News for Agency Staff 

Items on this page are generally not time specific, but rather point to information and resources beneficial to those working in the senior-serving sector.


Info contained in this section

 
ESCC News
With over 1000 program listings of recreational and wellness opportunities for adults 55+ in the Edmonton area, the ESCC’s Physical Activity and Recreation Directory for Older Adults is an invaluable resource for seniors and service providers in Edmonton. The 2014-15 directory is currently being distributed and we may have some extra copies. If your organization would like some directories, contact Janelle or Rosalie at 780-423-5635 and we’ll try to accommodate your request.
In early August, the ESCC provided a backgrounder of seniors issues to the Progressive Conservative and New Democrat leadership candidates. The backgrounder highlights relevant issues for seniors and senior-serving organizations and may give you ideas for questions to ask the candidates.
 The ESCC encourages member organizations to take part in the 2014 Boland Survey of Not-For-Profit Salaries and Human Resource Practices. This annual survey compiles information covering the non-profit sector in Canada and provides valuable insights that can help your organization. If at least eight ESCC member organizations participate, the ESCC will pay for a custom report showing aggregate salary and benefit information for members which we will distribute to participating organizations. There is no charge to submit your data but you must register in order to receive a participation package. Notify Janelle at janelle@seniorscouncil.net if your organization plans to submit information so we can track member participation. Note: Many of the links on the Boland website do not work but the links inserted here do.
 
 
 
 Age Friendly Edmonton
Edmonton's first Fit Forever Festival runs October 7 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Northgate Lions Seniors Recreation Centre (7524-139 Ave). The festival, sponsored by Age Friendly Edmonton, features information sessions for seniors, educators and anyone interested in learning about fitness in Edmonton for the senior population. Attendees can also pick up useful resources at the information fair. Learn more by reviewing the poster. The cost is $15 (which includes lunch) and pre-registration is required. Register by calling 780-944-5487 or email the registration form to Linda.Murray@edmonton.ca. Registration closes September 30.
 
 
 
General Interest
The 2014 Alberta Nonprofit Survey is now available. The report compiled by the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations records the state of Alberta’s nonprofit/voluntary sector and identifies emerging trends.
A recent article courtesy of the Hillborn Charity eNews discusses the benefits of having a planned-giving program in place and tips on how to get started. Read more.
To watch a video produced by seniors and young people in Wellington, Ontario, to raise awareness about ageism, go here. The video is part of an information package intended to be used in high schools to address ageism and elder abuse. To check out more information on Facebook, go here.
An inter-generational program in B.C. was recently named one of the top submissions in an International Federation on Ageing Best Existing Age-Friendly Initiative Competition. The award recognizes initiatives that “demonstrate innovation and visionary approaches to age-friendliness and generational inclusivity”. To watch a video on the program, go here. To watch a video of a project in Ontario with a multicultural focus that also made the top 10, go here. The winner of the competition was Age-Friendly New York. To watch a video about it, go here.
 
 
 
Grants and Awards
The Alberta Human Rights Commission administers the Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund, which provides grants to community projects that foster equality and reduce discrimination (including discrimination based on age). Project outcomes should promote an environment in which all Albertans can participate in and contribute to the cultural, social, economic and political life of Alberta. Registered not-for-profit organizations in Alberta are invited to apply by October 1. For more information visit the website or contact nicholas.ameyaw@gov.ab.ca or call 780-427-4001.
“Grants from foundations, government and the corporate sector are a significant contributor to the quality programs and services provided by seniors-serving organizations. The City of Edmonton Grants and Funding Information Sheet 2014 is intended to provide basic information on the variety of grants available for programming, special projects and capital costs. Please note that each grant has a different application process and being familiar with the detailed information provided through the website links is critical.” To access the sheet, go here.
Imagine Canada's Grant Connect is a “searchable database with detailed information on all Canadian grant-making foundations, hundreds of corporate community investment programs, government funding programs as well as American foundations that fund Canadian charities.” This is not a free service. To find out more, go here.
The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) is accepting applications for community-based funding projects that will help Canadian seniors use their leadership abilities, skills and experience to make a difference in their communities. Organizations may receive up to $25,000 in grant funding. Projects must address one or more of the program’s five objectives: volunteering, mentoring, expanding awareness of elder abuse, social participation and capital assistance. Applications are closed for this year but more information is available at www.esdc.gc.ca/seniors. Details are included in this announcement.
 
