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SASK SENIORS WEEK 2019
Kaeding will advocate for seniors at the cabinet table IRENE SEIBERLING
Saskatchewan seniors now have a dedicated voice at the cabinet table, thanks to the recent appointment of Warren Kaeding as Minister Responsible for Seniors. That’s in addition to his cabinet responsibilities for rural and remote health. “Certainly I look at this role as a very important role for the province,” Minister Kaeding emphasized in a recent telephone interview. “I think that ’s a good indication as to what this government believes the role seniors play, by actually having a minister now devoted to seniors’ issues.” C u r r e n t l y, s e n i o r s represent 15 per cent of the province’s population, he pointed out, adding that by 2027 that number is expected to increase to 20 per cent or more. “Saskatchewan has pretty well the highest percentage of seniors per capita in Canada,” Kaeding noted. “So I think it’s fairly obvious that seniors are playing a very important role in this province and need to have somebody advocating for
them at the cabinet table specifically.” One of the first things Kaeding has tasked his officials with is scanning all government ministries for services and interactions t h a t h av e a ny t h i n g t o do with seniors — from social services and health to finance, government relations, justice, parks, culture and sport. “That’s my first job, to do a scan of all that, and determine how best to serve seniors,” he explained. “And then I’d like to compile and provide a single-point conduit to at least a source of information.” Health care, long-term care and palliative care are priorities. “But really, the number of seniors in long-term care in the province is a relatively small number — well under 10 per cent. One of the numbers that I’ve seen is only five per cent of our seniors in the province are actually in long-term care,” Kaeding said. “So one of the areas that I would like to delve more into is helping seniors on preventative health — how can we keep
our seniors in the home as long as possible. That’s where they’re best served, being surrounded by family and community.” Kaeding added, “Part of keeping seniors in their homes longer is dealing with healthy, active lifestyle, mental health, depression, isolation. Also, we need to look at seniors in the workforce. Our workforce is definitely changing, and we’re seeing seniors being more actively involved in the workforce, whether as a paid or volunteer basis. So how do we help them adapt to be involved in the workforce longer?” Also on his radar is technolog y adaptation, something the minister admitted is an issue his mother struggles with. “How do we help people like my mom adapt to new technology, because we’re facing it every single day?” he pondered. Kaeding said he will also be looking at access to services in rural and northern Saskatchewan — focusing on how to improve access to services in remote communities.
Recruitment of geriatric professionals is also on the minister’s agenda. “It’s a common concern, especially in rural and less-populated settings. That trend really is across North America. It’s not just exclusive to us,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s just not a career path that a lot of young people look at, and aspire to be involved in the geriatric professional world. So it’s certainly a short, medium and long-term goal that we’ve got.” Inspiring young people to become geriatric professionals is key, then attracting them to work in the province, he explained. Kaeding said he plans to look at initiatives currently in place targeted at seniors, find out what’s working, and determine how “we find the budget to spread those across more of the province, and build on those programs that are successful, that are reaching the maximum number of seniors. “We have a lot of good starts, I believe. Now we just need to connect the dots and try to work towards building them out into the province.” Seniors are often not
Canadian seniors’ volunteerism valued at $10.9 billion Nine in ten Canadian seniors support charities or causes that are important to them. They volunteer more hours and donate more money to charity than any other age group. PHOTO: CNW
Canadian seniors are leaders when it comes to giving both time and money to the causes that matter most to them, according to The Revera Report on Aging: Living a Life of Purpose. The report, based on a nation-wide survey of over 1,000 Canadian seniors, was published by Revera, one of Canada’s leading owners, operators and investors in the senior living sector. The survey, conducted by Leger, found that Canadians over the age of 65 volunteer more hours and donate more money to the causes that are important to them than any other age group. The economic value generated through the volunteer efforts of Canadian seniors is estimated at $10.9 billion. Other survey highlights include:
• Canadians over the age of 65 contributed 42 per cent of all donations, equalling more than $4 billion, with an average donation of $2,500 according to Statistics Canada. This exceeds the national average by 40 per cent. • Nine in ten Canadian seniors say they do something to support the charities or causes that are important to them. In fact, 82 per cent say they donate money and more than one third (37 per cent) volunteer their time. • Volunteers over the age of 65 contribute on average 214 volunteer hours annually, well above the national average of 154 hours per volunteer and they are more likely to be considered a “top volunteer.” Top volunteers are those who are in the top 25 per cent in
terms of hours volunteered. • Eighty-nine per cent of Canadian seniors believe they can play a significant role in working towards solutions to the issues affecting the world and a further 87 per cent agree they are hopeful future generations will make the world a better place. “Seniors make a remarkable contribution to Canada. They are a vibrant, highly relevant part of our communities, from coast to coast,” says Thomas G. Wellner, CEO and president of Revera. “The report illustrates how they are not only active community members, committed to living a life of purpose, but they also feel a sense of responsibility to create a better world for future generations.” (CNW)
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aware of initiatives available to them, he said, “so maybe we need to do a better job promoting them.” Finding out what seniors consider priorities is crucial, he said, adding that he encourages and welcomes input from stakeholder groups and concerned citizens. “I consider myself to have an open-door policy,” Kaeding said. “This is a province that’s been built on good ideas, and I’m certainly more than willing to develop those if we can get them to work.” That’s welcome news for seniors’ advocacy groups. “We’re very encouraged by the fact that the government has
decided to make this a p p o i n t m e n t ,” s a i d Randy Dove, president of Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism (SSM). “For the last few years, we’ve been pressing down a path to actually put forward a strategy for positive aging in the province. “So for the government now to put this appointment in place, it’s good news. We ’ r e o p t i m i s t i c t h a t we’ll have an opportunity to work with Minister Kaeding, because the SSM does represent a significant portion of seniors in the province through our 18 member organizations. … We want to work with the minister to make sure there is progress made.”
