Mental Health and Memory in Late Life

CAMH: Memory ClinicDr. Sanjeev Kumar, MD from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) recently shared some useful research on Mental Health and Memory in Late Life (click on the link to download the pdf file of the full presentation).

The best part of the presentation was learning that dementia can be prevented. Here are some important quick tips:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding smoking and excess alcohol
  • Maintaining your weight
  • Keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels in control
  • Eating a well-balanced and healthy diet
  • Getting regular sleep
  • Maintaining a social network
  • Stimulating your brain

For more information on the CAMH Memory Clinic, please contact them at (416) 535-8501, extension 33305

May 27 at 7pm: De-stress and Engage for Healthy Cognitive Aging

PresentationJoin us for this presentation by Dr. Alexandra J. Fiocco Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Ryerson University and the Stress & Healthy Aging Research Lab (StAR). Dr. Fiocco will be discussing her research on healthy cognitive aging.

What: De-stress and Engage for Healthy Cognitive Aging: What the Research tells Us

When: Wednesday May 27, 2015

Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Location: Jane/Dundas Library

#WTSSTips for Seniors and Caregivers: Why Getting Vitamin D Is Important

Vitamin DDo you avoid the sun, suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegan diet?

If yes, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency and this can have serious health effects.

Reasons Seniors Need Vitamin D

According to WebMD, more and more research points to vitamin D as integral in preventing a number of serious health problems. In fact, seniors who get the recommended amount of vitamin D each day are more likely to:

  • Maintain their physical mobility and independence.
  • Lower risks for osteoporosis and other bone disorders.
  • Decrease risks for cardiovascular problems, diabetes and some cancers.

Tips for Getting Vitamin D

Because of the link between sun exposure and skin cancer, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that adults rely on food and supplements to get the right amount of vitamin D each day. People aged 71 and over should get 800 IU. A blood test can tell whether you are getting the right amount of vitamin D.

Seniors should talk to their doctor before taking supplements to determine if they are necessary because too much vitamin D can also have serious health effects. This can rule out any potential interactions with prescription medications.

Here is a link to Your Food Guide – created by the Government of Canada.

Key Resources:

Mental Health Week 2015 (May 4-8) #MentalHealthWeek #MWH2015

Mental Health Week 2015

 

This week marks Mental Health Week from May 4 to 8 and we’d like to bring your attention to this important campaign organized by the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“Mental health is key to our well-being. We can’t be truly healthy without it. It involves how we feel, think, act, and interact with the world around us. Mental health is about realizing our potential, coping with the normal stresses of life, and making a contribution to our community.  Good mental health isn’t about avoiding problems or trying to achieve a ‘perfect’ life. It’s about living well and feeling capable despite challenges”   ~ CMHA

Some key recommendation by the CMHA to practice and stay healthy in your day to day life:

  • Build a healthy self-esteem
  • Build positive support networks
  • Get involved
  • Build resiliency
  • Recognize your emotions
  • Take care of your spiritual well-being
  • Asking for help

To read more about these tips in detail visit the Mental Health Fact Sheet.

If you ever find yourself in a crisis, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

If you’re looking for a referral to a qualified mental health practitioner, you can contact your health professional or talk to one of our Case Managers at WTSS.

A lesson in Sushi making @WTSSORG

Seaweed, Wasabi,
Delectable treasures,
It is just sushi.

         ~Melissa Ross

Our Adult Day Services Program had an educational afternoon making sushi with staff and clients.  Filled with vegetables and tuna and dipped in a delicious soy sauce.   Many had their first attempt at making one and sharing the rewards.  Just one of the fun activities in the ADS program.

Thanks to Ikue, our guest chef and sushi teacher, for showing us how it’s done.   Now we need a lesson in chop-stick use.

Read more about our Adult Day Service program.

Community Environment Days

Community Environment Day

Pick-up recycling at your sidewalk curb can account for a large amount of materials and more often we are using the blue bins over our regular garbage ‘grey’ bins.

However, you can do even more to re-use and re-cycle.  Community Environment Days are organized by the City of Toronto in partnership with Live Green Toronto.  They are conveniently organized across the GTA in different communities, usually by your local municipal counselor.   The program has been successful in past years and residents of Toronto are more actively involved in recycling, re-using and dispensing of dangerous good.

Some key benefits of participating:

  • Extend the life of a product by offering it to someone for reuse.
  • Reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and ensure that it is properly recycled.
  • Ensure that hazardous waste materials are disposed of safely.
  • Convenience!  Avoid having to pay and go to a special Drop-off Depot 
Things to recycle

Some examples of what you can bring to Community Environment Days

According to the City of Toronto, there were almost 30,000 particpants last year across the GTA community and together they brought:

  • 167,661 kg of electronics
  • 310,845 kg of Household Hazardous Waste
  • 68,792 kg of reusable household goods
  • 7,468 kg of arts & craft supplies

Community Environment Days began this past weekend and will continue throughout the summer.

Find an event near you!  To see the 2015 schedule and when it will be visiting your City Ward, follow the link below:

Community Environment Days 2015 Schedule

EMS Emergency Contact Sheet (ICE Form) update

EMS ICE form

Click to begin filling out form online

Emergency situations can be hazardous, especially seniors and adults with disabilities. As part of our continuing support, we’ve posting this bi-annual reminder.   Please ensure it’s up to date and keep it somewhere safe in your home.

Note: This form is voluntary – do not send it back to us.

To ensure you get the proper care in the event of an emergency, the Toronto Medical Emergency Services (EMS) have developed a sheet called “In Case of Emergency”, or ICE for short.   We encourage everyone to fill out the form and keep it in an easily accessible place (For example:  Your fridge, the back of your front door and/or your wallet or purse).

The sheet is easy to read and contains valuable information for paramedics and healthcare providers should you not be able to speak for yourself or remember important information.

This form is voluntary and assists healthcare providers take care of you as efficiently as possible in the event of an emergency.  We urge you to include information of one person whom emergency personnel can reach on your behalf, as well as any medical conditions and/or allergies that would be beneficial for emergency personnel to know.

If you have any questions or would like assistance in filling out this form, please call Dolma (416) 653-3535 Ext. 333

Forms can be downloaded by clicking the image above or retrieved at the EMS website.

A journey in volunteering @VolunteerTO #VolunteersofTO #NVW2015

As we mentioned in a previous post, volunteering has many benefits.  In fact, several staff at West Toronto Support Services (WTSS) started out as volunteers for many reasons.   Some wanted real world experience, wanted to help the community or in some cases were newcomers to Canada looking to get work experience.

The following video tells the journey of our own Shawn Kronemberg, Supervisor of the Case Management team here at WTSS.

The video was created by a volunteer as part of the SharedTime Project, a joint initiative of Volunteer Toronto and the Centre for Digital Storytelling.

How to Find Fulfilling Work. Start with #Volunteering!

