SeniorsSafety 2019 Edition
FREE! Courtesy of
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04 A message from your Prince George RCMP 05 What is Restorative Justice? pAgE 06 Fraud & scams pAgE 08 How can I protect myself against fraud? pAgE 09 Stay sharp and drive smart pAgE 10 Social media pAgE 11 Helpful apps for seniors with disabilities pAgE 12 Home security pAgE 12 Tips for protecting your home from break-ins pAgE 13 What should you keep in your emergency kit? pAgE 13 Personal safety around the home: doors pAgE 14 How seniors can prepare for natural disasters pAgE 15 Wills and estate planning pAgE 17 Power of attorney pAgE 18 Health & well-being pAgE 18 Functional fitness training: what it is and how it benefits seniors pAgE 19 Mobility scooters: should you rent or buy? pAgE 19 4 things to consider when selecting a mobility scooter pAgE 20 Your heart: keep moving forward, safely pAgE 22 Reducing your fall risk pAgE 23 Directory pAgE
Colleen Sparrow Publisher
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505 4th Avenue • 250.562.2441 • Prince George, B.C. • pgcitizen.ca
A message from your Prince George RCMP
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What is Restorative Justice? the victim. Restorative Justice agreements focus on what is needed to enable the individual to move forward in their lives in a more positive manner. Restorative Justice is an opportunity for offenders to avoid a criminal record and give back to the community who is impacted by any criminal incident. The opportunity for victims and offenders to heal can be transforming and fosters a more healthy, safe and sustainable community.
Many Canadians feel our justice system is not always the best practice to deal with some criminal acts. The justice system protects human rights, dignity and demographic values. Restorative justice offers the same protection, but includes everyone affected by a crime, costs less, reduces delays, provides an equal voice for the victim and offender, and has the ability to deal with the root cause of crime. The Prince George RCMP Restorative Justice program began in July 2015 and is the newest program for the Prince George RCMP Crime Prevention Unit, Community Policing. Restorative Justice values include accountability, responsibility, honesty, empathy, and respect. Community Justice Forums include the offender and their supports, the victim and their supports, an RCMP member and Restorative Justice Facilitator and Co-facilitator. Healing damaged relationships, and seeking an
effective consensus agreement for the offender, is an outcome of Community Justice forums which are held in safe, controlled environments, and facilitated by trained Restorative Justice volunteers. The resulting offender agreements address the needs of the victim, offender and community in an effort to facilitate healing and encourage more positive
life choices. Benefits of Restorative Justice for victims include a more satisfactory and fair process, empowering them to share their feelings and the impact of the incident on their life. Victims are often thankful to become an integral part of the community solution. The Restorative Justice process may facilitate healing for
For more information or volunteer inquiries for the Prince George RCMP Restorative Justice program contact Linda Parker, Prince George RCMP, Community Policing and Restorative Justice Coordinator. Phone 250-561-3319 or email email@example.com
Prince George RCMP Restorative Justice 455 Victoria Street Prince George, BC V2L 0B7
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Fraud & Scams By Alex Karn with files from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
While most of us would prefer to think the best of people we meet, speak with over the phone, or communicate with via text or email, the truth is that not everyone can be trusted. In fact, there are thousands of people who make a living illegally scamming folks out of their hard-earned money. Anyone can be a victim of a scam, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status, and these scams can take place in a wide range of settings, often using the same technology that many of us rely on to communicate with family and friends. Many of the scams and frauds we see today are the same as the ones we have been fighting for years. The difference is that new technology is changing the way these
frauds are being carried out, making them seem more legitimate, masking the criminalâ€™s identity and reducing their risks of getting caught. There is no shame in falling victim to a scammer, as the sophisticated technology they are utilizing can make it very difficult to tell that something is not quite right. The people who commit these crimes thatâ€™s their job. Itâ€™s how they make a living, albeit an illegal one.
