age-friendly, covid-19, Important Notices, Research

Re-opening Saskatchewan – A Call to Action for a More Age-Friendly Community

As we look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saskatoon Council on Aging (SCOA) believes there must be a partnership among older adults, government and key stakeholders to address issues that impacted older people during this crisis.

SCOA wants to ensure that:
1. Voices of older adults are heard;
2. Diversity of perspectives of older adults is reflected in government public policy;
3. Older adults are engaged as co-leaders in developing policies that impact them directly.
Now is the time to seize the opportunity to improve policies, protocols and programs to address ageism, enhance the age-friendliness of communities, enable healthy, positive aging and support the well-being of older people across the province. Plan to talk to candidates in the upcoming provincial election! The pandemic is an opportunity to shift thinking, reset priorities and take action. Please use this information as you question candidates in your riding. 

age-friendly, Important Notices, Programming

SCOA Globe Walk News

The Saskatoon Council on Aging and the SCOA Globe Walk committee is happy to announce that the SCOA Globe Walk will continue this season from January 2021 to May 2021. 

  • We are in the process of choosing a theme and events will be virtual this year. 
  • Information will be sent out to team captains by October 1st regarding registering their teams and how the events will work.  
  • If you are not on a team we would be glad to put on SCOA’s team. Phone 306.652.2255 or email admin@scoa.ca
  • Information about lanyard sales for walking the track will be sent out to team captains to send to their teams once dates and costs are determined.

For more information visit the SCOA Globe Walk website

age-friendly, covid-19

Emerging from the Pandemic:   Older Adults Reimagine a More Age-friendly Community

The responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in this community and around the world, rightly focused on protecting lives and preventing the spread of the virus. Unintended consequences however, have had an  detrimental effect on older adults who are  feeling the full impacts of economic, mental and physical effects of social isolation,  challenges to our human rights, neglect and abuse in institutions and care facilities and the trauma of ageist attitudes and discriminations.

It is true, the global pandemic has severely impacted everyone; however, it has disproportionately affected older adults. We are at higher risk of contracting the disease, and more likely to develop severe infections and die from it. In Canada, close to 90% of COVID-!9 related deaths have occurred in people over the age of 60 and a staggering 80% of COVID-19 deaths were in individuals who lived or worked in long term care facilities or other types of care homes. Social isolation, the closing of many parts of society, and the fear and anxiety associated with the pandemic are pronounced for seniors. Many older citizens face severe challenges meeting their basic needs, such as shopping for food, medications, and obtaining needed health and community care. Some live in potentially dangerous environments where elder abuse is a potential factor. Older adults living in care facilities have been denied access for months to those who love them and any contact has been reduced to electronic communication and window waves.

“Much research has shown that human connection is a key determinant of health, and COVID-19 restrictions, while necessary, don’t really justify complete isolation from family, caregivers and friends. “

The challenges that older adults are experiencing are not new and few are unique to the virus. But COVID-19 intensifies and complicates everything and exacerbates the many challenges faced by older adults. The most distressing are the ageist stereotypes and discriminations that have become more visible in the last few months. Ageism is defined as a process of systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people because they are old. It means that older people are devalued and their human rights compromised. Indeed, older adults have become the focus of this pandemic and have been isolated or paternalistically (though well-intentioned) protected without their own choices being respected.

“People above the age of 65 are often assumed to be a homogeneous group of “older people” or “Seniors” who are frail, lack independent decision-making capacity and need to be protected. The reality is strikingly different.”

There are three distinct generations between the ages of 60 and 100. Close to 90% live independently and make significant contributions to society. For example, the restrictions on older adults’ abilities to engage in meaningful volunteer activities is impacting community organizations at a time when many need increased hours of volunteerism to meet the challenges of the pandemic. In the same way that infants, children and youth have very distinct characteristics, so too do different older adult generations. One size does not fit all.

The Saskatoon Council on Aging (SCOA) tackles issues of importance to older adults and has continued to support older adult throughout the pandemic. We are uniquely positioned to communicate directly to citizens and public officials about what is at stake and what might be improved. SCOA can propose solutions that would improve policies and programs for an aging population and create a better quality of life for older citizens.  We hope that the spotlight on the experiences of older people during this crisis will bring stronger commitment to working toward a more age-friendly community.

