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Fall Prevention-Environmental Risks

“I’m still falling for you,” she joked, shortly after stumbling and tumbling to the ground while leaning over to kiss her husband of 60 years. We can appreciate her quick sense of humour – however, the serious reality is that falls are a major cause of injury and death for seniors. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, one out of 5 falls results in broken bones or head injury. More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, and falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury. The various risk factors can be categorized into socioeconomic, behavioral, biological and environmental risk factors. They are complicated and often inter-related. For instance, some medication interactions may make an individual more vulnerable to environmental risk factors that could be present. This article will focus on only one of the risk categories, the more common environmental risk factors that can be readily identified and addressed. Below are some tips to make your interior and exterior areas just that much safer. Home Environment Clear all passage ways!  Reduce clutter and make sure walk ways are clear and well lit.  Decorative plant stands or tables should...

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We Remember

Armistice Day, Veteran’s Day, Poppy Day, or, as in Canada, Remembrance Day, all refer to the time we set aside to reflect upon and commemorate the sacrifice of those who dedicated themselves to serve, fight for, and die for our freedom. It is only fitting that we dedicate our entire edition of Maturity Matters this month to highlight some of the lesser known facts of this day. Did You Know? Remembrance Day: Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a moment of silence to honour and remember the men and women who have served, and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace. We remember the more than 2,300,000 Canadians who have served throughout our nation’s history and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice. •Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. It was originally called “Armistice Day” to commemorate armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918 at 11 am – on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. •From 1921 to 1930, Armistice Day was held on the Monday of the week in which November 11 fell. In 1931, Alan Neill, Member of Parliament for...

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One Singular Vision – One Singularly Spectacular Result-Celebrate on October 24!

How do you eradicate a dreadful disease from the face of the earth? One vision, one child, one village, one country, and one continent at a time. It has been referred to as the finest humanitarian project by a non-governmental organization. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Rotary International’s vision of a world free from polio started out with a remarkable first-step. In 1978, Dr. Benny Santos asked Rotary International to provide the polio vaccine, and with that in hand, he would organize and mobilize all their national Rotarians to ensure that every child living in the Philippines was immunized against polio. Six million children received the vaccine, and because of these efforts, were given a chance to live without the risk of deformity and pre-mature death. From a noble genesis came a global miracle of faith, action, and consequence. Go Big or Go Home! In 1982, and in anticipation of Rotary’s 100th anniversary in 2005, Rotary International was inspired to take on a larger world vision – to vaccinate ALL children throughout the Entire World! Could it be possible? If not us – then who? I have often heard that if your goal doesn’t scare the living daylights out of you – it...

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October 1—International Day of Older Persons

When we think of October, we think of Canadian Thanksgiving, turkey and dressing, and finally, the ghosts and goblins of Halloween.  I suspect that few of us know that October 1 is recognized each year as the International Day of Older Persons.  Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990, and first observed October 1, 1991, this day has been set aside to raise awareness of issues impacting members of our aging society. This year, the theme is: “Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.” The sad reality is that it appears we still need to be reminded of the value and contributions of this large, significant, and growing segment of our population.  Ageism in its blatant and subtle forms remains evident throughout our societies.  Ageism refers to the discrimination against persons based on their age, and is often applied toward older persons.  Many believe that a person's value has a 'best before' date attached to their age.  It is insidious, and if left unchecked, has a destructive influence on one's sense of self worth, validity, and overall health. Intentional or not -- the impact is the same.  Think...

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Back to School-Forward to Health!

The days are getting shorter, and the back to school ads are filling the airwaves. Fresh starts, new learnings, and yet to be explored challenges are no longer the exclusive domain of the young.  More and more, life-long learning is shifting from the ‘nice-to-do’ to the ‘must-continue-to-do’ column of our life. Before you rush to invest in the latest online brain games, you might decide instead to simply take up a new hobby!  Could it be that simple?  Apparently so. Dr. Denise Park, a neuroscientist at the University of Texas at Dallas decided to put this to the test.  Dr. Park recruited 200 volunteers and assigned them to 3 different groups.  During a 3-month period, each group spent 15 hours per week with assigned activities.  They were given memory tests at the beginning and end of the research period. Group 1 took up new hobbies such as quilting and photography (including use of photoshop.) Group 2 participated in social events such as watching movies together and reminiscing about past vacations. Group 3 worked quietly on their own at home, listening to music or playing simple games or puzzles. Dr. Park’s findings revealed that not all activities are created equal when it...

