Seniors’ Situation Room – Edition 15 by Dawn Ford

CFN – We have some wonderful teenagers in this city. I happened to run into a few lately and I was impressed. One Saturday afternoon I went into Giant Tiger where two young people were manning the Cancer Society fund raising table. A lovely young lady and very charming young man greeted me with smiles and gave me a newly designed daffodil lapel pin for my coat. Another time when I was going into Giant Tiger, two handsome young lads, dressed in their Air Cadet uniforms, were fund raising for their club. All of these teenagers could have been out doing what teenagers do on a Saturday afternoon and having fun. Instead, these four young people were helping their community. Pretty nice. Kudos.

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I thought I would be safe from loud explosions and gun fire when I decided to see the movie’42’. I forgot about the ads for the upcoming movies. It seemed to me they were mostly violent movies and there was lots of explosions and very harsh loud noises. It seems violent movies are called action movies today. Having lost much of my hearing at age forty-six, I try to protect what is left. I think other people’s hearing should be protected also, especially the children. I don’t understand why this noise pollution is allowed. Next time, I will go out until the ads are over. And quite frankly, I didn’t see one movie that is coming up that I would want to see anyway. What happened to the good old days of musicals and comedy?? And when the sound was within normal ranges??

The film of the life story of Jackie Robinson is wonderful and I would give it an A+ rating. I had seen the previous biography years ago but this movie is a little more in depth and is so inspiring. It is hard to believe the abuse he had to endure. When I was about eight years old I came home and told my Mother a rhyme I had learned about ‘catching a nigger by the toe’. My Mother was furious. She sat me down and I got a big lecture about not insulting or hurting anyone who had a different colour tone to their skin. The saving grace for me was that I didn’t know what a ‘nigger’ was in the first place. But I never forgot her words.

The actor who plays Jackie, Chadwick Boseman, is so great and this has to be one of Harrison Ford’s best movies. I could see a bit more into the character of the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers Branch Richey in this movie and how principled and focused he was in his beliefs which paved the way for Jackie to try so hard to break the racial barriers in baseball. I remember thinking during the movie that it reminded me of one of the sayings in the 12 Step AA Program which states “Ever mindful of placing principles before personalities”. It seems that Branch was doing just that. It is a movie you won’t want to miss seeing.

My brother Sonny and I have been Yankee fans forever. We cheered the Expos and we cheer the Jays, our only Canadian baseball team but when Mariano Rivera, #42 for the Yankees, steps on the mound in the 9th inning to save the game….this is magic! This is baseball! Like watching Yvan flying down the ice for the Habs in the ‘old days’ or the Great One getting the winning goal. It doesn’t get any better than that.

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Lisa Blanchard opened her new Spirit Tree Yoga Center at 52 Pitt Street, above Echo Trends. Always gracious, Lisa was beaming. I don’t blame her. The center is beautiful, light and airy. Joining her to celebrate the opening was the “Health Nut”, Sylvie Thibert who had some of her wonderful goodies for sale and a lovely lady named Sarah offered some samples of a delicious looking smoothie. With my food allergies I had to pass up sampling the food but it looked wonderful. Someone was offering some wine and other goodies. I had to leave before the fashion show of Yoga clothing but I caught a glimpse at some of it and it was beautiful. We wish Lisa all the very best in her new center and I can see I will be enjoying getting back to one of her classes soon, especially if I get one of those nice Yoga outfits to wear.

[Lisa is a current CFN advertiser – give her Item a link if you like or drop in her banner if you want.]

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When I lived in my home we had a security system and my husband’s life-line was attached to it. We had to pay for the wires to be added, I think, but once that was done, his lifeline was free monthly. I wonder why this could not be done for seniors living in residences? Many seniors living alone in these senior apartment buildings which all have security systems, would like lifelines but can’t afford them. If the lifelines could be attached to these already-installed systems, even at a nominal monthly charge, it would be a win-win situation for everyone: the security system company would make a few extra dollars and our seniors would all be attached to lifelines and protected for emergencies. Any suggestions??

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The Lodger newsletter from the GlenStorDun Lodge is always a treat to read. As a matter of fact, once I have read through it and am on the last page, I am wishing there was more. Being a dog lover, I enjoyed in the March issue a three page story of Push, a three-time champion Retriever turned therapy dog. He can give me therapy any day he wants. Actually, I just realized I do need therapy on Thursdays which is the day Push is with the social worker Craig Smith. I wonder if I could get in the line up for Push? You can follow this LINK for more on this incredible dog.

In the April issue there are two little dogs giving therapy also. Little Yogi, a Shih tzu mix, brings many smiles and a pound puppy, a German Shepard mix looking for a home, is seen bringing love to some of the residents. Craig Smith offers book reviews and talks about “Kisses for Elizabeth”, by Stephenie D Zeman, among other books. It is a book written for both family and professional care givers of people with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia, according to Craig. He said that it is based on the premise that “good Dementia Care is common comes from the heart” He then outlines 15 common sense Guidelines in the column. Really worth reading for all of us.

The Lodge offers our community so much more than their love and support for the residents in their care. They also operate the Meals-On -Wheels Program as well as the Day Away Program and Phone contacts for seniors in the community. Volunteers are urgently needed for the Day Program. Please call 613-933-3384, ext. 243 if you can help.