The key to finding fulfilling work is to think a lot, understand the market, and to watch this film. Then read below on some of the benefits of volunteering at West Toronto Support Services (WTSS).

As a WTSS volunteer, you are committed to forming a world where older adults and adults with disabilities can live independently and with dignity for longer, feeling respected, supported and counted. Your investment of time and talent is needed and will be immensely valued, either on an occasional or a consistent basis.

Here are just two of the benefits of volunteering with us:

Real World Experience – get experience in the health sector supporting older adults and adults with disabilities.

Ongoing Training – learn new skills. We offer regular training to our new and current volunteers. Every 2 to 3 months, we have a professional do a workshop to our group of volunteers free of charge.

Want to learn more? Check out our Volunteer Positions

West Toronto Support Services

Runnymede Public Library FREE Event: Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

High ParkWest Toronto Support Services is a huge advocate for our beautiful Toronto Public Libraries. In our catchment area, we are lucky to have the Runnymede Branch (a Heritage site since 2008). There are many fun, free and engaging programs at the Runnymede Library.

Since our new location is close to the vibrant High Park, we are highlighting the event: Unusual Nature Discoveries in High Park

Wed Apr 29, 2015
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Runnymede Program Room

For updates and more information.

Event Details: Come learn about some of the unexpected flora and fauna that can be found in this magnificent 399-acre urban oasis. From uncommon plants, to seldom-seen animals and peculiar insects, let local naturalist and educator Richard Aaron help you discover one of Toronto’s natural wonders.

 

#NVW2015: Kicking off National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer WeekLife can be busy. Often our schedules are filled with work and family commitments, errands and social outings. You’d think we couldn’t possibly squeeze in one more thing – but we do. The latest research tells us that 13.3 million Canadians (nearly half the population over age 15) volunteered more than two billion hours in 2010.* That’s equivalent to about one million full-time jobs!

Unexpected benefits of volunteering
The top reason people donate their time and skills, according to Volunteer Canada, is to contribute to their communities. But there are also personal, sometimes unexpected, benefits.

5 more reasons to volunteer
Making a difference in your community is an excellent reason to volunteer. There are also personal rewards for stepping out of your routine to help others:

• Gain and apply new skills
• Inspire younger family members
• Develop new interests
• Connect with people outside of your usual circles
• Have fun, feel fulfilled and reduce stress

Passing on family values
Volunteering as a family is a great way to unplug from the daily chaos and open the lines of communication. In fact, it’s a new trend. Many organizations that benefit from volunteerism plan family-friendly activities. On a larger scale, you might consider replacing your next theme-park vacation with a volunteer adventure. Instead of lounging by the pool, you could rally to build a school or home, dig a well or work in an animal sanctuary. It can be an excellent way for your family to experience different cultures, discover hidden talents and connect on a whole new level – all while reinforcing the importance of helping others.

Celebrating stronger communities
Join us in celebrating everyone who helps strengthen our communities during National Volunteer Week, from April 12 to 18. This 12th annual event is organized by Volunteer Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing and supporting volunteerism.

Start today and get involved by checking out our volunteer opportunities at WTSS!

 

*Source: Statistics Canada, Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating

Volunteer Profile: Ikue Kisa

Ikue

Volunteer Ikue Kisa

Ikue discovered us last fall and has been regularly helping us in a big way.    She spends most of her days each week assisting with our Adult Day Services (ADS), whether it’s socializing with clients, helping with food, exercises or games.   She really enjoys working with the clients and staff.   Willing to help in a pinch, she’s also been lending a hand with our Community Dining program, Meals-on-Wheels and the occasional administrative work.  She finds the older adults more cheerful compared to similar work she did in Japan before she traveled abroad.

Ikue came to Canada from Japan in September of 2014 and has been taking courses in communication, business and public speaking.   Aside from the positive experience at WTSS, her volunteer work offers her the chance to learn about our Canadian culture and put to good use some of the skills she learned in her home country working with older adults.   In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the city and recently saw a Raptors game where she won a free T-shirt!    Her travels have also extended to Montreal and Quebec.   Sometimes you’ll catch her watching some movies or trying out the variety of different foods that Toronto has to offer.   Playing a piano and singing is only one of her skills but something she’s not keen to boast about.

She’s heading back to Shimane, Japan in May but not before she plans on travelling to America and western Canada.    In her home country she has two older brothers, her parents and her dog, Hina whom she misses very much.

Thanks Ikue for all your hard work!   We hope you’ll come back and visit us on a return trip.

WTSS acknowledges National Family Caregiver Day #careandwork

National Family Caregiver DayToday is National Family Caregiver Day –

A day to pay tribute to the valuable contribution of family caregivers to our lives!

Across the country, millions of Canadians – parents, children, and neighbours- unselfishly commit themselves to care for those in their lives affected by a diminishing physical ability, a debilitating cognitive condition or a chronic life-limiting illness. They offer their dedication and compassion day in and day out, to ensure that the person they care for has the best quality of life and care possible. Today, on National Family Caregiver Day, West Toronto Support Services (WTSS) is proud to recognize these individuals for their strengths and contributions to our society.

In 2012, 2.2 million Canadians received some form of help in their home to cope with a long term health condition, disability or aging needs. Overall, seniors were the most frequent users, with aging needs being the most prevalent reasons for receiving care. This number will continue to increase as our country is faced with the growing number seniors and related complexity of care. According to Statistics Canada, 88% of home care receivers relied on the help of family caregivers. In fact, family caregivers provide 80% of the care needed by seniors with long term conditions.

“Family caregivers play a vital role in enabling seniors to remain safely at home with dignity and quality of life. Their support and care have protected their loved ones from unnecessary hospital visits or premature admission to long-term care facilities”, stated Jill Robbins, CHCA President.

SOURCE Canadian Home Care Association

7 April is World Health Day 2015 #SafeFood

Just in case you didn’t get a chance to Like or Comment on our Word Health Day Facebook Post we are sharing the link:

West Toronto Support Services

World Health Day will be celebrated today (7 April), with The World Health Organization (WHO) highlighting the challenges and opportunities associated with food safety under the slogan “From farm to plate, make food safe.”

Unsafe food can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances, and cause more than 200 diseases – ranging from diarrhea to cancers. Examples of unsafe food include undercooked foods of animal origin, fruits and vegetables contaminated with faeces, and shellfish containing marine biotoxins.

More information is shared in this press release.

What You Can Do if Someone Doesn’t Know They Have Dementia

anosognosiaIf you are caring for someone with dementia, have you found yourself dealing with anosognosia as well?

(Anosognosia is the lack of awareness that there is cognitive decline in oneself.)

