Healthier You-Northern Health-Fall 2015

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Healthier You Winter


Eating well for HEALTHY aging aging gracefully Keep active!

Get Involved

take the survey & win

Page 9

this winter! immunization – What’s the real story on the flu?


Lifestyle o t e g a u g From Lan

d la ngua speech an Speech La ir e h ed to t h it at they ne dren w h il t h c ls o g o t in o the e “By help passions t g them th d in n iv a g , s e a r e a oughts, id skills, we e their th t a ic n u m com !” und them world aro


bia ish Colum y it e r B l , e r g e r o kimb ge Pathologist, Prince Ge nguage

“I really enjoy working with children and their families. It’s an amazing feeling when a child speaks for the first time, uses a new sound in conversation, or when a child is able to express his or her wants and needs. It’s wonderful to see the joy on a parent’s face when their child’s communication skills improve. I truly feel that we make a difference in the lives of the children and families that we work with.” “Northern Health supports our profession in many ways. Our particular clinic has wonderful resources and our team is amazing. We are all passionate, hard-working, and determined to provide a quality service to the children and families that we work with. I feel supported both personally and professionally. My colleagues aren’t just my colleagues, they’re my friends.” Northern Health Recruitment: the northern way of caring


Toll Free: 1-877-905-1155 •

Volume 4, Issue 4


stay connected this winter Northern living presents a whole host of challenges that can lead to social isolation. We’ve got tips to get involved and conquer winter! By Andrew Burton, Holly Christian, Danielle Munnion and Lana Vanderwijk





capital update Page 31 By Jonathon Dyck

p.6 RESOURCES FOR SENIORS Where is the seniors centre in your community and what types of services do they offer?

p.18 staying active in a b.c. winter Outdoor activities that are suitable and fun for all ages and abilities.

By Christine Hinzmann

By Northern BC Tourism

inside event calendar �������������������������������������������������� Page 4 READER SURVEY ������������������������������������������������������ Page 9 Tell us how we’re doing for your chance to win a $100 gift card and other prizes.

immunization & the flu ������������������������������� Page 12 We look at some common flu myths and give you information to share this season. By Kathryn Germuth

FEATURED INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE ���������� Page 17 staff profile ������������������������������������������������������� Page 19 Meet Reg Wulff, a father and healthy living advocate.

SENIORS HELPING SENIORS ����������������������� Page 20 A Fort St. James program helps seniors age in place and builds important relationships. By Theresa Healy integrating mind and body ���������������� Page 22 In Telkwa, Brain Dance increases focus, builds strength, and more. By Lynn Shervill Eating Well for Healthy Aging ������� Page 26 Wondering what you can do to eat better as you age? By Emilia Moulechkova

Aging gracefully ��������������������������������������� Page 28 Take charge of your body to stay strong and maintain your mobility. By Holly Christian & Shellie O’Brien HEALTHY AGING WITH DZI’IS ��������������������� Page 30 By Jessie King

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Healthier You the northern way of caring


eventcalendar Fall/Winter 2015-16 All across Canada, specific dates are set aside to bring awareness to various health issues. These dates provide you with the chance to think about a specific aspect of your health. Here are some dates you might be interested in!

Healthier You Volume 4, Issue 4 – Winter 2015

published by:

november • Movember (Men’s Health) • Nov 2-8: B.C. Seniors’ Fall Prevention Awareness Week • Nov 15-21: National Substance Use Awareness Week • Nov 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

the northern way of caring


Copyright ©2015. All rights reserved. Reproduction of articles permitted with credit. Northern Health

Editors / Chelan Zirul and Vince Terstappen


Content Advisor / Northern Health

• Dec 1-7: National Safe Driving Week • Dec 1: World AIDS Day • Dec 6: National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Northern BC Tourism, Lynn Shervill, and Northern Health staff

January • Alzheimer Awareness Month • Jan 17-23: National Non-Smoking Week • Jan 20: Weedless Wednesday

Contributors / Prince George Citizen,

Glacier Media Group

Sales & Marketing Kevin Dergez Director of Special Projects Ellyn Schriber Newsmedia Features Manager BC Keshav Sharma Manager Specialty Publications

Advertising Sales Join the #healthynorth conversation!

Prince George Citizen

Creative Director / Eric Pinfold

Organizations like Northern Health use these national and regional days to share valuable health information. So, stay tuned to, follow us on Twitter (@Northern_Health), and like our Facebook page ( to learn more about these important events as they get close.

Do you have a community event coming up that promotes health? Tell us about it! Email, post it to our Facebook page, or tweet us about it using the hashtag #healthynorth.

4 Healthier You

winter 2015 the northern way of caring

Advertisements in this magazine are coordinated by Glacier Media. Northern Health does not endorse products or services. Any errors, omissions or opinions found in this magazine should not be attributed to the publisher. The authors, the publisher and the collaborating organizations will not assume any responsibility for commercial loss due to business decisions made based on the information contained in this magazine. Speak with your doctor before acting on any health information contained in this magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without crediting Northern Health and Glacier Media. Printed in Canada. Please recycle.


ch and Cantonese.


