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Chloe Hamiton

Happy Nurses' Week!

This week—May 8th through 12th—is National Nursing week in Canada. Nurses are very special people who dedicate their lives to serving others and providing top-quality care. 

 

It is often nurses who provide the comforting touches as someone recovers in hospital; it is the nurses in long term care who provide the medical care to residents; it is a nurse in a retirement home who may notice early symptoms in a resident; it is a Parish Nurse who provides holistic care to their parishioners, and the list continues. 

 

Nurses can be found in many different locations, and their role may vary from place to place, but their overall goal is the same—to provide exceptional care and help others to remain  healthy.

 

Warm Embrace Elder Care wants to take a moment to thank all of the dedicated nurses who provide better quality of life and health to everyone they touch.  Thank you so much!

 


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Chloe Hamiton

Top 10 Tips for Resiliency in the Face of Depression

 

Maintaining strong mental health requires just as much attention and care as maintaining strong physical health.  Unfortunately, many people see mental health as  being either “healthy” or “unhealthy”.  In reality, mental health is a continuum, a scale that ranges from mental wellness to serious mental health challenges.  When someone experiences drastic stress in their life, their mental distress level rises.  It is important to have adequate coping mechanisms in place to help reduce one’s mental distress level and maintain mental wellness rather than progressing along the continuum to a state of serious mental health challenge.

 

The Canadian Mental Health Association defines mental wellness as “a state of well-being and the ability to function in the face of changing circumstances”.  This includes handling stress and loss, relating to other people, and making decisions.

 

Dealing with stress though, is not an innate trait in humans; it is a learned behaviour.  Whether good or bad, we learn coping skills from our environment.  Adding positive and healthy coping skills to our lifestyle is crucial to maintaining or gaining back mental wellness. 

 

 

Depression is not always something that you can control—it may be related to a specific situation or it could seem to appear for no apparent reason.  Depression may be triggered by loss—loss of a loved one, an important role in life, a job, loss of health or independence.  Any of these losses create increased stress.  Without coping mechanisms, someone’s mental distress level will climb and they may experience depression.  Depression after any type of loss is likely due to situational depression, and having the right coping skills will be highly beneficial.  It is important to note that clinical depression is an illness that many people experience regardless of their coping skills.  In either case, it is important that you speak to a doctor.

 

The Canadian Mental Health Association recommends a few key coping skills to help maintain mental wellness.  By implementing these coping methods when you are feeling your mental distress level begin to climb, you may be able to maintain a higher state of mental well-being.

 

1. Educate Yourself. 

The more you know about depression and mental illness, the more empowered you are to protect your own health.

 

2. Change Your Thinking Patterns. 

Many depressed people have negative and anxious thought patterns.  Learning to redirect your focus can improve your mental health.  Celebrate your successes; focus on your achievements rather than focusing on what you are unable to do.

 

3. Ask for Help. 

Requesting help is not a sign of weakness; rather, it requires courage to reach out to others when you are in need.  Create a support system of caring people whom you can call when you are feeling low.  Have a list of 5 close friends you can count on; if one person doesn’t answer, you have 4 more names you can call.

 

4. Use Problem Solving. 

Determine which problems are stressing you, explore possible solutions, try a new solution (as the same old solutions will yield the same old results), evaluate the effectiveness of your new solution, and focus on the progress of your problem solving rather than on the problem alone.

 

5. Exercise. 

When you are depressed, the last thing you may feel like is exercise, but the results make the effort worthwhile.  Exercise increases the blood flow not only through your body but also to your brain.  Increased oxygen flow to the brain improves mental functioning and mood. Your endorphins are also elevated through exercise.

 

 

6. Eat and Sleep. 

Eat a properly balanced diet, even if you have no appetite.  Aim to maintain a regular schedule where you eat healthy food at regular intervals.  Sleep on a regular schedule as well.  Ensure that you get enough sleep, but do not oversleep.  Most adults need an average of eight hours of sleep nightly.

