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Seniors are Taking Over Canada

We knew it was coming, but now we know for sure. Seniors are taking over Canada. 16.9% of Canada’s population is 65 or older compared to 16.6% of children 14 and younger. The senior population is growing quickly and expected to continue.

Chart showing proportion of senior population exceeding children in Canada

Seniors versus Children percent of population in Canada

 

From 2011-2016, Canada registered the largest increase in the proportion of seniors since Confederation according to Stats Canada 2016 census, release in May. For the first time, seniors 65 years and older now outnumber children aged 14 and younger. The number of seniors is expected to continue growing, as projections show this shift at lease until 2036.

Historical Age Pyramid of Canada 2016 Census

Historical Age Pyramid of Canada

Three trends are contributing to the senior population shift:

  • Baby boomers getting older. In 2011 the first baby boomers starting entering retirement age, and that was just the start of their emergence into senior status.
  • Increased life expectancy. Thanks to improved healthcare, advancements in medical science and overall better wellness, peoples life expectancy is now 82. 150 years ago, lift expectancy was only 40 years old.
  • Lower fertility rates. People are now having as many babies, which means the population of children is not growing as rapidly as it once did.

This week a second series of data from the census on age and sex populations were released from Stats Canada. Of the almost 6 million seniors in Canada, 55% are female, but that changes drastically as the age increases.

The centenarian population increased by 41.3% between 2011-2016, the fastest growing population segment. Of the 8230 Canada 100 years and older, 84% are female.

The higher number of seniors will increase the demand for aging in place solutions, accessible homes, and long term care facilities. Oddly, another stat form the 2016 census indicated that only 1..% of Canadians are living in nursing homes or residences for senior citizens. Considering the rapidly growing senior population, that number will also likely rise quickly.

 

8 Amazing Reasons Swimming is the Best Exercise for Seniors

Why seniors and people with mobility issues should add aquatic activities to their regular routine.

Everybody, into the pool. You have probably already heard that exercise will keep you young.  It’s no surprise, but a study in Preventative Medicine shows that US adults that regularly participate in high levels of physical activity showed significantly reduced cellular aging, taking up to 9 years off of their biological age.  So they aren’t just living longer, they are living better longer.

Water is Your Friend

In last week’s post, we talked about the many benefits of staying physically active as you age. We also noticed that in the lists of excellent ways to get moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise, aquatic activities appeared in both lists.

8 Amazing Reasons Swimming is the Best Exercise for Seniors

  1. Less Joint Stress. Being in the water removes the effects of gravity on the body, lessening or removing stress on joints. The activity and cooling effects of the water can help relieve join pain, arthritis symptoms, and other chronic pain. Which means…
  2. Longer Workout Times. Without added pain, many seniors find they can participate in longer than usual physical activity, which means they can benefit even more from the workout.
  3. Excellent for Recovery. Swimming and water activities are considered excellent low-impact aerobic exercise that many physio-therapists will recommend for patient’s recovering from injury, heart surgery, hip replacement surgery, and strokes. It is highly recommended as ongoing therapy for those with MS, and other conditions where balance issues often limit the ability to do other forms of exercise.
  4. Prevent Falls. Exercise in water that is at least waist-high helps to prevent falls, by improving balance and coordination as you fight the motion of the water. Swimming helps develop and strengthen core muscles needed for balance and control.
  5. Decrease Risk for Heart Disease. Aquatic exercise is a great cardio workout that increases your heart rate and improves your cardiovascular health. This burns fat, can lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of heart disease.
  6. Improved Mobility. Even those with limited mobility will see improvements with regular water activities. Moving limbs through water is good resistance training, especially for those that struggle with using weights. Any resistance training improves strength, bone density, and flexibility helping to slow down age-related loss of muscle mass.
  7. Whole Body Workout. Whether you are swimming laps, taking a water-aerobics class, or just treading water, you can work the whole body at once, and get the cardio exercise that can increase metabolism, and agility and improve overall health.
  8. Better Mental Health. Vigorous exercise has been known to decrease both depression and anxiety. Also, attending water-aerobic classes is a great social activity, and participating in group activities helps fend off loneliness and isolation.
  9. Accessibility. Swimming is available year round in community pools. People of almost all abilities and conditions can benefit from swimming, if doctors recommend it. Even those who are not strong swimmers can find lots of shallow end activities and classes, using flotation devices. Many classes use kick boards, foam barbels, pool noodles and other equipment to add buoyancy, resistance and fun to classes. The 2010 ADA Standards introduced requirements to make sure swimming pools in public facilities would be accessible to anyone including those in a wheelchair. Which means public swimming pools are supposed to have at least one accessible point of entry. This could be a ramp or a pool lift.

    ADA pool lift

    ADA pool lift provides access to swimming pools for everyone

If you want to add swimming to your regular routine to stay healthy, active and young, we recommend checking with your doctor first, then find out where the closest pool is, and see what programs or swim times they have available.