Not surprisingly, it is very difficult for caregivers and family members to make progress with a person’s illness when they are showing signs of anosognosia. Yet, the condition is alarmingly common. For example, after stroke, some studies show up to 77% of patients suffer anosognosia (at least temporarily). And it affects up to 81% of those with Alzheimer’s disease. (Source)

It’s important to learn that when something happens to damage the right part of the brain – such as a stroke or dementia – then “the left brain seeks to maintain continuity of belief, using denial, rationalization, confabulation and other tricks to keep one’s mental model of the world intact.” Anosognosia has long been recognized in individuals with strokes, brain tumors, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease according to the Treatment Advocacy Center.

What You Can Do

Trying to make someone with this problem understand that they have changed and need to accept new limits often is an exercise in frustration,” New York Times. 

The most effective caregiver strategy is to reduce the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of their situation. Don’t attempt to make the person understand over and over again. Instead:

  • Use positive language, be gentle, encouraging and empathetic about necessary tasks
  • Provide a structured schedule of tasks, personal care and down time, and make yourself or another caregiver available to help
  • Downsize any responsibilities that are unnecessary: sometimes a home health care aide or memory care is the answer
  • Work together with the person on necessary tasks such as cleaning or money management
  • Stay calm and focused on the other person when voicing concerns: articulate your thoughts in a subtle and positive light

Understanding Geriatric Depression: Video and Tips for Caregivers

What does depression look like in those over 65 years of age? Baycrest Health Sciences’ Dr. Robert Madan sits down with Steve Paikin to explain how geriatric depression presents itself. Here is the short video and below we give some important tips to support our caregivers.

If you think an elderly friend or relative suffers from depression, look for these warning signs:

Withdrawal from society – avoiding social situations, even with close friends and relatives

Loss of self-regard – putting off personal grooming and proper hygiene

Increased irritability – sudden drastic changes in mood

Amplified physical pain – weakened immune system

Studies show that older adults who have suffered from a serious disease or are recovering from surgery experience episodes of sadness after they are discharged from the hospital.

Tips of Care-givers: What can you do to help?

  1. Keep them company – talk/listen. Simple but very effective. Compassion, empathy and sensitivity can go a long way in the treatment of elderly depression.
  2. Keep in mind that depression is an illness. As per the video, it is much more serious and damaging than grief or sadness. If you suspect that someone suffers from it, keep an eye out for the symptoms or warning signs mentioned above.
  3. Give them control. If you do things for them that they can do by themselves, you might strengthen their perception that they are helpless or incapable. As per the video, “people need a role” – volunteerism is often a solution. Non-profits, such as WTSS, is always in need of support with programs such as Meals on Wheels.

Our expert staff at WTSS are ready to answer any of your questions and concerns.

The Nutrition Facts Table

The Nutrition Fact Label

Click to read The Nutrition Fact Label

Have you ever wondering what that information means on the label for all the food you buy?   It’s called the Nutrition Facts Table and it’s there to help in several ways.  Almost all pre-packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts table. It looks the same on most foods but some fresh foods do not have one.

You can use the Nutrition Facts table to:

  • Choose products more easily.
  • Compare two products to make better food choices for you and your family.
  • Learn about the nutrition information of the foods you eat.
  • Better manage special diets.
  • Increase or decrease your intake of any nutrient.

Did you know?

Using the Nutrition Facts table is worth it!

Making healthy food choices can help reduce your risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Click and read the file in this blog to learn how to make The Nutrition Label work for you!

Countdown to Spring: Healthy Eating

Are you busy looking after mom, dad, kids and/or a spouse? To keep up with the demands of life, you need good nutrition. And good nutrition means getting the right amount of nutrients from healthy foods. So, we are turning to experts to help make feeding yourself and ones you care for simple and fun!

AlzliveWatch this short video from Professional Home Economist Mairlyn Smith. For more cooking videos with Mairlyn, visit the Alzlive YouTube channel – there is a new video every Wednesday.

A walk with dementia – Finding Your Way tools

Finding Your WayFinding Your Way is a program that offers practical advice on how people with dementia can stay safe while staying active. It shows how to best deal with the risk of going missing.

Finding Your Way tools:

Identification form- Download a form that can be completed in advance and quickly passed onto searchers, saving precious time in the event of an emergency.

MedicAlert® Safely Home® – By registering for this program and wearing a MedicAlert® bracelet, people with dementia can be more easily identified and returned home should they become lost.

Locating devices – Download this brief overview of technology available to locate people with dementia who become lost.

Project Lifesaver – Supported by local police services in some Ontario communities, this program uses radio frequency technology to locate enrolled citizens who go missing and return them home safely.

Watch A Walk with Dementia to see how a caregiver used some of these techniques when his wife acquired a form of dementia

You’re Only Old Once! Happy Birthday #DrSeuss

Dr. Seuss, You're Only Old OnceDr. Seuss celebrated his birthday in March, so we are bringing you this short video storybook “You’re Only Old Once” to remember why his stories were so popular. This famous Dr. Seuss book is guaranteed to make you laugh and give you a new perspective of growing old. We hope you have a good laugh and share with friends and family.

Fraud Prevention Month: Protecting Against Title Theft

West Toronto Support Services
Fraud Prevention Month is an annual public awareness campaign held in March that works to prevent Canadians from becoming victims of fraud by helping them “Recognize it. Report it. Stop it.”

In North America, nearly 30% of Fraud Victims are seniors and with many seniors owning a mortgage free property this raises an increased risk of Title Fraud.  Watch this short video to understand how to protect yourself.

During the month of March, the Bureau and its partners in the Fraud Prevention Forum carry out numerous activities and host a variety of events to inform Canadians about the impact of fraud and how to protect themselves.

Check out the tips below, and visit the Bureau’s fraud prevention portal for more information and many other resources to help you fight fraud.

Tips to Protect Yourself from Fraud

  • Don’t be fooled by the promise of a valuable prize in return for a low-cost purchase.
  • Be extra cautious about calls, emails or mailings offering international bonds or lottery tickets, a portion of a foreign dignitary’s bank account, free vacations, credit repair or schemes with unlimited income potential.
  • Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone, delete the email or close your Internet connection.
  • Don’t purchase a product or service without carefully checking out the product, service and company.
  • Don’t be afraid to request further documentation from the caller so you can verify the validity of the company.
  • Don’t disclose personal information about your finances, bank accounts, credit cards, social insurance and driver’s license numbers to any business that can’t prove it is legitimate.
  • Shred unwanted personal information such as bank statements, credit card bills, unwanted receipts, cheques, pre-approvedcredit applications and old tax returns.
  • Check your credit report every year and report problems immediately.
  • If a scam artist contacts you, or if you’ve been defrauded: Report it! Your reports are vital to the anti-fraud efforts of law enforcement agencies.

Technology Tips for our Clients @WTSSorg

Senior Tech TipsWe all agree that technology plays a key role in helping older adults and those with disabilities stay independent and socially active. For example, technology gives us the tools to remain connected with family and friends, keep in touch with the larger world through news and use the computer as a learning tool. To help our clients connect in a safe online environment, your team at West Toronto Support Services recently launched a new website and social media such as Facebook and Twitter because we truly believe in the positive power of technology. One important goal we have with our social media is to create a support network and share relevant news to keep our community up to date of important issues.