Warren Kaeding, Minister Responsible for Seniors.
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SASK SENIORS WEEK 2019
The Saskatchewan advantage: Older adults make significant contributions to our province
growing population of older adults that have massive This province has a huge, amounts of experience and largely untapped resource skills, and have, and continue – its older adults – says to make, huge contributions the Saskatchewan Seniors to the province,” he said. Mechanism (SSM). Dove hopes it will be Randy Dove, president of possible to actually quantify the umbrella organization that contribution when the that pulls together groups SSM releases its seniors working on behalf of seniors, strategy in November. In says they believe that older addition to volunteerism, adults contribute a lot to Dove cites care-giving and their communities and to c o n t i n u e d e m p l o y m e n t the provincial economy. “The among the many ways older advantage is that we have a adults contribute to the economy. “Those are things that people sort of take for granted and we want to press the point that that’s a significant contribution to the economy of the province, and gives Saskatchewan an advantage that perhaps doesn’t exist elsewhere,” he said. Saskatchewan has a long history of volunteerism, which continues to this d a y. S t a t i s t i c s C a n a d a The Saskatchewan Seniors reports that, in 2013, this Mechanism (SSM) continues province had the highest to advance its “Age-Friendly rate of volunteerism in the Saskatchewan” initiative, says country, with 56 per cent executive director Holly Schick. of Saskatchewan people POSTMEDIA FILE PHOTO CAROL T ODD
volunteering their time. And it’s not just their time that they give, Stats Can also reports that nationally, older adults donate more to charitable organizations than do other age groups. D e s p i t e t h o s e var i e d contributions, the SSM believes there is still a lot of bias against older adults, which underlies many of the concerns cited in the research leading up to the strategy. “It’s part of the [SSM’s] work on age-friendly communities,” said Holly Schick, SSM executive director. “How do you build communities where older adults are seen as valuable; as contributing and needing to be included no matter what their stages of life are? That’s not to say that older adults don’t sometimes have limitations, of course they do. Sometimes there are health limitations, but they also have a lot to contribute and so should be seen as valuable,” she says. Dove says that notion that older adults are less valuable is a real concern. “We must do everything we can to change
Saskatchewan’s growing population of older adults should be viewed as an important resource. Older adults make a significant contribution to the province’s economy, says SSM president Randy Dove. GET TY IMAGES
that thinking,” he said. Saskatchewan does not currently have a strategy to pull together all aspects of seniors’ lives in the province, despite the fact that 27 per cent of the population is 55 and over, a number projected to increase to 34 per cent by 2038. Over the past year and a half, the SSM conducted extensive research to determine what should be included in a seniors’ strategy. Their recommendations will be considered by the government, SSM stakeholders, the general public and by provincial candidates during the 2020 election. “In developing these recommendations for a seniors strategy, we have the election timetable in mind. We will be engaging with like-minded organizations and citizens and politicians in the pre-election period,” said Brian Harris, who heads up
the SSM research and issues committee. Among the many issues identified, in addition to ageism and the lack of reco gni ti on of seni or s’ contributions, is the need for a central area in government that pulls together all the information of interest to older adults. Their voices seem to have been heard by government, at least in this regard, with the appointment of a minister dedicated to seniors affairs. In August, Warren Kaeding was named Minister Responsible for Seniors, a new Cabinet post. “We see the appointment of a minister as a positive development. It means that government is listening to the voices of seniors and that’s a good sign,” said Dove. The SSM hopes to meet with the new minister soon to convey their concerns and discuss the strategy and its recommendations.