 

7. Enjoyment. 

Schedule yourself time to rejuvenate.  Prioritize activities that bring you peace and pleasure.  This may include: meditation, being outdoors, various hobbies, caring for a pet, having a massage, etc.

 

 

8. Socialize. 

Do not cut yourself off from social connections.  If large groups are overwhelming, go out for coffee with just one or two people at a time.  Isolation only perpetuates depression.  Socialize with close, caring friends who are compassionate and supportive.  Be sure to hug these close friends; physical touch should not be underestimated.

 

9. Relax Your Standards. 

Many people experience anxiety and stress because they are 

holding themselves to unrealistic standards.  Determine to not expect more of yourself than you would expect of anyone else.  Be kind to yourself—sometimes, we are hardest on ourselves!

 

10. Laugh!! 

A sense of humour can go a long way.  Sometimes, laughter truly is the best medicine.  You don't even have to wait for a comedy act to come to town; through the internet, you can search endless comedies on YouTube and select comedies that suit your particular sense of humour.

 

If implementing these coping skills does not improve your sense of mental well-being or if you are currently experiencing other symptoms as well, you should see your doctor.  Medication may be appropriate for you, or there may be a physical explanation for the mental distress you are experiencing.  Your doctor can advise you best.

 

It is important to know that help is available.  You do not need to live in a state of mental distress.  To learn more about healthy coping strategies and ways to reduce stress, please visit the Canadian Mental Health Association online at:  www.cmhagrb.on.ca   Locally, in Waterloo Region, we are blessed to have Here 24/7—a  service that is available 24/7 to assist with addictions, mental health, and crisis situations.  The number is: 1-844-HERE247 (1-844-437-3247)

 

 

 


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Avery Hamilton

Fresh New Start to the New Year

 

Have you already broken your New Year's resolutions? How would you like it if you could have a very simple yet effective New Year's resolution? Your spouse, loved ones and friends could even have the SAME resolution! The resolution for 2017? LIVE LIFE FULLY! It seems so easy, yet a lot of people aren't doing it! To read more about this idea click here

 


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Avery Hamilton

Family Caregiver Education Series

Community Support Connections (CSC) is hosting new Caregiver Support Education Sessions this fall!  A caregiver is anyone who provides practical or emotional supports to a family member, friend or neighbour.  All are welcome to attend a series of four free, two-hour sessions where participants will learn strategies to ease the burden of caregiving, find out about supports available in the community and much more.

 

Topics include:

  • Reflections on aging & caregiving
  • Effective communication
  • Home care & resources in the community
  • Long-term care


Choose one series of afternoon, evening or weekend sessions:
Tuesdays October 18, 25, November 1, 8                  1:30pm--3:30pm

Wednesdays October 19, 26, November 2, 9             7:00pm--9:00pm

Saturdays November 19, 26, December 3, 10            9:30pm--11:30am

 

Location: CSC's Breslau Office, 61 Woolwich St. N.,
Breslau, ON, NOB 1M0.

Cost: FREE!

More Information: click here to view poster

Contact: To register or for more information, please contact Linda Flemming, Client/Caregiver Engagement Specialist at 519-772-8787 ext. 210 or email lindaf@cscmow.org

 


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Chloe Hamiton

How do you handle it if a client passes away?

Isn’t it tough when clients pass away?

 

I get asked this question a lot.  And the answer is yes, without a doubt, yes.  It certainly is sad when a client passes away.  We have many long-standing clients whom we have served for years. We have seen them through major life transformations, journeyed with them as their health and abilities fluctuates, and been at their side in their final moments.  These are people for whom we have provided intimate personal care. These are people who entrusted us with even more than their physical needs; we are often their listening ear, the ones who reassure them when their voices fears or concerns, the ones who acknowledge and validate their current reality.

 

Our clients are more than clients.  They are extended family with whom we share deeply meaningful moments.

 

So the answer is absolutely yes—when a client passes away it certainly does impact us.

 

The next question that usually follows is: “how do you keep doing it? If losing clients is tough, how do you not get depressed by it all?”

 

That is a tougher question to answer, but finding the answer to this question makes all the difference in the world.

