medical tourism What you should know page 10
Advice from an Olympian Silken Laumann's tips for special needs kids
photo: Brenda Colby
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on the cover
Olympian Silken Laumann offers tips for getting kids with special needs active. photo: Brenda Colby
Alvin Brouwer director of advertising
Michelle Bhatti editor
Sandra Thomas contributing writers
John Kurucz, Silken Laumann, Martha Perkins, Jennifer Thuncher, Tereza Verenca creative director
For advertising inquiries, contact Michelle Bhatti at firstname.lastname@example.org
6 10 12 14 16 18
special needs, special fitness advice Silken Laumannâ€™s five tips for helping special needs children be active silken laumann
medical tourism What you should know john kurucz
book celebrates man in motion tour Photographs capture Rick Hansen during his epic journey across the world 30 years ago sandra thomas
dementia: a B.C. City's approach Burnaby seeks to make city dementia friendly tereza verenca
encouraging risks Can I climb to the top of the tree? Kids need to take risks jennifer thuncher
healthy fall fare Sri Lankan Dhal Curry
volume 3, number 3, fall 2017 Published by glacier media. Copyright ÂŠ2017. All rights reserved. Reproduction of articles permitted with credit. Advertisements in this magazine are coordinated by Glacier Media. Glacier Media does not endorse products or services. Any errors, omissions or opinions found in this magazine should not be attributed to the publisher. The authors, the publisher and the collaborating organizations will not assume any responsibility for commercial loss due to business decisions made based on the information contained in this magazine. Speak with your doctor before acting on any health information contained in this magazine. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without crediting Glacier Media. Printed in Canada. Please recycle.
SANDRA THOMAS Editor, Healthier You photo: Chung Chow
Goodbye summer, hello fall I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but summer is officially over in Greater Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
where can you find healthier you?
Once we got over the record-breaking rains of the spring, Mother Nature smiled upon us all summer long — albeit sometimes a little too brightly.
In doctors’ offices, walk-in clinics, pharmacies and other community settings, we will be waiting there, too – keeping you company, and sharing stories and insight into healthrelated issues that matter to you.
But now it’s time to embrace fall and all that comes with it, which is why we’ve included a healthy, comforting recipe for Sri Lankan dhal curry in this edition of Healthier You sure to satisfy your appetite while cutting out unnecessary fat.
The rain also has many of us turning our attention to warmer climates and has some wondering about the best way to combine a vacation with a medical procedure, dental work or even surgery that’s either too costly in Canada or has a wait list so long it’s daunting. There are pros and cons to travelling outside the country for medical care, no matter how minor, so healthcare worker and author Janet Bristeir has done the research and written three books about what you need to know, where to find the information you need before you make a decision, and what to expect upon your return to Canada. Our story
on page 10 details some of Bristeir’s findings and advice. Meanwhile our cover story offers inspiration and encouragement to parents or caregivers with a child with special needs. Four-time Olympian Silken Laumann offers tips on how to encourage a child with special needs to get more active. Laumann is married to David Patchell-Evans (Patch), father to daughter Kilee who is considered profoundly autistic. With the help of a generous donation from the couple, the GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub opened in Richmond in 2016. On the subject of encouraging kids of all abilities to get more active, a University of B.C. researcher says we need to encourage children to take risks, such as climbing a tree. After all, most of us survived our childhoods, tree climbing and all. Check out her advice on page 16. And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our story about the moves the City of Burnaby is taking to keep men and women living with dementia, safe. Sandra Thomas editor, healthier you
Silken Laumann and husband David (Patch) Patchell-Evans encourage his daughter Kilee to get active. Photos: Brenda Colby
Silken Laumann is a four-time Olympian who won a bronze medal in doubles rowing with her sister Daniele in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, a bronze medal in the 1992 Barcelona Games and a silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Games. She is married to David Patchell-Evans (Patch), the founder of GoodLife Fitness. Patchell-Evans’ daughter, Kilee, is profoundly autistic. With the help of their $5-million donation, the 6
GoodLife Fitness Family Autism Hub opened in Richmond in 2016. “As a parent, I know how often the challenges of autism seem insurmountable — random outbursts, self-injurious behaviour, the frustration of not being able to communicate, sleepless nights. The worst part was feeling alone in my struggle,” Patchell-Evans said at the ribbon cutting. “Children with autism have significantly higher rates of obesity
and lower levels of physical activity,” Laumann says. In her GoodLife Kids Foundation blog, Laumann shares her tips on how to make sure that children with special needs benefit from the positive health effects of exercise. “It’s a formidable task that sometimes seems impossible,” she writes. But if there’s anyone who knows how to meet a challenge, it’s this Olympian. martha Perkins Contributing writer
special fitness advice Silken Laumann’s five tips for helping special needs children be active Silken Laumann | Contributing writer
Kilee isn’t motivated by a need to compete, she doesn’t recognize the need to achieve a healthy physique and she has trouble initiating activities. She also very much suffers from inertia. If she’s sitting with her beloved dinosaurs, she’d quite happily sit with them for a good part of the day. Everything from getting up and moving around the house, to taking a walk or going to the gym seems to be a lot more effort than for the other three kids in our family.