Knowledge is life of the mind. – Abu Bakr

CMHA Prince George Branch offers a range of workshops for the general public, government and community organizations and businesses, throughout Northern BC and beyond. Workshops are delivered by engaging and professional staff members. We are proud to offer Mental Health First Aid, Mental Health Works, Live Life To The Full and Safe and Sound: Building a Psychologically Safe Work place. We are able to tailor workshops and sessions to your specific needs in many areas of Health and Wellness. For more information contact our Manager of Education and Projects, Mary Lu Spagrud 250-564-8644 Ext 207, email or visit our website R0011124909

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“From Soup to Nuts” resources for seniors

HIV and Aging pamphlets flank the basket of colourfully packaged condoms on the counter of the Prince George Council of Seniors Resource Centre. By Christine Hinzmann, Prince George Citizen

“And there’s lube, too - did you see that?” asked Lola-Dawn Fennell, general manager at the centre. “Lubricant can be very helpful to older women because sex can be uncomfortable for some women after a certain age.” And that’s how the conversation starts at the Resource Centre where staff and volunteers provide all kinds of information to seniors in Prince George.


“Sexually transmitted infections are very prevalent in seniors,” said Fennell. “The reaction from seniors to seeing the condoms is sometimes ‘I don’t need that’ and you might not need that to prevent pregnancy at this age – which is how we looked at condoms a number of decades back – but you may need it to prevent sexually transmitted infections. And just because you’re in a committed relationship doesn’t mean your partner is as committed as you are.” There are a lot of single seniors out there, said Fennell. “And if they are playing the field, they might want to think very seriously about their sexual health.” The Resource Centre also provides information and community referrals. “We provide information truly ranging from soup to nuts, from local to federal and if we don’t know the answer, we will do our best to refer out to the appropriate source for the person to find that information,” said Fennell.

For more information on sexually transmitted infections and healthy sexuality for adults and seniors: • • HealthLinkBC: • or 1-800-SEX-SENSE (1-800-739-7367) 6 Healthier You

winter 2015 the northern way of caring

Each year, the Seniors Resource Centre in Prince George answers about 3,000 phone calls and the office, located at 721 Victoria Street, is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and people are invited to drop by.

Calls amalgamated with the local RCMP Friendly Phones service. There are volunteers who make the calls five days a week and each volunteer has about 20 people they call and chat with, said Fennell. “People really look forward to their phone call as they build relationships with the volunteers.”

Their best-known program is Meals on Wheels, which is coordinated out of the Centre in partnership with the Native Friendship Centre’s Smokehouse kitchen. The program is open to all ages, not just seniors, and is geared for From the Happy Gang everyone who has a need. Meals on Wheels Centre in Terrace to volunteers deliver at noon to anyone in Prince George’s “bowl area” and the meal the Quesnel Seniors consists of a soup or salad, hot entree and Centre, there are small dessert for $5.50 per meal. resource centres for “We ask for a prepayment of $55 because we ask people to give it a fair shake,” said Fennell. The program has about 25 volunteers and last year, more than 5,000 meals were delivered. People may use the service short term as they recover from illness or injury or long term to provide at least one nutritious meal each weekday.

seniors all across northern B.C.! Where is the seniors centre in your community? What types of services do they offer?

Another program, Friendly Phone Calls, was started about six years ago as a temporary measure for those who were wait-listed for volunteer visitors. It was so well-received the program continued even when the wait-list ended. “It’s popular because you have social contact but you don’t have to get dressed, do your hair or clean your house,” said Fennell. About two years ago the Resource Centre’s Friendly Phone

Golden Age Socials are very popular with seniors and the Prince George Council of Seniors Resource Centre took over coordination of these events in 2008. There is a separate host group for each of the five socials and that group is responsible for providing refreshments, entertainment and volunteers to put it all together. Upcoming Golden Age Socials will take place at the Civic Centre in Prince George from 1 to 3 p.m. on November 4, December 9, February 10 and March 9. The Resource Centre hosts Community Income Tax Volunteer Preparers who are Revenue Canada trained volunteers who will help low income seniors for free during March and April each year.

Finally, the annual Christmas Hamper project will start taking donations and applications from low income seniors who provide proof of income in November. About 200 hampers are delivered to those seniors in need each year. For more information about what the Prince George Council of Seniors Resource Centre offers, call 250-564-5888 or e-mail with questions.

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Do you read Healthier You:


Tell Us How We’re Doing –

And Win!

take the survey! Since January 2012, Healthier You has been sharing healthy living stories and information tailored specifically for northern B.C. residents. We want to make sure that we’re achieving that goal and we’d like for you to tell us how we’re doing! Please take a moment to complete the survey. As a token of our thanks, your completed (and submitted!) survey enters you in a random draw for one of many prizes, including a $100 gift card to We’ll also draw for two car safety kits and two Tim Hortons gift cards (each valued at $10). Want to take the survey & enter the draw online? Go to: (Please note that the survey link is case sensitive)

Prefer the paper copy? Complete the survey and send it to us by: • Scan/email: • Fax: 250-565-2640 • Mail: A Healthier You, c/o Northern Health, 600 - 299 Victoria St., Prince George, B.C., V2L 5B8

Online In print If you read the print version of the magazine, where do you get it? Do you take it home? Yes No

Healthier You is published every 3 months. How many issues have you read? 1 issue (this is my first issue) 2 issues 3-4 issues More than 4 issues

Which sections did you read in this issue? (check all that apply) Healthy Eating Physical Activity Healthy Communities Aboriginal Health Staff Profile Injury Prevention Immunization Capital Update Mental Wellness Sexual Health Event Calendar

