Page 1

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Worst 911 calls of 2018 page 16

Plant-based recipes also available online at issuu.com/glacierspecialtypublishing

photo The Settlement Building

page 6



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All Aboard for Brighter Days Launch into the best days of your life with these tips on how to stay buoyant when the weather is dark and dreary.

STAY CONNECTED Engage in social

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activities and connect with others, this is the key to staying upbeat especially during the winter months.

LIGHTEN UP Vitamin D from the sun

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EAT WELL Sometimes comfort foods

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contents on the cover Belgard Kitchen Dragon Bowl

photo The Settlement Building



Michelle Bhatti editor

Sandra Thomas sthomas@vancourier.com contributing writers

Chris Campbell, Margaret Coates, Jeremy Hainsworth, Maria Rantanen, Diane Strandberg creative director

Marina Rockey

For advertising inquiries, contact Michelle Bhatti at mbhatti@vancourier.com

volume 5, number 1, winter 2019 Published by glacier media. Copyright ©2019. 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.

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6 8 10 11 12 14 16 18 19

Think Plant-based recipes are boring? A few notable Vancouver chefs offer up some delicious plant-based alternatives sandra thomas

Switch screen time to play time, college instructor says Canadian kids get low marks for physical activity, ParticipACTION report shows Diane Strandberg

Opioid therapy clinic opens in Port Moody Clinic will help people recover from opioid addiction, doctor says Diane Strandberg

Regulate all illicit drugs to stem opioid tide ‘Cocaine’ was really fentanyl, Downtown Eastside supervised injection facility test finds Jeremy Hainsworth

Post-secondary students to get 24/7 mental-health support The program will provide services via phone, online chat, text and email sandra thomas

Bariatric surgeons say B.C. could save more lives Surgeons call on province to fund more procedures — and save millions of dollars Healthier You Staff

E-Comm lists the 10 worst 911 calls of 2018 Chris Campbell

New West earns 'age-friendly' designation The Royal City was recognized as age-friendly in both its services and infrastructure Maria Rantanen

Don’t let the winter months leave you feeling cold Seniors need to be especially careful as the temperature drops Margaret Coates

winter 2019


SANDRA THOMAS Editor, Healthier You photo Chung Chow

where can you find healthier you? It's in doctors' offices, walk-in clinics, pharmacies and other community settings — keeping you company by offering stories and insights into health-related issues that matter.

2019 brings new help for opioid addicts — and mental health support to post-secondary students It’s the start of a new year and, if you’re anything like me, you might be watching what you eat, cutting back on spending or making plans to ensure 2019 is worthwhile. Cutting back on meat is one way to not only eat healthier, but also save some money, which is why I’ve included a couple of recipes from prominent Vancouver chefs to get you started. For more plant-based recipes, check out our sister publication vancourier.com. And you might find our story about the worst calls E-Comm — B.C.’s largest 911 centre — had to handle this year pretty funny, or infuriating. I mean, come on people, you lost your jacket? In a previous edition of Healthier You, we ran a story about Simon Fraser University introducing a new mental health app for students — bravo — and now the provincial government wants to develop a virtual mental health counselling, information and referral service for post-secondary students of all ages across B.C. Young adults are


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under a lot of pressure in today’s world and anything that can be done to help is a very good thing. You can read that story on page 12. Statistics show the opioid crisis across the province shows no sign of diminishing. The good news is, it’s been recognized as the health crisis it is — and one that reaches way beyond Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Sadly, opioid overdoses are happening all too frequently in small communities across B.C., which is why clinics created to support addicts are opening to offer support where it’s needed. Port Moody is the latest community to open a new low-barrier, treatment clinic to help addicts. Our goal at Healthier You is to include stories that can not only educate readers, but hopefully also entertain them. And please don’t call 911 if your doctor keeps you waiting in reception too long. Sandra Thomas editor, healthier you

Plant-based recipes boring? Giving up meat can be tough, which is why we went to some notable Vancouver chefs for plant-based recipes delicious enough to please your pickiest eater. Sandra Thomas | editor

Dragon Bowl Recipe by executive chef Reuben Major and head chef Drew Scott, Belgard Kitchen Serves 1 Ingredients Part A 4 oz. cooked brown rice 2 oz. baby spinach 2 fl. oz. garlic tahini dressing see recipe below

