MHC Blog

MHC Blog

Loneliness Impacts Health

Humans are social creatures.   While introverts may need solitude to recharge their batteries on a given day, everyone needs regular social interaction from family and friends.   Seniors are at risk for loneliness when they lose friends / spouses to aging, or if they become isolated due to lack of mobility.   Not only does a lack of social contact put people at higher risk of depression and substance abuse, but it also negatively impacts physical health.

The CBC article below references studies that equate prolonged loneliness to the negative impact of smoking a pack of cigarettes per day.

When My Healthcare Concierge works with seniors and their families, we not only help resolve the homecare or healthcare challenge that generated the referral, but we work to understand our clients interests and history and suggest a daily routine that creates engagement and addresses loneliness.

Studies say loneliness can have a negative impact on your health.

Managing Financial Affairs: It’s Their Money

Whether due to a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s, or simply due to frailty with aging, there may come a time when seniors want or need help in dealing with their finances.   It can be a tricky area, and unfortunately some seniors are victim of financial abuse from their own families.

See below a good article from the Globe and Mail that talks about one families experience.    The key lesson is that it is important for seniors to put mechanisms and plans together when they are still able to.

The article references a 2016 survey by Fidelity Investments which found that just 9 per cent of Americans, aged 50 through 80, thought they would lose their ability to manage daily finances. Meanwhile, 60 per cent said they’d witnessed it happen to a friend or family member. And 40 per cent helped to manage their own parents’ finances.     Clearly there is a disconnect between what people prepare themselves for versus what they witness happening to others.

Given the rapid increase in home values, there is a real problem with some families making decisions to preserve the value of their inheritance instead of using the funds to create the best quality of life for the aging parent, and to respect their wishes.

Wandering is Complicated

Many of the families that work with MHC have a loved one diagnosed with dementia, whether Alzheimer’s or other.   One of the challenges and fears when a loved one is still living at home is wandering.    Families worry about their parent getting lost after leaving the home.

The Toronto Star article below is written by an Occupational Therapist who works at Baycrest.  It outlines that “exit seeking” can be triggered by a whole range of factors from lack of activities in the home, to an emotional response, to discomfort and of course simply forgetting the purpose of leaving the home and not being able to navigate.

The article shows many of the practical strategies that can be deployed to reduce wandering as well as reduce associated risks.   My Healthcare Concierge can implement these strategies for our clients.

Toronto Star Article on Wandering Associated with Dementia

Elderly woman staring out the window. Wandering is often a product of a person with dementia who is not able to express their needs or communicate.

Costs More To Help Frail Parent than Raising a Child to 17

Forbes recently had an interesting article showing that is costs more to care for aging parents than to raise kids.    While the article focuses on the United States, there is likely a similar result in Canada.   It makes the point that governments do more to help families raise kids than to care for an aging parent.


Occupational Therapists at the Forefront of Healthcare

At MHC, we use Occupational Therapists as case managers for our clients, because we believe they are the right health professional to help frail seniors continue to live at home, and maximize their quality of life despite physical or cognitive limitations.

See below a great article from the United Kingdom showing how their public health system is recognizing the importance of the OT role in helping seniors.   The results are better hospital discharges, lower re-admissions and shorter hospital length of stay.

One of the initiatives has an OT riding along with an ambulance that is responding to falls in the home by seniors.     This is what an OT describes doing on one such call in the UK.

“Our first call is to an 85 year old lady found on her bedroom floor by her carer.  Gail checks her for injuries.    I assess her getting on and off the bed, the toilet, and sitting up and down.  I check her cognition.  She is a bit confused as a result of a urinary tract infection.   We get her GP to prescribe antibiotics, and I look at getting a commode and some rails which can be delivered the same day.  I make referrals, arranging wraparound support, ring physiotherapy to make a further assessment, and social services to get her a crisis carer.”

Many Canadians don’t realize the value or role of an Occupational Therapist, but globally there are many examples of innovative ways to deploy their knowledge and skills to improve seniors care.

Guardian Article On Impact of OT’s

Female occupational therapist and elderly woman smiling during session to improve balance and stability in hospital