Autumn is a wonderful time of year filled with fall colours, harvest crops, hearty comfort food, warm fuzzy sweaters, and long walks rustling your feet through the leaves. Really, all the sights, sounds and smells of fall time are lovely! Even during these unprecedented times, why not try a fun and festive activity with an elderly loved one.
Here are Five Fun Activities to try this Fall Season!
1) Prepare Homemade Treats
Baking, mixing and preparing treats are fun activities that many older adults enjoy. You can follow a family recipe or flip through some cookbooks to discover new recipes. You can make something as simple as apple crisp or a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake. Another idea is decorating sugar cookies with your loved one! If baking is too messy, you can always pre-bake the cookies and just decorate them with your elderly loved one.
To follow social distancing rules, you can prep and make these treats for your loved one and surprise them with a special delivery. Another idea is prepping and decorating premade cookies outside on a nice sunny autumn day.
2) Pumpkin carvings and painting
Pumpkin carvings are a must tradition every fall season. You can carve all sorts of patterns on pumpkins but if carving is too much strain on wrists and hands you can always introduce painting on pumpkins to your elderly loved one. You can have an assortment of paint colours to design a unique pumpkin and then you can put them on display so that everyone can see. This is a great activity you can do outside and from a distance with your loved one.
3) Enjoy the natural scenery and fresh air
Bundle up and breathe the fresh autumn air! You can go on a short walk in the park to admire the beautiful coloured leaves that fall brings. You can go to a local park like Victoria or Waterloo Park and walk a scenic trail hearing the crunch of the fallen leaves under your feet.
If you can’t take your loved one out too far why not go somewhere nearby? You can relax in the backyard, front porch, or go on a short walk to pick up the mail. If it’s too cold outside for your loved one, you can always go on a relaxing country drive to see all the colours or simply open up some windows and blinds to let the fresh air inside.
4) Get festive with fall decorations
Crafting and decorating are always fun activities! With proper social distancing rules, you can help an elderly loved one to decorate their home with fall colours. You can introduce neat craft ideas with dried up fallen leaves, such as collecting them to make cards.
5) Hang out online
If visiting your loved one in person is not an option, you should consider an online hang out! There are several ways you can connect online with your family member. You can video call your loved one, play an online game together, or watch a movie!
This autumn season introduce a new activity to your elderly loved on - it may be cooler weather - but it's a lovely season to spend quality time with friends and family.
7 Summer Fun Activities for Seniors during COVID-19
Thursday, July 23, 2020
It’s a beautiful summer day, and you want to enjoy the gorgeous weather with your elderly parent or grandparent; the big question is, what can you do together safely? Even with social distancing and other COVID-19 rules, there are activities you can enjoy with your elderly loved one.
While the heat and sunshine sometimes send the elderly indoors, there are safe ways to enjoy the summer weather (in small doses!). Be sure to select days that are not too hot or humid and remain in the shade as much as possible. Drink lots of water and ensure your loved one is wearing a hat and loose-fitting clothing. Once all the precautions to stay cool are in place, you can enjoy some summer fun activities outdoors!
Here are 7 activities that will appeal to older generations and that will spark reminiscing of summers gone by.
1. Watch the Sunset at the Beach — regardless of age, watching the sunset shimmering over the water can be relaxing. If your loved one is up for a challenge, go for a walk along the beach and collect seashells, or build a sandcastle. If the beach is too far away, watch the sunset over the Grand River, or the ponds at your local park.
2. Play a Game Golf — for avid golfers who can no longer handle the demands of an 18-hole golf course, mini-golf is a great option to enjoy putting, without the twisting action of driving the ball. However, if your loved one can still play a game of golf, call your local golf course to schedule a tee time.
3. Make Lemonade from Scratch — this would have been the only way to have lemonade 70 or 80 years ago! Your elderly loved ones may even remember a favourite family recipe. You can always modify the recipe to accommodate diabetic needs by reducing sugar or replacing sugar with sweeteners.
4. Go Fishing — many grandfathers have taken their children and grandchildren on fishing expeditions. Now, it might be your turn to take your grandfather out fishing. Tip: fishing off a pier or stable dock might be more accessible (i.e.: able to use a walker or wheelchair) than fishing from a boat or riverside.
