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Thursday, January 05, 2017

Pay attention to seniors changing habits during the new year

Oshawa This Week

The new year is upon us. This is a time when many of us assess our accomplishments from the last year and set goals or resolutions for the coming year. For many, however, this can be a very stressful time and depression is a real risk, particularly among our older population who may be remembering past holidays filled with friends and family who have passed away before them. It is important always, but particularly at this time of year, to pay attention to our seniors and notice if they are showing signs of stress or depression. Has their appetite changed? Has their sleeping pattern changed? Has their mood changed or do they seem generally down?

There are many services available to support our seniors in the community or in retirement and long term care facilities. If your loved one is living in retirement or in long term care, staff within the facility will likely also be paying attention to patterns and take steps to help if they notice something out of the ordinary. However, if your loved one is still living in his or her own home and you begin to notice patterns that concern you, I would suggest reaching out to the family doctor and local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). They may be able to suggest services to assist. I would also suggest speaking with the individual to see if they are willing to tell you what is getting them down. Sometimes a good conversation is all we need to feel better. If it is something more serious, I would definitely seek help from health care professionals. I would also suggest posting the phone number for Distress Centre Durham close to the phone. Your loved one may not want to discuss what is bothering them with you but may be willing to speak to a stranger on the other end of the phone. The numbers for Distress Centre Durham’s hotline are 905-430-2522 and 1-800-452-0688.

Durham Distress Centre maintains this hotline 24 hours per day, seven days per week and fields calls regarding anything and everything related to emotional well-being. For more information, you may take a look at their website at

Another resource would be Community Care Durham which is a nonprofit organization that also provides support. They have offices throughout Durham Region. You can see the contact info for the office in your region on their website at or call their administrative office at 1-855-432-6815 and they will direct you.

I love this time of year and wish all of you and your loved ones a very happy New Year! If you would like to contact me directly, please email me at .

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