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Senior Years Newsletter, March 2012 Issue
March 17, 2012

Your newsletter of information, inspiration and education for seniors, boomers and caregivers on pre- and post-retirement matters.
(Published by Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications - Senior Services)

- March 2012 Issue -

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

As usual I trust you will find this edition to be as informational, inspirational and educational as promised it would be.

Your comments are always welcomed and interesting to me, so do write using my Contact Form here -- because I care to hear from you.

Blessings and good health to you,

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

In this issue, you will find:

Feature article:
Caring from a Distance

Ask the Experts:
How Does Age Affect Blood Donation - Part 3

Heart Healthy Recipe:
Roasted Lemon and Rosemary Potatoes

Joke or Quote of the Month:
Helping Hands

Did you know?:
Unpaid Caregiving

Seniors Tip:
Air Travel

(Articles reproduced with permission
from the CPCA ‘Maturity Matters Newsletter’)

Feature article:
Caring from a Distance

Many family caregivers are presented with the added challenge of caring for a family member long distance. Though more and more families are dispersed across the country or even around the world, the demands of caring for ill or aging family members are still present. Long-distance caregiving often involves specific concerns that are different from those families who live near each other.

Although one's initial reaction may be to move a family member closer, consider first whether this might be more disruptive and stressful for everyone involved.

Are you prepared to have them live with you? Or are you prepared to be their only social contact once they have moved away from what is familiar to them? If they are coming from out-of-province, when will they qualify for medical services in this province?

Below are some suggestions for bridging the miles and making caring at a distance easier:

Since you can't drop in to see how things are going, call home often. Listen closely to their comments or complaints and ask questions that can alert you to changes in their health or routines.

Establish a support network in your family member's hometown with contact people who can provide you with a clear picture of the situation. These people might include a close friend, a minister, a doctor or others who regularly visit them. Ask them to alert you if they notice changes in your family member's behaviour, appearance, memory, mobility or food habits.

Ask someone to check in with your family member on a regular basis. Keep the contact information of this person with you at all times and ensure that they have your contact information. If you are worried, you can't call that "nice young couple next door" to check in, if you don't know their name or telephone number.

Gather information about services, resources and other options for care available in their community. Do this in advance, even if you don't need these services right now. Have them on hand before a crisis happens. You can find these resources on the Internet or pick up a copy of the local telephone directory next time you visit.

Schedule regular visits.

You need to make the most of your limited time there, so plan in advance for what you need to accomplish during the visit, in addition to visiting with your relative. Be observant while you are there. Are they eating regularly? Are their bills being paid?

Some communities offer telephone assurance programs usually staffed by volunteers, who check in on frail and disabled persons living alone. Many volunteer organizations also have friendly visitor programs that provide regular visits to those who are housebound.

In a non-emergency situation, try to step back and evaluate whether you need to travel or if you can send someone else. Can someone locally handle the situation? This will free up your time and money for emergencies or times when it is essential for you to be there.

Article by, By Family Caregivers' Network Society, Reprinted with permission by Senior Living Magazine.

Ask the Experts:
How Does Age Affect Blood Donation - Part 3

Q - I heard there is an age cut-off for donating blood – is this true? What are the most common reasons a senior donor might be deferred from donating blood? And what are the most common reasons a senior might need blood products to stay healthy?

A – In the past two issues of “Maturity Matters,” we’ve tackled the first two questions, pertaining to seniors donating blood. In this issue, we’ll touch on some of the most common reasons a senior might make the switch from donor to recipient, highlighting the importance of donating blood while healthy.

Believe it or not, blood products are needed in Canada every minute of every day. And blood is needed for many more situations than treating trauma victims. In fact, the most common need for blood among seniors is in conjunction with cancer treatment.

Many patients require life-sustaining and life-saving blood transfusions to counter the adverse effects of either the cancer itself or the chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy; red blood cell transfusions prevent or treat anemia, and platelet transfusions prevent bruising and bleeding. Many cancer patients wouldn’t be able to receive treatments at all without blood transfusions, regardless of age.

Other common uses for blood products for senior patients are during orthopaedic procedures (e.g. hip and knee replacements due to osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis) or during cardiac procedures (e.g. coronary artery grafting for coronary artery disease).

