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Yorkton This Week | www.YorktonThisWeek.com | Wednesday, January 27, 2021


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SENIORS Our Monthly Feature

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Author finds writing in retirement By Calvin Daniels Staff Writer Kelvington’s Ruth Chorney released her second novel in the late summer of 2020, and is percolating ideas for her third. And it really all started with a writing exercise. “My first novel, Buried, is a murder mystery which was inspired by a ‘challenge’ (story starter) at a Tisdale Writers’ Group meeting: ‘The prisons are filled with innocent people’,” said Chorney. “I wrote a few paragraphs, a conversation between a reporter and a woman in prison for killing her husband. One of the group members commented, ‘I want to hear the rest of that. I think you’ve just started a novel.’ “I started thinking about my character: Who was she? How did she end up in prison? Did she actually kill her husband? If so, why? How?” And soon the short exercise grew into a debut novel. “Suddenly, she had a name: Tera,” said Chorney. “And from then on she was inside my head. “I live on a farm. As I worked in the garden, hauled bales, worked with cattle, rode my horses, and all the other things we farm wives do, Tera was with me. I sort of wrote Buried to get her out of my head. “Of course, I also wrote this novel to illustrate the resilience of farm women, and the lack of supports, especially in rural areas, for

victims of alienation and abuse. While the story is not true, the characters certainly could be people you meet at the local Co-op.” But the writing bug was not finished with Chorney after the debut novel. Conspiracy was printed in August of 2020. Also set in rural northeastern Saskatchewan, near the fictional town of Deer Creek, this is the story of Joel, a young man who always hoped to be a farmer. “He has achieved that dream at long last, by marrying a farmer’s daughter, an Agrologist named Krissy,” explained Chorney. “However, the couple is not living happily ever after.” From an auction sale in April to a fall supper in October, the novel spans one summer in northeastern Saskatchewan. “When Joel meets 80-year-old Grace picking mushrooms in the forest, they form an unlikely alliance, supporting each other through difficult times,” explained Chorney. “They discuss, at first jokingly, that ‘people can eat all mushrooms, some only once’.” While Joel and his wife Krissy realize they moved to the farm to pursue very different dreams, Grace is dealing with an aging husband suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and refusing to move off the farm. “The question is, how far will Joel and Grace be pushed? Will they actually follow through with their ‘conspiracy’?”

Kelvington’s Ruth Chorney said Chorney. The latest book again draws from real life. “The idea for this story came to me from the news regarding the ‘conspiracy’ case in Melfort a couple years ago, where two lovers conspired to get rid of their spouses,” said Chorney. “I began thinking about all the rural characters in the area who may or may not be connected. As well, I wanted to recognize the many cross-generational friendships and mentorships that are important parts of farming culture. Relationships. and community are important themes.” Chorney said she also tried to highlight the area she lives in -- she was born in Wadena, raised on a farm near Nut Mountain, and graduated from Kelvington High School. “Once again, the book

celebrates the beauty and toughness of the area in which we live as well as the fortitude of the people farming the land,” she said. “Very few people who are not farmers know anything about the challenges involved in feeding the world. I hope that besides being entertained by the story line, readers will absorb a bit about what farming entails.” Chorney also paid a little attention to calls from readers of her first book. “Several of my fans wanted to know what happened to Tera from Buried and I took the opportunity to give her a cameo in this second Deer Creek novel. “Now, they want to know when the third book in the series is coming out?” In terms of writing, Chorney is methodical in

Tax tips for seniors from the CRA By Dean LaBerge Local Journalism Initiative Reporter (Grizzly Gazette) Tax season is approaching. As with so many other parts of our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic may have an effect on the usual way that seniors manage their taxes.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has released some tips to help avoid interruptions to any benefits and help make sure that you receive all of the benefits and credits to which you may be entitled. Some of the easiest ways to avoid delays to your tax and benefit affairs are to sign up for dir-

ect deposit, file your tax return online, and make sure that your address and personal information is up to date. The CRA recommends signing up for My Account (www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/ e-services-individuals/accountindividuals. html) Continued on Page A18

her approach. “The writing process: As Einstein said about any creative process: 10 per cent inspiration and 90 per cent perspiration,” she said. “I write, edit, plan, reread, write, re-plan, edit as I go. “It took me two years to complete each of my novels -- writing is not my only pastime. “For each of them I did lots of research, both on-line and in-person. “For Tera’s story, I needed a lot of background info on legalities and prisons. “For Conspiracy I did research regarding agrology as well as harassing my husband for exact details on farm operations. “The characters and their behaviours are based on my own many years of study and observation, but even with character, I research everything from the stages of grief to behaviours of twins, or anything else that comes up! “Once I complete the first draft, I impose upon friends and family to read it and provide feedback. I am very fortunate to have in my life many generous folk, including my adult children, who are avid readers and excellent editors. I then consider all suggestions and integrate what I feel works.” When asked what she deems the best aspect of her books, Chorney turned to her reader’s viewpoint. “Based on feedback todate, people appreciate

