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Health & Wellness

Strength & Balance Exercises Part 2

In our second installment of fitness activities to improve or maintain your strength and balance, we are focusing on “levelling” up your activity. We do this in a variety of ways. It could be by increasing the time spent performing an exercise (i.e. extra 5mins), adding the number of repetitions to an activity (i.e. 15times instead of 10), or holding a stretch for a longer duration (i.e. try an extra 10seconds).

Another way of challenging yourself, when you’re ready of course, is by adding more challenging exercises or poses like the ones below.

Before you start:

  • If you are new to exercise or have not been active in some time, speak with your doctor to see if these exercises are right for you.
  • Remember, if you feel pain, shortness of breath or dizziness while doing any of these exercises, please stop and talk to your doctor.

Wall Push-ups

  • Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height.
  • Keep your heels on the floor.
  • Slowly lower yourself toward the wall bending your elbows while keeping your back straight. Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Slowly extend your arms to return to start position. Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Keep elbows soft (not locked). Repeat.

Hip Flex

  • This exercise is a stage 2 lift.
  • The knee of your support leg should be slightly bent.
  • Lift one leg toward chest and hold for 2 seconds, then lift leg higher and hold again.
  • Slowly return to start position.
  • Repeat using the other leg.

Sit-to-Stand

  • Sit towards the front of the chair with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Lean slightly forward.
  • Stand up slowly, using your legs, not your arms.
  • Keep looking forward. Stand tall.
  • To sit: lean slightly forward, bend your knees and slowly lower your buttocks back into the chair.

Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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Strength & Balance Exercises

During the winter months, it’s often a challenge to be active, especially outdoors. But, there are ways that we can maintain good health, increase muscle function, and improve our balance and flexibility, even while indoors.

In our two-part series, we will be focusing on Strength and Balance Exercises.

Strength and balance activities are often overlooked when we begin an exercise routine. However, strength and balance are just as important as popular endurance activities, such as walking on the treadmill or cycling. In fact, if you are looking at ways to improve your daily tasks and help to prevent falls, strengthening your muscles and improving your balance is key!

Before you start:

  • If you are new to exercise or have not been active in some time, speak with your doctor to see if these exercises are right for you.
  • Remember, if you feel pain, shortness of breath or dizziness while doing any of these exercises, please stop and talk to your doctor.

Some things to remember when you begin an exercise routine is to wear comfortable clothes and supportive shoes, such as running or walking shoes. Consider warming up with 5 minutes of walking or marching on the spot before beginning any activity. Cooling down in the same manner always helps to repair any muscles and lower your heart rate to a comfortable rate.

The following exercises are not meant to raise your heart rate significantly and are considered low-impact. However, ensuring you have a sturdy chair (no wheels) to hold on to and using slow and controlled movements should help you in maintaining the position and repeating as necessary. breathe normally and slowly. Don’t forget, you can start off slow by doing each exercise 5 times and then building up to 15 times when you can.

The exercises will get easier as your strength improves. When this occurs, simply increase your repetitions or hold the position for longer (ex. up to 10 seconds). Challenge yourself only when you feel steady and assured that you are building strength and balance. This can be achieved by holding the chair with only one hand or working your way up to simply your fingertips or no hands at all! Safety is key and if you are unsure or become unbalanced, reach out to the chair and slowly work your way back again.

Hamstring Curl

  • Stand with feet slightly apart.
  • The knee of your support leg should be slightly bent.
  • Slowly bend your knee, bringing your heel toward your buttocks.
  • Only bend your knee, stand tall.
  • Hold for 2 seconds and return to start position.
  • Repeat using other leg.

Small Squats

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Slowly push your buttocks back while bending your knees.
  • Hold for 2 seconds and return to start position.
  • Keep your chest and head up.
  • This is a small squat so don’t bend too far.

Back Leg Raises

  • Stand with feet slightly apart.
  • The knee of your support leg should be slightly bent.
  • Slowly raise one leg back, keeping your back straight.
  • Hold for 2 seconds and return to start position.
  • Repeat using other leg.

Side Leg Raise

  • Stand with feet together.
  • The knee of your support leg should be slightly bent.
  • Slowly lift one leg out to the side, keep back straight and tall.
  • Keep foot pointed forward.
  • Hold for 2 seconds and return to start position.
  • Repeat using other leg.

Flamingo

  • Stand with feet slightly apart.
  • The knee of your support leg should be slightly bent.
  • Stand and lift the right knee, by sliding the right foot halfway up the left leg.
  • Hold the position for 2 seconds and return to start position.
  • Repeat using other leg.