5. Have a Picnic at the Park — a good old-fashioned picnic basket filled with favourite treats will always bring a smile! You can be sure to accommodate special dietary requirements when packing the picnic basket. Be sure to look for a picnic table or bring along a lawn chair (sitting directly on the ground might be difficult; getting up from the ground could be even harder!).
6. See a Movie at the Drive-In Theatre — this will feel like a flash from the past! Drive-In theatres still operate and often feature classic movies from varying eras. The drive-in has many benefits for the elderly—they can remain in a comfortable seat in the car, they don’t have to fight any crowds on foot, and the volume can be set to the level that suits their hearing. Of course, it does mean a late night out, but that’s all part of the fun!
7. Pick Wildflowers — who doesn't love a vase full of fresh flowers? It’s even better when you pick the flowers yourself and create the arrangement! Best of all, this fun summer activity doesn’t cost a penny.
If your elderly loved one is homebound and tech-savvy, you can connect with them online. Take your video call outside! A weekly video call to share summer stories and photos can be a great way to enjoy this summer.
Hopefully, you now have an idea or two of a fun, lighthearted way to spend time with elderly relatives even during these times. Comment and share with us your summer fun ideas!
You can still make Father’s Day special for your dad, even if your annual tradition has been cancelled. With keeping social distancing rules, you can safely visit your dad or you can gift him a special gift.
Here are a few ideas on how you can celebrate your dad on Father’s Day!
1. Enjoy the beautiful weather outside by golfing
Golf courses are now open in the region! Make sure to reserve your tee time by calling your favourite golf course. The trick is to plan ahead!
2. Go on a walk
Going one a walk is not only great exercise but also the perfect time to reconnect with your dad. Be sure to be mindful of the warmer weather. It may be best to go on a morning or evening walk when the weather is a bit cooler.
3. Consider gift certificates
The physically demanding activities of home maintenance are likely difficult, so provide your loved one with a gift certificate for regular home maintenance chores such as grass cutting, garden upkeep, window washing, snow shovelling, etc.
4. Look into homemaking and household assistance
Household chores can also become quite burdensome. Your loved one will greatly appreciate a gift certificate for housekeeping.
5. Purchase personal items
Residents in long-term care use their own preferred personal care items such as hand soap, lotion, toothpaste, etc. A care package of your loved one’s favourite items is always appreciated! The scent is strongly linked with memory and emotion; selecting a favourite scent can induce positive memories.
6. Get creative and create a fun family photo wall
Photos are one of the ways to personalize your living space, be reminded of your closest friends and family, or commemorate a favourite event. For someone with advanced dementia, adjust their environment to match their internal reality.Have photos to match their strongest memories. Select pieces that bring comfort or joy and spark a memory.
Your dad might be feeling isolated during these times so don’t cancel your Father’s Day plans. Instead, make it extra special for him. Comment below and share with us unique gift ideas and how you’re going to celebrate Father’s Day.
We hope you have a wonderful Father’s Day. Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads, grandfather’s and great grandfathers out there!
June is Seniors’ month, and it’s the perfect time to recognize and appreciate seniors! Seniors prove that aging doesn’t need to prevent anyone from leading fulfilling lives, instead they outline that aging enhances life experiences.
Every day seniors are breaking the mold by leading fulfilling lives! So, let’s put to rest those negative stereotypes when it comes to aging. Instead, we should all celebrate and appreciate the contributions that seniors are making in our communities.
Seniors are an important part of our community because they contribute their wisdom, friendship and experiences. As a community, it is our responsibility to ensure that we create an environment where all citizens are valued and respected throughout the life process.
How do we create that environment?
The key to creating this environment is prioritizing intergenerational opportunities, between the young and the old. When we create intergenerational opportunities, we are creating this space where seniors have the ability to pass along their wisdom and advice to generations. This environment then breaks down barriers between generations and puts to rest negative stereotypes that surround aging. When those barriers are removed, open and honest conversations are shared between different generations. When founded upon mutual respect, intergenerational learning can be deeply impactful for everyone involved!
