src="//"> seniors health | Boomers & Beyond
Aug 222017

(NC) Did you know that some of the vaccines you received when you were young won’t protect you forever? While you may know of a handful of vaccinations that are needed in adulthood, there are some that you probably didn’t know require additional doses.

“When you get vaccinated against a disease, you build up your immunity, making you stronger and more resistant to that disease,” explains Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health. “It’s important for adults to keep their vaccinations up-to-date, especially seniors and those with high-risk medical conditions.”

The protection offered by some vaccines only lasts for a certain amount of time. Having the right vaccines according to your age will ensure you keep yourself and those around you healthy.

The vaccine that protects against pertussis or whooping cough, is required once in adulthood. Vaccines that protect against tetanus or lockjaw, and diphtheria — a serious disease of the nose, throat and skin — are required every 10 years. Pneumococcal vaccine that protects against pneumonia and the shingles vaccine are recommended at age 65.

If you have special medical conditions or other high-risk factors, you may need additional vaccines. Women who are thinking about having a baby should also make sure they are up to date with their vaccines to protect themselves during pregnancy to keep the baby from contracting a serious disease. Talk with your doctor or nurse practitioner, or the local public health unit to learn more.

You may also need vaccines when you travel outside Canada. Check in with your health professional two to three months before you travel, especially if it’s a country where vaccine-preventable diseases exist.

More information about Ontario’s publicly funded immunization program and school immunization requirements can be found online at Find your local public health unit at

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.

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Aug 022017

(NC) Caring for a loved one can be a rewarding experience, but intense or long-term care can often have negative effects on a caregiver’s health and well-being. If you’re feeling stressed and overburdened as a member of the sandwich generation — those who care for both aging parents and young children — it’s important to know that there are plenty of options that can help.

Respite care is a type of assistance that allows the family caregiver to take a break from caregiving. This type of care focuses on helping family caregivers recharge, ease their stress and avoid burnout. Respite care provides assistance and support to the family caregiver. Keeping them healthy and supported results in higher quality time spent together.

Respite care can be provided at home or in a long-term care facility. Care can be provided by friends, family members, volunteers or a home health care service provider. Some examples of respite care services include personal care, companionship, meal preparation, light housekeeping and more.

Respite care also has benefits for the person receiving care by developing and nurturing their social, recreational and life skills; improving long-term functioning; and preventing crisis situations and elder abuse.

If you’re a caregiver for a loved one, find some time to focus on you as you prepare your family’s fall schedule. Family caregivers often struggle with balancing their supportive role with their own family’s needs and paid employment. This often leads to a situation of feeling overwhelmed and a risk of depression, anxiety, chronic stress, lack of sleep and personal financial problems. You deserve an extra hand or some time to take care of yourself, so don’t be afraid to seek support if you need it.

Find more information at

Jul 222017

(NC) It can be tough juggling medical appointments, care and treatment options when you or a loved one is

“My diagnosis with advanced cancer has brought my family even closer together. They’ve been right by my side this whole journey,” says Lyall Woznesensky. (Photograph by John Lehmann)

struggling with an acute or chronic illness. But research shows a strong support system is crucial for better physical and mental health.

As a former CFL defensive lineman, Lyall Woznesensky thought he knew how to be strong. He’d played one of the toughest games in sport over eight seasons with six different CFL teams across Canada. But when he was diagnosed with advanced cancer in January 2016, Woznesensky realized that the type of strength he needed to face this challenge wasn’t just physical, it was mental and emotional too. And he couldn’t face it alone.

Since his diagnosis, Woznesensky has leaned on the support and positivity he gets from his two sons, siblings, former CFL teammates and especially his wife of 29 years, Debbie.

“My wife is only 5 foot 3, but she’s stronger than me. She’s the pillar of our family. She keeps my two boys strong and me strong even though she’s gone through a lot,” he explains.

The good news is that although the number of newly diagnosed cancer cases in Canada is increasing, survival rates are also going up. Overall, the five-year net survival for Canadians diagnosed with cancer is around 60 per cent, up from 53 per cent in previous decades.

Woznesensky is one of the growing number who are outliving their cancer diagnosis. He recently received good news from his doctor who said his cancer has receded.

