Seniors Situation Room by Dawn Ford JANUARY is Alzheimer’s Month


January is Alzheimer’s Awareness month and the Alzheimer Society has launched a new initiative called Dementia Friends. They are hoping that the community will make a difference by becoming more inclusive of some people with dementia and/or their caregivers. It could involve us learning more about the disease, or volunteer to take a person out for a walk who always liked walking or helping a caregiver struggling with their loved one’s disease. It could mean noticing that someone in a store needed a bit of assistance. Small things matter and make all the difference when we are more aware of them. Go on line to join. It takes only several minutes to enrol and you can become a Dementia Friend. I did.

The Alzheimer office is located at 106 Second Street west, in Times Square and the phone number for info is 613-932-4914. There is a sign on the window of their office that says: ‘Welcome’. And it is true; you are.

I was wondering if there is psychological testing for a cat. There must be because we have animal cat and dog training and Whisperers. Tiger, my cat, would probably be a good candidate. I found him chewing the toe of my slipper when I came in from shopping one day. Is this separation anxiety?? I took it away from him and he then went and chewed the corner of a cardboard box. Spite?? Can’t have tasted very good..either of them. He must think he is part puppy. It is hard to figure him out. I put a stuffed black lab little toy dog on the bed for him and he acts like it is a monster and puts his back to it. He won’t have a thing to do with it. He will, however, lie on the floor next to three little statues of two yellow labs and a little black lab puppy, and almost curl up with them. Does that make sense? And do you know how hard it is to make a bed when this cat is on it and he won’t move?? I think he thinks he owns the whole house and everything in it. He may definitely need testing..or I do!! Lately a friend was taking about a lady who was ill. I suggested that the person should see a Vet. lol..I think I spend too much time with Tiger!! I may be starting to think like him.

A wonderful man will be celebrating his 90th. birthday on January 28th…Fred Cappuccino.

I first met Fred in the ’80’s at a fundraising dinner in Alexandria for Child Haven International. At that time, our Medical Director at Mount Carmel House Treatment Center where I worked in St. Raphael’s was Dr. Nat Shah. He invited some of the staff to attend the dinner. Child Haven International was founded by Dr. Shah and Fred and his wife Bonnie in 1985. The first home for destitute children was opened in Dhanera, Gujaret. Now in 2016, there are homes in four countries: India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Tibet where children and some women in these developing countries are provided with food, education, shelter, clothing and lots of love. Go to: for more information about Child Haven International, email: or phone 613-527-2829.

Fred and his wife Bonnie have 21 children; two biological and 19 adopted from 11 countries, mostly the Far East. A book entitled ‘Bonnie and her 21 Children’ has recently been released, written, as Fred says, by her long suffering husband. I love his great sense of humour. Bonnie and Fred celebrated their Diamond Jubilee in July of 2013 … 60 years. At that time, a special endowment fund was set up so that the income would ensure and aid the continuation of Child Haven International homes in perpetuity.

Fred, we say Happy Happy Birthday to you and many more!

My school and Girl Guide friend Frances Glass- Irwin has sent this photo of our 2nd Trinity Girl Guide group which appeared also in the Courtaulds Rayon Reel newsletter of 1954.

DF jan 24 16Frances is in the back row 3rd from the left and our captain Alison Maitland is 8th from the left. I am first in the front row from the left and my younger, sister Evelyn is beside me. I see lots of familiar faces. In the front row, first from the right is my close friend and nursing classmate, the late Marjory Garlough-Exley who left us for her heavenly home recently. Nice looking Girl Guide group, eh? Ah, to be young again! Thanks Frances for the photo.

I was given an appointment book in 2003 with a large page for each day. But I didn’t use it much very much. That winter I decided to use it as a scribbler and filled in the pages by writing a poem every day, if possible, to hone up my skills. Over a period of time I wrote many poems. Eventually it got packed away somewhere and I found it recently. I discovered that I had written some about the cold winter days, hoping Old Man Winter and Jack Frost would take a hike soon and other poems dreaming about being somewhere near the ocean listening to the music of the ongoing tides and watching sandpipers swiftly scoot along the shore.

