The Seniors’ Situation Room Edition 5 by Dawn Ford

– Great news! Cornwall Transit Customer Survey is up and running. Click here to complete it; forms are also available on the bus. Having a car, I don’t often use it myself although I have when I have preferred to go somewhere and not have parking hassles. But I did fill it out to advocate for transportation for those who need it especially those who are physically challenged in any way or people who are lonely on Sundays and Holidays. This is an opportunity for us to help those who could benefit so much by transportation on those days even if it is limited hours. I hope that you can find a few minutes to fill out the survey and help people in our community.

M.D. Daniel G. Amen, in his wonderful book ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program for Conquering Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness’ tells us that exercise and other implementations such as eating blueberries everyday and learning something new will help keep our brain fit. Go to his website or you can get his book at the library or favorite book store. It is worth reading, especially when we are worried about those tartle moments when we go to introduce someone and can’t remember the person’s name. My older brother Ron tells me to keep moving. He is seventy-eight, still moving and breathing so I figure he must be on to something. He and Dr. Amen can’t both be wrong. It reminds me of what my brother-in-law told me years ago when he was recovering from a debilitating illness. The late Dr. Fraser told him to take up Square Dancing and listed all its’ benefits such as laughter and fun, social contact, exercise of course, and hearing wonderful music. He also said the cognitive benefits such as decision making were great because if the decision is indecisive, it will bring on laughter. Can’t get any better than that.

I have been to a few beginners’ Square Dancing sessions and I love it already. I noticed right away the variation in age groups from about twenty years on up, which I really liked because everyone was chatting with each other, regardless of age. It made for a nice atmosphere of congeniality. The other thing was I got to laugh a myself, of course. You have to know your right from your left and know it fast; it doesn’t always come that quickly as we age. At the dances there aren’t enough men (hear that guys?) and some women wear yellow banners which tells you that they re playing the male role for that set. You have to remember that if the caller says men in the center and some women go in, you don’t follow the yellow bannered ladies. Then they decide which are the Head couples and which are the Side couples. You can see already how tricky these decisions are, for me at least. I was hoping my partner would be a great looking greying-blonde with terrific broad shoulders (I like broad shoulders in a guy..I know…I know!…) God wasn’t listening because I got a bannered lady. When the caller says “swing your partner” I can’t get too excited about those slender shoulders. Allemande left to your partners all…I can’t forget the lady with the yellow banner..I can remember that! The first time I’m out dancing in mixed company in years and I get a bannered lady for a partner. But I must say, I don’t know how she could do the male role but she was so great at keeping me on track and she knew exactly where and when to go which is more than I did. Interestingly enough, I also had a bannered lady for a corner. Oh well, maybe next set I’ll get those broad shoulders.

I’m just spoofing; it was great fun and I am looking forward to our next session do si do-ing and Allemande-ing left. Didn’t we learn that in high school? Could I forget it so soon? I can see that in time I am going to be cognitively fit, physically spry and well ‘endorphined’ with all these lol’s and nice company. As for the greying- blonde with the great shoulders … heck, we can’t have it all. You might want to give Square Dancing a try – you will love it!

On the Wheelchair Tai Chi website is Cindy Carroll’s wonderfully informative and caring article on Wheelchair/Armchair Tai Chi. I had first seen Cindy’s article in a magazine in 2009 and had kept it because it was so beautifully written and I was so interested in the subject and grateful for the ingenuity of a Dr. Zibin Guo who obviously cared so much about the problems of people with physical disabilities. Apparently Dr. Guo, a medical Anthropologist at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, was concerned about the lack of good physical fitness plans and difficulties associated with physical fitness for people with disabilities. He and his colleagues tested Tai Chi movements practiced in wheelchairs and armchairs and, in some cases, with amazing results. I am hoping we can form a group here and offer it to any person who is physically challenged for greater health benefits. If anyone wants to assist me, please let me know. I have some plans in the ready. Tai Chi promotes increased muscle strength and flexibility, improved balance and coordination and reduced stress and stiffness as well as many other benefits. Sounds like having a class here is something we should and can do to help these individuals.

One evening I was at the Family Restaurant at Pitt and Ninth Streets with a friend who has recently been very ill. Her appetite is not great but she was anticipating her favourite chicken wings and zucchini sticks. On the menu the order seemed far too large for her and she didn’t know what else to eat. I talked to the owner who said to let her order any amount she wanted. Needless to say, she was delighted and feasted on her chosen food. What a great guy to so readily offer this alternative to her which also cost her less. Also at the restaurant the waitresses are always so nice but one of them, Kathleen, goes out of her way to make sure that no food associated with my food allergies gets near my plate, even washing her hands before handling my plate. What an extraordinary loving thing to do. To the Family Restaurant, thank you and kudos.

Have a great week, Dawn


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1 Comment

  1. Well I would like to say that Dawn has some great ideas to help our seniors along the way form geting assistants in getting help to purchase hering aids to dental care and eye glassses for which she has presented these thoughts to our representives in both federal and provincial areeas but to no avail. The answers are here is a book on what we offer.
    The items that she proposes each week need people to respond if you want to help her send her a note to say you agree and send a note to your represntative to tell them as well.
    Nothing will ever get done if you the people don,t show that your needs are not being met. How many of you need hearing aids but can,t afford them, or teeth that need some work but don,t have the funds or how about eye glasses so that you can see. Speak up and be heard because unless you do nothing will be gained.

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