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Some seniors may worry about telling their family or the authorities about falling for a scam, but the truth is that anyone of any age can be a victim. The important thing is to educate yourself and be wary of giving out any personal information to anyone you haven’t reached out to yourself. There are many types of scams to be aware of. Here is a breakdown of some of the most prevalent scams and frauds going on today: RANSOMWARE Ransomware is a type of computer virus that restricts access to infected computers. Fraudsters will require you to pay a ransom in order to regain full access. Ransomware is spread through email attachments, or installed on the computer by a scammer. Once the malware has encrypted fi les on a victim’s computer there is no way to decrypt them without the private key code that a scammer will ‘sell’ you, often for hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, if you pay the
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ransom, there is no guarantee that the fraudster will release your computer back to you. They may in fact attempt to charge you a second ransom and so on. Don’t click on popups or links that you aren’t familiar with, as you could potentially be giving someone access to your compute. You should also be aware that neither Microsoft nor Apple are allowed to monitor your computer, so anyone claiming to be from either of those companies and saying that they have identified a problem on your computer is lying. If you are having issues with your computer, don’t let someone you find online fix it. Instead, have a friend or family member install anti-virus software, or call a reputable computer repair store to have it repaired. TAX SCAMS A fraudster will call you impersonating the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), claiming a recent audit has identified discrepancies from past filed taxes. Repayment is required immediately. Fraud-
sters then threaten consumers that failure to pay will result in additional fees and/or jail time or deportation. Fraudsters request payment by a money service business, e-transfer, pre-paid credit cards or gift cards like iTunes cards. Another variation on this scam is that fraudsters will send an email indicating a refund is pending from the CRA. The email includes a link that directs you to a website which mimics the actual CRA site. You are urged to input personal information to verify your identity before receiving the refund. Once the information is input, you are at risk of identity theft, and no refund is ever issued. Scammers will leave a voicemail and when you return their call they will be very aggressive, and may even transfer you to someone impersonating a police officer and threatening to arrest you if you don’t pay. But the CRA will never contact you over the phone or email to discuss tax payments, and I’ve never heard
of someone being arrested by the police for not paying back taxes. If you want to be sure that you are in good standing with the CRA, the best way to check is to call 1-800-959-8281. Do not call the phone number left on your voicemail or in an email by the fraudster. EMERGENCY/GRANDPARENT SCAMS A scammer will call claiming to be a relative, often a grandchild, and say they are in some kind of trouble and need you to transfer money to them immediately. Typically they claim being in a car accident, trouble returning from a foreign country or that they need bail money. The fraudster will ask that you don’t tell other relatives what is going on, and say that they need you to act right now. Usually the scammer will call in the middle of the night, and will deliberately use a phone with poor sound quality to make it difficult to for the victim to identify them. Turn the page for more!
Fraud & Scams Cont’d EMERGENCY/GRANDPARENT SCAMS CONT’D This scam has evolved with social media, as fraudsters will often check Facebook for details about the victim’s relatives who may be on vacation so that they can sound more convincing. It’s recommended that anyone who gets a call like this, regardless of what the person on the phone says, should hang up and call family members to confirm that their grandchild is safe. Follow up with family members. Think. Ask questions. Anyone asking you to send money should always be a red flag. LOTTERY/PRIZE SCAMS Canadians are solicited over the phone, email or social media and advised that they are the winner of a large lottery or sweepstake. Prior to receiving any winnings, they must first pay an upfront fee. No winnings are ever received. The scammers constantly re-invent the wheel and come up with new twists to prey on potential victims. Scammers advise that you have won a prize and in order to receive the winnings, you are required to pay a small advance fee to cover taxes or legal fees associated to the win. Scammers target seniors who do not use online banking services and use the financial information to take over their account which is then used to launder money and proceeds from other mass
marketing fraud scams. Just don’t respond to any emails, phone calls, or voice mails claiming that you have won a prize or lottery. These scams play on our natural human greediness, but it never pays off in the end. The best thing to remember here is that you can’t win a prize or lottery you’ve never entered. ROMANCE SCAMS A romance scam can take place over days, weeks, months or even years. Usually, a fraudster will claim to have romantic intentions toward you and gain your affection and trust, often over an extended period of time. Although the number of people who fall victim to these scams is lower than most other types of scams, they usually result in much higher dollar losses. The scammer will establish your trust over the course of the (usually long-distance) relationship, and then eventually claim to want to meet in person. It is at this time the fraudster will advise they can’t afford to travel and will seek assistance from you in covering travel cost. Other variations include the fraudster presenting situations of emergency or urgency, such as a sick family member, and seeking financial assistance for various costs. Once you send the money they ask for, they disappear and you never hear from them again.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF AGAINST FRAUD? PHONE FRAUD 1 Do not give out your credit card information or other types of personal or financial information over the phone. 2 Resist the pressure to “act now”. If you are being pressured to make a decision about a big purchase immediately, then it probably is not a legitimate deal. 3 If you are suspicious about the person you are talking to, HANG UP! EMAIL AND MAIL FRAUD 1 Never provide your PIN, banking passwords, or SIN, in an email. 2 Check to see that you have received all statements and bills that you are expecting. 3 Carefully review all your statements and bills. 4 A missing statement could be a sign that a thief is taking your mail. 5 Sign all credit cards and debit cards as soon as you receive them. 6 Destroy or shred all your account statements and bills before you throw them away. This includes applications for credit you receive but do not use. AREA CODE SCAM Individuals receive a message telling them to call a phone number with a 705, 416, 905, 284, 649, or 876 area code in order to collect a prize, find out information about a sick relative, etc. The caller assumes the number is a valid Canadian area code; however, the caller is actually connected to a phone number outside of the country, and charged international call rates. Unfortunately, consumers are unaware that they have been charged the exorbitant rates until they receive their bill. PREVENTION TIP: Return calls to familiar numbers only that contain recognizable area codes. You may call your phone service provider to check the area code location. Carefully read your telephone bill. Make sure that you receive charges only from your service provider of choice and have authorized additional fees invoiced.