Part B 1 oz. red pepper, sliced 1 oz. red beet, peeled & shredded 1 oz. carrot, peeled & shredded 1/2 oz. red onion, thinly sliced 1/2 oz. red radish, thinly sliced 1/4 oz. avocado, diced 2 oz. marinated tofu see recipe below

Garlic tahini dressing

Part C

Makes enough for 2-4 portions

1 tsp. black sesame seeds

Part A 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast 3 tbsp. tahini 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar 3 tbsp. tamari 3 tbsp. water 3 garlic cloves

Method Place part A in an appropriately sized bowl, garnish with part B, keeping each garnish separate as desired. Drizzle part C on top. Serve immediately.

photo The Settlement Building

Marinated tofu Makes enough for 4 portions

Part A 1 brick extra firm tofu 6

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Method Preheat oven to 400°F On a half tray, spread out part A and pour part B over tofu. Using a weighted half tray, press firmly for 30 minutes. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from trays and refrigerate.

1/4 oz. sunflower seeds

1 fl. oz. garlic tahini dressing

Belgard Kitchen Dragon Bowl

Part B 5 oz. tamari 2 oz. mirin 1 oz. sugar 1/2 oz. minced garlic 1/2 oz. sesame oil 1/2 oz. rice vinegar

Part B 3/4 cup canola oil Method Puree part A in blender and slowly stream part B until fully emulsified.


Think Again! Roasted Sunchokes and Rainbow Carrots Recipe by head chef Andrew Hounslow, Havana Vancouver Serves 4 Ingredients Part A 1 lb. sunchokes washed well, cut lengthwise in half — larger ones can be quartered if desired 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 tsp. kosher salt Part B 1 bunch rainbow carrots, washed well and cut lengthwise in half — longer ones can be halved across the length if desired

Havana Vancouver Roasted Sunchokes & Rainbow Carrots

2 tbsp. olive oil

photo Havana Vancouver

1 tsp. kosher salt Part C 1 cara cara orange, zest first and reserve, then peel and cut into segments (Alternatively, blood oranges can be used when in season.) ¼ cup marcona almonds, toasted and seasoned lightly with salt 8-12 leaves of Italian flat leaf parsley 10-12 rings of pickled shallots

see recipe below

Method Preheat oven to 425°F Toss together sunchokes with olive oil and kosher salt until evenly coated. Spread out into an even layer on a baking sheet and roast in preheated oven until golden brown and soft throughout, approximately 40 minutes. Meanwhile, midway through the sunchokes cooking, toss together rainbow carrots with olive oil and kosher salt until evenly coated. Spread out into an even layer on a baking sheet and roast in the same oven as the sunchokes until lightly caramelized and soft throughout, approximately 20 minutes. Remove sunchokes and carrots from the oven and toss with the reserved orange zest.

Serve on a plate or platter, ensuring an even distribution of sunchokes and carrots. Garnish randomly with orange segments, marcona almonds, parsley leaves and pickled shallots. Serve immediately.

Pickled shallots Ingredients 1 shallot peeled, sliced thinly into rings 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 2 tbsp. white sugar 1 tsp. kosher salt 1 garlic clove crushed 1 red Thai chili (optional) Method Place the thinly sliced shallot rings into a bowl and lightly season with kosher salt to taste. In an appropriately sized pot, bring apple cider vinegar, white sugar, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and Thai chili (if using) to a simmer. Immediately remove from heat and pour directly over the shallots. Allow to cool to room temperature Place into and airtight container and store up to two weeks in refrigerator. winter 2019



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Switch screen time to play time college instructor says

Canadian kids get low marks for physical activity, ParticipACTION report shows Diane Strandberg | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

A Douglas College instructor is urging families to build more activity into their lives in the wake of a report card stating kids are too sedentary and endangering their brain health. What’s more, barriers to physical activity for children who have disabilities could put them at risk of health problems, too. WORKING TOGETHER FOR HEALTHY JOINTS

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“Parents are busy and especially parents with kids with disabilities, they are juggling a lot of different things, they are really worried that their child is receiving treatment, sometimes physical activity is seen as a nice to have, not a must have,” said Sarah Moore, a faculty member in the Department of Therapeutic Recreation at Douglas College. Moore is one of 19 experts recommending more physical activity for kids to promote healthy bodies and brains in ParticipACTION’s 2018 report card, released in 2018. Screen time The report says physical activity helps several brain functions including thinking and learning, emotional self-regulation and self-control, problem solving and memory, among other things. But too many children are watching screens for too long each day and aren’t moving enough, with the situation worsening as kids’ age.