 

It is always important to step back, and consider the impact that we have made in the client’s life and the lives of their family.

 

Impact in the Client’s Life

 

We had a long-term client who passed away just last week.  Over ten months ago, she was deemed palliative, and initially was told she may only have a few weeks left to live.  She proved everyone wrong!  Every day our fabulous caregivers arrived to spend quality time together, with hopes of drawing out her charming smile.  Many have suggested that she lived for our daily visits; it is possible that the companionship of our team contributed to her surviving months longer than doctors predicted.

 

We impact client’s lives each and every day.  We arrive at each client visit with the viewpoint of: “how can I make today a better day for this client?”  We have countless heartwarming moments that will make you laugh or cry—or both!  We share these Heartfelt Moments on our website, so others can feel the joy and deep meaning that we experience.  We aim to make every day special for clients—whether it’s our first visit with them, or it’s within their final days

 

 Impact in the Family’s Lives

 

Recently, we were asked to provide palliative care to a client who had stage four cancer that was rapidly progressing.  Although we did not have years of history with this client, we quickly grew to love her too.  It was her family’s wish that she remain in her apartment until the very end—they desperately did not want their mother to pass away in hospital.  Our attendant care granted this family their final wish for their mother. She passed away in her own bed, at peace, with someone holding her hand.

 

We cannot doubt that the family was impacted.  The family had peace of mind knowing that someone was with their mother around the clock at times that they 

could not be present. They knew she had the tender and loving care that she deserved. They were granted their wish to have their mother pass away in her own bed at home.

 

In moments when we are tempted to feel sad and depressed because clients have passed away, I stop to consider—what impact did we make?  If we were brought in specifically to provide palliative care to someone in need, and we successfully enabled them to remain at home and experience the passing they had envisioned, what more could I ask?  When I realize that without our care, the family’s wish and the client’s wishes might not have been granted, then I realize that it would be selfish of me NOT to provide the care and support that they request.

 

When I recognize that our clients received higher quality of life for the final months or years of their life, I realize that it is all worth it.  I am a better person for each of the clients I have met. They each leave a lasting touch.  What a blessing that I get to meet so many incredible people who touch my life, and who have entrusted me with the great honour of impacting their lives too.

 

So is it tough to lose clients? Yes, it most certainly is.  Is it depressing though? I would say no, it is not depressing.  Instead, it is a blessing to have been invited into the client’s life at such an important time. I am honoured, I am blessed, and I am touched.


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Chloe Hamiton

Happy Thanksgiving!

Autumn is a wonderful time of year — fall colours, harvest crops, hearty comfort food, and warm fuzzy sweaters. Long walks rustling your feet through the leaves, geese flying overhead, squirrels scurrying to collect acorns...all the sights and sounds and smells of fall time. Above all this though, fall is a time to be thankful for all of our blessings.

 

Celebrating Thanksgiving does not require a lavish celebration with all of the home-cooked food (although sneaking an extra slice of pie certainly sounds good!). The true essence of Thanksgiving is in being grateful. What are you most thankful for? Who do you appreciate? Have you told your family, friends, or neighbours how much you care for them, even if you are separated by distance? Everyone likes to know that they are appreciated, so you can never thank people too much!

 

One of the greatest ways to celebrate autumn is sharing memories with those who are closest to you. You can share these memories while sitting around the dinner table, over the phone, or by email. Sharing memories lets others know that they are important to you, and that you are grateful for their involvement in your life. Reminisce about the happy moments and funny stories from the past year, and tell each other about the blessings in your life. Joy and blessings seem to multiply when shared with other people!

 

 

 


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Chloe Hamiton

October Aged to Perfection

I hope you are enjoying this fall seson so far!  We had true summer weather this year, and it seems that we're poised for a beautiful autumn season as well.

 

This coming weekend is already Thanksgiving! You can click here to read Warm Embrace's thoughts on Thanksgiving and how to celebrate the season.

 

As a follow up to our last newsletter, I have a "part 2" article regarding Advanced Care Planning.  September's issue included an article about sustitute decision makers and the types of decisions they make on someone else's behalf.  In this October edition of Aged to Perfection, the sequel is about advanced care planning as a larger topic. 