Why is celebrating our Seniors so important?
When we celebrate our seniors, we are affirming that their contributions are ever so important to the fabric of our communities. Without our seniors’ accomplishments, our communities would not be what they are today!
This June, in honour of Seniors’ month, make an effort to spend time with someone who is from a different generation than you—or maybe even two or three generations! Pause, and truly listen, and learn from each other and you will reap the rewards of intergenerational sharing.
Here at Warm Embrace Elder Care, we want to thank all of the wonderful seniors that we see on a daily basis. We are continually learning from you and are enlightened by your viewpoints. It is an honour to serve you!
As we age our bodies experience physiological changes such as an increase/decrease in body weight, loss of muscle mass, absorption changes and sensory losses of taste & smell.
As our bodies change so do our nutritional needs! Eating nutritious meals in later years of life has been shown to have many positive side effects. Some of these include: increased energy levels, the ability to recuperate quicker from illnesses, manage chronic health problems and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
The majority of older adults will have nutrition concerns such as dehydration, constipation, malnutrition, swallowing difficulties (known as dysphagia), diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and arthritis. That's why some seniors will be on a special diet such as low sodium, diabetic or pre-diabetic, thickened liquids or minced/pureed foods.
There are 5 special nutrient needs to consider for your elderly loved one.
Most older adults aren’t eating enough protein in their diet! Protein supports a healthy immune system, it prevents muscle wasting and optimizes bone mass. As we age, we begin to lose muscle mass so we shouldn’t decrease our protein intake. Each meal should include at least 20-30 g of protein. Make sure there is a source of protein at all meals and throughout the day! For example, drink a glass of milk with your lunch or snack on nuts throughout the day. For your elderly loved one, a great snack with lots of protein could be a bottle of Ensure.
2. Calcium and Vitamin D
In a healthy body, bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. About 10% to 30% of the adult skeleton is replenished each year! As we age, our bones break down quicker than they can be built which leads to decreasing bone density. To help build our bones, we need calcium and vitamin D.
One way to increase calcium and vitamin D intake is to drink fortified beverages at meals, such as orange juice with vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are also a great idea to increase intake. Another idea is to add powdered skim milk to beverages (coffee or tea) or to eat pudding/yogurt for dessert! It can be tricky to increase your vitamin D intake but remember that calcium and vitamin D work together to build our bones.
3. Vitamin B12
This vitamin is needed to make DNA, red blood cells and helps to keep the nerves working properly. It has shown that Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to poor cognition, anemia, fatigue, depression, confusion and tingling in hands and feet. Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products and sometimes is added to other foods (e.g. soy products). That is why it is highly recommended for those on a vegan diet to take Vitamin B12 supplements.
Fibre needs are different between men and women over the age of 50. Men need about 30 g/day and women need about 21 g/day. Did you know that there are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble? Soluble fibre lowers cholesterol level, controls blood sugar, prevents colon cancer and assists with weight loss. Insoluble fibre promotes regularity and a healthy digestive system. Soluble fibres can be found in oatmeal, beans, lentils, nuts, and fruits. While insoluble fibres are found in whole-grains, barley, dark leafy vegetables, brown rice, and root vegetable skins.
It is recommended to have at least 6 servings of grain products a day. The easiest way to increase fibre is to always choose whole-grain products rather than refined and processed grains. It is also recommended to have 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. When preparing vegetables and fruits, eat peels whenever possible and snack on fruit rather than candies.
As we age our sense of thirst declines, therefore older adults are more likely to experience dehydration! If fluid intake is consistently low, older adults can experience symptoms of dehydration – thirst, dry lips and mouth, flushed skin, tiredness, dark strong urine, headache, fainting and low blood pressure. Older adults need a minimum of 6 cups of fluid per day to remain hydrated and healthy! Prioritize your fluid intake by carrying a water bottle throughout your day, drinking water as the first and last task in the day, and by eating soup for lunch/dinner. Don’t ignore thirst! Drink before you feel thirsty. Drink, drink and drink water to combat dehydration!
