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Meals on Wheels may be the only social interaction some have on Christmas Day

in Community/Health/Poverty Reduction/Seniors by
Art Myers, left, and Len Skelton, right, volunteers for Meals on Wheels.

It’s the time of year when we look ahead just a few weeks to the Christmas season. For many people, it’s a ‘warm and fuzzy’ exercise as they anticipate family gatherings and meals accented with laughter, merriment and reflections of their blessings. It’s not necessarily so for everyone, however.

As much as the holiday season can be heartwarming and positive for some, it also a very ‘blue’ time for others who may be without family and friends. Stress of the holidays can combine with circumstances that trigger sadness and melancholy instead of happiness and positive moods. Not everybody looks forward to the holidays, especially if it means being alone.

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Christmas at the Ross: Dedication of front-line staff shines through

in Around Town/Community/Health/Local News by

Last year on Christmas Day, there were 152 patients in the Ross Memorial Hospital, including 35 in continuing care, 15 in rehabilitation, 12 in mental health, 88 in acute care and 2 newborns. And 17 people were admitted into the Ross on that day. As on most any other day at any hospital, there were heart-wrenching stories too: Sadly, two patients passed away that same day.

To care for all of these people and their visiting families, 189 people worked at the Ross last Christmas Day.

Think about that. That’s 189 families in our community whose Christmas’ have been changed or in some cases delayed so that another 152 families in our community can be cared for. And that number does not include volunteers — who donate their time and labour to make Christmas at the Ross a little brighter.

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Basic Income at Christmas was making life a bit more worth living

in Community/Health/Local News/Poverty Reduction by

OBIP Chronicles — As we approach the holidays, many people who are receiving basic income are, for the first time in a long time, able to buy gifts for loved ones or can afford to do activities with their kids.

Giving is not only good for the soul, as the saying goes, but also one’s physical and emotional health. The evidence is unassailable.

  • In his book Why Good Things Happen to Good People, Stephen Post, a professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University in the U.S., reports that giving to others can enhance health benefits in people who are coping with a chronic illness.
  • In a 2006 study by Rachel Piferi of Johns Hopkins University and Kathleen Lawler of the University of Tennessee, giving was shown to even improve physical health and longevity because it decreases stress. People who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than those in the study who didn’t, suggesting a direct physiological benefit to the power of giving.
  • Generosity is likely to be rewarded by others eventually, sometimes by the person you chose to give to, and sometimes by someone else. Several studies, including work by sociologists Brent Simpson and Robb Willer, have suggested that these exchanges promote a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties to others. In turn, these strengthened ties have been shown in research to spark positive social interactions, so imperative to good mental and physical health.

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Important new survey: The Ontario Basic Income Pilot chronicles

in Community/Health/Poverty Reduction by
After basic income, ‘rapid reinstatement’ back to previous program: Province

When the new Ontario government announced it was cancelling the basic income pilot, it threw many recipients into turmoil. It also dimmed hopes for research potential that had captured the interest of people across Canada and around the world.

Participants in the pilot and supporters of basic income are not going quietly away, however.

“Some recipients took the very courageous step of identifying themselves publicly in order for us all to better understand how much basic income was improving lives,” notes John Mills, a member of the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) and the Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN), who organized media training for some of these individuals in Hamilton.

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Local Family Health Team saves Urgent Care more than $700,000

in Community/Health by

A costing by the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team has revealed that the team has saved the health care system more than $700,000 since 2014 through its emergency room and after hours clinic diversion programs.

Under these programs, the team’s health care professionals assess whether their care and treatment of the patient in the family health team offices resulted in the patient not having to go to the emergency department or attend local after hours clinics.

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Health Unit: Make a stand against poverty in Kawartha Lakes

in Community/Health/Local News/Poverty Reduction by

In the spirit of the season, local residents are being asked to buy into something that isn’t available at any store or online retailer — support a living wage and other income-based solutions to keep people out of poverty. The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit wants people to take a stand against poverty in the City of Kawartha Lakes. Locally, 16.5 per cent of local children and youth live in poverty.

A recent study also found the ‘living wage’ in Kawartha Lakes is $18.42 per hour – what a family of four with both parents working full-time would need to earn to cover basic expenses in 2018. This amount is more than $4 higher than Ontario’s current minimum wage. 

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X-ray vision: The 2018 Ross Memorial Foundation Holiday Appeal needs you

in Around Town/Community/Health/Local News by
This annual fundraiser is very important for the Hospital, as it raises between $175,000 and $200,000 for vital equipment.

It is perhaps fitting that in a year when many residents spoke up about the importance of having a full-service local hospital that the goal of this year’s Holiday Appeal is for the purchase of diagnostic equipment and to contribute towards the redevelopment of the diagnostic imaging department.

Just over 100 years ago — in 1917 — founding donor James Ross himself donated $2,550 so that the RMH could purchase an X-Ray machine — a machine that only larger hospitals in bigger towns and cities had access to at the time. It was pretty cutting edge stuff for such a small hospital.

Jump ahead 100 years, and our community, through the RMH Foundation, is carrying on that tradition started by James Ross.

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Ensuring mental health throughout the holidays

in Community/Health/Opinion by
Lindsay basic income pilot: Mental health, resilience will surely improve

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The thermostat slowly drops, snow starts to fall and people are bundling up. Wrapped in their favourite scarves, mittens and toques, people are venturing out into the brisk Canadian winter to take on the day.

Plans are being made for dinners and parties; children are scribbling down hand-written lists with hopes of receiving that one perfect gift. For many, the start of the holiday season means feelings of joy, hope and warmth. For others, it can be a completely different experience.

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The active transportation alternative: 10 great benefits

in Community/Health/Opinion by

So, if we can agree that, as argued in an earlier column, Lindsay is a car-first community, what would be the benefits to us as individuals and as a community of giving pedestrians and cyclists priority — of promoting “active transportation?”

Here are 10 benefits to consider, beginning with health and the environment then moving on to economic and social benefits (the four areas covered by City of Kawartha Lakes Director of Development Services Chris Marshall in a presentation to Council on active transportation– which you can access here).

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Extra funding to help RMH during holiday surge

in Community/Health/Seniors by

The Ross Memorial Hospital (RMH) team is getting another $1,464,000 in one-time funding from the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) to maintain critical system capacity during the regular holiday/flu surge.

Ross Memorial Hospital has been experiencing higher than normal patient volumes for more than 18 months. Over the Christmas holidays, it’s expected volumes will increase again, requiring the Hospital to open extra beds.

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