A New Breed of Old People

Senior citizenship. It's about more than discounts. I have friends who won't accept seniors' discounts because they don't identify themselves as seniors. Until recently I thought that was kind of admirable. But recently I've been concerned. My friends don't want to join Demand a Plan, the CMAs advocacy program for a national seniors' health strategy. They don't want to come with me to hear about Manitoba's Medically Assisted Dying program. They don't want to be involved with seniors organizations and advocacy groups.
These are the boomers. The generation that has pushed for positive change in "the system" for years. But now they don't want to talk about it. It's not that they have no experience. Many of them have seen how their elderly parents are treated by the system. They have a wide range of horror stories. Why aren't they prepared to advocate for a better future for themselves?
I've changed my tune. I identify myself as a senior citizen with the emphasis on citizen. Citizenship comes with rights and responsibilities. I'm not prepared to abdicate my future to a system that refers to frail elderly hospital patients as " bed blockers". Who constantly refer to the need for more "beds" rather than look at changing the "nursing home" model.

We are the elders, the experienced ones; we are maturing, growing adults responsible for the survival of our society. We are not wrinkled babies, succumbing to trivial, purposeless waste of our years and our time. We are a new breed of old people. -Maggie Kuhn, A Dialogue on Age


Upcoming Workshop - November 5th

Help for Family Caregivers

Are your parents aging and needing more help?  Are you supporting an aging friend or family member? Do you work with seniors and their families? Take away a toolbox full of information, tips and local resources. 
  • When:   Saturday November 5,  1:00 - 4:30 pm 
  • Where: Sturgeon Creek I Retirement Residence  10 Hallonquist Dr. (Across from Grace Hospital)
  • Fee: $20 to be paid at the door
  • Register in advance:  Please email

    When Parents Expect Too Much

    "I took care of you and now it's your turn to take care of me."
    "I'm not moving out of my home."
    "I don't need home care. I don't want strangers coming in here!"

    Caregivers who hear this from their parents are in a tough spot. The realty is that these parents are being unrealistic. Both their sons and daughters probably work full time. Often they do not live close to their aging parents. 

    Life expectancy has grown due to medical advances. Unfortunately many of these advances lead to chronic conditions. Dementia and Alzheimer's are on the rise. Research tells us the average Canadian lives the last 10 years of their life in ill health. When aging parents need care, putting all the responsibility on the shoulders of the adult children is not the solution. 

    "Both adult children and their aging parents should be aware of the caregiving is a two-way process and cannot be effective without the consent and cooperation of both parties." - Caregiving To Aging Parents  

    Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. We all hope to remain independent and sharp until the end of life. But it is unwise to ignore the possibility that our parents may not be so lucky. Consider the possibility that they may live for years with declining physical and mental health. What then? 

    Work together to develop a proactive "What If?" long term plan. What if your parent has a stroke and isn't able to safely remain at home without support? 
    Consider the following:
    What are the financial costs of remaining at home? Are safety renovations necessary? Who will take care of home maintenance, laundry, meals and transportation? Is there enough money to hire help. How much support is required? Will your parents be able to maintain their independence or will they become dependent on others? Will they become isolated in their home? How much support can the family sustain over a long term? Look at the the pros and cons of other housing arrangements. 

    Yes, this involves difficult conversations. Take it slow and be persistent. It is unlikely that you will agree on a perfect plan. Strive for an acceptable compromise. 

    Yes, our parents did raise us. We owe them but we do not owe them everything. 

    July/August - Be Aware

    The following sites have valuable information on current health issues:

    • Choosing Wisely Canada
    • Healthy Debate
    • Dying With Dignity
    • End-of-Life Planning Canada

    Choosing Wisely Canada

    The Facts. As much as 30% of healthcare in Canada is unnecessary.

    When it comes to your health, more medical tests, treatments and procedures are not always better. In fact, sometimes they’re unnecessary. Find out when you need medical tests, treatments and procedures — and when you don’t.

    Talk to your doctor about what you need and what you don’t.
    Four questions to ask your doctor:

     1) Do I really need this test, treatment or procedure?

    2) What are the downsides?

    3) Are there simpler, safer options?
    4) What happens if I do nothing?
    Over 30% of residents in. Long term care are taking anti-psychotic drugs without a diagnosis of psychosis.

    Healthy Debate

    Canadians want to know more about the health care system that they care about, yet there are currently few places to go for factual, easy-to-understand information about the health care system. Healthy Debate fills this gap by providing comprehensive, unbiased information.
    Here's an article worth reading. Why don’t doctors screen more for frailty?

    Dying With Dignity 

    Drive Change

    The Supreme Court has spoken: Canadians facing unbearable suffering have the right to end their lives with the help of a physician. But now, small but noisy special interest groups are working to curtail your rights. We must act. Stand with the 84 per cent of Canadians who support compassion and choice at end of life.

    Know Your Rights

    You have choices. But all too often, overworked doctors and other healthcare providers don’t have the time to tell you about your full range of choices. Don’t be left in the dark: arm yourself with the right information to get the treatment you want and the peace of mind you need.

    Find Support

    If you have received a catastrophic diagnosis and want information about your end-of-life choices, a new independent charity called End-of-Life Planning Canada (ELPC) can help.