SCOA has adopted the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Age-Friendly Cities” model as a critical way to support older adults to age positively in Saskatoon. In an age-friendly city, policies, services, settings and structures support and enable people to age actively by recognizing the wide range of capacities and resources among older people, anticipating and responding flexibly to aging-related needs and preferences, respecting their decisions and lifestyle choices, protecting those who are most vulnerable and promoting their inclusion in and contribution to all areas of community life.

SCOA’s multi-year Age-friendly Saskatoon Initiative revealed three key issues that hundreds of older adults in Saskatoon identified as critical in ensuring a good quality of life:

  • Ageism is the greatest barrier older adults face.
  • Older adults want to have input into policies and programs that affect them.
  • The entire community has a role to play in creating an age-friendly environment.

As evaluations are carried out to examine COVID-19 pandemic responses how do we ensure that the voices of older adults are heard, that older persons are appropriately protected in the future, that we do not overlook how extremely diverse this age group is, how incredibly resilient we are, and the importance of the multiple roles we have in society, including as caregivers, employees, volunteers and community leaders? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Examine all policy decisions and community advisories through an age-friendly lens. SCOA has developed a tool just for this purpose. Policies need to be made with us not for us.
  2.  Begin to create and foster living environments that truly support quality of life in all its aspects from access to good health care to high quality food, recreation and community building. Ensure that staffing and care standards in both community and long term care are elevated to the same level of importance in the health care system as hospital care.  
  3. Begin right now, not after the pandemic is declared over, to develop a detailed provincial senior’s strategy that will re-examine and act upon the learnings of the pandemic on eliminating ageism, developing age-friendly communities and attending to mental health and self- determination.  Create a full spectrum of options for those who want to live independently, or with home care support, assisted and intermediate care living alternatives, and those who require complex care. Ensure that older adults lead/participate in this work.
  4. Open a public discussion about ethical responses and protection of human rights during this pandemic crisis and how as a community we can foster an age-friendly community that supports positive aging for all citizens.

SCOA’s hope is that by articulating these challenges and opportunities, we might move more quickly to minimize the negative outcomes of COVID-19, maximize positive changes that might be possible and redouble our efforts to improve our aging society in ways that benefit people across the life span.  We will emerge from this pandemic having paid a high price but more resilient and determined than ever. Now is the time to take bold action, create communities and caring environments that promote positive aging: something all of us deserve.

Candace Skrapek
Shan Landry
Jane McPhee
Past Presidents, Saskatoon Council on Aging

age-friendly, Important Notices, Services, Technology

What older adults need to know NOW about virtual communication 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One truth that has emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic is how important virtual communication has become. Sometimes it’s the only means of communication possible. In hospital settings and nursing homes where visitors are not allowed to visit, virtual communication becomes the only way (besides trying to talk through a window) to reach a loved one and keep them (or yourself) from feeling totally abandoned.

And please don’t throw up your hands and say: Oh, that’s so beyond me; I’ll just phone; my family will be there for me; I haven’t needed it in the past 20 years and I don’t need it now! Really? You may need it tomorrow if you have to be admitted to a care facility or hospital.

Got your attention?  Let’s start with the common cell phone. I think everyone should have one for safety sake in any case, and should, at the very least, know how to text, send emails, use FaceTime and just for fun, learn how to take photos. These basic functions will allow you to keep in touch with your family and they with you.

So why not prepare now for a worst possible communication scenario?

Even if you never have to endure the trauma of mandatory visiting restrictions keeping you from  a loved one, note that there are many other advantages to a cell phone. Texting is the fastest way to reach the grandkids!! FaceTime brings them right to the edge of your chair. And they can teach you the basic functions of a cell phone! And photos are fun!

Why not give it a try?

Isn’t it everyone’s responsibility to learn to communicate virtually?

You’ll be glad you did!

by Mercedes Montgomery, SCOA Co-President 

Great collection of how to’s for ZOOM 

 

Health Services, Research

Try out the E-Music Box

LOOKING FOR 3 COUPLES IMPACTED BY EARLY STAGE DEMENTIA TO TRY OUT THE E-MUSIC BOX!

The E-music box is basically an electronic version of a mechanical music box, providing a new way for two people to make music together. No musical knowledge or experience required.  We are invitingthree couples impacted by early stage dementia to play E-music boxes together. We’ll meet with you for about two hours. You’ll learn to play songs together using E-music boxes. You’ll give us feedback and answer questions about the activity. And you’ll receive $25.00 each/$50.00 per couple.

