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Articles for Canadian Seniors

Senior Women's Health: 5 Ways to Protect your Bones for Life

Written by Alice Lucette (published by CanadianOnly Feb 4,2013)
Image by vmiramontes of FlickrSenior Women's Health - 5 Ways to Protect your Bones for Life

One in two women over the age of 50 are likely to break a bone at some point, due to age-related complications such as osteoporosis. Bone mass in women is at its strongest around the age 30. Later, once menopause occurs, estrogen levels drop – depleting your calcium level and contributing to bone loss. Here are five important steps which can help you keep your bones strong throughout your golden years.

Get enough calcium

Calcium is absolutely essential when it comes to maintaining bone health and building bone mass . Once women have passed the age of 50, their daily calcium intake should be at least 1200 mg per day. Yogurt, milk, sardines, salmon, cheese, and fortified cereals are all great sources of calcium. Be sure to add green vegetables like broccoli, kale and bok choy to the mix – they help increase your body's natural ability to absorb calcium. If you suspect you aren't getting enough calcium, check with your Doctor about adding a supplement.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can help your bones absorb calcium. It's recommended that women over age 50 consume 800 IUs per day. The following foods can all provide you with the Vitamin D you need to feel sunny all week long:

  • Cod liver oil (1360 IUs per Tbsp.)
  • Salmon (447 IUs in 3 oz.)
  • Eggs (44 IUs per yolk)
  • Yogurt (88 IUs per 6 oz.)
  • Canned tuna (154 IUs per 3 oz.)
  • Milk (124 IUs per cup)
  • Fifteen minutes of direct exposure to sunlight can cause your body to produce up to 20,00 IUs of Vitamin D. Talk about a great reason to head south for winter!

Sign up for Yoga class

Yoga stretches and poses can help to restore bone density. In a recent study, seniors who had experienced bone loss practiced Yoga for ten minutes each day over a period of two years. When compared to the study's control group of non-Yoga practicing seniors, those that incorporated Yoga into their lifestyles showed increased bone density to their spines and hips. The non-Yoga group continued to show bone loss.

Yoga classes have become increasingly popular in senior homes all over North America! Besides assisting with bone density, Yoga also helps improve your balance and flexibility, which in turn reduces the risk of falls that may cause broken bones.

Get a bone density test

Do you know if you are at risk of osteoporosis? Unfortunately, most of us don't. The best way to find out is to ask your Doctor for a bone scan. If you're a woman over the age of 65, it may be time for you to schedule a bone density test. If you're 50+ and have had a fall which has resulted in a broken bone, you may wish to get a bone density test as well.

Adopt a Mediterranean style diet

Women who include olive oil, fish and a minimal amount of red meat to their diets have greater bone density than those that do not. Maintaining a Mediterranean diet also reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Try replacing vegetable oil with 8 to 10 teaspoons of olive oil daily, and incorporate 3 weekly servings of fish into your diet. Limit red meat consumption to a single serving a week, and you'll be well on your way to improved bone health.

Arthritis Advice: Assistive Devices for the Home

Written by Alice Lucette (published by CanadianOnly Feb 4,2013)
Image by
perfectance of stock.xchng

Many Canadians live with the discomfort of arthritis. Fortunately, there are assistive devices which can help take the stress and strain out of your everyday activities. Let's take a look at a few of them right now.Arthritis Advice - Assistive Devices for the Home

In the kitchen

Convert your kitchen's faucet heads to lever style handles, or pick up a pair of lever-shaped additions that slip over existing taps – this can eliminate the gripping and turning required to turn your water on and off.

Pliers-like grippers can make opening those ever-so stubborn pickle jars a breeze. Alternatively, you can try placing a rubber ring or disk over the twist-top – this should provide you with a better grip.

Reach-extending rods come with a variety of optional grippers (including a magnet), allowing you to retrieve top-shelf items like cans or cups – as well as eliminating the need for you to bend over and pick up items.

Wheeled serving carts are handy in the kitchen – allowing you to easily move food or dishes to the table, sink, or dishwasher.

Around the house

Standard doorknobs can be swapped for lever-style entry handles, which have adapters that are quite similar to kitchen tap converters. Simply slip the lever over your current doorknob, and you're good to go.

Key turners snap onto most household keys, widening their graspable area and making them easier to hold and turn. A front door keypad is another handy way to avoid having to rely on knobs. Simply enter your code, and the door will unlock automatically.

In the washroom

Bottles are easiest to grip when fitted with rubberized disks. Ask your pharmacist to provide you with easy-open caps for your medication containers. There are also several tools available to make childproof lids easier to manage.

Bath mitts and brushes with long handles can take a lot of the discomfort out of scrubbing and cleaning. Easy-grip nail clippers with long handles also help eliminate the need to bend and stretch.