Creating a Support Network

If you already have one or two social networking accounts, you know that making friends on Facebook and Twitter makes it easier to find new friends, stay in touch with old friends, and also mobilize a support network. Internet social networks can help us quickly reach out to groups when we need it the most: dealing with illness of aging parents, caregiver fatigue, finding trusted local services, and the list goes on.

Keeping our Clients Up To Date

The truth is that Boomers are a part of one of the fastest growing demographics in terms of usage of social media and other technologies. Twitter is not just for hip, 20-somethings, but can actually be a great option for those born in 1920-something. Plus technology like smartphones and tablets that are connected to wifi make it possible to communicate, read, research and stay up to date in real time. West Toronto Support Services is committed to updating our Blog and Social Media Accounts with relevant Community and Agency News, topics include: caregiver support, fitness, health education, home maintenance, resources, adult day services, community dining, home support, respite care…and we’re waiting to hear from you on hot topics of interest.

Twitter gives you a voice!

Twitter allows the community (and our empowered clients) to comment on news, politics, social issues in real time. Think of Twitter as your “Letter to the Editor” in 140 characters or less. Twitter doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you live, or how much money you make, your opinion matters. Use Twitter to make your voice heard.

How to get an elderly friend or family member online?
Don’t be afraid to show others how to use these tools in ways that are valuable to them and that can benefit them in their everyday lives. Just remember that someone may be skeptical about the use of technology or may need some guidance. It’s important to be patient because the task of learning to use technology may be daunting.

Top 5 tips on technology use for older adults (Source: University of Toronto’s Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab):

1. Ask them if they’d like to learn about technology
Seniors may be interested in learning to use technology but reluctant to ask for help because they don’t want to be a burden. Encourage them to ask questions often and to learn by your example.

2. Integrate technology into their everyday routine
Seniors may develop more of an interest in technology if it relates to their lives. Introduce them to different apps and programs that can connect them to family and friends, give them access to health information, help them engage with people who have similar life challenges and provide them with mental stimulation and entertainment.

3. Show, don’t tell

Visual learning is perhaps the easiest way to pick up a new skill. Help seniors get comfortable with technology by taking the time to sit down with them and show them how it all works. Allowing tech-savvy grandchildren to play a role in the teaching process creates a great learning environment as well as family bonding time.

4. Balance online and offline activities
Technology is a great tool, but it shouldn’t be a replacement for the hobbies and activities people love to do offline. Encourage the seniors in your life to split their time healthily between online activities, outdoor recreation and face-to-face socializing.

5. Choose wisely when purchasing tech gadgets
Don’t buy technology that doesn’t fit your needs. Do your research and choose your tools carefully. Consider factors such as user-friendliness and technical support availability rather than basing your purchase solely on price or your personal preference.

 

Commemorating Rare Disease Day on Feb. 28th @rarediseaseday

CN Tower lights up blue Saturday to commemorate Rare Disease Day

Freelance photographer Natasha Vaney has been suffering from such afflictions as joint dislocations, violent headaches and low blood pressure her entire life.

Doctors thought she may have had Lyme disease or Multiple Sclerosis. It wasn’t until last year that she was diagnosed with Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS), an inherited connective tissue disorder.

“It is a very rare disease – so rare that most people who have it don’t get diagnosed in their lifetime,” Vaney told The Villager.

Vaney’s joint dislocations as a child were misdiagnosed as growing pains. Her EDS diagnosis came after Vaney suffered a fall, which she is prone to in the winter because the cold drastically affects her circulation.

Living with EDS is no walk in the park, she says.

“It has not been easy. I used to be so active,” said Vaney, who played golf, raced sail boats and walked “great distances.”

“Now, I’m afraid I will stop walking, stop getting up, that the pain will get so bad that I will need morphine via an IV and that I will not be able to take a shower – so I try to do the best I can each day.”

This Saturday, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Canada will commemorate Rare Disease Day, a global health awareness initiative, with the lighting of the CN Tower in blue at sundown. The CN Tower is the first Canadian monument to honour Rare Disease Day. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Canada is an organization that provides knowledge, advocacy and support to individuals and their families living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Toronto won’t be the only Canadian city raising awareness of Rare Disease Day. Science World in Vancouver will be illuminated in blue as well as the sun sets the same evening.

“These fantastic sites light the way for unity across the provinces in showing that they support Rare Disease(s) that affect thousands of families in Canada,” EDS Canada said in a statement. “Ehlers-Danlos Canada is pleased to have arranged this event for our members across Canada. May the support we are receiving this year only grow and glow in more provinces in the years to follow.”

Rare Disease Day serves to raise awareness among the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives. Established by the European Organization for Rare Diseases in 2008, Rare Disease Day takes place on the last day of February each year. Since its inception, thousands of events have taken place around the world.

Continue reading CN Tower lights up blue Saturday to commemorate Rare Disease Day.

For further details, visit www.ehlers-danlossyndromecanada.org

For more information about rare disease day, visit www.rarediseaseday.org


Thank you to Lisa Rainford at the Bloor West Villager for permission to reprint.

Andrew Cash MP Davenport, hosting Income Tax Clinics @Cash4TO

Income Tax Clinics

Click image for details

Are you looking for Income Tax Clinics in the Toronto West riding of Davenport?

The constituency office of Andrew Cash, MP for Davenport is hosting Income Tax clinics on 4 Saturdays in March and April.   This is in partnership with a local accounting firm.

The sessions are free to low-income constituents that meet the eligibility requirements below:

  • Without dependants with a gross household income of less than $25,000
  • With dependants, including a spouse or equivalent, with a gross household
    income of less than $35,000

Volunteers do not prepare complex returns, such as returns for individuals who:

  • Have self-employment income
  • Have business or rental income and expenses
  • Have capital gains or losses
  • Have employment expenses
  • File for bankruptcy
  • Are deceased within the year

If you have any tax concerns or inquires, please feel free to connect with them.   You can also click on the image for more details.

Phone: (416) 654-8048

andrew.cash@parl.gc.ca

 

Great Advice on #Downsizing from Your Family Home

Downsizing

Updated with more resources:

Instead of just downsizing into a condo or one-storey bungalow, researchers say, retirees should consider what their broader surroundings may offer as their needs change. Here are five things to look for in an age-friendly community (thank you @AdrianaBarton).

Have you been tasked with the challenge of downsizing your Family Home? The situation may arise following a death in the family; for others, the challenge comes with needing a more manageable living space or the task of becoming a care-giver. But for all, there are many mixed emotions and a feeling of loss.