Podiatrists improve well-being
Drs. Edward & Jonathan Hauck. PHOTO: GABRIELA SIEMINSKA
With more than 26 bones, the foot is a complicated body part. This complexity, coupled with the heavy-duty, wearand-tear they endure over the years, places a lot of stress and strain on our feet. That’s why a podiatrist can play an important role in helping seniors maintain an active lifestyle and keep mobile. A podiatrist is a medical professional who specializes in treating lower-limb medical concerns with a focus on the foot and ankle. They typically diagnosis and treat foot ailments using conservative, non-surgical, and minor surgical means. They also prevent and correct deformity, help keep people mobile and active, relieve pain, and treat infections. Podiatrists often provide advice on how to look after your feet and suggest appropriate footwear. They can also treat and alleviate such day-to-day problems as flat feet, bunions, callus, and heel pain. Dr. Edward Hauck operates a podiatry clinic in Saskatoon and has more than 40 years’ experience in the industry. He was recently joined in the practice by his son, Dr. Jonathan Hauck. “What I like best about
podiatry is the ability to help someone who is experiencing some type of discomfort and have them leave the clinic either with reduced pain or is pain-free,” said Edward Hauck. “Seeing someone coming in who is limping and then come out with a smile on their face is truly rewarding.” Jonathan Hauck echoed these sentiments. “I think people don’t realize the extent that a podiatrist can help them,” he said. “It is so nice to be able to see the changes that we can make in a person’s life.” “When we are treating people, we are looking at the whole individual,” explained Edward. “We aren’t just going to look at your foot and ignore the rest of your body. We want to know what they do, how they function, are they active, are they involved in sports, and what are their goals in life. Once I am more knowledgeable about the person and better aware of their symptoms, I’m going to be able to help them manage to achieve their goals.” Anyone can call and make an appointment to see a podiatrist; a referral is not required. Some individuals are referred by healthcare professionals such as a family physician, physiotherapist, chiropractor or nurse practitioner. At your first consultation, a podiatrist will take a full medical history and conduct basic tests, such as checking the joint range of motion, weight-bearing alignment from hip to ankle, and the vascular and neurological status in your feet. The podiatrist may also look at the way you walk and provide exercises to promote stability and strength. After this analysis, the
podiatris t will make a diagnosis and treatment plan. Minor problems, such as the removal of hard skin, corns and calluses, are usually treated at that time. The Haucks indicated that often a patient may only need a few treatments to resolve an issue. However, there are times when repeat visits are required, such as after surgery or following complicated neuromuscular concerns. The best place to find a podiatrist is to search the directory on the Saskatchewan College of Podiatrists website (https:// scop.ca). The college sets the standards of practice and conduct to ensure patients receive competent and safe care. All podiatrists in Saskatchewan are required to be licensed by the college and are responsible for meeting its standards. Podiatrists are licensed in Saskatchewan after completing their training from an accredited school of podiatry. The curriculum usually consists of three to four years of training; most schools require some undergraduate studies in science. Training i n c l u de s b a s i c m e d i c a l sciences, medicine, surgery, pathology, pathomechanics, pharmacolog y, with the final two years dedicated to foot conditions and related medical conditions that manifest in the foot. Podiatrists are private practitioners and are not covered under Medicare. The fee structure is listed on the website for the Saskatchewan Podiatry Association (SPA) at saskpodiatry.org. The SPA is a non-profit educational, informative association providing foot and ankle health information.
A message from
With a new minister at the Cabinet table, and a strategy about to be released for discussion, the SSM is advancing the needs of Saskatchewan’s older residents while, at the same time, moving forward itself. Schick says the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism is in the process of changing its name to SSM alone, while retaining the full legal title in the background. “We’ve struggled with the term ‘mechanism’ for a long time. There was a reason for it when the organization was first created, but it’s no longer a particularly useful reference,” she says. And, the use of the collective noun “seniors” has also been changed to reflect its members concerns, and the SSM’s new motto: “Older Adults Moving Forward” aptly reflec ts both the organization and the people it serves.
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SASK SENIORS WEEK 2019
Recently retired, Bob and Wendy Livingstone have taken up kayaking. It’s an activity that promotes fitness and connects participants to nature.
