Tag Archives: elderly

Dementia and Aging Aren’t Synonomous

25 Jun

I had my introduction to dementia on my uncle’s 91st birthday. He had been hospitalized and it was the first time I heard the term Lewy Body disease. Prior to his late 80s my uncle’s retirement years were anything but typical: at 65 he started a business and ran it quite successfully for well over 20 years. He read voraciously and could converse about complicated subjects with utter confidence.  He lived independently and his only health complaints were poor hearing and arthritic knees.

Looking back, signs of my uncle having dementia appeared long before that visit to the hospital. But I mistakenly believed those indicators were part and parcel with aging. I naively thought his increasing habit of repeating the same story over and over again was funny. It was only after he had several falls and started swearing at me that I suspected something more than normal aging was at play.

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Is it Depression or Dementia?

20 Feb

Depression and dementia share many similar symptoms, including memory problems, sluggish speech and movements, and low motivation. Distinguishing between the two, especially in the elderly, can be difficult.

There are, however, some differences that can help you distinguish between the two.

Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of Dementia

Mental decline is relatively rapid Mental decline happens slowly
Knows the correct time, date, and where he or she is Confused and disoriented; becomes lost in familiar locations
Difficulty concentrating Difficulty with short-term memory
Language and motor skills are slow, but normal Writing, speaking, and motor skills are impaired
Notices or worries about memory problems Doesn’t notice memory problems or seem to care

Mick Jagger Is Going To Be A Great-Grandfather?!?!

22 Sep

Age is not neccesarily a number. But it’s hard not to feel yourself getting older when Mick Jagger Is Going To Be A Great-Grandfather?!?! –


I do wonder if the great grandpa-to-be has given any thought to his final years or a long term care plan.

About that Talk

13 Mar

Earlier this week, I wrote about the importance of talking to aging loved ones about uncomfortable issues. There aren`t many people who like to speak about death — especially their own — but for each and every one of us it’s inevitable. So if I did not convince you earlier, watch this. And then, if you haven’t had the conversation already, go bite the bullet and discuss.

This video was produced for a public awareness campaign to draw attention to the importance of advance care planning. I think the issues deserves more attention which is why I was pleased to find it on the web site of the Canadian Home Care Association. It is associated with a Canadian study(Accept)  relating to improving advance care planning initiatives across Canada.

#Let’s Talk — Depression and the Elderly

15 Feb

Talking about mental health is important. Doing something about ending the stigma of mental health issues is even more important.  No matter what your age, we are all vulnerable. That’s because there are  no age restrictions whatsoever when it comes to mental illness.  Just as more and more organizations are talking about children’s mental health, we need to talk more about the elderly and mental health too.

Dementia and depression are both forms of mental illness and both share similar symptoms.  While dementia is not just an older person’s disease, depression is not restricted to the young or middle-aged either. The elderly can and do suffer from depression.  Ensure the primary care physician is aware of the situation if your elderly loved one is more than just sad and showing signs of any of the following:

  • neglecting his or her personal hygiene,
  • sleeping more than usual or not sleeping at all,
  • refusing to take part in activities previously enjoyed,or
  • gaining or losing an unusual amount of weight.

The physician, sometimes in concert with a geriatric psychiatrist, can determine if medication will make a difference.


Any of the following situations can trigger depression in the elderly:  retirement, death of a spouse or close friend, physical health troubles, relocation to a new home or to a facility, hospitalization, etc.

Depression, whether in the young or the old, should never be ignored.

It is an illness. It is not a sign of weakness, and it is treatable.

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Let’s Talk, Mental Illness

12 Feb

Today seems like a good day to talk about seniors and mental health. Bell is running a public awareness campaign  to help remove the stigma so often attached to mental illness. The conglomerate is even paying five cents every time anyone tweets with the hashtag #BellLetsTalk.  I think it’s is absolutely brilliant. Not only are people opening up about a subject that was once “hush-hush”, but every time someone tweets or talks about LetsTalk, the telecom behemoth comes off winning the corporate social responsibility crown. So on a day when so many Canadians are discussing mental health, let’s talk mental health and the elderly.

According to the Let’s Talk campaign, one in every five Canadians will suffer from a mental illness at some point in his or her life.  But the odds are even higher for those over 65.  According to Baycrest, one in four seniors residing in Canada is living with a mental health disorder. These numbers will only increase as the population ages.

To learn more about programs available through the mental health centre at Baycrest, visit http://www.baycrest.org/care-programs-61.php.

If you want to know more about Bell’s campaign, visit http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/.

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