 
 
Health
With the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing this summer, you may be looking for resources to share with your members and clients. The Government of Alberta’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health recently shared some heat health tips for seniors which we’ve made into a tipsheet. Health Canada also provides heat health resources. You can order print brochures or download PDF versions from their website.
The Active Living Coalition for Older Adults (ALCOA) has released Active Living tip sheets on Preventing Falls in Older Adults and Healthy Eating and Regular Physical Activity: A Winning Combination for Older Adults. These two newly revised resources are available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Punjabi, Traditional and Simplified Chinese. The newly revised tip sheets, as well as four others, can be ordered via the ALCOA website. Downloadable versions are also available.
The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital has initiated programs focused on increasing the mobility of hospitalized older adults as a means to shorten their hospital stay and support their return home. The newly developed Functional Mobility Guideline and programs such as “moveEZ” lay the foundation for people to maintain their level of mobility upon returning to the community through regular walking, leisure and recreational programs. For more information, please contact Grace Maier at Grace.Maier@albertahealthservices.ca or by phone at 780-735-8834 .
People with dementia and their care partners have a new way to learn about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and connect with others. The ASANT Café is developed by the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories. This online community has discussion forums, educational programs and resources such as videos and frequently asked questions.
Pets provide a “comfort system and actually produce a chemical reaction in the brain that helps to lower levels of the stress-inducing hormone, cortisol, and increase the production of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. In fact, pets have been shown to reduce heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels in humans and can actually help lower cholesterol, fight depression and help protect against heart conditions.” To read more, go here but particularly here.
Research at the University of Alberta brings science one step closer to understanding and preventing memory loss. The research found that when a chemical messenger is released in the brain in certain combinations, it prevents the brain from forgetting a memory. The findings provide a better understanding of memory preservation and could also contribute to Alzheimer’s disease research. To read more, go here. For a Huffington Post article that includes links to information on brain superfoods and how your brain responds to music, go here.
Beginning April 1, Alberta Health Services will use goals of care designations rather than “do not resuscitate” orders to communicate the focus of care for a patient. For more information, go here
 
 
 