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Stay sharp and drive smart As you cruise into your golden years, here’s info on how to maintain your driving skills and prepare you for your retirement from driving. Driver fitness For the safety of everyone on the road, it’s important to ensure you are physically, medically, and cognitively fit to drive. Medical conditions that affect driving are common in drivers aged 80 and older. That’s why your doctor will need to complete a Driver’s Medical Examination Report (DMER) for you at age 80. Near your 80th birthday, RoadSafetyBC will send you instructions to help you complete the report. You’ll need to do the exam every two years while you’re still driving. Your doctor may also refer you for an Enhanced Road Assessment to help make a decision about your driving abilities. Before you retire from driving, consider these tips to help you stay safe on the road: Ensure to continue to get regular medical checkups and eye exams, and wear corrective lenses, if needed. Drive during daylight hours and outside of rush hour when there’s less traffic.
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Keep your windshield, headlights, and mirrors clean for maximum visibility. Look into vehicle equipment like a GPS, rear back-up cameras, oversized rear view mirrors, or lane-departure or forward-collision warning systems. Plan ahead to avoid distractions while you’re behind the wheel, and always leave your phone alone. Brush up on the road rules in B.C. by visiting any driver licensing office to pick up a copy of ICBC’s driving guides - Learn to Drive Smart or Tuning Up for Drivers.
the ten-year scan period. Retirement from driving Did you know that when it’s time to turn in your driver’s licence you may exchange it for a BC ID card at any driver licensing office in B.C.? It’s valid, government-issued picture identification and it’s free! As you navigate your life without a car, staying mobile is important. Take public transit, use taxis, or ride with friends and family. Check with your grocery store and pharmacy for delivery services to save you the trip. While your retirement from
driving will necessitate some lifestyle changes, there are many benefits, such as: • No more fuel, vehicle maintenance and insurance costs • Increased fitness, if you can do some of your errands on foot • Less stress from being stuck in heavy traffic • Bragging rights for reducing your environmental impact To learn more about B.C.’s driving fitness assessment for seniors, and find tips to keep your driving skills up-to-date, go to icbc.com.
Auto insurance discount for seniors Government changes to auto insurance that take effect Sept. 1, 2019, mean that seniors will continue to receive a discount and will also benefit from more years of driving experience being considered – up to 40 years from the current nine years of crashfree driving. However, your discount will be reduced if you cause a crash and eliminated if you cause a second crash within
Social Media Facebook Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking website. It allows users to create a profile, upload photographs, videos, and keep in touch with family and friends.
Social Media refers to services and websites used to connect with others to share photos, videos, personal messages (eg. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, text messaging)
Getting Started: • To open an account, visit www.facebook.com • Choose a password that would not be easy for somebody to figure out (eg. your date of birth, your name).
• Limit the amount of personal information you share. Basic Terminology: • Your Timeline is your profile page. It contains all your stories, photos, videos, a list of your friends, your interests. • News Feed is a continuous stream of updates about your friends’ activities. • A Friend is someone you are connected to on Facebook. “Friending” is the act of accepting someone else’s friend request or having someone else accept your friend requests. Safety Tips: • Be selective with who you accept as a “friend”. If you do not know somebody who requests to be your friend, it is advisable not to accept their
request. • Assume everything on a social networking site is open source (public) and be selective in what you share. • Change your password frequently. Do not use the same password for Facebook as you would use for your email or online banking. • Ensure you know the person who has sent you a message prior to opening it.
Twitter: Twitter is a social networking service that allows users to send, receive, and view others’ text messages of up to 140 characters (letters/numbers/symbols). These messages are called ‘tweets’. Like reading a newspaper, you can scan the headlines or read a
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complete story by clicking on the links. News on Twitter is published as it happens and is updated constantly. Getting Started: • To open an account, visit: www.twitter.com • Limit the amount of personal information you share. Basic Twitter Terminology: • A Tweet is a message sent on Twitter. • The # symbol is called a Hashtag, and is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. • In order to read an individual’s tweets, you “Follow” them. If you are no longer interested in what they are saying you can instantly “Unfollow” them. • When someone tweets something that your think is interesting, you can Retweet (RT) the message to your followers.
Text Messaging; Text messaging, or texting, is the act of sending an electronic message between cell phones of other wireless devices. Text messaging is generally billed as an extra service by the cell phone provider, either on a per-text basis or as part of a bundle package with your monthly fee. Check with your service provider regarding text messaging in order to obtain a package that is right for you and your needs.
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Helpful apps for seniors with disabilities Mobile apps aren’t just for gamers, daters and Instagrammers. In fact, downloadable apps for smartphones, tablets and other devices now serve many different types of users, including those with disabilities. Here are some of the best apps out there. For those with a hearing impairment RogerVoice transcribes phone calls in real time, allowing you to read conversations on the screen of your phone as they’re happening. There’s also P3 Mobile, which allows you to make video-based calls and has features tailored to those who have difficulties hearing.
For those with a visual impairment TapTapSee uses your device’s speakers to verbally identify what you’re pointing at with your device’s camera lens. Be My Eyes serves a similar function; with this app you’re connected in real time with volunteers around the world who tell you what you’re pointing at.