Why do you read Healthier You? (check all that apply) Evidence-based health information Northern B.C. voices Community stories & perspectives Diversity of health topics Updates from Northern Health It’s available when I want/need a magazine Other

Complete the survey

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Healthier You the northern way of caring


for your chance to win a $100 gift card to or other prizes! Survey available online at: (Please note that the survey link is case sensitive)

What TOPIC would you like to see (or see more of!) in future issues? (check all that apply) Healthy Eating Physical Activity Healthy Communities Sexual Health Mental Wellness Injury Prevention Immunization Capital Update Men’s Health Healthy Workplace Aboriginal Health Foundation Updates Staff Profile Community Granting Other




Where do you get other health information? (check all that apply) Northern Health website Other health authority website Government of B.C. website Other online source: Friends and family Family physician Other offline source:

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Please tell us about yourself: Sex: Male Female Do you work for Northern Health: Yes No Age: Under 20 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79 80 and older Where do you live? (city/town/community name) ____________________________________________ Thank you for completing our survey! To enter the draw, please leave your name and phone number in the space below. Only prize winners will be contacted.

Complete the survey online at (Please note that the survey link is case sensitive) or send us the completed paper copy by: Scan/email: / Fax: 250-565-2640 Mail: A Healthier You, c/o Northern Health, 600 - 299 Victoria St., Prince George, B.C., V2L 5B8 10 Healthier You

winter 2015 the northern way of caring








Diabetes affects the circulation and immune system, which in turn impairs the body’s ability to heal itself. Over time, diabetes can damage sensory nerves (this is known as “neuropathy”), especially in the hands and feet. As a result, people with diabetes are less likely to feel a foot injury, such as a blister or cut. Unnoticed and untreated, even small foot injuries can quickly become infected, potentially leading to serious complications.

Whether or not you are diabetic, your feet are the last thing you think of for overall health and wellbeing. Let’s make it the first thing you do for better health, wellness and mobility.


Karen Le Francois BSc Pod. By Appointment Only • 250.563.6808

Come In and Meet the Pharmacy Team!

1306 Central Street E. | Prince George | 250-596-6888


We are a full service pharmacy, offering fast and friendly service, free blister packing, flu shots, and free delivery! We accept all major drug plans and are locally owned and operated, conveniently and centrally located on 13th and East Central close to Earls


What’s the Real Story on Influenza (Flu)? In my experience as a nurse, I have heard many questions about the flu and the flu vaccine. With flu season upon us, I wanted to look at some of the common myths I hear every year about influenza (“the flu”) and the vaccine in hopes to provide some accurate information for you to learn and share this season!

By Kathryn Germuth,

Public Health, Northern Health

There is often a misunderstanding about the flu, with many believing that influenza is the stomach flu or the common cold. In fact, influenza (“the flu”) is generally much worse than the common cold. Symptoms such as fever, headache, aches and pains, extreme fatigue, and cough are more common and more intense with the flu than they are with the common cold.

12 Healthier You

winter 2015 the northern way of caring

The common cold also generally does not result in serious health problems. Influenza, on the other hand, can lead to bacterial infections such as ear infection, a sinus infection, bronchitis, or pneumonia. Certain groups of people – such as seniors 65 and older, very young children, and people who have lung or heart disease, certain chronic health conditions, or weakened immune systems – are at high risk for serious flu complications.

Influenza is highly contagious and infects millions of Canadians every year. While most recover in about a week, up to 8,000 Canadians, most of them young children and seniors, will die due to flu-related complications like pneumonia each year. “I got the flu from my flu shot” is probably the most common myth I hear. In fact, the flu shot cannot give you influenza because the vaccine contains killed viruses that cannot cause infection. The vaccine that is given as a nasal spray does contain live virus but these viruses are attenuated (weakened) and cannot cause flu illness. Another common question is why we need to get the flu vaccine every year. Because the flu virus is constantly changing, the flu vaccine is reviewed and updated each year to protect you.

How can I prevent influenza? • Wash your hands regularly • Promptly dispose of used tissues in the waste basket or garbage • Cough and sneeze into your shirt sleeve rather than your hands • Stay home when you are ill • Get an influenza vaccine To see if you are eligible for the free flu vaccine, visit

Benefits of the flu vaccine: • Prevents you from getting sick with the flu. • Helps protect people around you who are more vulnerable to a serious flu illness. • Helps to make your illness milder if you do get sick.

Check out Why Seniors Should Get the Inactivated Influenza (Flu) Vaccine at HealthLinkBC:

Great friends. Great food. Great fun.

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250.561.1002 find us on

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Healthier You the northern way of caring



Stay Connected and Get Involved to

Conquer Winter! Northern living presents a whole host of challenges that can lead to social isolation. The long, cold and dark winters can make it difficult to get out.

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By Andrew Burton, Holly Christian, Danielle Munnion and Lana Vanderwijk, Northern Health

Over the next few months, many people will leave for work before the sun rises and won’t get home until after it has set. But there are lots of things that you can do to prevent this! The key to conquering winter is staying involved and connected! Research suggests that having an active social life and staying engaged in the community leads to better mental, physical and emotional health. So let’s conquer winter together this year and come out even healthier on the other side! Here are a few ways that you can get involved and stay connected in your community.