Sorting through a lifetime of treasures and clearing out your family home is emotionally exhausting. Although it seems that everyone is talking about simplifying, organizing and downsizing (if you watch reality TV), it is hard to stay objective. Moving for older adults is often accompanied by feelings of excitement, guilt and anxiety. Just the thought of going through years of accumulated treasures, downsizing and getting organized, causes people to become overwhelmed.

However, the goal of this Blog Post is to highlight that the simplifying process and discovering that living without so much stuff, is actually very liberating. Like all projects, downsizing is best tackled by starting small.

For those that need a little help, there are plenty of objective downsizing services in Toronto. WTSS does not endorse any specific services, but we wanted to share a starting place for your research.

Downsizing Diva

Red Coats

Top Cat

Moving Zoomers

Clutter B Gone

Please share with us other resources you’ve had a positive experience with.

Another great resource is Senioropolis.com.

Leave a comment below!

 

Title Fraud – How Mortgage-Free Older Adults Can Become a Target

Title FraudJust in case you missed the recent Globe and Mail Article about Title Fraud, we are sharing some key points. Please be sure to share with friends and family.

  • Incidence of title fraud is rare, but worth protecting yourself
  • According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, title fraud can happen in one of two ways:
    1. With identity theft, fraudsters can use stolen or fake identification or documents to pretend to be a homeowner and obtain one or more mortgages on the property, then walk away with the cash.
    2. Fraudsters can also register forged documents to discharge any existing mortgages then transfer the property to themselves and register a new mortgage against the property’s clear title, pocketing the proceeds.

How to protect yourself against Title Fraud?

  • Title fraud can be difficult to prevent, but to avoid it, never sign documents you don’t understand or when you’re feeling pressured
  • Review your credit report regularly to make sure the information is correct
  • The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada suggests checking with your provincial land registry office to ensure that the title of your home is in your name
  • Purchasing title insurance is also worth considering

What kinds of false alarms have you experienced as a caregiver?

Memory ProjectWe were inspired by a recent blog post by Joy Johnston, author of The Memories Project.

Joy started The Memories Project as a tribute to her father, who died at the age of 79 from Alzheimer’s complications. But now, the blog serves as an advocacy tool for Alzheimer’s awareness and for increasing support for family caregivers. What an inspiration! She preserves and shares memories in hopes of encouraging others to document their own family history.

Take a moment to read her most recent blog post – What kinds of false alarms have you experienced as a caregiver?

When Work and Caregiving Collide: How Employers Can Support Their Employees Who Are Caregivers

reportDid you get a chance to read the report When Work and Caregiving Collide – How Employers Can Support their Employees Who Are Caregivers?

 

As the name suggests, the report highlights best workplace practices that many employers offer to their employees who provide informal care to family and friends, and it includes a toolbox of valuable information and resources for employers.

One great resource, called the Caregiver Portal, provides credible links to extremely useful information:

  • Financial
  • Care options
  • Powers of attorney
  • Health, mental health and dementia

Support EmployeesFollowing Budget 2014, the Government of Canada launched the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Plan (CECP) to explore ways to help employee caregivers participate as fully as possible in the workforce. The CECP is one of a range of activities that the Government of Canada and others are currently undertaking to support caregivers. These include tax measures, income replacement through employment insurance, and the provision of targeted programs for caregivers in populations under federal jurisdiction. This report presents findings and insights, a part of CECP initiatives.

West Toronto Support Services is a strong advocate of all initiatives that support caregivers. We believe that helping employees balance work with their caregiving responsibilities will have a positive impact on the Canadian economy.

United Way – final results!

Our United Way Campaign has wrapped last month and we raised a total of $1,806.00!!  An excellent result amid our new office move.  All proceeds will go towards supporting United Way of Toronto. Our largest money making event as usual was the CN Tower climb, followed by our staff pledge drive.   This year we had two successful community events at 1709 Bloor St.   The first was our pancake breakfast offering a mix of delicious toppings starting at 8 in the morning.  We followed this up in January with our Perogie Lunch – homemade perogies were made in the lobby and available to buy freshly cooked.   Both events had a healthy attendance and together raised $350.00!

Perogie Lunch in January

Volunteers help at the United Way of Toronto Perogie lunch fundraiser.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and/or have contributed to this years campaign. To read more about United Way and the programs/agencies they support, please go to:  http://www.unitedwaytoronto.com/

Peggy Nash, MP hosts Income Tax clinics in Parkdale-HighPark

Peggy NashPeggy Nash, MP is once more hosting a series of community tax prep clinics throughout the riding for those in need. Her service is provided in partnership with volunteer Chartered Professional Accountants and is available to individuals living in Parkdale—High Park:

Eligibility:

• Without dependants with a gross household income of less than $25,000
• With dependants, including a spouse or equivalent, with a gross household income of less than $35,000

The clinics will be held:

  • March 14 Sat, 9:30am-4:00pm – Parkdale Intercultural Association, 1257 Queen St. West
  • March 18 Wed, 5:00-9:00pm – Peggy Nash Community Office, 1596 Bloor St. West
  • March 21 Sat, 9:30am-4:00pm – Recreation Room, 100 High Park Avenue
  • March 25 Wed, 5:00-9:00pm – Peggy Nash Community Office, 1596 Bloor St. West
  • March 28 Sat, 9:30am-4:00pm – Recreation Room, 2725 Dundas St. West
  • April 11 Sat, 9:30am-4:00pm – Peggy Nash Community Office, 1596 Bloor St. West

To book an appointment, please contact her office directly at (416) 769-5072

You may also visit the CVITP online page for more clinics:

Income Tax clinics for 55+

income taxIt’s that time of year again!

We will be hosting our annual tax clinic again at Loyola Arrupe Centre (1709 Bloor St. W.)

The program is provided in part by the CVITP (The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program) whose objective is to help eligible taxpayers who do not know how to prepare their income tax and benefit returns, and who have low to modest income and a simple tax situation. The CVITP is a collaboration between the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and community organizations like West Toronto Support Services who host tax preparation clinics and arrange for volunteers to prepare the returns.

Last year, over 2,000 organizations and their 16,000 volunteers supported the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP). Together, they filed over 600,000 tax returns for people in their community.

For more information about the CVITP, or to find a participating community organization in your area, go to www.cra.gc.ca or call the CRA at 1–800–959–8281.

The WTSS Income Tax Clinic

Our free service starts soon!

From March 10 and ending April 31.

  • Days: Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • Time: 1 hour appointments between 9am and 1pm
  • Location: 1709 Bloor Street West (steps from Keele Subway Station)

Or call our Transportation Dept. to arrange a ride (regular fees apply)

Eligibility

Eligibility

 

 

 

 

 

Types of returns not prepared by the CVITP

Volunteers do not prepare complex returns, such as returns for individuals who:

  • have self-employment income
  • have business or rental income and expenses
  • have capital gains or losses
  • have employment expenses
  • file for bankruptcy
  • deceased in the year

Contact Paula at (416) 653-3535 Ext. 247 to register your space.

Don’t leave it too late, as our program fills up quickly!

This service is in partnership with Loyola Arrupe Corporation, West Toronto Support Services & The CRA Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP)

The CRA also has an extensive list of topics and video series online that can help guide or answer your questions about completing your Income Tax. This is especially useful if you plan on doing your own. Visit the CRA for more information.

Seniors and Income Tax

The Canada Revenue Agency is pleased to host a free interactive webinar about important tax topics for seniors in Canada. This webinar will provide an introduction to topics such as:

  • pensions, benefits, and tax credits for seniors
  • pension income splitting
  • installment payments

If you are interested in learning about income tax topics for seniors, please join us for this free webinar. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and get answers live throughout the webinar.

When: Wednesday, February 25, 2015
1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., Eastern time

To register click here.

The @WTSSorg Team are Proud Supporters of the 2015 #WalkForMemories and @AlzToronto

As promised in our January 21st Blog Post, the WTSS team gathered together with over 1,000 other amazing people at Brookfield Place to honour people with dementia in our lives. And according to Alzheimer’s Toronto, we collectively raised over $640,000 to support people with dementia in Toronto.

The West Toronto Support Services team is pleased to share that we raised over $500.00 towards this achievement.   Would you like to support us?  You can still contribute!  

Did you know that Mayor John Tory has proclaimed January 31 Alzheimer’s Awareness Day in Toronto?

There are over 43,000 people with dementia in this city and we work hard every day to make sure that they and their families don’t have to face this disease alone.

The walk is a special event – we have the pictures to prove it! It is an annual way to celebrate life, honour a caregiver and come together with a community of people who understand the devastating impact this disease has and are committed to make a difference to end Alzheimer’s.

We want to know – how have you been touched by dementia? Are you a family member, a friend, a neighbour, a healthcare professional? We’d like to share your stories with the WTSS community. Consider joining our discussion on Twitter.

“(People) don’t seek a diagnosis because they have a perception that nothing can be done and that’s not true, there are medications that can help some people and services are available like respite and day programs that are specifically tailored to people with dementia.” (Source)

West Toronto Support Services is proud to provide Respite and Day Programs for all our clients including those with dementia.

 

Caring for Someone at Home with Dementia: Don’t Neglect Your Own Self-Care

The decision to care for someone with dementia at home can be exhausting work – both mentally and physically. In our previous Blog Post, we shared a practical resource to simplify the home and improve environmental safety. In this Blog Post, let’s explore the ways to help you stay strong and able to cope with your new role as care-giver.

Caring for a person with dementia is both physically and mentally demanding, particularly for non-professional care-givers taking care of family members. It’s a situation that can lead to exhaustion, burn-out, and even depression on the part of the carer, so it’s vital that you’re able to take breaks on a regular basis, including days and evenings off. So, as part of preparing your home for someone you care for, try and set up a schedule of some kind, to make sure each person who is acting as carer has sufficient time off.

Having a good support system in place from the start is also very helpful. For example, joining a support group for care-giving families can provide a means of expressing emotions in a safe and non-judgmental environment. This is hugely important, because it’s natural for care-givers to feel negatively-perceived emotions like frustration, fear, and sadness, and they need a safe outlet in which to express them.

Did you know that West Toronto Support Services provides Respite Care Services? We offer support and stimulation in the home of frail and/or disabled individuals who cannot be safely left alone. It is ideal for family, friends or anyone looking after the needs of another who may need relief from their caregiving responsibilities.

Our Respite Care workers can:

•  Provide caregiver relief
•  Give support and companionship
•  Maintain a safe environment
•  Provide personal care as needed
•  Carry out instructions on special needs
•  Prepare simple meals
•  Provide physical and mental stimulation

We would be happy to answer any of your questions – click hereemail or call (416) 653-3535 today.

Housing Options for Persons Living with Dementia Guide

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has compiled an excellent resource worthy of sharing: Housing Options for Persons Living with Dementia Guide.

Housing Options for Persons Living with Dementia Guide.

Housing Options for Persons Living with Dementia Guide.

It should be highlighted that the document has an impressive Study Review Team from: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Employment and Social Development Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, and Alzheimer Society of Canada.

CMHC published this guide to raise public awareness of:

  • support services that can help caregivers
  • housing options designed to meet the needs of people living with dementia
  • environmental design elements that can increase the safety of people living with dementia as well as that of their family and caregivers

For most Canadians, ‘home’ is where we want to remain as long as possible. Based on the most recent Census, the vast majority (92%) of seniors, aged 65 years and older, live in private homes. In asking individuals living with dementia, some defined ‘home’ in the following ways:

“Home feels secure and familiar”

“Place (to) always come back to” “Home is clean and well cared for”

“I like the feeling of leaving something somewhere and coming back and it’s in the space”

During this month of Alzheimer’s Awareness, West Toronto Support Services would like to acknowledge Caregivers and thank them for all that they do.

The Brain Health Movement

West Toronto Support Services (WTSS) believes in the brain health movement – a global community dedicated to aging well and preserving a lifetime of memories. That’s why we partner with the Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto, leverage their research and more recently, participate in the 2015 Walk for Memories @AlzToronto.

Life expectancy is rising in Canada which has created an increase in the prevalence of age-related diseases that ravage the memory. Dementia is one of the largest global health challenges of our time – every 4 seconds, a new case of dementia is diagnosed worldwide. Let’s join together to protect and promote brain health.

Here is a link to Baycrest’s Brain Health Toolkit. Please use this toolkit to raise awareness for brain disease. Share the facts about brain health with friends and family.

Whether it’s by rejuvenating your spirit, remembering the past or rewiring your approach to health, we want you to rethink brain health and aging. We hope you’ll enjoy this Brain Health Toolkit, full of tips to stay healthy as you age. As always, WTSS is here is support you and your family. Find out how – click here, email or call (416) 653-3535.

During this month of Alzheimer’s Awareness, West Toronto Support Services would like to acknowledge Caregivers and thank them for all that they do.

Client Profile: Elizabeth Frey

Elizabeth is one of our clients in the Adult Day Service (ADS) program. She is energetic and always of a positive mind, wanting to help where she can and use her experience to bring more attention to her “second family” at West Toronto Support Services (WTSS).

Elizabeth Frey, age 25

Elizabeth Frey, age 25

Born in Germany she witnessed many of the terrors of the second world war and yearned to hone her passion of photography to help prevent future horrors around the world. Her adventurous spirit started early in life and during this time, she would sneak onto supply planes between Berlin and W. Germany and risk being caught by authorities. Because of the Russian blockade at the time, electricity was scarce and power would only be available for 1 hour a day. She recounts spending late nights in a lab developing her photos.

In 1951, she moved to Canada with her mom, brother, and sister. They had $30 between them by the time they landed in Toronto. Life couldn’t be any worse for her family after witnessing homes being bombed back in her home country. A new chapter in her life began! Only 2 days after her arrival, she managed to secure a job as a Dark Room Assistant at the Monetary Times, a trade magazine publisher. But her success and fame didn’t take off until she became a freelance photographer a few months later – a challenging task in itself in a male dominated industry at the time. Her dream job was to work at the Canadian Red Cross as their ideals matched her own. In pursuit of this, she worked at the International Tradeshow and The Globe & Mail and began making a name for herself.

Elizabeth Frey - present day

Elizabeth Frey – present day

One of her big decisions was an opportunity to go to Cuba. As most photographers didn’t want to go at the time, it was an inopportune time to go and show her skills. On her travels there, she met Fidel Castro and although he didn’t like his photo taken, she got some great shots. One in particular was published worldwide.

In 1975 Elizabeth published a book of photos and text called “Toronto – we love you by Simon and Pierre. Inside were photos of the Trudeau Family, including Justin Trudeau who was only a few years old at the time.

Other work she was involved with included Fred Varley from the Group of Seven and some co-authored projects with Dora Pedery-Hunt. One of Elizabeth’s favourite photos was taken during her time visiting Vietnam, but was never published, partly because it showed an injured young girl. She not only witnessed the dropping of napalm bombs, but also the affect it had on the victims – especially the children. Elizabeth has always felt it was her duty to help these victims but she never was able to make it back to Vietnam.

"Toronto We Love You" by E. Fre

“Toronto We Love You” by E. Frey

After she retired, the National Archives in Ottawa bought 19,000 of her career photos and films. Although she never worked for the Canadian Red Cross, her career was varied and exciting.

Elizabeth attends our ADS program 5 days a week now and her time as a photographer is over. However, she still inspires others and wants to see the ADS program grow. She sees our centre as an important place within the community and has lots of ideas to offer!

Thank you to Elizabeth for her time and allowing us to publish this story and photos.

 

WTSS is Supporting the 2015 Walk for Memories @AlzToronto

We’re raising money in support of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto by participating in the 2015 Walk for Memories @AlzToronto.

Join the Largest Walk for Alzheimer’s in Canada!

The walk is a special event. It is an annual way to celebrate life, honour a caregiver and come together with a community of people who understand the devastating impact this disease has and are committed to make a difference to end Alzheimer’s.

With your support we can make great strides towards this goal.

Consider sponsoring or joining our team!

Click here to view the team page for Your West Toronto Support Services Team

About the Walk:
The Walk for Memories is a 2.2km indoor walk through the underground PATH system of downtown Toronto that begins and ends in Brookfield place. There will be lots of music, great entertainment and will bring together 1,500 individuals who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Tips for being an effective caregiver

I need supportAs a valuable WTSS client or partner, you already know the challenges that can come with being a caregiver for older adults or the disabled. Sometimes it’s important to ask for assistance and take time for yourself as a caregiver. Other times, it’s hard to give up control or difficult to share the responsibility with others.

CTV News recently published some useful tips for being an effective caregiver so we are sharing the highlights and a link to the original article in case you missed our social media post:

1. Communication – take time to really understand the problem.
2. Organization – it’s therapeutic to write a journal to help keep on top of things.
3. Compassion – understand your personal boundaries so that you don’t experience fatigue.
4. Preparation – Prepare in small steps by researching conditions, looking at what legal issues you could face and touring long-term care facilities. The more you can do ahead of time, the better.
5. Resourcefulness – When someone is facing a health crisis, they want to be surrounded by a strong support team.

Click here to read the complete article.

Emergency Kits

Emergency KitEmergency Kits are highly recommended for everyone at home.   They are especially useful, for example, if there are power-outs during the winter or a sudden heavy storm prevents leaving the home.  Although these situations are rare, it is always beneficial to have one.

Follow the link to The Canadian Red Cross below to read a detailed recommended list on how to make your own Emergency Kit.    They also provides kits you can purchase yourself.

The Canadian Red Cross – Emergency Preparation Kits

Cristina Martins, MPP for Davenport opens Constituency Office

Cristina Martins, MPP for Davenport was newly elected in June of this year.and represents a large area of west Toronto.   West Toronto Support Services shares a similar border in its service area and would like to welcome Cristina to the neighbourhood.

She recently opened a Constituency Office at 1199 Bloor St. W. (between Lansdowne & Dufferin St.) and encourages anyone to drop by.   You can also call her at (416) 535.3158 or visit her website.

MPP Cristina Martins delivers Meals to 77 Rankin

MPP Cristina Martins & Executive Assistant, Matt, deliver Meals-on-Wheels to 77 Rankin Cres. (Fall 2014)

On her role as MPP to WTSS, Cristina says, “I have the privilege to be the voice of this very engaged and active community at Queen’s Park”, “As a Member of Provincial Parliament, I have a keen interest in the activity of local community groups.   It is your commitment to our community which helps make Davenport a vibrant and energetic place to live”.

Cristina has already experienced one of our Meals-on-Wheels routes and we look forward to working with her on future collaborations and community advocacy!

 

Holiday luncheon wrap-up!

Our volunteer Vina shows off the table settings

Our volunteer Vina shows off the table decorations

This past Thursday, WTSS organized and hosted their Holiday Luncheon at 1709 Bloor St. W.   As every year, Shirley, our Community Dining Coordinator and Chef, was responsible for dishing out some delicious festive food.   This year was slightly different as she took over the responsibilities of selling tickets and arranging the entertainment as-well.

We had a great time and we think you did too based on all the nice compliments we received.   A menu of turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots, cranberry sauce and more was served to a crowd of 75 people.

Greg Benoit provided some engaging entertainment and we even had some line dancing action on the floor!

Alzheimer Society – Free education webinars

alzheimer society toronto logo

 

 

Enjoy these free webinars offered by the Alzheimer Society Toronto coming next month.

1.   Webinar: Dementia and Communication

Wednesday, January 14 from 12p.m. to 1p.m.

Description: Use your computer, internet connection and phone to participate in a live presentation for family caregivers. Learn how dementia affects communication and strategies to improve communication with the person with dementia.

Visit here to register.

2.   Webinar: Brain Health

Wed. January 21 from 6:30 pm to 7:30pm

Description: Participate in a live online presentation. Gain a better understanding of the risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease and ways to improve and maintain the health of the brain.

Visit here to register.

More snow removal options & safety tips

Snow Removal

With our first big snowfall this winter, WTSS wants to remind you that there are other services available to help clear all that white stuff near or on your property.   The services can vary for each neighbourhood and not every option will be available or apply to everyone.

City of Toronto

Some of the sidewalks in Toronto are cleared of snow within 36 hours if the accumulation is greater than 8 cm (approx. 3 in.). However, on streets with continuous on-street parking and where sidewalks cannot be cleared by mechanical ploughing, residents are required to clear ice and snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property within 12 hours of a snowfall.