**Next week, we will take the movements up a notch with a few more challenging moves you can try!


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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Benefits & Sources of Beta-Carotene and Zinc

In the final blog of our series on the Immune System and ways to support and maintain it, we are discussing the benefits and sources of Beta-Carotene and Zinc.

What is Beta-Carotene?

Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and other vegetables, that gets converted into Vitamin A – an essential vitamin.

It is a powerful antioxidant that has a number of benefits. It can:

  • reduce inflammation
  • boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body
  • improve cognitive function and reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline
  • maintain skin health and appearance
  • support eye health and prevent eye diseases

Sources of Beta-Carotene

As mentioned, this nutrient is found in colourful vegetables such as carrots with its vibrant orange colour. It can also be found in sweet potatoes, apricots, grapefruit, leafy greens like kale, onions, pumpkin, and squash.

What is Zinc?

Zinc is considered a trace mineral. It is an essential nutrient for our immune system to function and to maintain our health.

Found mostly in our diet, zinc provides a number of benefits, such as the prevention of zinc deficiencies, reducing cold symptoms, healing wounds, reducing symptoms of diarrhea, and may slow the process of age-related eye disease (macular degeneration).

Sources of Zinc

  • whole grains
  • milk products
  • red meat
  • poultry
  • legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, and baked beans
  • nuts, such as cashews and almonds
  • shellfish
  • seeds, such as pumpkin and sesame

Remember, before adding vitamin supplements, always speak to your health care provider as many supplements may counteract with specific and prescribed medications. However, introducing small nutritious dietary changes to your daily routine will benefit your overall health and support your immune system for the prevention of certain diseases and overall functioning.


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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Sweet Potato & Zucchini Hash

One of the best ways to support your immune system and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle as we age is to ensure you are getting the proper nutrients at every meal. To achieve this, consider using locally grown produce that is in season. It not only benefits your community but your health as well.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of betacarotene, which can be converted to vitamin A and help support your immune system and gut health. Its low glycemic index makes it ideal for diabetics, too!

You may be surprised that these traditionally Central and South American potatoes are commercially grown here in Ontario! In fact, Ontario sweet potatoes also contain fibre and are fat and cholesterol-free!

Try this delicious and versatile dish at any meal and enjoy the benefits of this seasonal tuber!

Sweet Potato & Zucchini Hash – Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. (450g) sweet potato, peeled, cut into cubes
  • 2 glove garlic, chopped
  • 1 ½ tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 eggs
  • handful parsley, chopped
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Cook the sweet potato for 3-4 mins in a pot of boiling water, then drain.
  2. Heat the ½ tbsp. of the oil in a pan, over medium heat.
  3. Add the sweet potato, zucchini, onion and garlic, sauté for about 5 mins, until cooked and browned. Season to taste with salt & pepper, and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in the pan and fry the eggs to your liking.
  5. Divide the vegetables between 4 plates, top with fried eggs and sprinkle with parsley. Season with cayenne pepper, salt & pepper, to taste and serve.

Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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3 Ways to Protect Yourself from E-mail Scams

For our blog today, we are happy to invite our guest contributor, Remi Goc, President of Ignite Web Solutions to share his top 3 tips for protecting yourself from online fraud.

Technology has sure made a lot of things simpler in life. We can instantaneously share pictures and thoughts with our family and friends. But it has also made the criminals’ life easier, they don’t even have to leave their house to persuade someone out of their hard-earned money.

Most of us have received them or heard about it – the email scam. There are many variations, such as the CRA scam – and who could forget the long-lived, and subject to many jokes… the “Nigerian prince” scam.

While the actors and storylines of the scam will change with time, there are a few small steps we can take to protect ourselves from falling prey to email scams, such as:

1. Email scams work because they target our emotions – greed, shame, fear, anger – scam emails are heavily focused on triggering an emotional response which kicks you into action without really thinking about it. If you find yourself putting logic aside due to the context of an email then set that email aside and come back to it later when the surge of emotion has subsided.

2. They are loose on details. Sure, a scammer might obtain your email address (it’s not hard to do at all) – but they won’t have other information on you. If you find an e-mail light on personal details (such as your name, address or other identifiable information) then it could be another clue that what you have received is a scam email.

3. Language – remember when teachers used to tell us that spelling and grammar matter? Scammers didn’t learn this lesson and their language will be subpar with noticeable errors. Reputable companies, banks, and even the CRA will always proofread their communications material!

