Skip to main content

One thing that makes the Ottawa Valley unique is the staying power of its residents. There’s something about being “from the Valley”. People take pride in it.

In communities stretching throughout Renfrew County, including towns and the rural areas in between live just over 100,000 people. In Pembroke, the percentage of residents who are above 65 is 26%. For the rest of the country it’s 20%.

Some might say it’s a good place to grow old. But is that the case for everyone? If you have means, then okay. But if you’re living in a fixed income as are many elderly people in Renfrew County, the increasing cost of living is diminishing their ability to afford basic essentials such as transportation, food and housing.

This leads to a chain effect with limited access to food and healthcare preventing people from being able to continue living in their homes. As a not for profit charity, Carefor’s role is to help bridge the gap for seniors to community services and affordable living.

Access to Health Care

Carefor’s non-urgent medical transportation picks up seniors and transports them to their medical appointments. With Renfrew County having no public transit system and private alternatives being limited and costly, Carefor’s transportation program provides a more affordable alternative to allow seniors to get to the places they most need. Without access to medical appointments, elderly people might not as well have them, increasing the likelihood of hospitalizations.

Food Insecurity

Throughout the Ottawa Valley are seniors who live alone. Many for whatever reason don’t cook as much as they used to. Perhaps it’s not having anyone else to cook for; perhaps a loved one had always taken care of it; perhaps they just can’t get to the grocery store like they used to.

Carefor’s frozen meal delivery program brings prepared meals right to people’s doors so they have easier access to good, nutritious food. “These programs are becoming more and more essential,” says Alice Grenon, Carefor’s Manager of Community Support Services. “We’re not only seeing more seniors in our communities, and with the cost of living, people are struggling to afford basic things that they might have previously been able to.”

Housing Insecurity

The vast majority of people want to age in their homes, but that’s not always the best option for some. With limited supports, many seniors are isolated and age alone. It can be dangerous for many, causing them to seek out other options. But if you’re on a government pension without other sources of financial supports, where can you go?

Many retirement homes are out of range for lower income seniors leaving a gap between them and the other alternatives: hospital, long-term care and homelessness. Carefor’s two retirement homes, Carefor Civic Complex and Carefor Mackay Centre bridge that gap offering accommodation for people with limited means and options.

What people often don’t see in these two retirement homes are the integrated supports that exist for the residents. “We’re seeing more and more people coming to us with complex physical and mental health challenges,” says Sharon Maye, Director of Retirement Home Services. “Here we offer specialized services such as assisted living and mental health supports that help people dealing with more complex challenges.”

While large buildings, what you can’t see when you look at Civic and Mackay from the outside are the intimate communities and relationships between the staff and residents, and residents with one another. There is a family feel in the homes and people looking out for one another. People understand what each other has gone through and where they’re from, and they help each other feel a sense of belonging.

To learn more about our retirement homes in Pembroke or our community support services, please visit our website.

A lot of people struggle with isolation and feelings of loneliness. Seniors in particular are at risk, with 1 in 5 people over the age of 65 reporting that they lack companionship.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most people had an easier time maintaining their social life. The lockdowns and social distancing during the pandemic disrupted this, and many people had a hard time reconnecting after lockdowns were lifted. This has been especially impactful to seniors, who often lack a means of transportation and are less familiar with virtual socializing.

Social isolation can be very harmful to your health. Studies show that social isolation and feelings of loneliness can contribute to:

  • Depression
  • Poor sleep habits
  • A weakened immune system
  • Worsened cardiovascular health

Forging connections with people is essential to your health. Forming community is more than just a warm fuzzy feeling; human beings need it. If you’re a senior looking to build new relationships and don’t know where to start, here are some resources that might be helpful for you.

Public Libraries

Libraries are a great place to meet people and make friends. They’re not just for checking out books; most libraries host social events and clubs as well. In Ottawa libraries you can find writing groups, knitting groups and book clubs, among other things. Look at your local library’s website and there will be a section for clubs and events.

Senior Community Centers

Community centers often host events to get people more involved in the community. Senior centers are also designed to be fully accessible. The activities offered usually include card games, exercise programs and congregate meals. Check out your local community center online or by phone to see what they have to offer.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to reduce isolation and meet new people. You don’t need to come away from the experience with a best friend; it’s just nice sometimes to spend a day among people sharing a desire to make the world a better place. A great place to look for opportunities is Volunteer Ottawa, the City of Pembroke and on the Carefor website, where we’re always looking for people to make our clients’ days a bit brighter.

