Compliments of
John Verster
Changing Places Vancouver
Volume 12 Edition 10
Accepting Help is Essential

It is natural for a person to feel overwhelmed and stressed by the responsibilities of caregiving. An increased amount of time and energy is used to navigate the healthcare system, find resources or figure out how to meet someone else's personal and medical needs. Don't burn out; it is essential to ask for help and support.

Asking for help is important to the well-being of both the family caregiver and the person receiving care. When you share the responsibility, you will have more time and energy for a normal relationship with your family member, and to take care of yourself as well. You are less likely to be angry and resentful. Having the opportunity to interact with more people will also enrich the care recipient's experience.

Despite the fact that family caregivers may be overtaxed with responsibility, they often do not ask for help or reject help when it is offered. Asking for help can be difficult when we don't know what we need, we don't want to be a bother, or we feel guilty that we can't do it all ourselves. Beliefs such as "no one can do this as well as I can" can also be an obstacle to asking for help.

It's true. No one will do it the same as you, but that does not mean that they cannot be helpful in their own way.

Recognize that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

It means you are acknowledging the challenges of the situation and are being proactive in resolving problems and preventing stress. It is a sign of strength because it requires putting your pride aside and acting in the best interest of your family member and yourself.

First, you need to admit that some help will make a difference to the care recipient's quality of life and, therefore, yours. You need to identify what help you need: tasks that are easiest to ask others to do; what you want to do yourself; and if you can afford to pay for assistance.

Discuss your needs with family members and friends who might be willing to help. They may want to contribute but don't know how.

Create a list of tasks. Then focus on each individual's strength. Some people may be better at personal care while others may be better able to help around the house or run errands.

Contact your local health authority to see what services are available to assist you, such as home support and respite. There are many businesses, community and volunteer agencies that offer services to reduce your load.

People may not realize you need help if you don't ask for it. Remember, you have the right to ask for help. Everyone will benefit from sharing in the caregiving.

Article by, Family Caregivers Network Society, Reprinted with permission from Senior Living Magazine,

Should Iron Deficiency Be a Concern for Seniors?

A – Seniors must correct an Iron Deficiency. Iron deficiency affects a large population of women in their child bearing years globally, generally due to menstruation. But after the change of life, for both men and women, iron deficiency is also a big problem.

Seniors generally require 10 mg/day of iron. However, 15 to 30 per cent of those over 70, both men and women, are iron deficient. Iron deficiency in seniors is linked with poor health, fatigue, depression and increased dependence on others.

Symptoms of iron deficiency in seniors include decreased cognitive function, dizziness, and apathy. Other symptoms of iron deficiency may include decreased ability to concentrate, increased frequency of infection, paleness, dark circles under the eyes, brittle hair and nails, shortness of breath, restless legs, and cold hands and feet. Iron deficiency is the first step towards anemia, and anemia is a big problem in seniors. Up to 44 per cent of seniors are anemic, which increases after age 65 and sharply rises after 85.

“Pick up on the iron deficiency before anaemia develops, and it is safer to treat and easier to correct,” says Dr. Cathy Carlson-Rink, a licensed naturopathic physician and registered midwife. “A serum ferritin test is the best way to identify iron deficiency.”

A healthy diet coupled with the use of a high-quality iron deficiency prevention product will help symptoms to diminish. Iron-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, or even seaweed, as well as raisins, prunes, apricots, lean meats and eggs.

More information can be found online at or toll-free at 1-888-436-6697.

Article by, Reprinted with permission from Senior Living Magazine,

Turkey and Barley Shepherd\'s Pie

Serves 6


Potato Topping

2 cups (500 mL) diced Yukon gold potatoes (approx 2 large)
3 cups (750 mL) diced sweet potatoes (approx 3 medium)
2 tbsp (25mL) non-hydrogenated margarine
¼ cup (50 mL) 2% milk


2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) diced onion
1 cup (250 mL) diced carrot
1 cup (250 mL) diced celery
1 lb (454 g) ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) dried thyme
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas
½ cup (125 mL) pearl barley
1 cup (250 mL) sodium-reduced chicken stock


1. Place potatoes and sweet potatoes in a large pot of water and boil until soft enough to mash. About 20 minutes.

2. Drain potatoes and mash with margarine and milk. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large stock pot. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook over medium heat until softened. About 10 minutes.

4. Add ground turkey and cook until no pink can be seen. Break apart large chunks with a wooden spoon.

5. Add in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 350º F (175º F).

7. Place turkey mixture into a 6 cup (1.5 L) casserole dish and top with the mashed potatoes.

8. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the potatoes start to brown.

Make ahead: Assemble the casserole and keep in the fridge for 24 hours. Reheat in the oven for one hour or until heated thoroughly.

Nutritional Information Per Serving

Calories: 325
Protein: 21 g
Fat: 10 g
Saturated fat: 2 g
Dietary cholesterol: 58 mg
Carbohydrate: 40 g
Dietary Fibre: 8 g
Sodium: 323 mg
Potassium: 868 mg

Developed by Nadine Day, RD. ©The Heart and Stroke Foundation

Building Your House

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go & asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, "This is your house... my gift to you." The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we would do it much differently.

But, you cannot go back. You are the carpenter, and every day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Someone once said, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Your attitude, and the choices you make today, help build the "house" you will live in tomorrow. Therefore, Build wisely!

Author Unknown

Seniors and Inflation

Senior households have very different spending patterns than other households. However, inflation is not much different for seniors—prices rose 26.1% for their households from January 1992 to February 2004, compared with 24.4% for other households.

Seniors spend proportionally more on travel, recreation and sports services. The prices of some of their preferred forms of recreation have increased, such as cable subscriptions and travel. This pattern may contribute to higher inflation for senior households.


Hotel Safety
  • If possible, choose hotels that have unmarked ‘swipe cards’ rather than numbered keys for each room. If you lose your swipe card or if it is stolen, the thief won’t know which room to rob.
  • Take note of emergency exits, stairwells, fire escapes and emergency plans.
  • Always lock your hotel door when retiring for the night. If there is a chain included, use it.
  • When arranging to meet people you’ve never met before (such as business associates), wait for them in the lobby. Don’t ask them to come up to your room.

Article by, Darryl Wilson, Reprinted with permission from Senior Living Magazine,

Accepting Help is Essential
Should Iron Deficiency Be a Concern for Seniors?
Turkey and Barley Shepherd\'s Pie
Building Your House
Seniors and Inflation
Hotel Safety