Please contact us if you are curious and if you are:

• A couple, married or in a long-term relationship

• Age 55+ years

• Impacted by dementia — one of you diagnosed with dementia and in early stages

• Living together in Saskatoon

• Willing to meet with 2 research assistants in your home or community site like SCOA office?

For more information, email Dr Jennifer Nicol at jennifer.nicol@usask.ca OR leave a message at 306-966-5261. Thank you. FYI: This study has been reviewed by and received approval through the Research Ethics Office, University of Saskatchewan

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age-friendly, Events, fundraising

Grand Old Opry Zoomer Style – Meet St. George’s Senior Country Band

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St. George’s Senior Country Band

This group of seniors met at St George’s Hall [1235 20th St. West, Saskatoon] where they have a “jam” twice a month so that older adults have a place to come to play and sing. Some of this group formed a band and often play at senior residences.

  • Bill Senkowski is 86, and has sung and played guitar since he was 10. He loves Hank Williams, George Jones and Hank Thompson.
  • Walter Wandzura has played the mandolin for forty years, and the violin now for ten years.
  • Lucretia Hughes has been singing with country and gospel bands since she was 10, and now enjoys entertaining in seniors’ residences.
  • Olaf Dravnieks played in a rock band in his youth, and now plays rock and classical music, and for the last half year some country music.
  • Bruce Forcey took up music later in life. He recently moved to Saskatoon, and has joined the local band Lucretia & Friends.
  • Wayne Love came back to music in senior years and joined band Lucretia and Friends

Grand Old Opry “Zoomer Style”
October 21, 2020
Western Development Museum
Enjoy a gala evening of country and western music presented by a talented roster of seasoned performers.
Doors open 5 pm Cash Bar
Supper 6 pm,  Entertainment 7:30  pm
Tickets: $100 [tax receipts issued $65]

Phone 306.652.2255 pay with credit card
Buy online at Eventbrite
Visit our office in the field house – 2020 College Drive

A fundraiser for the Saskatoon Council on Aging to provide health and wellness programs for older adults.

 

 

 

age-friendly, Programming

Survey Results: The Gift of a Long life

Abstract: The Gift of a Long Life Survey

Increasingly people are living into their 90s and 100s and beyond. This is a fairly new happening sometimes referred to as “pioneering again”. The Saskatoon Council on Aging (SCOA) Communication Committee decided to ask the (200+) Century Club members (must be 90 to join) about pioneering/living into the 90s and 100s. Thirty (30) members responded to the survey. The survey was looking for evidence of pioneering, breaking new ground; what it found was strong evidence of positive aging. 

SCOA’s Vision is Positive Aging for All. Positive aging involves a view of aging as a healthy, normal part of life. Those who age positively, tend to live longer, healthier lives and enjoy a better quality of life.   The object is to arrive at our older years with a positive attitude, feeling good about ourselves, making our own choices, feeling in control, keeping fit and healthy and maintaining social networks. Obviously this also takes good genes, adequate resources, an age-friendly environment and a bit of luck!  

Responders to the survey offered a variety of thoughtful comments, but essentially most are continuing their life journeys to the best of their abilities. Most responders have accepted their life stage although some expressed regret. They identify as alert, active, engaged individuals who are mostly maintaining the lives and interests they have always known. Many noted that despite the advancing years, “I am still the same person!” They are motivated live a well-balanced lifestyle in order to remain well and mobile. Of those who have health and mobility issues, most do not dwell on the physical inconveniences that aging brings and appear satisfied with their quality of life.  A few noted they need to prepare for the future, to have their house in order. A positive attitude is probably their greatest strength.   

Concerns centered largely on losses: loss of independence (giving up the car, the home), mobility, family, friends and opportunity. The loss of the ability to care for self is most significant because it results in the need for care and support.  A few expressed financial worries.  Those living independently now wish to remain so for as long as possible. Many respondents live in senior residences. Daily contact with other residents and staff is mostly appreciated. However, some find congregate living quite difficult at least at the beginning. Having a lot of people around who are mostly strangers with lots of ‘coming and going’ takes some adjusting. 

Thanks to the members of the Century Club who responded for giving us a glimpse of life in the 90s and 100s and to remind us that a long life well-lived is truly a gift. As one respondent noted, “Life is good!” 

