"Senior Years Newsletter"

Your newsletter of information, inspiration and education for seniors, boomers and caregivers on Pre- and Post-Retirement matters.
(Published by Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications - Seniors Services)

- September 2012 Issue -

Hello and welcome to this issue of the "Senior Years Newsletter".

As usual I hope you had a wonderful month and I trust you will find this edition to be as informal, inspirational and educational as promised it would be. Your comments are always welcomed and interesting to me, so do write -- because I care to hear from you.

*Exciting News Item*:

I also have some exciting news to share with you. This month I will be starting an Internet radio show called: "Seniors to Seniors with Dr. Diane".

It is an audio magazine on Seniors issues with reminiscing music from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s discussing issues concerning seniors in our community and the nation in general.

The first show is targeted for September 14, 2012.

The link to it is http://www.michaelharrison.ca/mikeonvoice-radio.html

You can go to it now and enjoy the feed currently playing.

I am researching for a device that will allow seniors who do not have internet to tune in to it. I will let you know of my findings as soon as possible.

Blessings and good health to you,

Diane M. Hoffmann, CPCA
(Certified Professional Consultant on Aging)


Issue Article of the Month

by Diane Hoffmann, CPCA

Prepare for National Seniors Day, October 1st

I'm excited about the up-coming National Seniors Day, October 1st, and would like to stir up everyone to celebrate seniors across the nation.

Often we hear about these special occasions when they are upon us. So this is a heads-up so you will have time to prepare and plan something very special for that day in your community.

We can all think of a senior who has made an impact in our lives. They are our parents, grandparents, mentors, leaders, friends and other loved ones in our lives. They are our volunteers, our neighbours and our role models.

Through their commitment to remain active, engaged and informed, seniors across the country are demonstrating to Canadians of all ages exactly what it means to age well. And we are all benefiting from their ongoing contributions.

Every day, seniors right here in Campbell River are making a big difference in our community. For example, their accumulated knowledge and wisdom from their life experiences which they impart to others.

So let's take the time to celebrate our seniors on National Seniors Day and show our appreciation for everything they do.

Visit a senior in your family and share some photos. Visit a senior in a community home or their own home and serve an afternoon tea, play a game or read a book. Spend a day making artwork or craft projects. Take a senior out for a walk or to a restaurant. Plan a community event in your organization or neighbourhood. Don’t’ stop there, plan and commit to provide a service by the week or month over the next year.

See the many “Tips for Celebrating” at http://www.seniors.gc.ca and get downloadable posters and certificates of appreciation that you can print for your promotions.

Be creative, get some unique ideas of your own. How about baking cookies for an elderly neighbour, hosting a luncheon to highlight the contributions of your experienced co-workers or older volunteers or sending a thank-you note to the seniors you know? Let us be proud of the seniors in our community.

However you choose to express your gratitude, the message that older Canadians are valued will be heard and appreciated.

Let’s make National Seniors Day in Campbell River a celebration and encourage everyone to thank the seniors in their lives.

And don't forget to report what you've done after the event so we can share it in the next newsletter.


1. Feature article

On Death and Dying

I am reprinting this article with permission from the "CPCA Maturity Matters Newsletter", adding my own comments at the end...

Leave it to a three year old to put perspective into 'why people die'. On a spring morning when my grandson was visiting, we walked through RossBay Cemetery.

Tears came to my eyes reading the epitaphs of one loved one after another... One of them was a tribute to a loving wife of more than 60 years - my gosh, 60 years of loving! When he noticed those tears he asked why I was crying. I replied all these people who have died and lived and loved - it's so sad!

He then remarked in his very forthright three year old manner, "Well Oma Jo - it's like this - you are borned, you live and then you die - that's it" . How right he was! We are born - there is a celebration, then we live and we celebrate again, over and over the birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays of our life and traditions. But how about death? Mostly we celebrate that person’s death after they have died.

Recently a memorial concert was held in memory of Kate McGarrigle. I remember the duo of Kate and Anna's music with fondness - beautiful melodies and harmonies. Reading the article of family interaction, frankness and love and the statement of Kate to her sister Anna prompted me to write this article. “Only once did she say to me one evening: ‘How come nobody asks me how it feels like to be dying?’ So, we talked about it, but I can’t remember what we said. We cried, and hugged. What else could we do? What are you going to tell someone who knows that they’re dying?”

My friend Lynn asked me the same question, she felt so alone in her dying, even though her friends and family were always there for the 2 months prior to her death from ovarian cancer. I think she wanted it to go away; she looked for peace and a new spirituality. She asked me to stay with her one night - in her bed to hold her and pray. I could not pray – the words would not come – I was lost in prayer and what to pray for. So I sang – every hymn and chorus I could remember – and she fell asleep in peace. I worry still that I didn’t do enough – say what she needed – but I tried and I was honoured.

