are some ideas for activities for your kids that will keep their minds fresh for school in September:

Attractions to Visit

Zoo’s, museums, science centre’s and other great attractions can be found all around the country. These places offer great resources and learning opportunities. Animals and nature and cultural and scientific experiences all offer learning, but at these establishments, children are interacting with creatures and experiments. They are learning through doing, rather than by listening or watching. Not only will your kids be learning, but they’ll be having fun while doing it. Nothing about going to the zoo or a science centre will feel forced. This will be a fun outing for the whole family that won’t feel like learning. The best part of these types of places is that they often offer group discounts or cheaper tickets for children’s entry. This makes going to these attractions affordable and worthwhile.

Everyday Simple Activities

Oftentimes, we overlook the simple and free activities in local areas. A lot of parks hold free (or donation only) events throughout the summer. These are a great option for you and your kids. Art in the Park is a staple in most towns and cities (or will be in a town nearby) which will allow you and your children to wander through a festival in the summer weather that has lots of ways to get kids involved. Usually there are bouncy castles, face painting and kids crafts stations that your child will love. These days in the park pair perfectly with a picnic lunch. You can also take your children out for hikes, walks and bike rides. These are activities that take up a lot of energy, and are great exercise. These activities can be combined with a beach day.

On Their Own

Do some research to find out about day camps and special programs being run in your area. Many community centres and libraries offer events for children throughout the summer. Summer Reading Challenges are common at local libraries and usually they offer prizes to children who reach certain reading goals. These are great programs to keep your child’s mind sharp throughout the summer. Community centres sometimes offer craft days, dances (for older children), classes and movie nights. All these activities will keep your children entertained with very little parental effort.

Camping/Cottage

Although not all families have access to a cottage each summer, take advantage of the outdoors and try to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and technology. Spending time at a cottage or going camping lets kids spend time outdoors and with their families. Children have to use their imagination and creativity to play games and make the outdoors fun. Plus, nothing beats eating hotdogs and marshmallows roasted by the fire.

If you find you don’t have the time or money to get away to a cottage or on a camping trip, why not choose a night to go camping in the backyard. This will be a great experience for your kids this summer!

Sports & Games

A lot of kids are excited about being active. There are many summer sports leagues that you can enroll your child in. Some of the more popular summer sports are soccer and baseball. There are a lot of kids leagues out their that don’t take up a huge time commitment. Not only is playing a sport great exercise for your child, but team sports will help your them to socialize and learn to be as part of a group.

Alternately, you can take your children to see an amateur or professional sports game. There are a lot of amateur teams playing in the summer. You’ll get to watch a sport together and maybe teach them some of the rules and pique their interest in learning to play.

As a parent, summer can be hard. Even though your kids have two months off, you still have work and other responsibilities. Trying to get your children engaged in activities with others and on their own will keep them entertained, active and still learning.