Start a healthy lifestyle today!
It can feel overwhelming to start eating healthy but it’s not impossible. Eating healthy can be fun! Look up healthy and delicious recipes and start cooking away with your loved one. If cooking is not your thing, consider prepared meals by this local catering business. They make incredible healthy delicious meals and snacks! It’s never too late to start eating healthy. Why not start today?
Have you been working from home, homeschooling the kids and caring for your elderly parents? You may be working more now than ever before and you are not alone! There are incredible local businesses that have switched their gears to help busy parents and adult children of elderly parents. Recently we connected with Stephanie Soulis, the founder of Little Mushroom Catering, and discovered that they’ve created a new service to help both busy adult children and isolated seniors.
Who is Little Mushroom Catering?
Little Mushroom Catering is a local catering business based in Waterloo Region. Over the past ten years, they have grown to become the leader of full-service catering in Southwestern Ontario, catering weddings and big corporate events. Their heart is to be community and environmentally focused. The majority of the ingredients and foods they use are sourced from local farmers, and they’ve won multiple awards for their sustainability efforts.
On March 15th, Little Mushroom Catering completely changed like so many other local businesses. As all of the big events that had been booked began to cancel, owner Stephanie Soulis knew that she had to do something to survive this pandemic. She began to hear the needs of parents and adult children with senior parents. She realized that she could provide ingredients and foods that were running low at grocery stores. Most of all, she realized that busy working parents need help cooking and decided to create a prepared meal service.
Prepared meals don’t have to be bland and boring!
They can be delicious and nutritious when they are made with fresh ingredients! Soulis offers delicious prepared meals, snacks and sides. She said one of their most popular items is butter chicken; “ours isn’t super spicy but it has tons of flavour so people who want to try something new often try the butter chicken since the heat levels aren’t huge.” Another classic meal they offer is pulled pork. It sells out almost weekly!
Other great meals for seniors include lasagna, chilli, tomato soup, Thai carrot soup,
broccoli cheddar soup, and of course their weekly specials. The amazing part of Little Mushroom Catering is that everything is made from scratch! If your loved one has a special diet or request, they can easily accommodate “because [they’ve] been making everything fresh.”
Healthy & Special Diet Accommodation
Soulis was inspired to include heart-healthy options after one of her regular clients suffered a heart attack. Every week he would order his meals, and one week she noticed that he didn’t order. She soon found out that he had a heart attack from being overworked and stressed during this pandemic. Soulis said “because of him we wanted to ensure that we’re making healthy foods. We love cooking with butter but we have options [that are] low sodium, low sugar, and low fat.” They also have vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and nut-free options – their entire facility is nut-free!
So, how do you order these delicious meals?
You can either order over the phone or online – both are great options that only take a few steps! You can choose their delivery option or their pick up option. Little Mushroom Catering provides deliveries on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and they cover a wide geographical area.
They also have pick-up options every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoon from 1 to 4 pm. For pick up, all you have to do is request a time and they bring the food out to your trunk! You remain in your car and pop the trunk—it’s that easy. The delivery service is a great option for busy parents, homebound seniors, or anyone without a driver’s licence. You could even have the food delivered to your elderly parents’ home, just make sure to give them a heads up.
Prepared Meals Plus More
Little Mushroom Catering does even more than prepared meals. They also have a grocery store cart online. When you are ordering your prepared meals, you can also order fresh local ingredients that you can’t find at grocery stores. There are fresh ingredients (like local asparagus) as well as pantry goods you may need to stock up on. They always have flour and toilet paper if you need it!
The truly tempting part is the dessert section. They have a large selection of delectable desserts; you’re bound to find a sweet treat for almost any taste.
Little Mushroom Catering also gives you the opportunity to pay it forward. In their grocery store cart, you can give back by adding a $15 meal for a frontline worker or a $2 cookie for a healthcare worker.
Let’s support local!
Instead of buying typical frozen meals that are full of sodium from a big-box grocery store, consider Little Mushroom Catering. They are local, using fresh locally-sourced ingredients, to create healthy meals. Not only are you supporting the local business of Little Mushroom Catering, but you’re also supporting their entire local supply chains such as Oakridge Acres beef or Barrie’s Asparagus or sauces from Wooden Boat Food Co.