I tried Aqua Fin classes last year and loved it. Adding swim fins to a lane swim made me feel like an Olympic swimmer I was moving so fastLet us know what your favorite pool activity is. 

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Sources:

OrthoInfo 

In The Swim Blog

Psychcentral

 

65 or Older? Better Get Moving

While there is no miracle cure for aging, doctors and experts agree that there is a proven way to slow the aging process. Physical activity has been proven to be the best way to stay young longer and to age more healthfully.

Regular physical activity helps prevent chronic illnesses and conditions that can make your later years difficult. According to WHO (World Health Organization) older adults who are physically active will benefit in multiple ways, helping them stay young.

benefits of exercise for seniors

benefits of physical activity for seniors infographic

To see these benefits, WHO recommends that adults 65 and older get:

  • 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week = 22-43 minutes/day, at least 10 minutes at a time, Or
  • 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity =11-22 minutes/day, at least 10 minutes at a time
  • For older adults with poor mobility WHO recommends performing actities that enhance balance and prevent falls on 3 or more days per week
  • Muscle strengthening activities should be done on 2 or more days per week.

Always seek medical advice to determine how much physical activity you can safely perform, and be as physically active as your abilities and conditions allow. To stay young at heart and mind, moving is the key, but what are good forms of exercise?

What counts as Aerobic Activity?

From the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here is a list of activities for each category

Moderate-intensity

(150-300 minutes per week)

Vigorous-intensity

(75-150 minutes per week)

Brisk walking (3 miles/hour or faster) Race walking, jogging, or running
Water aerobics Swimming laps
Bicycling (slower than 10 miles/hour) Bicycling (10 miles/hour or faster)
Tennis (doubles) Tennis (singles)
Ballroom dancing Aerobic dancing (Zumba)
General gardening Heaving Gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
Jumping rope
Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

Whichever activities you enjoy, the more you move the healthier you will be for longer.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/measuring/index.html

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/power-play
http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_olderadults/en/

Let us know what activities keep you moving and helps you stay young. Comment or share with us on Facebook. Do you know any active seniors that don’t seem to age? We’d love to hear about them.  

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Ageism: Ways We Can Be More Mindful

“I didn’t have enough candles so I just lit the cake on fire.” We’ve all seen the birthday cards. I know I’m guilty of having bought a card or two thinking they’re a laugh. But what hadn’t crossed my mind though was whether or not this age humour was a tad offensive? Age prejudice, or Ageism, is one those true ironies since we all hope to one day become part of the group.

The irony is probably one of the reasons age-related stereotypes are so widespread and socially accepted. If we were each to get a piece of paper and write down all of the things characteristic of the elderly – hard of hearing, slow, fragile, bad memory, poor health – these would likely all appear. There’d, of course, be a number of positive ones like wisdom, kindness, and humility, but negative stereotypes certainly exist whether we want them to or not.
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Canadians! Get $1,500 towards Accessible Renovations with HATC

Did you know? For the first time in recorded Canadian history, there are more citizens over the age of 65 than there are under the age of 15. Incredible right? It’s a combination of families having fewer children, the baby boomer generation becoming senior citizens, and Canadians living longer.

The Canadian government has long taken notice of this trend and has begun to put more thought into the long-term impact of an aging population on the national and provincial budgets.

They’ve come to realize two things:

  1. Canadians want to live in their own homes for as long as possible
  2. Helping Canadians age-in-place is not only better for Canadians, but it can also be more affordable when compared to funding long-term care facilities.

And that’s part of the reason why we now have the Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC).
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Frequently Asked Questions on Accessible Bathrooms

We know that remodeling for accessibility can be overwhelming. Most homeowners are learning as they go about accessible bathrooms. There are some good questions that Accessibility Professionals get asked regularly, so we wanted to answer a couple of them here.

Question:

If I install a barrier free shower‚ what keeps the water in the accessible shower pan?

Answer:
Having a roll in shower has great advantages, including added safety‚ but there can be inherent issues with water retention. However‚ there are two products that can help keep the water in the shower pan.

The first solution would be to install a COLLAPSIBLE WATER RETAINER or a water dam.  This is a flexible rubber strip‚ with a double sided epoxy tape that gets installed along the top of the threshold of the shower. This adds an extra 1” of height at the threshold to help keep the water in, but it’s flexible and soft‚ so you can still roll over it with a wheelchair. It squishes down as you roll over or step on it then pops back up once the user is inside. This water retainer would run along the entire length of the threshold, and for showers with a curved corner can run up the wall a bit for added water protection.

Another product that helps with water retention‚ would be a HEAVY DUTY WEIGHTED SHOWER CURTAIN. It needs to be long enough, and hung so that it almost touches the shower pan floor and can sit behind the water retainer. The weights in the bottom seam of the curtain prevents it from being blown outside of the pan, keeping water from running down and out onto your bathroom floor.

Together these two shower accessories work great to keep water inside your barrier free shower.