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For example, while 62 per cent of three to four-yearolds are reaching their recommended physical activity levels as outlined in the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Early Years, that number drops to 35 per cent for five to 17 year olds. The report also finds that five to 11-year-olds are on screens 2.3 hours a day and 12 to 17 year-olds are on screens 4.1 hours a day while the recommended limit is two hours a day.

All families are challenged to find ways to incorporate daily activity in their routine, Moore agrees, but her research has found children with disabilities face greater difficulties because there are either not enough programs or parents don’t know about the ones that are available. More access “That’s one key we are trying to get out. We need to increase funding and availability of programs, we need to let parents to know and empower parents to make decisions about their children’s activity,” Moore said, citing Special Olympics, Canadian Autism Network and B.C. Wheelchair Sports as good places to go to access programs. Other ways families can include more activity in their lives is to walk more, or roll for children in wheel chairs, especially to and from school.

The Perfect Balance

“We kind of live in this more inactive lifestyle. Now kids are driving to school when they live down the street and we have created these conveniences that leave us with less time to be active.”

Sarah Moore plays with her son, Ryder, 8. The faculty instructor at Douglas College contributed to ParticipACTION’s 2018 report card that recommends more activity and less screen time for kids. Photo suPPLIED

Trying to balance work life with family is also a struggle, she admitted, and employers may need to recognize the importance of parents walking to school with their children, providing flex time opportunities so families can make it work.

Adults also need to be more active, with changes that will encourage them to move more, such as walking meetings and standing desks. Moore says people need to be committed to being more active, and that might require changing ingrained habits and routines. She recommends the Canadian 24-Hour movement guidelines for children and youth for ways to make changes. “We can all do our part to be more active in our lifestyle,” Moore said.

– est.1976 –


Opioid therapy clinic opens in Port Moody Clinic will help people recover from opioid addiction, doctor says Diane Strandberg | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

A clinic that provides support and prescriptions for people suffering from opioid addiction who are seeking recovery is open in Port Moody.

is then filled by a local pharmacy, with the patient taking the dose — an oral liquid for methadone and a pill for suboxone — on site under supervision.

The clinic, located in Fraser Health Authority offices at 220 Brew St., has been operating since December and is a critical step in dealing with the region’s opioid overdose crisis, officials say. Dr. Sharon Vipler, Fraser Health’s division lead for addictions medicine, said the clinic is open daily during the week and appointments or doctors' referrals are not needed to get help.

In Port Moody a physician is available three days a week, but if the person needing help wants a prescription for opioid agonist therapy immediately, arrangements can be made to get help at another clinic.

“The aim is to be as low barrier as possible. They can show up, they can call, they’ll have access to a client support worker or a nurse depending on the clinic and in most cases we will start them on therapy as soon as possible,” said Vipler. The idea of providing addiction therapy, such as suboxone or methadone, grew out of research that found that people are dying of opioid overdose in their community — not on the street in some far-off location — so providing treatment close to home seemed a logical approach to deal with the growing problem of opioid addiction. Clients typically show up and meet with a physician to get a prescription, which 10

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I think a lot of stigma comes from not a lot of understanding. Dr. Sharon Vipler Fraser Health announced in December that it’s also opened clinics in White Rock and Langley in addition to eight already operating in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, Mission and Surrey. Vipler noted changes wrought by the therapy medicines are startling. “People stabilize quite quickly. It’s the best part of my job. You see a different person at the end of the day. If that doesn’t give you chills, there’s very little that can.”

