Autumn View Edition 3, 2018

A Message from the Chair

The actions of our new Premier and his threat to use the “notwithstanding” clause has made me very frustrated and angry. It goes far beyond my worst fears of what can happen when, in my opinion, someone with no moral compass and an oversized ego is elected.

Mr. Ford has stated that he is helping to “preserve democracy,” when in fact he has done the exact opposite. He has unleashed a torrent of political, personal and constitutional abuse that is beyond comprehension – and he claims his mandate gave him the right to do so. The truth be known, however, during the election campaign he never once mentioned or suggested he wanted to reduce the size of Toronto Council. Hence, he has no mandate whatsoever.

Some of you outside Toronto may be asking, “What’s wrong with cutting the size of Toronto Council and saving money?” I have two responses.

  1. Should this not be done or decided by the people of Toronto? And keep in mind your council could be next. This whole thing could have been put off and dealt with before the next municipal election in 2022.
  2. A change of this magnitude should not be predicated on a personal vendetta to limit the number of left-wing councillors from the old city, who now will be greatly outnumbered by the right-wing conservatives in the suburbs. Doug Ford himself admitted this was his intent.

Doug Ford has made a mockery of our judicial system and has clearly threatened, once again, to override our Constitution if any judge dare make a decision contrary to Ford’s right-wing beliefs. Overruling the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was always meant to be an exceptional move on a major issue – not some excuse to ignore people’s rights on such a short-term concern. Democracy is not defined by Doug Ford, and it certainly does not, or should not, ignore our judiciary or our Constitution.

When the likes of high-level Conservatives like past-Premier Bill Davis and former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney condemn Ford’s actions, you know he has overstepped what we, as Ontarians, can accept as reasonable. The scariest part is, we are barely three months into his tenure.

That leaves me wondering and fearing: What’s next for this megalomaniac?

Ed Faulknor, Chair
OPSEU Retired Members Division

Poverty risk six times greater for seniors lacking pensions

“This ‘pension factor’ is particularly powerful for improving the economic security of vulnerable older households - women and members of racial/ethnic minority groups,”

Washington, D.C (31 July 2009) – Defined benefit (DB) pension income plays a critical role in reducing the risk of poverty and hardship among seniors according to an American study released yesterday.

The study entitled, The Pension Factor: Assessing the Role of Defined Benefit Plans in Reducing Elder Hardships was published by the U.S.-based National Institute on Retirement Security.

It found rates of poverty among older American households lacking pension income were about six times greater than those with such income. The analysis also finds that pensions reduce – and in some cases eliminate – the greater risk of poverty and public assistance dependence that women and minority populations otherwise would face.

“This analysis reveals that pensions have a unique, independent, and positive impact on older Americans economic well-being. This ‘pension factor’ is particularly powerful for improving the economic security of vulnerable older households - women and members of racial/ethnic minority groups,” said Beth Almeida, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security.

“Ensuring older Americans have access to pensions in retirement,” she continued, “can help relieve some of the enormous pressures on federal, state and local budgets. We calculated a savings of some $7.3 billion in public assistance expenditures in 2006, attributable to pensions. These are sizable dollars.”

The Pension Factor finds that pensions have helped substantial numbers of older Americans avoid material hardships associated with inadequate food, shelter, and health care, and also avoid reliance on public assistance. More specifically, key findings indicate that pension receipt among older American households in 2006 was associated with:

  • 1.72 million fewer poor households and 2.97 million fewer near-poor households
  • 560,000 fewer households experiencing a food hardship
  • 380,000 fewer households experiencing a shelter hardship
  • 320,000 fewer households experiencing a health care hardship
  • 1.35 million fewer households receiving means-tested public assistance

The analysis in The Pension Factor was conducted using the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income Program Participation (SIPP) panels from 1996, 2001, and 2004. The study sample included SIPP respondents age 60 years or older and all households with a head age 60 and older, who had records in both the Pension and Adult Well-Being topical modules of the survey. This totalled 10,259 households.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good.       NUPGE

The Clawback Conundrum

How to help reduce your reported income to maximize benefits in retirement.


