Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine
From Boomers to Zoomers Ten compelling reasons for getting back into shape.
Diabetes: What You Need to Know P. 27
“It Will Never Happen to Me”
Seniors and Computers: It’s Never Too Late to Learn and Succeed P. 23
Ageless Inside and Out P. 8
empowering readers to be the best they can be
wellness Fall 2015
Okanagan Health & OHW Magazine
The Healing Benefits of Bone Broth P. 29
5 Signs You Need a Mental Health Day P. 21
Herbal Supplements and Surgery P. 10
The Good Old Root Cellar
What You Should Know about Sleep Disorders P. 18
An Ancient Practice for Modern Times
Okanagan Health & OHW Magazine
From Field to Table: Sustainable Food and a Small Footprint Fieldstone Organics and True Grain Bread P. 26
Reducing the Trauma of Separation
Diabetes and Hearing Loss: Is There a Link? P. 21
Low Back Pain
9 Overlooked Causes of Weight Loss Resistance
and Sciatica – A Surprisingly Obvious Solution P. 8
Okanagan Pet Health Magazine
The “Dirt” on Compost P. 29
Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine
Embracing the Positive Realities of Aging P. 26
POWERS OF ATTORNEY P. 17
A Place to Call Home P. 24
Healthy Hydration for Seniors P. 28
Dizziness and Vertigo: Is There Help? P. 9
contents Winter 2016/2017 Volume 2 Issue 1
NATURAL HEALTH 8 Ageless Inside and Out What are the secrets to appearing young and vibrant at any age? 10 The Benefits of Reiki for Seniors This hands-on healing art supports both the physical and mental aspects of health by encouraging the person’s own natural healing abilities.
FITNESS 11 From Boomers to Zoomers Whatever your stage of life, the benefits of getting in shape and staying in shape are profound.
WELLNESS 12 When Hearing Aids Need Help How to overcome the challenge of background noise interference. 14 “It Will Never Happen to Me” The mindset of invincibility can cause us to ignore the red flags that may be pointing to heart trouble. 16 Learn to Get Around without Your Wheels Transportation options that can help seniors retain a sense of independence when driving is no longer an option. 17 Are You Still Putting Off Estate and Incapacity Planning? Many people spend more time planning their vacations than planning their estates. Don’t be one of them! 20 Fortunate to Be Living the Dream How one Okanagan couple exemplifies the philosophy that life is a journey, not a destination. www.ohwmagazine.com
Family Caregivers in Dementia Care Need Support Too Page 25
22 Finding a Family: One Senior’s Experience of Poverty When all seemed lost after a number of setbacks, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission was there to lend both help and hope. 23 Seniors and Computers: It’s Never Too Late to Learn and Succeed Okanagan College offers a variety of computer classes geared especially for seniors. 25 Family Caregivers in Dementia Care Need Support Too Caring for a family member with memory impairment may continue up to five years or longer. It is time for health authorities to step in with substantial help.
NUTRITION 27 Diabetes: What You Need to Know Even if you don’t have diabetes, there’s a very good chance that someone in your family or circle of friends does. 30 Meals on Wheels: Bringing Shut-Ins and Community Together The Schubert Centre’s Meals on Wheels program is committed to building a better community by supporting independence and quality of life. Interested in contributing an article?
Do you have an idea for a story? Are you a health professional who’s interested in contributing to OHW Magazine? If so contact us at info@ohwmagazine. com
Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
From the OHW Team
Okanagan’s Own Health & Wellness Magazine
PUBLISHER LMR PUBLISHING Leanne Christie firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR Dianne Steinley email@example.com ADVERTISING SALES Leanne Christie 250.503.7472 firstname.lastname@example.org Dianne Steinley 250.503.7723 email@example.com Georgia Wilson 250.938.2314 firstname.lastname@example.org DISTRIBUTION & SOCIAL MEDIA Georgia Wilson 250.938.2314 email@example.com Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine published four times a year Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine published twice a year Okanagan Pet Health Magazine published twice a year All rights reserved. No part of OHW Magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any editorial or advertising material. The views expressed in OHW Magazine are those of the respective contributors and not necessarily those of the publisher or staff. Although all reasonable attempts are made to ensure accuracy, the publisher does not assume any liability for errors or omissions anywhere in the publication or on the website. OHW Magazine reserves the rights to ads produced for advertisers. Publication Agreement #42490022 Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine is owned and operated by LMR Publishing. Return undeliverable to LMR Publishing, 5816 Tern Place, Vernon, BC V1H 1R2. Phone: 250.503.7472 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.ohwmagazine.com Subscription: For your free copy send your mailing address to email@example.com or visit the website at www.ohwmagazine.com Cover: Just because the years are passing, don’t let life pass you by! Keep active and fully engaged for improved quality of life.
Leanne Christie Owner/Publisher Advertising Sales
Dianne Steinley Editor Advertising Sales
elcome to the second issue of Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine! We are excited to bring a lineup of articles and tips that once again are geared toward interests of our older readers while at the same time resonating with adults of all ages. It is through the generosity of our contributors and advertisers that we are able to continue to share relevant, valuable information. We are grateful for their support and we ask that you recognize and support these local resources, even if it’s just with a “thank you” for their involvement. We also thank you, our loyal readers, for the many kind comments and words of encouragement that we receive on a regular basis. Please keep your comments coming and let us know if you have an article idea or a topic that you’d like to see covered in our magazine. As you peruse the Contents page, you’ll notice the wide variety of subjects addressing different aspects of health: physical, emotional, mental, financial, and so on. In many ways, though, it can be hard to separate the effects of one from another. For example, hearing impairment is a physical condition but can affect one’s emotional health if communication difficulties create a feeling of isolation. That same sense of isolation can also result from financial difficulties or from no longer being able to drive. One way to avoid isolation is to be able to connect with friends and
Georgia Wilson Distribution Social Media/Sales
loved ones through electronic means such as email, Facebook, or video chat. If the thought of getting on the computer sets your pulse racing— and not in a good way—then a computer class for seniors, offered by Okanagan College, may be just what you need. If you are fortunate enough to enjoy a healthy, active life, you will no doubt agree that the benefits of being physically fit and active are not to be underestimated. We shouldn’t stop moving simply because we’re not as young as we once were. As the saying goes, motion is lotion. However, we should at the same time keep in mind that we’re not invincible, as poignantly recounted in “It Will Never Happen to Me.” One health concern that we’re hearing more and more about is diabetes. While the majority of us may have a rough understanding of this condition, and probably know at least one person suffering with it, it’s important to separate fact from fiction and debunk myths such as the need to avoid carbohydrates and white-coloured foods. Is retirement on the horizon, or are you already there? What does retirement look like for you? The story of one Okanagan couple who retired, then came out of retirement, then retired again is an inspiring reminder that life is for the living and it’s never too late to respond to the call of the open road. A new year is upon us. Make 2017 one of your best years yet! n
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Letters to the Editor Dear OHW Magazine, I have been a reader of your magazine since the very first publication and have enjoyed every one. As an active woman in my mid-sixties whose parents are still alive, I was pleased to see a complete issue devoted just to the health and wellness of seniors. After all, folks in our age group are making up a bigger and bigger percentage of the population as we’re living longer than previous generations. Too often we see evidence of our western society’s focus on youth, but I think it’s important to recognize the value of experience that can only be gained from having more years under our belt. Thank you for reminding us that we may be older but we’re not dead yet and we still have much to experience and contribute. The articles in your magazine not only provide great tips and education but also put a positive spin on embracing this stage of life. I hope you will be putting out another seniors health magazine soon. Keep up the good work! Cheryl, Kelowna, BC Thank you for taking the time to give your feedback, Cheryl. Letters such as yours tell us we’re on the right track. As for another issue dedicated to seniors, here it is!
Welcome Okanagan Pet Health Magazine Our 3rd annual pet health issue can be found at Okanagan pet stores or online at: ohwmagazine.com Follow us on facebook
www.facebook.com/OkanaganPetHealthMagazine Subscribe for free: ohwmagazine.com
Sharing information on keeping your pet healthy and well! www.ohwmagazine.com
Lee Brinkman has been a part of the team at NexusBC Community Resource Centre since 2007. She is passionate about helping seniors and actively works to market the services that NexusBC provides for seniors, jobseekers, immigrants, and those who are interested in volunteering in the community. NexusBC is a non-profit, charitable organization in downtown Vernon. For more information, visit www.nexusbc.ca.