Recently profiled in CancerChanged, a photo-documentary series that celebrates those who are living longer with advanced cancer, Woznesensky shares his journey to bring hope to others dealing with a challenging diagnosis. Read more about his story and others online at

Jul 152017

(NC) Getting healthy can sometimes feel like an impossible feat, and you don’t always know where to start. It’s important to begin with simple steps that will become habits. Before you know it, they will be a part of your everyday routine and you’ll see benefits soon.

  1. Keep hydrated. Drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day helps your body function properly. It keeps you hydrated and eliminates toxins. Take a reusable water bottle to work and keep it on your desk as a reminder to sip throughout the day.

  2. Eat colourful food. The more colourful the foods you choose are, the more likely they’ll be packed with vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. For example, adding one serving of vibrant yellow Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit to your daily diet provides all your vitamin C needs and as much potassium as a medium banana. Cut and scoop SunGold kiwis for a tropical sweet snack or pair them with other colourful foods for a nutritious meal.

  3. Add exercise to your day. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to working out — some like yoga classes, others prefer visiting a gym, some like a long walk after dinner. Discover what works for you and add it to your day in the timeframe that suits your schedule. Remember, if it feels like a chore, it will be harder to build into your regular routine.

  4. Rest up. Silence your phone and get a good night’s sleep. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep is proven to help your overall well-being. It is important for maintaining hormonal balance, increasing cognition and memory, and aiding in digestion.

  5. Repeat. Repetition is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The more you incorporate healthy habits into your everyday, the easier it will become.

Jul 102017

(BPT) – When was the last time you and your doctor talked about your hearing?

The fact is, only about 3 in 10 adults who had a physical exam in the last year say it included a hearing screening, according to research conducted by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). That’s a shame, because research shows that hearing health is more closely tied to whole health and quality of life than previously understood — which means that diagnosing and treating hearing loss early may be beneficial on many fronts.

To help people take charge of their hearing health, BHI has created a free digital flipbook, “How to Talk to Your Doctor About Hearing Loss,” which anyone can view and download at

The flipbook provides pertinent information to help consumers start the discussion, which is especially important because research shows that patients are more likely to initiate the conversation about hearing than their doctors are.

To go along with the free flipbook, BHI has put together this short list of reasons to speak up and start the conversation on your hearing:

1. Hearing loss has been linked to other significant health issues. In recent years, a flurry of studies has come out showing a link between hearing loss and other health issues, including depression, dementia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, moderate chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, obesity, an increased risk of falls, hospitalization and mortality, and cognitive decline. With so much new and emerging research, it makes sense for people to talk with their doctors about their hearing as a routine part of their medical care.

2. Addressing hearing loss often has a positive impact on quality of life. Most people who currently wear hearing aids say it has helped their general ability to communicate, participate in group activities and their overall quality of life, according to BHI research. The research also shows that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic, feel engaged in life, get more pleasure in doing things, have a strong social network and are more likely to tackle problems actively. Many even say they feel more confident and better about themselves as a result of using hearing aids.

3. Leaving hearing loss untreated may come at a financial cost. Most hearing aid users in the workforce say it has helped their performance on the job. In fact, BHI research found that using hearing aids reduced the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss. People with untreated hearing loss can lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, the BHI research found. Health care spending may also be affected. For instance, middle-aged adults (55-64) with diagnosed hearing loss had substantially higher health care costs, according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, indicating that hearing loss may place patients at risk for increased health care use and costs. The study authors suggested that early, successful intervention may prevent future hearing-related disabilities and decreased quality of life.