the ‘real’ characters and the plot, which has been described as a ‘page turner’ with suspense held to the very end,” she said. Many have commented on the rich descriptions of daily farm life and the natural environment, cited as ‘powerful and enlightening’.” So overall Chorney is a happy writer. “Am I satisfied with the overall story I’ve created? Yes. I was thrilled to hold it in my hand,” she said. “I love the cover design. Re-reading it in book form was very satisfying.” Both novels are available from the author through her website (ruthchorney.ca), from SaskBooks and from McNally Robinson in Saskatoon. An avid reader and a writer from an early age, Chorney experiments with all sorts of genres. She has a regular column in The Gardener magazine (quarterly since 2006) and since her retirement has published four children’s books, three in English, one in French. She has had poetry published in several journals, including the U of S Fieldstone Review. She is currently working on a book of poetry for children, as well as editing work through 7Springs Books. Chorney enjoys reading, writing, horseback riding, gardening, learning new things, and interacting with people of all ages, especially her grandchildren.


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The health benefits of spinach Doctors may not recommend their patients take dietary advice from cartoons, but people looking to eat healthy could do worse than to follow the example set by Popeye. The beloved, nearly century-old, musclebound cartoon sailor often credited his incredible strength to spinach, a nutrient-rich green vegetable that can benefit the body in myriad ways. A 2010 study from researchers at Mahidol University in Bangkok found that children increased their vegetable consumption after watching Popeye car-

toons. And while adults can certainly follow suit and watch more Popeye if they need motivation to eat right, many may only need to learn just how spinach affects their body to start including more of it in their diets. • Spinach is good for your bones. The National Osteoporosis Foundation notes that green foods, including kale, spinach and brussel sprouts, are great sources of vitamin K and calcium, each of which promotes healthy bones. Spinach alone won’t be enough to prevent broken bones or osteoporosis, but when

TAX TIPS Continued from Page A17 as a quick and easy way to manage and keep track of your tax and benefit information. The Get Ready page on the CRA website (www.canada.ca/ en/revenue-agency/campaigns/taxes-get-ready. html) is an excellent resource with information about tax deadlines, ways to do your taxes, checking if you are eligible for credits and benefits, and other useful topics. There are also some helpful videos on this webpage. An income tax and benefit package will be sent to you automatically if you filed a paper return last year, so you do not need to risk exposure to COVID-19 by going out to get one. The income tax and benefit package is also available online at www.canada.ca/en/ revenue-agency/services/forms-publications/ tax-packages-years/general-income-tax-benefitpackage.html. File your tax return as soon as possible to avoid interruptions or delays to your benefit and credit payments. If you received

coupled with exercise and an overall healthy diet, spinach can be a key component to keeping bones healthy and reducing risk for fractures. • Spinach can help fight off viruses. The world received a crash course in immunology in 2020, when the global

COVID-19 benefits, it might affect your tax return. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) are all considered taxable income. The total amounts that you received from these benefits will have to be included on your tax return. You will be sent a T4A tax slip for benefits issued by the CRA and/or a T4E tax slip for benefits issued by Service Canada with the information needed for your tax return. You can view these tax slips in My Account starting in February. Depending on your personal circumstances and which COVID-19 benefits that you may have received, you might owe taxes when you file your return. Income taxes were not withheld on CERB or CESB payments, which will affect your tax return. 10% of the CRB, CRSB,

and CRCB payments were withheld as taxes, but may not cover all of the taxes owed on this income. The total amount of income tax that you owe will depend on your total income for 2020. The CRA recognizes that the repayment of these benefits could cause considerable financial hardship for some individuals and have expanded the payment arrangement parameters to allow for more time and flexibility. The CRA’s TeleArrangement service can be reached at 1- 866-256-1147 (7 AM - 10 PM, Monday to Friday) to make payment arrangements. Please file your tax return by April 30, 2021, to avoid a late-filing penalty. There could be other impacts on your income taxes specific to the COVID-19 benefit(s) that you received. There may be organizations or volunteers near you that will complete your tax return for free if you have a simple tax situation and a modest income. Due to COVID19, this may be conducted by videoconference or by