WHEN CANADIANS AGE 65 OR OLDER think about their overall retirement plan, most focus on ensuring their savings, investments and other forms of income are appropriately managed. But most people’s retirement income also includes a range of valuable benefits available from the government, two of the most familiar ones being Old Age Security and the Age Credit. And a critical feature of these benefits is that they’re highly connected to your taxable income. They can be clawed back or forfeited altogether if your reported income (line 234 of the federal tax return) is too high.

Therefore, in order to avoid reducing the government benefits you receive, you may want to think about ways to reduce your reported income. Here are a couple of straightforward approaches you can take.

1. Effectively structure non-registered investments

It’s important to understand that each type of income from non-registered investment sources is treated differently for tax purposes. For example, only half of net capital gains are included in your taxable income, whereas interest income from investments, such as GICs, is fully reported as income.

Dividends received from Canadian corporations are another consideration. Although the dividend tax credit does provide for preferential tax treatment, it is the grossed-up amount that is reported as taxable income and that is used to determine eligibility for income-tested benefits (such as Old Age Security).

This is where proactive management of your income-generating investments comes into play. Knowing how different investments affect reported income can help you identify opportunities to structure your investments in tax-advantaged ways to help reduce clawbacks and preserve your wealth. As demonstrated in the table below, some options to consider include prescribed annuities, withdrawals from a mutual fund or segregated fund contract, or distributions from a Series T mutual fund.

2. Optimize tax deductions

From a tax perspective, the arrival of retirement means that many familiar tax deductions are no longer available, such as Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions, pension plan contributions, child care expenses and union dues. But you do have other options for generating deductions.

Maximizing RRSPs: If you have any RRSP room left, making a lump-sum contribution before you convert it to a Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) can be advantageous – the resulting deductions can be spread over a number of years.

Borrowing to invest: For those who have additional income over and above what’s required for living expenses, coupled with a higher comfort level with investment risk, a borrowing strategy may be worthwhile. Specifically, a tax deduction can be created when you use RRIF or other discretionary income to pay interest on funds that were borrowed to invest.

Speak to your advisor. Whether you’re nearing or already in retirement, it’s worthwhile to contact your advisor and tax specialist for more information. They are the best resources for help  to avoid clawbacks and how to maximize government benefits.

COMPLIMENTS OF Leony deGraaf Hastings, CFP, EPC Certified Financial Planner
deGraaf Financial Strategies 769 Old York Rd, Burlington, ON
leony@dgfs.ca www.dgfs.ca 905-632-9900

Someone has been complaining

These are actual complaints received by "Thomas Cook Vacations" from dissatisfied customers:

"On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry.  I don't like spicy food."

The beach was too sandy.  We had to clean everything when we returned to our room."

"We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure.  Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow."

 "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers to siesta in the afternoons.  I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time -- this should be banned."

"I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends' three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller."                                                                                         

The Bare Bones: Calcium and Fractures

World Osteoporosis Day will take place later this month on Tuesday, October 20th. Worldwide, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures each year, affecting 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50. In recognition of this day, we are sharing the latest research on calcium and bone health as well as 4 tips on how to prevent fractures.

Medical professionals often recommend 1,000 to 1,200 mg calcium supplements to older adults to prevent osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures. The BMJ, previously the British Medical Journal, recently published two studies suggesting that calcium supplements may not be as beneficial to bone health as previously thought.

The first study looked at how calcium intake affects bone mineral density in women and men over 50 and found a 1-2% increase in bone mineral density after one year; after this amount of time the bone mineral density ceased to increase further. The study’s authors say that this minor increase in density is “unlikely to lead to a clinically significant reduction in risk of fracture”.

The researchers then analyzed previous studies looking at the link between calcium intake and risk of fractures. From this, they found a lack of evidence supporting the claim that calcium intake, whether from supplements or dietary sources, is correlated with reduced risk of fractures. The team only found one study supporting the claim, which was outdated (published in 1992) and examined a very specific population of vitamin-D deficient adults.