For more information on hearing loss, visit

Jun 292017

(BPT) – Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, with a mere 29 percent one-year survival rate. In 2016, pancreatic cancer became the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States, surpassing breast cancer.
The time frame between diagnosis and death is often short. Only 7 percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive five years. This is incredibly small compared to prostate cancer or breast cancer, where more than 90 percent of patients survive for five years after diagnosis.
“Most people are unaware of how deadly pancreatic cancer is,” says Jim Rolfe, president of Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation. “These chilling statistics can serve as an eye-opener that motivates people to learn more about their risks and contact their health care professional.”
Early detection is important
Although pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly cancers, early detection can significantly impact survival rates. The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer approaches 25 percent if cancers are surgically removed while they are still small and have not spread to the lymph nodes.
Know your family, know your risk
Family history is a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. When you know more about your genetics and which members of your family have been affected by pancreatic cancer, you can better manage your own health.
To make the process easier, the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation has introduced a new series of online tools. Visit to download a worksheet and access other helpful tools that let you explore your family history and become your own health advocate.
Print out the worksheet and call or visit your grandparents, parents and other extended family members. You may not be aware that someone a few generations removed from you was affected by cancer. Having this conversation can be empowering, because once you know your risks you can take charge of your future.
Consider genetic counseling
When considering how personal a cancer or disease diagnosis can be, it is no surprise that medicine is looking at our DNA to uncover information. This makes genetic counselors an important part of the health care team, helping you ask the right questions and uncover familial genetic risk factors.
If you learn you have a history of pancreatic cancer in multiple family members, you should consider meeting with a genetic counselor to assess your level of risk. From there, the counselor and your doctor can decide on a course of action.
To learn more about genetic counseling and find a local certified genetic counselor at the National Society of Genetic Counselors’ database, visit
Take charge and be empowered
“Don’t take a backseat when it comes to your health,” says Rolfe. “The first step toward early detection of pancreatic cancer is understanding your family history. From there, you can make informed decisions that help you live a full, healthy life.”

Jun 222017

(NC) Sizzling summer days call for lounging at the cottage, entertaining in the backyard and adventures outdoors. When having fun under the sun, don’t forget to drink plenty of cool liquids before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration. Here is a breakdown from Health Canada on the differences between popular thirst quenchers.

Water. Water really is the best hydrating liquid. Your need for water will vary depending on your activity level, diet, exposure to heat, perspiration rate and sodium concentration in your sweat. Canada’s Food Guide recommends drinking more water in hot weather or when you are very active.

Juices and sports drinks. Considering that you need to be well hydrated in the heat, choosing these popular drinks can be hard on your wallet and could be dangerous for diabetics. If you want to give plain old water a tasty boost, try flavouring it with natural fruit for a more refreshing and budget-friendly alternative.

Caffeinated beverages. Caffeine is a diuretic that increases urination, but regular caffeine drinkers have adjusted to its effects and may continue to drink it during extreme heat. If you don’t have a regular latte habit, during the midst of a heat wave isn’t the time to start or to increase your consumption.

Fruits and vegetables. Finding it difficult to drink enough liquids with your busy schedule? Fruits and vegetables are a great snack to increase daily water consumption, and their high water content can help improve your hydration. Think fresh watermelon on the patio or orange slices after a soccer match.

Remember that thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration, as many people, especially older adults, may have a reduced ability to feel thirst. Drink before you feel thirsty, and try to leave yourself cheerful reminders, like sticky notes or a colourful glass to drink from.

Jun 032017

5 aging-in-place bathroom upgrades to make while you’re young(er)

(BPT) – Is it ever too early to think about aging in place, and making home improvements that will allow you to remain living in the same house well into your golden years? Homeowners in their 60s and 70s are no longer the only Americans investing thought and money into preparing their homes to meet their needs as they grow older — and that’s good news, according to HomeAdvisor’s 2016 Aging-in-Place report.

“If homeowners start early, they can spend sufficient time researching and planning to avoid wasted time and suboptimal solutions,” Brad Hunter, HomeAdvisor’s chief economist, says in the report. “Homeowners can protect, and possibly even raise, resale value of the home by making (it) more appealing to buyers in all age groups with modifications that have broad appeal.”

The report notes universal design improvements, such as wider doorways and open floor plans, “can enhance the quality of life in a home even as they make the home safer … and can be just as beneficial to a homeowner in their 30s or 40s as they are to a homeowner in their 70s or 80s.”

Universally beneficial upgrades

Incorporating universal design principles into your home can facilitate aging-in-place goals, while comfortably addressing the diverse needs of all ages and mobility levels using your home. Features like single-story design, bedrooms and bathrooms on the ground floor, daylighting through larger windows and skylights, and wider doors and hallways appeal to users of all ages.

However, if you’re considering aging-in-place upgrades, making improvements in the bathroom can deliver the greatest return on your investment. The bathroom is often referred to as the most dangerous room in the home for all ages, but especially for seniors with increased risk of falling in showers or bathtubs, or around the toilet area.