Question:

Can I install a shower door in my roll in accessible shower?

Answer:

Roll in showers are intended to be as accessible as possible. Adding a shower door will limit the accessibility of the unit‚ making it harder for wheelchair users to get in and out. We recommend using a shower curtain instead, for full accessibility.

However‚ if you do not need a roll in shower now‚ but may want to convert it to a barrier free shower later‚ there is a product that will make that possible.

A SEMI PERMANENT THRESHOLD ADAPTOR is a 2.75” high add-on threshold‚ with a flat top surface that you can install a shower door onto. You would install this over top of the barrier free threshold. This is a part that could be un-installed later on‚ if you need to convert your shower back to a roll in shower‚ by removing the door and this threshold.

This is a great way to plan for aging in place‚ even if you are currently fully mobile.

Another option, for those who are caring for and assisting someone in a barrier free shower, is to install our CAREGIVER DOORS. These are half height doors that provide some privacy for bathers receiving caregiver assistance, while keeping the caregiver relatively dry.

Stay tuned for more answers to frequently asked questions. Do you have any questions about accessible bathrooms? We’d love to hear from you.

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P.S. We’d love to meet you on Twitter here or on Facebook here

3 Short-term Solutions for Accessibility

Most traditional homes aren’t designed with accessibility in mind. The entrance to your home likely has a set of steps, while your bathroom has a bathtub/shower combo with a high step in and out. These common barriers can be hard for those with mobility limitations, so when the unexpected happens and you are in need of last-minute accessible solutions for your home, you might not know where to turn.

Maybe a loved one is coming home from the hospital and you need something temporary while they recover, or you’re in the midst of an accessible bathroom renovation and need a quick fix. No matter your situation‚ there are short-term solutions that can help in a pinch.

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Ontario’s Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit Still Available

Attention Ontarians! It’s not too late to save money this year.

If you live in Ontario, Canada, are 65 or over, or live with someone who is, you only have one month left to take advantage of the Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit. Expenses paid before December 31, 2016 for improving the safety and accessibility of your home will be eligible for a 15% tax credit on your personal income tax. Keep reading to learn more.

From the Province of Ontario’s website, we’ve listed the products that Accessibility Professionals offers, that would be eligible for the tax credit:

Items not on the complete list may also be eligible, but would need to be reviewed. Check with your tax adviser when filing your income tax.

But time is running out. Order soon to take advantage of the tax credit for the 2016 tax year.  Hopefully, there will be future tax credits available to help seniors and their families to make their homes more accessible and ready for aging in place. But as of January 1, 2017 this particular tax credit will no longer be available.

Who is eligible?

  • If you are 65 years old or older by the end of the year for which you are claiming the credit, or;
  • you are living with a family member who is a senior, than you are eligible for the tax credit

What do you need to know?

You can claim up to $10,000 worth of eligible home improvements at one residence on your personal tax return. At 15% credit, that’s a maximum of $1,500 that you can get back.

Also, some expenses would not quality, like renovations or repairs that simply improve the value of a home, like electrical updates or roof repairs. Also, mobility devices, like wheelchairs, rolling shower chairs and walkers, would not qualify for this tax credit, though there may be other credits available specifically for assistive devices.

Check the Ontario website for specific details and consult with your accountant or tax adviser before filing your taxes.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/healthy-homes-renovation-tax-credit

Do you know of any other tax credit programs that can help seniors in Canada or the US? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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P.S. We’d love to meet you on Twitter here or on Facebook here

 

6 Ways to Keep Your Mind Young

Everyone ages. People will tell you “it’s part of life,” which is true, but not entirely reassuring. Truth is, aging can be incredibly frightening. First, we notice our bodies can’t do the things they used to be able to. Stairs we once climbed two steps at a time become something we plan our days around. Bathing, once relaxing, is now an ordeal. Yet, our anxiety of physical aging is almost always overshadowed by the worry that our minds will one day regress.

In the developed world, countless innovations have allowed us to overcome physical barriers in our day-to-day, walk-in showers make bathing safer, and wheelchair lifts help us tackle impending stairs. And in past articles, we’ve described various ways you can slow down physical decline, such as eating healthy or exercise. Luckily, there are also countless tips, tricks, and lifestyle alterations that can slow down the aging of our minds. That’s why we made this list.
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5 Things to Look for in a Contractor for Accessible Renovations

Hiring the right contractor can be the difference between a remodeling nightmare and realizing your bathroom dreams. Remodeling is a journey and everyone could use a guide, especially if you’re unfamiliar with accessible renovations. While our Freedom Showers team is your all-in-one guide for any of your accessible bathroom product needs, you’ll still need someone to install your shower, grab bars, and/or bathtub once it’s been delivered.

Our accessible products are incredibly easy to install, so any contractor with plumbing experience should be able to help. Still, this step can seem overwhelming if you’ve never hired a contractor before. Luckily, we have a few tips to help you find the man or woman for the job:
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