Home Care Professionals in the GTA

If you’re looking for the best caregiving services for seniors in Toronto, Ronnie’s Home Care Services can help you. We understand how important it is to hire quality elderly/senior home care in Vaughan and the GTA so that you can put your aging relative and family at ease. Finding the right home care service provider is one of the most important things to consider for your relative, and here are some of the benefits we can provide to you.

caregiving services for seniors in toronto

Professionally Trained, Experienced, and Certified Caregivers

We focus on training our staff to handle all kinds of seniors including those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Our caregivers delicately handle all of their duties to ensure the comfort and provision of your relatives with the following:

  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Walking assistance
  • Hygiene and personal care support
  • Assistance with transportation to appointments or errands
  • Medication reminders

Unique Benefits of Our Caregiving Approach

We provide quality customer service and different areas of care. Our staff is what makes our team succeed at providing the best home healthcare services for seniors in Toronto. Our seniors and their families love our caregivers, and our caregivers love their jobs. We employ people who are passionate about providing in-home care services in Vaughan and Toronto—people who go above and beyond the call of duty. We also like to keep our seniors’ families involved by providing daily reports, so they can see how their relatives are progressing each step of the way.

Our caregivers also carry a log book around the home so families can see the latest updates upon arrival. We use phone apps to provide an additional layer of security. Caregiving staff members can communicate with the office and each other through the use of the staff, to stay informed with each client’s service. Our staff can also communicate their availabilities, time off requests, and any incidents during their shifts that require additional attention. The app uses the phone’s GPS capabilities to ensure that when our staff arrives to work, the team knows where they are at all times.

Get Home Care Services in the GTA

If you’re looking for trustworthy and customized caregiving services for seniors in the GTA, consider Ronnie’s Home Care Services. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive in-home care services, senior and elder care services, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, as well as palliative healthcare services to the residents in Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Caledon, Markham, Aurora and the GTA. All of our staff members are required to have a CPR and first aid certificate, a clean record, Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC), and a PSW certificate (if necessary). We are available from four hours a day to 24/7 live-in care. For more information about our services, contact us today.
(905)266-0383 or (289)857-7468.

Photo credit : iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

Why Is Palliative Care Important for Cancer Patients?

Palliative care for cancer patients in Toronto and Vaughan is an extremely important service for the community. Also known as end-of-life or comfort care, palliative caregiving services for seniors in Toronto are designed to ease the side effects and pain for people at the last stages of their life. Here is everything you need to know about palliative care at home in Vaughan and Toronto, and how they can help your loved one have a better quality of life.

palliative care for cancer patients toronto

What Is Palliative Care for the Elderly?

Palliative care for the elderly is designed to help them have less severe symptoms of aging and illness. It often includes medication, nutritional support, relaxation techniques, spiritual support, emotional support, and other therapies. For seniors with cancer, treatments may also incorporate the use of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. Palliative care provides many options for end-of-life care, and it is very important to ask questions to get a full understanding of each treatment in your care plan.

When Is Palliative Care Used in Cancer Care?

Whether the cancer patient is a senior or a child, palliative home care is available. Family members work with the healthcare team to help manage symptoms so the patient is as comfortable as possible from the point of the terminal diagnosis, onward. Family members may also be supported with counselling services, so they can cope with the diagnosis.

Questions to Ask before Hiring a Home Care Agency

What Issues Are Addressed in Palliative Care?

The goals of palliative care are to create a comfortable end-of-life experience for both the patient and their family. Here are some of the functions of this service:

  • Treating symptoms: pain, nausea, shortness of breath, insomnia, physical issues associated with cancer and its treatment
  • Ensuring patients and caregivers understand the diagnosis and goals of treatment
  • Providing guidance for treatment options and decisions
  • Working with the healthcare team, providing referrals to other providers if needed
  • Offering support for patients and their family’s emotional, social, spiritual, and practical needs
  • Providing support for caregivers and relatives/friends

Can My Senior Loved One Receive Palliative Care at Home?