Upgrades to improve a bathroom’s usability and safety can help people remain in their homes for longer. Here are bathroom improvements to consider:

  • Replace a step-in bathtub with a walk-in option — Falls send thousands of older people to the emergency room each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For those with mobility issues and muscle weakness, lifting their legs to step into or out of a bathtub can be a fall risk. Tub manufacturers offer a range of solutions with walk-in bathtubs designed to provide enjoyable bathing with safer accessibility. For example, the American Standard walk-in bathtub includes an outward opening door for easier access, molded seating for added comfort, and convenient grab bars for security. Plus, it offers a Quick Drain feature that removes water from the tub in less than two minutes, preventing the user from getting chilled sitting in the draining water.

  • Shower seating — Showers also present a fall risk that affect people of all ages. Adding seating in a shower — whether a removable chair or bench, or built-in options — can allow you to relax in the shower with less fear of falling.

  • Chair-height toilets — Standard toilets have a bowl height of about 14 to 15 inches. Toilets with higher bowls at 16 1/2 inches, similar to the familiar height of a chair, make it easier for everyone to stand up without a lot of effort. Water-conserving models like the American Standard VorMax high-efficiency Right Height elongated toilet are not only more comfortable, but they also facilitate cleanliness with powerful flushing action and technology that keeps the bowl cleaner. Toilets with built-in bidets are another smart option for those with dexterity and mobility issues, making it easier for them to maintain personal cleanliness without daily bathing.

  • Pedestal sinks — Standard sinks are about 30 inches high. Installing a higher sink to reduce the amount of bending a user needs to do is another worthwhile bathroom improvement. While you can find vanity sinks set at a higher level, pedestal sinks of about 36 inches high have even more advantages. The slimmer, sleeker profile of a pedestal provides more maneuverable floor space for people with mobility issues or those using wheelchairs or walkers. Plus, the reduced footprint makes floor-cleaning easier.

  • Easy-to-use faucets — Twist faucets can be difficult to manage for people with arthritis or decreased flexibility, as well as for small children just learning to use the facilities. Lever-style or single-handle faucets make controlling the water flow much easier for people of all ages and with varying skill levels.

Universal design home improvements can benefit all ages within your home. Making these upgrades at a younger age can prepare your home to meet your needs in your golden years, while allowing you to enjoy the comforts early on.

IMAGE CAPTIONS: ——————————————- Caption 1: This universally designed bathroom suite features an easily accessible walk-in bathtub with a convenient outward-opening door, a 16-inch VorMax Right Height toilet for more comfortable use, and a classically styled 36-inch high Town Square pedestal sink for less bending during use, all from American Standard. Caption 2: The SpaLet AT200 Electronic Bidet Toilet from DXV is the highlight of this bathroom suite. It provides indulgent personal cleanliness, conveniently and easily.

May 262017

(BPT) – Mental health disorders impact thousands of people every day, including many of our friends, neighbors and co-workers. Everyone reading this likely knows someone struggling with mental illness and is aware of the toll it can take on individuals, families and communities. Mental health challenges do not discriminate — they affect people from all walks of life regardless of age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic level.

While stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders impact an estimated 43 million adults nationwide each year, the World Health Organization reports that only about one in four people with a diagnosed disorder is likely to pursue treatment.

Unfortunately, barriers prevent people from getting the mental health care they may need. The reasons are many. Consider these statistics: 4,000 areas in the U.S. have only one psychiatrist for 30,000 or more people; the average waiting time for a first psychiatric visit is 25 days; and stigma is the fourth highest-ranked barrier to help-seeking.

The good news is that people who access care more quickly may be more likely to engage in their treatment and have a better outcome. With the right treatment and support, people can recover from mental health disorders to live healthy, self-directed lives as valuable members of their community. Sometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge from a friend or loved one to help someone take that first step on their path to recovery.

For some people, that best first step may be a virtual visit with a mental health provider via a mobile device or computer. For many, access to virtual care may already be available as part of their health care benefits.

Virtual care can shorten wait times for an appointment, fit work and personal schedules, and eliminate travel time and expense. An appointment conducted in the safe, comfortable environment of home may reduce stigma. And, research shows that outcomes of a virtual visit with a mental health provider are similar to in-person sessions for multiple disorders.

Raising awareness and reducing stigma around mental health issues are keys to supporting well-being within our communities. Today, people can access effective, proven treatment in a variety of formats, including using video-calling technology. It’s up to all of us to reach out and encourage our friends, neighbors and family members in need to access these available resources.

For more information and links to recovery support resources in your area, visit To learn more about available health care benefits, call the number on the back of your health plan identification card.

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