For those who use a wheelchair Wheelmap is a digital map (like Google Maps) that shows users which businesses in their area are wheelchair accessible. It’s a crowdsourcing platform, meaning that users themselves add information for businesses that haven’t already been identified, so the map becomes more detailed every day.
All these apps are free and compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
Did you know? Your device has built-in features oriented to those with both hearing impairments and visual impairments. On iPhones and iPads, find and activate these features by going to: Settings > General > Accessibility. On Android devices look under: Settings > Accessibility.
Home Security Tips for protecting your home from Break-Ins Did you know that most alarm systems are only installed after a break-in? Because we tend to underestimate the likelihood of bad things happening, many of us fail to be proactive when it comes to preventing burglaries. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself.
Preventing break-ins Summer is a popular time for break-ins and research suggests that most of them happen Monday through Friday between the
hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Intruders often gain entry through a door. To avoid being targeted by burglars, make sure valuables
aren’t visible through a window and don’t leave them on your porch or in your backyard. It’s also a good idea to put away your tools, especially things like ladders and crowbars. Garages are easy to force open, so make sure to lock any interior doors connecting your home to your garage. Finally, never hide spare keys outside your home. When you’re on vacation If you’re going on a trip, fight the temptation to announce it on social media. While you’re away, take steps to make your home look occupied. Suspend your newspaper subscription, have someone mow your lawn and put your mail delivery on hold.
Don’t leave your lights on unless you can put them on a timer to simulate human activity. Remember, you can always ask a neighbour or friend to come around regularly to make sure everything is in order. You can also get someone you trust to house-sit while you’re away.
If you install a security system, call your insurance company as soon as possible so they can lower your premiums.
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What should you keep in your emergency kit? According to the Government of Canada, every family should have an emergency preparedness kit on hand with enough supplies to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours. The kit should be kept in a portable container or in multiple backpacks in case of an evacuation. Everyone in your home should know where the emergency kit is stored. Your kit should have all the basics of survival including two litres of drinking water a day (per person) and water purification tablets. All food items should be non-perishable. You should also include small amounts of cash, especially change for payphones, as well as a first aid kit, phone chargers and extra keys for your cars and home. In case of a power outage, it’s recommended you have a crank or batterypowered flashlight and radio. Batteries should be replaced once a year. When preparing your kit, keep in mind your family’s unique situation. Always have enough medication, pet food and infant formula on hand, and make sure to develop a plan for transporting needed medical devices.
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Finally, you should make and print an emergency plan to keep with your kit, including an evacuation route, health information, details about required drug prescriptions and shut-off instructions for your home’s natural gas and water valves. This plan should include a designated emergency contact for each family member to reach in case of separation. Remember, you can never be too prepared for an emergency.
For more information about emergency kits, visit getprepared.gc.ca
Personal Safety Around the Home: DOORS 1. Always keep your doors locked, including “grounding” patio doors in their tracks, even when you’re at home or in the back yard. 2. Before going to bed, check to make sure all doors are locked and secured. 3. Put your car keys beside your bed at night. If you hear a noise outside and think someone is trying to break into your house, just press the panic button for your vehicle. The alarm will be set off and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery gets weak. 4. Don’t unlock your door to strangers. Learn to speak through the closed door. It’s not impolite…it’s safer. 5. Before “buzzing” someone into your apartment building, verify by voice or monitor that it is the person you are expecting. If you’re not sure, call the superin-
tendent or caretaker of your building. 6. To avoid opening your door without knowing who is there, have a through-door viewer installed for your safety. 7. Use quality locks as well as auxiliary locks which will provide you with extra protection. Deadbolt locks are more difficult to break through. 8. Installing an alarm system can ensure you a greater peace of mind. Show visible evidence of the alarm from the outside in order to deter possible crime. 9. Avoid using chain locks. They present little deterrent to an aggressive person. 10. Never open your door to strangers. Verify identification of visitors, sales and service people. Check with the company to see if they sent a representative.
Home Security Cont’d
Crime PRevention Resource:
BC Crime Prevention Association The BC Crime Prevention Association (BCCPA) is an integrated team of citizens and police dedicated to preventing crime and improving community safety through awareness and education. For additional crime prevention and community safety information and resources, visit BCCPA at www.bccpa.org, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 1-888-405-2288.
