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The Benefits of Time Outdoors for Seniors – Kingston

Nature has so much to offer us with beautiful sights, sounds, and smells, but it can also be a source of healing that benefits mental and physical wellbeing. The Benefits of Being Outdoors Going outside might not be the first thing that we think of when we consider health-promoting activities, but the reality is that the outdoors can provide a whole host of benefits that can help seniors as they pursue balance and wellbeing in mind, body, and soul. The following are some of the benefits that seniors can enjoy from being outside and spending time with nature: Strengthened Immune Function:Studies have suggested that being outdoors improves immune function by increasing the count of white blood-cells that fight off illnesses. Vitamin D:Without spending time outdoors in the sunlight, it can be challenging to get enough vitamin D, which is crucial for the health of the physical body and the mind. Spending some time outside with healthy exposure to natural sunlight can help to foster better mood and help protect against the development of issues with areas of the body such as the bones or heart. Social Opportunities: Taking part in outdoor activities creates more opportunities for various forms of social interaction and relationship building. Whether it be sitting out in the garden with a loved one, going for a walk with friends, or participating in an outdoor interest group or sport, there are many social activities accessible for that take place outside. Attentiveness:Taking a little break from everything else that is going on in life and directing focus solely onto being outdoors can offer the mind a break from...

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...

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...

Creativity as Therapy: Art and Music for Seniors’ Wellbeing – Kingston

When caring for an ageing loved one, we direct a lot of attention towards making sure that their physical and medical needs are met and attended to. We arrange medical visits, monitor medications, and help with physical and mental exercises prescribed by health-care professionals, all in pursuit of the ultimate goal of maximizing and maintaining the health of the seniors we care about. While these medically focused activities are undoubtedly of pivotal importance, there are also many other forms of non-medical engagement and creative therapies that can have incredibly meaningful impacts upon seniors’ well-being. Alternative and Creative Therapies Alternative and creative therapies are often overlooked because of the fact that they exist largely outside of the bio-medical realm, but looking into creatively driven therapies involving art, music, games, animals, and other hobby related activities can yield huge benefits for many of the seniors who take part in these forms of therapy. The extensive array of alternative and creative therapies that have been made available to seniors over recent decades, including in the Kingston area, is as diverse and varied as the people for whom these therapies were designed. Among some of the more popular creative therapies are those that are art based, such as those that involve music and visual art. Music Therapy Music Therapy is founded on the notion that music can be used as a powerful tool to improve the well-being of seniors by engaging all facets of their being. Listening to, or being part of the creation of music has the ability to awaken and engage emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and physical aspects of identity, and...

Supporting Seniors Through Loss – Kingston

Having someone you love pass away is incredibly difficult and intensely upsetting no matter what stage of life you find yourself in, but for seniors experiencing the stages of mourning and grief can be particularly harrowing. The emotional anguish and devastating sadness that accompanies a loss can influence both the mental and physical health of seniors in substantial and important ways. As we continue to grow older, dealing with death and bereavement becomes something we have to do more and more often as the loss of loved-ones and friends happens more and more frequently when those loved-ones are also growing older and moving into the later stages of their lives. We all know that grief and loss are feelings and experiences that are hard to work through, but it is important to be aware of the particular ways in which seniors can be touched by the emotions, feelings, and thoughts that accompany the loss of someone they love. The Health Implications of Grief The thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we face when we lose someone important to us can be debilitating, devastating, and overwhelming, extending to impact numerous aspects of health as well as our ability to engage fully and joyfully in everyday life. Research has shown that seniors’ immune systems can be compromised in notable ways when they are experiencing grief, as important white blood cells responsible for fighting off bacteria are weakened, making seniors in mourning more susceptible to infections and illnesses. In terms of mental and emotional health, depression is often a natural companion of grief, and seniors may face feelings of hopelessness and sadness that...

The Value of Intergenerational Relationships for Seniors – Kingston

An important and valuable aspect of growing older is building and strengthening connections with people who share similar experiences, and caring for relationships based upon common ground is deeply important. As we move through different stages of life we come to learn and understand how valuable it is to forge connections with peers that are going through the same things we are at around the same time, because similarities often support an important level of understanding between individuals. For this reason, the vast majority of our friends and close relationships often end up being created within the bounds of our generation or within the same general age group as us. Groups that exist within our communities are often separated by age, but the truth is that there are a whole bunch of positive outcomes that can come from bringing people from different generations and age groups together to learn from one another and build strong, valuable, and fulfilling relationships beyond the boundaries of age or generation. The old and the young have more in common than we might initially assume. Existing at either end of the life course both the elderly and youth live their lives largely outside of the realm of adulthood’s notion of ‘objective productivity’, the basis upon which modern societies in the western world assign so much value. The youngest and oldest members of our societies have the purest opportunity to engage and connect with the essence of being alive, valuing and appreciating each moment and all it has to offer in a special and unique way that separates both groups from the determinedly busy and...