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Assisting Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Other Chronic Conditions and Diseases

More than 15 percent of Canadians 65 and older now have Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) according to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, and 95% percent of all elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias had at least one other chronic medical condition. This article helps elder caregivers who are assisting seniors with Alzheimer’s or other chronic conditions and diseases.

There are over 1.5 million Canadians who have been diagnosed with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and as many as 1.6 million more Canadians may have COPD but remain undiagnosed. It is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada and the leading cause of hospitals admisision for chronic medical conditions. COPD is a result of damage to the lungs, most commonly caused by smoking, and is usually a mix of two diseases, bronchitis and emphesyma, that affect the person’s ability to breathe.

Elder abuse encompasses a wide range of mistreatment, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, abandonment, and neglect. It most often comes from family members, friends, or surprisingly, even the seniors themselves in the form of self-neglect. Unfortunately, it is also greatly under-reported with one study estimating that only 1 in 14 cases is ever brought to the attention of authorities, medical professionals, or social service providers.

As we age, we lose (some of us more gradually than others) physical and mental capabilities essential to safe driving, such as vision, hearing, mental acuity, muscle strength and dexterity. There likely will come a time when, for safety’s sake, we have to give up driving. Until then there are ways to compensate for some of the changes that come with aging and to continue to drive safely.

Approximately 15% of Canadian seniors live with some form of dementia, and caring for those afflicted creates significant stress on family caregivers. In addition to the time and cost impacts, caregivers suffer emotional, psychological, and social impacts as a result of their caregiving responsibilities.

Medication works only when it is taken. And it is most effective when taken according to a doctor’s prescription or, in the case of nonprescription medications, label directions. Complying with prescriptions becomes increasingly difficult for seniors as the number of medications they must take increases. The problem is magnified for seniors who have conditions that diminish their cognitive abilities.

For many seniors today, the “golden years” can be incredibly stressful times. What causes seniors so much stress? Change is a major trigger, and seniors experience plenty of change.

Caregiving is an emotional subject which is likely the reason so many myths surround it. This article focuses on dispelling some of these caregiving myths. It’s a must-read for anyone currently involved in caregiving including those who are considering hiring or perhaps even becoming a caregiver.

In Canada alone there are more than 750,000 people living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. One-in-five Canadians age 45 and over are providing some form of care to seniors who have long-term health problems. These unpaid family members are performing a great service to both the individuals with dementia and society as a whole, but they pay a hefty price with their own wellbeing and an increased financial burden.

As a caregiver, it is important to encourage independence in seniors, but also to interact with them in ways that provide the opportunity for them to maintain a better quality of life for themselves. By participating in activities with your senior loved one, not only are you showing that you care – the acts you undertake together can help improve their overall health.

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