When it’s too hot to cook or you want to ensure that your elderly relatives have a filling, healthy meal, be sure to check out Little Mushroom Catering and have your next delicious meal delivered!
Nurses Week is celebrated every year in May. This year let's go above and beyond to show our appreciation to our local nurses. During this time, our nurses are our frontline heroes. They are putting in long hours at hospitals, clinics, retirement homes, long term care homes, etc. They are working to keep you and I safe during these times, and that's why we – as the community – should express our appreciation.
Let's work together to celebrate our nurses! Here are 6 ways you can celebrate Nurses Week!
1. Write a heartfelt card
You can write encouraging thank you cards to nurses at your local hospital and long term care homes.
2. Mail a grocery store gift card
Why not leave a little present inside the card? You can pre-order grocery store gift cards online or the next time you're at the grocery store, pick up a couple of gift cards.
3. Bake or cook a homemade meal
If you know a nurse personally, make him/her a warm home cooked meal or some delicious baked goods. It'll be one less task they'll to do once they're home from a long workday.
4. Donate Personal Protective Equipment
If you're crafty, sew masks for nurses and if you're not, you can always donate to an organization that's distributing PPE. Keep it local and donate to local organizations and businesses.
5. Join a community celebration
You can join an organized parade to celebrate nurses at the local hospital.
If you live on a busy street, start a poster campaign with your neighbours! Create large posters that say "Thank you!" and display them on your porch, lawn or bay window. As frontline workers drive-by they can read your poster.
6. Praise their hard work on social media
Post an appreciation post on your personal social media account! If you are looking for social media content like and share our material from our Facebook page.
Let's work together to show our frontline heroes how much we appreciate their hard work. Let's go beyond words of appreciation, let's take action. Comment and share on how you are going to celebrate Nurses Week!
This year Mother's Day may look and feel different but that doesn't mean it is cancelled! You can still make Mother's Day special for your mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, or friend. This Sunday celebrate Mother's Day with some creativity.
Here are 6 ways you can celebrate Mother's Day this year.
1. Buy your mom flowers
You can't go wrong with flowers! You can buy a lovely bouquet of spring flowers or even a potted plant for your mom. Make sure to write a heartfelt card to make it even more special! To be extra safe during these times, make sure to leave the flowers by the front door and give your mom a call to tell her that a special delivery is waiting for her.
2. Bake or cook your mom's favourite dish
Encourage your mom to take a break from cooking onMother's Day by cooking her favourite dish. You can leave a nice homecooked meal at her front door, or you can leave her favourite baked goods. If you aren't much of a cook that is okay! Why not support a local restaurant or business? You can put in the order for your mom and ask them to deliver the dish directly to your mom. It's the perfect day to spoil your mom!
3. Make a homemade gift
Remember that quilt or sewing project that you never quite finished? Or that scrapbook that needs some final stickers? This is the perfect time to finish it up for your mom! Get your kids or grandkids involved by having them make homemade drawings or cards.
4. Schedule a safe social-distancing visit
It's about social distancing, not social isolating. You can still visit your mom from a safe distance. Perhaps behind a window or screen door, in the garage, or outside in the yard. If she is hard of hearing, speak loud and clear or why not make a fun poster for her that says "Happy Mother's Day" in a large bolded font.
5. Plan a fun creative surprise
Get your whole family involved and plan a surprise from a safe distance for your mom. If you’re a musical family, surprise her with live music and song. If you’re poetic and theatrical, write her a heartfelt poem and/or perform a play just for her. If you're crafty, make some fun posters or banners to brighten up your mom's day. I am sure your mom will appreciate your effort and love!
6.Tea time on a video call
If your mom is tech-savvy, schedule a video call to have a special tea time chat. Take this time to reconnect with your mom by reminiscing on childhood memories and on happy lighthearted memories. Most importantly don't forget to tell her how much you love her and appreciate her! Words of kindness and appreciation can go a long way!