Our very fit and active family has worked with Kilee and her caregivers to get her on, and keep her on, a regular schedule of daily physical activity. Time and again we have failed to make this happen because of the amount of resistance coming from Kilee herself, a lack of consistency on the part of her caregivers, or our own feelings of being overwhelmed from the demands of looking after a child with special needs. continued on page 8
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Here are some things we’re doing to help Kilee be active on a regular basis. move to the beat First of all, we’re aiming for five times a week physical activity. Kilee doesn’t like the elliptical machine, but she loves music. So we encourage her by breaking her workout time into songs. She either has an eight-song workout or a five-song workout. Once on the elliptical, she is quite happy to bob around to Lady Gaga, and clap her hands to Pink. take the dog Kilee loves our dogs Otis and Blue. We go on an hour uphill hike, and the endpoint is a little pond where she can throw all the sticks she has gathered on the walk. This gives her something to look forward to and our dogs never
tire of launching into the pond to Kilee’s delight. make it social Kilee also attends several Special Olympic sports. Although she is active there, she doesn’t sustain her heart rate at the needed levels to build aerobic fitness. We look at her outings as a great social outlet and some great additional physical activity. She especially loves track, where she can throw the shot put, and do the warm-up exercises with her buddies. go outside Kilee loves outdoor activities, so we regularly take her skiing in the winter and swimming in the summer. There are many things we enjoy doing with Kilee and she is certainly more active than most of her peers, and yet consistency remains a struggle.
Silken Laumann finds fun ways to keep Kilee active.
keep track With Kilee, I find monitoring her physical activity levels is something we have to constantly tune into. Like all other aspects of Kilee’s life, it’s important that we take inventory every couple of months on how much activity she is getting, and what we need to do to make her experience positive. I passionately believe that physical activity helps children with special needs even more than cognitively or physically “normal” kids. Building a healthy body and healthy mind is a priority for all kids, and when it comes to children with special needs, they may just need a little more support.
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Medical Tourism what you should know John Kurucz | Contributing writer
It’s a phenomenon that has grown and shifted exponentially since Europeans first began flocking to therapeutic spas or others took to the jungles of South America for a spiritual awakening. Today, medical tourism is seen as a viable way to avoid long waitlists, limited availability or bureaucratic delays. Having worked in the healthcare field for more than three decades, Janet Bristeir has seen all of those factors in play and last year she decided to do something about it. The Vancouver resident published three books that serve as comprehensive companion pieces for anyone contemplating travelling internationally for surgery. “My main consideration is trying to keep people safe when they’re having any kinds of surgery,” she said. “People just have no idea what they’re looking at here because it looks easy at first. You can look at a 10
website and think, ‘I can do this, this is great and I can afford it.’ It might not actually be what you think it is.” Released between January and September 2016, the titles include: Medical Tourism — Your Surgery Journey: A Journal of Your Experience; Medical Tourism Pre-Surgery Checklist and Workbook: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You, and Medical Tourism — Surgery for Sale!: How to Have Surgery Abroad Without It Costing Your Life. Bristeir’s research suggests more than 800,000 Canadians travel abroad for medical and dental procedures not covered by provincial health plans. She noted typical candidates for medical tourism are 55 and older, have residual income and suffer from a nagging condition that’s having an impact on their quality of life — they may need a hip replacement or knee surgery and want to forego the typical wait times of 18 months to two years.
While the reasons and prices for those procedures differ, there are some commonalities. Some B.C. residents tend to travel to Mexico for surgery. The West Coast’s large Chinese and Indian communities travel back to Asia for care. Toronto residents may head to the Caribbean due to the relatively short flight. Those of European descent go home and combine visiting family with undergoing surgery. “The first question you have to ask is why do you feel the need to go abroad?” Bristeir said. “Pushing forward and getting the surgery may not be a good thing for you and that might be what your healthcare practitioner here may be trying to protect you from.” The back end of having a foreign procedure done also requires careful consideration: getting to and from the airport, ensuring mobility needs will be looked after and knowing that healthcare practitioners in Canada will be available for any follow-up work.