Leigh Carter is a Level 3 Certified Master Personal Trainer. He founded Leigh Carter Training in London, England, 15 years ago and has worked with a diverse spectrum of clients, from Broadway stars, famous actors, pub landlords, and rugby professionals to grandmothers of 10. In 2014, Leigh moved to Kelowna, where he continues to offer exceptional service and results to his clients of all ages. Visit www. leighcarter.ca for more information.
Rhonda Catt, NASM-CPT/CES, FMS/SFMA, PRI, FRC, CFSC, Onnit Academy certified, has spent over 20 years in the strength and conditioning industry helping athletes and the general fitness population improve performance, reduce injuries, and move better. Rhonda is part owner of Excel Sport & Health in Vernon, a premier group training and sport performance facility. Visit www.cattconditioning. com and www.excelfit.ca.
Dalia Gottlieb-Tanaka, PhD, lives in Vernon. She conceived and developed the award-winning Creative Expression Activities Program for seniors with dementia. She continues to deliver presentations and workshops in the US, Canada, Israel, and Europe. Dalia founded the Society for the Arts in Dementia Care in British Columbia and is the moving force behind the annual international conferences and workshops on creative expression, communication, and dementia (CECD). Dalia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan Hux, MD, is the Chief Science Officer at the Canadian Diabetes Association. She is a clinician-scientist, trained as a general internist and health services researcher. She holds an MD from the University of Toronto and a Masters in Epidemiology from Harvard. For 20 years, she held a variety of research and executive roles at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in Ontario, where she was responsible for developing and leading the diabetes health services research portfolio.
Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
Contributors Lenora Klappe was born and raised in Powell River and moved with her husband to Penticton in 1987. With a degree from the UBC Faculty of Education, she has taught in four different BC locations, working primarily with students with special needs and ESL. Lenora’s amazing adventures in 70 countries include climbing the Inca Trail, the Great Wall, and Lotus Peak in the Huangshan mountains, diving and snorkelling, whitewater kayaking, flying in formation and acrobatically, and skydiving.
Teresa Krehel is a Jikiden Reiki Shihan (teacher) and has studied with the Jikiden Reiki Institute founder Mr. Tadao Yamaguchi, from Kyoto Japan. She has been a Western Reiki teacher since 2003 and recently attended a Reiki conference in Japan. Teresa is a certified reflexologist with the International Institute of Reflexology and is registered with the Reflexology Association of BC. At her Vernon location, inSpire Wellness Studio, Teresa teaches Jikiden Reiki classes, offers sessions in Jikiden Reiki and reflexology, and is available for animal Reiki sessions. Please view www. inSpireWellnessStudio.com, email teresa@ inSpireWellnessStudio.com or call 250-3084201. David Moore emigrated with his family eight years ago from London, England, to the Okanagan. Prior to emigrating, he owned and operated a sound company that installed thousands of hearing loop systems over a 17 year period. David brings to Canada the benefits of hearing loop technology that all the other G7 countries have enjoyed for years. Contact him by phone at 250-540-1172 or email email@example.com. Please visit www.aurisloops.com for more information.
Are You Writing A Book? Do You Need Help?
Let’s Make it Real with LMR PUBLISHING We Can Meet All Of Your Pre-Press & Publishing Needs. Contact: Leanne Christie 250-503-7472 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ingrid Neumann, BEd, MA, has been teaching computer classes at Okanagan College since 1992. Her teaching credentials include a Bachelor of Education degree and a Master of Arts degree in Computer Education. Ingrid loves teaching adults who have basic computer skills but are missing essential elements and want to “fill in the gaps.” She also enjoys teaching adults who have never used computers but are ready to enter the world of personal computing. Jody Pihl, BComm, LLB, is a lawyer at Pihl Law Corporation who offers a full range of legal services in the area of wills, estates and succession planning, including the preparation of wills and trusts, estate planning, powers of attorney, representation agreements, and planned giving. Her relaxed and considerate approach helps her understand each client’s unique circumstance and specific planning needs. For more information, contact Jody at 250-762-5434, email@example.com, or find her online at www.pihl.ca. Helen Whittle, RHN/CMI, is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Medical Intuitive. She is very interested in the mind, body, spirit connection to health and healing. Offering in-person, phone or Skype intuitive consultations, she is able to access energetic states in the body and offer suggestions to help a client reach their optimal mind, body, spirit connection. Helen will be at the Illuminate 2017 Psychic Fair in Kelowna doing intuitive sessions and mini medical intuitive sessions. Visit www.askhelen.ca. Sophie Wooding is an author living in Victoria, BC. She currently writes for Frontier Marketing Company and a variety of charitable organizations and businesses spread across Canada. She recently co-wrote Saving Farmland: The Fight for Real Food.
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Your Questions Answered
Local experts answer our readers’ questions...
I’ve heard that it’s possible to view my lab results on my computer. Is this the case?
es, patients in BC and Ontario can have secure Internet access to their lab results. As soon as results are released from the performing lab, they’re available online through my ehealth, which is a free service available in four languages. Lab work must have been performed at one of the participating laboratories; in the Okanagan, Valley Medical Laboratories has 13 locations in Osoyoos, Penticton, West Kelowna, Kelowna, Winfield, Vernon, and Lumby. To register you must: • • •
Be age 16 or older, or have received a Welcome Letter from Excelleris (the technology provider) Have a BC Care Card number Have had lab work within the last 30 days at:
- Valley Medical Laboratories, BC Biomedical Laboratories or Lifelabs, or
- Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care or Fraser Health as an outpatient only Note: ECGs, X-rays, ultrasounds, MRIs, and other imaging results cannot be posted online. To get these test results, talk to your health care provider. Go to www.myehealth.ca for more information on this free, convenient service. n
Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
Ageless Inside and Out Ten Tips for Slowing Down the Aging Process By Helen Whittle, RHN/CMI
ociety is obsessed with antiaging. Fears abound around getting older. The aim of many who are in their 60s and up is to reduce the appearance and the symptoms of aging itself way into their 70s, 80s and 90s. What are the secrets to appearing young and vibrant at any age? Body, mind, and spirit are at the core, as all are connected. Consider the following tips if you are looking to make changes: 1. Take the time to meditate each day, helping to calm and relax your body and mind. Finding your own inner guidance by really paying attention and listening to that deep voice inside will allow the messages to come through. Trust these messages. If something
makes you feel uncertain or even afraid, step back and do not allow yourself to go there. 2. Awaken each day by embracing the knowledge that life is beautiful and there is so much to be thankful for no matter what your age. Life is a journey and it will flow down the path that is laid out before you. Only you can change that path. 3. Exercise is an important part of each day. Stretching, by incorporating yoga, tai chi, or any other type of gentle stretch, will enable your body to feel and look much more limber. If you are able, walk, jog, or swim. All will build strength and balance and reduce any stress.
4. Strive to sleep eight hours a night. Reduce noise before bedtime by turning off the electronics and television up to an hour before retiring to help put your mind and body into relaxed state. Perhaps take a warm bath before bed, which is also calming. 5. Listening to your bodyâ€™s messages around food will help to ensure you make wise choices. This is called intuitive eating, meaning the body is sending subtle messages and signals to which you should pay attention. There are many socalled diet plans out there, but getting back to basics and paying attention to how your body feels will tell you a great deal of what may be going on inside you. Your
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Natural Health body will definitely let you know when something you ate or drank did not agree with you. 6. Get rid of free radicals which may contribute to many agerelated conditions and diseases. Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals. These can be found in dark vegetables and fruits such as the mangosteen. Eat the most nutritious foods to promote health and vitality. 7. The skin may show the first sign of aging. Wrinkles, fine lines, and dark circles appear as age creeps up and collagen and elastin levels go down. Find a good source of collagen such as bone broth or a supplemental collagen. Both provide cellular protection and actually promote healing from within. They also may support cells, tissues, organs, hair, nails, and even the bones. All areas of the body need support as we age. Collagen will help you look and feel younger. There are also many skin care products on the market
purporting to be anti-aging. Find something that is chemical free and full of anti-aging, natural, clean ingredients. Exfoliating with a natural exfoliating gel amplified with a natural antioxidant is sure to make the skin softer, smoother, and younger looking.