F . a s r e n o f r d o e m v o worries. l o t r a e N

COVID-19 pandemic changed life as the world knew it, seemingly in the blink of an eye. As measures to prevent the spread of the virus took hold, individuals looked for ways to bolster their immune systems. Leafy green vegetables, including spinach, are loaded with vitamins and nutrients that strengthen the body’s immune response. For example, vitamin A is fat-soluble vitamin that’s vital for immune system function, and spinach is loaded with it. In fact, a single cup of cooked spinach provides men and women with

more than the recommended daily amounts of vitamin A as advised by the Institute of Medicine. • Spinach promotes a healthy heart. Spinach is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber, making it a heart-healthy food worthy of addition to anyone’s diet. Spinach is especially rich in folate, which research has shown promotes the growth of healthy red blood cells necessary for a healthy heart. • Spinach can benefit your eyes. Spinach is high in the antioxidant lutein, which has been linked to eye health.

Lutein naturally absorbs UV blue light, which is the most harmful wavelength of sunlight. But it’s important that people recognize that uncooked spinach tends to be the most effective way to consume it and still benefit from lutein, the effects of which may be minimized when the spinach is cooked. Whether they eat spinach thanks to the influence of a beloved cartoon character or after reading about the leafy green vegetable’s many health benefits, people who include spinach in their diets can reap a host of rewards.

telephone, or by dropping off your documents. You can find more information about free tax clinics at www.canada. ca/en/revenue-agency/ services/tax/individuals/ community-volunteerincome-tax-program. html. If you would like to file your tax return online, a list of NETFILE certified tax software is available at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/eservices/e-services-individuals/netfile-overview/ certified-software-netfile-program.html. Some of these programs are free. Protecting yourself from scams is important in this day and age, as is knowing when and how the CRA might contact you. You can sign up for email notifications from the CRA (www.canada. ca/en/revenue-agency/ services/e-services/e-services-individuals/onlinemail-helping-you-organize-your-canada-revenueagency-mail.html) to help to prevent fraud. This service will notify you when you have new mail in My Account and when personal information such as your address or direct deposit information has been changed on the CRA’s records.

More information on how to protect against fraud and scams is available at www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/ fraud-scams.html. You may be eligible as a senior for benefits and credits like the GST/ HST tax credit (www. canada.ca/en/revenueagency/services/childfamily-benefits/goodsservices-tax-harmonizedsales-tax-gst-hst-credit. html ) and other related provincial and territorial benefits and credits (www.canada.ca/en/ revenue-agency/services/ tax/individuals/topics/ about-your-tax-return/ tax-return/completinga-tax-return/provincialterritorial-tax-creditsindividuals.html). If you owe money on your tax return, you might be eligible to claim tax credits that can reduce the amount that you owe. Check into the Canada Caregiver Credit, the Disability Tax Credit, the Medical Expense Tax Credit, the Home Accessibility Tax Credit, the Age Credit, and the Pension Income Credit. You may also be eligible for pension income splitting. Look into the guaranteed income supplement. It’s a monthly benefit for

recipients of the old age security pension who live in Canada and have low income.

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Residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, or Ontario may be eligible for the climate action incentive payment when filing their 2020 tax return. Residents of small or rural communities could receive a larger amount. This incentive first lowers the taxes owed and then creates or increases a refund. Claiming potential benefits and tax credits is important. It helps you with your expenses and puts more money in your pocket. Research which benefits and credits you might be eligible for so that you don’t miss out on these money-saving opportunities. A list of all the available deductions, credits, and expenses can be found at www.canada. ca/en/revenue-agency/ services/tax/individuals/topics/about-yourtax-return/tax-return/ completing-a-tax-return/ deductions-creditsexpenses/deductionscredits-expenses.html. Look it over and check to see if you are eligible for any of them. More information on changes to your taxes when you retire or turn 65 is available at www. canada.ca/en/revenueagency/services/tax/individuals/segments/changes-your-taxes-when-youretire-turn-65-years-old. html. Contact the CRA at www.canada.ca/en/ revenue-agency/corporate/contact-information. html.

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Yorkton This Week | www.YorktonThisWeek.com | Wednesday, January 27, 2021


just for SENIORS

January 2021

Tips for dementia caregivers during the pandemic Caregivers play vital roles in the lives of the people they look after. That’s especially true for people caring for dementia patients, many of whom require round-theclock help every day. A caregiver’s role is never easy, but the demands have been even greater during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Despite social distancing guidelines and recommendations to reduce interactions with those vulnerable to COVID-19, including the elderly, dementia caregivers must continue to help patients in need. Older adults are at the highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19. That puts dementia caregivers in difficult positions, as data from the World Health Organization indicates that age is the strongest known risk fac-

