Stress Management Seniors Situation Room by Dawn Ford Dec 17, 2013

DawnFord_SSRCFN – Recently on the medical news it said that seniors need to do Stress Management. I was surprised because I had never seen it mentioned before for older people. Exercise, proper nutrition and social contacts but never stress management as an aid to health for seniors. In the past when I talked to some seniors about it they just shrug it off as if it not important. With all the changes that occur when people retire and in some cases big losses and changes, it is an important tool to keep us healthy as possible.

When I first went to work at Mount Carmel House Treatment Center, there was a “Diagnosis of Stress” paper included in their programs. There are physical symptoms such as dizziness, dry mouth and tremors as well as negative thoughts and feelings such as feeling apprehensive or frightened without any apparent reason. I didn’t feel stressed out but I took the test anyway and was very surprised that the results were as higher that I expected. One of the counselors told me that stress starts to feel ‘normal’ and you can be unaware how high your stress levels are at any given time. You can go on line to try some stress tests yourself.

I have a few Relaxation tapes but my favorite is one I purchased from the Midwest Center for Stress and Anxiety in Ohio. Call 1-800944-9428 or go on the web site. I am sure it has helped keep my blood pressure down. I also have one to play at bedtime by Joan Sutherland which I have had for years. I try to do some Christian Meditation daily using the mantra “Marana tha” which works for me. Also, Dr. Andrew Weil’s breathing technique for instant stress reduction from his book “Spontaneous Healing. He explains a very simple exercise such as breathing in through your nose to the count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7 and breath out through your mouth to the count of 8…do it four times twice a day. I use it when I feel stressed out. It works beautifully. Go to his web site to read the full info on this simple technique. He says it is good for your blood pressure among other benefits.

One of Tai Chi’s benefits is relaxation. I didn’t feel this at first when I was starting to take lessons but I remember one night as I was leaving the center that I realized how relaxed I was…and how tense I must have been on the way in. Also the Yoga posture of lying flat with arms extended to each side is a wonderful way to let all that tension float away.

Armchair/Wheelchair Tai Chi classes are starting in Cornwall starting in December on Tuesdays and Thursday at GVHS at 3pm. Accessible building. Please call Sifu Ryu at 360-0892or e-mail him at . December classes are free.

Every once in awhile someone comes into your life that is special. And when they leave this life, there is a big empty space no one else can ever fill. My older sister Coolie told me some years ago that she was losing some friends a little too fast. (Her real name is Alberta but my Grandfather Herrington named her “Coolie” because she cooed so much as a baby.) I think I was not old enough at the time to realize the full impact of her words. But in the last 8 years I have lost 6 very dear friends as well and 2 uncles and an Aunt. And now, our brother-in law Doug who was married to Coolie for 71 years, has gone to his heavenly home. Most of us, the younger members of my large family, cannot remember ever being without him. We couldn’t have had a better brother-in-law or to most of us, big brother. He was active in the community and his church and a wonderful father to three children and a loving husband to my sister. Doug and Coolie square danced for many, many years with the Swinging Bees. Doug was always pleasant to be around and loved to visit and tell stories and jokes.

The full measure of how well he was thought of in our family came one day when my elderly mother had a fall. She refused to go to the hospital in an ambulance. To my knowledge she had never been in a hospital before, never had an x-ray or needle. Finally, she said to call Doug, she would go with him. She would not go with anyone else. Doug came right away and the Paramedics gently put her in his car. The ambulance followed all the way to the hospital. She trusted Doug that much. He was a wonderful man and we will all miss him.

dawn 2I met Fred and Bonnie Cappuccino in the mid 80’s when I was attending a fund raiser for Child Haven International. My Medical Director at the time at Mount Carmel Treatment Center was Dr. Nat Shah who, along, with Bonnie and Fred had founded Child Haven International which to-day houses 1300 children . When I heard they had adopted 19 orphaned children from all over the world plus had one of their own, I was in awe and very anxious to meet them .I was not disappointed. Now Bonnie is 79 and Fred 87 and have celebrated their Diamond Jubilee this past July. A special endowment fund has been set up to ensure the longevity of Child Haven International after they retire. Go the their website at to read about all the work Child Haven is doing to help children and women in India, Bangledesh, Nepal and Tibet at 10 homes and how we can help with Bonnie and Fred’s special fund.

Bonnie and Fred Cappuccino

There is great news for Diabetics. The first class of Dogs trained to assist Diabetics has graduated. The dogs are taught to detect high and low blood sugar and are trained to run and seek help within the owner’s home as needed. They are trained at the Lions Foundation of Canada in Oakville. They join the ranks of other service dogs such as Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Aid Dogs as well as other Companion Dogs. You can go on line and read the wonderful article. Congratulations to the Lions Foundation who are working to make life better and easier for all of us. The Lions Foundation is currently accepting donations to expand the program as well as applications for those needing a dog.

dawn 1Speaking of Dogs, a new therapy Dog has arrived at the Glen Stor Dun Lodge. Lacey is a St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog. Here is Leonard Godard patting Lacey with her owner Barbara Darling. Lacey will visit once a week and give lots of unconditional love to the residents. Now if I can just plan this right, I could be at the Lodge at the right time and right place and maybe get some love from Lacey too.


Here is a cute joke about aging.

One night a nurse was making her rounds in a nursing home. While walking down the hall, she came across an open door. She looked in and saw old Frank sitting up in bed pretending to drive.

She asked,” Frank, what are you doing?’

He replied, ”I’m driving to Toronto.” The nurse smiled at him and carried on making her rounds.

The next night as she walked past Frank’s room she saw the same thing.

Again she asked, ”Frank, what are you doing?”

He replied, “I’m driving to Toronto. It’s a two day trip, you know!” The nurse smiled at him and carried on making her rounds.

Five minutes later she came across another opened door and looked in. She saw Bob pretending to dance with someone. She then asked, ”Bob, what are you doing?”

Bob replied,” I’m dancing with Frank’s wife. He’s gone to Toronto for a couple of days…”

Have a good week. Dawn


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