Studies that conflict with our accepted ways of thinking can be confusing. That said, we’ve put together 4 reliable ways you can prevent a bone fracture:

  1. Exercise. Strength and balance exercises will help prevent falls, thereby reducing your risk of fractures. We recommend Tai Chi, which is known for improving balance.
  2. Eye exams. Annual check-ups with your optometrist will ensure prescription glasses are up-to-date, allowing you to see where you are going and accurately judge distances of objects to help avoid accidents.
  3. Home safety. Clearing pathways of potential obstacles or installing grab bars can give you additional support and prevent falls.
  4. Regular check-ups with your physician. Visit your local physician to evaluate your bone health and fracture risk, review your medicines to see if any make you dizzy or sleepy, and ask any questions you may have about supplements or preliminary screenings for osteoporosis. This is your opportunity to be proactive about your bone health – take advantage!

At Home Care Assistance, we take a broader approach to our clients’ health and wellbeing with the Balanced Care Method™, a holistic approach to care based on scientific studies of the longest-living and healthiest people on Earth. The Method focuses on five lifestyle components including a healthy diet, physical and mental stimulation, social ties and a sense of purpose.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a fracture, Home Care Assistance caregivers can help with daily activities of living and more on an hourly or live-in basis. Take the time to heal and regain your independence with professional, qualified and compassionate caregivers. A caregiver can also provide support with mobility to avoid falls that can lead to fractures in the first place. Learn about our hourly home care services today! 

http://www.homecareassistance.com

Pharmacare at last? 

The shiniest object in the display case and something of interest to all ages is the prospect of a national pharmacare plan.

Or more precisely, the creation of an Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. This council became an open secret when Ontario’s health minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins, resigned Monday to be its chair. According to the budget, Dr. Hoskins and board members will begin a national dialogue that will include working with experts from relevant fields as well as with national, provincial, territorial and Indigenous leaders.

The Advisory Council will report to the federal ministers of health and finance and will conduct an economic and social assessment of domestic and international models, and will recommend options on how to move forward together on this important subject.

Media reports indicated this will happen before the 2019 budget and of course in time for the next federal election in October of that year.

But no date is in the budget document. And Finance officials were coy about supplying details.

“Pharmacare is essential, and something we’ve flagged for years in our advocacy work,” says National Association of Federal Retirees president Jean-Guy Soulière. “It’s critical for the thousands of Canadian seniors who cannot afford essential medications. We are looking forward to the Advisory Council getting to work and consulting with seniors and seniors organizations like ours over the coming months.”

National Association of Federal retirees (FSNA)

$22 billion in cuts to funding for public services planned by Mr. Ford, worse than Harris, we are “extremely worried”

Posted: June 3, 2018

June 3, 2018 by Natalie Mehra, executive director — Many Ontarians are captured by the idea of getting the same or more services for less money. But few know what the numbers might actually mean. Since Doug Ford did not release a clear platform, Ontarians know more about how much a beer may cost if the Conservative leader is elected than they know about how much their hospitals may be funded. This is a serious problem because the numbers that Mr. Ford has revealed are disturbing.

On Wednesday in a radio interview, Mr. Ford said that he was going to eliminate the provincial deficit in 3-years. This is on top of major revenue cuts. Mr. Ford has also pledged to cut $6 billion in public service spending through “efficiencies” over 4-years. These are big figures and Mr. Ford has not provided any details of what he plans for hospital and other vital health service funding as a result. But economists have crunched the numbers and by every tally the planned cuts amount to tens of billions of dollars. We are extremely worried.

The clearest analysis of Mr. Ford’s proposed cuts to the province’s revenues – that is the money available for funding our public services and programs – comes from Mike Moffatt, an economist at Western University. This analysis shows that, using Mr. Ford’s own concrete figures, $22 billion in cuts to provincial revenues is planned over three years.

To put this number in context, economist Hugh Mackenzie tracked the cuts during the Mike Harris/Ernie Eves era. In the first four years of the Harris government, the cumulative loss to provincial revenues used to fund public services was approx. $13 billion. The first term cuts planned by Mr. Ford are actually more than Mike Harris’. Mike Harris’ cuts added up year by year and by 2003 when the Harris/Eves government was defeated, Ontario had lost $15 billion per year in revenues that provide the funding for our public services and programs.

