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Seniors test out cutting edge Seniors Play Park in Fenelon Falls

in Around Town/Community/Health/Seniors by
Seniors test out the cutting edge Seniors Play Park in Fenelon Falls
Penni Holdham, left, Doug Elmslie, top rt, Khosrow Yazdani. Photos: Jamie Morris.

A politician, a physiotherapist, and an artist walk to a barre. That’s not the set-up for a joke. The ballet barre is one of 13 components in the recently-opened Seniors Play Park in Fenelon Falls, one of the first such parks in Canada, and I’ve asked the three — all seniors themselves — to spend some time exploring the very compact apparatus and then to share their thoughts.

The politician is Doug Elmslie, currently Deputy Mayor and for the past 13 years councillor for the ward that includes Fenelon Falls. He’s also Chair of the Board of Management for Victoria Manor, and so knows something of aging seniors’ needs. Doug is mid-70s, rates his fitness level as 5 on a 1 to 10 scale. He’s on the go most days and he golfs, but not as often as he’d like.

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Post office of the future could mean stronger communities

in Community/Environment/Seniors/Sponsored Content by

Submitted by Jean-Philippe Grenier, CUPW, third national vice president   On June 17, 2019, the Canadian government declared a climate emergency, passing a motion through parliament calling climate change a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity.”

This should shock no one. We already know that our country is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and that it is becoming increasingly difficult for our planet to breathe.

Words are not enough. They are meaningless without action. The federal government must walk the talk, starting with its largest Crown Corporation, Canada Post.

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Seniors step up when it comes to community involvement

in Seniors by
United Way unveils large scale community garden project
Seniors volunteer in many ways, including at the community gardens, on service clubs, and at non-profits.

While the best outcome for any community is to have the perfect balance of younger, middle-aged, and senior population, there’s no denying how important the senior demographic has become to the Kawartha Lakes area.

In fact, according to the 2016 census data more than 34 per cent of our City’s population is over the age of 60, much greater than the provincial median.

Rebecca Mustard is manager of economic development for the City. She says seniors “are incredibly important to communities.”

“From an economic standpoint, they contribute in many ways including purchasing goods and services from the community,” Mustard says.

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United Way grant supports teleconferencing group for caregivers

in Health/Seniors by
Christine Woodhouse, Client Support Worker with the Community Care Health & Care Network.

The United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes (UWCKL) has announced that the Community Care Health and Care Network is the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Telecare Mona Hall Fund. The funds will be used to help Community Care create a free teleconference caregiver support program, based on a successful pilot project.

Penny Barton Dyke, Executive Director for UWCKL said, “The funds will be dedicated to setting up a communication support system to assist families who are caring for a relative or friend. Community agencies and partners have seen significant increases in the number of families taking on the role of informal care providers for a family member in their home and the prediction is this role will increase with our aging population.”

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The limits of church, the duty of state

in Opinion/Poverty Reduction/Seniors by

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”  — Dom Helder Camara

When we broke the story about many seniors who are falling through the cracks, some spoke up to say this would be a great project for churches to take on. We disagree entirely and are happy to see Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Services begin to fill this gap, thanks to funding from the City for a pilot.

First, let me say that our churches, charities, and non-profits are run by some of the finest people one could ever meet. But it is part of the neoliberal, corporate-first mindset that has normalized the idea of charity to this degree.

The first food bank in Canada opened its doors only in 1981, supposedly a temporary response to a recession. Instead, they have proliferated across Canada as inequality has widened and ordinary Canadians have suffered.

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Council steps up to fund paramedic project to support vulnerable seniors

in Community/Health/Local News/Seniors by
Paramedics noted they wanted to leverage their skills and resources to support vulnerable, isolated seniors.

Vulnerable seniors in Kawartha Lakes may get the help they need after Kawartha Lakes City Council endorsed the idea of a three-month pilot run by local paramedics.