For best results use a checklist to see how many red flags an email triggers. For example, if an email checks the boxes of the three points described here then the chance that it’s a scam increases greatly. 

Scams are about triggering us to react quickly and avoid the “or else” scenario – but they all have something in common – the transfer of money from your bank account to someone else.

So if you find yourself on the receiving end of an email supposedly sent by the lawyer of a long-lost millionaire relative who has no descendants so the money is yours for a small fee – remember the wisdom of the following words… if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.


Ignite Web Solutions
www.ignitewebsolutions.com


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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Vitamins C & E

In our continuing series on understanding and supporting our Immune System, today’s blog features the benefits of adding Vitamins C and E into our daily diet.

Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help to destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. With ageing, the immune response becomes reduced or impaired. This can greatly affect our daily functioning and may lead to infection and risks pertaining to our health and wellbeing.

Antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E, in your diet, have long been thought to offer some level of protection against the oxidative damage that is involved in those with Alzheimer’s disease and general cognitive decline in the normal ageing process.

Benefits & Sources of Vitamin C

Vitamin C protects against deficiencies in the ageing immune system. It increases white blood cell production, which aids in protecting us against infection and disease. Vitamin C also provides antioxidant protection and shields white blood cells from any free radicals – atoms that can damage cells, causing illness.

Other benefits of Vitamin C include protection against cardiovascular disease, eye disease and increase iron absorption – which is needed to reduce the risk of anemia and other conditions.

Vitamin C can be found in supplement form or in nature, such as in red bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and lemon.

Benefits & Sources of Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a nutrient that is important for maintaining the health of our vision, reproduction, and the health of our blood, brain, and skin. According to some sources, Vitamin E improves the immune and inflammatory responses of older adults.

This nutrient also has antioxidant features that protect us against damages to our cells. Some research shows that a high dose of vitamin E may delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in those who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Other benefits include improved symptoms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Natural sources of vitamin E include canola oil, olive oil, almonds, peanuts, leafy greens such as spinach, some meats, and dairy.


Supplementation

Always speak with your doctor or medical practitioners before starting any vitamin supplement routine. Much of our vitamin nutrients can be gained through dietary changes and natural foods. There are some risks, especially with Vitamin E supplements that may actually increase the risk of certain diseases.


In conclusion, vitamin deficiency is just one of many concerns that affect older adults. Seniors are prone to a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be lessened with the help of medical professionals, and professional in-home caregivers who can provide meal preparation, medication reminders, or meal assistance.

If you or your elderly loved one requires assistance in these areas, contact us today at 613-769-1669 for information on how we can support you.


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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Benefits of Vitamin D

In our weekly series on how to boost your Immune System for a stronger, healthier way of life, we will be focusing today’s blog on the benefits of Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin.

In Canada, it is estimated that 32% of Canadians have insufficient Vitamin D levels in their bloodstream. This occurs more so in the winter months than during the summer and can cause the softening of bones or osteoporosis (fragile bones) in adults.

What is Vitamin D?

Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to your skin being exposed to the ultraviolet rays found in sunlight. It also occurs naturally in foods, such as certain fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks, and in fortified dairy and grain products. Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body use calcium and phosphorous to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Some research says that Vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of viral infections, including respiratory tract infections, by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Due to its importance for strengthening and maintaining healthy bones, a deficiency in Vitamin D may lead to symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness. Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive impairment in older adults.

This deficiency can be caused by a number of circumstances such as reduced sunlight, especially in the winter months, or by consuming more strict plant-based diets (i.e. vegan diet), as most natural sources of Vitamin D are animal-based.

What foods provide Vitamin D?

Accoding to Health Canada, the major sources of vitamin D are fortified foods. In Canada, cow’s milk and margarine must be fortified with vitamin D. Goat’s milk, fortified plant-based beverages (e.g., fortified soy beverages), and some calcium-fortified orange juices are permitted to be fortified with vitamin D. Cheese and yogurt can be made with vitamin D-fortified milk, however, the final product does not contain as much vitamin D as fluid milk alone. The only natural sources of vitamin D in the Canadian food supply are fatty fish and egg yolks. Because it is a commonly consumed food, fluid milk is a major dietary source of vitamin D.