Eat the most nutritious foods to promote health and vitality. 8. Reducing stress is extremely important. Ask yourself, “Why am I stressed over this situation or this person?” Pay attention to the messages your body is sending you—stress wreaks havoc on the body. Even talking things out with a spouse or friend may help lift the heaviness you feel. Have a relaxing massage or get out in
nature, breathe deeply, walk near the water listening to the pounding waves hitting the shoreline. If you have grandchildren, enjoy time with them—they have so much to teach us. 9. Take up a hobby of whatever interests you. Drawing and painting are two very relaxing endeavours to consider. Losing yourself in a painting will have you relaxed in no time. Visit an art gallery or museum or visit a library and find an interesting book to immerse yourself in. 10. Travel is an amazing adventure. Learn the language and customs of the country you want to visit. Go somewhere you have never been. Eat food you have never eaten. Talk with people and learn the story of their life. Life is to be enjoyed! Take time in this busy world to enjoy yours, no matter what you do. Strive to live each day with wonder and an open, loving heart. n
Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
The Benefits of Reiki for Seniors Learn about this Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. By Teresa Krehel
eiki is used around the world by people of all ages and through its simplicity and gentleness, it has tremendous benefits for seniors. Many people have reported that Reiki helps to reduce stress, relieve tension in the body, improve vitality, and promote a deep sense of peace. This hands-on healing art supports both the physical and mental aspects of health by encouraging the person’s own natural healing abilities. Daily life for seniors can be very stressful, with physical ailments, emotional stresses, and other varying discomforts and concerns. As Reiki is becoming more well-known, many seniors are discovering it and enjoying its benefits. Reiki promotes relaxation and therefore helps reduce a person’s stress. My senior clients often tell me after a session that any stress or worries they had prior to the session now have a new perspective or even a solution. On return visits, they report that they slept better, have improved digestion, can breathe more deeply, and that previous stress triggers have less impact on them. Tension in muscles may be relaxed with Reiki and the soothing heat from the giver’s hands is comforting to the receiver. This may allow for easier mobility, better coordination, and a safer, smoother walking gait. With reduced tension in the body, the circulation can then improve. This benefits all systems of the body and contributes to a stronger vitality. A body with good vitality heals itself faster from injury and speeds recovery from surgery. After their first Reiki session, many seniors are pleasantly surprised at the deep, peaceful, and calm state of mind they
experience. A Reiki session becomes a special time that they look forward to. An elderly client told me once that they had never experienced such a deep peace before. Clients emerge from the table looking brighter, fully rested, and eager to go about their day. Family members who return to pick up their elder folk are often astounded to find a bright, happy but calm person, who only an hour or so ago was not feeling at their best. The founder of Reiki created this healing art so that all people could be healthy in body and mind and live a happy life. The benefits of Reiki support seniors in leading happy lives as they work with their primary healthcare practitioners and other therapists. Please experience a Reiki session for yourself and feel the benefits that it offers. n
Five Principles of Reiki When Reiki founder Mikao Usui offered Reiki to people, they became well, but he soon noticed that they would return in a few months with other ailments. He realized that in order for the body to be healthy, the mind must be healthy as well. Usui created five Reiki principles for happiness, known in Japanese as Gokai, to help heal people’s minds. He instructed people to place their hands together, in the gratitude or prayer position, and repeat this Gokai in the morning and in the evening. I share this here for your benefit. In the Jikiden Reiki seminars we learn to say this in Japanese and it is very beautiful. You can try this for yourself and notice if you feel the stress dissipate and the calmness emerge.
Just for today Do not be angry Do not be worried * Be grateful Do your duty fully * Be kind to others ~Mikao Usui (1865–1926) 10 Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
From Boomers to Zoomers Ten compelling reasons why your fitness should be at the very top of your priority list. By Leigh Carter or some seniors or baby boomers, weight loss is the main motivator for getting back into shape. Busy lifestyles and work can get in the way of proper nutrition and exercise. But the benefits of staying in shape are profound! Not only does regular physical activity improve your longevity, it also decreases your risk of cancer, improves your sex life, and provides healthier skin and more. If you are already fit or looking for a little motivation to get back into shape, review these ten reasons for regular exercise and training.
3. Improves your sex life The Harvard School of Public Health found that just 20 minutes of regular exercise a day can improve sexual response in women. Working out not only leaves you feeling energized; it can also make you feel more desirable. Since exercise can improve health, vitality, appearance, and self-esteem, it does indeed tend to increase interest in—and capacity for—sexual activity. Just make sure your partner is on the
1. Reduces your dementia risk Studies have shown that staying active can improve mind function and energy and decrease the risk of dementia. Maintaining a level of fitness and staying active can improve your cognitive function when you are elderly and potentially reduce the risk of dementia. Functional exercise training requires learning skills that are especially helpful for individuals with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. 2. Decreases your osteoporosis risk Bone health is a function of fitness and especially loadbearing workouts and training that help maintain and improve bone mass. Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to prevent osteoporosis, helping you protect yourself from falls and improving your stability. Strengthening exercises like weight-lifting, jogging, hiking, kettlebells, rowing, and plyometrics are best. www.ohwmagazine.com
4. Prevents muscle loss As we get older, our bodies build muscle less efficiently and we also break down muscle more quickly. We should therefore make regular exercise and a healthy diet part of healthy aging. Our level of fitness and exercise helps us build and maintain muscle mass. It also improves our metabolism, which in turn helps with strength and the completion of everyday tasks. Muscle is also one of the key factors in reducing the risk of a fall, which can be debilitating for older adults. 5. Improves digestion Exercise helps the intestinal muscles break down food and move it through your system correctly by strengthening the abdominal muscles and minimizing sluggishness. Regular exercise can help prevent constipation. Even short, intermittent walks throughout the day can help keep things regular.
exercise bandwagon as well! Working out with your partner has a two-fold benefit: it will allow you to spend time together and will also trigger adrenaline and other feel-good hormones to get you in the mood.
6. Reduces stress, depression and anxiety We’ve been hearing for years that regular exercise and activity boosts your mood, but it does much more than that. Once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference in many aspects of your life. Working out helps you to relax, makes you feel better and keeps your anxiety and depression at bay. When you exercise, neurotransmitters and endorphins that ease depression are released and you raise your body temperature, which can also help to calm your nerves.
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Wellness 7. Enhances mental performance and work productivity Exercise is important for improving your overall quality of life and can be especially helpful with work. Not only does exercise improve your self-confidence, it can help you take on leadership roles. Keeping fit enables you to perform better and increases overall productivity and focus. The American College of Sports Medicine found that 65 percent of employees who participated in a regular exercise program noticed an increased ability to manage their time. They produced more and improved mental and interpersonal performance. 8. Reduces cancer risk Several studies have confirmed that the risk of lung, colon, and breast cancers can be greatly reduced in regularly active people. In fact, a 2007 study found that exercise is an important step to preventing breast cancer because higher levels of estrogen (which is stored in fat) increase your risk. The American Association for Cancer Research reports that postmenopausal women who are physically active have also been shown to have lower levels of estrogen. 9. Helps reduce stroke severity A study by the Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen following firsttime stroke patients found that “people who exercised the most prior to their stroke were two and a half times more likely to have a milder stroke compared to those who exercised the least.” 10. Improves your skin If looking good is a motivator for staying in shape then add healthy glowing skin to the list of benefits. Exercise enhances the blood flow to your skin and this improves the control of skin ailments. Exercise can reduce acne by controlling the production of DHEA and DHT. Sweat is also a great way to unclog pores and clean out oils and dirt from the skin. n
When Hearing Aids Need Help The main elements of an audio-frequency induction loop system.
How one man with hearing loss overcame the challenge of background noise interference—and how you can too! By David Moore
ob Oldfield and his family emigrated to the Okanagan 24 years ago from Liverpool, England. You could describe Bob as a bit of a Renaissance man. He is a well-known musician, songwriter, actor, theatre director and BC awardwinning theatre sound designer. This in addition to having been a much loved and respected schoolteacher for 40 years. Though recently retired, he is busier than ever directing, performing, and mixing sound in Vernon. It is probably an understatement to say that sound has been integral and central to his creative life. But recently something hit Bob “for six” (a British cricket term). Due to a virus, he lost 70 percent of his hearing in one ear. Bob describes how it set his world in a spin: “It was winter and I developed a head cold. I was afflicted for several weeks and couldn’t shake it off. The direct effect was that music rehearsals were uncomfortable because I had a blockage in my right ear and my ability to hear the usual crystal clear
sound was compromised. I eventually visited my GP who told me that actually my right ear was completely clear with no blockage at all. This was not a good sign and was confirmed by a local ENT (ear, nose, and throat) physician. After tests, he told me that I had suffered a sudden sensory neural hearing loss. The cause was somewhat unknown, but the loss would be permanent.” The First yet Incomplete Step: Hearing Aids Bob was soon fitted with a hearing aid by an audiologist. Modern hearing aids can improve the quality of life for those with hearing loss. But in certain environments it is difficult to hear clearly because of unwanted background noise caused by reverberation, echo, or being too far from the sound source. It becomes difficult to engage with the sounds you want to hear because of the unwanted noise. New hearing aid circuits are now available which reduce interference from background noise. However, despite some advertising
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Wellness claims, NO hearing aid eliminates all background noise. According to Lee Ramsdell, vice president of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), hearing aids work well up to a distance of 1.5 metres away from the sound source. Beyond that, it is difficult to filter out unwanted noise. The farther you are from the sound source, the less effectively the hearing aid mic will work. Bob explains: “The experience of using a hearing aid is a challenge every day. At times I am not aware that I am wearing it— usually when I am in a quiet environment. However, when I am in a public, noise-filled space such as a theatre or church or when playing music, the experience changes and I am constantly reminded of how things are not ‘normal.’ Speaking to a bank teller or any other across-the-counter experience is prone to highlighting the stigma of being officially hearing challenged. The moment I ask the person to please repeat what they just said, I might as well be holding up a big sign that announces to everyone around that I’m hard of hearing.”