Many Canadians are shocked at how quickly they can go from donor to recipient, and quickly realize how grateful they are to know blood is available to everyone who needs it.

Given that more than 50 per cent of Canadians say that they either they or someone they know has needed blood, we need as many Canadians as possible to continue giving blood on behalf of hospital patients, both young and old.

Dr. Mark Bigham is a Medical Consultant for both Canadian Blood Services and Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia.


For Part 1 and 2 of this article, please click on these links:

For Part 1 - January 2012 Issue of "Maturity Matters Newsletter"
and scroll down to the next article on that page.

For Part 2 - February 2012 Issue of "Maturity Matters Newsletter"
and scroll down to the next article on that page.

Heart Healthy Recipe:
Roasted Lemon and Rosemary Potatoes

Lemon is a fresh flavour that goes well with potatoes. Which makes this side dish an easy addition to any meal time table. Adding a touch of oil near the end of cooking helps brown the potatoes and adds a touch more flavour. Makes 4 servings (1 ¼ cup each)


750 g (1 1/2 lbs) mini red potatoes

50 mL (1/4 cup) no salt added chicken or vegetable broth

1 large clove garlic, minced

15 mL (1 tbsp) chopped fresh rosemary or 5 mL (1 tsp) dried rosemary, crushed

10 mL (2 tsp) grated lemon rind

25 mL (2 tbsp) lemon juice

2 mL (1/2 tsp) paprika

1 mL (1/4 tsp) freshly ground black pepper

10 mL (2 tsp) extra virgin olive oil


Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and place in large bowl.

Add broth, garlic, rosemary, lemon rind and juice, paprika and pepper; toss to coat well.

Spread into parchment paper lined roasting pan and roast in 220 F (425 F) oven for 45 minutes.

Stir in oil and roast for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (250 mL/1 cup)

Calories: 165, Protein: 4 g, Total Fat: 3 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Carbohydrate: 33 g, Fibre: 3 g, Sugar: 2 g, Sodium: 12 mg, Potassium: 642 mg

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

Joke or Quote of the Month:
Helping Hands

A mother, wishing to encourage her son's progress at the piano, bought tickets to a performance by the great Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski.

When the evening arrived, they found their seats near the front of the concert hall and eyed the majestic Steinway waiting on the stage.

Soon the mother found a friend to talk to, and the boy slipped away.

At eight o'clock, the lights in the auditorium began to dim, the spotlights came on, and only then did they notice the boy - up on the piano bench, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

His mother gasped in shock and embarrassment but, before she could retrieve her son, the master himself appeared on the stage and quickly moved to the keyboard.

He whispered gently to the boy, "Don't quit. Keep playing."

Leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in the bass part. Soon his right arm reached around the other side and improvised a delightful obligato.

Together, the old master and the young novice held the crowd mesmerized with their blended and beautiful music.

In all our lives, we receive helping hands - some we notice, some we don't. Equally we ourselves have countless opportunities to provide helping hands - sometimes we would like our assistance to be noticed, sometimes we don't. Little of what we all achieve is without learning from others and without support from others and what we receive we should hand out.

Author Unknown

Did you know?:
Unpaid Caregiving

A recently-released 2006 census on eldercare by Statistics Canada shows that 18.4 percent of Canadians do some form of unpaid senior care and about one-third of boomers provide some assistance to an aging family member.

Research confirms that care giving has a financial impact on care givers.

Source: Talbot Boggs, The Canadian Press

Seniors Tip:
Air Travel

Traveling by plane – especially on a long haul – can be very hard on your back, especially if you’re aboard a charter flight where the seats are closer together. Take this into consideration when booking flights.

Some travelers prefer bulkhead seats. What you’ll gain is extra leg room. What you’ll lose is the ability to retract the armrests, which – when pushed up – allow you to change your posture every few minutes, however slightly.

Get up and walk around every half hour. In a wide-body jet, circle the aircraft. Don’t be put off by a long line up when you want to use the rest room. It will give you a chance to stand rather than sit.

Putting one of those little pillows behind your neck will help support your head. For low back support, two pillows work better. Consider bringing your own pillow. They can be found at luggage stores and pharmacies and generally cost less than $15.


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