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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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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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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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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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Giving caregivers ‘powerful tools’ to manage

in Health/Opinion/Seniors by
Almost half of those identified as caregivers are also raising their own families.

At first glance, the numbers are overwhelming, until you pause to think about them. It is estimated that in North America, one out of every four households provides caregiving – millions of people taking on care services for a relative or friend over the age of 50.

With our aging population, more and more people find themselves in situations that they may never have imagined. Almost half of those identified as caregivers in our society are also raising their own family simultaneously, and two-thirds work either full- or part-time. The added pressure and stress of caregiving responsibilities are not easy to handle.

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Aging in Place: Community effort needed to keep seniors home

in Community/Seniors by
Community Care client Penny Davidson of Lindsay and Personal Support Worker Anne Line. Photo: Community Care.

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.’

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PSWs love what they do and show leadership by serving

in Opinion/Seniors by
PSWs love what they do and show leadership by serving

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.

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The crime that few people see in Kawartha Lakes

in Community/Opinion/Seniors by
The crime that few people see in Kawartha Lakes

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.

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PSW stories from the heart

in Health/Opinion/Seniors by
PSW stories from the heart

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.

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