SENIORCENTRIC WEEK ENDING SEPT 25, 2021

Scanning the globe for news by, for and about Senior Citizens

Quotables:

Globally, the population is ageing rapidly. Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double, from 12% to 22%. Approximately 15% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental disorder.

World Health Org
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How squats can boost your brain

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Long-term care fix needed

Feds need to put more cash into long-term care to legislate safety: experts

Experts warn the Liberals’ promise to legislate safety in long-term care will have to come with more money if new national care standards are going to fix what’s broken in the system.

The COVID-19 pandemic shone a glaring spotlight on the already tenuous ability of staff and loved ones to provide care inside many retirement and nursing homes across the country.

In the 2020 throne speech, the government promised to work with provinces and territories to set new, national standards for long-term care — a process that was launched through the Health Standards Organization and the Canadian Standards Association in March 2021.

In fact, national HSO standards for long-term care already exist and are used as the accreditation criteria for about 58 per cent of all homes in Canada, according to Dr. Samir Sinha, chair of one of the technical committees working to rewrite those standards.

He said in Quebec, all homes must adhere to the existing national standards as a condition of their accreditation.

Sinha said the first draft of the new standards, which are set to be publicly released at the end of the year, aim to promote a better working environment for staff and ensure high-quality care for residents.

“We have an excellent committee that really is coming together to kind of say, ‘This is what excellent long-term care should look like,’” Sinha said in an interview.

But what happens to change the status quo after the new standards are released is up to the government.

Alex Mihailidis is chair of the Canadian Standards Association committee that will focus on producing national standards for infection protection and control in long-term care, including the HVAC, plumbing, medical gas systems, and the use of technology.

At a virtual symposium on the future of aging in Canada in June, Mihailidis said the standards need to be mandatory.

“We never would have made it to the moon without proper standards and policies in place to make that happen,” he told the symposium. “We need the same support for long-term care standards and their implementation if we’re going to achieve better care for older Canadians.”

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5 Fall activities for older adults that boost well-being

Fall has officially arrived! Embrace the change in weather and all the beauty and fun it brings with these activities that can boost your well-being.

1.     Go for a walk and enjoy the scenery

Walking has long been considered an ideal form of physical exercise. Some potential benefits include improvements to heart health and physical function, as well as pain reduction. What’s more, walking is accessible, requires no special skills or equipment, poses little risk of injury, and can be done virtually anywhere.

2.     Try a new activity, like Yoga

While most gyms have re-opened, many fitness classes are still being offered virtually, which makes it easier and more accessible to try something new, like yoga. Yoga has many benefits, including the potential to improve health-related quality of life—which takes into consideration physical, mental, emotional, and social functioning and how these areas impact a person’s overall health. For older adults with type 2 diabetes, it can also help manage blood sugar and blood pressure. Yoga is an activity you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, or outdoors, as it requires minimal equipment and can be adapted, allowing you to work at your own pace and comfort level.

3.     Explore your artistic side

Are you someone who enjoys expressing themselves artistically? The changing scenery provides a perfect opportunity to pull out your paint brushes and create something inspired by the colours of autumn. If painting isn’t your thing, artistic activities like dancing, singing, or creative writing can also have a positive effect on your health and well-being, and help with things like memory, problem-solving and reaction time. 

4.     Get creative in the kitchen

Thanksgiving is coming, and pumpkins are soon-to-be in season! Get creative in the kitchen by trying a new recipe or revisiting an old family recipe. While eating delicious food nourishes the body, the process of preparing (and sharing) meals can improve self-esteem and promote a more positive experience of aging.

5.     Curl up with a good book

Finally, consider indulging in a good book, or joining a book club, virtually. Reading can relieve symptoms related to depression and dementia and is a relaxing activity that can help reduce feelings of isolation.

Create fond memories this fall and unlock potential benefits for your health and well-being by trying out some of these activities. To learn more, read through our resources below.

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Elder-friendly technology is a growing market

As boomers age, a new crop of iPads and Alexas are popping up. Are they necessary?

In the grim pits of 2020, ElliQ recited a poem to 81-year-old Deanna Dezern. Dezern doesn’t remember what the poem was called or who wrote it, but she says that thematically, it was about persistence and determination — qualities that resonate during a world-altering pandemic. Dezern needed reassurance; she’d spent the last year cocooned alone in her Florida home, and as the weeks turned into months, she fell into a foggy depression. Thankfully, robots cannot transmit Covid-19, which made ElliQ a perfect ally to ride out the storm.

“The poem said, ‘You can do it, just keep trying,’” Dezern continued. “ElliQ was always where I left her. She said soothing things to me. She was always ready to talk to me when nobody was around. I don’t know how to describe it. She was there for me in the way that I needed her.”

ElliQ, as you can probably infer by now, is an AI companion designed for seniors by the Israeli tech company Intuition Robotics. Think of it as an Alexa for older folks: ElliQ looks a bit like the mid-century lamp from the Pixar movies, and she can read the news, stream music, and share weather reports, all from her perch on a coffee table or kitchen counter.

But the core appeal, and the way Intuition hopes to position itself as a major player in the burgeoning elderly-oriented tech sector, is ElliQ’s empathy. It is impossible to teach a robot how to love, but ElliQ can encourage people to take their meds, to practice mindful meditation, or, in Dezern’s case, to simply be present and absorb the quiet, empty nights of retirement. That’s the guiding philosophy at Intuition Robotics; ElliQ possesses a gentle, caregiving patience that neither Apple, Google, nor any other power broker in Silicon Valley prioritizes in its products for the general public.

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At 100, The National Park Service’s Oldest Active Ranger Is Still Going Strong

Betty Soskin has accomplished a lot over the course of her life.

She’s been a published author, a songwriter-activist during the civil rights movement and a businesswoman and now serves with the National Park Service — holding the title as the country’s oldest ranger.

Now Soskin can add another milestone to her story: turning 100.

Soskin was born in Detroit on Sept. 22, 1921. She currently is a ranger at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Calif.

Growing up in a family with Cajun-Creole roots, Soskin and her relatives migrated to the West Coast, eventually settling down in Oakland, Calif., after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 damaged New Orleans, according to the National Park Service.

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