How seniors can prepare for natural disasters Did you know that seniors suffer more disaster-related deaths than the general population? According to the Red Cross, older adults are more at risk of injury and fatality during all phases of a disaster, including the time leading up to and the time following the event. While not all seniors are equally vulnerable during disasters, with advanced age many adults develop health conditions that make staying safe during a hurricane, tornado, fire, flood or other type of crisis more difficult. Seniors are also more likely to be socially isolated, have slower response times and experience cognitive decline, all of which impact their ability to navigate perilous situations. The good news is that many disaster-related fatalities and injuries can be prevented with the right planning and resources. Here are three steps seniors can take to prepare themselves for a local emergency. 1. Form a support network. Make sure you have at least three people in your community who you can rely on during an
emergency. Keep their contact information current and accessible at all times. 2. Establish meeting places. Designate two meeting places — one near your house and one that’s further away but still in your neighbourhood — where friends and relatives will know to find you in case of an emergency evacuation. 3. Prepare your own emergency kit. All households should have an emergency kit, but seniors should take extra precautions to ensure their kit is easy to access and contains a three- to six-day supply of all medications and devices they require. Older adults with certain health conditions, such as diabetes and dementia, should also wear medical ID bracelets so that first responders will have the information they need to proceed with any needed treatment. Given the increasing number of natural disasters taking place across North America, it’s essential that Canadians of all ages have access to the support they need to survive a catastrophe. If you have elderly relatives, friends and neighbours, make sure to check on them during storms, power outages and other types of local emergencies. Prince George Citizen
WILLS AND ESTATE PLANNING Discussing with your family or someone you trust can help with these important decisions
By Betty Halman-Plumey
A will is one of the most important documents you will ever write. It is your opportunity to record your wishes for the dispersal of your property in
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the event of your death. If your children are minors, you may stipulate who you wish to be their guardian in your will. You can also record your wishes for your pet. A potential guardian should
be asked beforehand if they are willing to take on the responsibility for children or pets. It is best to use the services of a lawyer of your own choosing when making out a will. All documents should
be read and understood before you agree to sign them. If you have been forced or coerced into signing a will or any other document, contact your local police. Turn the page for more!
Wills and Estate Planning Cont’d Many of us are reluctant to discuss health and finances with our adult children until a crisis occurs. Failing to plan can reduce or eliminate estate planning options and can create increased costs. On the other hand, the benefits of sharing your wishes and doing pre-planning can be extraordinary. Having a family meeting can be a wonderful way to bring everyone together to discuss those important decisions and to develop your individual estate plans. Issues such as; who should be the executors and POAs; what special provisions need to be made for loved ones who are younger, older or disabled; how to distribute special family heirlooms; what are last wishes; where are important documents kept and where are investments held; the importance of reviewing your Wills and personal goals; what impact will taxation have on your estate or the family cottage …are just a few of the important issues that should be discussed. In a book called, “Estate Planning through Family Meetings”
Lynne Butler states that many families fail to plan because they don’t know where to start, they falsely believe that estate planning is only for the rich, are simply too busy to meet or are concerned about privacy issues. But, she says, holding a family meeting to discuss estate planning issues before a crisis occurs can not only maintain family harmony but can create critical opportunities to reduce potential costs, protect family businesses, reduce taxes and create more options. There are a number of things to consider when planning your family meeting such as; ensuring that everyone can attend, where to hold the meeting, deciding who will do follow up research and investigate options and whether or not you want someone to help facilitate the meeting. Some possible solutions that can be put in place as preplanning for estate purposes are; setting up trusts, using life insurance for planning, joint ownership, gifting, beneficiary designation and business succession plans …to name a few.
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Power of Attorney
Provided by BC Crime Prevention Association
A power of attorney is a legal ited to financial and legal decidocument that appoints another sions. They do not permit your person to make financial and representative to make personal, legal decisions for you. You do medical or health care decisions not necessarily require a lawyer for you. For these decisions you to create a power of attorney, can make what is called a “repbut it’s a good idea to seek resentation agreement”. professional advice. Consider A representation agreement carefully who you want to apallows your representative to point and what powers you make your personal, medical want to give. It is important and health care decisions for that your trust that you when you are person’s honesty incapable of making Consider and judgment. You your own decisions. carefully who may cancel a power Your representative you want to of attorney by giving must consult with appoint and your representative a you and, unless your written notice saying what powers you representative is your that their power has want to give. It spouse, the agreeended. Or an end is important that ment must name date may be stated in another person a your trust that “monitor” to ensure the document itself. A power of attorney person’s honesty that your representaautomatically ends and judgment. tive lives up to their when your die or responsibilities. Or become bankrupt. It the agreement must state that a also ends if you become mental- “monitor” is not required. ly incompetent, unless you state that the power should continue. In that case, you have made an enduring power of attorney. Enduring Power of AttorIf you have signed a contract ney allows your representative and are concerned that the to make financial and legal other party has broken the decisions for you in case you contract, or suspect that become mentally incapable bein some way they have cause of age, accident or illness. not abided by the terms The document must state that of the contract, seek legal the arrangement will continue advice immediately. Any to be in effect when you are legal recourses are usually unable to make decisions for monitored by strict time yourself. limitations and conditions. Power of attorney and enduring power of attorney are lim-
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Health & Well-Being Functional fitness training: what it is and how it benefits seniors As we age, everyday tasks become more physically challenging. Activities such as getting up from a seated position, putting on a coat, dusting furniture and putting away groceries become difficult for many people. Functional fitness training helps seniors continue to perform these types of tasks without experiencing excessive strain. What is functional fitness training? Functional fitness training involves exercise routines that mimic the activities of daily life. The focus is primarily on balance, core strength, endurance and multi-joint flexibility.