PHOTO: WENDY LIVINGSTONE
Retirement a great time to try something new WENDY LIVINGST ONE
I’m now at an age where I’m eligible for almost every seniors’ discount that exists and, while many folks my age are content to chat about what they used to do, I’ve decided to try something n e w : k a y a k i n g . I t ’s a pastime that I truly enjoy, and it allows me to reap the benefits of making a deeper connection with nature while helping me to become a little fitter. It all began when I was at a friend’s cottage last summer, and she asked if I’d like to take a kayak out on the water. It may have been easier to spend the afternoon relaxing on the beach, but I have never lost my fondness for trying new activities. So, I stumbled inelegantly into the kayak’s cockpit and tried to figure out how to make the doublebladed oar work. Once I had twirled the paddle so that it was no longer upside down, the technique was fairly instinctive. I was amazed at how silently and effortlessly one could glide through the water. That was it — I was hooked. I spent the next few months fantasizing about how I could re-create that experience. Then, on a stormy, winter day while out shopping, I spotted a lovely, beginner’s kayak kit. Since I already owned a PFD, it was all I needed: for approximately $400, it included a kayak, paddle and foam pads and straps for transportation. My husband, Bob, hauled it home and carefully wedged into the garden shed, where it spent the next few months waiting for nearby waterways to thaw. Somehow, knowing that my new kayak was there made the cold, snowy days more tolerable. I concluded that, even if I never got a chance to take it onto the
water, it was a worthwhile purchase because the a n t i c i p at i o n m a d e t h e winter months bearable. Spring eventually arrived, and my maiden voyage was on Regina’s beautiful Wascana Lake. After being a spectator for my first couple of excursions, Bob also bought a kayak and PFD and joined me in my new activity. I have attended many events in Wascana Park, and I have spent countless enjoyable hours walking the pathways around the l a ke a n d b e y o n d . B u t , when I slipped through this enchanting, sculpted waterway in a kayak, my eyes were opened to its extraordinary beauty and its value as a haven for people and wildlife in the centre of the city. Wascana Park’s design is a skillful consolidation of man-made and natural materials and techniques. In some spots, trees and bushes blend organically into the water, forming per fec t spots for wildlife such as waterfowl and beavers to conceal themselves. In other places, wood, concrete or rock retaining walls at the water’s edge allow walking paths to closely skirt the lake. There are three islands, one of which is linked to the land by a footbridge that is high enough for boats to pass beneath. The others are accessible only by water, creating safe, secluded refuges, ideal for the rearing of baby ducklings. When floating in a kayak, one sits at or below water level, resulting in an intimate view of the lake’s inhabitants. Bob and I are mindful of giving the animals the space they desire, but we have found ourselves paddling amid a group of 20 or 30 geese or just a few feet from a dozen tiny, fluffy ducklings who were so unaccustomed to
swimming that two of them ran across the top of the water rather than try to swim quickly to catch up with the rest of the brood. There are almost always numerous pelicans – a bird that I find to be strangely odd-looking, yet beautiful – on the lake and in the air. It’s fascinating to be right at their eye level when they scoop up a live fish and raise their heads to allow their still-wriggling dinner to pass down their throats. On several occasions, we have also counted more than 50 cormorants in the trees. We also frequently spot beavers as they swim by with just the top of their heads visible. We paddled alongside one for quite some time until we drifted a little too close for his comfort and he slapped his tail on the water in a show of displeasure and disappeared below the surface, only to reappear a short distance away. Sometimes the lake is as smooth as glass, and it reflec ts surrounding vegetation and nearby highrises. On these days, the kayaks slip easily along, leaving just bubbly trails as their wakes. On windy days, the water can be quite choppy, and I like to stop and feel my light-weight craft being tossed around like a cork. All of this is within a 20-minute drive of home so, on a hot, mid-summer day, it’s possible to postpone our paddle until the cooler e vening hours. I can’ t imagine ever tiring of the surroundings at Wascana, but we are looking forward to exploring some of the larger nearby lakes. I’m so glad that, when my friend suggested kayaking, I decided to give it a whirl. Had I passed up the opportunity, I may never have known the pleasure I was missing.
Kayaking offers an intimate view of the wildlife inhabiting Wascana Lake, including numerous pelicans. P HOT O: WENDY LIVINGST ONE
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306.550.8077 8351 Canola Avenue Kayaking is a great way to explore scenic Wascana Lake. “My eyes were opened to its extraordinary beauty and its value as a haven for people and wildlife in the centre of the city,” says Wendy Livingstone. P H O T O : W E N DY L I VI NG S TON E