Senior's Care

Aging in Canada: How well are we treating our elders?


What do you think of when we talk about seniors? Do you think of someone who is rich with life experience, perhaps a grandparent, working hard in the community to share his or her expertise and wisdom with younger generations? Do you think of a poor, helpless old man or woman, isolated and unable to leave their house?

And how do you view the seniors in your own life? For those with relatives who have dementia, they may or may not recognize you. Do you still spend time with them? Or do you withdraw from them and convince yourself that they wouldn’t appreciate your visit?

BABY BOOMERS 2014: Watching and caring for elderly parents when you don't live nearby

Just a generation ago, aging family members typically had at least one relative living nearby. These days, many are being cared for by baby boomer children who live far away.

Balancing careers and kids of their own, these grown children may find it difficult to move closer to parents who have begun to need daily help.

Caregiving has become “an unexpected second career” for many people in their 50s and 60s, says Tamar Shovali, who studies gerontology and teaches at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“And distance caregiving is really difficult,” she says.

The unexpected costs of caring for your elderly parents

Debbie Walker had just spent the evening working the red carpets at the Gemini Awards in Richmond, B.C. After a late night of escorting stars and mingling at parties, the publicist returned the following day to the Sechelt ranch home she shared with her elderly mother.

Her mother usually sat on the porch in the afternoons and it was a warm, sunny day. But she wasn’t there. Inside, Ms. Walker found that her mother had fallen in the bathroom and called an ambulance.

Melissa Leong Reports

Healthy aging and seniors' wellness looked at in report

Balance in well being, community involvement, social connections and choice were the key points that came out of a series of consultations with seniors held in the north last year.

Northern Health asked seniors in 13 communities at meetings held in September, October and November about what was important for optimum healthy aging and seniors' care.

They totally ripped us apart

All June Munroe wants is to be with her husband of 64 years.

But despite a year-long struggle, she and Alex are still living in separate care facilities.

June, 80, married her now 88-year-old husband on May 6, 1950, making today their anniversary.

For June, a day that should be one of celebration, is a painful reminder she will not wake up next to her beloved husband.

“They totally ripped us apart,” June said of the health-care system. “My husband went to the hospital and they never brought him back.”

Seniors and depression: On a ‘shrinking island'

Photograph by: ADRIAN LAM , Times Colonist

Seniors already dealing with health problems, financial constraints and shrinking social circles often confront an accompanying challenge.

Depression, as one elderly Victoria sufferer says, is “a hidden disease,” something that seniors are especially loathe to admit.

British Columbians 70 and older account for about 12 per cent of suicides in the province, according to statistics from the B.C. Coroners Service.

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