Yes, palliative home healthcare for seniors Toronto is available. Depending on the health of the patient, they can discuss which options would be best. Especially for patients who are in palliative care for a longer period of time, or who need to be near to their family and friends, home care is a great option. It is also available in a doctor’s office, hospital, cancer centre, or a long-term care residence.

What Is the Difference between Palliative Care and Hospice Care?

The difference between palliative care and hospice care is that palliative care is provided each step of the treatment process. It includes an extra level of support for those at any stage of cancer. Hospice care, however, is a specific type of palliative care. It is only provided to those who are expected to live for six months or less. When a person requires hospice care, a member of the palliative care team can help them make the transition, while providing for the emotional issues and concerns that come along with it.

Ronnie’s Home Care Helps Your Loved One Suffering from Cancer

If your loved one requires palliative care, Ronnie’s Home Care Services can help you. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive in-home care services, senior and elder care services, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, as well as palliative health care services to the residents in Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Caledon, Markham, Aurora and the GTA. All of our staff members are required to have a CPR and first aid certificate, a clean record, Police Vulnerable Sector Check (PVSC), and a PSW certificate (if necessary). We are available from four hours a day to 24/7 live-in care. For more information about our services, contact us today.
(905)266-0383 or (289)857-7468.

Photo Credit: iStock.com/bowdenimages

Eight Signs that Your Aging Parents Need Help from Expert Caregivers

If you have been caring for your aging parents, it may be difficult to tell when it’s time for professional caregivers to step in. They may not be aware of all the changes to their behaviours and thinking, but if you pay attention to warning signs, you can seek out in-home care in Vaughan or Toronto to help you. Aging parents, especially those who live alone, have to manage medical and mobility responsibilities, and may have concerns relating to their physical, social, and psychological well-being. Adult children should be aware and lookout for signs of changes in their parents’ attitudes or behaviour. These changes may be undetectable over the phone, so taking time to visit with your aging parents will help you get a clear perspective of the situation.

home healthcare for seniors toronto

Clear Warnings Signs That Home Healthcare Services Are Needed

To prevent any harm to your aging relatives, be sure to look out for the following warning signs. If you do notice any of these signs, it is a good idea to look into home healthcare for seniors in Toronto. Home care services in Toronto are able to look after the needs of your loved one and provide the best quality care so that you can have peace of mind. In-home care services take a personalized approach, providing care to meet the needs of each individual client. These caregivers are able to help deal with the growing changes that are associated with aging, so that your family’s stress levels can be reduced, and so that your aging relative is provided for in terms of their social, physical, and psychological needs. Here are signs that could indicate that it’s time to seek out in-home caregivers.

  1. Forgetting to take medications
  2. Symptoms of depression
  3. An unkempt or cluttered house
  4. Missed doctor’s appointments
  5. Mail and bills left to pile up
  6. Rapid mood swings or unusual changes in behaviour
  7. Inability to remember names of familiar people or objects
  8. Difficulty or inability to perform routine activities of daily living including dressing, bathing, eating, and/or walking.

Get In-Home Care from Ronnie’s Home Care Services

If you have noticed any of the above warning signs, and are ready to look into in-home care services for your aging parents, Ronnie’s Home Care Services can help you. We provide professional senior care in Toronto and Vaughan, and are dedicated to providing comprehensive in-home care services, senior and elder care services, Alzheimer’s & dementia care, as well as home healthcare services to the residents in the Vaughan area, including but not limited to Richmond Hill, Caledon, Markham, Aurora and the GTA. All of our staff members are required to have a CPR & first aid certificate, clean record, vulnerable police screening, and a PSW certificate (if necessary). We are available from four hours a day to 24/7 live-in care. For more information about our services, contact us today at
(905)266-0383 or (289)857-7468.

Photo Credit: iStock.com/DGLimages

The Importance of Palliative Care for Cancer Patients

Although dying is inevitable, it is still a scary and stressful situation to accept and deal with for patients and their families. Palliative care for cancer patients in Toronto is extremely vital because it improves the quality of life during these last stages and gives families the comfort in knowing their loved one is ending their days as peacefully as possible. If you are curious about how palliative in-home healthcare for seniors in Toronto and Vaughan works, here’s what you need to know.

palliative care for cancer patients toronto

Why Do We Need Palliative Care?