 

In this edition you'll also find some upcoming events--a fun and inclusive choir for those with dementia, as well as a full-day conference about living fully with the diagnosis of dementia.  Click here for more information on both events.


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Chloe Hamiton

A Circle of Music

Have you ever wanted to be part of a choir?  This just might be your opportunity!

 

A Circle of Music is a new intergenerational choir for those living with dementia, their care partners, and students from regional high schools.  This choir provides an opportunity to sing, connect with each other and with the students.

 

Each adult participant is paired with a student from Cameron Heights Collegiate who is truly excited to have this chance to make music--together with you!  You do not need to have any musical experience; this is a learning choir that is open to everyone.  The most important element is your enthusiasm!  Each week there is social time after the singing so that you have the opportunity to get to know other choir members.

 

Date: Thursday afternoons (starting October 6th)

Time: 3:00pm

Location: downtown Kitchener with free, on-site parking

Cost: Free!

More Info: please contact Sasha Judelson at 519 342 4764 or circleofmusickw@gmail.com

To see the poster, please click here.

 


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Chloe Hamiton

Care to Share— Acquired Brain Injury Caregiver Support Group

Are you caring for a loved one with an acquired brain injury?  Do you know someone who is?  When someone experiences a brain injury, their life is forever changed—as well as the lives of their families and friends.  This can lead to feeling stressed and exhausted, with no sense of knowledge or guidance.


Care to Share is a support group specifically designed for caregivers who are supporting someone with an acquired brain injury (ABI).  The meetings are professional supervised and facilitated by a doctor, and some topics that will be covered include:

  • Taking care of yourself
  • Changing family roles
  • Managing stress and emotions
  • Effective communications skills
  • Local ABI resources

Care to Share is a series of 8 weekly meetings from September 20th to November 8th, 2016.  Tonight is the first session in the series!


Date: Tuesday evenings (starting Sept 20th)
Time: 6:30pm—8:00pm
Location: St. Joseph’s Health Centre, 100 Westmount Rd. Guelph
Cost: FREE! Care to Share is offered through the collaboration of St. Joseph’s Health Care Centre and Traverse Independence
Register: registration is required: 519-741-5845 x2102  info@travind.ca

 


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Chloe Hamiton

Elder Abuse, Domestic Violence, and the Justice System

Elder abuse is a highly complex issue, and it becomes even more complicated when it intersects with domestic violence.  The two issues are treated quite differently by the courts, but what happens when one situation involves both domestic violence and elder abuse?  These issues will be explored at a regional conference hosted by Central West chapter of Elder Abuse Ontario.


Topics of the day will include:

  • The role of the Crown in Elder Abuse and Domestic Violence
  • Supporting older adults through the mental health court system who have cognitive impairment or mental health issues
  • The role of law enforcement in responding to elder abuse and domestic violence
  • Supporting older adults through the social services system
  • Safe beds in Peel, Guelph and Dufferin
  • The new safe pathways program in Guelph

This conference includes experts from various elements of the system—healthcare, legal, policing, etc.  There will be speakers and representatives from the following sectors:

  • Crown Attorney from the Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Mental Health Court Coordinator, CMHA
  • Guelph Police Services
  • Victim Services
  • Guelph Wellington Women in Crisis
  • Specialized Geriatric Services
  • Alzheimer Society
  • Seniors at Risk Coordinator
  • Wellington-Dufferin County Victim
  • Witness Assistance Program

With representatives from so many agencies, this conference is bound to be informative!  Below is the conference information:
Date:  Friday, September 23, 2016
Time:  8:30am—4:30pm
Location:  Springfield Golf and Country Club, 2054 Gordon St. Guelph
Cost: $95

To Register: please click here.
More Info: Rochella Vassell, 416-916-6728  centralwest@elderabuseontario.com


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Name: Chloe Hamiton
Posts: 12
Last Post: May 12, 2017

Name: Avery Hamilton
Posts: 23
Last Post: January 6, 2017

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