Population Stats, Information and Profile
The 2014 Municipal Census confirms that Edmonton’s senior population is growing. Seniors age 65+ make up 12.4 per cent of the Edmonton population in 2014 compared with 10.7 per cent in 2012. When seniors 55-65 years are taken into account the percentage rises to 24.4 per cent in 2014. Learn more about the 2014 results and the comparison to previous years.
“The over-60s have to be seen less as receivers – of welfare, of help – or targeted consumers, and more as participants, both in our economy and our society. This shift towards a participatory approach will eventually redefine the concept of sustainable business. In the years to come, our understanding of sustainability will be enriched by embracing our most precious and the only growing natural resource: our older population.” To read more of the World Economic Forum commentary Ageing population is a blessing not a burden, go here.
Spouses and relatives in Western nations are increasingly confronting the dilemma of where best to care for their loved ones, “as the number of Alzheimer's patients and costs rise, and the supply of qualified nurses and facilities struggles to keep up”. Faraway countries, such as Thailand, are “offering cheaper, and to some minds better, care for those suffering from the irreversible loss of memory”. To read more of the ABC News report Some With Alzheimer's Find Care in Far-off Nations, go here.
“The median age of Alberta’s population in 2041 is projected to climb to 40.7 years, up from 36.1 in 2012. In 2012, those aged 65 and older were about 11 per cent of the population, but by 2041, almost 20 per cent of Albertans are expected to be in this age group.” For the highlights of the latest Alberta Population Projection 2013-2041, go here.
According to Statistics Canada’s preliminary estimates, “5,379,600 Canadians, or 15.3 per cent of the country's population, were aged 65 and over on July 1, 2013. In 1960, the proportion of Canadians aged 65 and over was 7.6 per cent. Among the provinces, Alberta posted the lowest median age (36.0 years) and the smallest proportion of seniors (11.2 per cent).” For more information, go here.
Zoomers are “willing to pay for programs and services that cater to their needs and are of high quality; seek out experiences that are empowering, incorporate opportunities to learn, help broaden horizons and help develop leadership and other skills; prefer flexibility in program options; look for positions that match their level of skill, interests, schedules and personal goals; focus on health and wellness and staying active; and demand high quality, comfortable, welcoming facilities.” To read more of the Leisure Information Network’s Active Aging – Programs and Resources in Canada publication, go here.
“First Nations, Metis and Inuit of advancing years often have poorer health than their non-aboriginal counterparts but don't receive the same level of health-care services as other Canadian seniors.” A Health Council of Canada report says “the health of aboriginal seniors can be compromised by poverty, inadequate housing and poor diet, especially for those living in remote areas where nutritious foods may be prohibitively expensive.” To read more of the CBC News story Aboriginal seniors have a harder time staying healthy, go here.
“In recent years there has been much focus on the reality that our population is aging, but little attention to the experiences of older women. This is true even though we know women live longer, poverty rates among older women remain high and women continue to experience discrimination and barriers to equality throughout their lives.” The Canadian Centre for Elder Law’s Older Women’s Dialogue Project is an attempt to start paying more attention. To read its report, go here.
Financial abuse constitutes up to 50 per cent of all reported cases of abuse perpetrated against older Canadians, and can have significant impacts not only on the financial security of seniors, but also on their emotional well-being. It is the most difficult kind of abuse for service providers, police services and judicial systems to provide an adequate response, as most financial abuse is hidden and many victims are unaware of the abuse.” To read a summary report of a high level meeting hosted by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development and the International Federation on Ageing earlier this year, go here.
“Things in Canada may not be perfect, but Canadian seniors are among the best taken care of in the world. Canada is No. 5 in the first United Nations-sponsored ranking by Global AgeWatch. Leading the list are Sweden, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands. But when it comes to health status alone, Canada is second behind Switzerland.” To read more of the Windsor Star article Canada’s not perfect, but our seniors are among the best looked after in the world, go here.
About one in eight Canadians aged 65 or older suffers from urinary incontinence, the involuntary leakage of urine. A new study, released in the October 2013 edition of Health Reports, looks at loneliness and its links to urinary incontinence. Overall, the odds of being lonely are markedly higher for seniors who reported urinary incontinence, than for those who did not, regardless of age, sex, education or living arrangements. For more information, go here.
“Through housing, transportation, recreational services, social engagement, physical infrastructure, and community health, municipalities are the front-line providers of many services required to support older Canadians.” To read the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ report on Canada’s Aging Population: The Municipal Role in Canada’s Demographic Shift, go here.
“Encouraging older people to use online banking would help to curb financial abuse because it would enhance their financial autonomy by allowing them to perform their banking tasks themselves. Moreover, they would be able to monitor banking activity instantly, making it more difficult for others to make withdrawals or purchases without their permission.” To read more of the International Federation on Aging blog Elder Financial Abuse, Online Banking, and the Privilege of Digital Intuition, go here.
“People in their 90s are in better shape today than people of a similar age were a decade ago, a study out of Denmark suggests. ‘This finding suggests that more people are living to older ages with better overall functioning,’” state the editors of the medical journal reporting the results. "If this development continues, the future functional problems and care needs of very elderly people might be less than are anticipated." To read more of the CBC News article Living longer and better? Study suggests yes, go here.
“People who are socially isolated are more likely to die prematurely, regardless of their underlying health issues, according to a study of the elderly British population. A similar look at retired Americans in 2012 reinforced multiple studies that link loneliness to numerous illnesses, including heart trouble and high blood pressure.” To read more, go here.
“How long you have already lived is one of the best predictors of how long you may live. Life expectancy has been increasing for years thanks to growing awareness of personal health maintenance and medical care that keeps on improving.” To check out your potential longevity, go here.
The sleeping problems of persons with dementia are often unrecognized and under-treated, despite the realization that “disordered sleep may contribute to the onset of dementia and a lack of restorative sleep can negatively impact the health and functioning of both the person living with dementia and their family caregivers. Early identification and appropriate intervention for sleep problems can help reduce the risk of dementia onset and/or slow the acceleration of the illness.” To read more of the results of a cross-Canada survey of healthcare providers' practice in relation to sleep problems and persons with dementia, go here.
“The less confident seniors are on the road, the less they drive, and the more their skills deteriorate from lack of use. The key to keeping seniors driving longer may be boosting their confidence through some encouragement and retraining.” To read more of the CBC News article Driving study could keep seniors on the road longer, go here.
 