Palliative home care services are important because they attend to the patient’s psychosocial and spiritual needs. These services bring patients and their families comfort and understanding for their concerns. These are the things that matter most to patients and their families in the last stages of life, and that is why palliative care is one of the most important services to provide when it comes to good quality of end-of-life care.

What Are the Benefits and Goals of Palliative Home Care?

Getting palliative care at home in Vaughan or Toronto is more favourable than getting care in a hospital. It is designed for those who need care after a serious illness, and it focuses on relieving suffering and improving the quality of life for patients and their families. It is not intended to cure the disease itself, but provides all patients with relief from pain, stress, and symptoms. In many cases, palliative care includes special attention from oncology doctors and nurses, and a specialized team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists. Also known as supportive care, it is designed to help people live as well as they can for as long as they can even though their illness may be terminal. Palliative care can help create a situation that supports the emotional and physical needs of the patient, makes pain relief and suffering a top priority, and provides active support to loved ones and caregivers as to how they can take better care of their relative at home.

Get Help from Ronnie’s Home Care Services

If your loved one requires special palliative care, Ronnie’s Home Care Services can help you. We provide professional senior care in Toronto and Vaughan, and are dedicated to providing comprehensive in-home care services, senior and elder care services, Alzheimer’s & dementia care, as well as palliative care services to the residents in the Vaughan area, including but not limited to Richmond Hill, Caledon, Markham, Aurora and the GTA Area. All of our staff members are required to have a CPR & first aid certificate, clean record, vulnerable police check, and a PSW certificate (if necessary). We are available from four hours a day to 24/7 live-in care. For more information about our services, contact us today.
(905)266-0383 or (289)857-7468.

Photo Credit: iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

What Are the Benefits of Home Healthcare Services?

If you have an aging loved one who is recovering from an illness, or who has dementia or Alzheimer’s, home care services in Toronto are a great option for you. There are many benefits of home healthcare services; as you consider long-term care option for your relative, here are some of the benefits that you should be aware of.

home healthcare for seniors toronto
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Independence

One of the best benefits of home care services for seniors is that they can maintain a level of independence. Even if they are recovering from an illness, statistically speaking, they heal faster at home than at a hospital. For example, a caregiver might only arrive at the home to help the senior get dressed or go shopping. They can provide daily living aids like grab rails in the bathroom, or provide mobility equipment such as a walking stick or frame, so that the senior can independently move around their house.

Increases Comfort

Home care services allow seniors to stay in an atmosphere that they are most comfortable with. This is a huge factor to their emotional health and physical health, too. Since home care services make it easier for friends and family to visit, there is a reduced risk of social isolation, which can stabilize and improve their emotional well-being. Seniors who have to change their environment are often very stressed out and it may take a long time for them to adjust. This is why home care services are so beneficial. Individuals can stay comfortable, in an area that is familiar to them, and they will be surrounded by the people and things that they love.

Caring Companionship

When an aging relative is recovering from an illness, or dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s, families can often feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Home care services can alleviate some of the stress, and give the family peace of mind and reassurance because families will know that their loved ones are being taken care of by someone who is a helper and a companion to them. Some home care service workers can stay around for longer parts of the day, so that your relative can feel safe and in good company.

Skilled Personalized Care

Individuals who receive care in their own home can benefit from undivided attention. Some service providers even allow you to have the same worker to help you at home. This builds a more skilled and personal connection between the individual and their caregiver. Since home care services are tailored to individual needs, you can have service that adjusts to your level of need. For example, if you only need help with regular household chores and to keep the house clean, that is a service that the company can provide. Or, if you are struggling with isolation and need help with social activities, caregiver can help you there, too. Depending on what your needs are, the services you receive will be packaged to meet them.

Better Health Outcomes

Another great benefit of home healthcare services is that they directly improve the health of the individual. People who are treated for illnesses and taken care of at home, have a decreased risk of suffering from infections when compared to a hospital. Statistics have even shown that people who receive home healthcare are readmitted less to the hospital than their counterparts who do not receive such services.

