Willie Jose

Seniors' Zest for Life; Enjoying Songs of the 60s & 70s     December 2022 Edition

By Willie Jose

The elderly in our society should take to heart that their vulnerability to falling or accidentally slipping on the ground is lurking just around the corner.

Falls are the number one reason for hospital admissions among seniors these days; it’s also why older people lose their independence.

The increased number of the elderly admitted to hospitals is understandable since these former baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are now seniors; they have passed their blooms.

They are now suffering from weak leg muscles (a significant reason for falling), their poor balance (which could be the effects of medications), and even symptoms of depression, such as not feeling well, could cause them to fall.

These are times when seniors lack the drive to exercise, wear improper footwear, and lack vitamin D.

Knowing what causes a fall is an excellent way to prevent this kind of accident. We have to remember that in case of some broken bones brought about by a fall, their healing would take a long time, notwithstanding the operation that could go with it.

A few days ago, a good friend from the Philippines told me his wife had recently fallen, breaking her hip bones. The family is facing a dilemma: whether they should proceed with the operation or not because of the patient’s age. She’s in her 80s.

The doctor had warned them the patient might not be able to endure the rigours of the operation. But seeing her bedridden, unable to stand up or even sit, the family might decide to proceed with the procedure and take some chances.

I recently finished attending a free, once-in-a-week, four-week program on Falls Prevention sponsored by the East GTA Family Health Team.

Mina Choi, an Occupational Therapist, said in a letter, “The Falls Prevention Group is educational in nature, with guest speakers (occupational therapist, pharmacist, nurse and dietician), and weekly exercise instruction with a physiotherapist.”

This group session is entirely free, and the two-hour session once a week is an excellent way to learn lots of information to prevent falls; as they say, with the knowledge of fall prevention, we are forearmed and forewarned,

What’s great about this group session is that only a handful of seniors are allowed in a room where Alice Lui, the physiotherapist, conducts the instructions and provides hands-on exercises right there and then.

During the session, these health professionals discuss some of the causes of falls: anemia can cause dizziness, muscle weakness, dehydration can cause loss of balance, and the body needs vitamin D to keep muscles and bones strong.

In that 4-week session, I’ve learned some valuable and practical applications on how to avoid chances of falling: not rushing in going to the washroom in the middle of the night, installing grab bars by the tub and toilet, non-slip flooring in the bathroom, lighting the stairs, repairing holes or uneven joints in walking surfaces, wearing non-slip footwear, and avoiding too much bending and lifting,

In short, this program is about learning to make our surroundings safe, staying active, identifying the risk factors, and knowing that falls are a preventable and not a regular part of aging.

The GTA brochure reads, “Our family Health team offers targeted programs and services, in multiple languages, to diagnose and treat acute and some chronic conditions. We also offer comprehensive prevention and education programs to address health behaviours and conditions to achieve and maintain good health.”

My fellow seniors, if you think you are at risk for falls, call East GTA Family Health Team at 647-693-74 or email them at www.egtafht.ca.

Remember the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

Free Fall Prevention Program for Seniors     November 2022 Edition

By Willie Jose

The elderly in our society should take to heart that their vulnerability to falling or accidentally slipping on the ground is lurking just around the corner.

Falls are the number one reason for hospital admissions among seniors these days; it’s also why older people lose their independence.

The increased number of the elderly admitted to hospitals is understandable since these former baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are now seniors; they have passed their blooms.

They are now suffering from weak leg muscles (a significant reason for falling), their poor balance (which could be the effects of medications), and even symptoms of depression, such as not feeling well, could cause them to fall.

These are times when seniors lack the drive to exercise, wear improper footwear, and lack vitamin D.

Knowing what causes a fall is an excellent way to prevent this kind of accident. We have to remember that in case of some broken bones brought about by a fall, their healing would take a long time, notwithstanding the operation that could go with it.

A few days ago, a good friend from the Philippines told me his wife had recently fallen, breaking her hip bones. The family is facing a dilemma: whether they should proceed with the operation or not because of the patient’s age. She’s in her 80s.

The doctor had warned them the patient might not be able to endure the rigours of the operation. But seeing her bedridden, unable to stand up or even sit, the family might decide to proceed with the procedure and take some chances.

I recently finished attending a free, once-in-a-week, four-week program on Falls Prevention sponsored by the East GTA Family Health Team.

Mina Choi, an Occupational Therapist, said in a letter, “The Falls Prevention Group is educational in nature, with guest speakers (occupational therapist, pharmacist, nurse and dietician), and weekly exercise instruction with a physiotherapist.”

This group session is entirely free, and the two-hour session once a week is an excellent way to learn lots of information to prevent falls; as they say, with the knowledge of fall prevention, we are forearmed and forewarned,

What’s great about this group session is that only a handful of seniors are allowed in a room where Alice Lui, the physiotherapist, conducts the instructions and provides hands-on exercises right there and then.

