Vision:Championing an ageing in place community for seniors with health, homes, transportation, Community Connections, Safety, Supports and Services.
Mission: To promote healthy living, afford access to housing and care through three strategies: Promote training and education of individuals in the care of the elderly that includes providing front line health care workers for clients.
Ensure access to affordable housing and care. Promote and advocate for seniors and a healthy lifestyle. Values:
Our core values are CARE, COMMITMENT and SERVICE with dedication and Professionalism.
CARE is C-Collaboration, working together; A-Accountability for work and service; R-Respect and appreciation for diversity and promotion of dignity of others; E-Excellence in all we do.
HELPING SENIORS AVOID SOCIAL ISOLATION
“With a prevalence of over 40% and the sheer number of older persons projected to increase exponentially… social isolation will likely impact the health, well-being and quality of life of numerous older persons now and in the foreseeable future.”
Considering the demonstrated risks and the increasing prevalence of this issue, it’s certainly worth addressing how we can promote social integration among our older loved ones, and even ourselves – for it has been shown that family caregivers are themselves at a high risk of social isolation.
There are ways through the Senior Ministries to promote connectedness and social health:
1. Make Transportation Available
Lack of adequate transportation is a primary cause of a social isolation. Because many seniors do not drive, this is a big issue for them, so anything that helps seniors get around and make independent choices about travel promotes their social health. Creating a volunteer solid public transportation infrastructure, and providing special transportation options to seniors and disabled people, will help promote their social integration. Volunteers offering rides to older loved ones, and helping them to learn to use public transportation, will also help them maintain social connections and a healthy sense of independence. Action Sheet of Drivers
2. A Ministry that Presents and Promotes a Sense of Purpose
A Ministry that presents Seniors with a sense of purpose, both within their generation and younger generations with interests and/or hobbies that interest them, are less likely to succumb to the negative effects of social isolation. Besides providing a sense of purpose, many hobbies and interests are inherently social in nature. Anything that involves a group, for example, chatting on skype through the internet with younger generations could be said to be socially healthy. If a senior is bereft of ideas for what to do, there are always opportunities to hire a Certified Caregiver/Personal Support Worker who can plan events, and activate plans within the senior center. Volunteering is also a great way of maintaining and expressing a sense of purpose. Encouraging seniors to remain active in their hobbies and interests, and providing them opportunities to volunteer, can help them maintain their sense of purpose and keep them from becoming isolated and lonely. INTEREST INVENTORY SHEET
3. Encourage Seniors to Maintain Attendance at their Places of Worship
For seniors who have been regular churchgoers, this weekly social connection has been shown to be quite advantageous. Studies have shown the benefits of churchgoing for seniors: “Those frequently attending religious services have been found to have lower mortality rates than those with infrequent attendance,” Older church goers not only benefit from the social interaction and sense of purpose that weekly worship provides, but they also bless themselves under the watchful eye of other churchgoers, who are likely to recognize a decline in an isolated senior that may have gone unnoticed otherwise. Online church services with home groups, discussion and meal sharing after the service. Home Church and small cells. Making use of technology and youth in home worship centres.
4. Give a Senior Something to Take Care Of
Many experts note that the act of nurturing can relieve feelings of social isolation. “Pet owners remain engaged socially, have less depression, suffer less loneliness, feel more secure, have more motivation for constructive use of time and require less medication than non-pet owners. Animal companionship facilitates establishing friends, is a social lubricant, gives a reason to get up in the morning and is an icebreaker.” Obviously, you would need to make certain that the senior is capable and willing to properly care for the pet before giving one as a gift. Assuming the senior is capable of caring for a pet, nurturing and caring for an animal companion can be quite wholesome. Even tending a garden can satisfy our nurturing drive, so giving a senior a plant or gardening supplies as a gift can be beneficial, but taking time to work alongside a senior, while they accomplish a task, is the most advantageous time spent for both younger and older individuals in a community. Community gardens and pet centres for seniors to gather and share their experiences.
5. Encourage a Positive Body Image
Some research has shown that many older adults avoid social interaction because of a poor body image. “Individuals with a poor body image attributable to being overweight, injured, handicapped, or stroke clients may decrease or cease interactions with their social networks to the point where they could be at risk for social isolation. For example, individuals who are overweight may be self-conscious or embarrassed, and, therefore less likely to engage in their social networks.” Compliments and positive comments can go a long way to boosting the self-esteem of everyone, and especially seniors and young adults. Similarly, discouraging seniors from fretting over their appearance, or the effects of aging, may help them avoid becoming self-conscious and thereby avoid social interactions. For seniors who are genuinely overweight, addressing the root problem by encouraging weight loss through healthy eating and exercise can be helpful too, but always be positive and sensitive in efforts to encourage older loved ones to lose weight.
6. Encourage Hearing and Vision Tests
Seniors with undiagnosed or untreated hearing problems may avoid social situations because of difficulty communicating or embarrassment. Encourage seniors to have their hearing checked and hearing problems treated. A hearing aid may be the only barrier between a senior and better social health. Vision tests are as important as sight problems since they both limit opportunities for social interactions with others.
7. Make Adaptive Technologies Available
Adaptive technologies, ranging from walkers to the above mentioned hearing aids, help seniors to compensate for age related deficits and deficiencies that can impede social interaction. Many seniors do not take full advantage of these devices. Sometimes they may be embarrassed because they don’t want to appear or feel old. In other cases, the device may be overly expensive and not covered by insurance. Both as a society, and in our own families, we can encourage and facilitate the use of adaptive aids that make it possible for seniors to have active and involved social lives.