Your mom is probably feeling isolated during these times so don't cancel Mother's Day this year! Instead, make it extra special for her. Comment below and share with us how you're going to celebrate your mom. We hope you have a lovely Mother's Day!
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the special mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers out there!
Everyday communication is important for our elderly population, certainly more so during these isolating times. Bill Walsh from AARP said: “At this moment in time, we’re not just combating the coronavirus, but we’re combating fear and anxiety and social isolation as well. So, it’s important to stay in touch with your loved ones and let them know that they haven’t been cut off or somehow marginalized.”
A quick traditional phone call is always lovely but why not introduce unique devices or new apps to your loved one? Your loved one’s interest in technology might surprise you. A study completed in 2017, discovered that 70% of seniors are now online and from 2013 to 2016 tablet ownership in seniors doubled. I know when chatting with our clients, I am always surprised to find out how many of them use Facebook, Facetime, Apple apps, Furbo, etc.
There are unique ways you can virtually connect with your loved one! We have compiled a list of the four best ways to virtually connect.
1) Videocall your loved one
If your loved one has a WIFI connection, a smartphone and an email address, they’re already three steps ahead! There are several apps you can use to video call your loved one – Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Google Duo, WhatsApp – just to name a few. I recommend keeping the conversation at a maximum of three people. It increasingly becomes difficult to hear with additional people, especially if people are talking at the same time!
Traditional phone calls are wonderful and always appreciated but video calls are more interactive. In a video call, you can see your loved one’s facial expressions and body language. You can even get creative with video calls! On a call, you can virtually share a cup of tea, you could try puzzling together, or you could even start a craft together. It doesn’t have to be a traditional conversation it could be a time to engage your loved one in a fun activity.
2) Play an online game with your loved one
If your loved one doesn’t want to be on video but wants to interact virtually, you can introduce online games. There are apps where you can compete against your loved one, such as words with friends, chess, scrabble, billiards, etc. There’s an endless amount of options in the Apple store and in the Google Play store. You are bound to find a game that looks interesting and fun!
3) Watch a movie together
Who doesn’t love movies?! Pop some popcorn and watch a movie with your loved one. Netflix released a new feature called Netflix party for desktop computers. It allows you to synchronize video playback and adds a group chat between yourself and your loved one. This is a great tool for a fun family gathering! You can add the grandkids to the party as well, and it can become a weekly ritual.
If your loved one doesn’t have Netflix or a computer, you can always video call your loved one as you both watch the same TV channel or DVD. Another option is simply calling your loved one on the phone. Even though watching a movie is generally done quietly, it’s comforting knowing that you are with someone and sharing the moment with someone you love.
4) Visit a furry friend on Furbo
Furbo is a camera that’s designed for dogs. It’s a neat device that allows owners to check in on their pets remotely. There is also a microphone so dogs can even hear their owner’s voice commands.
We have a client – let’s call her Jeanie - who loves receiving visits from her daughter’s dog Buddy. When chatting with Jeanie, I was happy to discover that she’s been visiting her daughter’s dog virtually on Furbo. Through the app on her smartphone, she is able to talk to Buddy, see what trouble he is up to and throw him treats by clicking a button.
Throughout my conversation with Jeanie, I could sense how happy she was to have the chance to interact with Buddy. Even her regular caregiver mentioned how Jeanie brightens up after interacting with Buddy on Furbo. The moments she is interacting with Buddy not only make her laugh and smile but they also provide Jeanie comfort and peace.
It might take a few tries to get your loved one comfortable with technology but the time and patience to teach them is worth it. Your elderly loved one will thank you for giving them the opportunity to connect. During this difficult season, we might have to socially distant but we don’t have to socially isolate.
This past September 10th was World Suicide prevention day (WSPD). On September 28th, in honour of WSPD, a play written by Catherine Frid called “AfterWhys” followed by discussion will be held at Luther Village from 9 am – 11 am. Suicide is often perceived as a problem among young people but did you know that men over the age of 80 have the highest suicide rate in Canada. This event is to encourage the message of hope and resiliency to everyone who experiences difficulties with mental health. We look forward to learning more about seniors’ mental health with you. We hope to see you there!