the hearing aids to keep users engaged in challenging and less-than-ideal environments. Unfortunately I have come across hearing professionals who have adopted a rather lazy attitude to learning something new, even if it benefits their customers. T-coils are usually a zero-cost addition so there is absolutely no reason for them not to be included in every hearing aid. Perhaps we should let Bob have the last word: “As time goes by, I hope that more public spaces make everyday situations more accessible for those with hearing challenges by installing hearing loops.” n
The Solution: Hearing Loops Fortunately, there is a solution to this noise interference—a hearing loop. Hearing loops wirelessly transmit an audio signal from a microphone, soundtrack, mp3, and the like, directly to the user’s own hearing aid via an installed looped cable. The signal is then received when users switch on the telecoil (or T-coil) function on their hearing aid or via a remote control. The good news is that most hearing aids (around 70 percent) already have the T-coil/loop receive function built in. It’s easy to get connected: With the push of a button, users receive a crystal-clear signal and simultaneously eliminate any distractions and background noise. “I was aware of hearing loops from living in the UK where they are commonplace,” says Bob. “Like most things that don’t affect us, though, I paid little attention to their significance. The timing of my re-introduction to loops strangely coincided with my newly heightened attention to the plight of people who have compromised hearing issues. I was aware that my church had installed a loop and that I was able to access the sound source signal with the flick of a switch on my hearing aid remote control. Listening to the minister from down at the front, even with my hearing aid, was a hit-and-miss experience depending on the other sounds that were around me. Flicking on the T-coil suddenly brought the sound right into my ear. The difference was night and day. Further, I was especially heartened when, on a visit to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre, I discovered that they had installed a loop system which allowed me the experience of wonderful audio right in my ears. Formerly the centre had used an FM headphone system. I would never use that because they were so inconvenient and indiscreet.” Hearing loops are and have been the prevalent hearing assistive technology in all the other G7 countries, particularly in northern Europe, for over 40 years. Yet loops are relatively new to Canada and it’s baffling why they are only just beginning to take off here. Maybe it’s because Canada is the only country in the G7 currently without a Disabilities Act. Or perhaps it is the lack of knowledge amongst the audiologists. The majority of audiologists have welcomed hearing loops as they extend the usefulness of
Hearing loops are fast catching on in our region. Installs since March 2015 include 28 churches 11 senior centres / community halls 6 residential homes 4 theatres 4 government / council / libraries 1 hotel 1 insurance / retail 1 funeral home
Benefits of Hearing Loops • Discreet • Superior sound quality • Cost effective • Zero maintenance • Convenient • One time cost outlay
Auris Hearing Loops enable the hard of hearing to stay better engaged where background noise, echo or distance from the sound source is problematic. The sound is delivered directly and discreetly to the recipients own hearing aids. Here are just a few of the venues in the Okanagan that have recently been looped: l l l l l
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Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
“It Will Never Happen to Me.”
Peter’s story is a tragic reminder that heart attacks do not discriminate. By Rhonda Catt, NASM-CPT/CES, FMS/SFMA, PRI, FRC, CFSC
hen you think about the heart and the amount of effort it puts into every breath and minute of our day, it is actually a breathtaking thought. Having a career in the strength and conditioning industry gives you a great appreciation of the work the heart has to do. It also gives you a false sense of health security and invincibility. Unfortunately, this is a mindset that many active people live with and one that my husband and I had. It wasn’t until Peter passed away from a heart attack that I realized how fragile life can be. In the early morning of Nov 3, 2015, my husband died of a heart attack at the age of 46. Peter was your typical active male who grew up playing numerous sports. Being married to someone in the health industry never allowed him to be anything other than active. The mindset of being invincible, that “it will never happen to me,” is what can make the difference between surviving a heart attack or not. I write this article in the hopes of changing that exact mindset and raising awareness for heart disease and heart attacks. It is time to give this disease the much-needed attention it deserves. The more awareness we are able to create, the more lives we save. The story of Peter is one that I feel many individuals, especially men over 40, can relate to. He grew up playing multiple sports and continuing that passion into adult-
hood all while trying his best to maintain a lifestyle of exercise and healthy eating. Everything in moderation was his view and with my encouragement he did his best to take care of his health. There was no family history of heart attacks. He was a non-smoker and kept a healthy adult weight with no serious illness or reasons to visit his doctor for many years. Six months prior to Peter’s death he lost his father to cancer. He was finishing schooling for a career change through his employer and pushed himself to do well. I truly believe the stress of witnessing the decline in his father’s health, of doing well on the job and typical midlife stress also played a role in his death. Stress can kill! For many, death from a heart attack is something that happens when you are “older.” At 46 years old and still feeling “young,” it doesn’t become something you are generally concerned about. For most, death from cancer is what you
think will shorten your life. Because of the “it won’t happen to me” mindset, there were many red flags Peter and I both ignored. It is these red flags I want to share with readers and encourage them to take the important steps needed to improve their health. For at least a year prior to his death, Peter complained of “achy legs.” It was a deep ache that first started in his calves but closer to his death this same ache had moved to his thighs. At first, we would relate it to myofascial issues.
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Wellness See a physio, do more self-myofascial release. There was always a reason in our mind that seemed so simple. He was slowly becoming more fatigued and with that came less activity. His 12-hour work shifts Friday through Sunday seemed like a basic excuse. It was a long day—who wouldn’t be tired after 12 hours? His level of fatigue was not the norm for him and was continuing on his non-work days but with our mindset we related it back to being less active. Just move more and things will get better. The man who would beat me on runs and mountain bike rides was getting slower and slower. The last mountain bike ride together was so physically demanding on him that he complained of his chest aching when we returned home. Reading this sentence now makes me physically ill but you must remember that for many active individuals they are used to pushing themselves. They are used to exhaustion from physical activity and feeling tired just comes with the territory. Because of Peter’s healthy history and lack of family history with heart disease, we never once talked about heart health or if there could be a problem. When I reminded him that it was time to see his doctor for a general health check, he just laughed it off and replied, “Whatever.” I believe he felt there was tons of time left to worry about doctor visits and if it’s not broken or bleeding, why waste the doctor’s time? The evening before Peter died, he played hockey. He was complaining of heartburn. He rarely got heartburn. It was the physical activity that brought it on and it never subsided through the night. He was afraid to wake me. I know this because of the makeshift bed he made in the living room that I saw the next morning. Two hours prior to his death, as I awoke to him entering our bedroom, he asked if I had Rolaids. Through my sleepy grogginess I replied, “No,” and fell back asleep. Little did I know that would be the last word I would say to my husband. At 3:55 a.m. I woke to him in bed beside me in what I thought was a bad dream. As I tried to shake him awake it suddenly slapped me in the face: He was dying. This wasn’t happening … this couldn’t happen. We’d built a life together. As a mother whose first priority is to keep her kids safe, I now have to live with the realization that our kids also witnessed their father’s death. Now do you understand how imporwww.ohwmagazine.com
tant this message is? Now do you see how easily this could happen to you? Now do you look at your loved ones and know you must do everything in your power to pay attention to signs and symptoms that don’t feel right and that seeing your doctor is never a bad thing? Personally, I die a little more inside each day after Peter’s death. Raising awareness of heart health and encouraging the general public to do the same is how I channel the depression, fear, and sadness. If I quit, I die too. I cannot let that happen.
