SENIORCENTRIC FEB 19, 2021

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

Quotables:

The societal contract that dictates that we must first learn, then earn, then retire and expire is already being broken. Longevity the ‘greatest investment opportunity of all time’, but it’s also the greatest healthcare opportunity. The ability to treat ageing is akin to curing cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s all at once, which is why public funding into longevity research must also increase.

Jim Mellon Chairman, Juvenescence
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Couple married for 91 years and still in love

The 78-year-old Ukrainian grandmother preparing for a Russian invasion

Although we tend to think of the Covid-19 Pandemic as a negative thing, with various lockdowns and restrictions, for many, it provided new opportunities and new ways of socializing with people from all around the world. Listen to this resident explain how she found new opportunities online.

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Fetch the black bag! Calgary doctors now make house calls for home-bound seniors

It carves out time for people who need a slow medicine approach, says doctor

Many frail, home-bound seniors are getting access to doctors without leaving their living room for the first time in Calgary, as Edmonton doctors seek to expand their own, similar program.

The house calls are a throwback to another era — “slow medicine,” as one doctor called it — and families says it makes a big difference.

“It’s meant the world for me,” said Durk de Jong, whose 86-year-old wife, Janny de Jong, has a doctor visit her at home regularly.

“That we don’t have to go to the doctor’s office for her is very important because she’s in pain. If we have to go in, we use the wheelchair and we have to go in the car and she has to walk. If we didn’t have this program, it would be disastrous for us now.”

Dr. Carolyn Wong, who specializes in geriatric medicine, visits regularly, bringing her black bag and sitting on a chair in the living room to check Janny’s vitals. 

Wong is connected with the primary care network in that zone. She says that once the PCN started the pilot project, the group lobbied several years for the right to expand across the city.

This past fall, Alberta Health gave the go-ahead. Now, 10 doctors will be working part time, finding eligible patients with referrals through Home Care. The deal with Alberta Health lets them charge by the hour rather than by the visit to recoup their costs.

Wong says the goal is to improve the seniors’ well-being, reduce the number of emergency room visits and allow them to safely stay in their homes, when possible.

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3 broken ribs took down my mother. They almost took me down, too

The Canadian population is aging. I wonder, how will caregivers manage?

I recall life last October as though I am still living it. Morning: a quick breakfast, then drive my son across town to school (half an hour), come back (half an hour), and then, masked, go straight to check on my mom. 

Her three broken ribs are the outcome of a backward fall onto a bucket. Three broken ribs have taken down a woman with a stamina and stoicism forged by war, hunger and trauma. 

Every morning, I tend to my mother’s needs, both physical and emotional. Some of her care requires intimate contact. For all of her needs, I am glad that I am able to help her. I know that she would feel uneasy and even vulnerable if a stranger — an outside caregiver — were to care for her. She has given me so much. Now, I want to give back to her. She deserves her privacy and dignity.

Still, my sudden, new role is challenging.

Three broken ribs cause my mother to cry out in agony and demand painkillers. Her suffering leaves me in shock. Who is this woman? Never in my life, not in 55 years, have I heard her unrestrained voice reveal the depth of her physical pain. Never before has my mother asked for painkillers. Normally, I have to coerce her to take Tylenol, but now.… Now, I give her Oxycontin. Down they go. She slumps back, exhausted. 

“Where is my mother?” I wonder. “Can this woman really be my mother?”

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