What does this mean for health care? Mr. Ford has not said where he will find the money. But we can see what happened under Mike Harris/Ernie Eves to get a sense of what it takes to eliminate billions from the budget:

Ontarians are angry about executives taking too much in salaries and golden handshakes, and rightfully so. But there is no question that a few million generated by cutting these excesses would not come anywhere near to offsetting the tens of billions of dollars in cuts that would occur if Doug Ford’s budget plan were to be imposed.  In fact, the economist for the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions has totalled the impact of Mr. Ford’s plan on hospital budgets and has concluded that it would result in a cut of more than 20,250 more hospital nurses, health professionals and support staff in three years. This is equal to more than 3-million hours per year of patient care and services.

The Ontario Health Coalition is extremely concerned about the impact of these proposed cuts on health care. There is no doubt in our minds that this plan would mean privatization, new user fees, cuts and closures to local hospitals and community care services, and catastrophic results for patient care. We do not tell people how to vote and we do not endorse any political party. We tell the truth to our best ability and our mandate requires that we do the utmost possible to promote democratic discussion to save and improve public health care for the people of Ontario. Within our mandate this is what we can do: in these last few days before the election, please tell Doug Ford and his local candidates that we cannot sustain the cuts he is proposing.

Ontario Health Coalition
15 Gervais Drive, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario M3C 1Y8
Tel: 416-441-2502
ohc@sympatico.ca
www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca

Owen Sound doctors’ hostility to strikers is fuelling violence against women that has sent two to hospital

“Before anybody else gets hurt, they [the doctors] must take a hard look at their actions and then get back to the table with a decent offer that shows basic respect.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President

Owen Sound (28 August 2018) — At least seven legal picketers have been struck by vehicles outside the Owen Sound Family Health Organization, a marked increase of violence that is a direct consequence of the owners’ hostility to the workers. 

Violence increasing on picket line

“We’ve got trucks and vans barrelling through the picket line of a group of mostly women exercising their constitutional right to improve their working conditions and the quality of care they provide,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).“All this violence is being fuelled by one thing: the disdain and contempt of the millionaire doctors who own the clinic,” said Thomas. “I’m sure they’d do something if people were hitting these women with their fists — why aren’t they doing anything as people hit these women with their vehicles?”

Seven workers struck by vehicles

Owen Sound police have been called to at least seven incidents of picketers being struck by vehicles. One of the picketers struck was Patty Coates, Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour. Two other picketers were sent to hospital after being struck. They included Tara Maszczakiewicz, an OPSEU member, who suffered a broken foot. 

“Most of the people we talk to support us in this strike,” said Maszczakiewicz. “But there are more and more people who are reflecting the misogyny and hostility of the owners. They’re screaming at us, threatening us, and one man ran over my foot. But I promise you this: their violence isn’t going to stop us from fighting for simple decency.”

OPSEU/NUPGE striking workers targeted by verbal abuse and public threats

“I’m disgusted that the owners haven’t done a thing to stop this violence, or even help the victims,” said Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President-Treasurer. “These doctors swear an oath to help people who have been hurt — why hasn’t a single one of them come out to help any of the people who’ve been hurt?

“And what about all the parking lot security guards the doctors are wasting a fortune on? Why haven’t they called the police about all this violence?” asked Almeida.

The violence isn’t occurring only on the picket line. The striking workers are facing abusive language and a growing number of threats on news website comment boards and social media.

“The doctors are responsible for this increasing violence, and they have a responsibility to make it stop,” said Thomas. “Before anybody else gets hurt, they must take a hard look at their actions and then get back to the table with a decent offer that shows basic respect.”

This news release was taken from the website of NUPGE, OPSEU’s National Union

Editor’s note: On Thursday, September 6, members ratified a new, four-year collective agreement providing substantial wage increases, no pension claw backs, and significantly improved job security.

Cannabis Impairment

Cannabis

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death and injury in Canada.

Cannabis impaired driving can result in injury or death for you, your passengers and others.

Cannabis:

●impairs your judgement
●affects your ability to react
●increases your chances of being in a crash

Never get into a car with an impaired driver. It is not worth the risk.

Mixing cannabis with alcohol increases your level of impairment and leads to an even greater risk of an accident.

Policing

Law enforcement are trained to detect drug-impaired driving. They enforce drug-impaired driving laws using:

  • Standard Field Sobriety Testing (SFST)
    • typically administered at the roadside
  • Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation
    • includes a series of tests and a toxicological sample (urine and oral fluid or blood)

Law enforcement across Canada have SFST and DRE trained officers and the number of officers being trained is increasing.