Craig Smith has very kindly given us a report on SAD as it affects seniors in homes but also the general public. He said that…

It is clear from the literature that depression is a very real issue amongst residents of long-term care homes. Latest research into the issue suggests that upwards of 85% of long-term care residents may very well suffer from some degree of clinical depression from time to time. Much of this can be tied to the multiple losses and compound losses that residents have experienced over their lifetime, such as loss of career, loss of loved ones, loss of cherished pets, their home, their car and drivers’ licence…the list goes on and on.

Compound this further with feelings of loss of independence, privacy, freedom, autonomy, and even to some degree privacy in the long-term care setting, and you can appreciate why the risk of depression can be so high in the elderly, especially those who need the added support of long-term care.

Another issue tied to depression, and which can exist alone or in combination with other types of depression, is the phenomenon known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. In this disorder, people may feel especially affected during the long and dark winter months, when sunlight levels dip and days shrink to their shortest point of the year. Come Spring, with increasing light levels and an ever-increasing length of day, and the symptoms of sadness, lethargy, easy tearfulness and fatigue can begin to abate.

In long-term care, we are seeing more and more families investing in S.A.D. lights to help their loved one combat the ‘Winter Blues.’ These lights provide a full-spectrum light source that seems to bring new energy, vitality and higher spirits to people using them. There is research to show that these lights actually trigger a part of the brain to produce ‘happy chemicals’ which explain the improved mood and increased energy levels.

Getting their loved one involved in light-to-moderate exercise programs is also an important strategy. We see more and more seniors from our homes being taken to the local Aquatic Centre for exercise programs in the pool, followed by a relaxing dip in the hot tub. Visits with loved ones, especially with the blinds on the windows pulled up as high as possible to let as much light as possible into the resident’s room, can also be very therapeutic. Any of these strategies can help to break up the long winter months, and also combat the symptoms of S.A.D.

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The lamps may be purchased online by searching for “sad lamp’ on Google. Craig recommends the one on because it is Canadian and you don’t have to pay duty. Cost is about $100 and qualifies for free shipping and handling and comes right to your door. Also, many retailers such as Staples, Walmart and Canadian Tire carry some of the lamps from time to time.

I am hoping one day they will build a Retirement section on the east side of the Lodge. I could have a large room, overlooking the river, of course, which would have a private bath, walls large enough to house my library, my music and paint supplies and a nook where I could paint. I could run across the lawn to the Nav Centre for a swim in their pool and maybe if I am rich enough, some beauty treatments in their spa to make me gorgeous. My meals would be served in that beautiful dining room. That would work for me.

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My self- talk is getting worse and even confusing me. One day I said to myself: “I forget if I forgot to take my pill.” ( I couldn’t remember if I took my Vitamin or if I had forgotten to take it). I think I am getting very creative…..or something in my old age. Yesterday I couldn’t find something so I said a prayer to St. Anthony and St. Vincent de Paul to help me find it…promising that I would give alms to the poor .Today I can’t remember what I asked them to find. I wonder if I found it?? Think I need a doctor?? …or , according to Dr. Daniel G. Amen, at my age I have just too many “files” in the old noggin and it is starting to show when I try to pull one out. lol

According to my latest issue of Spirituality and Health Magazine, Dr. Amen is now a presenter at the Kripalu center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Mass. Follow this LINK for more info.

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My friend Elaine who had been at Hospice for about six weeks left us for her heavenly home in time for Easter. I had been expecting it for days, then hours and yet, when it happened it was still a shock. I was there with some of her family which made it easier. What was so incredible at the time was that the Hospice staff surrounded us with their love and sympathy. She died at 7am and the day staff at some point had arrived. When we were getting ready to leave the facility, the night staff was still there. Still with us. They hadn’t left. Loving and caring throughout her weeks of illness, the staff were there till the end giving us their compassion and support. What a wonderful tribute to our loved ones that this staff cares so much. How consoling it was for us to have them with us in our grief.

Being there with Elaine mostly at nights I did not get to see Dr. Randlett, but I was told by Elaine’s family that she was also in attendance, supervising Elaine’s care. Thank you and your staff, Dr. Randlett, for your love and concern and for taking such good care of our beloved Elaine. Kudos.

Elaine’s long-time personal physician, Dr. Leigh Carson, was there so many, many evenings to see her sometimes at 9pm even though he had already had a full day of work and arriving some nights in some very bad winter weather. He would sit down beside her as she lay in her bed and so gently and lovingly ask her how she was and how he could make her more comfortable. He came so often and was so attentive that the nurses teased Elaine about ‘her boyfriend’. I remember thinking, he’s a doctor we all would want to take care of us when we are ill. Thank you, Dr. Carson for being there for Elaine. She always told me that you are wonderful and you are. Kudos.

This poem was on literature given to me when my mother was dying at the Villa and now again, I read it on the brochure at Hospice. It was a great comfort to me. It is by Henry Van Dyke:


“I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says:
‘There, she is gone!’
Gone where?
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone
at my side says,’There, she is gone!’

There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad
“Here she comes!”

And that is dying.


I miss you Elaine, ‘Old Bird’. Friends forever!

Here is an antidepressant to cheer us all up.










Have a good week, Dawn

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