People with an opioid-use disorder are typically using illicit drugs, such as heroin or fentanyl, or prescription opioid painkillers. “When they start, they feel high, but very quickly you enter into that withdrawal cycle... That feeling is so awful. The brain says, 'If I use opioids I won’t have that terrible, awful feeling,'” Vipler explained. She said methadone and suboxone, which goes by the generic name buprenorphine/ naloxone, sit in the brain’s opioid receptors to block that withdrawal process and tame the cravings. According to Fraser Health, over time, opioid agonist therapies enable a person to get further substance use treatment and they are less inclined to fall back into using illicit substances. Their risk of acquiring HIV or fatally overdosing is also reduced. Noting that stigma is a problem that sometimes stops people from seeking treatment, Vipler said it’s important for the community to support these kind of initiatives because they are necessary to reduce the harm from opioid abuse. “We know people are dying in these communities, which means they are living in these communities and they are there right now, I think a lot of stigma comes from not a lot of understanding.”

Regulate all illicit drugs to stem opioid tide:

medical health officer

‘Cocaine’ was really fentanyl, Downtown Eastside supervised injection facility test finds Jeremy Hainsworth | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

All illicit drugs should be regulated to avoid situations such as a recent incident in which a buyer seeking cocaine was sold a white powder tested as 20 per cent fentanyl, a Vancouver Coastal Health medical officer says. “In public health, we believe all psychoactive substances should be regulated. The big one now is opioids. We have a controlled cannabis market now,” said Dr. Mark Lysyshyn, adding people wouldn’t be buying white powder expecting it to be cocaine and finding fentanyl in a regulated market. The issue arose after a bad-drug alert was issued for Vancouver cocaine users Jan. 2 after what was thought to be coke was tested at the Insite safe injection site and found to be fentanyl, the deadly drug that has claimed thousands of B.C. lives Vancouver Coastal Health spokeswoman Tiffany Akin said the alert noted the drugs appeared as white powder sold in small brown paper flaps in the Downtown Eastside. It was 20 per cent fentanyl cut with lactose. The powder was tested at the Insite facility on Hastings Street

where the fentanyl-lactose mix was revealed. The person with the drugs did not overdose, Akin said. “What was suspicious about it is there was no cocaine in it,” medical health officer Lysyshyn said. “We don’t think there’s a big problem with cocaine being replaced with fentanyl.” The alert went out through the Real-time Drug Alert & Response (RADAR) system. The program lets people report information such as the date of the overdose, where the drug was purchased, types of substances believed used and the physical description of the substances. Participants can also upload a photo of the drug and/or its packaging. People do not have to

provide their names or contact information. Akin stressed drug users should not use alone, start using with a small amount of drugs, not mix drugs — including alcohol — and use where help is available. She added it’s important for people to use strategies to prevent overdoses, and that the best way to prevent an overdose is to not use illegal drugs and have drugs tested before use at an overdose prevention site or supervised consumption site. Overdoses, many related to fentanyl, claimed 1,486 lives in B.C. in 2017. By Nov. 30, 2018, there had already been 1,380 deaths. By November, the overdose death rate was averaging four people per day.

A Vancouver Coastal Health medical officer says illicit drugs should be regulated. Photo LENblR/iStock

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! !

The program will provide services via phone, online chat, text and email Sandra Thomas | editor

Work is underway to develop a virtual mental health counselling, information and referral service for post-secondary students of all ages throughout B.C. The move is in response to a 2016 National College Health Association survey of Canadian post-secondary students, which found a significant number of students are experiencing mentalhealth problems and illnesses — 44.4 per cent of students surveyed reported that at some point in the previous 12 months they felt "so depressed it was difficult to function,” while 13 per cent had seriously considered suicide, 2.1 per cent had attempted suicide, and 18.4 per cent reported being "diagnosed or treated by a professional" for anxiety. Postsecondary students, aged 15 to 24, are more likely to report mental illness and/or substance-use disorders than other age groups. “Adjusting to a new environment, learning to balance classes with new jobs, new friendships and relationships can be challenging for students who may be living away from home for the