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Bristeir insists her works aren’t a critique of Canada’s healthcare system, but rather a how-to guide of navigating international surgery. Bristeir is currently working on a series follow-up — ebooks that chronicle the experiences of some Canadians who have travelled abroad for surgery and medical practitioners in Canada who have helped patients when they’ve run into problems internationally. “The purpose of my book is not to tell people to go abroad and have surgery. If you’re considering this, these are the things you have to consider to keep yourself safe,” Bristeir said.
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“You certainly don’t want to come back with any sort of complication and then there’s no one who can look after you apart from walking into an emergency department,” Bristeir said. “Then you impact our healthcare system as well, which is already stretched.” Bristeir’s areas of speciality are in the fields of operating room nursing and instrument processing — she’s tasked with cleaning and sterilizing the instruments used in surgery. She’s currently employed by a local health authority, but declined to say which one.
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Man in Motion Photographs capture Rick Hansen during his epic journey across the world 30 years ago Sandra Thomas | editor
Rick Hansenâ€™s Man in Motion World Tour: 30 years later â€” A Celebration of Courage, Strength and the Power of Community by Jake MacDonald uses photographs to take readers back to March 21, 1985 when the Paralympic medalist set out from Vancouver with a goal to circumnavigate the world in a wheelchair. It took Hansen 26 months to complete his quest, but by the time he was done the athlete had caught the attention of not only his home country, but also the world. Through his Man in Motion World Tour, Hansen broke barriers for people with disabilities and inspired ordinary citizens to realize impossible dreams. Hansen and a small, but determined, crew travelled almost 25,000 miles through 34 countries on four continents before crossing Canada. In the process, they raised $26 million for spinal cord research and for initiatives to improve the quality of life and accessibility for people with disabilities. Thirty years after the journey ended, Rick Hansenâ€™s Man In Motion World Tour celebrates that ground-breaking accomplishment and, with a foreword from Hansen himself, highlights the legacy of the tour and the amazing progress it spurred even to this day. Illustrated with 75 exclusive photographs from the Rick Hansen Foundation archives, the book tells a classic tale of 12
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Upon completion of the Man in Motion World Tour, the athlete was greeted with a hero’s welcome in Canada. Rick Hansen attending Expo '86
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This motor home became a symbol of the Man in Motion World Tour.
courage and adversity, human strength and personal suffering and, above all, the power of community to effect lasting social change. Today the athlete is chief executive officer of the Rick Hansen Foundation, an organization committed to creating a world without barriers for people with disabilities. Jake MacDonald is the author of Houseboat Chronicles: Notes from a Life in the Shield Country, as well as five works of fiction. He is also an awardwinning journalist whose work has appeared in Sporting Classics, Saturday Night, Canadian Geographic, Maclean's, and the Winnipeg Free Press. MacDonald lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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Dementia a B.C. city’s approach Burnaby wants to become dementia-friendly Tereza Verenca | Contributing writer
City staff members are working on making Burnaby a more dementia-friendly community. At a meeting held in September, Burnaby city council passed an action plan that aims to build a community where people living with dementia, their families and caregivers are included, connected and supported. Symptoms of the progressive disease include memory loss, disorientation of time and place, and difficulties with abstract thinking and problem solving. Almost 3,000 people in Burnaby are living with dementia, according to a staff report from the City of Burnaby.
There are approximately 2,800 people in Burnaby living with dementia and that number is expected to double in the next two decades, according to a city staff report. The report also notes 60 per cent of those residents live at home and want to remain engaged and connected for as long as possible. The city’s action plan looks to reduce the stigma of dementia and maintain that connectivity to the community. That translates into educating staff and the public on the topic, so they know how to respond and provide appropriate support to someone with dementia; implementing social and recreational programming that is inclusive of people with dementia 14
and their caregivers; and creating dementia-friendly features such as clear signage and landmarks that help people get around safely. Coun. Colleen Jordan, whose close relative was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 56, applauded the city’s efforts. “It’s not an old people’s disease. I had another friend who got it when she was 46,” said Jordan. At the meeting, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan shared a story about how his uncle never got to enjoy his retirement because he had dementia. “It touches each of us in different ways. I doubt there are many people around who haven’t been touched by dementia, Alzheimer’s in one of its forms,” he said. “This is a hidden disability that people suffer that may not be obvious immediately, but can end up confining someone in their home so that they are, in effect, powerless to be able to enjoy the benefits of the community around them. And often times, because of the difficulties in coping, their caregivers are reluctant to take the dementia patient out and to engage them in the community.” The mayor added, “It’s important that we do what we can as a society.” “We’re not going to be the perfect solution and we’re not going to be able to solve everything, but again, it’s an area our staff can be aware of and try to help where possible,” he said. The city received a $20,000 grant from the Union of B.C. Municipalities in December 2015, to develop the action plan. In 2016, city staff met Burnaby seniors, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and Fraser Health staff as part of a consultation process.