8. Notify Neighbours
Socially isolated seniors may be vulnerable to a variety of unexpected problems and may have underlying issues, such as dementia, loved ones, and trained Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers should consider informing members of the community that there is a vulnerable adult in the neighborhood. Block networks can be established with introductions to the vulnerable senior. The concept for Abigail Homes and Care Ministry is a host family within each neighbourhood block to keep a friendly eye out in case anything seems amiss.
9. Encourage Dining with Others
The act of eating with others is inherently social. Food is almost always shared; people eat together; mealtimes are events when the whole family, or settlement, or village comes together. Food is also an occasion for distributing, giving and sharing for the expressing of altruism, whether from parents to children, children to in-laws, or anyone to visitors and strangers. Encourage seniors to share a meal with others whenever possible, whether it’s with a church group, young students, or a get-together diner. Dining with others is also likely to help nutrition Did you know?
- 31% of seniors are chronically dehydrated
- Seniors need fewer calories than adults under age 60
- Seniors need more calcium, vitamin D and B-12 than adults under age 60
The American Academy of Family Physicians estimates there are 3.7 Million persons in the U.S. today, due to a wide range of issues, including medication conflicts, changing taste buds, lack of appetite, depression, chronic illness, and new nutritional needs who are under nourished. As we age, our bodies require fewer calories, yet require more protein, calcium, B vitamins and other nutrients. Even in this health conscious age, many caregivers lack awareness about the specific dietary needs of seniors, and how nutrition is a key contributor to the well-being and longevity of the elderly.
10. Address Incontinence Issues
For obvious reasons, seniors who experience incontinence may be hesitant to leave their home and could become isolated. When family caregivers and health professionals make sure that incontinence issues are appropriately addressed, for example through medications and incontinence supplies, seniors can have a better opportunity to recognize their social potentials and live life without embarrassment and fear of going into public.
11. Give a Hug
There’s nothing like a hug. Research shows that friendly platonic touching from friends and family, like hand holding or hugging, can lower stress and promote feelings of well-being. On the other hand, people deprived of touch can experience decreased well-being. So even if you or your older relatives are not the touchy-feely types, at the very least weave a friendly hug into your greetings and farewells.
12. Give Extra Support to Seniors Who Have Recently Lost a Spouse
Older adults may be at highest risk for becoming socially isolated during the period after a spouse has passed away. When you’ve shared your life with a spouse and companion for decades, (good or bad relationships) it can be like losing the foundation of your existence when that person dies. For this reason, it’s important to provide extra emotional and social support to recent widows and widowers while they are grieving. Do more than bring flowers; go the extra mile and spend more time with the senior in the days and weeks following his or her loss. This can make all the difference for the bereaved senior’s well-being, and it helps to encourage a healthy grieving process rather than a spiral into prolonged depression and isolation.
13. Identification of Socially Isolated Seniors by Public Health Professionals
Often family members will be the first to notice when social isolation is affecting a senior’s well-being, but not all seniors have the benefit of loved ones who live nearby and can check on their welfare. For this reason, we should all be on the lookout for signs of social isolation problems so that appropriate interventions can be arranged. After all, nothing can be done to help seniors if no one recognizes that they are socially isolated. Health professionals, and family members are not always aware of social isolation.
14. Help Out a Caregiver in Your Life
Family caregivers who are helping to care for an elderly loved one probably don’t consider themselves seniors, and are also probably more concerned about the social well-being of the person they are caring for than their own. But many caregivers are 50+ and caregiving itself can actually trigger social isolation “Caregivers often work by themselves, and more than half (53%) say they have less time for friends and family. All too often, they don’t call doctors when they are sick, and they have little or no time to exercise or eat well. Studies show that up to 70% of caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression.” If you are a caregiver, remember to take care yourself. It’s not just the person you are caring for who’s at risk of social isolation, it is you. And if you know a caregiver, or a loved one in your family who shoulders the burden of caregiving for an elderly family member, take whatever steps you can to make that person’s life easier and to allow them to have a social life of their own.
Nutritional Considerations for Seniors and the Elderly
Good nutrition for the elderly is vital to health, vitality and quality of life.
Nutrition for the elderly is essential and, done properly, can lead to healthy aging. Senior nutrition is not complicated, but as we age we do have some different health and nutritional concerns of which we need to be aware.
Why it matters
Good nutrition for the elderly helps to reduce the risks of such things as osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, and some forms of cancer. Additionally, the government reports that eating well can reduce the risks of stroke, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia. Furthermore, for those who already have some of these conditions, good nutrition can help to manage them better.
Comprehensive Senior Housing and Home Care Solutions 519-376-7396
Welcome to CCS Agency. Our private practice provides a variety of healthcare and social services for adults and seniors in Canada. We work with clients who experience a wide range of issues due to physical and emotional hardship. Our caregivers are highly qualified Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers who upgrade their skills regularly through their membership in the NACCPSW.
Caring for a family member takes time, patience - and a lot of strength. If you are just beginning this journey, or finding it hard to continue providing the best possible care to your loved one, call us and we can help you find some solutions.
Home is where you will be the happiest if you have supports in place. Knowing where to start is by examining the needs and having an in-home assessment of the home and types of care you need. Counselling and Support are available because sometimes you need to just talk out your needs and have someone listen and help you find some solutions.
Help Comes in all forms,
All CCS Agency Caregivers are members of the National Association of Certified Caregivers/Personal Support Workers
If you are responsible for the care and well being of a senior in Grey or Bruce County, CCS Agency wants to hear from you. Please take a moment to read the following letter regarding our wide range of services: