A suc­cess­ful se­niors sym­po­sium

The Glengarry News - - Health, Beauty, Fitness, Nutrition - News


Staff Alyson Gra­ham was so thrilled with the turnout for the first ever Se­niors Sym­po­sium that she thinks she’ll re­peat the event again next year.

“We did this sym­po­sium be­cause we wanted to bring all of the re­sources to one spot,” says Ms. Gra­ham of Cedar­wood Ser­vices. The event took place at the Glen­garry Fu­neral Home in Alexan­dria on Mon­day af­ter­noon. It saw a steady stream of vis­i­tors pour in to ei­ther get in­for­ma­tion from the 20 or­ga­ni­za­tions on hand or to sit in on a num­ber of sem­i­nars on ev­ery­thing from fall pro­tec­tion and dy­ing with dig­nity to an up­date on the vaunted se­niors vil­lage.


Craig Smith, a geri­atric asses­sor and el­der me­di­a­tor, also spoke about the chal­lenges of ad­vo­cat­ing for a loved one in a long-term care fa­cil­ity. He said that one of the big­gest ob­sta­cles is for peo­ple to over­come the no­tion that they are al­ways right. Such an at­ti­tude can shut down any con­ver­sa­tion with a long-term care fa­cil­ity, or even other fam­ily mem­bers.

“As a me­di­a­tor, I am im­par­tial,” he says. “My goal is to help the par­ties reach an agree­ment through fa­cil­i­tat­ing a con­ver­sa­tion.”

He added that some­times, peo­ple might not be fully pre­pared for how de­men­tia and re­lated ill­nesses can af­fect some­one. As an ex­am­ple, he told a story about an el­derly man who made a pass at his own daugh­ter. The man had thought he was much younger and he mis­took his daugh­ter for his wife.

Mon­ica Ahrens, Su­per­vi­sor for the se­niors’ pro­gram at the Glen­garry In­ter-Agency Group (GIAG), would likely agree with that state­ment.

She has an ef­fec­tive metaphor for mem­ory loss: Imag­ine all your mem­o­ries are a stack of pa­per on a win­dowsill; your ear­li­est mem­ory is on the bot­tom and what you had for lunch is on the top. Sud­denly, a gust of wind scat­ters all those pages. Now your mem­o­ries are scram­bled.

GIAG had a booth at the show, where the group dis­played a num­ber of ma­te­ri­als in­clud­ing ro­botic and semi-life­like pets and a man­nequin baby that looked very close to the real thing.

She explained that some peo­ple with de­men­tia think they are much younger than they ac­tu­ally are. They might think they have to go check on their baby when, in fact, the baby is fully grown. As such, the man­nequin baby can be used as an ef­fec­tive sub­sti­tute.

In fact, she says that baby is so pop­u­lar that se­niors like to hold it and read to it. Some of them even know it’s a fake baby but they en­joy in­ter­act­ing with it any­way.

Stephane Cameron, a Life­line Com­mu­nity Rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Philips Home Health­care So­lu­tions, was also on hand to dis­cuss the lat­est tech­nol­ogy for fall de­tec­tion and ser­vices. His com­pany rents equip­ment that can detect sud­den falls and al­lows for fast com­mu­ni­ca­tion with se­niors and the call cen­tre. There’s also a new ser­vice -- a de­vice that mon­i­tors wan­der­ing for peo­ple with de­men­tia.


HEALTHY BEAT: Jen­nifer Robert­son and Mon­ica Ahrens had a lot to display, in­clud­ing these drums, at the Glen­garry In­terA­gency Group’s booth at the Se­niors Sym­po­sium at the Glen­garry Fu­neral Home in Alexan­dria on Mon­day. Drum­ming is an en­joy­able ac­tiv­ity for se­niors.

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