If you are a senior or if you are disabled and live in an area where sidewalk snow clearing is not automatically done, you can obtain information on how to register by calling (416) 392-7768.  You can also visit City of Toronto website for more information.

For assistance with private property snow clearing, seniors and the disabled can use a Community Support Service.

Community Support Services (CSS)

Several agencies offer snow removal as part of their programming and will do private properties such as walkways and driveways.   These are usually offered for a nominal fee and the agency may act as a broker to help match adults and students with people requiring snow shoveling.  Rates are hourly and vary per agency.  They also restrict services to catchment areas and may not be available for your area.  CSS services like Humber Services for Seniors offer a flat rate that guarantees a professional will come and remove snow.

Some CSS contacts for the west end:

311

You may also try calling the City of Toronto (dial 311 from your phone) for free and they will direct you to the  appropriate agency or contact number.

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

The Toronto Paramedic Services has put together a helpful list.   You can read about the snow shoveling safety tips on their website.

Holidays Hours

HolidayHours

Please take note of our holiday hours for the month of December and January.

  • December 24 – open until 1pm.
  • December 25 – CLOSED
  • December 26 – CLOSED
  • January 1 – CLOSED
  • January 2 – CLOSED

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the supervisor of your service or call our main office at (416) 653-3535.

Wishing you all a wonderful December and New Year’s start!

~The WTSS team

Agency Profile: Islington Seniors’ Centre

Islington Senior Centre

The Islington Centre (TIC) provides a warm and friendly place for older adults to gather with others to socialize and take part in recreational programs and supportive services.  The Islington Seniors’ Centre provides programs and services to promote the physical,  emotional and social wellness of adults 55+ living in the  community.

Funded by the Provincial Government, TIC is also known as an Elderly Persons Centre or EPC.  They’re a not-for-profit organization with staff and volunteers who provide a wide range of programming to the community for independent adults 55+.

Some of the many programs they offer are Euchre, Bridge, Bunka, Book Club, community lunches, computer training for all levels, fitness, table tennis, sewing, painting, day trips and much more!

Membership is only $20.00 and will gain you access to the centre.  Subsidized fees for individuals on low income may be possible for those that qualify.

Call them at (416) 231.3431 for more information.   They’re located just west of Islington and Dundas St. W. at 4968 Dundas St. W. in Etobicoke.

Visit them online at: http://www.islingtonseniors.ca/

New Transportation Service Enhancements

Toronto RIDE logo

West Toronto Support Services (WTSS) is a proud Toronto Ride partner agency. WTSS and Toronto Ride are pleased to announce new transportation service enhancements. These enhancements include standardized service, uniform fees, as well as coordinated transportation resources across all Toronto Ride partner agencies that are supported by a shared transportation scheduling software. They enable equal access to transportation for clients.

We hope you will enjoy the conveniences and enhancements.  For example, you will:

  • Receive immediate confirmation of ride bookings;
  • Schedule rides up to 30 days in advance;
  • Schedule health care and Adult Day Program rides with consistent pick-up times;
  • Request same day rides (accommodated subject to availability).

We’re certain you will appreciate that our transportation service enhancements will preserve the community-based, door-to-door assisted transportation services we are known for.

Transportation service enhancements are the result of intensive collaborations between Toronto Ride partner agencies, and are made possible through support from the Ontario government via the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (TC LHIN).

What is Toronto Ride?

Launched in 1998, Toronto Ride is a collaborative partnership of fourteen not-for-profit, community support service agencies that offer assisted transportation to seniors 55+ and adults with disabilities who are not eligible for Wheel-Trans. Our transportation services help clients live independently by offering equal access to health care, Adult Day Programs, and appointments and activities in the Toronto-area. Our services are available Monday to Friday,   8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I have a question.    Who should I contact?

For questions about Toronto Ride or its transportation service enhancements:

Milady Kuba, Transportation Coordinator

(416)653-3535 ext. 242

mkuba@wtss.org Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:30pm

Toronto RIDE

Meet a Friend

Friends

Our Friendly Visiting program is about connecting individuals together – whether with a phone call or over a cup of tea.  It’s ideal for those that are isolated or may not be able to get out of their home often. West Toronto Support Services will match volunteers with clients based on interests, location and sometimes language.  Often, it’s just about two strangers  coming together and getting to know one another, providing a connection to the outside world and/or giving an individual a sense of security.

Volunteers are screened carefully and must go through a police reference check.   Volunteers in this program will also have an interest in meeting others and developing a friendly relationship.   Activities may include conversations, a walk, reading, or playing games.

The program is once again open to new participants.  This is a free service.

Call (416) 653-3535 to inquire or sign-up today!

Volunteer Profile – Brian Gosbee

Volunteer Profile

It’s been awhile since he joined us and that’s good enough for Brian.   Although he does point out that he remembers West Toronto Support Services (WTSS) delivering meals to the Parkdale area when he started.

Residing in the very same neighbourhood, Brian first got involved with WTSS because he wanted something to do.   He’d already had a good sense of what the agency did and since that day, he’s been one of our most stalwart Runners for the Meals-on-Wheels program.

Initially, he got his feet wet delivering the Italian meals, but has since moved into two regular slots, twice a week – The N (North) route and (H) High Park route.

Throughout the years, he’s been paired with many drivers during his time delivering hot meals.   Some like to talk, some prefer being quiet and some just like to play their music – it’s all good in Brian’s books.  In fact, he says one of the joys of this position is meeting the different people who are involved in the agency.  He also enjoys meeting clients face to face.    Between deliveries, Brian takes in the many amazing sights in our west end catchment – one such example he points out, is a giant white elephant sculpture in a front yard.

Born and raised in Toronto he knows the city well.   When he was younger, he did some travelling around Canada with his family and lots of camping.   However today, he confesses to liking the” big indoors” more.  On his spare time you may find him ‘camping’ out at the local library.

Thanks Brian for everything – we hope to keep you around for many years to come!

Time to renew your membership!

Membership

WTSS was founded by community members to serve older adults 55+, frail elderly and care givers. Members bring the voice of the community to the agency and enhance our service. Consider being involved by becoming a member of West Toronto Support Services (WTSS).

Membership is valid from Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 31, 2015

You will enjoy these benefits of membership:

  • Receive a monthly newsletter!
  • Stay current about our services and events.
  • Invitations to our Annual General Meeting & special events.
  • The right to nominate candidates and elect the Board of Directors.
  • The right to vote on WTSS by-law changes.
  • Be engaged with your community and assist seniors.

Membership Fee is only $10.00 per year.

Note: You do not have to be a member in order to qualify or use our services.

Fill out our Membership Form and return it to our office at:

West Toronto Support Services
1709 Bloor St. W. 2nd Fl.
Toronto, ON M6P 4E5

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