is for a service that includes first time, far from friends and phone, online chat, text and family,” said Melanie Mark, email capabilities. To that end, a Minister of Advanced Education, notice of planned procurement Skills and Training. “Whether has been posted to B.C. Bid, mild or severe, mental-health advising of plans to develop concerns are very real among a 24/7 mental health and post-secondary students who substance-use counselling and have been calling for action to this important issue on and referral service. off-campus. “Government That's why our Government is is responding to government responding to pressure from is working to pressure from students to take develop a mentalaction on improving students to take health service action on improving mental health that is available services,” said Noah to students mental health Berson, chairperson around the clock, services of the Alliance of province-wide.” B.C. Students. “No Noah Berson At this time, one schedules a there is no province-wide resource time when they need support, available to post-secondary so it's good that a service will be students and where there are available outside of regular hours resources, students often lack for students, regardless of where after-hours access. they're studying in the province.” “It's critical to provide young people with access to the supports they need, where and when they need them,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “The use of virtual technology would enable young people from all parts of the province to ask for help once and get help fast.”

! !

The scope of the project

“Expanded mental health services are in demand for postsecondary students in B.C.,” said Aran Armutlu, chairperson of the British Columbia Federation of Students. “Having more options for counselling and other services available, and having 24/7 access to these services, is a welcome addition to the changes this government is making for students.” The 24/7 service is in addition to several other planned initiatives in 2019 to strengthen mental-health supports for postsecondary students. winter 2019


Bariatric surgeons say B.C. could

save more lives Surgeons call on province to fund more procedures — and save millions of dollars healthier you staff

A comparatively affordable surgery can significantly reduce the likelihood of hypertension, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, obstructive sleep apnea, cancer and early fatality among at-risk British Columbians. But doctors who perform bariatric surgeries say a cap of 400 procedures covered by the province annually hinders their ability to help as many patients as they could — with potentially millions of dollars in unnecessary health expenses as a result. “In a person whose metabolism is disposed to obesity, dieting can do very little to address the problem and this surgery can do an enormous amount,” says Dr. Sharadh Sampath, president of the B.C. Obesity Society and a surgeon at Richmond General Hospital. “We have 1,400 people on our wait list alone. That translates to a 28-month wait just to see us and an additional year before surgery.” On a per capita basis, Alberta funds twice as many procedures annually as B.C. does, Ontario funds triple the number and Quebec five times as many. “The healthcare system has spent a ridiculous amount of money on me,” says Sheila Vataiki, 62, who underwent the surgery in January 2018. At her maximum, Vataiki, who is five-foot-four-inches tall, weighed 305 pounds. She now weighs 170. “I'm a completely different person,” she says. “I'm off all my drugs. All of them.”


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All her obesity-related factors — diabetes, atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure and sleep apnea — have disappeared. Vataiki believes it's irresponsible of the healthcare system not to pay for more of these surgeries. “I had been sick and getting sicker for 10 years, but they hadn't been able to offer this to me,” Vataiki says. “I had to be really, literally on the verge of death before I could get offered this as an option.” Her medications — not including dispensing fees, emergency room or doctors’ visits — were costing $15,924 per year. Bariatric surgery, including all the pre-op conditioning and post-op supports, costs $13,000.

Mike Bobenic, 45, suffered strokes and lost vision in one eye due to complications from obesity. Since entering the bariatric program at Richmond General Hospital and undergoing the surgery, he has gone from 400 pounds to 235 — from size 54 pants to size 34. “When you get into the program, it's like winning the lottery,” he says, “only better, because it's going to save your life.”

...dieting can do very little to address the problem... Dr. Sharadh Sampath

Dr. Tom Elliott, an endocrinologist and medical director of BCDiabetes, says the math is clear.

“Bariatric surgery is the most effective therapy for diabetes, but access to this life-saving and costsaving program is severely limited.” An estimated 700,000 British Columbians suffer from obesity, which can lead to hypertension, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, degenerative joint disease and cancer, among many other conditions. In turn, these individuals are more likely to face heart attack, stroke, renal failure, joint replacement, peripheral vascular disease, infertility and cancer. “A ministry report in 2011 recommended increasing the number of surgeries in B.C. to 1,000 or 2,000 per year,” says Dr. Sampath. “We have been stuck at 400 cases for several years now with no additional funding. There are both human health and economic benefits that support increased surgical volumes. Most importantly, our patients deserve access to care.” Dr. Sharadh Sampath Photo supplied

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E-Comm lists the 10 worst 911 calls of 2018 Chris Campbell contributing writer

Calling 911 is something nobody wants to have to do. Unless the fast food restaurant you’re jonesing for isn’t open 24 hours a day as advertised. Then you definitely have no issue calling 911. Right? Um, no. You don’t call for that. You also don’t call 911 about a store not accepting a return of shoes without the original box. Those are a couple of examples of consumer complaint calls received by E-Comm — B.C.’s largest 911 centre — in 2018.