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Encouraging Can I climb to the top of the tree? Kids need to take risks, says child expert Jennifer Thuncher | Contributing writer
A six-year-old asks her parents if she can walk to school alone. The parents’ answer should likely be a resounding “Yes,” according to a child development expert. If a four-year-old wants to climb a tree at the park that too should probably be OK’d, says BC Children’s Hospital and UBC researcher Dr. Mariana Brussoni. Brussoni and her team have developed and launched a new website, OutsidePlay.ca, to help parents quell their fears around letting their kids take risks.“What we were finding was parents’ fears were overwhelming their ability to make decisions around letting their kids out to play,” Brussoni said. Over time, parents have been increasingly limiting risky play, telling children not to climb trees, for example, or not to jump off play equipment, researchers have found. Only about 37 per cent of children play outside every day, according to OutsidePlay.ca, and seven per cent of kids under age 10 are allowed to go outside on their own. Parents fear their child getting seriously injured or kidnapped, or the judgment of other parents if their child is allowed to walk to school and back alone, for example, Brussoni explained. The aim of the online risk-reframing tool is to help parents feel more comfortable and confident about letting their children take risks. The site presents parents with information on risky play and asks them to reflect on what they did as 16
risk children and what they want for their own kids. On the site, parents can also draft an action plan for their family that encourages independence for their children. Freedom to try things helps children gain the confidence they need to develop and tackle bigger challenges later in life, Brussoni said. “Kids being allowed to take risks in play is a completely normal part of play and has an important function for all sorts of aspects of development.” Resilience, self-confidence, risk management and learning how the world works and one’s place in it can all come from risky play, she added. Studies have found that children who lack independence when they are young suffer more anxiety as adults, Brussoni said. “College students who reported over-protective parenting had higher rates of anxiety and depression.” For some children, risky play is getting to the first branch of the tree, while for other children, racing to the top will be the risk-taking goal, Brussoni said. Supporting independence is about letting the child be the guide to what they can handle and encouraging that choice. Sometimes, the fear of judgment from other parents is based on cultural realities; other parents may say something if you let your three-year-old roam the playground on her own, for example. Brussoni recommends parents who are approached with criticism from others to say something such as, “There are some things I want and some things I believe in for my child.” Know your values and stick to them, Brussoni said, and try to build a network of likeminded parents for support. For more information, go to OutsidePlay.ca.
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Healthy fall fare sri lankan
Cooler temperatures mean stepping away from the barbecue and thinking healthy, hearty dishes you can create in the kitchen. This dhal curry recipe is not only good for you, itâ€™s also affordable. Colin Medhurst, yoga teacher, holistic health coach and full-time firefighter and photographer/videographer, founded Feed Life with his wife Eden Elizabeth as a way to make plant-based, holistic, healthy-living easy and accessible. As part of that philosophy, Medhurst and his mother Billa Sultanall offer cooking workshops and plant-based recipes found at feedlife.ca. He promises that this version of Sri Lankan Dhal Curry is not only delicious, but also healthy. Ingredients 1 cup dhal (yellow lentils) soaked for 20 minutes and rinsed 1 onion sliced (red or yellow) 5 cloves of garlic sliced 1 stick cinnamon or 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 20 curry leaves (fresh or dried) 3 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. mustard powder 1 tbsp. curry powder 2 tsp. chilli powder 1 tsp. black pepper 1 tsp. salt 3/4 cup water plus more 1 cup coconut milk 2 cup greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard) 1 tomato chopped
Instructions Place all ingredients except salt and greens in a large pot and cook for 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat. Add more water for a soupier mixture or less for a dry dhal. Add salt and chopped greens at the end. Visit feedlife.ca for more recipes and information.
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