Working together against impaired driving

Together we are working to raise awareness of the dangers of drug-impaired driving.

Our common goals are to:

  • make Canadians aware of the serious dangers of drug-impaired driving
  • make drug-impaired driving socially unacceptable in Canada
  • reduce the number of people driving impaired by cannabis or other drugs
  • make our roads and communities safer for all                                                         

Consequences

You could face consequences like a fine, criminal charges or even jail time if you drive impaired by cannabis or other drugs. Learn more about how impaired driving laws are enforced in Canada.

How long cannabis impairment effects last

Cannabis impairment is different for every individual and can be influenced by how you take cannabis. For example, the effects will be felt longer if you eat or drink cannabis-based products. There is no standard waiting time to drive after using cannabis. If you are using cannabis, do not drive. Find an alternative:

  • stay over
  • call a taxi
  • share a ride
  • use public transit
  • have a designated driver

Public awareness

Check out the Don't Drive High website on the dangers of drug-impaired driving.

Workplace impairment

Someone who is impaired may have difficulty completing their work tasks safely and may put themselves, their coworkers and the public in danger.

There are many potential causes of impairment. In addition to factors such as fatigue and certain medical conditions, these include the use of legal and illegal substances such as:

  • alcohol
  • cannabis
  • street drugs
  • certain medications

A shared responsibility

Everyone has a role to play in workplace health and safety. Employers and employees alike should be prepared to prevent the risk of cannabis impairment at work and should note the following employer and employee responsibilities in federally regulated workplaces. For businesses or industries regulated by the province or territory, please refer to provincial and territorial governments.

Employers' responsibilities

Employers should:

  • ensure the health and safety of all employees at work
  • address physical and/or psychological hazards in their workplace, including when impaired.
  • work with employee representatives to develop, implement and evaluate a hazard prevention program to monitor and prevent hazards
  • include policies on substance use and impairment in a hazard prevention programs when the use of cannabis and other causes of impairment represents a hazard

Employees' duties

Employees must:

  • work safely
  • understand the impact that using substances (medical/therapeutic or non-medical) can have on their safety and that of others
  • report to their employer anything or circumstance that is likely to be hazardous to the employees or any other person in the work place
  • inform their employer if a medical condition or treatment may cause impairment and impact their ability to perform their job safely
  • follow all instructions provided by the employer concerning the health and safety of employees

Prevent falls and injuries

Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors and roughly half of these occur at home. Fortunately, many falls are preventable.

The Fall Prevention Seminar is a one-hour program designed to inform seniors on how to prevent falls and maintain their independence.

Available in English and French, the seminars:

  • provide practical information and tools to help prevent falls and injuries
  • look at health issues that put seniors at risk of falling in their home and community

Call 1-888-910-1999 or call 211 for more information and to find a seminar near you.

NUPGE report looks at legal battle to protect universal health care

“When two-tier health care has been permitted, the choice is expensive treatment in private for-profit clinics that most Canadians can’t afford or longer waiting times in the public system.” — Larry Brown, NUPGE President

Ottawa (25 Oct. 2017) — A court case in Vancouver could leave Canada with two-tier health care. If that happens, the majority of Canadians could face longer waits for medical treatment, as wealthy individuals buy their way to the front of the line.

Universal Health Care on Trial, a new publication from the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) looks at the history of a legal challenge to Medicare that is before the British Columbia Supreme Court, the reasons the case is taking so long, and what the case means for Canadians. The report also looks at some of the problems with private, for-profit health care.

“When two-tier health care has been permitted, the choice is expensive treatment in private, for-profit clinics that most Canadians can’t afford or longer waiting times in the public system. Those are the “choices” those behind the legal challenge to Medicare are trying to force on Canadians,” said Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

Legal challenge to Medicare came after audit of private, for-profit clinics announced

The legal challenge to Medicare was launched 4 months after the Medical Services Commission (MSC) sent a notice of audit to 2 private for-profit clinics, the Cambie Surgery Centre and the Specialist Referral Clinic. Even though the doctor running the clinics, Brian Day, claimed he had nothing to hide, he launched a series of legal maneuvers to prevent the audit from taking place. When the audit finally took place, the auditors were able to look at records from only 3 months and were still denied access to “financial statements, ledgers, and contractual arrangements with physicians. But for those records from just 3 months the auditors found almost $500,000 in illegal billings and $66,734 in overlapping claims. One can only imagine what the auditors would have found if a full audit had taken place.