Why is it great for seniors? Nearly everyone stands to benefit from functional fitness training, but it’s particularly advantageous to seniors. As we grow older, we begin to lose muscle mass, bone strength and our sense of balance. Functional fitness training will help seniors remain independent for as long as possible. Plus, unlike exercise machines and weight training, it’s a low-intensity form of exercise and shouldn’t cause strain or injury. Want to give functional fitness training a try? More and more commercial gyms are starting to offer such programs. See if there’s a class close to you that you can sign up for.
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Mobility scooters: should you rent or buy? If getting around is difficult for you even with the help of a cane or a walker, you might find that using a mobility scooter is a great way to regain some freedom and independence. Scooters come in a large variety of models and can be either bought or rented. To help you determine which option is best for you, here are some things to think about. Renting: • Is ideal when dealing with a temporary mobility issue following an operation.
• Is highly flexible thanks to daily, weekly, monthly and yearly rental options. • Is hassle free — you won’t have to worry about maintenance and winter storage. • Is cheaper than buying,in the short term. Buying: • Means you can customize your scooter to suit your needs. • Is perfect if you want to use your scooter yearlong. • Allows you to sell your scooter if you want to upgrade or don’t need it anymore.
• Is cheaper than renting, in the long term. Many retailers also offer a rent-to-own option, which can be advantageous if you’re not sure you want or need to commit to buying a scooter. In any case, make sure you take time to evaluate your specific situation, your budget and what you need out of your mobility scooter. This will allow salespeople to give you the best advice possible.
Did You KNow?
If you suffer from permanent mobility issues, you may qualify for provincial financial aid programs. Retailers are often familiar with these, so don’t hesitate to ask about them.
4 things to consider when selecting a mobility scooter When it comes to buying or renting a mobility scooter, there’s a wide range of options available. To help you decide which type is best for you, here are four key things to consider. 1. Your usage requirements First, you should determine how much ground you’ll cover every day. Find out how far your home is from locations you visit regularly, such as the grocery store or the library, and how often you like to make the trip. Understanding the distance you intend to cover will help you to select the appropriate battery. 2. Your physical condition
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If you experience discomfort while sitting down, opt for a model with large, shockabsorbing wheels and a comfortable seat. Overweight users may prefer a larger seat and sturdier features overall, while people struggling with dexterity loss may benefit from ergonomic handles. 3.Your surroundings If you’re going to venture outside, choose a larger, heavier scooter. These provide more stability on uneven roads and sidewalks. If you’re planning on using your scooter inside, you’ll need to measure the width of your door frames and hallways. This will allow you to choose a model small enough
to manoeuvre indoors. 4.Your storage space Most scooters need to be stored in a dry place over the winter. If that’s not an option for you, it might be better to
rent a scooter a few months out of the year rather than buying one. The most important thing when shopping for a mobility scooter is to make your needs known so you can get the best advice possible. Last but not least, don’t forget to test drive before you buy.
Health & Well-Being Cont’d
Your Heart: Keep Moving Forward, Safely Medical issues seem to multiply quickly as we age. If you are diagnosed with cardiovascular disease there may be some helpful information in this article. by Linda Riches
No one can give you answers to every question you have about your heart because so much remains a mystery; however, find confidence in that much is known
and that many of your questions can be answered, by someone. Know that diagnosis, treatment and rehab are different for each of us. What works for one person may not work for you.
