Seniors sitting on a bench

Planning for Healthy Aging Infographic

AIDE Canada
Get an early start on planning for your family member’s aging process. This infographic gives some ideas for consideration and places to start.


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Planning for Healthy Aging

Get an early start on planning for your family member’s aging process.


Develop Healthy Habits

Take a lifespan approach to planning for healthy aging. Creating healthy habits – such as good nutrition, access to education, and engaging in stimulating activities – and continuing them throughout life’s stages provides people with the best chance of being happy and healthy into old age. Ensure that your family member has regular recommended health checks. You can find guidance on this by checking out the Primary Care Guidelines on the website for Surrey Place Center.



Strengthen Social Networks

As challenging as it may sometimes seem, it is also important to assist your family member in developing increasing and well-established social networks of family and friends so they will have people who know them well, engage them in life and help to advocate for their well being.

Capture Their Story

Work together with your family member to create a Life Story and keep it a living, breathing document.


Engage in Conversation


Consider Housing Options


Look for naturally occurring situations to


Last, but not least, consider alternative


engage in conversations about death and


housing arrangements for yourself and


loss. Help your family member to find


your loved one. Write down what you are


their own way to communicate their


looking for in an agency and home,


feelings about grief and loss and


interview agencies and ask if they support


document this for others.


aging in place.

Reference Materials:

1.CareSearch. Talking End of Life with People with an Intellectual Disability 2. Surrey Place Centre. Primary Care Guidelines – A guide to understanding the 2018 Canadian consensus guidelines for the primary care of people with an intellectual and developmental disabilities 3. Common Sense Education. Apps and Sites for Storytelling 4. Foster Parent Journal. Why and How to Make a Life Book 5. Mayo Clinic. What do expect in normal aging


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Aging – Record of Abilities

A record of abilities is simply a way to document and/or illustrate a person’s functional and cognitive abilities over time.

Sometimes the original record of abilities is referred to as a baseline. With age, we experience changes that may affect our abilities. A personal record of abilities can help identify changes by comparing the abilities we had before with those held at a future date. There are different ways to document a personal record of abilities. One way is to use the National Task Group – Early Detection and Screen for Dementia (NTG-EDSD) and a short video.


Documents both functional and cognitive abilities as well as health history.

No special training required; the manual helps explain each section.

The NTG-EDSD and Manual are available in multiple languages for free. Download from the NTG website:

Have a look at it and decide if it will suit your purposes.

If you decide to use the NTG-EDSD

Remember it is NOT a diagnostic tool, it simply documents functional and cognitive abilities over time to help identify changes.

If there are concerns about changes that become apparent in completing the form, make an appointment to see a healthcare provider to discuss the changes.

Highlight the NTG-EDSD section(s) on the form that are concerning and bring this to the appointment.

If your healthcare provider is not familiar with the NTG-EDSD, bring a copy of the NTG-EDSD Manual to the appointment.

A video alongside the NTG-EDSD would be a good personal record of abilities.

Use a cell phone or video to make short recordings of the person.

Select tasks the person is familiar with and able to do.

Include some tasks to illustrate: gait/ambulation (aided or unaided as necessary), an activity of daily living, a fine motor task, and language/ communication

Annual updates should be a repeat of the original tasks recorded.

Keep the personal record of abilities in a safe place and update it on an annual basis unless on a more often basis is required to monitor a change.


Nancy Jokinen, MSW, PhD E:

Adjunct Professor, UNBC School of Social Work Board Member, National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices (NTG), Co-lead, NTG Canadian Consortium on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia.


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Falls: Risks & Prevention

Falls become a risk earlier for people with developmental disabilities. That’s because the aging process starts as early as 40 years old. Keep reading to learn more.

Risk Factors

Poor vision

Hearing loss

Poor footcare: bunions, corns, etc.


Psychotropic and anti-seizure medications taken on a long-term basis

Poor balance and weak muscles

Environmental and Pyschological Factors

Slippery floors

Loose carpets or unstable rugs

Poor lighting

Poorly fitting footwear

Seat heights that are too low, including beds, chairs and toilets


Fear from a previous fall

Environmental Improvements

Identify and remove clutter in and around the home

Add non-slip treads for bare wooden steps

Install shower and tub grab bars in the bathroom, around the toilet and the tub, handrails

Place non-slip mats on the shower floor and bathtub

Secure or remove loose rugs

Keep objects that are used often within easy reach

Make home lighting brighter, but prevent glare

Additional Considerations

Regular medication review

Regular medication review for side effects and interactions

Colour contrast

Use colour contrasts to help distinguish between different surfaces (such as toilet bowl and toilet seat)

More personal changes

Ensure shoes fit properly and are sturdy with non-skid soles

Have regular Chiropodist appointments

Have regular occupational therapy assessments

• Physiotherapy Assessment exercise programs (walking and endurance)

• Ensure assistive devices are used properly


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Osteoporosis: Risks & Prevention

Adults with developmental disabilities are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis – a bone disease that makes them vulnerable to fractures. Keep reading to learn more.

Risk Factors

Impaired mobility/weight bearing

Low calcium intake

Lack of exercise

Age and body weight

Psychotropic and anti-seizure medications taken on a long-term basis

Fall history

Postmenopausal women

Medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hyper-thyrodism and neurological disorders


85% of fractures in people with developmental disabilities involve extremities like the thighbone, hands and feet. Since people can’t always self-report, pay special attention to the possibility of a fracture if someone is acting out of the ordinary.

Tips for prevention

Maintain a healthy body weight

Being under or overweight is damaging to bone health

Maintain a healthy diet

Calcium, protein and vitamin D are three key nutrients for bone health

Get active

Being active and exercising support strong bones

Screening and assessments

Screening should begin before the age of 50

For assessments, try a hand or forearm scan rather than x-rays, which can be difficult or frightening for some individuals


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Photo by Matthew Bennett on Unsplash

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