Keeping seniors in their homes for as long as possible is not the work of any one, single community group. Even Community Care Network – with its 9,000 clients across Kawartha Lakes – can’t do it alone. That’s why Mike Puffer, communications officer for Community Care Health and Care Network, says he likes to stress the word ‘network’ when it comes to all that they do. It takes a whole community to meet the needs of seniors, he says, especially when the work is centred on ensuring as much independence for people as possible, or ‘aging in place.’
Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and caregivers are an intricate part of health care for any age, and indeed are overworked and underpaid for the responsibility we hold.
But the decision to serve others should not be taken lightly; it’s a commitment, not only to those you serve, but to those you serve with. If we are to assist 13 seniors out of bed each morning and our fellow PSW calls out sick, then our workload can quickly nearly double, affecting patient care in some settings.
It’s been called the form of abuse that few see. For something that is unseen to a great degree, elder abuse certainly affects a huge number of people in our community. Experts say that elder abuse could be found in the lives of up to 10 per cent of older adults in our community. That could be close to 1,000 Kawartha Lakes residents. If that isn’t alarming enough, the Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse says that only one in 12 cases gets reported. Unseen, yet definitely not insignificant.
After being notified that the last article about Personal Support Workers had over 190,000 views, I realize that writing from the heart must be something the public likes.
Feedback about being a PSW — one of the toughest jobs in health care — was agreed upon by most comments left by engaged readers. And some said that PSWs should never be working short, but that’s a question not for management, but for our new premier of Ontario.
I can still remember it like it was yesterday, I was 17 years old and knew that I wanted to help others as a vocation. I took the nursing program in Barrie and completed my first two semesters before realizing that in order to complete the program I would have to raise more funds. So I moved home to Lindsay to save up. Funny thing about being an 18 year old in college for many of us is that life skills — like budgeting — was not a strong point.
Seniors who call Kawartha Lakes their home can consider themselves blessed as we live in a lovely place. Small towns, with good neighbours, accessible health care, and a beautiful environment to get outside and enjoy the sights.
But aging in place can be more of a challenge than a lot of seniors hope, as discussed in the last few articles. Gone are the days when neighbourhood kids show up to help shovel snow and, given that we are a very rural environment, if you don’t have access to a vehicle our public transportation can be tricky.
In the first edition of Aging in the Kawarthas we briefly discussed the aging population of Ontario and options for local seniors who wish to remain in the Kawarthas as they age in place.
Some seniors, or substitute decision makers, choose to leave their home and seek alternative living arrangements such as private retirement homes or long-term care facilities. However it’s no longer as easy as “Mom is going to have to go into a home” as we hear in the community very often. Keep Reading
This is part one of six in a series about aging in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
I’ve had the privilege to call Lindsay my home from as far back as I can remember. Like many home-grown kids from a small town, the primary goal was to leave this community at the first opportunity – and that’s what I did. I did so not knowing that one day I would be back in our area to raise my own family and once again call Lindsay home.
The Lindsay Men’s Probus Club hopes to attract new members in April by bringing well-known author and historian to town, John Boyko.
The open invitation meeting will be held April 10, in the hope that they may consider joining the club on a permanent basis.
Just because the changing seasons means that the weather can become challenging, local residents still have opportunities to take part in fitness programs that will help keep them healthy. The popular Walk in the Halls (Get WITH It!) program returns in November for a fifth year, and will be available free of charge twice weekly in Lindsay.
Walk in the Halls is a free, supervised, indoor walking program presented by the Community Care Health & Care Network and the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team. The program is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-7 pm at Lindsay Collegiate Vocational Institute (LCVI) at 260 Kent St. W.
The program gives anyone interested in staying active during the winter months the chance to walk in a safe, warm setting. The sessions begin Nov. 7 and will run to the end of April (excluding school holidays).
The indoor walking program is an important element in giving local residents the chance for some low-impact exercise, says Jordan Prosper, health promoter with Community Care.
“Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in Canada, and walking is a beneficial way to stay active and can be done safely in the winter through the Get WITH It! program,” Jordan says.
“Our goal is to give the community a safe, warm and friendly place to walk during the winter months.”
The program has been well attended for the past four years. More than 450 different people have participated, walking more than 13,261,000 steps – the equivalent of walking from Lindsay to Calgary, Alberta and back.
No registration is required to participate. Walkers are asked to bring clean indoor walking shoes and to dress comfortably. Different routes through the school halls give people options for different distances and intensity. Supervisors are always on hand to assist or provide advice.
For further information about the Walk in the Halls program, contact Community Care Health Promoter Jordan Prosper at 705-324-7323 ext 301, or visit the Community Care website at www.ccckl.ca.