Dying is not a communicable disease one needs to shirk away from. Dying is an intimate meeting of heart, body and soul. We celebrate birth - the coming into this world, why not death? Are we afraid of the end because it is an end? Are we afraid of offending the person by asking? Some people are very private about this topic but others are waiting for you to come to them, throw your arms around them and beg them to spill what’s in their heart. How healing for someone dying to be able to spill their soul, all their fear or love of life and loss of the moment to someone willing to listen. It's a gift to listen, to ask, to be sought out and to share to and with.

Gloria Taylor who has Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS, recently made headlines in her legal action stating that she wanted the right to die with dignity and with the help of a doctor. She states “I’m deeply grateful to have the comfort of knowing that I will have a choice at the end of my life - this is a blessing for me .... It allows me to approach my death in the same way I've tried to live my life - with dignity, independence and grace." What hit me about her statement when I first heard this quote on the radio news is that she puts her death and dying in the same line as life and the fullness of having lived it in dignity, independence and grace.

We may fear death and dying - that is our journey to work through in life and come to a place of peace.

It isn't for a choice few - we will all die and will have to come to a place where we accept that we will die as we were born and lived. It – death – is integral to the whole of our life – all of it. I myself will likely fear dying, not the hereafter, but I will want to know that I can speak about it to others and not have them walk away as if I had a communicable disease. I would want those I love and depend on to embrace my dying as they have my living - with celebration, with love and deep respect. If you have a loved one, family or friend, who is at this moment dying, don't be afraid to ask the question yourself - what can I do to help you through this time. Ask - you may be blessed.

Article by: Johanna Booy, CPCA, Medical Exercise Specialist, www.seniorcareandfitness.com

My comments:

On the thought of celebrating death:

I thought that too just recently when I attended a 'celebration of life' for a friend's Mom who passed away. I've had that thought many times during those kinds of occasions. Why don't we celebrate people before they die? is my question. We always speak so well of them at their celebration of life (which we used to call "their funeral" by the way), yet all through their lives, we often give them no praise.

But what about death itself? We avoid talking about that -- I wonder why? We should before people die - way before. I personally don't think that death should be "celebrated" per se. It is part of living on this planet but it is the end of it. One generation follows another. My own mother passed away last year. It is a sad time.

On: "We may fear death and dying - that is our journey to work through in life and come to a place of peace."

I add: The important, indeed critical, thing is that we are ready to meet our Maker. And that must be done before death knocks at our door.

Diane Hoffmann, Editor
(Certified Professional Consultant on Aging and Ordained Minister with IAOG.)


2. Ask the Experts:

What is Sarcopenia?

A - Many people wonder if a particular experience they are having with their bodies falls into the category of ‘normal’ or if they should be alarmed by it.

It is good to know the difference. One normal but life-impacting age-related change that affects our musculoskeletal system (our muscle mass and strength) is known as Sarcopenia.

Sarcopenia is the process whereby our lean muscle mass is progressively replaced by fat as we age. Usually this is a subtle process that goes unnoticed by us as the areas of muscle loss are padded with extra fat. This gradual decline in muscle, however, results in decreased strength and functional ability. (Studies indicate that the loss of skeletal muscle for the average normally healthy person amounts to about 20% between about 30 and 70 years of age).

Evidence of sarcopenia includes increased weakness and poor exercise tolerance. Decreased ligament and tendon strength as well as changes in stature and height reduction are also associated with this change. The most noticeable changes we will experience are an unstable gait, decrease in balance and changes in range of motion causing increased risk of falls.

Despite the fact that we may not run marathons anymore, regular (read: ‘daily’) physical activity to maintain current function is vital. A walk around the block or a swim in your local pool is both relaxing and restoring. Remember to take your pain medication if you need it to keep you moving!

Finally, be honest with yourself about the potential risks (any close calls you have had?) in your home and put in place the aids you may need for getting into and out of your bathtub or moving items that are stored in high cupboards to a more easy-to-access location.

An ounce of prevention ….

Muscle-strengthening and muscle-building exercises can slow this problematic change. So, while sarcopenia may be classified as ‘normal’, there are ways you can care for your body and support it by slowing down the impact of this change.

To your health!