Connect with family and old friends

One of the great things about the internet is it allows you to connect with people from your past. Whether it be through social media sites like Facebook or sites that help you find friends from your school days, there are many ways to find old friends.

Connect online

For those who might be dealing with mobility restrictions or who live far away from family and friends, the internet is a great way to connect with and find new social networks around things that interest you. Connecting online might be intimidating but luckily there are resources available to support you.

Carefor

Carefor offers several ways for seniors to stay connected. Depending on your location, we have services and programs to choose from that meet different needs. Adult Day Programs for people living with dementia (Ottawa and Eastern Counties), the Companion Program (Pembroke-Renfrew County) and Seniors Group Exercise (Eastern Counties) are all great opportunities to meet new people.

If you cannot access the mentioned services due to a disability, consider checking out OC Transpo’s Para Transpo service or Carefor’s transportation services. Carefor also offers one-on-one social visits that can take place in your own home or over the phone.

Additionally, if you require some extra help around the house with cleaning or personal care, Carefor offers Personal Support and Homemaking Services. These can be more than just some help and can offer social connection.

Finally, Carefor also operates retirement homes in Pembroke and a retirement home for women living with dementia in Richmond in west Ottawa, which allow people who are unable to or choose not to live at home anymore the ability to connect with new friends.

To see which Carefor services are in your area or find more resources, visit our website.

With spring here, it’s a great time to start thinking about developing new habits and routines. Volunteering can be a great way to dive into something new while having a real impact on your community. It’s also an opportunity to make new friends, make good use of your time and challenge yourself. Those who volunteer see many benefits, such as:

Physical Health

Volunteering can be a great way for people over the age of 50 to stay healthy. Research shows that seniors who volunteer see lower rates of physical decline compared to seniors who didn’t volunteer. Getting up and out of the house on a regular basis is good for your body, and volunteering can help you stay active.

Cognitive Health

The same research showed that the benefit wasn’t just to physical health, as cognitive health was also maintained in seniors who volunteered. Volunteering takes some mental effort, especially in planning and organizing. Staying mentally active like this can help maintain mental acuity for longer.

Emotional Health

It feels good to give back. As Ghandi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”  Often when people retire, they lose a sense of purpose and drive both of which can be maintained through volunteering. What’s all the better is you have the power to choose exactly how you want to help others. It’s also a great way to meet new people and find the joy of connection.

Community Impact

One of the main reasons people choose to volunteer is a desire to give back and help others in their community, and in the process making their community better. Without volunteers, so much of what not for profits do wouldn’t be possible. Whether serving meals or cleaning a park, the impact of your actions will be felt by many.

As an organization that serves thousands of elderly people and those living with disabilities across Eastern Ontario, Carefor is always looking for volunteers to help increase the reach and quality of our programs. We are so blessed with the volunteers that we have but admittedly have struggled to find many after the pandemic.

If you’re curious about how you can volunteer in a way to help make someone’s day brighter whether it be friendly visiting, meal delivery, at our hospice or day programs, go to our website to learn more.

With warmer temperatures creeping in, the natural urge is to spend more time outdoors enjoying it. Everyone wants to feel the sun on their face, tend to their gardens, go for walks, and have those sweet summer moments. While being outdoors and spending time in the warmth and fresh air is good, there are some things that should be considered for seniors spending continual time in warm summer weather. Listed below are some tips and precautions for staying safe while enjoying the summer sun and warmth.

Optimal Time of Day: The best times of the day to be outside are those when the sun will not be shining down directly onto you. For example, if you plan to have an outdoor activity, have it be in the morning, or evening times.

Taking Breaks to Cool Off: If you plan to spend as much of your day outdoors as possible, make sure you have an air-conditioned area close by that you can pop into for breaks to bring your body temperature back down. This will prevent over-heating, dehydration, and exhaustion.

Stay Hydrated: It’s important to remember to stay hydrated if you’re spending prolonged time in the heat. Drinking things like water, clear juices, and other liquids that do not contain alcohol or caffeine. Liquids with caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, they will cause you to urinate more and dehydrate you. For this reason, it is crucial to stick to clear liquids without these contents when spending time in the heat.

Choosing the Proper Attire:  When spending time in the heat, it is important to dress accordingly. This means wearing light, airy, light-colored clothing. This will prevent heat absorption. In addition to this, it is best to wear a wide brimmed hat to shield yourself from the sunrays.

