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Health & Wellness

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

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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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Benefits of Singing

As the holiday season is in full swing, so are the many traditional and current Christmas carols found on the radio, music streaming services, in retail stores and perhaps even on our own devices! But did you know that music, and in turn, singing is actually beneficial to our health?

Singing can significantly help seniors afflicted with neurological diseases by improving brain functionality. Singing is also a great activity that produces more oxygen in the blood, improves circulation and deep breathing, resulting in less stress and more “feel good” hormones.

Promotes Engagement in Social Activities

In addition to several health benefits, being a part of a choir or social singing group, even casual sing-a-long activities, can create a positive social network for your elderly loved one. This regular activity builds new relationships and creates something for them to look forward to.

Improvement in Brain Health

Singing can directly impact the emotional regulators within the brain. This can help improve a person’s overall mood by the release of certain chemicals like dopamine. Singing touches on four of the five key cornerstones of brain healthmovement (being active), discovery (learning new things), relaxation (stabilizing mood) and connection (networking with others).

Overall Quality of Life

Older adults that sing at home or as part of a group may experience some of the following quality of life changes:

  • Increased self-confidence
  • Improved interaction with other people in social settings
  • Reduced anxiety and aggression
  • Fewer incidences of depression
  • Fewer hospital visits
  • Ability to communicate even with speech difficulties
  • Improvements in the tone of their speaking voices
  • Easier breathing
  • Improved posture

Aas the holiday season can be a source of loneliness and sadness for our elderly, singing those well-known childhood favourites can make a difference in the lives of seniors. Its benefits include the development and maintenance of friendships, increased happiness, uplifting and positive feelings, and reduced anxiety.

So crank up those old favourites and sing along! If you don’t know the lyrics, here is one of our favourite tunes, also ranked #1 Christmas song, you may remember!


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

Loneliness in Seniors During the Holidays

For many of us, this is a season of joyful celebration, the gathering of friends and family, and the sharing of traditional meals, desserts and stories. But for some, especially over the past year, it can be a time of sadness remembering those whom we’ve lost and those who are unable to visit.
 
For the elderly, especially those in long-term care facilities, the holidays can place a tremendous amount of anxiety, sadness, confusion, and loneliness. Many families may continue to struggle in visiting their loved ones in care facilities, nursing homes, and even private homes due to COVID restrictions. This makes the holiday season especially challenging.
 
Remind your loved ones that although you may not be able to come together as you once did, you are still thinking about them. Share your photos, stories, and festive feasts through phone calls and video chats. Send them Christmas cards, treats, and photos in the mail. Check with your loved one’s facility director to see if window visits can be arranged or even limited visits with immediate family members are possible.
 
Here are a few ways to help reduce your senior loved one with feelings of loneliness during the holidays:
  1. Keep the line of communication open with your senior loved ones. Actively and honestly listen to their stories and their thoughts.
  2. Check with your loved one’s religious organization to see if they can offer social and/or spiritual support.
  3. Share cheerful cards, photographs and drawings from friends and family to encourage positivity and lighten their thoughts on missing loved ones.
  4. Remind them how important they are to your life and the lives of your family. Show them they are loved.
  5. Decorate their room in a festive way and add their favourite homemade treat.
Feelings of loneliness may not manifest themselves the same way with every person. Some may exhibit negative and challenging behaviours as they cannot express themselves verbally, others may share stories of loved ones who have passed and express how much they are missed, and some just may want you to listen as they share their memories while holding your hand. However they express themselves, continue to remind them that they are loved, remembered and appreciated…just as you are to them.

 


Ideal Caregivers 4u is there when you cannot be.  Remember us during the holidays as we can provide services ranging from Companionship and Meal Assistance to 24-hr Care.
Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998.
We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

Stretches For Seniors

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Dental Hygiene Care for Seniors

 

As we age, we tend to think that dentures are inevitable, but that’s simply not always the case! In fact, according to the Ontario Dental Hygienist Association, many seniors are keeping their natural teeth longer. This is due to many seniors maintaining their proper dental hygiene and mouth care.

 
 

Establishing good habits when it comes to mouth care is as important to those who have their natural teeth, a partial denture, and even for those who have full dentures. The ODHA states that there is growing evidence linking periodontal (gum) disease to a variety of serious health conditions including heart disease, stroke and respiratory disorders. Diabetes and oral health are also connected. Gum disease may worsen existing diabetes or increase complications associated with diabetes.