At the hospital: We are fortunate to have excellent cardiac centres in BC; in Prince George we have a few cardiologists and we have North Clinic. Most likely, you will be sent south for treatment. If possible, before you are transferred, have someone put together a “to go kit”(list below) to take with you. See if you can leave your jewelry with someone. If this is your first cardiac incident it may be unsettling, possibly scary. The paramedics who will transfer you are amazing and will take good care of you. Advanced Directive: When you are admitted someone may ask for your “Advanced Directive.” If you are like the writer of this article, you may say, “a what?” Don’t worry if you don’t have one, but it might wise to create an “Advanced Care” plan when you return home. You do not need to see a lawyer for this; do give your GP a copy of your “Advance Directive/Living Will” if you create one. www.gov. bc.ca/advancecare Questions: It may be a challenge to remember everything that you are being told and all of the procedures you will undergo, plus you will have many questions and there may
not be someone available at that moment to answer them; having a notebook and pen by your bed may help, even if you are fortunate enough to have a loved one with you. Many of our hospitals have medical students and you may tire of their numerous visits; try to see it as an opportunity for you to talk about how you are feeling. Discharge: When you are being prepared for discharge, speak up and ask your questions. If you have to get yourself back to your home community, a social worker from the hospital can expedite the process (you are responsible for this cost). Prescriptions: write down in your own words what each medication is for. You will need to have these filled right away. If you are unable to get to the pharmacy, send a note with someone authorizing them to take care of getting your meds. If the cost of your meds is beyond your ability to pay, see your GP immediately; there may be a similar medication that is cheaper. At home: Once you are in your own bed is when everything may hit you. How you cope with what you are thinking and feeling is important. Use whatever techniques Prince George Citizen
and tools you have at your disposal to allow yourself to work through some of your thoughts; this will not be the end of them, but each time they surface, you may have a little more resilience to deal with them. Moving Forward: Appointments: See your GP as soon as you can. You need them on board for your care. When you are there ask for a referral to North Clinic. You can do a self-referral, but it may be faster to have your GP do it. Ask about any other supports for cardiac patients. Reach Out: If you live alone, and don’t have family nearby, please ask others for help when you need it. Often, acquaintances/friends think someone is helping you out and so they don’t offer. You may discover that some people drop out of your life because you might not be able to participate in activities you shared before your diagnosis. Hopefully, you can become involved in new activities and create new friendships. Get Busy: Think about activities you would like to do or try. We have a broad community with groups for just about every interest. Use bulletin boards at community centres to post a note looking for others who share your interests. Planning: When you are resting, create a list of things you need changed or adjusted in your home. Depending on your diagnosis, you may have been told to avoid lifting heavy things above your head. Ask someone to come and move things for you. How will you handle major chores around your home? You may not be in a position to hire someone to take care of your garden or clear the snow. Reach out to the community. If you can think of what might need to be done and create a plan with contact information ahead of time, this may ease some of your concerns. Meds: Create a list of all of the meds you are taking and dosage; carry this in your wallet. Prince George Citizen
Medic Alert: Consider buying a medic alert bracelet and having your important info engraved on it. You can even get one that you can wear while swimming and not have it rust. Several companies make medic alert jewelry. Blue Bottle: Get one, put your information in it, put it in your freezer, and attach the blue bottle sign to your front door. Emergency personnel look for the sign. According to my information, these bottles are available for free from: Hart Drugs, Third Avenue Pharmacy, Phoenix Dispensary and the Seniors Resource Centre on Victoria St. Call ahead to check. Cardiac Rehab: Unlike the hospitals in the south, there is no cardiac rehab program attached to UHNBC. However, there is a Cardiac and Pulmonary rehab program at the YMCA (250) 562-9341 (there is a cost but you can get financial assistance).
Resources: Internet: it is easy to go “down the rabbit hole” and spend hours searching sites. The Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research is based in Ontario and has great information. https:// tedrogersresearch.ca/ Support groups are invaluable if you feel a need to talk to someone who might understand what you are going through. A cardiac support group meets once a month in the Victoria Medical building. North Clinic can give you the information. 250-645-6490 This writer has found these two Facebook groups helpful: HeartLife Canada - Help for Hearts with Heart Failure Canadian Women with Medical Heart Issues (this is a private
group; contact them and ask to join) North Clinic is for follow up (checkups and education). Toll free phone: 1-855-565-7373 (must call this number first for a referral or have a referral from your family doctor or nurse practitioner) 103-1669 Victoria Street To Go Kit: know that anything you take with you might disappear • CPAP machine if you use one • PJ’s, easy to put on slippers • Your ID • Toothbrush, toothpaste, comb/ brush, body/facial cream (it is dry in the hospital), razor • The hospital will provide shampoo and soap • Chargers for any electronics and a short extension cord • A small fan, clip on if possible • You don’t need to take your meds with you • Notebook and pen
Embrace living: Yes, you may need to rest more often, and you may feel lightheaded. If you have CHF you probably can’t have your head lower than your heart for long periods of time. Yes you will have been told to adjust your diet, and possibly your fluid intake, and to get out and exercise. There are nutritionists at the hospital that can help with your dietary needs. Your biggest ally will be your mind. Instead of thinking about what you can’t do and how horrible it is, try starting your day with planning one activity you’d like to do that day. If you feel yourself starting to make excuses as to why you’re not going to do it, stop, breathe, and then tell yourself to at least try it. You may have to do a lot of self-talk! And, yes, sometimes I even talk to myself out loud. I talk myself out of bed, to the shower, down the stairs….
Exercise is the best way to reduce your risk of falling by maintaining your strength, balance, and flexibility.
Reducing your Fall Risk By Bryn Pritchard CSEP-CPT, KINS Diploma
Did you know that half of all admissions into long-term care facilities are fall-related? And that falls are the most common cause of injury in seniors? It may feel like this is an inevitable part of aging, but it doesn’t have to be – most falls are caused by the combined effects of preventable risk factors. So, in the spirit of ‘safety for seniors’, here are some of the best practices that you can adopt to help prevent slips, trips, and falls, and in turn maintain your healthy and independent lifestyle. Exercise is the best way to reduce your risk of falling by maintaining your strength, balance, and flexibility. Improving these mobility factors will help prevent you from tripping, help you recover your balance faster, and give you the strength to catch yourself before suffering a serious fall-related injury. The thought of falling can be frightening but it is important to not let this fear stop you from 22
physical activity. Any movement restriction leads to decreased strength, balance, and flexibility – and all of these are what helps to keep us on our feet. Even though our fear may tell us to stop moving because we might fall, we have to push through this mindset and continue to exercise and stretch. Some easy exercises to practice that help prevent falls are squats, weight shifting, going up and down stairs, marching, leg raises, and heel toe walking … all exercises that are easily practiced in your own home. Regular vision check-ups are important in preventing trips and falls, not only to keep up to date on your prescription, but to identify any age-related eye diseases that could impair your vision (like cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy). Keeping your eyes healthy will help you navigate through life ‘trip-free’. Most falls occur at home performing daily activities, but there are many precautions you can take to reduce hazards and make your home a safer space.