In the bedroom

Zippers, buttons and laces can be cumbersome at the best of times, but are even more so when you're dealing with the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Rather than purchasing footwear with standard laces, opt for slip-on dress shoes and Velcro-fastened running and walking shoes.

No-bend sock pullers can make putting on your socks a whole lot easier. Simply slide your sock over the front of the sock-aid, then push your foot into the opening. The tool guides your sock into place, eliminating stress and strain.

Not sure if assistive devices are right for you? Check with your doctor or physical therapist for their suggestions. Once you're ready to start making changes in your home, enlist the assistance of a loved one or caregiver and make your plans a reality.

Senior Safety - Caring for the Ones You Love

By Jennifer Grey, Editor | August 9, 2012

As people begin to age, they increasingly require more precautions and additional care. On average, the majority of seniors prefer to live at home where they can continue to retain some sense of independence and dignity. Deciding whether to take care of an elder relative at home, or keeping them at a nursing home is a difficult decision for all involved. Either way, there are a number of steps that elders as well as their younger relatives or caregivers can take to ensure a safer and happier life for them. If the senior will be staying at home, one of the first steps should be in making the home safer. This can range from adding handrails, rubber floor grips in the bathroom, and better security features on doors and windows. One of the most common ways in which seniors injure themselves is by falling. By taking careful measures to prevent falls, we can also prevent a large number of physical injuries and related health problems. Additional steps should be taken if the senior has any health issues that could compromise their safety, such as visual impairment, or memory loss. For a senior to stay healthy they need proper nutrition, exercise, regular health check-ups, and adequate medication or supplements if necessary. If the senior is capable of living at home, it is helpful to set them up in such a way that they can adequately and safely do their daily tasks without difficulty. Educating them about additional precautions regarding kitchen use, fire safety, and avoiding strangers can help to ensure their security.

Another aspect of taking care of seniors involves keeping them safe from harmful people. Fraud and scams against seniors are rampant, ranging from health care schemes, to fraud regarding lotteries, telemarketing, social insurance, financial planning and even funeral arrangements! Apart from this, they can also fall prey to friends or family who may coerce them into making agreements against their will. Elder abuse and neglect is a more serious issue to consider. This can happen at a care facility or even at home. Although it is sad and even horrific to consider, it is important to be fully aware of the indicators of physical abuse so that it can be stopped before it gets any worse. Elders can be susceptible to various types of physical and even sexual abuse, maltreatment, neglect of their needs, and emotional or verbal abuse (such as belittling, insulting, or blaming). On the other hand, financial abuse could involve others faking the senior's signature on cheques, coercing them into modifying a will or approving expenses, and making false promises in exchange for financial payments.

Top 5 Cities to Retire in Canada

By Alice Lucette

The cities that make the top five lists vary ever so slightly from year to year but there are several cities that consistently make the top five.

What makes a city appealing for retirement?
Before researching what the analysts say, I'll list the things that make a city a retirement magnet for me. First on my list is proximity to activities and attractions. I don't necessarily need to dine out more than once or twice a week, or shop every day but it's definitely good to have my options open.

Walking rather than driving
Next for me is having walking paths nearby and being close to transit. I know there's usually a taxi at almost every street corner but in the interest of good health, it's fun to walk when the weather allows, or hop on the bus, greet the driver and get a feel for the day on the city transit!

All Four Seasons work for me!
Many retirees are drawn to a location for its mild climate. Living where it never dips below freezing has its benefits with less chance of feeling like a hermit and not having snow to shovel, but year-round mild weather isn't a number one draw for me. I'd miss wrapping up in a scarf and gloves and enjoying a hot chocolate at a skating rink, and I know I'm not alone in my enjoyment of getting out there with my camera to capture the colors of autumn. So while climate is important, I'll take a city with all four seasons.

Low taxes, cost of living, low crime rate and easy accessibility to Doctors and Hospitals are all drawing factors and when analysts study what makes a city desirable for retirement, the cities at the top have all of the above. They also include cities with shopping, golfing, recreational areas, parks and fine dining.

So, which cities make the lists and what draws us to them?

Ottawa, Ontario
Ottawa is one of the top ten cities in Canada to live with their low rate of car commuters resulting in good air quality. They also enjoy a low crime rate and a high senior population putting them at the top for retirement destinations. Ottawa has a convenient network of walking and bike paths plus a user-friendly transit system. year-round outdoor activities and specifically the Rideau Canal make Ottawa an attractive city in which to retire.

Victoria, British Columbia
The attraction to Victoria is their mild weather and the arts. Daily temperatures rarely rise above 30C in summer and fall below −-2C in winter. Victoria is the 'City of Gardens' with the magnificent Butchart Gardens and the many golf courses including the second busiest course in Canada (designed by Jack Nicholas).