According to an E-Comm news release, “In addition to consumer complaints, questions about vehicle malfunctions made their way to 911 lines this year, including someone calling to find out how to turn off their vehicle headlights and another caller reporting that their wiper blades were broken.” You just can’t make this stuff up. E-Comm featured call taker Heather Andrews said these calls mean time is taken away from helping people with real life safety issues. “This type of call ties up our ability to help people with real emergencies,” said Andrews in the release. “Dealing with a complaint about the opening hours of a restaurant is a call that doesn’t belong on 911.”

So, here are E-Comm’s top 10 reasons not to call 911

 To complain a local fast food restaurant wasn’t open 24 hours a day, as advertised.  To complain a store won’t take shoes back without the original box.  To complain that a gas station attendant put the wrong type of gas in their car.  To report a rental company provided the wrong-sized vehicle for a customer’s reservation.  To report a restaurant wouldn’t redeem a customer’s coupon.  To ask for help turning off their car lights.  To report their vehicle’s windshield wipers had stopped working.  To find out where their car had been towed.  To report a lost jacket.

Situated in front of a bank of computer screens, 911 operators aim to get the six Ws — who, what, when, where, why and weapons — for every call. Photo Gord Goble


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 To ask if the clocks move forward or backward during the spring time change.

A Caring and Sharing Community for Our Residents “Our organized activities are a great opportunity for our residents to get to know one another,” Dupont added, “everyone here, from the residents to the staff, get along so well that we really do think of ourselves as family.”

At Chelsea Park, everyone belongs. With a mandate as simple as that, it is no wonder the independent senior retirement residence is one of the most sought after in the city.

“We are a warm and welcoming community,” said Karen Dupont, the manager at Chelsea Park. “People who want to enjoy the total community will not find a better setting.” Nestled in a quaint residential neighbourhood, seniors of Chelsea Park are perfectly situated to stroll through John Hendry Park, walk around Trout Lake, or meander down the block to the retail shops lining Commercial Drive.


Though, with organized activities filling calendars, home cooked meals and “sit and fit” exercise classes, seniors might be hard pressed to leave the comforts of their home. Whether it is Monday afternoon tea with Dianne the resident hostess, live entertainment with dinner, or bingo night, Chelsea Park seniors have every chance to live their lives to the fullest. Residents also have the choice of Nintendo Wii bowling, playing tennis or golf indoors without leaving their home, or join in the exciting new Bocce games on the patio. Gardening and card clubs, the games room, and QiGong relaxation exercises and the knitting social also ensure residents do not have to give up their hobbies and cherished pastimes.

Chelsea Park proudly earned the BC Seniors Living Association Seal of Approval in 2011. “Standards matter to us and the seal of approval ensures that safety and comfort are always prioritized,” Dupont explained. Offering comfort, security, and affordability without compromise, Chelsea Park can truly ensure seniors enjoy one of the best phases of life.

To learn more about Chelsea Park: www.chelseaparkbc.ca | call: 604-789-7132 | email: info@chelseaparkbc.com

New West earns ‘age-friendly’designation The Royal City was recognized as age-friendly in both its services and infrastructure Maria Rantanen | contributing writer

After being recognized by the Alzheimer’s Society in 2016 as the first dementia-friendly community in Canada, the Royal City was recognized by the provincial government last fall as being “agefriendly” at a ceremony at Century House, the seniors centre opened by Princess Margaret 60 years ago. New Westminster joins other communities, such as Harrison Hot Springs and Pitt Meadows, with a provincial “age-friendly” recognition.

Judy Darcy, New Westminster MLA and Minister of Photo dan toulgoet Mental Health and Addictions, presented the age-friendly certificate to the mayor of New Westminster. The designation is a result of extensive training and education for city staff on how to be helpful and supportive of seniors, and physical infrastructure improvements throughout the city. New West is making quality of life for seniors a priority.


