The proposed guiding principles for a new version of Canada’s Food Guide follow a nutrition-based approach, which advises people what to eat, what not to eat and how to eat. The emphasis is on eating more plant-based foods, while allowing for healthier, leaner animal foods. It’s important to limit reliance on processed foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat, and enjoy meals with family and friends.
Studies show that older adults who are socially isolated have a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety. People who are socially connected are less likely to develop physical and mental health problems, and they live longer on average than those who are socially isolated. Retirement communities offer older adults, whose social networks often get smaller, many ways to socialize each day through activities and broaden their social networks.
Thanksgiving is a time when many of us will be reflecting on how much we have to be thankful for in our lives. But feeling grateful shouldn’t just be limited to Thanksgiving; there’s plenty of evidence to show why we should be practicing gratitude all year round.
Most adult children want to be supportive of their older parents as they decide what they want as they age. Should they stay in their own home? Should they live with a family member? Should they move to a retirement residence? There is much to consider about this next chapter of life, and the significance of these decisions can contribute to family members having strong opinions about what is best—so much so, adult children may find themselves at odds with each other, or with their parents. Worse, our aging loved one may not feel they are being listened to or respected.
This summer, three players from the Hamilton Tiger Cats came roaring into Chartwell Brant Centre Long Term Care in Burlington, Ontario, for a special meet-and-greet event with residents and staff. The retirement community’s celebration room was decorated in black and gold for the occasion, as were the many residents who couldn’t wait to shake hands, receive autographs and take photos with players Aaron Crawford, Sergio Castillo and Kay Okafor.
Research shows that people who experience small positive emotions through their daily activities and interactions flourish and enjoy better health. The top ten emotions people feel most often include love, joy, gratitude, hope, amusement, inspiration and awe. Older adults can maintain a healthy emotional outlook and experience many small moments of positive emotion each day through recreational activities ranging from dancing, singing and fitness classes to reading, acting, painting and e-mailing grandchildren.
More than 550,000 Canadians are now living with dementia, and 937,000 are projected to be living with the disease in 15 years. A major new international study concludes that up to one-third of cases could be prevented by addressing nine modifiable health and lifestyle factors. You can lower dementia risk by being physically active, staying socially connected, controlling blood sugar and blood pressure, and learning daily.
I was recently struck by the story of Shirley, a Chartwell resident living in one of their communities in Whitby, Ontario. Shirley was exploring retirement living because she thought the lifestyle would benefit her; she’d have more people to socialize with, less worry and responsibility, and just an overall increase in her peace of mind. The problem was, at age 82, Shirley didn’t think she should spend her money on a retirement residence; instead, she thought she should continue to save for her future.
The hum of pleasant conversation fills the room as you approach your white-linen table, complete with upholstered dining chairs. The delicious aroma of food fills the dining room, and just one glance at the daily menu confirms a diverse offering of flavours and fresh ingredients. An appetizing meal is served to your table, expertly prepared by an award-winning chef. This isn’t the trendy new restaurant in town, but rather the superb dining experience at Chartwell Fountains of Mission Retirement Residence.
There’s another, perhaps more surprising way to fight loneliness: mindful meditation. A research study at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) meditation program reduced loneliness in seniors.