Hello, neighbour! Volunteering doesn’t strictly mean giving your time to an organization, though. The word “volunteer” simply means to do something and expect no financial gain. There are other ways to benefit from volunteering that don’t require an organization for you to get involved. For instance, you could help a neighbour shovel their driveway, offer to walk their dog, grab their mail while you grab yours, or help them to put up their Christmas lights. There are many things you can do that would surely be appreciated and are great ways to get to know your neighbours or kindle new friendships. And it’s these types of social connections that promote healthy aging and lead to better health for both you and your neighbours! Try something new!

Whether you’re trying something new like yoga at a community centre or sharing your woodworking hobby with a neighbour, staying connected this winter will help you to come out even healthier in the spring!

Volunteer Volunteering is a great way to be involved in the community, and there’s no easier time to start since the holiday season typically offers many opportunities for volunteering! There are so many different organizations in need of help that you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something that piques your interest! Volunteering gets you up and out of the house, is a great way to meet new people, and is associated with better mental and emotional health. It’s also linked to greater resiliency – that is, the ability to bounce back and cope with unexpected change.

Another great way to meet new people is to try something new! Take up a new activity: try yoga, join a local curling team, or check out the local pool. Many pools offer activities like Aquafit – and what better way to meet someone new than to chat for a bit while soaking sore muscles in a hot tub after a good workout in the pool! Sports, especially team sports, and other organized physical activities are good for your health in more ways than one. They help you stay active and physically fit and, during exercise, your body releases endorphins – chemicals produced by the body that can relieve pain and induce a state of euphoria – which make you feel good. Share your hobbies In addition to more organized activities like sports, hobbies such as a knitting group, an art or photography class, or a choir also keep you socially engaged. Informal clubs like these provide a great reason to get out of the house on a regular basis during those cold, dark winters. They also provide a place to meet new people with similar interests and make new friends. Many activities offered in our communities are free or have a low cost associated with them, making them easy to attend. The social interaction associated with attending these activities has huge benefits for your health, too, especially in terms of increasing your resiliency, giving you a sense of purpose, improving brain function and memory, and boosting your mood because you’re doing something you enjoy with people you enjoy!

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Healthier You the northern way of caring


Why connect? Winter, and the holiday season in particular, is a time of giving – but why do we do it? Because it makes us feel good! We get to spend time with our friends and family and enjoy the satisfaction of making others feel good, too. We enjoy knowing that we’ve made a difference in someone’s life because we’re social creatures. Humans weren’t meant to spend all of their time in solitude. We need those personal, social and spiritual connections and we need to be involved in order to be as happy and healthy as possible. Start now for stress-free and golden years! Engaging in activities prior to retirement makes us more likely to continue them after we retire (which is handy because that’s when we have more time to enjoy them, too!). Having activities and social connections in place is key to ensuring that you are happy, healthy and engaged once you no longer have co-workers by your side day-in, day-out to chat with. This fall and winter, make it your goal to try something new: volunteer, try a new activity or join a club! There are so many ways you can benefit from putting yourself out there and we want those “golden years” to be truly that: stress-free and golden!

Many communities in northern B.C. have community centres, seniors centres, or recreation facilities with programming for all ages, like socials and dance classes for seniors in Fort St. John!



in your own home! In home care offers practIcal assIstance In everyday lIfe and offers a means of lIvIng Independently In your own home as long as possIble. SPH provides fully screened and qualified in-home caregivers for seniors and persons with disabilities as well as childcare nannies. They have a dynamic team with experience and sensitivity to match the needs of clients with the experience and skills of workers. Federal and Provincial credentials guarantee placements to be effective and safe in their practice. Visit our website or call our office for more details on how we can provide help with a individual needs assessment for our services.

SPH in Home care ServiceS are for SeniorS, PerSonS witH diSabilitieS and cHildren.

16 Healthier You

winter 2015 the northern way of caring Tel: 778.220.2774 TF: 1.855.callsph

(1.855.522.5577) sph fort st. John/northern office 309 - 9711 - 100th Avenue Fort St. John, B.C. V1J 1Y2


Featured Indigenous


CULTURAL WELL-BEING IS FOUNDATIONAL TO HEALTHY WELL-BEING. Did you know... • Aboriginal peoples include three distinct populations: First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. • 30 per cent of the Aboriginal people in B.C. live within the Northern Health region. • Of the 300,000 people served by Northern Health, over 17 per cent are Aboriginal. • In the northwest, over 30 per cent of the population is Aboriginal. Celebrating culture, language, and traditional activities are key to healthy communities. Incorporating culture and language into activities and relationships leads to healthier, more resilient communities. In northern B.C., there is a great diversity of Aboriginal peoples, territories, languages, and cultures. This issue, we’re highlighting one of these languages – Wet’suwet’en – spoken in the Bulkley Valley and Lakes District areas.