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“It’s on-the-ground initiatives, it’s not just talking the talk, it’s walking the walk,” said Darcy. “We really want to encourage, as a province, other communities to do that.” She added, as the minister of mental health and addictions, these initiatives are important so people aren’t isolated at home, leading to depression and a lowering of morale, which can exacerbate health conditions. “I think (New Westminster) is one of the first communities to take this on in such a proactive way, but it started with the dementiafriendly community,” said Darcy. New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté is proud of the training and education as well as the initiatives within the city to ensure that all aspects of city services take into consideration that 15 per cent of the population of New Westminster is made up of seniors. “We have a long history in the community of looking at all our actions in the community through the lens of the seniors’ community,” said Coté. Staff, council and various agencies in the city underwent extensive education and training to integrate the perspective of seniors, including their mobility challenges,

into all functions of the city, including city planning, recreation and Century House — even the police were given training to be mindful of the stresses around wandering dementia patients. “There has to be a recognition that we want to be a community that serves our residents, young and old — and you have to be able to access services,” said Coté. As an older city, much of New Westminster was built before accessibility was a priority, so the city had to retrofit older buildings. And accessibility should be “paramount” in designing all new buildings, Coté added, “not only to meet the minimum standards, but to exceed and always be thinking of that.” New Westminster was the first community in B.C. where every single intersection had a curb letdown, Coté pointed out, something they accomplished just this past year. “That was a conscious effort over the past four years to basically ramp up our sidewalk budget and put that as a priority,” he said. “A sidewalk isn’t helpful if you can’t get down to the street.” That, he added, can help both seniors and families who are pushing a stroller.

Don’t let the winter months leave you

feeling cold

Seniors need to be especially careful as the temperature drops Margaret Coates | CONTRIBUTING WRITER

It’s the time of year to winterize yourself. Slipping and sliding may be OK on the dance floor, but don’t go skating on icy streets this winter. Metro Vancouver is now in the thick of winter and seniors need to take the time to avoid risks at this time of year. Seniors can experience increased dangers of falling and increased risk of depression, isolation and other health related issues. These risk factors can adversely affect seniors because they affect their health, well-being and independence. Winter conditions in many parts of B.C. can increase the likelihood of a fall, one of the most common causes of injury for seniors across the province. So, how can you minimize the risk of falling this winter? Some suggestions I’ve explored include wearing appropriate foot wear with good traction for those slippery conditions, dressing warmly so that your muscles stay relaxed, being careful getting out of your car, not taking shortcuts, taking extra time getting about, paying attention and not getting distracted while outdoors, keeping your driveway and walkways salted and clear, and staying active as strong muscles and bones are important in falls prevention.

at this time of year. In Metro Vancouver we experience many days of dark, bleak and overcast weather, which can cause even the most optimistic person to feel depressed. Perhaps try these suggestions to minimize depression — keep active and try to maintain your exercise plan. If that includes exercising outdoors maybe take a daily walk in the middle of the day. Getting outside when it’s light out can help with your mood. Go around the block when it is not raining or, if the weather is too inclement, try an exercise regime that includes strengthening and balance exercises. Or you could try exercise programs at the nearest seniors centre. Also, eat healthy — this will help boost your mood, keep you on your diet and give you more energy. A lack of social interaction during the winter months can lead to social isolation, loneliness, and related health issues, affecting overall mortality rates. Try to stay connected to friends and family to prevent isolation. Get out to a seniors centre or other activities. Have coffee with friends and family. If you are less mobile try chatting with friends on the phone or invite people over for afternoon tea or lunch. Take the opportunity to volunteer. Many community organizations are looking for help right now.

If conditions outside are difficult ask for help getting around — people are generally willing to assist when there are slippery conditions.

When the weather turns nasty, seniors who live alone may be at greater risk of getting poor nutrition. Seniors could consider getting food delivered by an online grocery service or by an organization such as Meals on Wheels, which provides heathy, nutritious food and social contact.

Along with falls, seniors can experience increased depression and possibly isolation

Whatever the weather, prepare yourself for the season and don’t let winter get you down. winter 2019


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Healthier You Winter 2019  

Healthier You Winter 2019