 
 
Sector Issues and Concerns
Jeff Johnson has been appointed Minister of Seniors. Premier Prentice outlines specific areas of focus for the new ministry in a mandate letter to Minister Johnson. Work on an elder abuse strategy, provincial housing strategy and addressing fire code and safety issues in seniors accommodation are key elements of this mandate.
The Building Corporate Relationships – A Toolkit for Nonprofits outlines a five-step process that can help non-profit organizations build effective relationships with the corporate sector and other community partners. The toolkit was created by Alberta Culture with input from non-profit stakeholders, community investment managers and fund development professionals.
Volunteer Alberta has shared information of impending policy changes to the RCMP's Police Information Check (PIC) program. The change is related to fingerprinting requirements and will result in significant changes for organizations engaging volunteers. As of July 2016, fingerprinting will be required for all Vulnerable Sector checks and for all Policy Information Checks effective July 2017. Applicants will now be required to visit a qualified PIC location to get their physical prints taken each time they require a check, at a cost of a $25 fingerprint processing fee for all non-Vulnerable Sector PICs. The group submission option will also no longer be available for organizations, as you will no longer be able to submit an application on behalf of a volunteer. More details are available in their August 6, 2014 Sector Connector newsletter.
Volunteer Alberta has issued an update on the proposed policy changes to the RCMP's Police Information Check (PIC) program. Read the latest information on fingerprinting, timeline for implementation and costs.
The Alberta Association of Services for Children and Families (AASCF) is selling some round conference-style tables which are suitable for meeting spaces or banquet functions. The tables (see photo) are available in 2 sizes: 4 feet ($185) and 5 feet ($285). Contact Katie at kmonilaws@aascf.com or 780-428-3660.
A group from the LGTBQ2S community (LGBTQ2S stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Questioning and 2 Spirited) is conducting research to learn about the hopes and concerns of those who identify as LGBTQ2S if they were to move into a seniors’ facility. The Seniors' Pride Project is hoping to have a minimum of 200 people age 55+ complete an anonymous survey by September 1 (new date). Feel free to share the link with people you believe might be willing to complete the survey. People who are not comfortable with the computer version can also respond on paper and return the completed copies to Eric Storey at SAGE, 15 Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2E5.
The ability to show the direct impact of donations on your organization is important to attract new donors and keep your old ones. Sumac.com shares five creative ways non-profit organizations can show the impact of donations.
 For board meetings to be effective and productive they need to be well managed. Learn more with these resources from Vantage Point: information on how consent agendas can make meetings more effective, Board of Directors Meeting assessment package, Making Board Meetings Effective webinar.
The Income Security Advocacy Centre is highlighting a potential change to Old Age Security that could negatively impact immigrant seniors. Bill C-31, the Federal Government’s Budget implementation bill, proposes changes to Old Age Security so that seniors who were sponsored to come to Canada by their family members will have to wait up to 10 years more than other Canadian residents to get benefits they’re currently eligible to receive. For more information on the Income Security Advocacy Centre’s response, review their backgrounder on the issue. Organizations across Canada are concerned about how this bill potentially affects immigrant seniors. Stay tuned.
The Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta recently launched an online resource developed specifically to help not-for-profits and charities prepare for the new Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) coming into effect July 1, 2014. Many of the emails, electronic newsletters and other means that registered charities and not-for-profits use to communicate with volunteers, donors, members and members of the public may now be regarded as Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) and fall under the provisions of CASL. Key issues include obtaining consent to send CEMs and offering a free mechanism to unsubscribe. The website provides answers to frequently asked questions and resources.
Volunteer Edmonton has created a Facebook group called the Volunteer Edmonton Forum to facilitate online discussion for people who work with or manage volunteers. Members can ask questions, share ideas, problem solve, brainstorm and share resources.  As this is a closed group, you will have to contact Volunteer Edmonton so they can invite you to join. E-mail voled@volunteeredmonton.com.
The ESCC and a committee of agency representatives worked with the Support Network to create a central telephone service providing information and referral for seniors. The Seniors Information Phone Line (211) will connect seniors and their caregivers to programs, services and resources for seniors in the Edmonton area. The ESCC has developed a variety of resources you can use to promote the Seniors Information Phone Line including posters, fridge magnets, articles that can be included in newsletters and images that can be shared via social media. Contact Janelle at 780-423-5635 or janelle@seniorscouncil.net to get these resources. Review the backgrounder to learn more about this initiative.
With the launch of the Seniors Information Phone Line, it’s important for seniors organizations to update the 211 Community Resource Department about changes to their organization’s programs and services. There is a new email address to send updates to — database@ab.211.ca. Updates can also be provided by phone at 780-392-8722.
A special issue of The Philanthropist takes stock of the roles Canadian charities play in the development of public policy. “While the list of successes is long and should be celebrated,” says guest editor Allan Northcott, “there is an even longer list of false starts, blind alleys, and clear failures in the space between policy decision makers in government and policy advocates in the charitable sector. No policy advocate can expect success all the time, but as a sector, and as a society, we can do better.” To read more, go here.
ESCC’s EDs and Board Chairs meeting in February, 2014, included a session led by Russ Dahms, Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations’ executive director, on What You Likely Weren’t Told When You Joined the Board. To read the notes for his presentation, go here. For an Employee or Non-Employee questionnaire, related to the presentation, go here. For an Employee or Contractor: Know the Difference resource, go here. For an Employment Standards Tool Kit for Employers, go here. We are compiling input from Tuesday’s evaluations and will schedule another session based on feedback.