tor for dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association urges dementia caregivers to follow guidelines established by the CDC as they continue to provide care for dementia patients. - Wear face masks or cloth coverings. Face masks or cloth coverings should be worn when tending to dementia patients. This includes when preparing meals for dementia patients or cleaning their homes. The CDC urges caregivers to wear personal protective equipment when providing personal or medical services to people with dementia, including when helping them bathe. - Arrange for a substitute caregiver if you are ill or exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. Caregivers should have

a backup caregiver lined up in case they feel ill or if they are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID19 or if they have been exposed to anyone with the virus. The CDC notes that symptoms of COVID19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and muscle or body aches. A full list of COVID-19 symptoms can be found at www.cdc.gov. - Wash your hands frequently. Frequent handwashing can help dementia caregivers keep their patients safe. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds upon arriving at your patient’s home, and continue to wash your hands frequently throughout the day. If visitors arrive, insist they follow the same handwashing routine. If you cough or sneeze during

the day, wash your hands immediately, and always wash hands before preparing meals. - Look for virtual programs that encourage social engagement. Virtual gatherings have become the new normal as people try to maintain connections with

family and friends while respecting social distancing guidelines. The Alzheimer’s Association urges dementia caregivers to consider programs that offer virtual activities that encourage dementia patients to engage socially. Such engagement can lift

patients’ spirits and remaining socially active supports brain health. Caring for dementia patients during the COVID-19 outbreak requires embracing various strategies to reduce patients’ risk of exposure to the potentially deadly virus.

Stretching more effective than walking to lower high blood pressure: USask study By Greg Basky for USask Research Profile and Impact SASKATOON – A new University of Saskatchewan (USask) study has found that stretching is superior to brisk walking for reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure or who are at risk of developing elevat-

ed levels. Walking has long been the prescription of choice for physicians trying to help their patients bring down their blood pressure. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and among the top preventable risk factors affecting overall mortality.

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This new finding, published December 18, 2020 in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, shows that stretching should be part of a wellrounded treatment plan for people wrestling with hypertension. “Everyone thinks that stretching is just about stretching your muscles,” said USask kinesiology professor Dr. Phil Chilibeck (PhD), a co-author of the study. “But when you stretch your muscles, you’re also stretching all the blood vessels that feed into the muscle, including all the arteries. “If you reduce the stiffness in your arteries, there’s less resistance to blood flow,” he said, noting that resistance to blood flow increases blood pressure.

While previous studies have shown stretching can reduce blood pressure, the USask research is the first to pit walking against stretching in a head-to-head comparison in the same group of study participants. Chilibeck and colleagues randomly assigned 40 older men and women (mean age 61) to two groups for the eight-week study period. One did a whole-body stretching routine for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, and the other group walked briskly for the same amount of time and frequency. All participants had elevated blood pressure, or Stage 1 hypertension, at the start of the study. Before and after the study, Chilibeck and colleagues measured participants’ blood pressure while they were sitting, lying down, and over 24 hours using a portable monitor—widely considered the gold standard for accurate blood pressure measurement.

Stretching resulted in bigger reductions in blood pressure across all three types of measurement. The walkers did, however, lose more body fat off their waist in the eight-week study. People who are walking to reduce their high blood pressure should continue to do so, but also add in some stretching sessions, according to Chilibeck. “I don’t want people to come away from our research thinking they shouldn’t be doing some form of aerobic activity. Things like walking, biking, or cross-country skiing all have a positive effect on body fat, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar.” While the study protocol had participants stretching for 30 minutes at a time, Chilibeck suspects the same benefits can be achieved by doing a shorter routine that emphasizes the larger muscle groups in the legs, particularly the quadriceps and hamstrings.

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Chilibeck and colleagues are now seeking funding to do a larger study involving more participants. They’d like to expand the scope beyond blood pressure measurement to explore some of the physiological reasons behind why stretching reduces blood pressure— such as arterial stiffness and changes in the body’s nervous system resulting from stretching.

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“When you’re relaxing in the evening, instead of just sitting on the couch, you can get down on the floor and stretch while you’re watching TV,” he said.

The USask team included research assistant Jong Bum Ko, graduate students Dalton Deprez and Keely Shaw, assistant professor Heather Foulds, and associate professor Corey Tomczak— all from the College of Kinesiology, along with professor Jane Alcorn of the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. Thomas Hadjistavropoulos, research chair in aging and health at the University of Regina’s psychology department, was also part of the study team.

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Yoga produces similar reductions in blood pressure, he said. The beauty of stretching, said Chilibeck, is that it’s so easy to incorporate into a person’s daily routine. You’re not at the mercy of the weather and it’s easy on your joints— a big plus for people with osteoarthritis. And it doesn’t require a big commitment of time, another barrier to exercise for many people.

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