Members of the Saskatoon Council on Aging’s Century Club were surveyed for their thoughts about growing older. The Century Club is a special club for older adults 90 and over who are determined to live as full a life as possible.
The following are the thoughts they shared.

  1. How are you pioneering/ living life in your 90s and 100s?

  • Most say they are doing well, carrying on as independently as possible and doing their best to live a ‘normal’ life.  It’s Important to be happy, to enjoy what you do, and what you still can do on your own to the best of your abilities. There’s more time now to appreciate family. Also, there’s freedom to do what you choose, not what others say you should. It’s okay to slow down, to not participate in everything but should keep up your interests. Use mobility and other aids available to remain independent.
  • Dealing with loneliness, coming to terms with loss and accepting help is difficult.
  • This is a time of transitions: from home to senior’s residence, from being fully independent to needing support, from good health to failing health. Being reconciled to possible future needs makes it easier to move to support accommodation.
  • Living arrangements vary. Some live independently in their original home or a condo. Moving is a most significant event. Others say they are living  ‘independently’ in a senior’s residence which means they look after their own needs, usually make their own breakfasts and lunches and take the dinner the residence offers. Senior residences offer a wide range of activities that seem popular and keep people up and about, active, and making new friends. People contact is mostly appreciated.
  •   One respondent noted difficulty in finding wearable clothes – the ‘new’ styles are “not easy to adapt to”.

2.  What new challenges have you encountered, both positive and negative?

  • On the positive side, being able to look after own affairs, not having to do heavy physical work and having fewer responsibilities for yard and home.
  • Finding productive ways to use the free time that is available now, keeping active, learning new games, exercising, getting out and doing things are some positive challenges. The positive attitude of support staff is appreciated.
  • On the negative side, getting used to congregate living is a huge challenge; With so many people around, coming and going, especially when you don’t know their names is difficult.
  • Some express frustration with so much technology; e.g. have difficulty ordering the taxi/access bus.
  • Regarding transportation: giving up the car is a huge transition and the major cause of loss of independence. The inconvenience and reluctance of having to depend on others for transportation and being unable to travel at will is mentioned often.
  • The fear of loss of mobility, becoming a burden on others, is on many minds as is the challenge of adjusting to physical and mental limitations – preferably without complaining! Finding the right size and style of clothing seems a common problem,

3. How are you adapting to a longer life and what if anything are you doing differently?

  • Respondents described how they have adapted – some examples:
  • I cut down on a few of the many things done for years but basically continue with most of former involvements
  • Doing things I enjoy, also enable me to exercise to help with my health. I do what I can. I don’t expect to do as much as I did when younger. I keep busy and happy. I love company and I try to do the best and take care of myself I really can’t think of any major changes I have had to make
  • I have developed a fitness triad of trying to spend one hour a day in exercising each of my physical, mental and spiritual dimensions.
  • Finance is of great concern, outliving resources. (Actually, finances were seldom mentioned in the survey responses.)

4. What have you changed about yourself?

  • Not much change was reported, rather continuing as before and accepting themselves as they are now. Some feel they are more tolerant, others more outspoken but the common response is that “I’m still the same person as always”. Much more appreciative of all things around us like our country, medical care, friends and family, etc., and doing things to please themselves more often.

5. What new goals have you set for yourself?

  • A few new goals were reported, but most want to continue with what they are doing now – exercise, healthy eating, remaining positive and improving technical skills. Goals mentioned seem to depend on past living- more of this or that, carrying on,  but keeping in mind the need to be prepared for the future including  writing own obituary, getting affairs in order, culling and making order of possessions, helping friends and family, and being grateful for many blessings.

6. What advice would you give to someone in their 60s or 70s about living into the 90s?

Here is some of the advice shared:

  • Establish a healthy life style
  • Enjoy the life you are living in now. Remember old times and keep in touch with other old friends and family of course!
  • Do not stash away miscellaneous items that accumulate more and more until you find out you are becoming a hoarder
  • Enjoy each and every day
  • Enjoy your independence and don’t take it for granted, things changes.
  • Firstly, develop and maintain a positive outlook on life- you’ll find everything about life more enjoyable. If you have been an active volunteer, keep doing it. Don’t give up any hobbies or other activities. In other words, stay active, get lots of exercise, and you will certainly enjoy your retirement.
  • Life is sooo short, so prepare now!
  • Keep enjoying the day, socialize with good friends, enjoy the outdoors, keep mobile, watch your diet and celebrate every birthday and anniversary! Avoid people who are negative or make you feel unworthy. Embrace friends who are happy, reliable, and resilient.
  • Save money for your retirement – you can’t save too much.