Kingston, Ontario
The number of health care professionals in Kingston makes it attractive as a retirement city. Kingston is also 'Green' with its high collective motivation to conserve the planet! Kingston, on the beautiful Lake Ontario, is a convenient distance to Ottawa at 190 Km, Toronto at 267 Km and New York at just over 200 Km.

Burlington, Ontario
With a low crime rate, low taxes and convenient location, Burlington has been one of the top five desirable cities for retirement for several years running. Burlington is on Lake Ontario and Toronto is an hour away. The beautiful Niagara Falls and the Canada-US border are also just an hour's drive from Burlington. The waterfront and the botanical gardens along with the moderate climate with the average 22C in July and -5C in January make it pleasant for year-round outdoor enthusiasts.

St. Albert, Alberta
The only city in Alberta to be in the top five desirable places to retire is St. Albert. Residents enjoy low taxes, low unemployment, and high access to health care professionals. St Alberta is considered a suburb of Edmonton and therefore convenient to the variety of entertainment the city offers. St. Alberta has its own recreational centres, museums and historic sites plus bragging rights to being home of one of the largest outdoor farmers markets in Western Canada.

Alice Lucette is a writer for, a great resource for Retirement Homes in Ontario, where you can compare senior care providers' services & costs for Free, read educational articles, and watch videos on a range of topics related to senior care.

If you are looking for an Retirement Homes in Ontario, Independent Living, or Assisted Living, browse Senior Housing directory at



What Canadians believe vs. what they are actually doing in their retirement years

By Alice Lucette

Canadians expectations of how they'll be spending their retirement years and what they're actually doing are not exactly lining up to be the same scenarios. According to a poll taken in the first quarter of 2011 of 2245 Canadians age fifty and up, with assets of at least $100 thousand, three quarters of Canadians over age 50 believe they will be spending their retirement years travelling but in truth only 58 percent of retired Canadians spend time away from home. (Poll by Ipsos Reid for RBC)

Fourteen percent of Canadians are living the "snowbird" lifestyle of escaping to warmer climates during the winter months in contrast to the thirty percent of Canadians nearing retirement age that believe they will be spending chilly Canadians winters down south and staying home during the summer months.


Another popular belief that pre retirement Canadians have about their retirement years is that volunteering will occupy much of their time; according to the poll, sixty percent of women and fifty three percent of men expect that they will be doing volunteer work once retired. In actuality, among retired Canadians, forty one percent of women and thirty five percent of men are actively involved in volunteer work.

Why the discrepancy?

Senior Manager of Financial Planning Support with RBC Jason Round speculates that uncertainty and lack of financial planning account for the discrepancy in what Canadians visualize they'll be doing compared with how they're actually spending their retirement years. The road to achieving ones financial goals and dreams for retirement depend upon having a financial plan, reviewing that plan regularly and updating it to accommodate the changing economic times. (From Vancouver Sun article by Tracy Sherlock December 13, 2011)

Thirty five percent of Canadians nearing retirement age see themselves as striving toward healthy lives and living an overall healthy lifestyle but in actuality forty six percent of retired Canadians are actively working toward improving their own personal health. In addition to this, starting new careers, taking more personal time and spending quality time with family and friends are higher priorities to retired Canadians than expected.

What are retired Canadians focusing on?

Canadians are spending lots of time educating themselves about finances. Among individuals polled, twelve percent of pre-retirement folks expect to spend time learning about retirement finances where twenty three percent of retired persons are focused on it. RBC's Jason Round speculates that a belated start regarding retirement planning can still reduce uncertainty about what retirement will be like and enable seniors to be more able to realize their goals.

There are many financial institutions that offer help with retirement planning and a financial strategy is a benefit to all individuals no matter how near or how distant retirement may seem. The advisors at RBC will help their customers with creating a blueprint based upon the priorities of the individual in the areas of life such as family, home, health, lifestyle, work and legacy. Their website at has the steps to take to enlist the assistance of a financial advisor and retirement planner.

Alice Lucette is a writer for, a great resource for Retirement Homes in Ontario, where you can compare senior care providers' services & costs for Free, read educational articles, and watch videos on a range of topics related to senior care.

If you are looking for an Retirement Homes in Ontario, Independent Living, or Assisted Living, browse Senior Housing directory at



Will Canadians see their Pensions?
By Alice Lucette

In the early 1950s the life expectancy of the average man was 66 and the average woman was 71. The number of Canadians qualifying to receive a government pension at that time was small as they had to have minimal income from all sources and as a result the cost to government of paying out pensions was small. The scales continued to tip in favor of government even when in 1966 under the leadership of Prime Minister Lester Pearson the CPP was introduced; Canadians that could be expecting to draw from CPP (Canada Pension Plan) and OAS (Old Age Security Pension) were relatively few.

