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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...

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...

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...

Considering Seniors’ Nutrition in The Winter – Kingston

When it comes to good eating habits, the winter can add some barriers that make it harder for seniors to get all the vitamins and minerals they need to keep healthy and balanced. When the winter weather hits and cold weather is in full force, seniors may find it more daunting to think about venturing out to the grocery store on a regular basis to get fresh produce, and might find themselves resorting to more prepared and packaged convenience foods. On top of this, there is a tendency for people to find themselves wanting just to eat comfort food when the weather is cold, which is absolutely fine as long as there is some balance and seniors are making sure that, along with those comforting foods that maybe aren’t the healthiest, they are also getting in ample fruits, vegetables, and nutrients. Keeping Things Healthy and Balanced Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables seems easier in the summer months, when produce is plentiful, so many fresh things are in season, and things just seem more available. Fruits and veggies are, however, just as important in the winter as they are when the weather is warm, there might just need to be a different approach that makes healthy food remain accessible to seniors when it is cold out. Stock Up: If one of the issues at play is that seniors are finding it more challenging to make their way to the store to buy fresh foods to eat with their pantry staples, make veggies easier to stock up on. Try buying frozen fruits and vegetables or produce that will last...

What to do with the Cold-Weather Blues? – Kingston

With the arrival of late-autumn and early-winter, it is time to start thinking about the all of the elements of health that need to be tended to in the cold-weather months. Managing all of the factors that come with the colder weather can be challenging for all of us, but can be especially difficult for seniors. Making sure that seniors remain safe and comfortable within their homes through the fall and winter seasons requires that attention be payed to some important factors. As cold weather and shorter days set in, we are forced to deal with the many things that come along with cold weather seasons. We ensure that we, and our loved ones, have appropriate clothing and comforts available to combat and manage the colder temperatures, both within the home and outside, and we make appropriate upkeep and safety arrangements to deal with rain, snow, and ice. It is important also, however, to make sure that we recognize and direct attention to the impacts that these colder and darker seasons can have upon mental health and wellbeing of our senior loved ones. Seasonal Affective Disorder Seasonal Affective Disorder, often referred to as “SAD”, is a mood disorder that cycles with the seasons. It is a form of depression that is related strongly to seasonal changes in light, and affects most people in the late fall and winter when days are shorter and sunlight is limited. It is speculated that the shorter days disrupt our bodies’ circadian rhythms, as well as change levels of serotonin and melatonin. Symptoms of SAD can often begin to manifest in late autumn and...

Hoarding and Diogenes Syndrome in the Elderly – Kingston

Holding on to things that bring us joy can be important, but taking the habit of collecting and keeping items to an extreme can become a problem for some seniors. Diogenes Syndrome, also referred to as Senile Squalor Syndrome, is a behavioural disorder faced by some seniors that manifests in hoarding and other behaviours related to lifestyle and cleanliness that can be harmful to seniors’ safety and wellbeing as well as their physical and mental health. Why Seniors? The intersections that can exist between varying biological, environmental, and situational elements of older age mean that seniors are more disposed to engaging in hoarding and other behaviours connected to Diogenes Syndrome. Physiologically speaking, some health conditions, such as dementia and impairment of the brain’s frontal lobe, can contribute to hoarding behaviours, as can certain genetic predispositions. On the other hand, diverse factors such as traumatic events, feelings of isolation, lack of stimulation, and aspects related to elements of day-to-day life, can generate or intensify these behaviours and the ways in which they come to impact seniors’ lives. Behaviours Connected to Diogenes Syndrome Diogenes Syndrome can come in the form of numerous behaviours in varying degrees and levels of intensity depending on the personal circumstances of the senior in question. Some of the harmful behaviours that can be connected to Diogenes Syndrome may include: Unwillingness to Accept Help Social Withdrawal Neglect of Self-Care Lethargy Laziness Lack of Shame Domestic Uncleanliness Distrust of Others Distorted Sense of Reality Detachment Compulsive Hoarding of Items/Objects Apathy Tidying Up and Clearing Out For seniors who have chosen to continue living in their own homes, a...