7. What do you like about your life now?

The life now is the life they have made for themselves. The resources that senior’s residences offer are welcomed and used. The support, whether from family or the staff of the residence, is needed and appreciated. It’s most important that family visits and those relationships are maintained. Many like not having responsibilities and being free to do whatever they wish, and especially, being alive and well and able to participate in activities and being with friends.

8. What do you not like about your life now?

Some typical comments: 

  • Too often, after I’ve met new people and after they find out my date of birth, they act as if I’m totally incapable of any activity, mental or physical!! 
  • I struggle with the loss of independence. Things I used to take for granted now demand so much more energy and/or the assistance of others. 
  • Still miss my car!
  • I’m not as strong and agile as I used to be and my decreasing physical power. 
  • Taking my age into consideration – nothing!

9. Life is for living. What do you do to live to the fullest?

 Respondents shared some ways to keep themselves alert, active, interested and engaged: 

  • I surround myself with people. Always interesting! 
  • I seek out good books. I enjoy happy music and I subscribe to Turner Classic Movies. Best of all I look for happy people who bolster my self-esteem and make me laugh.
  • I have developed a fitness triad of trying to spend one hour a day in exercising each of my physical, mental and spiritual dimensions.  And, I spend more time at computer learning how to use it and expanding my world of interests. Keeping in touch with our expanding family adds joy. 
  • I keep in touch with my five children and their mates. As the grandchildren grow older, our friendship and love grows stronger. I’m getting to see some of my grandchildren getting married and working hard for their futures. 

10. Anything else you would like to share?

Enjoy living, keep a sense of humour, don’t allow yourself to get lonely, cultivate the happiness habit, do what makes you feel good, offer thanks for living where we do, and remember that Life is Good!

age-friendly, Events, Fitness and dance, Programming

Warm Up to Winter

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When: November 22, 2018 1 pm to 3:15 pm 
Where: Saskatoon Field House – 2020 College Drive
Cost: FREE

Entrance instructions: Go to main entrance of the Field House,  check-in at the SCOA registration table in the lobby area – we will stamp your hand for entrance. Show your stamp to the field house staff to access the court area.
Schedule:
1 pm to 1:30 pm – Warm-up – Court #3 [Main floor]
1:30 to 2:30 pm -Walking on the Track –
2:30 to 3:15 pm – Entertainment & refreshments – Fitness and Dance Studio [second level, Field House]

Phone 306-652-2255 to register. 

Thank you to our sponsors:

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age-friendly, aging in place, Events, Important Notices, Partners, Uncategorized

A Seniors Strategy for Saskatchewan

What would you like your future to look like?

Have your say at forums/focus groups planned in various locations in Saskatchewan to get your input. Hosted by the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism.

The purpose of the forums is to engage older adults and the community to develop a provincial strategy to build a better future with older adults in Saskatchewan.

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Classes, Lifelong Learning

2018 Classes – Register now!

Registration for all programs must be paid in advance.
Space is limited. Call SCOA at 306-652-2255 to register.
Classes held at SCOA – 2020 College Drive unless otherwise indicated.


Technology

iphone-71

Apple Technology Classes
Beginner one-on-one Apple classes on Fridays.  Become more confident using your Apple iPad or iPhone. Register now for 2 classes of 1.5 hrs (3 hrs) which includes a take home manual.
Date: Fridays    Cost:  $40
Phone 306-652-2255 to book sessions


Tech Buddy – NEW Seniors Tech Buddy Fairs 1595860_web1_CyberSeniors-1---March-10-2017
(Any type of technology device)
One-on-one beginner technology classes with students from local high schools.
Cost:    $10 (Fee to cover administration costs)

Check back this fall for more Seniors Tech Buddy opportunities!

 


To show appreciation for our full members [those who have paid $25] we offer  a 10% discount on classes/programs. Note: Memberships run from April 1 to March 31 – annual renewals are on April 1. 

If you do not have a full membership, you can become one now (Phone 306-652-2255)

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