Mayor Andy Letham brought forward the proposed project idea by Kawartha Lakes Paramedic Service today after the Local Health Integration twice turned the paramedics down for $25,000 to fund the pilot.

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Reg Learn and the ribbons of steel: Train expert’s career spans nearly 70 years

in Community/Seniors by

How to even begin to do justice in a couple of pages to a distinguished career that spans close to 70 years? Reg Learn’s curriculum vitae alone runs to five densely-packed pages.

But let’s begin with that C.V. and his career arc. Reg trained as a locomotive engineer, starting in the steam era, but going on to operate electric, diesel electric, turbo and Bombardier LRC (light, rapid, comfortable) engines. In 1967 he entered railway management, moving steadily upwards, and 20 years later transferred to federal service with the Railway Transport Committee as Chief of Operations, Ontario District.

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Progressive police chief sees strong community partnerships as key

in Community/Local News/Poverty Reduction/Seniors by
Kawartha Lakes Police Service Chief Mark Mitchell. Photo: Erin Smith.

Back in high school in Streetsville in the mid 1980s, Mark Mitchell’s friend wanted to fill out an application to join the local police force in Peel Region. The only thing was, his friend didn’t have a car. Fortunately, Mitchell had his parents’ car and got him there to fill out the application.

“I decided while I was there I might as well apply, too,” says Mitchell. In the end, his friend’s application was rejected while Mitchell was accepted onto the force.

What started out as perhaps an afterthought by a young man just starting out, has turned into a distinguished career. Mitchell is now Chief Mark Mitchell of the Kawartha Lakes Police Service, having officially taken on the role Aug. 31, after former Chief John Hagarty retired.

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Save community banks, save the post office: Time for postal banking in Canada

in Business/Community/Opinion/Poverty Reduction/Seniors by
The big banks are getting out of smaller communities. Is it time for postal banking?

One of the first things that the new Dominion of Canada did as a country, way back in April 1868, was create a postal bank. The idea was to create a banking system that everyday Canadians could access easily – and to serve customers that the established banks at the time showed little interest in serving. Postal banking existed in Canada until 1968.

All of the stakeholders of the postal system (Canada Post; Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA) have examined the idea of re-establishing a postal bank. The CUPW and CPAA research relies heavily on the research of consultant John Anderson. His 82-page Why Canada Needs Postal Banking published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives contains some of the most detailed research on the topic.

Make no mistake: this is research funded by CUPW. And let’s face it: CUPW are a bit of a polarizing entity at the moment. So it’s perhaps not the most strategic time to be advocating for an increased role and more responsibilities for Canada Post — and its workers — in our life. The most recent strike no doubt rankled many of us, especially those of us waiting for Christmas gifts ordered online. And we are about to get another postage increase. On Jan. 14, 2019 a stamp bought in bulk will cost 90 cents. An individual stamp will cost us $1.05. That we can — in a time of $7 coffees — mail a letter from anywhere in Canada to anywhere in Canada for a measly $1.05 will be lost on those who use any excuse to bash Canada Post. I mean $1.05! That’s a whole nickel more than a non-existent buck-a-beer! But I digress.

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Seniors in crisis in Kawartha Lakes: Group calls on Mayor, MPP to help fill in the gaps

in Community/Health/Local News/Seniors by
Scores of seniors with some level of cognitive impairment across Kawartha Lakes are at risk of grave injury or death because there are no services for people like them.

He’s got a makeshift wood stove in a dilapidated trailer outside of town. She’s hoarding junk and debris — so much in fact that the doors to her home no longer open and parts of her floor are sagging. Another man burns flammable liquids to stay warm during the cold clutch of winter. In her postcard-perfect home, another woman constantly calls police to investigate phantom intruders.

This is but a snapshot of a growing number of seniors who are in danger in our community. They’re all over age 60 and most have lost at least some of their cognitive abilities. These are men and women who are not necessarily defined by poverty or rural postal codes. In fact, many of them live in nice homes in Lindsay or elsewhere in Kawartha Lakes and may be quite well off.

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