Home Healthcare for Seniors in Toronto

If you are looking for home healthcare for seniors in Toronto, Ronnie’s Home Care Services can help. We provide all kinds of home healthcare services for our clients, and cater our services to meet your specific needs. First, we interview our candidates over the phone; then follow up and invite them to an in-person interview. Then, we personally contact their references. All of our staff members are required to have a CPR & first aid certificate, clean record, vulnerable police check, and a PSW certificate (if necessary). For more information or to arrange special care services with our team, contact us today at (905) 266-0383 or (289) 857-7468.

Five of the Earliest Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

When most people think about Alzheimer’s disease, the first symptom that comes to mind deals with memory problems. However, the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s involve much more than forgetfulness and misplaced memories. It is very important to be aware of what these surprising symptoms are, so that you can take quick action to get educated and begin treatment. Here are five of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s.

alzheimer home care toronto
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Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Mood and Personality Changes

Behavioural and personality changes are some of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s. One was to know if your loved one is experiencing mood or personality changes is if they act out or engage in inappropriate activities. The ability to make decisions can be affected by the disease, which prevents people from being able to discern right from wrong.

Frequent Falling

When researchers observed the brain scans of aging patients who fell most frequently, they discovered that there was a connection between frequent falls and early onset of Alzheimer’s. This may seem like a very strange connection, but if your loved one is falling frequently, be sure to tell your doctor as it may be an indicator of a cognitive problem associated with Alzheimer’s.

Staring without Focus

Alzheimer’s changes cognitive and executive functioning in the brain. This means that the ability to recall facts, information, and memories, is damaged. In other words, the brain becomes unfocused, so staring in a distant and detached way may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. There may also be signs of other underlying conditions, so to rule out Alzheimer’s or any other health issues, speak with your physician and undergo a proper assessment.

Eating Inappropriate Things

An early sign of Alzheimer’s involves patients who eat more than normal, yet still tend to lose weight. Some researchers believe the change is related to the metabolism. Be sure to observe your aging relatives’ eating habits, as some will even eat inedible objects like paper. Since Alzheimer’s affects the brain’s memory, patients may receive hunger signals but may be unable to discern how to respond to them.

New Problems with Words

If your loved one has trouble following or joining a conversation, this may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. For example, they may stop in the middle of a conversation and be unable to continue their train of thought or may repeat themselves. Vocabulary issues; trouble finding the right word for a place, object, or person; or calling things by the wrong name may also be an early sign of Alzheimer’s.

What to Do if You Suspect Alzheimer’s?

If you notice any of the above symptoms, or any unusual behaviour with your loved one, the worst thing you can do is to ignore them. Instead, schedule an appointment with your family doctor because early detection can help you get the maximum benefit from available treatments, and you can explore options that will help your loved one maintain a level of independence for a longer period of time. You may also have the opportunity for your loved one to participate in clinical drug tests that can help advance research for a better solution.

For family members who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you can make them more comfortable and keep them safe by hiring Alzheimer’s home care in Vaughan or Toronto. Consider giving Ronnie’s Home Care Services a call. We provide professional senior care in Toronto and Vaughan, and are dedicated to providing comprehensive senior in-home care in Vaughan, senior and elder care services, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, as well as home healthcare services for seniors in Toronto and the surrounding cities. All of our staff members are required to have a CPR & first aid certificate, clean record, vulnerable police check, and a PSW certificate (if necessary). We are available from four hours a day to 24/7 live-in care. For more information about our services, contact us today.

Caring for a Loved One Who Has Dementia

Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a real challenge if you are unprepared. That’s why home healthcare for seniors in Toronto is a reliable solution. Professionals at these companies know all there is to know about caring for patients with the illness, and making sure they are as comfortable and safe as possible. Dementia care for seniors is a great idea for families, but here are a few other ways you and your family can better understand and care for your loved one with dementia.

