Eye See You Holiday Photo Contest 2018

Posted on December 6th, 2018 by Paula Colaso under Blog

The Eye See You campaign aims to improve eye health education and help Canadians maintain and promote vision health across the life course.

This holiday season, the International Federation on Ageing and the Eye See You campaign are inviting amateur and professional photographers across Canada to join us in raising awareness about the importance of vision health!  Share a photo of something that matters most to you this holiday season for a chance to win $250 Ray Ban gift card!

Protecting vision health is critical to maintaining functional ability and healthy ageing.  8 in 10 Canadians worry about how they will be able to live independently if their vision is lost or significantly impaired and 9 in 10 Canadians believe that sight is the most important of the five senses.

Take a photo and show us why vision health matters to you!

Between 10-31 December, 2018 follow the three easy steps to raise vision health awareness on social media:

  1. Take a photo of something that matters most to you this holiday season.
  2. Share on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #EyeSeeYou2018.
  3. Subscribe to the EyeSeeYou mailing list to get the latest vision health news.

You will be automatically entered to win once completed.

If you are interested in learning more about the contest rules and the Eye See You Campaign, more information can be found on the EyeSeeYou website.

Prevention is the Best Medicine: The Importance of Immunization to the Health of Seniors

Posted on November 29th, 2018 by Paula Colaso under Blog

On Tuesday 27 November 2018, health care professionals, public health officials, stakeholders in ageing, immunization and lung conditions, and interested members of the public gathered in Toronto to learn about the importance of immunization to the health of seniors at the fourth Breathing Policy Forum organized by the Ontario Lung Association, in partnership with the National Institute on Aging.

The morning event consisted of six key speakers:

The event was both educational and motivational – outlining the importance of vaccination to older people, the worrying adult vaccination uptake rates in Canada, and potential collaborative solutions to this problem.

 

The Importance of Vaccination

Vaccine preventable diseases in later life such as influenza, pneumonia and shingles can result in severe complications and even mortality, particularly for older people with comorbid chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dementia, Dr. Bowdish explained.

Combined, influenza and pneumonia are the 7th leading cause of death in Canada, yet people underestimate the consequences of this life-threatening illness.  In sum, “vaccines save lives” said Dr. Crowcroft, and the burden of infectious disease on older adults is not only death, but years of functional ability lost as well.

 

Vaccination Uptake Rates in Canada

Immunization rates have shown success in Canadian children, so why are adult vaccination rates so low?  Put simply, there is not the same driving force.  Dr. Sinha explained that there are 10 times as many pediatricians in Canada as there are geriatricians, yet the number of Canadians aged 65 and older is now equal to the number of children aged 15 and younger.

Pneumococcal vaccination is a straightforward process, only requiring one dosage in Canada, yet uptake rates are extremely low (around 40%), compared to the 80% target for people aged 65 and older.  Flu vaccination uptake rates are higher, yet still well below the target.  Surprisingly, a large percentage of older Canadians who consider themselves at-risk for flu still choose not to get vaccinated.

 

The Solution?

The speakers discussed a variety of opportunities to increase uptake rates, including incentives for physicians (noting the high vaccination rates in Nova Scotia which may be due to this); education to medical students; the need for simple and clear vaccine recommendations; vaccination of physicians to better enable them to encourage and recommend vaccines to their patients; and the need for a whole family perspective, with attention to maintaining health among the entire family, from children, to pregnant family members, to grandparents.

“We don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about prevention” said Dr. McGreer.  There is a systematic double standard when comparing stakeholders who are willing to pay for treatment versus what they are willing to pay for prevention.

Dr. Crowcroft explained that people automatically think “risk” when vaccines are discussed.  The narrative surrounding vaccines needs to change to capture the ability of vaccines to work with a person’s immune system to help their body help itself – “trying to help nature help you”.

It takes a community to prevent a fall: We all have a role to play

Posted on November 21st, 2018 by Paula Colaso under Blog

IFA Guest Blogger: Marguerite Oberle Thomas, Consultant -Liaison, Fall Prevention Community of Practice. Thomas, a senior, has worked in Injury Prevention since 1996.

 

Fall Prevention Month is a November campaign initiated for the fourth year by pan-Canadian partnering organizations that assist intermediaries who work with older adults and those at risk of injury due to falls. Why do we need to promote Fall Prevention Month? The motto says it all “It takes a community to prevent a fall: We all have a role to play”. When someone falls, it affects the individual, the family, the community and the health care system.  The partners and contributors who make it happen in Canada recognize that fall prevention is an international issue and invite advocates everywhere to adapt and utilize the ideas and resources created over the past four years.

As both a senior and someone still in the workforce, the first hurdle for many seniors is to acknowledge that falls are not an inevitable part of ageing and that there is much that can be done on a personal, home and community level.

On a personal level, there are some things that cannot be changed such as your genetic background and past history of falls. However, general health is most important and helpful strategies include:

Less well known is the role of hearing checks. People fall when they misstep while concentrating on blocking out noise while listening to what they want to hear. Fear of falling is a huge factor as well, as it can inhibit the free and vigorous movements that keep our muscles strong. Mood and mental ability need to be considered.  Medical conditions can loom large. Conditions that affect balance, strength and flexibility are all risk factors as are certain medications and the use of alcohol or cannabis.

On the home front, the first step would be to obtain a home safety checklist. Many of these available online or are located at your local health care centres. Lists should include all the rooms in your home with suggestions for improvement. Considerations include:

Most pertinent this time of the year is safe winter walking. Helpful tips include:

In the community and public places: Speak up, be proactive, and support Age friendly Communities. Biggest personal tip: Slow down and think ahead. It is often several factors that make a fall happen and hurrying is a major culprit. Stay safe and enjoy the social and physical wellbeing that comes from being active and avoiding falls.

Learn more by joining the Fall Prevention Community of Practice. Check out the Loop website, follow us on Twitter, and  join our mailing list.

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