Hello Hadïh How are you? So’endzin Thank you Misiyh Come here Anïh I will see you again Nenyust’en’

To learn more about Indigenous languages and to hear recordings of words, phrases, stories, and songs, visit: • • First Peoples’ Language Map of B.C. • • Inuktitut Tusaalanga

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Healthier You the northern way of caring



By Northern BC Tourism

Staying Active in a Northern B.C. Winter

Winter is on the way in northern British Columbia, but piles of snow and colder temperatures are no excuse to stay inside.

photo credit:

Channel Collective

Snowshoeing is a great way to get outside and explore the winter landscape – and it can be done at any level or pace. The sport is growing in popularity and today’s snowshoes have evolved and are lightweight, easy to manoeuvre, and have crampons for extra grip when climbing. Snowshoeing also makes many favourite local hiking destinations like the Wolverine Trails in Tumbler Ridge, Forests for the World in Prince George, and Babine Mountains Provincial Park in Smithers easily accessible year-round. Ice fishing can be fun for the whole family and there are literally thousands of lakes to choose from across northern B.C. Local conditions and freezing time will vary (so always check the thickness of the ice before you go!) but the majority of our lakes will freeze thick enough to safely venture out to try and catch lake trout, kokanee or burbot. Having access to an ice fishing hut can be nice, but there are plenty of bright and sunny winter days when it is not necessary at all. Cross-country skiing is great aerobic exercise and one of the most complete and gentle forms of exercise available. Most communities in northern B.C. have groomed trail networks for classic and skate-style skiing. Get out and explore Onion Lake in Kitimat, Omineca Trails in Burns Lake, Otway Nordic Centre in Prince George, or Bear Mountain in Dawson Creek. Some sites even feature day lodges and warming huts – perfect for hot chocolate breaks!

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winter 2015 the northern way of caring

There are plenty of fun and easy outdoor activities suitable for all ages and abilities that can help you keep active during northern B.C. winters! Ice fishing is fun for the whole family and snowshoeing can be done at any level or pace!

Find more active living inspiration at


Reg Wulff

This issue, we introduce you to Northern Health’s Reg Wulff, an avid fisherman and hockey player living in Terrace.

staff profile

Reg Wulff

On the Northern Health Matters blog (, Reg Wulff once shared that his dream retirement involved spending lots of time fishing, cycling and reminding his children that he wouldn’t have to get up and go to work every day!

Reg is a father and healthy living advocate passionate about active living, tobacco reduction, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Northern Health. I moved to Terrace and joined Northern Health as a recreation therapist in 2002. A couple of years ago, I moved over to the tobacco reduction team where I work within Northern Health and with community partners to develop and implement tobacco reduction initiatives. I’ve recently done some work on e-cigarettes, developed anti-smoking videos with the Prince George Cougars, and have been working on healthy aging projects. Stopping tobacco use has both immediate and long-term positive health impacts and is key to healthy aging. The best thing that someone can do for their health is to quit using tobacco – it’s always a good time to quit! I have two sons, ages 10 and 12. It’s hard to believe how quickly they’ve grown up – one is now almost as tall as his mother! They’ve taken an interest in some great activities like jiu-jitsu and soccer, and it’s been fun to watch them grow and become more independent – independence that I’m happy to support as long as we still get to go out fishing together every once in a while!

What does healthy aging mean to you? For me, healthy aging means taking control of your health. It’s doing the little things like walking to the grocery store and riding your bike to work – these small changes lead to big impacts and more control over your life as you age. As we age, it’s so easy to lose focus on your health – more and more things take your time and it can be hard to fit things in. Healthy aging can sometimes take a back seat which is why for me, making healthy living and physical activity a priority (with flexibility, of course!) is important. What do you do to live a healthy life? A healthy life means being able to answer yes to the question “Can I do the things I like to do?” I like to stay active. In the summer, I ride my bike to work and in the winter, I play hockey and occasionally cross-country ski. I also like to play in the beautiful wilderness around Terrace. There’s nothing like going out to a river and just wading & fishing! It’s physical activity, stress release, and great balance after a busy workday or work week. A healthy life includes mental wellness, too, and so I try not to get too worked up over things. I maintain a sense of humour as much as possible. I try to recognize and identify when it’s time to take a step back, which is really important because stress can build up over time. What do you enjoy about living in Terrace that supports healthy aging? The closeness of things and the number of leisure programs and opportunities in Terrace is a huge support for healthy aging. I can be at the rink for a hockey game in just four minutes versus the 20 minute commute I had when I lived in the Lower Mainland. I’ve got a biking and walking trail (Howe Creek Trail) in my backyard and it takes just minutes to get to others. Terrace Mountain has a beautiful hiking trail and there’s great salmon fishing near town. Lakelse River is fun to wade in, Pine Lake is scenic and very nice, and there are lots of other small lakes that I can get to easily with my small boat.

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Healthier You the northern way of caring



from little

acorns... Northern Health, through its community granting programs, supports northern communities to apply for small grants to support local community initiatives that will improve health and well-being.

By Theresa Healy,

Healthy Community Development, Northern Health

I talked to Emily Colombo, Economic Development Officer at the District of Fort St. James, about the community grants they have received to support their vision for community members to be able to age in place. She explained that their program, Seniors Helping Seniors, is actually a very low cost program and they strive to keep overhead low. But, she said, there are few opportunities to fund seniors’ programs and finding a funding source that supports ongoing initiatives in smaller communities is very difficult. The benefits of funding grassroots efforts like these are far greater than might typically be expected from such small investments. According to Emily, “Even though it is a small amount of money, we can use it to build our capacity at the grassroots level. It becomes a foundation and from that, we are able to leverage other sources and build partnerships. We have a very vibrant program.” The program builds on community assets – the seniors themselves. “Seniors Helping Seniors provides free transportation to appointments in a 160 km radius and we offer free grocery deliveries to seniors in the community. The seniors themselves contribute to the program in the form of volunteering, giving them a sense of purpose in the community and a reason to leave the house during the day. We have younger seniors helping the older and, inevitably, they form social bonds.”