 

Prevention & Maintenance

 

Proper Nutrition

In earlier blogs, we have discussed the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating right. Having proper nutrition not only improves overall health, but oral health as well. The food we eat supplies the nutrients that the body, bones, teeth and gums need to renew tissues and help fight infection and disease, including periodontal (gum) disease. If you have questions regarding proper nutrition, check out Canada’s Food Guide here for some options and insights, or consult your doctor.

 

Daily Hygiene = Brush, Floss, & Rinse!

 

According to the ODHA, these three components to oral hygiene care can help to prevent gum disease and help to support strong natural teeth and healthy gums.

 

Gently brush natural teeth twice a day, including the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of both the top and bottom teeth. It is also important to brush the tongue, gums and roof of the mouth to tone gum tissue and remove bacteria.

 

Floss once a day to clean between the teeth to help remove any debris and buildup. Your dental hygienist may provide you with floss options according to your needs or the needs of your elderly loved ones.

 

Using a fluoridated mouth wash, rinse to decrease cavity susceptibility, if recommended by a dental hygienist.

 

Denture Care

Dentures, whether full or partial, can accumulate food and plaque and need to be cleaned. They should be brushed thoroughly to loosen food debris and reduce odours within the mouth. Dentures should be brushed thoroughly twice a day using warm water and mild soap or denture paste. Commercial denture cleaning solutions do not replace the need to brush.

 

The ODHA recommends the following tips for Denture Care

  • Brush over a sink partially filled with water and lined with a washcloth to prevent breakage in the event the denture is accidentally dropped.

  • Do not use toothpaste or cleansers that can scratch, and never use bleach to clean or soak dentures as it can discolour and weaken them.

  • When not wearing dentures, or at night, soak them in water or a denture cleaning solution to prevent drying.

  • After any soaking, rinse dentures in warm water.

  • Denture cleansers may be toxic if ingested. They should not be gargled or swallowed.

Cancer Screening

Regular visits to a Dental Professional provides an opportunity for the screening of oral cancer. It’s recommended that between visits, we check our mouths and watch for red or white patches, sores that do not heal after a few days, swelling or changes in colour of the tissue. Also, check lips, all areas of the tongue, gums, palate, floor of the mouth and inside the cheeks. Report any changes to a dental professional

 

Proper care of natural teeth and dentures can extend their life and contribute to a healthy mouth. Making regular visits to your Dental Hygienist and Dental professionals can also ensure that your teeth, dentures, and mouth are healthy and clean.

Scoliosis in Older Adults

When we think of Scoliosis, we often think about it affecting mainly adolescents, however, adult-onset Scoliosis is quite common. Degenerative Scoliosis, or adult-onset scoliosis, is described as a side to side curvature of the spine. This curvature is caused by the degeneration of joints and the moving parts of the spine called the intervertebral discs.

How does it develop?



Naturally, with age, our bones and joints start to degenerate, causing the spine to curve. However, in the case of scoliosis, particularly called idiopathic scoliosis, there is no known cause. Some studies have discovered that adult-onset Scoliosis may actually have been pediatric scoliosis that was undiscovered until adulthood. Depending on the type, scoliosis can appear in childhood, adolescence, or in older years after puberty and when the spine has fully developed, allowing the curvature to be more evident.

Signs & Symptoms



Most typically, the sign of scoliosis is the curvature of the spine. A scoliosis curve usually looks a bit like a backward C shape and involves the spine bending sideways to the right or left. Beyond the curvature of the spine, most cases of adult scoliosis don’t cause symptoms, though pain may develop. Back pain may occur for many reasons including arthritis, inability to stand upright, or weakness.

Leg pain or numbness/weakness may develop if there is pressure on the nerves in the lumbar spine.

In some cases, changes in the body may include height loss, imbalance, muscle spasms, and uneven alignment of the pelvis and hips.

Treatment 



Many cases of adult scoliosis do not require surgery. Treatments may include:

  • pain medication (over the counter)

  • core strengthening exercises to strengthen your abdomen and back and to improve flexibility

  • physical therapy

However, in some cases, surgery is the only option, and often the last option due to the risks involved. Surgery is often considered an option in order to reduce the severity of pain, to help treat the spinal imbalance that causes the individual to have difficulty with mobility, and finally, surgery may be considered as a means to improve the overall quality of the person’s life.

Prevention

Adult scoliosis cannot be prevented. For individuals with idiopathic scoliosis, the cause of the condition is unknown. Degenerative scoliosis happens over time as the body ages. Therefore, it is important to incorporate regular low impact aerobic and core strengthening exercise programs in your daily routine. Also, if you smoke, you are advised to quit, as smoking has been shown to speed up the degenerative process.