Dr. Stephen Friesen, of Vernon, says it quite clearly: “Many individuals have a false sense of security because they do not have any of the major risk factors.” Individuals living without these risk factors such as smoking, obesity, family history can also run the risk of a heart attack. The “it won’t happen to me” mindset needs to change. Heart attacks do not discriminate! So, I ask, beg, and plead with you to please #sharepetersstory. You could save a life with just one share.Please see more at www.petersstory.ca. n
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Whole Foods Market 103 – 1770 Main St, Penticton, BC PH 250-493-2855 | Fax 250-493-2822
Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
Learn to Get Around without Your Wheels What would you do if, for some reason, you were unable to continue driving? Read on to learn about the transportation options available in the Okanagan.
By Lee Brinkman
any seniors in the Okanagan live alone and rely on their vehicle for independence. But as we age, our physical and mental abilities can change, and some of those changes—including our vision, hearing, and ability to react quickly— can affect our driving. Doctors are expected to report people who have a medical condition that prevents them from being able to drive safely, and just one medical issue can jeopardize your ability to drive. What would you do then? For some seniors, the desire to remain in their home may be unrealistic if they don’t have friends or family to rely on for help with getting to doctor’s appointments or to pick up groceries and medications. Others who can afford it may take taxis. The bus is a good option—that is, if
mobility issues aren’t a concern. Thankfully, many seniors’ and community centres offer volunteer driver programs to help seniors get around; however, these resources are already stretched. In the coming years, delivery of services tailored to an aging population will likely involve more financial and human resources. This is especially true in communities throughout the North, Central, and South Okanagan where by 2021, population projections by BC Stats forecast that nearly 73,000 people will be aged 70 and older. One such service that’s filling part of the need is the Better at Home program, a ground-breaking initiative offered across BC that provides seniors with support services including transportation. The program, delivered in the North Okanagan
by NexusBC Community Resource Centre, offers simple, necessary services that allow seniors to remain in their own home for longer. “Of all the services we provide, the biggest request by far is for transportation,” says Lisa Roberts, program coordinator with NexusBC. “Not being able to go anywhere you want, whenever you want, feels like a prison sentence to many seniors. Driving a senior to the doctor or for groceries helps restore their sense of independence and can be a social outing.” Another low-cost option for seniors is through BC Transit. Most Okanagan communities have a regular bus system, and some have HandyDART. Low-income seniors who meet the BC Bus Pass eligibility criteria can buy an annual pass at a
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Wellness greatly reduced rate. If you don’t know how to use the bus, free training is available in some communities. The Community Travel Training program provides public transit training so seniors and those with disabilities can learn to use the bus on their own. For those unable to use the bus due to mobility issues, HandyDART is available in some Okanagan communities. HandyDART is a door-to-door, shared-ride service for passengers who are unable to use conventional public transit without assistance. It offers two types of service: repetitive trips on a daily or weekly basis, and casual trips taken on a one-time basis. For-profit driving services also exist in many communities. NexusBC in Vernon offers a directory of affordable local services for seniors and includes several individuals willing to provide rides for in-town and out-oftown appointments. There is an associated cost, but the service these drivers offer is more personalized. If you still have your wheels but are getting close to the age of requiring a reassessment of your driving skills, some communities such as Vernon provide free workshops on
preparing for your reassessment. Several driving schools also offer refresher courses to ensure you know the most up-to-date driving rules and techniques.
Even if you still drive, it’s a good plan to look into what your community offers for transportation options. Begin learning how to get around without your wheels. It may take away some of the shock and upset if you are suddenly no longer able to drive. n
Are You Still Putting Off Estate and Incapacity Planning? Most baby boomers and seniors lead very busy lives, and there never seems to be a good time to attend to these important planning documents.But the right time is right now! By Jody Pihl, BComm, LLB
state planning allows you to specify where each of your assets will go upon your death. According to a BMO study, boomers will inherit over $1 trillion over the next 20 years; yet almost half of all Canadians don’t have a will, and many fewer have a complete estate plan. Many people spend more time planning their vacations than planning their estates. Estate planning is much more important because a comprehensive estate plan is the best way to protect your family and the wealth you built through a lifetime of hard work. Without proper planning, your financial legacy can be unnecessarily reduced, lost, or even given to unintended beneficiaries. Furthermore, estate planning is not as complicated, time-consuming, or scary as most think. An incapacity plan is comprised of two “living documents”: the power of attorney and the (health) representation agreement. Both of these documents allow an individual to appoint someone to act on his or her behalf in the event that the individual is still alive but unable to make financial, legal, or health and personal care decisions for himself or herself. The best time to complete these three documents is now. Every adult should have these plans in place because none
of us knows what’s around the corner and the best time to make good decisions is before crisis, injury, or illness. Furthermore, once an individual loses mental capacity through injury, illness, or age, he or she is no longer legally capable of entering into these documents. Each of these three planning documents is important and serves very different purposes.
Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
Wellness Will A will is a written document which details how you want your property distributed, and how you want your affairs managed, after your death. In your will you can also specify one or more individuals to manage your affairs once you are gone; you can gift personal effects and real estate, including a trust to leave funds to underage or disabled loved ones; and you can instruct on funeral and burial instructions. A will ensures that your wishes are carried out with a minimum of expense and delay. If you choose not to make a will, once you are gone your property will be dealt with in accordance with the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (BC) (WESA). Without a will, the court will appoint a personal representative to manage your affairs. This may not be the person you would choose to undertake this responsibility. This personal representative will have limited discretion in how to deal with your estate, and the court will not know your intentions. If you have young children, without a will you will not be able to choose a guardian for your minor children. Also, the provisions of WESA will stipulate who the beneficiaries of your estate are. Some people choose to make their own will but there are problems inherent with all of the “do-it-yourself” products if you have anything but the very simplest will-making needs. It’s been said that there is no such thing as a simple will, and my practice reflects this in that I have yet to meet a family that does not have some unique circumstance that requires specific consideration in their wills. Using the services of a lawyer will help ensure that your will is flexible enough to plan for possible changes in your situation and the law, that your wishes and intentions are honoured, that immature or young adults don’t inherit too much, too soon, and that dependent or vulnerable beneficiaries are provided for. Legal services also offer valuable counsel to ensure that you understand your obligations under BC law to provide for your loved ones in your will. Finally, most lawyers work closely with financial advisors and accountants to ensure that your estate plan also maximizes your tax situation and financial goals. Once you have a will, you should update it from time to
time as your circumstances change and I recommend that you review your will every three to five years. Power of Attorney A power of attorney (POA) is a document authorizing another person (called your attorney— not to be confused with your lawyer) to help you manage your legal and personal affairs while you are still alive. You can appoint one person to act, joint attorneys to work together, or a succession of alternate attorneys. The powers associated with a POA can be narrow or broad and a lawyer can tailor this for you. For example, you can give your attorney very broad powers to deal with all of your financial and legal affairs, or you can give a very narrow power to deal with one specific aspect of your affairs, such as giving your child the power to cash old age security cheques or to access a specific bank account. The power of attorney can take effect immediately or only when you lose the ability to manage your affairs or lose mental capacity. Every power of attorney ends upon death. An appointment ends in the event you lose
mental capacity unless you choose to execute an enduring power of attorney, which allows your attorney to make the financial and legal decisions for you if you become mentally incapable because of age, accident, or illness. What your attorney cannot do is make medical or health care decisions for you, such as consenting to surgery or dental work for you. For these decisions, you need to make what’s called a representation agreement. Representative Agreement A representation agreement (RA) authorizes an individual to act as a representative to help manage an individual’s personal care and health care decisions in case of illness, injury, or disability. An RA is the only way an individual can appoint someone to assist or to act on his or her behalf for health care and personal care matters and this authority ends upon death. There are two types, both dealt with in the Power of Attorney Act: •
A Section 7 RA: These cover health care and personal care
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decisions and routine financial and legal affairs. Unlike an enduring power of attorney, a Section 7 RA does not allow the representative to do any of the following more complex financial and legal decisions: purchase or sell real estate, guarantee a loan, use or renew an individual’s credit card or line of credit, revoke beneficiary designations, or act as director or officer of a company on an individual’s behalf. Section 7 RAs do not cover decisions like refusing life support. A Section 9 RA: These cover health care and personal care including living arrangements (including facility placement) and refusing health care that is necessary to keep you alive (life support). A Section 9 RA is needed for your representative to make such decisions as refusing life support if you become terminally ill. These do not allow for legal or financial decision making.