Adult Son Comforting Father Suffering With Dementia
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Get Educated and Communicate Well

While a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s can have a strong effect on everyone in your family, you do not have to be overwhelmed. First, evaluate the situation, and consider getting a second opinion. If the diagnosis is accurate, it is time to prepare. The first step in preparing for a relative with dementia is to get as much education as possible. This illness differs from person to person, and it is important to distinguish which of the 86 types of dementia is affecting your relative. Depending on their specific diagnosis, there may be different ways that you can help them in terms of memory, medication, and behaviour. Whether they are most affected by memory loss, behavioural and mood changes, hallucinations and delusions, or the inability to attend to daily activities, your understanding and education of their symptoms can help you and your family do a better job at caring and meeting the needs of your loved one.

Empathize with Their Feelings

In many cases, the patient with dementia is aware that they are not the way they used to be. This can lead to feelings of fear, depression, and loneliness. The most important thing you can do for your loved one is to help them see that you deeply care and empathize with them. People with dementia are prone to becoming easily confused about where they are. Try to imagine what it must be like; what if you suddenly found yourself disoriented in an unfamiliar place, unsure of the year, your identity, or how you got there? This can be a scary and unsettling experience for dementia patients, and your compassion and comfort to your loved one will go a long way.

Plan for the Future

When caring for someone with dementia, the only thing that is inevitable is change. At no time should you get too comfortable with anything that has appeared to be consistent. Family caregivers should always be prepared in case their loved one may need professional support in a residential setting. Your family should be prepared to provide financial support, and identify the most appropriate options in your area.

Reach Out to a Home Care Agency

If your family is having a hard time supporting a relative with dementia, it is a good idea to consider live-in care for dementia patients. Ronnie’s Home Care Services provides dementia care in Toronto, and our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive senior in-home care in Vaughan. Our services include senior and elder care services, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, as well as home healthcare services in the Greater Toronto Area. All of our staff members are required to have the following: a CPR & First Aid Certificate, clean record, Vulnerable Police Check, and a PSW’s certificate (if necessary). We are available from four hours a day to 24/7 live-in care. For more information about our services, contact us today.

Elderly Care Tips: Thanksgiving Safety for Seniors

Preparing for the holidays is an exciting time for the family, including senior relatives. To make sure you and your family have a fun holiday, it’s important to pay attention to these Thanksgiving safety tips for seniors. Simple changes you make around the home will prevent any accidents, ensure that no one gets hurt, and encourage the family to have a fun and safe time. Here are some important safety tips to remember this season.

iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages
iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Cook Healthy Foods

Many seniors do not eat a healthy, balanced diet, so when you are preparing dishes for the holidays, be sure to create meals that are full of vitamins and nutrients. If your loved one is on a special diet, be sure to limit salt, sugar, fat, or whatever ingredients they need to watch out for. The food should also be easy to chew and swallow.

Ensure a Secure Home

If your family is having Thanksgiving dinner at your senior relative’s house, be sure to make sure the area is safe. You can check the refrigerator for expired food, investigate the house for cleanliness, have a look at how the pets are doing, and speak to the neighbours to find out if any unusual behaviour has been noticed. You can also speak to your loved one to find out how they are doing, if anything is bothering them, and if there is any way you can help. Following your instincts in a situation like this can go a long way.

Thanksgiving Travel Safety

The holidays and changing seasons may call for bad weather, so be sure you plan your trip safely if you are going a distance to visit your loved one. This will also help reduce stress, if you are travelling with your senior relative. Making the drive safe can be simple: make sure you have enough gas in the tank, plan your route and prepare a detour route, and make driving arrangements specific to your aging relative if they cannot travel on their own.

Avoid Safety Hazards

To ensure the home is safe, you should also do a quick check. If your relative needs a walking aid, make sure they are using it. You should also make sure they do not stand on ladders or chairs to reach objects. If there are rugs that can easily be tripped over, remove them. You should also inspect the smoke and fire detectors annually to ensure that your relative is not in danger. It is also a good idea to avoid using candles and leaving them unattended during the holidays.