Imagine Canada has released the first elements of its Narrative Tool Kit, which is intended to “help charities and non-profits explain to Canadians who we are, what we do and how we're making a difference. The Tool Kit is very much a work in progress -- new elements will be added throughout the year.” For more information, go here.
Pro Bono Law Alberta is encouraging charitable and non-profit organizations that require legal assistance to apply to its Volunteer Lawyer Services program. “In most cases, the legal assistance covers issues such as staffing and employment contracts, legal advice on liability issues, drafting policies and procedures, negotiating a purchase or lease of property, and other matters including board governance disputes and reviewing bylaws and waivers.” For more information, go here.
CauseVox and ListenIn Pictures have produced a free Starter Guide to Non-Profit Video Storytelling. It’s intended to help you “think strategically about video, figure out what kind of video you need, find the best plot and story to tell, structure a story, use video for campaigns and fundraising, and understand the basics of the production process.” For more information and to download the resource, go here.
Take Stock is an online tool developed by the Community Foundations of Canada to help organizations better understand and assess their performance as it relates to governance, financial management and sustainability, information and technology management, human resource management, programs and services, community relations and engagement, and fund development. The tool enables them to work through checklists, access detailed information to improve their understanding of each core function, and assign individuals or teams to the work. To access it, go here.
“All collaborations go through cycles” and “it takes about three to five years to go through the full collaboration cycle. To sustain the collaboration beyond the first journey through the cycle requires that participants constantly reassess the rationale and value proposition of the collaboration — to learn and affirm why they are committed to working with others.” To read more in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, go here.
Imagine Canada recently announced that “38 organizations have achieved accreditation through its national standards program. This brings the total number of accredited organizations up to 82 since the program was introduced in 2011.” It’s a set of standards for charities and non-profits intended to strengthen practices in board governance, financial accountability and transparency, fundraising, staff management and volunteer involvement. For a list of participating organizations and information on how yours can get involved, go here.
Age Friendly Edmonton has provided the names of speakers and details for free one-to-two-hour Healthy Aging Information Series presentations agencies and organizations are encouraged to schedule. The presentations cover Dementia and Alzheimer’s, Living with Arthritis, Hearing Loss, Heart Health, Home Care and Continuing Care Access, Medication Management, Diabetes, Stress Management and Housing Transitions. For more information, go here.
“A popular program offered by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission is available online to help Alberta’s charitable organizations gain essential information to help better understand the responsibilities and requirements of running charitable gaming activities. The Gaming Information for Charitable Groups program is free for groups that conduct, or want to conduct, charitable gaming activities like bingos, casinos, pull tickets or raffles.” For more information, go here.
The Muttart Foundation’s Talking About Charities survey explores the state of public opinion. Among the findings are that charities are still considered trustworthy, charities need to tell their story better (Canadians give them low ratings for how they report on the use of donations, the necessity of administrative overhead, and  fundraising costs), Canadians remain supportive of charities engaging in business activities to raise money, and Canadians believe charities generally improve our quality of life. To read the report, go here. You can link to segments or the full report.
Non-clinical community leaders can now order the Canadian Active Living Coalition for Older Adults CD toolkit providing a step-by-step guide to offering a six-week healthy living workshop for older adults. The CD contains information on Getting Started, Motivating Change, Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, Mental and Emotional Health, and Healthy Lifestyle – Impact on Chronic Disease. For more information and to order the resource, go here.
The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations has flagged a number of resources Canada Revenue Agency has posted for charities, non-profits and donors. To check out the Non-Profit Organization Risk Identification Project report, go here. For the CRA’s second Charities Program update, go here. For a message on the implications for charities of Budget 2014, go here. For an overview of the First-Time Donor’s Super Credit, introduced last year, go here.
Earned income-generating activities of many Canadian non-profit organizations do not generate a profit or provide financing for the charity as a whole. Imagine Canada found that less than half of survey respondents (42 per cent) said their earned income-generating activities produced a surplus, while about one third (31 per cent) reported that they registered a net loss (i.e., they did not at least break even). To download the full Earned Income-Generating Activities Among Canadian Charities report, go here.
Non-profit organizations have to become better storytellers. So says Andy Goodman, speaker, author and consultant in the field of public interest communications. Stories must be designed to “engage, surprise, move, and create an emotional response at the end that makes people want to join or give or do or change”. To find out more about How to Create Non-profit Stories That Inspire, go here.
The partnership between an executive director and board chair really works when the chair typically spends 10 to 30 per cent of his or her working hours on the non-profit, and communicates openly and continually with the ED, and the ED is typically a skilled listener, an enthusiastic cheerleader for the chair's efforts, and has a managed ego, knowing that the goals of the enterprise are more important than his or her personal gratification.” To read more in the Huffington Post on The Most Important Relationship Your Non-profit Organization Will Ever Have, go here.
“To inspire performance, we must change how we lead. We need to shift from hero to host.” To learn more about Margaret Wheatley’s views on leadership, go here. This will get you to a series of eight videos that break down her Let Go and Lead conversation into manageable segments. To access a blizzard of other conversations about leadership, go here. Each conversation is presented using the same format and each provides access to a facilitation guide.
 