Fees charged by for-profit clinics unaffordable

There are already some services where long waiting times in the public system mean people feel forced to turn to private for-profit clinics. A recent investigation found that the fees charged by those clinics were so high that for many patients they were unaffordable. To pay the fees patients were forced to cut back on groceries and other necessities.

Private for-profit health care increases waiting times

While proponents of private for-profit health care claim it will shorten waiting times in the public system, the reverse is true. An increase in private, for-profit health care has been repeatedly linked to longer waiting times in the public system. This shouldn’t be a surprise. When the wealthy can buy their way to the front of the line, there are fewer voices calling for the public system to be adequately funded. And when physicians can make more from private patients than patients in the public system, they have a financial incentive to avoid reducing waiting times in the public system.

NUPGE and its Components helping defend Medicare

Across Canada, NUPGE and its Components are helping defend Medicare. That includes assisting the B.C. Health Coalition’s work as an intervener in the case.

“We will continue to support the efforts to defend medicare for as long as necessary,” said Brown. “We will also continue our efforts to strengthen the public system by fighting for adequate health care funding and for measures to make better use of existing resources.”

This article taken from the NUPGE website.

The Top 5 Healthy Aging Tips You Need to Know

Posted on February 27, 2017

Every human being ages, it’s nature’s course. It’s impossible to stop the tick-tock of the aging clock! However, it is possible to manage our health so that we age as well as possible.
 
The National Institutes on Aging (NIH) says that brain health is tied directly to physical health. While some exercise and activities may emphasize the body over the brain and vice versa, when it comes to health they really are one in the same. Your brain and your body take care of one another. If you are caring for an aging loved one, here are the top five healthy things that you can do to keep your loved one’s mind and body as healthy as possible.
 
1. Take care of physical health. Following these tips will ensure that preventive care is received and any disease or illness is diagnosed as early as possible. They will also help to avoid injury.

  • Recommended health screenings change as we age. Make sure your loved one gets the regular health screenings his or her doctor recommends.
  • Manage chronic health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and high cholesterol.
  • Know the side effects of medications that your loved one takes and check to see if they may affect memory, sleep, and brain function.
  • “Fall-proof” the house to reduce the risk of physical and brain injuries.
  • Limit the use of alcohol (some medicines can be dangerous when mixed with alcohol).
  • Quit smoking and the use of any tobacco products.
  • Encourage good sleep, generally 7-8 hours each night. 

2. Eat healthy foods. The palate changes as we age and foods may become more or less appetizing. Pay close attention to the foods your loved one gravitates toward. If they are healthy, serve more. If they are unhealthy and filled with salt and sugar, try to find healthy alternatives. Eating healthy foods can reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes and can keep the brain healthy.

  • Eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry and low–fat or non–fat dairy products.
  • Limit solid fats, sugar, and salt.
  • Drink enough water and other fluids, up to 8 glasses a day. 

3. Be physically active. Any activity is great. Walking may be the best form of exercise for your loved one. It’s free and it can be done right outside their door at whatever pace he or she can handle. Walking can help to:

  • Improve your strength.
  • Increase energy.
  • Improve balance and core strength that helps to prevent falls.
  • Prevent or delay heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases.
  • Perk up your mood and reduce depression.
  • Any activity counts including housework, gardening, and shopping.

4. Keep the mind active. The brain is a muscle and it wants to work. Encourage your loved one to participate in intellectually stimulating activities every day. It can help to keep their cognition levels up, battle depression and give them a sense of overall happiness. Brain exercises can include:

  • Volunteering and hobbies.
  • Learning new skills like knitting, quilting or photography.
  • Doing math problems.
  • Reading books and magazines.
  • Playing games.
  • Monitoring college classes – it’s free!

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” » Sophia Loren

“Some people, not matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces to their hearts.”

“You can only be young once but you can be immature forever!”