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It seems that this ethic, seniors helping seniors, shapes the success of their program. The program is busy: from January to July of this year, Seniors Helping Seniors in Fort St. James had 115 clients registered, gave 309 rides, took 219 trips and covered 25,000 kilometres. However, the biggest benefit is the social connectedness that the program builds: “The volunteer seniors have a sense of participating and contributing to their community and it keeps them active and builds their sense of belonging. And, through them and through the program, we have a strong and effective connection to the most vulnerable of our seniors. We have 115 of our community’s most vulnerable seniors connected to us in this program so if we have something to share with them, like an emergency preparedness alert or a health opportunity, we can reach them through a mechanism that they know and trust.” Emily also talked about the grant process. “It is nice to have something that is so easy and straightforward,” she said, “but it also makes us stop and review and check in with what are we doing: What did we do last year? Where is the program headed?”

Volunteers and coordinator celebrate the Fort St. James Seniors Helping Seniors transportation service.

She also said that being in the granting network helped to open up new ideas and build regional partnerships with other communities. “We can learn from and support each other’s efforts around seniors’ health and well-being. The fact that we had this grant,” said Emily, “gave us the space and confidence to reach out for other funding sources and explore more innovative delivery models. We are currently looking into a taxation system for 2016 that would support the Seniors Helping Seniors work at just pennies per household. Recently, we’ve been able to build relationships which contribute to the service with other communities: Nak’azdli First Nation, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, and the District of Vanderhoof. This is how we can become sustainable. Give us a place to stand and we can reach that goal.” Emily finished our conversation expressing gratitude. “Without this program, there are many senior community members who simply could not continue to live in Fort St. James. We can make sure seniors who need cancer treatments or kidney dialysis three times a week can make all of the appointments they need to be at in Prince George. This means we can support seniors to live healthy and age in their own communities. We are so proud to do this! Seniors have given so much to our community, it is only appropriate that we help them to live and stay in their own homes. They are valuable members of our community and we want to keep them with us.”

Senior volunteers pose in front of a new transportation van.

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Healthier You the northern way of caring



D an Brain


“The very first time I did it, my brain was just snapping.” – Ann Greene, retired teacher

For Seniors By Lynn Shervill,

Volunteer, Northern Health Information Hub

Integrating 22 Healthier You

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Mind and Body

What began several years ago as a new approach to helping schoolchildren focus their attention, improve reading skills and enhance sensory motor development through movement has come full circle for former teacher Ann Greene.


F MEND is a program that ildren empowers ch and families to and become fitter healthier.

“I thought if Brain Dance worked for my schoolkids, there was a good chance it would work for old folks as well; that it would be something my mom and I could do together.” So, when Janet Harris, founder of the Creative Roots dance studio in Smithers, offered to lead 16 Brain Dance sessions at the Telkwa Seniors Centre, Ann, along with more than 30 other seniors, signed up. In so doing, she became part of a research project sponsored by the Health Arts Research Centre (HARC) at the University of Northern British Columbia. Under the direction of Dr. Sarah DeLeeuw, HARC is conducting research into how the arts – dance, painting, theatre, music, storytelling, photography – can be used to enhance individual, group and community health in northern B.C. Brain Dance, developed by Seattle-based movement specialist Anne Gilbert, is based on eight fundamental movement patterns that babies discover in their first years – the years during which they learn much of everything they will ever know. Harris has incorporated those patterns into dozens of exercises reminiscent of theatrical warm-ups, using music, voice, facial expression, stretching and dance. “These exercises increase focus, balance, core strength, body awareness and general coordination,” Harris says. “They release stress, improve range of motion and increase brain oxygenation. When you talk about the aging brain, movement trumps everything … sudoku, crosswords, everything.”

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Brain Dance is light and playful with a fun factor that can stimulate the imagination and get people moving. What types of active living programs are offered for adults in your community?

Those barriers were exactly what instructor Harris was most afraid of when she proposed doing Brain Dance sessions for seniors. Except for a brief program for the Smithers brain injury group, Harris had only worked with children, never adults with inhibitions.

Many of the movements, especially the cross-body movements, open up the pathways from one side of the brain to the other, according to Greene. “It’s the same thing when you start using two modalities at the same time … like vocal exercises and purposeful movement. There’s a crossover because you have to divide that up in your head.”

“So I started slow and tried to build confidence in the group. The biggest thing with adults is self-censorship. Just using the word dance can close them up.”

Jane Sacharoff, a retired accountant, said the sessions leave her feeling lighter, oxygenated and “transported out of the place where you usually live. It allows your brain to relax and go into the experience.”

Over the eight weeks of the program, Harris tried to find a balance between novelty and repetition, between what you repeat and new routines, all in an effort to build confidence and stimulate the imagination.

Bonnie Lear, a retired health administrator, said the sessions leave her feeling “light and playful. It’s an excellent integration of mind and body and it stimulates the imagination. I try not to impose any structure on it, to let that go.”

“I was worried they would be too afraid but when you see the joy in their eyes you know it’s working,” Harris said. “As we age and our culture becomes more sedentary, it’s important that we find time to move our bodies, challenge our balance system and stimulate our brains … we’ve got to use it or lose it.”