 
 
Benefits of Participation in the Arts
GeriActors and Friends are booking their 2014 performances and “would love to be a part of your next event, luncheon, AGM, and anything in between! We give 15-20 performances a year to audiences of seniors and their families, students, health professionals and the general public. This year, we are pleased to have six plays in our repertoire, both old and brand new.” For more information and/or to book a performance, contact Becca at 780-248-1556 or geriactors.friends@gmail.com.
Bringing visual, performance and participatory arts into hospitals has resulted in clinical and other benefits to patients, staff and families. Outcomes have included “decreased stress levels, decreases in anxiety and depression, improvements in clinical indicators such as blood pressure, decreased perception of pain, reduced drug consumption and reduced length of stay. In particular, music interventions are showing increasingly strong evidence of beneficial effect on physical and psychological patient outcomes.” To read more of a report on Arts, Health and Wellbeing in the UK, go here.
Music may help treat Alzheimer's disease.” A new U.S. study found that “participating in regular singing sessions can help improve brain function of people affected with the disorder”. To read more, go here.
The University of California at San Francisco is studying whether participating in a choral group can aid elders in preserving physical and mental well-being. Complementary research is being conducted at the Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health at the University of Manchester; Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry; the University of Amsterdam; and Utrecht University. They are joining in a project to compile the catchiest tunes. “Researchers hope the results will aid Alzheimer’s research by devising ways to trigger memories for therapeutic benefits.” For more information, go here. You can provide your own suggestions and browse the existing playlist.
To view a “powerful video about art, depression and seniors” in Ontario, go here.
An Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health found that women in the eighties who began playing a musical instrument or painting experienced improvements in activities of daily living and fewer limitations due to emotional factors, such as feeling depressed or anxious. However, women who stopped playing an instrument or painting experienced a decline in mental health-related quality of life. The results were written up in the December issue of the Australasian Journal on Ageing. For more information, go here.
 
 
 
Benefits of Learning Computer Skills
“In 2000, a mere five per cent of Canadian seniors aged 75 and above were found to be active on the internet. Twelve years later, 27 per cent of the same population reports being avid online users. Eighty-eight per cent of Canadian seniors aged 75 and above report going online at least once per day; 98 per cent of whom do so for email, personal research (76 per cent), personal banking (65 per cent), and shopping (33 per cent).” To read more of the Finding Balance article Gerontechnology: Silver Surfers and Technology Usage, go here.
Researchers connected with the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging found that older adults who “engaged in any amount of computer use were 44 per cent less likely to have mild cognitive impairment than people who did not use the computer”. For more on the “growing body of research showing that the Internet brings happiness and health into the lives of older adults”, go here.
 