What Early Dementia Looks Like and How to Care for It

Dementia is a term that describes a range of symptoms that indicate an overall mental decline. It can be difficult to determine whether a person is suffering from dementia or age-related, memory loss because many of the symptoms are the same. When diagnosing dementia, physicians must take into account many different factors and combine them to determine if the early stages of dementia are present. There are many early signs of dementia, and if you know some of these you’ll understand how to best care for it.

It is important to remember that one incident of memory loss does not mean your loved one has dementia. These signs and symptoms must occur repeatedly over a period of time in order for them to indicate the early stages of dementia.

Along with memory lapses, at least two core mental functions must be significantly impaired for it to be considered dementia. They include:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

If your loved one has dementia, they may exhibit normal, age-related symptoms of memory loss combined with these symptoms. For example, if your loved one is forgetting appointments or why they entered the kitchen, those are signs of normal, age-related memory loss. However, if your loved one forgets appointments regularly and becomes uncharacteristically frustrated or depressed, that could indicate the signs of early dementia. Likewise, if your loved one begins to forget how to put dishes in the dishwasher, that is an early sign of dementia, as compared to forgetting why they entered the kitchen. Here are some of the other factors that physicians look for when diagnosing dementia:

  • Difficulty finding the right words
  • Changes in mood
  • Apathy or listlessness
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty following story lines
  • Being repetitive

How can you care for the early stages of dementia?

Be patient and gentle. Do not embarrass your loved one by becoming impatient with their memory loss. Instead, begin to support them with lists, reminders and labels on household objects. For example, if you see that he or she repeatedly forgets where the glasses are kept, label the cupboard with a sticky note that says “Cups and Glasses”.

Have your loved one assessed by a neurologist. A physician can conduct tests to determine if your loved one is indeed suffering with dementia. If it is Alzheimer’s disease specifically, there are some medications that can delay the progression of symptoms.

Adjust daily schedules and the home environment to meet your loved one’s needs. Confusion will increase with the dementia. Schedules should be simplified. Daily tasks should be made as easy as possible. Your loved one will need more assistance with daily grooming, preparing meals and processing information throughout the day.

Consider home care professionals for support. In-home care professionals can help you to understand dementia and provide essential daily support for your loved one. They can help with grooming and bathing, meals and recreational activities to stimulate the mind and body.

Early dementia can be frightening and worrisome for everyone involved.  Luckily there are tips on how to care for early stages of dementia that can make the transition easier. Knowing more about the disease can help you to plan and care for your loved one in a way that will soothe and comfort them.

Home Care Assistance tel:1-866-454-8346

Ontario seniors’ convention galvanizes resolve to tackle hot issues

June 27th, 2018

A recent biennial convention of the Ontario Federation of Union Retirees (OFUR) ended on a high note last month in Port Elgin after delegates from throughout the province reaffirmed their commitments to key issues for seniors and elected its Executive Committee and Council.

“Many challenges in hosting our convention evolved in building a stronger and more vibrant organization, ready to play our role for seniors, within our province and with others nationally”, says OFUR President Suzanne Clancy.

OFUR delegates heard from the Ontario Federation of Labour. They heard from speakers Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition, Rachel Weldrick from the Department of Health, Aging and Society at McMaster University and Malcolm Buchanan on workers’ pensions and retirement benefits. They also considered sixteen resolutions and undertook a strategic planning session.

Clancy says hospital and long-term care beds, community support for seniors who want to stay in their own home, seniors’ isolation and safety, cuts to health care in Ontario, and the need for a universal drug plan dominated the discussions, along with pension issues.

“OFUR is now on more solid footing and well on its way to becoming a more effective voice for its affiliates and by extension, all Ontario retirees,” says Clancy, “especially that our executive is now highly representative of Ontario union retiree organizations”.

In a provincial election after the OFUR convention, conservative candidate Doug Ford became Premier of the province, which Clancy says is bad news for seniors in Ontario: “Ford’s proposed $6 billion in spending cuts will lead to fewer services in health and education and reduce taxes for corporations and higher income earner”, she warns.

Clancy says that seniors more than ever need to stand together against similar onslaughts by federal politicians and by provincial governments, pointing to the importance of the upcoming national convention of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) to be held in Toronto next 19-21 September. “This will be an opportunity to galvanize the sentiments of seniors in time for the next federal election”, she concluded.

Publication Date: 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - 9:30am