Both Sacharoff and Lear said the Brain Dance sessions make you aware of the barriers individuals set up, like not wanting to look silly, and then, over time, break them down so that “there’s a real fun factor that is not part of your usual day.”

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Check with your health professional before starting any new exercise program.

Healthier You Winter


eating Well for HealtHy aging aging gracefully

Get Involved

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Kevin Dergez

Director of Special Projects

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immunization – What’s the real story on the flu?



Eating Well for Healthy Aging

Need some quick and easy inspiration? Here’s a tasty recipe I call “Leftover” Frittata. You can use any vegetables, meat, or fish that you want!

As a dietitian, many Elders have talked to me about food’s role in honouring our bodies and connecting us to others and to our traditions. Considering these aspects of eating can make a big difference to the health and well-being of seniors! Wondering what you can do to eat better as you age? Or maybe you’re looking to support healthy eating for older adults in your family and community? Here are a few suggestions: Get back to the Canada’s Food Guide basics Look to Canada’s Food Guide when making food choices. Include a variety of foods from the four food groups: fruit and vegetables, grains, milk & alternatives, and meat & alternatives. As you age, your body needs more of certain nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Foods that are good sources of calcium are milk (canned, powdered or fresh), fortified soy beverage, yogurt, cheese, seaweed and fish with bones. If you are over the age of 50, take a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.

By Emilia Moulechkova,

Population Health Nutrition, Northern Health

“Leftover” Frittata (Makes: 4 servings)

Ingredients - 1 tsp canola oil - 1 cup vegetables of your choice, diced - 1/2 cup cooked meat or fish of your choice, diced - 1 tsp dried herbs of your choice - 6 eggs - 1/2 cup cheese, shredded (optional) - 1/3 cup milk

Instructions 1. In an ovenproof skillet, cook vegetables with oil over medium heat until soft. Any vegetables like onion, broccoli, potato, spinach, carrot or red pepper work well. Add herbs and chopped meat or fish. 2. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and cheese. Pour into skillet and stir to combine with veggies and meat. Let cook until edge is starting to set. 3. Place skillet under broiler for about 3 minutes or until top is set and light golden. To make a balanced meal, enjoy with toast, potatoes or rice and a glass of milk!

Canada’s Food Guide is available for download from Health Canada at

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For personalized nutrition counselling, ask to be referred to a registered dietitian in your community or call HealthLink 8-1-1 to speak to a registered dietitian over the phone.

Consider joining a local food program Programs that may be available in your community include:

Cook for yourself – you are worth the effort Healthy meals are important for families of all sizes. A simple meal can be a healthy meal – aim to include at least three out of the four food groups. For example, yogurt with granola and berries or toast topped with baked beans and a glass of milk. Freeze leftovers for a quick meal later or reinvent them into a completely new meal.

• Elders or seniors luncheons to share a healthy meal with others

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Eat together Eating together is fun and enjoyable! Also, did you know that people who eat together, eat better? How does sharing dinner with a friend, joining an Elders luncheon group or teaching your grandkids a traditional family recipe sound?


Aging Gracefully – Keep Active and On Your Feet! By Holly Christian & Shellie O’Brien, Population Health, Northern Health


odies are made to move!

Every older adult wants to live an active and independent life. Regular physical activity improves balance, increases strength and prevents falls. While we all age, get a little wrinkly, and have hair that turns grey (for most of us, anyways), poor balance, weak muscles and falls are not a normal part of aging. As we age, let’s follow the advice of poet Dylan Thomas and “not go gentle into that good night.”

So, where to start? Aim for 150 minutes of exercise per week. That’s just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week! Take charge of your body and be active to stay strong and maintain your mobility long into the golden years. Including movement in your day-to-day activities and exercising for strength, balance and coordination improves your overall health and quality of life: maintain your independence, stay active in your community, and avoid slips, trips and broken hips!

It’s never too late to get active and involved! Start where you are today and build more activity into your daily routine bit-by-bit, working your way up to 150 minutes per week. Being active can be fun! Try all kinds of activities like strength and balance exercises, dancing, lifting light weights, tai chi and yoga! Check out Lynn Shervill’s article for an example of a great dance program that may be available in your community. Exercise can also include simple things like going for a walk, raking leaves, shovelling snow, bringing in firewood, or climbing the stairs. Be creative and enjoy what you choose to do!

Where to start? Just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week!

Staying active – like biking to work or to the grocery store – will help you maintain your independence and avoid slips and falls.

More info: Always make sure that you keep activity within your own personal limits and take measures to avoid injury. It is always a good idea to consult your health care provider before starting any new exercise program or increasing your level of physical activity significantly. 28 Healthier You

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Sex Always Eager to Educate

By Christine Hinzmann, Prince George Citizen

“You want to have more sex with your wife? She’ll enjoy it much more if you use this,” Jackson will bluntly say to a senior husband. When she gets the nod, she quickly puts the lubricant into a brown paper bag because it’s all about being discreet once the tough questions are asked and answered. Jackson knows it’s also very important to talk to women who are menopausal or post-menopausal when things may not be quite the same as they once were. “Sex without vaginal fluids can be very painful for a woman,” said Jackson. “It hurts.” And nobody wants to do something that hurts, she added.

Check out Christine’s From Soup to Nuts article for more resources on healthy sexuality and aging!