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affairs or lose mental capacity. If you do not have a power of attorney and a representation agreement in place, and lose the mental capacity to make decisions regarding your financial and personal affairs, the Adult Guardianship & Trustee Act authorizes the court to appoint a person to do so on your behalf. The resulting representative may not be who you would choose and they may not make decisions in line with your wishes. This scenario is likely to also be significantly more complicated and expensive for you than working with a lawyer in advance to prepare and put these legal documents in place. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get your estate in order. Planning ahead makes sure your affairs are handled the way you wish, makes everything easier for your family and loved ones, and saves them time, money, and stress when dealing with your affairs. Everyone’s life is unique and everyone’s circumstances are different. All the unique aspects of you, your family, and your assets need to be carefully examined and considered during your planning process. It’s important to get the help you need from your legal advisor, as well as your financial advisor and accountant, to build a comprehensive and effective estate and incapacity plan. Now is the time to put preparing your will, power of attorney and representation agreement to the top of your “to do” list. n
Now Serving Penticton and Area Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
Fortunate to Be Living the Dream How one Okanagan couple has chosen an adventurous approach to retirement. By Lenora Klappe n 2002, Petronella van den Berg and her husband, Johannes van der Wardt, left their homeland in the Netherlands and moved to Canada. They had travelled to Canada several times, and sometimes twice a year, touring around by RV and loving everything they saw, especially the Okanagan. They knew that someday they would return permanently to the Okanagan and begin living the dream of a full-time adventure. Petronella, a painter and sculptor, had studied art for years at the Academy of Arts in Zutphen, Netherlands, as well as apprenticing with well-known sculptors and painters in Africa and Europe. She brought her amazing talent across the water to further develop her reputation. Johannes, who has a degree from the Institute of Higher Professional Education, had been employed as an engineer and special equipment designer for 30 years. Together they began what was to be a more relaxing life of living the dream and travelling in an RV. However, it soon became evident that they were still too young for a life without a challenge. So they surprised themselves by purchasing a big six-bedroom house on a large property that had a barn, fruit trees, and a fenced paddock. With a lot of hard work they soon had the place up and running as a bed and breakfast. Their amazing customer service guaranteed most guests would return. Because of the location, they were soon hosting weddings and music presentations. During the quiet seasons, Petronella devoted her energy to her art, mainly acrylic painting and sculpting, often with a
theme of family. Johannes converted the barn to a gallery that was not only Petronellaâ€™s workshop, but a place to display her work and the work of fellow artists. Petronellaâ€™s work is exhibited in the United States and Canada as well as online. Among the many awards and accolades that she has earned, the most prestigious was the first prize for her work at the 2012 Art Masters World Wide contest. Johannes, in the meantime, satisfied his artistic needs by learning to write and play the piano. Eventually, with the help of his wife, he explored his innate artistic ability. His work is also
Petronella and Johannes were able to equip the RV and hit the road.
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Wellness displayed in galleries and online. After more than 13 years of hard work, a few relaxing cruises, some minor setbacks, and a serious medical issue, they decided it was time to once again try retirement and find the path to living the dream. The first step was to buy a motorhome. Done. Next, sell the house. Done. The only big issue was the occupancy date â€Ś less than a month. Now what? In a mad scramble, they found a place for the contents of the house, the gallery, and the yard. Finally, they were able to equip the RV and hit the road. For five months from June until October 2015, they explored the Okanagan, parts of BC, and Alberta, learning to live in the RV. This trip was not all fun as the brandnew RV had a few serious problems. It took a while, but the company and the manufacturer came up with a good deal for a new unit that was even nicer than the one they were replacing. Now it was finally time for living the dream. From October 2015 to February 2016, Johannes and Petronella had a marvellous time travelling through eight western US states. They absorbed
the many lush landscapes, majestic mountain ranges, high desert country, canyons, unusual rock formations, unique architecture, and the history of every place. Back in the Okanagan, home was now an RV park where they were able to take care of business: having routine maintenance on the RV, checking the galleries, filling out paperwork and actually doing some painting and sculpting, and, of course, visiting friends! Before long, the wanderlust for living the dream resurfaced and they were off again. Beginning May 18, 2016, they started their next adventure, staying north of the US border in order to get to know their new country. To
date they have spent time exploring Canada from BC to the Maritimes. Once again they are soaking up the history, geography, culture, and opportunities to explore every part of every province. With visits to churches, museums, galleries, with kayaking and hiking, with reading and creating new art pieces, their time was well spent. In October 2016, Petronella and Johannes headed south on an adventure that will see them explore the eastern United States to Florida, west through the southern states to California, then north back to the Okanagan. They expect to be back in Penticton sometime in March 2017. They have their kayaks, hiking gear, VW, their zest for life, the keyboard, their love for each other, their artistic talents, and the spirit of adventure to lure them on. Next trip? Well, as soon as they take care of business, Alaska is a tempting next destination. Johannes and Petronella share the philosophy to live day by day. To them, their trip is a JOURNEY not a DESTINATION. n
Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
Finding a Family: One Senior’s Experience of Poverty “I am deeply thankful to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and everyone who helped me turn my life around.”
Kelowna’s Gospel Mission provides support and community to seniors who may have fallen through the cracks of the system. By Sophie Wooding
hen Brian first came to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, he was recovering from an accident where he’d broken both his legs. He hadn’t been able to walk for three months! During that time, he was hospitalized and then in a rehabilitation program. When he was released from the hospital, he returned home to find that he’d been evicted. All of his belongings had been thrown out. So he had nothing, and nowhere to sleep. At 71 years old, he found himself homeless, with no place to go. He walked to the closest motel and checked in, but he was only on a limited senior’s pension, so his funds soon ran dry. Thankfully though, while staying at the motel, Brian had been able to find a room for cheap rent. He moved from the hotel to his new home, but that too was shortlived. After just six months, the police showed up at his door to evict him. It
was only then that he discovered that his landlord had failed to make his mortgage payments. The bank had foreclosed on his property while he was using Brian’s rent payments on alcohol and drugs.
The police were kind enough to tell Brian about Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and so, although he had many reservations, he went there next.
Once Brian got here, he was surprised to find how quickly he made new and true friends. He was always pleasant and his smile would light up the room when he saw his friends. He realized that he’d been living for many years without a support system, and that he needed one! Our staff here at the Mission were very supportive and helped him get back on track. They became his family. In particular, his caseworker Terra encouraged him to get back on his feet, and she continues to support him today—along with the rest of the Mission staff through their prayers. With the help of his new support network, Brian was able to find a new place to live with dignity and respect. He was feeling tired before he experienced the care of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, and was wondering what the point of everything was. But now, he’s looking forward to living the
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Seniors and Computers: It’s Never Too Late to Learn and Succeed
rest of his life, together with the new friends and family that he has gained. “I still go back to the Mission regularly, just to enjoy a coffee while catching up with my friends,” he says. “I am deeply thankful to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and everyone who helped me turn my life around and held hope for me, even though I’m 71!” Brian is not an anomaly at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. In fact, we have several seniors who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, because they’ve fallen through the cracks of the system.
Okanagan College offers computer skills training that is specifically tailored to the needs, desires, and learning styles of older adults. By Ingrid Neumann, BEd, MA s seniors grow older, our world begins to close in and shrink. In this computer class you are teaching us skills which are opening and expanding our world again.” These thoughtful words were from an elderly student in my “iPad for Absolute Beginners” class. They made my day. I have been teaching computer classes at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College for 25 years and have witnessed an interesting evolution of computers and students. My younger students, who were introduced to computers at an early age, typically require very little instruction on how to use computer technology. Young people have an innate ability to press buttons, try new things—they have no fear of computers. My older students are generally not as daring, fluent, or able to easily grasp computer concepts. The ways in which my younger and older students use their computers also differ. As a result, I created several computer classes designed specifically for older students. The class size is smaller, the pace is slower, and only the basic computer concepts are introduced. Lots of useful hands-on experiences allow the students to truly grasp the topics. Desktop computers and portable laptops are slowly being replaced by tablets. In 2010 Apple introduced the iPad, which I personally feel is the ideal computer for seniors. The iPad’s multitouch screen replaces a cumbersome mouse and keyboard. Its portability
“A Accessing services and housing is already very difficult for people who have been struggling with poverty. And the transition of becoming a senior just adds further complications. Some of the typical obstacles include getting an assessment through continuing care that will set them up with further resources, navigating electronic forms to access government agencies, and finding a family doctor who will treat according to a care plan. By coming alongside seniors in need, we’re able to offer community—the missing piece that provides wholeness in the lives of elderly people who have lost many loved ones. We’re lending additional support and awareness to issues that seniors face as we welcome them into our programs. But there are still too many seniors experiencing poverty in our community, so we have a lot of work left to do! n
makes it ideal to carry around the house and beyond. For seniors who travel, the iPad tablet is invaluable. How Can Seniors Benefit from Using Computers? In my classroom I see first-hand the numerous benefits that older students are gaining as they tackle how to use a computer. Research is also proving that computer usage provides numerous benefits for the mental, physical and emotional wellness of seniors. Mental alertness - Scientists from Poland explored how for elderly individuals, learning to play online computer activities can boost the brain and increase cognitive longevity. Adults between the ages of 65 and 75 were asked to engage in a series of computer games. After completion, the scientists discovered that all of the participants exhibited improved memory, expanded attention, and increased sequencing abilities. Participating in computer classes definitely helps elderly individuals remain mentally active. Research demonstrates that maintaining strong social connections and keeping mentally active as we age might lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. Access to information - Using the Internet to browse the web allows seniors to access massive amounts of information, news, current events, entertainment, and much more.
Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
Wellness How Can Seniors Learn about Computers? Many of my students have tried to learn about computers from their children, grandchildren, or spouse and were met with frustration. They claim that taking a course geared for seniors, where the pace is slower and the basic concepts are introduced, allowed them to feel successful. Okanagan College offers a variety of computer classes geared especially for seniors: • Experiments conducted at UCLA studied the effect of Internet use on cognitive function among adults between 55 and 78 years of age. Participants were asked to spend a short time each day doing simple Internet searches on their computer. The findings showed that daily use of the web increased activity in the areas of the brain associated with memory and decision-making. The researchers concluded that online computer activity is an effective form of brain exercise that can improve the quality of life among seniors. Social interaction - A common problem for seniors is social isolation, which can provoke feelings of loneliness and despair. Numerous research projects report that elderly individuals who engage in online social activities can drastically reduce symptoms of depression. Social activity helps to elevate mood, to actually impact healing, and can keep cognitive function ongoing. Attending a group computer class allows senior citizens a perfect opportunity to interact with one another and with their instructor, preventing isolation. A highlight of my class is the coffee break where students head to the cafeteria and socialize. Communication - I feel one of the most important benefits of computer use for seniors is the variety of communication formats available. The iPad comes with several apps
(self-contained programs) which offer different ways to connect and keep in touch with family and friends all over the world. Communication is possible with email, text messages, and the sharing of digital photos and videos. FaceTime and Skype allow participants to see and hear one another in real time. My students are keen to share their experiences of viewing their longdistance grandchild’s first steps, a friend’s new pet, or a cousin’s home renovation. Entertainment opportunities Computers allow seniors access to more recreational opportunities than ever before. The iPad allows users to: • play games against the computer or against friends around the world • preview and watch movies • purchase, download, and read electronic books • borrow electronic books from the public library onto the iPad and read them at home or on vacation with no worries of late fees • participate in online personal enrichment courses • play music • take, organize, and send photos • record and watch videos • take 3D photo-realistic, aerial flyover tours of major cities in the world • research a hobby and connect with other enthusiasts via topicspecific forums
Computer Essentials for 50+, Level I and Level II iPad for Absolute Beginners, Level I and Level II FaceTime for First-Timers
For seniors who have mastered the basic computer skills, various computer courses are available with new topics constantly being added. Okanagan College offers these courses at the Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton campuses. What to Expect in a Seniors Computer Class In my computer classes designed especially for seniors, I encounter a full spectrum of students. Some are very computer literate but are missing a few key elements and want to fill in the blanks. Others have used a computer in the past; however, the current software and technology has changed beyond recognition for them. Some students have never sat in front of a computer, and others have a true dislike and/or fear of computers. At the beginning of the class, the room is typically filled with a nervous, anxious, eager group of students. Many of them have not been in a classroom in numerous years; some students have negative memories of school. By the end of the class they are feeling encouraged, confident, and more positive toward computers. For more information about computer classes at Okanagan College, contact the Continuing Studies office at 1-888-638-0058 or visit their website at www.okanagan. bc.ca/cs. n
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Family Caregivers in Dementia Care Need Support Too
Looking after a person with memory impairment is complicated. Is enough being done to alleviate the burden of care? By Dalia Gottlieb-Tanaka, PhD anadian and American reports on family caregiving, specifically unpaid care, do not describe a very favourable picture of the status of family care in the two countries. In fact, being a family caregiver (relative, neighbour, or friend) may cause depression, anxiety, loss of income, and may lead to chronic diseases. In the report Families Caring for an Aging America by Schultz and Eden (2016), the authors found that “the pool of potential family caregivers is shrinking” due to lower birth rate and geographical distances that separate families. While women continue in the traditional role of caregiving, we see more males stepping in as caregivers, which forces them to juggle their responsibility to support their families economically with a need to care for their aging loved ones. In 2016, as published by the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, 564,000 Canadians are living with dementia and 56,000 people with dementia are being treated in Canadian hospitals. This leads to an important question: What is happening to the rest of the more than half a million people with dementia? Most probably, they still live at home or in thousands of care facilities spread across Canada.
The Alzheimer’s Society reports that 1.1 million Canadians are affected directly and indirectly by this medical condition and this includes caregivers. In British Columbia, the Ministry of Health publication The Provincial Guide to Dementia Care (May, 2016) reports there are about 62,000 people living with dementia in the province with a prediction of 87,000 people by
Caring families need to plan to accommodate physical changes to the house. the year 2024. The Prevalence and Cost of Dementia in Canada (2016) stated that the majority of care and support for people with dementia is actually provided by family caregivers. In 2011, about 400 million hours of unpaid caring were provided for people living with dementia. Based on statistics published in Canada’s 2011 Census, the population
in the Okanagan Corridor (North, Central and South Okanagan) is about 300,000 people. Twenty-seven percent of the total population in the Okanagan valley are seniors (65+), which is about 80,000 residents. In a Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation report on housing market information for the Okanagan/ Thompson/Shuswap region, about 6,800 residents (75+) are in need of downsized housing with a potential growth to 8,500 to 9,700 in 2026. So, what is being done in North Okanagan, mainly in Vernon, to alleviate the burden of care? To put it bluntly, not enough. And this underlines the concerns expressed in Canadian and American reports. In the American report on the lack of support for family caregivers, Schultz and Eden stated that taking care of an older family member with memory impairment may last up to five years and even longer. In a typical situation, the realization that something is wrong with our loved ones’ functioning can come too late, and actions must take place almost immediately and on an emergency basis. This is the time when our health authorities need to step in and offer substantial help. However, in the
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Wellness Vernon area, which I am familiar with, caregivers may consider themselves lucky to be put on a waiting list for educational sessions (there is room for only 25 people at a time). Thatâ€™s where theyâ€™ll learn how to handle and interact with a person living with dementia. In addition, if an older person with dementia is assessed as incapable to continue living at home, the waiting time could take several months before that person is placed in a care facility. The more difficult cases will be referred to local hospitals, which are far from suitable for people with dementia. Families are then forced to care for their loved one at home. Caring for a person with memory impairment is complicated. Caring families need to plan to accommodate physical changes to the house to make it safe, spend social time, and take on
medical appointments and treatments. Most of us are not prepared with plans and strategies to make these changes as significant people in our lives become more incapacitated. One would think that given the high percentage of older people living in the Okanagan area, this would be an important factor among the issues that focus on aging people. Unfortunately, efforts to develop long-term social plans and programs for older adults in Vernon have failed to attract the attention of either local governing authorities or granting agencies that might help. It is not enough to predict how many residential units will be needed to house older people in the Okanagan Valley; we need to think about their mental wellbeing as well. We need a place where family caregivers can join their loved ones
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and spend quality time together that is enjoyable for both of them. We need adult day centres that can provide appropriate quality programs, where a family caregiver is confident about dropping off mom or dad for a few hours a day or in a week, without feeling guilty or ashamed. There is a great example of such a day centre in West Vancouver. Members with dementia enjoy wonderful social sessions based on creative expression activities. At times family caregivers join the sessions and learn how to interact with their loved ones, add interest to their daily routine, and at the same time have a muchneeded break from providing care. In the three years I have lived in Vernon, I have met family caregivers who are desperate to come up with suitable activities for their loved ones and find a support group that will share common concerns and offer practical solutions. Not all older adults with dementia can be accommodated in care facilities and many will continue to live among us in the community at large. We need to find ways to support them and their caregivers. Solutions and recommendations are discussed in reports and in the social media, but they need to be implemented sooner rather than later, as the population of seniors with dementia grows. n If you cannot join a local support group, you may want to check the following websites: http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/Aboutdementia/What-is-dementia/ Dementia-numbers http://www.alzheimer.ca/en/bc/Wecan-help/Resources-for-health-careproviders http://www.alzheimer.ca/bc/~/media/ Files/bc/Programs-and-services/ First-Link/First-Link-bulletins/2016/ Sept%202016/320-First%20Link%20 Bulletin-North%20Central%20 Okanagan-Sept-Oct%202016.pdf In Vernon, the Society for the Arts in Dementia Care offers a program for clients with early signs of dementia and their caregivers. Contact the Vernon & District Immigrant Services Society at #100 - 3003 30th Street, or call 250-542-4177.