Article by: Laurie Duke, RN, CPCA, www.gigaluma.com


3. Heart Healthy Recipe:

Fish and Vegetable Yogurt Chowder

The fresh vibrancy of plain yogurt adds great freshness to this traditionally heavy soup. Lively colours of vegetables and flavours will make you think of springtime dinners and long for more fish on the table with generous chunks of salmon in each bite. Prep time: 15 min | Cooking time: 18-20 min | Yield: 2 L (8 cups) | Servings: 4

Ingredients :

•10 mL (2 tsp.) canola oil

•2 carrots, chopped

•1 onion, chopped

•1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

•15 mL (1 tbsp.) each chopped fresh thyme and dill or 5 mL (1 tsp.) each dried thyme leaves and dill weed

•2 mL (1/2 tsp) celery or fennel seed, crushed

•1 L (4 cups) no salt homemade chicken stock or sodium reduced chicken broth
•3 skinless salmon fillets, about 454 g/1 lb total

•250 mL (1 cup) low fat yogurt

•25 mL (2 tbsp) all purpose flour

Directions :

1. In a soup pot heat oil over medium heat and cook carrots, onion, celery, thyme, dill and celery seed for about 8 minutes or until starting to brown. Add stock and stir to combine. Bring to a gently boil and add salmon into pot. Cook, stirring gently for about 10 minutes or until salmon flakes when tested with a fork. Break salmon apart slightly into chunks and reduce heat to medium low.

2. Whisk together yogurt and flour and stir into soup until creamy and heated through.

Nutritional Information Per Serving
(500 mL /2 cups; Calories: 338)

Protein: 32 g, T
otal fat: 16 g,
Saturated fat: 3 g,
Cholesterol: 67 mg,
Carbohydrate: 16 g,
Fibre: 2 g,
Sugars: 6 g,
Sodium: 187 mg,
Potassium: 1,164 mg

Developed by Emily Richards, PH Ec. ©The Heart and Stroke Foundation 2011


4. Quote or Joke of the Month:

Last Respects

One day not too long ago the employees of a large company in St. Louis, Missouri returned from their lunch break and were greeted with a sign on the front door:

"Yesterday the person who has been hindering your growth in this company passed away. We invite you to join the funeral in the room that has been prepared in the gym."

At first everyone was sad to hear that one of their colleagues had died, but after a while they started getting curious about who this person might be.

The excitement grew as the employees arrived at the gym to pay their last respects. Everyone wondered: "Who is this person who was hindering my progress? Well, at least he's no longer here!"

One by one the employees got closer to the coffin and when they looked inside it they suddenly became speechless.

They stood over the coffin, shocked and in silence, as if someone had touched the deepest part of their soul.

There was a mirror inside the coffin: everyone who looked inside it could see himself. There was also a sign next to the mirror that said:

"There is only one person who is capable to set limits to your growth: it is YOU."

You are the only person who can revolutionize your life. You are the only person who can influence your happiness, your realization and your success. You are the only person who can help yourself.

Your life does not change when your boss changes, when your friends change, when your parents change, when your partner changes, when your company changes.

Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs, when you realize that you are the only one responsible for your life.

"The most important relationship you can have, is the one you have with yourself."

Author Unknown


5. Did you know?:

Six Ways to Improve Family Communication

A crisis can magnify dynamics forged over decades, and if these dynamics are dysfunctional, the decision-making process will be as well. These tips will help families find their way to a better communication style:

1.Recognize different perspectives.

2.Acknowledge that contributions will not be equal.

3.Gather information regularly and independently, then compare notes.

4.Meet regularly as a family.

5.Brush up on communication skills.

6.Consider outside help.

Source: www.parentgiving.com, Article reprinted with permission from Living Assistance Services, www.laservices.ca

Editor's Note:

If you are interested in communication, please visit my web site http://communicationverbalnonverbal.blogspot.com/ and sign up for my free "tip sheets".


6. Seniors Tip:

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Review

There is a change occurring across the world where the senior population will soon outnumber those younger than them. Never before has this occurred on our planet.

The reasons for this are many, and combined, they have allowed us to see people live longer, to age much more gracefully and with fewer life-limiting health concerns. It has also allowed us as a population to explore new ideas about the retirement years that now expand up to 4 decades of the life experience for many.

Last month I went to a movie with my spouse and after seeing it, I planned immediately to return with some good friends to see it again!

This was one of those movies that captured some of the many nuances associated with coming of age … as a senior!

The movie is called ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and it follows a group of British retirees who decide to move to the less expensive and seemingly exotic India for their retirement.

Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences.

This Comedy-Drama is rich with a cast of actors who have shared many of their life experiences with us in film over the past 50 years and who alone could each hold a movie together easily. As a combined cast, however, they are simply a pleasure to watch. With subtle gestures and facial expressions, these senior actors convey much more appreciation for the deeper message of this film than their mere words. Dame Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel are a force troupe. I recommend it heartily!

Laurie Duke, RN, CPCA, www.gigaluma.com



See you next month !

Have a great one.

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