Get Help from Ronnie’s Home Care Services

Making sure your home is safe over the holidays by paying attention to these senior care tips will go a long way in terms of safeguarding your aging relatives. If you need help, consider giving Ronnie’s Home Care Services a call. We provide professional senior care in Toronto and Vaughan, and are dedicated to providing comprehensive in-home care services, senior and elder care services, Alzheimer’s & dementia care, as well as home healthcare services to the residents in the Vaughan area, including but not limited to Richmond Hill, Caledon, Markham, Aurora and the GTA. All of our staff members are required to have a CPR & First Aid Certificate, a clean record, vulnerable police check, and a in some cases a PSW’s certificate. We are available from four hours a day to 24/7 live-in care. For more information about our services, contact us today.

Toronto’s Advocacy Centre for the Elderly offers tips to prevent abuse

Longtime Toronto advocate offers insights to Etobicoke women’s group

Etobicoke Guardian

Elder abuse – it can happen to anyone.

Trust your instincts. Ask questions. Protect yourself, and help others.

Lawyer Judith Wahl shared that advice Monday, as well as insights from her nearly four-decade career, 32 years of it as executive director of downtown Toronto-based Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, Canada’s first legal clinic for the elderly.

“It can happen to any one of us,” Wahl told approximately 100 women during her Stop the Violence elder abuse talk at a Canadian Federation of University Women Etobicoke Valentine’s breakfast in support of Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter in Etobicoke.

“Be informed. Ask questions. Don’t hesitate to ask, ‘why?’ Bring issues to people who can affect change, like management in a care home. If something doesn’t sound right or feel right, take the time to think about it, and ask questions.”

During Wahl’s ACE tenure, the community legal clinic for low-income seniors across Ontario has taken on cases, including:

·         Denial of government pension benefits or services

·         Poor care in long-term care homes or other seniors’ residences

·         Inappropriate use of Power of Attorney given to a relative or friend

·         Money or property taken by someone in a position of trust or authority without consent

·         Refusal by a retirement home to allow a resident to return from hospital because they say a person needs too much care

Wahl, 64, who will retire this month, recalled ACE’s first case soon after it opened in 1984. A woman called to ask about her power of attorney, which her son had promptly used to take all her money, and flee the province.

“’I don’t want to collect the money from him. He’s going to inherit from me, eventually,’” Wahl recalled the woman saying. “’It’s my son. I don’t want him to have problems with the police.’ It was more important to her to keep her relationship with him. Anybody can be a victim of elder abuse.”

Like many of ACE’s clients, Wahl said, the woman did not want to proceed to court.

“People do a risk/benefit analysis and determine they have too much to lose,” Wahl said.

Wahl urged people considering a power of attorney to give it only to someone they can trust.

“If you can’t trust the person you’re naming, why do a power of attorney at all?” she said. “If you do, review it every year. Think about whether your son or daughter will still do a good job. Sometimes, sons or daughters have gotten into financial difficulties, and they see mom’s nest egg.”

Elder abuse is defined as misuse of power and authority, Wahl said.

“Most elder abuse is by family members,” Wahl added.

ACE deals with all forms of elder abuse, including sexual, physical and financial, Wahl said.

In Ontario, there is a mandatory legislative requirement for long-term care and retirement home staff to report any abuse related to poor care or financial abuse.

However, there is also voluntary reporting under Substitute Decision Maker legislation, which enables anyone to report their concerns about loved ones to the Ontario Public Guardian Trustee.

“The trustee has a duty to investigate allegations of a person who is incapable and at risk of serious harm,” Wahl said.

CFUW Etobicoke and Ernestine’s have a “long-term partnership,” said Kathleen O’Gorman, Ernestine’s manager of engagement and development.

“The women here are passionate about change, about the cause. It means a lot to us, and to our ability to understand the violence has to be interrupted. It takes a community, and community efforts, to interrupt the violence.”

CFUW Etobicoke was established in 1952 with 10 members. Today, it has approximately 300 members, hosts speakers at its monthly meetings, and offers 44 interest groups.

The club supports Ernestine’s, Women’s Habitat shelter, Daily Bread Food bank, and other local agencies.

“We heard increasingly about older women seeking shelter. We always think of young women and children. We felt the need to explore this,” said Gail Rutherford, CFUW Etobicoke past president.

CFUW Etobicoke also offers annual bursaries to the University of Toronto, York University, Ryerson University and the University of Guelph-Humber.

