Tag Archives: seniors

Be on the alert for fraud and scams

Hon. Kelvn Goertzen
Minister’s Message

Fraud is the number one crime against older Canadians. Common types of fraud and scams include identity theft, credit or debit card fraud, online scams, and phone and door-to-door scams.

Though anyone can be a victim of fraud, older people are frequently targeted because they are perceived as financially stable, trusting, generous, and courteous. Older adults may also be home during the day to answer the door or phone and, depending on the circumstances, may not have family or friends close by to ask for a second opinion. Continue reading Be on the alert for fraud and scams

Tai chi: for seniors, this Chinese exercise could be just what the doctor ordered

It improves balance and agility, along with stamina and muscular strength.

Janet Cranston Fit for Life
Janet Cranston
Fit for Life

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition practiced as a graceful form of exercise. It involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner accompanied by deep breathing. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion. It is often described as meditation in motion.

There are many different styles of tai chi. Some styles may focus on health maintenance, while others focus on the martial arts aspect of the exercise. Continue reading Tai chi: for seniors, this Chinese exercise could be just what the doctor ordered

What’s in the cards for health?

Will it be some tinkering or real change?

“Medicare is aging badly.” This sombre assessment was delivered quietly in the report last June of Ottawa’s distinguished advisory panel on healthcare innovation. One could not read it as, though, other than a pointed wake-up call and affirmation of the concern Canadians feel today about the state of their health system.

But the panel went further, in a message that should strike a chord with governments here as well as alerting the public, as the new government in Ottawa begins to lay out plans for changes in Canada’s healthcare arrangements.

“The panel,” the report said, in reference to its own deliberations, “has been left in no doubt that a major renovation of the system is overdue, and is chagrined and puzzled by the inability of Canadian governments – federal, provincial and territorial – to join forces and take concerted action on recommendations that have been made by many previous commissions, reviews, panels and experts.”

In short, the panel found there’s been little change in the way Canada’s health systems and operations are structured and managed since the days of the 1960s and 1970s when public healthcare was first set up.

In two key recommendations it proposes establishment of a fund with an operating budget reaching $1 billion a year, to pay the costs on the new process.

They could, after all, choose to be bold. And the six-member panel, headed by former University of Toronto president, Dr. David Naylor, has come up with some new and resourceful ways of dealing with healthcare’s shortcomings head on. We are paying a lot for a relatively narrow bundle of publicly-insured services. Although there are many great ideas in circulation and extraordinary pockets of innovative activity across the country, Canada has not been successful in mobilizing large scale change at the system level. Put differently, though it starts many a pilot project, it has neglected to cultivate the good ones, and upscale them, possibly to reach people across the nation.

As its mandates required, the panel names a handful of areas where innovation would make Canada’s healthcare more effective and sustainable, virtually putting the country on a catch-up path with its peers.

Firstly, it calls for patient-centred health care. “The patients want in,” says the panel. Patients increasingly see themselves as partners in their own care. They expect to interact with a responsible system that is designed around their needs.

Second, the panel wants healthcare to respond to the needs produced by Canada’s changing demographics. It points to the coming increase in seniors’ populations, and the need for medical teams that can deal with the chronic illnesses that fill out their lives. Aboriginal numbers are rising fast on the prairies, and healthcare needs will intensify.

The digital revolution is bringing on a range of challenges, involving how and how widely we use and benefit from the data that is already waiting to be collected. And then, for individuals, a potential for smarter clinical decision-making, remote monitoring, health tools and more informed and engaged patients. Coming over the horizon, there will be profound medical changes to be wrought at the individual level through precision medicine.

And then, if the government listens, there could be huge changes at the centre of it all. First of all, healthcare moves into these new processes, not via a set of proposals, to be universally adopted by the provinces and paid for, in part, by federal largesse, but by opening up to the provinces the opportunity to participate through “coalitions of the willing”, involving a shared commitment by provinces and territories, along with stakeholders, medical institutions and others to scale up innovations and make fundamental changes in incentives, culture, accountabilities and more. The initiative could make a meaningful difference to Canadian healthcare in the next 10 years.

As key to the upscaled innovation that is to come in Canadian healthcare, the panel is proposing a mighty agency, possibly at arm’s length from government, which will play a leadership role in fostering the spread of new processes.

Now, as then, this panel lamented in its report, “there is no logic to the existing payments and accountability silos. Healthcare remains disjointed, with poor coordination within and across the various professions, acute and chronic care institutions and community care.”

Stakeholders, said the panel, repeatedly cited fragmented financing as a barrier to the spread of innovative healthcare practices and an impediment to high quality, cost-effective care.

It is no wonder that it takes hard work to make improvements. For a modernized procedure to spread beyond the boundaries of its own unit, these are seemingly insurmountable difficulties. Pioneering health authorities deplored the situation for decades. It explains why Canada has fallen behind many of its peers in the western world in its healthcare offerings.

For a nation currently cheered by the promise that its new federal government will bring in “real change” the panel touches a chord. And the Naylor report, in a series of proposals that would, over a period of time bring Canadian healthcare practices up to modern-day standards, points the way.


A birthday gift for Grandma? How about an iPad?

The new technology is building new bridges between the generations.

Myrna Driedger, MLA Winnipeg Manitoba Progressive Conservative (PC) caucus
Myrna Driedger
Broadway Journal

I think we’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” When it comes to technology there is a stereotype that elders are technophobes. The Oxford dictionary defines a technophobe as “a person who fears, dislikes or avoids new technology”. This stereotype is often applied to older people, and although a technology gap may still exist the gap is shrinking. Continue reading A birthday gift for Grandma? How about an iPad?

Strategies for reaching your New Year’s goals

Think it through! Why do we so often fail to make the fresh start that we planned when the New Year dawns? Here are some traps we might be setting up for ourselves.

Barbara Barb Bowes Transitions
Barbara Bowes

I know! Most of you have made your New Year’s resolutions, and I haven’t. But I’m not feeling contrite. That’s because my experiences with setting New Year’s resolutions hasn’t ever been very successful. In fact, in most cases my resolution probably didn’t last more than three days! What about you? And, now that it’s early January… how many of your resolutions have been broken already? I know I’m not alone! Continue reading Strategies for reaching your New Year’s goals