By combining these tips, you will be prepared to safely spend time in the summer sun. Just remember, if after spending prolonged periods of time in the sun and/or summer heat, you feel unwell, please seek medical attention.

As we grow older, maintaining a healthy mind is just as important as maintaining a healthy body. With Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month upon us, there’s no better time to explore the different ways we can keep our cognitive health in check. Aging may bring about a number of changes, but with the right tools and mindset, we can ensure a healthy aging process and prevent cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In this blog, we’ll discuss five simple ways to boost your cognitive health and promote healthy aging and Alzheimer’s prevention.

Control Your Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels

High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, which can contribute to the development of memory loss, or even different types of dementia. Good cardiovascular health (healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure levels) as well as maintaining a healthy weight is associated with increased cognitive function. This is a key factor in Alzheimer’s prevention.

Eat a Healthy Diet

The things you put into your body make a big difference in your cognitive and remembering abilities. Vitamin-rich foods will maintain and improve cognitive function, while foods that are high in saturated fats can negatively impact memory and other brain function. Following diets such as the MIND (Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) Diet could maximize the positive effects on brain function, and in turn, prevent Alzheimer’s. This diet includes foods from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. It also limits five unhealthy food groups: red meats, butter, cheese, pastries, sweets, fast and fried foods.

Get Regular Exercise

Through regular physical activity, blood flow to the brain is maintained, and in turn, reduces your risk of conditions such as high blood pressure which is associated with developing dementia. By promoting a physically active lifestyle in older adults, one-third of dementia cases worldwide could potentially be delayed. For this reason, it is important to continue an active lifestyle throughout your life, and into the years when dementia is a possibility.

Stimulate Your Mind

Keeping your mind busy through a mentally stimulating job or hobby could help your brain to build up a cognitive reserve; meaning that even if you develop a brain disease or other challenges, your brain will still have the ability to function properly. Another way to stimulate your mind is by consistently learning new things and teaching yourself new skills and hobbies. Continuing to adopt new skills and technologies has the potential to reduce or delay the cognitive decline and changes that come with aging.

Socialize More

Staying in touch with, and actively engaging and seeing friends and family has positive impacts on the brain. The stimulation that comes with discussing life and seeing people outside of your immediate circle is beneficial to delaying cognitive decline. Seniors who experience consistent social engagement will have a lower risk of dementia than those with consistently low social engagement.

Carefor offers various programs and services that can assist your loved ones in all the above categories, especially with exercise, socialization, and brain stimulation. Some of these programs include the Adult Day Programs, the Vince Malette Functional Fitness Program, and the Let’s Get Together Program to name a few. To learn more about our programs visit https://carefor.ca/services/respite-services.

These healthy aging tips do not definitively guarantee that by following these guidelines, you will not develop Alzheimer’s. However, if you implement these practices into your daily lives, the chances of Alzheimer’s progression is much slimmer.

Your feet carry you where you want to go in the journey of life. For this reason, it is important to keep them clean, healthy, and taken care of. Keeping an eye on your feet is crucial, especially with seniors as it your foot health can give you early warnings of serious health concerns such as diabetes, arthritis, and poor blood circulation.

Signs of unhealthy feet may include, and are not limited to…

  • Dryness and Cracking: which can lead to skin infections, as well as corns and calluses.
  • Constantly Cold Feet and Toes: circulatory problems, potentially caused by diabetes.
  • Swelling: infection, neuropathic arthropathy, deep vein thrombosis, and arthritis.
  • Thick and Discoloured Toenails: nail fugus, injury, and anemia.

Let us help you keep them healthy along the way! Carefor’s foot care clinics are now accepting new clients across Ottawa! There is one location in the East end, and one in the West end.

Our specially trained foot care nurses provide personal foot care including…

  • Comprehensive Foot Assessment.
  • Cutting and filing of toenails.
  • Treatment of ingrown nails, thickened nails.
  • Paddings as necessary to improve comfort and mobility.
  • Preventative foot care for high-risk clients with diabetes, arthritis, and circulation problems.
  • Referral to doctors, podiatrists, chiropodists, or other health professionals as necessary.
  • Health teaching.

With foot health, being proactive is essential. This is why we encourage seniors to seek out foot health, and visit Carefor’s foot care clinics, to ensure ultimate safety and health.