Minister of Seniors Affairs Dipika Damerla said she wants ageism to be a focus of her new ministry.

This year, there will be more Canadians over age 65 than children younger than 15 for the first time in Ontario and in Canada, the minister noted.

“There is an entire cohort of seniors living very healthy, vibrant lives,” Damerla said. “The one thing I’m hearing from seniors is — ‘what retirement? This is our second act. This is our third act.’ There’s a desire to continue to live lives full of dreams and goals, maybe different dreams and different goals now that they may not be chained to a 9 to 5 job.”

How delirium can be different than dementia: Caregiver SOS

Delirium can happen to those who suffer from dementia, but it can also indicate other medical issues.

My mom has mild memory problems and got the flu. We ended up at the emergency room, really sick and they called her delirious.

Scared

The word “delirious” gets thrown around in casual language, but has a different meaning when in the medical sphere. Delirium usually happens to people as a result of an imbalance due to a chronic illness, metabolic imbalance, medication issues, surgery, or withdrawal from alcohol. Infection can cause it as well.

This topic is especially relevant as flu season is starting. Talk to your doctor about the flu shot.

Symptoms of delirium include disorganized thinking, memory problems, restlessness, change in energy, concentration and being withdrawn; or the person may be rambling and have delusions.

The medical literature talks about two kinds of delirium: one called “hypoactive” and one called “hyperactive.”

Hypoactive delirium is more common with elderly people. They may happen with a person being slow, inactive, being sleepy or withdrawn. It can happen with younger people, too.

The hyperactive delirium is easier to recognize. You see the individual afraid, restless, repeating movements and having hallucinations and delusions. To complicate things further, a person may have symptoms of both simultaneously.

Delirium is not the same as dementia or depression, although it can happen to people who have those illnesses, making it harder to figure out what’s occurring.

The signs and symptoms of a delirium mimic dementia symptoms, so your role (as a family member) is critical in explaining the individual’s baseline function.

In fact, having dementia, Parkinson’s disease or suffering a stroke can predispose you to delirium, as can being elderly, or having had an incident of delirium in the past. Delirium may have one or multiple causes.

It can have a particularly negative impact on a vulnerable brain, impairing the brain’s ability to receive or send out signals.

Some common triggers for delirium include fever, acute infection (like a flu), urinary tract infection, a toxin, sleep deprivation, or anesthesia. Certain drugs for asthma, Parkinson’s, pain and low oxygen can also be culprits.

Seeing a loved one in this state often distresses families, as the person is “not themselves.” They may say or do things that are upsetting.

First and foremost, good medical treatment is essential to managing the issue and the health team will ensure they identify and treat the cause.

Delirium can last from hours to days or even months, and the recovery period is partially dependent on the state the person was in prior to the onset.

Some individuals regain normal function while others may experience long-term impact if they were already compromised prior to their diagnosis of delirium.

Dr. Sid Feldman, head of family medicine at Baycrest Health Sciences explains: “As a caregiver, your job is to help maintain calm, keep things organized and orient your client or loved one. Keep things simple and as stable as possible. Familiar faces are very important but don’t overdo the number of visitors.

“Try to ensure your loved or relative one drinks and eats well. Ensuring they wear any required assistive hearing device and/or glasses is important to create an easier environment. Familiar objects such as blankets and family photos may also help. Rest and quiet are equally important.”

If you are the first person to notice a change, seeking medical attention early is a good idea. Help the nurse or doctor understand what you are witnessing. How long has it been going on? Is there new medication or a sudden change in function? Has there been a recent infection or cold?

Once the treatment starts, its focus is to create the ideal environment to calm the brain and heal the body. Take care of yourself too, as it’s scary and both mentally and physically challenging to look after someone experiencing delirium. Hopefully, their symptoms will settle or be reduced with treatment.

Nira Rittenberg is an occupational therapist who specializes in geriatrics and dementia care at Baycrest Health Sciences Centre and in private practice. She is co-author of Dementia: A Caregiver’s Guide, available at www.baycrest.org/dacg Email questions to caregivingwithnira@baycrest.org