Remove clutter and electrical cords to minimize tripping hazards, and make sure you have a clear path from your bedroom to your bathroom. It’s also a good idea to have nightlights in your bedroom, hallways, and bathroom for when you need to get up in the middle of the night. Try to keep the carpets and rugs to a minimum, and if you do have some make sure they are taped down so the edges don’t stick up or move underfoot. On that note, it’s also a good idea to have non-skid mats in your tub or shower so you’re not stepping in and out of a slippery tub. Keep all of your stairs in good repair, and install hand rails on both sides for support. If you have trouble identifying the edges of the steps try marking them with a non-slip contrasting tape. Also, pets can get underfoot so using a bright collar, or even a bell, can help you stay mindful of where they are when you are walking. Finally, make sure you have properly fitted shoes that aren’t too loose and with soles that aren’t too thick. Lace-up
shoes are a good idea so you can tie them as tightly as you’d like, and you get extra movement throughout your day bending over to tie them up. Another aspect of fall prevention that may be overlooked is reviewing your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. There are many medications that can increase your risk of falling because of side effects such as dizziness/light-headedness, impaired balance, decreased alertness, and/or other cognitive impairments. Some of the more common medications that are associated with increased fall risk are antidepressants, antihistamines, anticoagulants, corticosteroids, diuretics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, sleep aids, antihypertensives, and ACE inhibitors. By addressing some of the risk factors of falls, you can come up with ways to manage and reduce these issues in your day to day life. We all deserve to stay active, healthy, independent, and safe as we age!
Prince George Citizen
Directory Crisis/Support Lines Blockwatch Society of British Columbia 1-877-602-3358 Crisis Prevention, Intervention & Information Centre for Northern BC 1-888-562-1214 Public Guardian and Trustee and Community Resource Network 1-604-660-4444 Seniors Abuse & Information Line 1-866-437-1940 VictimLinkBC 1-800-563-0808
Emergency Dial 911 Legal Information/ Financial Services British Columbia Securities Commission 1-800-373-6393 Canada Benefits 1-800-622-6263 Canada Revenue Agency 1-800-959-8281 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation 1-800-668-2642 Lawyer Referral Service 1-800-663-1919
Food Services Curb Your Appetite 250-960-9797 Meals on Wheels 250-564-5888
Health Resources Alzheimer Resource Centre 250-564-7533 Arthritis Answers Line 1-800-321-1433 BC Association of Lifeline Programs (Lifeline Representative) 1-866-406-3001 Prince George Citizen
Riverbend Manor 250-596-8097 Simon Fraser Lodge 250-563-3413 Two Rivers Seniors Lodge 250-562-8466
BC Cancer –Prince George 1-855-775-7300 Canadian Mental Health Association Prince George 250-564-8644 Cariboo Home & Health Services 250-649-8783 First Link Dementia Helpline 1-800-936-6033 HealthLink BC Dial 811 (711 for the deaf and the hard of hearing) HearingLife 250-564-2593 Northern Health 250-565-2649 Northern Health Connections Bus 1-888-647-4997 Northern Home Care 250-563-3501
Police Services Community Police Office 250-561-3366 Prince George Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Prince George 250-561-3300
Prince George City Resources
Prince George Council of Seniors 250-564-5888 Prince George Senior Activity Centre 250-563-1915 Spruce Capital Senior’s Recreation Centre 250-563-6450 Volunteer Prince George 250-564-0224
Reporting/Fraud Resources Better Business Bureau Interior BC 1-888-803-1222
City of Prince George 250-561-7600
British Columbia Crime Prevention Association 1-888-405-2288
Regional District of Fraser-Fort George 250-960-4400
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-888-495-8501
Consumer Protection BC 1-888-564-9963
Elder Citizens Recreation Association 250-561-9381
Parkinson Society British Columbia 1-800-668-3330 Prince George Hospice Society 250-563-2481 Seniors Health Care Support Line 1-887-952-3181
Housing Aboriginal Housing Society 250-564-9794 BC Housing – Northern Region 250-562-9251 Country Acres Seniors Community 250-962-5570 Gateway Lodge 250-565-5572 Jubilee Lodge 250-565-2286 Laurier Manor 250-645-6188 Parkside Care Home 250-645-6420 Prince George Chateau 250-277-1688
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Safety and Crime Prevention strategies and information for Seniors.