After over thirty years of working with older adults, I have found that as people age, they often have a belief that their lives can’t be as fun, or easy, or fulfilling as they once were. Changes in their health or mobility may reinforce that belief. Yet, frequently it isn’t the health or mobility changes that keep people from living a rich and full life. Instead, it is often a strongly-held idea about where and how they are going to live as they age that keeps them from adapting their living situation to the different seasons of their life. I saw this happen with Ryan and Betsy…
Sébastien Chartier, General Manager of Chartwell L’Unique had an idea last year. “Initially, I wanted to organize a beach party for our residents to enjoy the sun and relax for an afternoon,” he says. Fast forward two years later, and the initial 2016 Beach Party where 200 or so residents from Chartwell homes in the Laurentians first gathered and its surroundings has now become Chartwell’s largest seniors’ gathering in all of Quebec.
As our parents age, it can become easy to fall into the trap of seeing them as less capable versions of their younger selves. We may mistakenly accept old age as a time of decline, rather than a new chapter of development and growth. That narrow lens can affect our relationship with our parents; we might even feel like we’re reversing roles, transitioning from child to caregiver.
A study in a large Chinese city found that seniors were the most avid users of urban parks. Walking, talking and doing activities like Tai Chi in parks or other green spaces offer key social, physical and emotional benefits that support healthy aging. Canadian cities like Toronto are adding benches and more tree cover to encourage older adults to make greater use of parks and reap the multiple health benefits.
More than 3 million Canadians have chronic conditions such as COPD and asthma that affect their breathing. About 1 in 4 people over 80 have COPD, while asthma rates increase after 65 and symptoms can be more severe in older adults. You can improve breathing and reduce symptoms by avoiding triggers, exercising safely, breathing clean air and taking your medications as prescribed.
It’s never too late to learn. That was the theme of the day at Chartwell Westmount Long Term Care Residence in Kitchener, Ontario, where a group of a dozen “students” donned their caps and gowns at a well-attended commencement ceremony celebrating their successful completion of courses at Chartwell’s Westmount Academy. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as fellow onlookers, including family members, friends, residents and staff, cheered on the grads as they proudly obtained their coveted certificates of education.
Comfort food is delicious, uplifting and a positive and nostalgic experience for most of us. Blanche—a resident at Chartwell Gibson Long Term Care in North York, Ontario—couldn’t agree more. For her, there’s nothing like a home cooked meal, which is why she wanted nothing more than to enjoy a delicious lunch consisting of food from her homeland.
In a room bustling with music, family, friends and community members, Loïs Blanchette, 97, of Chartwell Seigneuries du Carrefour in Sherbrooke, Quebec, experienced her Wish of a Lifetime with flair. A former musician, singer, choir director and multilingual poet, Loïs has devoted her life to music and other creative pursuits.
Helping an aging parent may surface various emotions—some that can be enjoyable and rewarding, and others that can be painful or difficult to manage. When I met with one of my clients, Cynthia*, this is exactly what she wanted to talk with me about: how to deal with the myriad of emotions she is experiencing as her mother ages.
93-year-old Charles, a resident of Chartwell Belcourt Retirement Residence in Orleans, Ontario, got to talking to Lifestyle & Program Manager Wendy Lapierre one afternoon about his old friend, Don, who he hadn’t seen in over 35 years. The two pals met back in 1954 while working as customs officers. Don trained Charles on his first day on the job, and from that moment on, a special kinship was formed. As Charles thumbed through an old photo album, he reminisced on how he and Don would hunt together, laugh together and support each other in times of need. For a good while, they were inseparable.