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Seniors and Sexual Health – Kingston

For many seniors, sex remains an important aspect of their lives in older age, but social taboos often prevent us from having important conversations about seniors’ sexuality. In this day and age, there is greater openness and willingness to have important conversations regarding sexuality, sexual expression, and sexual health than there was even just a decade ago, and a great deal of attention has been placed upon shaping understandings and discussions of sexuality to better promote safe, healthy, and fulfilling sexual relationships. The reality is, however, that these efforts are most often directed towards those in adolescence and adulthood, and very little emphasis has been placed upon working to promote a willingness to talk about the sexualities of older members of the population. Popular discourse tends to support the notion that seniors and older adults lack any form of sexual drive or desire. The common understanding, influenced in large part by the taboo that still accompanies discussions of seniors’ sexualities, is that older individuals no longer take part in sexual activity or have the same degree of sexual desire as younger members of the population. Contrary to these beliefs, however, sexual intimacy continues to be an enriching and important aspect of life for many seniors. Yes, Seniors Are Still Having Sex Sex is an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people, and even with the attempts made over recent years to reduce the negative connotation and taboo previously associated with notions of sex and sexuality, most of us aren’t quite comfortable casually discussing sex in everyday conversations quite yet. Throw in the added variable of talking about sex amongst...

Strategies for Communicating with Seniors with Dementia – Kingston

Communication may become more challenging when a senior is dealing with Dementia. Despite this, it is important not to abandon hope or assume that trying to communicate effectively is a lost cause. Even the smallest or most fleeting of moments during which a sense of connectedness is experienced can be so incredibly meaningful, and there are strategies that can help facilitate and nurture better communication with seniors who have Dementia that can help to bring those special moments to life. Even as new challenges present themselves, remember that there is always room for hope. How Dementia Makes Communication Difficult Dementia alters seniors’ functioning in numerous important ways, many of which can create barriers that make communication a lot more challenging to navigate. The following list outlines some of the behaviours that may come into play with Dementia that can inhibit seniors’ ability to communicate as effectively as they once did: Describing people or objects rather than calling them by name Difficulty ordering words and formulating coherent sentences Forgetting or being unable to find a word Losing train of thought easily Making up new words to replace lost ones Repeating words or phrases Relying on gestures rather than speaking verbally Reverting to a mother-tongue or first language learned The extent to which seniors display these behaviours is dependent on many factors, and can differ day-to-day. Communication may flow more easily on one day than it does on the next because of conditions such as sleep quality, stress, symptoms of other health conditions, or effects of medications. Strategies for Communicating Whenever we are in a social or interactional situation with other...

Occupational Therapy for Seniors – Kingston

Seniors dealing with new realities in older age might find Occupational Therapy helpful. Occupational Therapy can help seniors to better deal with challenges and make arrangements that support them as they continue living independent and enriching lives. What is Occupational Therapy? Occupational Therapy (OT) is a type of therapy that helps individuals continue to live full, productive, and independent lives by strengthening their ability to perform important activities or ‘occupations’. Occupational Therapy differs from Physical Therapy because OT focuses on cultivating and strengthening the ability to perform daily tasks or activities, while Physical Therapy (PT) focuses on improving physical mobility. The overall goal that exists in Occupational Therapy is to help in the process of building up better self-reliance by working through physical challenges and making environmental adjustments to provide seniors with the best opportunities to continue to take part in the everyday activities that give them a sense of independence, empowerment, and fulfillment in their lives. How Seniors Can Benefit from Occupational Therapy Every senior has their own personal set of needs, goals, and challenges that differ based on their personal circumstances. Occupational Therapy involves a process of identifying areas of need and working with the Occupational Therapist to determine how best to build and support independence. The following are a few examples of the areas of seniors’ lives that Occupational Therapy can target: Fall Prevention: Falls are some of the most prevalent causes of injury for seniors, and Occupational Therapists can help seniors to find the best tools, practices, and strategies to help prevent falls. Whether this be through home adjustments or physical practices, Occupational Therapy can...

Playfulness for Health and Happiness – Kingston

The opportunity to be playful and take part in activities we enjoy is something most of us see as a luxury to be saved for after all the important tasks have been completed, but playing around is actually an important health promoting activity. Today’s society places a great deal of value upon the notion of being busy, having a packed schedule, taking part goal-driven tasks, and constantly having an unending list of things to get done. Along with this fact, we see a significant devaluation of activities and interests that do not necessarily result in tangible or objectively productive outcomes. What is important to understand amid these common ideologies and systems of valuation, however, is the reality that playfulness is meaningful and beneficial in its own important and unique ways that make it valuable for people of all ages, including seniors, to prioritize being playful and make having fun a regular and dependable aspect of their lives. What Constitutes Play? ‘Play’ can be characterized in many different ways, and every person will likely have their own unique and personal understanding of what activities count as playful within the context of their own lives. The essential idea that is part of all understandings of play is that playfulness is the spirit that is involved when we take part in activities for no reason other than to experience the joy that they provide, rather than with the goal of achieving a particularly productive outcome. Any activity that is performed solely for enjoyment and fun without any other purpose is a playful one. The Values of Playfulness There are so many wonderful...

Helping Seniors Manage Knee Pain – Kingston

Our knees endure a great deal carrying us around for so many years, so they tend to become a more troublesome spot as we reach older age. Gravity, time, and general wear all have an impact on the state of our knees, and all of these elements in combination with one another over the course of the many years that seniors have been walking, add up to create issues that can interfere with seniors’ mobility. Things That Contribute to Knee Pain In addition to the general wear and tear of the knees that occurs over the course of many years, there are also other conditions and factors that can cause occasional or persistent knee pain for seniors. These can include, but are not limited to: Obesity Trauma or Injury History of High-Impact Use (Such as sports or exercise) Osteoarthritis (cartilage breakdown) Overuse Alleviating Knee Pain There are many ways to help manage the knee pain that seniors may begin to face, and the best options for each senior are dependent on the personal circumstances of their health and lifestyle. Some seniors may have to have surgery in the form of a knee replacement, a procedure that removes damaged bone and cartilage and replaces it with a synthetic joint. Others will not need to go as far as surgery, and will be able to alleviate or manage their discomfort through physical therapy, or appropriate pain killers prescribed by a healthcare professional. Talking though all concerns and options with a healthcare professional is the best place to start, so schedule an appointment with a doctor should pain start to cause concern...