Other examples of foods containing Vitamin D are:

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Sockeye salmon
  • Sardines
  • Eggs
  • Beef liver
  • Orange Juice
  • Mushrooms
  • Tuna

Supplements

Increasing your daily Vitamin D intake using over-the-counter supplements is one way to improve your health. As of February 24, 2021, Health Canada increased the maximum amount for vitamin D supplements sold over-the-counter to 2,500 IU per dose for adults.  They recommend a dietary allowance of 600IU (15mcg) per day for children and adults under 70 years of age. For those over 70, a daily allowance of 800IU (20mcg) is recommended.

Always speak with your doctor or medical practitioner before adding certain foods and supplements to your daily routine.

For more information on how we can help you with meal preparation and assistance, visit our website or connect with us today!


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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Immunity Support

Building and maintaining our immune systems are vital during any age and season, however, as the winter season is in full effect, your immune system requires some extra protection to avoid colds and flu.

What is the Immune System?

The immune system is a complex organ system in the body comprised of white blood cells, skin, mucus and bacteria. Its central role is to seek, recruit, attack and destroy foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses that enter the body. There are two main levels of immunity:

1. Innate immunity system

This system provides a quick first line of defence and acts against a wide range of pathogens. The innate immunity system refers to nonspecific defence mechanisms that come into play immediately or within hours of an antigen’s appearance in the body. These mechanisms include physical barriers such as skin, chemicals in the blood, and immune system cells that attack foreign cells in the body. The chemical properties of the antigen activate the innate immune response.

2. Adaptive Immune System

This level refers to antigen-specific immune response. The adaptive immune response is more complicated than the innate one. The antigen first must be processed and recognized. Once an antigen is identified, the adaptive immune system creates an army of immune cells specifically designed to attack that antigen. Adaptive immunity also includes a “memory” that makes future responses against a specific antigen more efficient.

How to Support your Immune System

The immune system is precisely that – a system, not a single entity. For it to function well, it requires balance and harmony. Researchers are still exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response.

In general, a healthy lifestyle is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every system in your body, including the immune system, functions better when following balanced and healthy strategies such as these:

  • Eating a whole food diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly
  • Staying hydrated
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Reducing stress
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Not smoking

Speak with your health care professional for ideas on how to best support your immune system and visit our website for some healthy recipes and activities to keep you and your immune system strong and protected.


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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New Year’s Eve Tips for Seniors

New Year’s Eve is approaching! It’s a wonderful time to celebrate the goodness of the past year and renew our hopes for the upcoming year.

Gathering with family and friends is particularly important on this day, however, there are some tips we must consider when celebrating New Year’s Eve with our senior loved ones.


Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Onta

#NewYearsEve #activitiesforseniors #NYEwithseniors #seniorcare #seniorliving #healthcare #ottawahomecare #elderlycare #assistedliving #caregiving #homehealthcare #dementia #eldercare #elderly #alzheimers #parkinsons #health #mealassistance #homecare #ottnews #seniorhomecareinottawa #mealsonwheels #senior #dementiacare #Ottawa #ottawaretirement #retirement #ottcity #LHIN

Seated Chair Exercises

As you gather during the holidays or when visiting elderly loved ones any time of year, keeping active is key to ensuring continued mobility and flexibility.

We have researched 5 exercises that could help you, a loved one, or a person in your care. These are low-impact seated chair exercises, however, always consult your doctor before adding any range of motion or exercise activities to your routine.

Overhead Bend & Reach

  1. Gently raise both arms above your head.
  2. Lower your right arm and lean to the right. Feel the stretch in your left side.
  3. Hold for at least 15 seconds.
  4. Return to your original position with your arms over you head.
  5. Drop your left arm and lean to the left.
  6. Repeat 2 to 4 times on each side.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

  1. Lift your arms near the level of your shoulders with your elbows. pointed straight out to the side.
  2. Bring your elbows back while you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Don’t left or shrug your shoulders as you are squeezing.
  3. Hold for 6 seconds.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Knee Extension

  1. Straighten and lift one leg, and hold while you slowly count to 5. Be sure you don’t lock your knee.
  2. Slowly lower your leg back down.
  3. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  4. Do the exercise with the other leg.

Neck Rotation

  1. Keeping your chin level, turn nyour head to the left, and hold for at least 15 seconds.
  2. Turn your head to the right and hold for at least 15 seconds.
  3. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each side.

Marching in Place

  1. Sit with your feet slightly apart, and keep your hands at the edge of your chair or on the armrests.
  2. March in place, lifting your knees, one at a time, high towards the ceiling. Remember to breathe normally.
  3. Keep marcching in a smooth rhythm for 1 minute. Work up to marching 5 minutes or longer.

Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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