 

Locations:

West End Clinic 2580 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K2B 7H5

East End Clinic 760 Belfast Rd, Ottawa, ON K1G 6M8

 

Contact to schedule an appointment:

Clerical District Coordinator

833-922-2734 ext. 2158

clerical@carefor.ca

carefor.ca

The process involving the transition to retirement living has its complexities. There are multiple variables that require in-depth consideration. To make things a little simpler, here are three key points to pay attention to when considering different retirement home options.

  1. Location: Whether you are choosing a retirement home for yourself or a loved one, location is a very important thing to consider. Transitioning into retirement living can be a challenging time, however choosing a home in an area that is familiar or close to family and friends can help to bring ease to the situation.
  2. Costs and what they mean: Cost is one of the most important factors to investigate when choosing a retirement home. When discussing costs and various packages, it is a smart idea to review exactly what is covered in the outlined costs. Ask what is not included in the cost and what services may have additional fees. Once the cost break-down is clear, compare it to your monthly “living at home” expenses to properly formulate the decision if the home is a responsible choice financially.
  3. Recreation and Socialization: When moving a senior out of their home and into a new environment, it can be natural for them to withdraw and isolate as they may not feel comfortable around new people. Choosing a home with various activity and recreation options that align with your/ your loved one’s hobbies and interests can help encourage socialization and in turn keep you or your loved one from becoming lonely and isolated.

Carefor has three retirement/care homes in the Ottawa region that are in great locations, prioritize affordability and value the importance of recreational activities in the home. The Carefor Civic Complex and MacKay Centre are situated in the heart of Pembroke and the Ottawa Valley. These retirement homes have all the amenities of home with paved walkways, a courtyard, and flower/vegetable gardens at the most affordable prices in the Ottawa Valley.

Richmond Care Home is a unique retirement home for women living with dementia. It is a bungalow style 16-unit home that offers a quiet home-like setting where your mom will get the care and attention she deserves. All around, Carefor has your loved one’s best interests at heart and will ensure they feel at home. To learn more visit: carefor.ca/retirement.

As an organization that has been providing home care services to people in Eastern Ontario for over 125 years, the idea of “aging in place” is nothing new to Carefor. But recently the idea has become more popular with older adults with many of them planning their retirement around living in their homes for as long as possible. In so doing seniors are ensuring that they are surrounded by friends and family, and that their homes can withstand the changes needed to adjust to the needs that come with aging. In this month’s blog, we give tips and useful things to look out for when it comes to aging in place, and a thought as to when it might no longer be the best option.

Decision Time… where do you want to live?

When it comes to deciding where to spend the later years of your life there are many things to consider to ensure you can do so comfortably. With comfort in mind it is important to search for homes located close to public transit, emergency services, and/or close to family or relatives. Keeping the latter in mind, studies have shown that it is important to remain close to those with whom we hold social connections, be it, family members, or other adult friends. While moving closer to children or other supportive relatives may be a priority it may be beneficial to join clubs or visit senior centers to continue to build new relationships if the home you decide to age in is away from your current social circle.

Nest in your home

It’s important to make the adjustments needed to enjoy your home as long as possible. Much like a bird collecting twigs and bits of string, it is important to find and discover the things that will make your home livable as you age. These items may include many things such as

  • The ability to install ramps to enter your home.
  • Widening doorways to increase accessibility.
  • Creating a bedroom/living space on the main floor of your home.
  • Removing area rugs or other unneeded furniture.

While these items are all physical you may want to investigate technological improvements such as updated alarm systems, stair lifts, and elevators as well as inexpensive upgrades such as voice-activated devices that control your home’s climate, make phone calls, and set daily reminders.

With A little Help, Anything is Possible

Sometimes being able age in place requires some help from the outside. Throughout your community are services which can support you in being able to continue to live in your home. In the Ottawa Valley, Carefor offers meal delivery, non-urgent medical transportation and friendly visiting to name a few, which help older people continue to get that extra help should they have no other support.

While for many people aging in place is preferred, for some it’s either no longer an option nor the best one. Some might be unable to ensure their health at home or feel the effects of prolonged isolation. Retirement homes are obviously numerous in every community, but for those who might be continuing to live at home due to the cost of many retirement homes, the two retirement homes Carefor operates in the Ottawa Valley, Carefor Civic Complex and Carefor Mackay Centre are excellent options. Being the most affordable retirement homes in the Ottawa Valley with all-inclusive pricing makes Civic and Mackay excellent options for someone no longer able to age in place.