 
 
Benefits of Physical Activity
The City of Edmonton has developed resources related to on-street bike routes to help motorists and cyclists understand bike route signage and pavement markings. Encourage your members and clients to visit edmonton.ca/together to learn more and watch videos about bike lanes, shared-use lanes and the bike box.
Check out the video and slideshow from the Alberta Centre for Active Living’s 2013 Physical Activity Forum: Physical Activity to Promote Brain Health, presented by Dr. Teresa Liu-Ambrose.
“Essential to staying strong and vital during older adulthood is participation in regular strengthening exercises, which help to prevent osteoporosis and frailty by stimulating the growth of muscle and bone. Feeling physically strong also promotes mental and emotional health.” To read more of Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults, put out by Tufts University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, go here.
“The importance of physical activity for older adults is now undisputed, including the physiological, psychological, and social benefits and its impact on maintaining mobility and independence. Given the innumerable benefits of physical activity for the adult population, significant emphasis should be focused on physical activity promotion for this population.” To read more of Physical Activity Promotion for Older Adults: A Step-by-Step Guide, go here.
“Many aging adults avoid exercise because they are afraid of being injured. Little do they realize that the actual danger lies in becoming too sedentary. The only way to combat the aging process is by exercising, which encourages the body to produce new cells and increase muscle and bone density.” To read more of the Inside Elder Care article Misconceptions about Seniors and Exercise, go here.
 
 
 
Innovation in Housing
“The City of Vancouver is planning a new building bylaw that, for the first time in Canada, will require all new homes to be adaptable for seniors and people with disabilities. Mandatory features could include wider doors, hallways and stairs, lever handles on all doors and plumbing fixtures, and electrical receptacles higher on walls. The city is also doing an 18-month study of the feasibility of insisting new homes have at least one exterior doorway with direct access to the ground without stairs.” To read more of the Vancouver Sun article on accessibility, go here.
A “burgeoning home-building trend” in North America, that is already popular in Europe, is the so-called granny pods. These provide a way for families to bring multiple generations under one household. Developers, noticing the trend, are starting to build homes that can accommodate seniors, adult children fresh out of college, and extended family members. To read more in the Tampa Bay Times, go here.
The Baby Boomers envision “all sorts of alternate living arrangements”. Their “comfort with interdependence means there are many options. Aging in community, rather than all alone, is going to make the Boomers’ experience of old age different than anything that ever came before. It may be time to start calling the ‘Me Generation’ the ‘We Generation’.” To read more of the Boston Globe article Introducing the Retirement Commune, go here.
A recent PBS News Hour segment profiles “the village movement or virtual retirement communities: a new community model that lets seniors enjoy all of the security and social amenities of a retirement community without leaving their homes”. To find out more, go here.
 
 
 