Life expectancies now compared to then
Today the life expectancy of Canadians has increased and men are expected to live about 10 years longer to age 76 and women 12 more years to age 83 and we could see the average Canadian born this decade living into their 80s and beyond. This makes the issue of OAS and CPP a looming one and the question of how to make these pensions sustainable has become increasingly important if either or both pensions are to be available to Canadians born in recent decades.

In the 1980s when the Mulroney government tried to address the pension issues and make adjustments, deindexing with a strategy of cuts, seniors opposed the idea and government caved to the pressure.

How do the Canadian Pensions work?
The way the two pensions work is that OAS is the universally paid pension to Canadians age 65 who have lived in Canada for at least 10 years before collecting. Individuals with under $68k per year income are eligible to receive the full amount of $540 per month and the total is reduced according to yearly income to a maximum of $110k per year at which point the person is not eligible for OAS.

CPP is available to Canadians who have paid into the plan during their working years and employers plus employees contribute 4.95% ($3.5k to $48k) to the plan. The CPP payment is based on 25% of the maximum contributed over the person's working lifetime.

How does the reform process work?
While OAS may be reformed by government through the legislative process CPP reform must be agreed upon by two thirds of Canadian Provinces.
OAS is a more sensitive pension and it will be difficult for government to initiate changes to the program, for many low-income seniors, the OAS is their only monthly source of income.

If pension reform is to happen with the goal of making OAS and CPP last, the current government will need to tread carefully, engaging all provinces in negotiations so that CPP may be reformed first and after that, the more delicate pension, the OAS.

Both pension programs need to be placed back on track to a long-term sustainability as Canadians are continuing to enjoy longer productive years and at the same time being able to look forward to receiving a pension when the time comes that they retire from the workplace.

 Credit: The National Post article of Dec 22, 2011 Paying Pensions to a Greying Nation

Alice Lucette is a writer for, a great resource for Retirement Homes in Ontario, where you can compare senior care providers' services & costs for Free, read educational articles, and watch videos on a range of topics related to senior care.

If you are looking for an Retirement Homes in Ontario, Independent Living, or Assisted Living, browse Senior Housing directory at

The Growing Need for Senior-friendly Housing in Canada
By Alice Lucette (published by CanadianOnly Aug 12,2012)

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, and the senior population is growing, the need for senior-friendly housing is on the rise. Josh Crabb of CTV Edmonton reported that currently seniors make up about 15% of Canadian population. By 2036 this number is expected to skyrocket to nearly 24% (CMHC, "2011 Canadian Housing Observer"). It's been noted that a large portion of seniors prefer giving up their family homes in favour of condo living for its convenience, but much consideration and weighting of pros and cons should be done before opting in for a condo lifestyle.

Pros and Cons of Condo Living for Seniors

Condo living is attractive to seniors due to perceived convenience and ease of maintenance. In fact, many seniors choose to sell family homes and relocate to condos before they reach the age, when such a move becomes very difficult. Despite a wide variety of retirement homes, home care facilities and other times of senior housing readily available across all Canadian provinces, independent condo living is something a staggering number of seniors opt in for.

The CMHC report says that condominium projects accounted for one third of housing start-ups in Canadian cities in 2010 and that's up from 29 percent in 2009. It's been predicted that the rapidly aging population will translate into a growing demand for smaller homes.

The CMHC report further estimates that as the population ages across the country, its needs are changing, thus even smaller communities will need proper facilities to accommodate seniors with disabilities and other medical conditions.

While both large cities and smaller towns hold appeal for seniors, it's small communities where shopping and social amenities are more convenient and easily accessible; they are expected to be largely affected by the aging population. This is why smaller urban centers will need to become more senior-friendly, and urban planners will have to take their needs into consideration.

Still, Canada's largest cities have a multitude of retirement homes, assisted living facilities, home care options, as well as senior housing communities already available, and the cost of living there is often more affordable. In addition, city living translates into a wider range of social activities, community groups and entertainment to choose from.

The despite the general trend for condo and assisted living, the CMHC also projects a lot of activity in the home renovations market. Seniors who choose to remain in their family homes will often choose to undertake serious renovations projects in order to make their living space more convenient and easily accessible. Among other adjustments, seniors are becoming proactive by installing ramps and elevators, widening doorways to fit wheelchairs, upgrading bathrooms to include grab bars and senior-friendly bathtubs. Some seniors who live with adult children go as far as adding suite extensions to their homes.
The aging of Canadian population means that there is an increasing need to accommodate the needs and requirements of Canadian seniors both in areas of housing and urban planning.


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Terms and Conditions. This page published: Sunday, March 17, 2019 at 11:50 AM MDT