Managing one’s stress can often be a struggle and it can have a large impact on one’s overall health. It is a great idea for seniors to develop ways to reduce stress in their lives.

Stress is caused by facing the day-to-day challenges we all face in life. This can be anything from getting to an appointment on time, finding ways to see grandchildren and other family members, remembering to take your medication, and or feeling unsafe in one’s home while living alone.

It is important to realize the signs of stress in your life and find ways to cope and ease those stresses. Stress can result in the feeling of being anxious, depression, loss of sleep, and forgetfulness. Here are some ways to reduce stress.

Melt away that Stress.

Get Creative: Finding ways to celebrate and use your creativity is a great way to reduce your stress. Whether it is completing a puzzle, painting, drawing, journaling, or listening to music while you clean the house or enjoy time in the sun. These are all great ways to relax and reduce stress.

Gather and Meet New People: Being social whether it is connecting with old friends and family or meeting new people at local senior clubs or community activities is a great way to reduce the feeling of being isolated and alone leaving one to feel safe secure and less stressed.

Exercise: Finding ways to become more active in any compacity will often result in a feeling of confidence and reduce feelings of depression and stress. Exercise that helps reduce stress can include walking outdoors, playing with the grandchildren, yoga, meditation, or swimming.

Stress can sometimes seem unavoidable but there are many resources to help reduce stress.

We, at Carefor, offer a diverse range of services whether you are living in your home a need a helping hand or looking for retirement living options at Carefor Civic Complex or Mackay Centre.

Residents at Carefor retirement homes are given a place to call homes via many programs and services. Living at Carefor provides our residents with the security of knowing help is there when they need it be it helping with cleaning, laundry, and medication administration. While living at Carefor seniors are also provided with three nutritious meals a day, and an extensive variety of entertainment and activities all of which help foster a sense of community and social connection between residents and Carefor team members. All of which help provide local vulnerable seniors a place to call home and relieve the stress of seniors and their family members. If you’re interested in reducing some of your stress, give us a call: 613-732-9993

Volunteering is a common activity that seniors will engage in as they gain more free time post-retirement. Volunteerism has the potential to improve health, relationships and skillsets. This is especially true for seniors who turn to volunteering as a productive and positive pastime. There are several benefits that seniors can experience from volunteering within the community.

5 Benefits to Volunteering for Seniors…

  1. Volunteering prevents isolation and loneliness… A lack of social interaction can hinder good health, putting adults at risk for high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, obesity, and cognitive decline. By getting out and engaging with the community, seniors can reduce the likelihood of health issues that come with being lonely and isolated.
  2. Increases physical activity… Maintaining physical fitness is an important aspect of staying healthy and independent as individuals age. Volunteering creates the opportunity to keep moving, be it serving meals, providing transportation, or offering companionship to someone who needs it.
  3. Bridges the generation gap… Volunteering in the community can give seniors the opportunity to interact with younger generations, and in turn share important life lessons. On the flip side, seniors can enjoy new perspectives and energy that younger generations offer.
  4. Promotes a feeling of purpose… In often cases, as individuals age and transition into retirement living, they may feel that they lack fulfillment. Volunteering offers a way to regain the feeling of purpose. It creates a goal to work towards and can encourage a resurgence of excitement for life.
  5. Develop new skills… In older stages of life it is common to dwell within one’s comfort zone. This can lead to feeling stuck and bored, which can lead to cognitive decline. Volunteering opens doors to trying new things and new ways of thinking, and potentially exposes individuals to new passions they didn’t even know they had

Volunteering Opportunities at Carefor…

Carefor has benefited greatly over the years from the support and passion of our volunteers. There are many opportunities at Carefor for you and/or a friend. More information regarding the programs needing volunteers can be found under the services tab on our website. Or for additional information email Beth Monaco at BMonaco@carefor.ca. Here are some of our opportunities in the Ottawa region.

Ottawa

  • Richmond Care Home
  • Adult Day Programs (Carling ADP, Vince Malette Functional Fitness, PWR!Moves etc)

Pembrooke / Renfrew County

  • Driver – Non urgent medical transportation
  • Friendly Visiting – In person or virtual
  • Volunteers for Special Events
  • Recreation Volunteers (Civic and Mackay)
  • Palliative visiting in the community
  • Special Skills Volunteers (musicians, crafters, singers)

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter!
Delivered right to your inbox once a month.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
Which region(s) do you want to hear from?