“If you’re talking about healthy sexuality, a couple can continue to have sex and, if a woman is involved, having lube can make a lot of difference as far as comfort and enjoyment,” said Jackson. “Seniors just don’t know about it.”

It’s never too late to learn about lubricant. Mary Jackson, educator for Northern HIV and Health Education Society, said there are a lot of seniors out there who don’t know lube even exists, let alone how to use it.

The Northern HIV and Health Education Society had a booth at the always-popular Seniors Fair at the B.C. Northern Exhibition in August and the reaction is always the same, Jackson said. “They get really embarrassed when I bring it up, but then they take it,” said Jackson about the free lubricant she offers at her booth. “Those are the things that are important to people. We all need the information, no matter what age we are.” The Northern HIV and Health Education Society shares knowledge and will ideally go where six to 15 people gather, including seniors centres, churches, women’s groups and men’s groups. To make the information a bit more palatable, Jackson lightens it up by playing Seniors Sexual Jeopardy. There’s also a workshop called Celebrating Me that showcases a person’s lifelong accomplishments and she’s even got a Seniors’ Health Bingo game. There are also information sessions on HIV and hepatitis A, B and C. “I am always thrilled to provide education to anyone interested,” said Jackson.

For more information about these programs, call Mary Jackson at 250-964-8558.

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Healthier You the northern way of caring



healthy aging

with Dzi’is

By Jessie King,

Aboriginal Health, Northern Health

Three generations: Gramma, mom and me. photo credit:

Jessie King

How do you age well? I could tell you about research on the importance of active engagement and participating in productive activities that promote societal values (if you’re interested, I recommend checking out work by Verena H. Menec), but research has never been my best teacher. My Dzi’is (Gramma) taught me, among many other things, how to live and age well. She went to be with her sisters and brothers last July 14th but her lessons and memories remain. I remember being 10 years old and harvesting eeyaans (black chiton – a type of mollusk) with Gramma and my mom at Ridley Island near Prince Rupert. Gramma had her hair done and was dressed impeccably with her black ballet-style flats. We carried with us ice cream buckets and butter knives to pry the eeyaans off the rocks so that we could collect them. Gramma led the way and at one point she asked us to help her down a jagged six to seven foot rock face to reach a prime harvesting spot while the tide was out. My mother climbed down first, leaving me at the top to lower my 60-year-old Gramma down to her. I remember thinking, as I held her forearms and hands, “This is way too much responsibility for me! I’m dangling Gramma off a tiny cliff for food!” My mom guided Gramma’s ballet flats into good footholds and she made it down in one piece! We went home, exhausted, with full buckets and Gramma went to work cooking up what we had harvested.

All of my memories of my Dzi’is involve food gathering (eeyaans and berries) or hunting in local markets and second-hand stores for treasures; all of which exhausted me and energized her. She taught me to stay active and social and to keep your family busy. She never spoke directly about how she felt about aging, but she definitely did it well! Through her example, I learned the importance of activities that promote not only societal values, but cultural and traditional ones, too. Aging well for her was being Tsimshian and everything that identity encompasses.

More info: • There are many variants of some Sm’algyax (Tsimshian) words such as Gramma or Grandma – Dzi’is or Tsi’i’is are common versions. • Eeyaan, commonly known as the black leather chiton, is a type of mollusk harvested from the bottom or sides of rocks in heavy surf areas. (above left) Jessie picking berries and flowers with Gramma and mom. photo credit: Ann King. (above right) Walking the water pipeline with Gramma to pick berries. photo credit: Ann King.

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Expanding Learning in Northern B.C.! By Jonathon Dyck,

Communications, Northern Health

Students, health care professionals, and residents are now filling the halls of the new Learning and Development Centre at the University Hospital of Northern B.C. in Prince George. The $10.5 million facility will allow for enhanced and expanded space for medical students and those looking to expand their knowledge and training. The 1,365 square-metre (14,693 squarefeet) centre provides additional space for students in the Northern Medical Program and medical residents pursuing specialty training. Currently, upwards of 1,000 students in a variety of health care disciplines — from doctors and nurses to lab and X-ray technicians — work out of the University Hospital of Northern B.C., the College of New Caledonia, and other northern postsecondary partners each year. All will be using different aspects of the new building. The centre provides a spacious learning environment for the students. The services that the new Learning and Development Centre will offer include: a library; seminar rooms with a combined capacity of up to 140 people; a clinical simulation centre; video conferencing suites; and group study areas. The clinical simulation portion of the new centre features robotic patients

that mimic health concerns of patients. The simulation allows students to develop hands-on but pain-free skills in cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological and pharmacological areas of study. The Northern Health patient simulation program has four permanent locations across the north: Prince George, Quesnel, Fort St. John and Terrace. The simulation centre, along with the hospital’s library, was moved from the main hospital into the new Learning and Development Centre. “We want to ensure health care professionals in Northern Health have access to the latest information, and that they have the materials they need to help them in their health care practice,” said Cathy Ulrich, Northern Health chief executive officer and president. “Northern Health Library Services helps with information and knowledge management services with various health care disciplines, and we’re very excited to have this included in the new Learning and Development Centre.” The Learning and Development Centre project was funded by the Province of B.C. The new centre is a key health education partnership between Northern Health, the University of British Columbia (UBC), and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

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