Technological Innovation
Check out this excellent resource for all things technology in the non-profit sector. TechSoup Canada offers valuable insights and tips through their newsletter, blogs, articles and discussions. Recent topics include free ways to send large files electronically, tips for creating low cost videos, selecting a crowdfunding platform, social media campaigns and project management tools for non-profits. The website also lists a variety of free/low cost events and webinars on technology topics. TechSoup Canada also connects non-profits with discounts on technologies through their Technology Donation Program.
Use of Facebook by people aged 55+ has grown by 80% over the last 3 years, says a recent Edmonton Journal article. Has your organization considered developing a Facebook page as a way to reach the people you serve?
Toronto sisters Kascha and Macaulee Cassaday are spearheading a campaign that invites youth to mentor seniors on using the Internet. They’ve created a Cyber-Seniors training manual; recruited friends to visit retirement homes twice a week to help 80- to 90-year-olds learn how to use Facebook, Skype, YouTube, email and online banking; and conducted a contest on YouTube for youth mentors to film clips about the seniors and their specialties or interests. For an article on the project, go here. To check out some of the video clips, go here. For details about a similar initiative run by Revera in B.C. and Ontario, go here.
Another indication of how technology will increasingly address the needs of seniors? Los Angeles-based HomeHero went public in January. It provides an online marketplace that “enables users to look at hundreds of listed caregivers who have been rigorously vetted: a process that includes an in-person interview, entrance exam, and background check.” The company also includes features for managing caregivers. They “must clock in and out from a land line phone, give daily summaries via voice recording, and may send emergency alerts.” To read more, go here. To find out more about HomeHero, go here.
U.S.-based GreatCall is marketing “easy-to-use mobile apps” that enable seniors and their families to “stay connected, safe and healthy using your iPhone or Android phone”. The apps connect with “real people”, protect personal information, and include features such as a medical library and medical symptom checker, step-by-step descriptions of common procedures and treatments, reminders for taking medications, and connections to pharmacies to refill prescriptions. To read more, go here.
“Google is on a shopping spree, buying start-up after start-up to push its business into the future. The web’s most powerful company is filling its shopping cart with artificial intelligence algorithms, robots, and smart gadgets for the home. It’s on a mission to build an enormous digital brain that operates as much like the human mind as possible — and, in many ways, even better.” To read more of Google’s Grant Plan to Make Your Brain Irrelevant, go here.
“A B.C. lawyer and privacy advocate is raising questions about the ways CCTV cameras and other technologies are being used to keep track of seniors.” Micheal Vonn is “concerned about the use of physical surveillance that extends to in-room video monitoring, the monitoring of vital signs, and the installation of these technologies in private homes. Vonn says there's very little hard research to show that surveillance techniques actually make seniors safer.” To read more of the CBC News article Surveillance of B.C. seniors raising privacy concerns, go here.
“Motion sensors on the wall and a monitor under the mattress one day might automatically alert you to early signs of trouble well before an elderly loved one gets sick or suffers a fall. Research is growing with high-tech gadgets that promise new safety nets for seniors determined to live on their own for as long as possible.” To read more of the CTV News article Researchers Test High Tech Home Sensors for Aging Seniors, go here.
Fujitsu has developed a Next Generation Cane that monitors health vitals, will immediately know when and where someone falls, will alert paramedics during medical events such as an irregular heartbeat, has an LCD display that can give simple walking directions, contains a built-in vibration system that will alert the user when he or she is headed in the wrong direction, and can send e-mails to concerned relatives or caretakers if it determines that an incident such as a fall or other emergency has occurred. To find out more, go here.
VitAlert is an Edmonton company that links seniors with their doctor and trusted family members and friends through an iPad, iPod or iPhone. Its devices and services enable children to check their parents’ vitals from “across the street or across the country”, enable caregivers to get early warnings that there may be a problem, and provide “consistent professional analysis of (the client’s) blood pressure, activity, heart rate, percentage of body fat, and blood sugar,” the company’s brochure states. For more information, go here.
Robots are already making senior living more efficient and will profoundly impact the senior housing industry. To find out more, go here.
Mobile phones are adapting as the population ages. Bigger screens and keypads, amplified speakers, simplified cameras, and hearing-aid compatibility are senior-friendly features some manufacturers are exploring.” To read more of the Global News story, Cellphones boast senior-friendly features, go here.
The kind of visual sharing that makes platforms such as Instagram so popular is being used to enable health professionals to upload photos of medical conditions, create online discussions and crowdsource a database of reference images. In order to protect patients’ identities, the app uses facial recognition to block out faces. To find out more, go here.
 
 
 
Research
The same brain plasticity that allows you to master simple skills or sports, allows you to train yourself to be more positive. “We can retrain the brain to scan for the good things in life — to help us see more possibility, to feel more energy, and to succeed at higher levels.” To find out more about “four very simple interventions that can, over time, actually rewire your brain to see things more positively,” go here.
A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that untreated hearing loss led to a three times greater likelihood of falls and that this likelihood continued to increase dramatically with greater levels of hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss has also been linked to cognitive difficulties such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as an increased risk for social and emotional problems. To read more, go here.
A study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science found that 40 to 50 per cent of older adults with visually impairing eye disease limit their activities due to a fear of falling. Vision scientists warn that this protective strategy puts seniors at risk for social isolation and disability. To read more, go here.
 
 
 
Falls Prevention
The Alberta Centre for Active Living points to a number of resources on falls prevention. For a Seniors Health Knowledge Network recommended reading list, go here. To access the Beyond Falls Prevention webinar slides, go here. For a falls prevention and the build environment reading list, go here.
Information is available on How to Safely Help Someone to Get Up (go here) and How to Get Up From the Floor by Yourself (go here). These are both included in the Take Action: Prevent a Fall Before it Happens book produced by Alberta Health Services and on the Finding Balance Alberta website (go here). When helping someone else get up, no one should be physically helping the fallen person up, either by lifting or pulling them up. Doing so could risk injury to the helper. The instructions are really to guide the fallen person. If that is unsuccessful, then other help must be summoned.
Information on how seniors can get up safely after they have fallen and how staff can assist seniors in getting up without risking injury to themselves is also provided in an Alberta Health Services video. To view it (it’s less than two-and-a-half minutes long), go here and click on the video link (third item on the page).