At that time, it seemed there were a lot of changes happening; some people had died, others became sick and had to go into hospital and nursing homes. A time of transition and change all around me. I think that is what sparked this poem about getting old:

Getting Dawn Ford 2005 one wintry day….

Where will I go when I’m very old?

Where will I hang my hat?

Will anyone care if I’m there or not?

Will they let me bring my cat?

If I am spry and full of beans,

It may not seem so bad.

But if I am ill and such a pest,

It’ll surely make me mad.

My summer days are speeding by

And autumn’s at my door.

When winter blows, will it be harsh

Or just a kitten’s roar?

It may depend on you and yours

If I exist and thrive.

If you forget you knew me well,

Then I will surely die.

But there will be one last hurrah

Before I hit the mat.

I’ll tell the truth before I go.

I especially loved my cat.

Some years ago, my brother Ed told me that his grandson, my great-nephew David Dobson Jr, had a hard time remembering the order of the planets when he was about nine. He made up this saying: My very eager mother just served us nine pizzas.( Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.) I have never forgotten them. In recent years they have degraded Pluto from planet status but on the news recently, they had discovered what they believe to be the new 9th. planet. No name yet. Maybe soon we will be saying something like, ‘ My very eager mother just served us nine cokes.’ Thanks, David.

Here is a cute joke:

An old geezer became very bored with retirement and decided to open a medical clinic. He put up a sign outside that said: ‘Dr. Geezer’s Clinic. Get your treatment for $500. If not cured, get back $1000.’

Doctor ‘Young’, who was positive that this old geezer didn’t know beans about medicine, thought this would be a great opportunity to get $1000. So he went to the clinic.

Dr. Young: “Dr. Geezer. I have lost the taste in my mouth. Can you help me ??”

Dr. Geezer: “Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in Dr. Young’s mouth.”

Dr. Young: ” Aaagh!! This is gasoline.”

Dr. Geezer: “Congratulations. You got your taste back. That will be $500.

Dr. Young gets annoyed and goes back to the clinic after a few days figuring to recover his money.

Dr. Young: “I have lost my memory. I cannot remember anything.”

Dr. Geezer: “Nurse, please bring medicine from box 22 and put 3 drops in the patient’s mouth.”

Dr. Young: “Oh, no you don’t! That is gasoline. !!”

Dr. Geezer: “Congratulations. You got your memory back. That will be $500.”

Dr. Young (after having lost $1000) leaves angrily and comes back after several more days.

Dr. Young: “My eyesight had become weak- I can hardly see anything!!!”

Dr. Geezer: “Well, I don’t have any medicine for that, so here is your $1000 back (giving him a $10 bill).

Dr. Young: “But this is only $10!!”

Dr. Geezer: “Congratulations. You got your vision back. That will cost $500.”

Moral of the story- just because you’re ‘Young’ doesn’t mean that you can outsmart an ‘old Geezer’.

Have a good week, Dawn


  1. Dawn….as pet owners know pets train us, we don’t train them.

  2. Great stories,wonderful poem.

  3. Good edition and the photo looks great. Do you remember Myrna Plumley on end of row 2nd to me? And Ann Tabram and Bev Heward the two on the right of 2nd. row?
    The planets….I remember learning ‘Man very early made jars stand up perpendicular.’…silly expression when you think of it but it made me remember their order to this day.

  4. Thanks , Dawn, for a nice article.

  5. What a coincidence. This is the first time I have seen that Dawn writes a column, although this was mentioned to me in September, when Claude McIntosh wrote a column about my brothers, Kent and Don. Not only did I find a picture of Dawn, but there was a picture of our Guide Company as well as a comment from France’s Glass. Dawn, can you get us sharing email addresses?

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