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Celebrate Friendship Day: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The theme song from the hit sitcom, 'Cheers' got it right.  "...sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came."  It is about being recognized and cared about.  Social engagement and connection is important in every stage of our lives -- and is especially important as we grow older. The first Sunday in August celebrates Friendship Day.  Proclaimed in 1935 by the United States Congress, many countries have since embraced the tradition. Being with a good friend just makes us feel better.  As a matter of fact, research now suggests that people who remain connected and engaged, show a reduced physical and cognitive decline, and actually live longer. While positive family relationships can be enriching, affirming friendships (other than our spouse and immediate children) tend to have an even greater bearing on our well-being. Yet maintaining long-term friendships becomes more difficult with time.  Retirement, family moves, and losses all contribute to a reduction of our social network.  Indeed, my husband and I recently lost 4 of our closest 'inner circle' friends and 2 valued colleagues within a short 20 month period. With a physical move...

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One Case is Still Too Many – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

"On this Day, I call upon Member States and civil society to strengthen their resolve and redouble their efforts to eliminate all forms of violence and abuse against older people."   UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon   • Mary's son-in-law bullied her into giving him money to help pay off a personal loan, telling her that it would be part of their inheritance anyway, and they are only collecting it early.   • Sonia recently moved into a care facility.  When she asks for help, some of the staff complain that she is too demanding, and are very rough with her and hurt her when helping her into and out of the bed and the bath.    • Harold's daughter publically ridicules him about the times he forgets to zip up his pants or miss-matches his socks.  She tells everyone how looking after him is worse than looking after her children.   • Jimmy threatens to no longer come to visit his grandmother if she fails to give him cash from her wallet or bank account.   • Gerry moved in with his niece.  He spends most of his time alone in his small room, is not allowed a phone, and has all his mail screened by this niece.   The UN Economics and Social Council defines elder abuse as:   “A single or...

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Clarity Creates Purpose with Passion

  In a previous Maturity Matters, we discussed how true leadership presents inspiration, vision, strategy and stewardship.  In doing so, leadership really creates clarity. It all starts with becoming clear about the values we want to demonstrate and impact we want to create.  I believe it was Anthony Robbins who first suggested that the quality of our life is revealed through the quality of the questions that we ask. Isn’t that a great observation? Quality Questions Let’s start with asking what we ultimately want to experience and produce in this life.   When we first ask ourselves to define the ultimate higher-end intentions we want to demonstrate and experience, then the strategies, tactics and tools are more easily unveiled. So what are the higher-end objectives?  Responses typically include: Feeling Connected Being Engaged Expressing and Receiving Love Standing In-Service Promoting a sense of Well-Being Staying Safe Supporting Autonomy Living with Dignity Think about the professionals and businesses serving you.  In what way do their products and services contribute toward your experience of these higher-end aims? Do the financial, accounting, or legal products, plans...

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Gift of Life

Age-Friendly Business® Becomes a Partner for Life (PFL) with Canadian Blood Services.  Come join us! This time of year we think about giving.  Purchasing gifts, offering adventures, and extending intangibles such as our time, respect, and our recognition. What about the gift of LIFE? “In February 2020, Peter suddenly felt very tired and was having trouble breathing, so he went to a hospital emergency department. Within hours, doctors diagnosed him with sudden onset acute myeloid leukemia. The next day, he began a three-week regime of daily chemotherapy.  Since then, Peter has also received more than 30 transfusions each of whole blood and platelets, and the leukemia went into remission. In August, doctors at London Health Sciences Centre successfully transplanted stem cells donated by Peter’s sister. His health continues to improve.” (go here to read and share the full story:  https://www.blood.ca/en/stories/london-ont-blood-donor-events-celebrate-patients-ongoing-recovery) And then there is baby Madison from Aldergrove, BC.  Madison was born with congenital heart disease and respiratory challenges.  During her first 6 months of life, she experienced many hospital stays, 2 months...

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Taking Leadership in the Real Estate of Your Life!

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary offers a primary definition of 'real estate’ as 'property consisting of buildings and land,' with a secondary definition of ‘space and capacity.' It is the secondary definition that inspired some musings and reflections on how we exercise leadership in the way we choose to fill the space and capacity -- the real estate of our lives. Leadership When I think of 'leadership,’ the following 4 elements come to mind: • Inspiration: The over-reaching principles or values that are the driving force -- the WHY • Vision: The picture of an even greater expression of what could be -- the WHAT • Strategy: Process and means to make it happen: -- the HOW • Stewardship: Responsibility and accountability for actions and consequences -- the WHO We can reflect on these 4 elements as they guide us in terms of how we show up when no one is looking, how we show up inter-personally, in our communities, and on the world stage. It really comes down to life by design or life by default. I have a reminder on my wall in my office, asking the provocative question: "How do I want to be in the face of that?" Real Estate of our Inter-Personal Life From disappointments,...

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