26 Winter 2016/2017 - Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine
Diabetes: What You Need to Know Separating fact from fiction around a disease that affects 11 million Canadians and has a shocking growth rate, with a new diagnosis every three minutes.
By Dr. Jan Hux, Chief Science Officer, Canadian Diabetes Association iabetes is a disease with many Type 1 diabetes most commonly causes and no known cure. It’s begins in childhood and occurs when a global issue, but the impact the body is unable to produce insulin, is felt in communities throughout a hormone that controls the level of Canada. If you don’t have diabetes, sugar in the blood. Approximately 10 there is a very good chance someone percent of people with diabetes have in your family or circle of friends does. type 1 diabetes. Today, 11 million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes. The Type 2 diabetes is the most number of Canadians with diabetes common type, affecting about 90 has doubled in the last 12 years percent of Canadians with diabetes. and that growth continues with It occurs when the pancreas does another person diagnosed every not produce enough insulin or when three minutes. Diabetes is defined by the body does not effectively use higher than normal levels of glucose the insulin it produces. It usually (sugar) in the blood and can lead to develops in adulthood, although more serious complications. The personal children and adolescents are being health burden is significant— diagnosed, especially those in highdiabetes costs five to 15 years of risk populations, such as Aboriginal life expectancy; it contributes to 30 Peoples and those of African, Asian, percent of strokes, 40 percent of Hispanic or South Asian descent. heart attacks, and 70 percent of all A third type of diabetes is non-traumatic amputations as well as gestational diabetes—a temporary being a leading cause of blindness. condition that develops during It’s important that Canadians educate pregnancy. Blood sugar levels usually themselves about the disease to return to normal following delivery; recognize if they are at risk. however, both mother and child are
at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Prediabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are elevated, but not yet at a level high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. About half of those with prediabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Myths about diabetes will always persist, and it’s important to separate fact from fiction—your health could depend on it. Myth #1: Diabetes is the fault of the person who has it, because of bad lifestyle choices or too much sugar. Fact: Type 2 diabetes is a complex problem with roots in genetics, the environment, and individual behaviour choices. It runs in families and few individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes do not have at least one relative with it. It is also more prevalent in certain population groups, most notably Aboriginal Peoples.
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Nutrition For some who carry a potent genetic risk for diabetes, no amount of physical fitness or healthy eating will protect them from developing the disease. A second contributor to the diabetes epidemic is the environment in which we live—factors such as the walkability of neighbourhoods along with access to nutritious food and local health facilities and services. For people at risk of diabetes, behaviour choices that promote obesity increase that risk. Improving diet and physical activity levels has been shown to reduce the risk by nearly 60 percent. However, overemphasizing weight reduction leads to unbalanced messaging around the causes of the disease, such as simply saying it is a result of eating too much sugar. To blame individual behaviour choices is a disservice to those with the disease by creating stigma.
Fact: This is almost always untrue, but living with diabetes does mean being careful about your food choices. Choose smaller portions, and if you’re eating sweets, try substituting artificial sweeteners for added sugar. A little research into what you’re eating and portion control will allow you to enjoy most of your favourite treats, regardless of diabetes. Myth #5: Having diabetes means you’re doomed. Fact: Far from it! Diabetes is a disease, and has to be treated seriously. Scheduled check-ups with your health-care team, watching your
Fact: This myth is based on the fact that carb-rich foods contribute to a rise in blood sugar. In reality, substituting carbs with protein sources like meat, eggs and milk can lead to an imbalanced diet and weight gain. Follow Eating Well with Canada`s Food Guide to ensure you choose enough foods from all four food groups.
Fact: White-coloured foods almost always have a healthier alternative— think whole-grain rice or bread—but an occasional indulgence isn’t forbidden. As with most foods, the trick is moderation and portion control. Of course, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables should be a part of everyone’s daily routine. Consult with your health team for advice. You might be surprised at what you can and cannot eat. Myth #4: People with diabetes can’t eat their favourite foods.
Learn more about diabetes and you Early risk detection can help people change habits to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and reduce downstream complications. Knowing the risk factors is key to prevention and early detection. If you are over the age of 40, the CDA recommends you get checked every three years, and more frequently if you have any of these risk factors: •
Myth #2: You should eat more protein than carbohydrates.
Myth #3: People with diabetes can’t eat white-coloured food.
Alcohol is loaded with empty calories, and can cause unwanted weight gain. The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) recommends limiting alcohol to no more than 10 drinks a week for women and 12 to 15 for men.
diet and medication, regular physical activity and a positive outlook help you lead a long and happy life. In most cases, diabetes can be controlled, as long as you’re committed to staying healthy. Myth #6: People with diabetes can’t drink alcohol. Fact: Most people with diabetes can, but in moderation. One rule of thumb is to always stick to beer, dry wines or straight liquor, and steer clear of sugary mixed drinks and cocktails.
You have a parent or sibling with diabetes • You are a member of an ethnic group at high risk for type 2 diabetes (African, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian, or Aboriginal) • You are overweight • You have high blood pressure or high cholesterol • You have been diagnosed with prediabetes
You cannot prevent type 1 diabetes; however, the CDA believes there are things we can to do to reduce type 2 diabetes rates, including prevention activities that focus on healthy eating, physical activity, and stress reduction. If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, you need to talk to your doctor and get tested. If you have diabetes, work with your health-care team, including a certified diabetes educator, to keep your blood sugar levels in check and get tips to effectively manage your diabetes. Finally, learn everything you can; knowledge is the key to managing diabetes. The CDA can help with information and resources. Visit www. diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464) with your diabetes questions. n
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Meals on Wheels: Bringing Shut-Ins and Community Together “We deliver smiles.” By Dianne Steinley ernon’s Schubert Centre, an independent organization run primarily by volunteers, offers activities and programs that help local seniors boost their quality of life. Since 1984, the centre has been well-known as a social and recreational hot spot in which to gather, have fun, and enjoy great food. But did you know that the Schubert Centre also provides a pleasing variety of safe, flavourful, nutritious meals, along with regular contact for isolated individuals, through its Meals on Wheels program? Meals on Wheels is concerned with much more than good nutrition. It is a family affair, bringing shutins and community together. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, caring volunteers cheerfully deliver meals through any and all weather and encourage seniors and shut-ins
by brightening their day—hence the slogan “We deliver smiles.” Goals of Meals on Wheels • To provide nutritious, wellbalanced, and flavourful meals to seniors and home-bound individuals • To reduce individual isolation and enhance quality of life through positive social interaction between clients, volunteers, and staff • To engage families and communities in partnerships that benefit both givers and receivers • To provide peace of mind to families and friends who can know their loved ones are the recipients of healthy meals delivered by caring volunteers and staff on a regular, consistent, and dependable basis
Schubert Centre Visit us at the Schubert Centre for all your social and recreational needs! • • • • •
Join us for:
Cards and Games Happy Hour with Live Music Pancake Breakfasts Shuffleboard, Table Tennis and Pool Volunteering Opportunities
Contact us for more information on our Meals On Wheels Program.
3505 - 30th Avenue Vernon, BC
To provide an opportunity for individuals to volunteer in the community and through this service, improve their own physical, mental, and emotional health
What you need to know about Meals on Wheels • No delivery fee, no GST • Affordable, hot, nutritious, and delicious • Low salt and low fat • Diabetic or vegetarian meals available on request • Delivery in Vernon on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. • Delivered over the lunch hour by kind and generous volunteers who joyfully give of their time and resources • Available to anyone who has difficulty purchasing and preparing meals (convalescents, seniors, people with disabilities) Sponsored by the Government of Canada New Horizons Program, Meals on Wheels promotes individual independence and wellbeing, provides families with peace of mind, and can reduce demand on health services. If you would like more information about this service, please phone the Schubert Centre Society at 250-5494201 or email schubertcentre@shaw. ca. n
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Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine Next issue: Spring/Summer 2017
For Advertising Information or Editorial Submissions email email@example.com or call 250-503-7472.
Published on Jan 10, 2017
The second issue of Okanagan Seniors Health Magazine. Packed full of information from local health and wellness professionals.