During the session, these health professionals discuss some of the causes of falls: anemia can cause dizziness, muscle weakness, dehydration can cause loss of balance, and the body needs vitamin D to keep muscles and bones strong.

In that 4-week session, I’ve learned some valuable and practical applications on how to avoid chances of falling: not rushing in going to the washroom in the middle of the night, installing grab bars by the tub and toilet, non-slip flooring in the bathroom, lighting the stairs, repairing holes or uneven joints in walking surfaces, wearing non-slip footwear, and avoiding too much bending and lifting,

In short, this program is about learning to make our surroundings safe, staying active, identifying the risk factors, and knowing that falls are a preventable and not a regular part of aging.

The GTA brochure reads, “Our family Health team offers targeted programs and services, in multiple languages, to diagnose and treat acute and some chronic conditions. We also offer comprehensive prevention and education programs to address health behaviours and conditions to achieve and maintain good health.”

My fellow seniors, if you think you are at risk for falls, call East GTA Family Health Team at 647-693-74 or email them at www.egtafht.ca.

Remember the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

 

Keeping Our Little Life’s Possessions     September 2022 Edition

By Willie Jose

Since the beginning of the year there have been several opportunities to participate in the development of the revised Official Plan (dubbed Our Plan) for Toronto, and the Bluffs Monitor has reported on two of them.  The first was a public meeting organised by the Scarborough Community Renewal Organisation which led us to the opinion that the Official Plan was a plan for mediocrity.  The second was a meeting held by the City of Toronto to address the impact of the plan on Scarborough.  After the second meeting, we felt that the plan was worse than mediocre; its very foundation was rotten.  Then, in the month of June, the City held a number of virtual meetings which focused on particular elements of the Plan.  Bluffs Monitor attended meetings covering neighbourhoods, complete communities, housing and intensification.  What they revealed did not make us feel any better about our future in the Bluffs community.

Given the goal of increasing the population of Ontario by 700,000 people by 2051, it is not surprising that there is an emphasis on housing.  To fill the existing demand and to provide housing for newcomers, it is estimated that 1.5 million new homes must be built across Ontario in the next 10 years.  That’s 150,000 every year.  Is that possible? In 2021, 100,000 were built which was the highest number since 2011.  So, a yearly total of 150,000 appears to be possible but it certainly won’t be easy.  Especially when the plan calls for most of the growth to be accommodated within one quarter of the city’s available area.  The main targets for growth are concentrated around transit hubs, particularly subway and Go stations.   At first glance it looks as though the Bluffs, most of which is designated as a “neighbourhood”, will be spared the approaching densification.  But when you get into the details, that is far from the case.  Throughout the city, the construction of mulltiplexes is being promoted; two, three and four-home buildings that will fit within the lot of single-family homes.  Low-rise apartment buildings are also considered appropriate for neighbourhoods.  Furthermore, it is the developers who decide where they want to build, not the planners.

This influx of people will, of course, create a demand for jobs.  The Official Plan does not identify the Bluffs as being a significant employment area and is aiming to attract jobs which do not require high levels of skill.  Such jobs do not pay high level salaries but the question of how workers will be able to afford housing is not addressed except for an increase in so called “affordable” housing.

A common question during the meetings was: how will the required number of new homes get built?  City planning staff struggled to find a convincing answer.  Perhaps a better place to look is the Housing Affordability Task Force Report which was commissioned by the Government of Ontario and issued in February.  This report offers credible recommendations as to what it will take to achieve requirements, and they include: reducing the amount of consultation with local communities regarding new building designs (Councillor Crawford is allowed to weep), reducing the need for municipal approval, reducing urban design rules, eliminating the requirement to preserve neighbourhood character and reducing parking requirements.  All these things play into the hands of the developers rather than the citizens.

One of the most significant housing developments in the Bluffs community is condos on Kingston Road.  Let us imagine what the future will bring when the new Official Plan becomes effective.  It is already easy to get a permit to build taller than the Plan allows.  It will probably become easier still with the new priority of more housing.  So, it can be expected that Kingston Road will be lined, on the north and south sides, with significantly taller condos than currently exist. Have you ever seen the workers’ apartments that were built in the former Soviet Union?  That’s what they will look like. Square, grey concrete blocks with uniformly spaced square cut outs for windows.  Residents will spend a good part of their day searching the choked streets for somewhere to put their cars because the apartments will have no parking.  There will be no trees, grass or sunlight.  But all the inhabitants will have jobs in warehouses to which they will travel in crowded buses.  What a dream of the future our city is bringing us.

There has to be a better way and it behoves all of us in the Bluffs to participate, but we are not!  Typical attendance at the city-organised meetings has been 30 people. And the typical number of those who are from Scarborough is three.  If we don’t participate, we will get what the city planners and the politicians think is best for us.

Guildwood - Our New Home     June 2022

View from the twelfth floor of our apartment. Below is one of the trails that leads to lake Ontario.

It’s all green everywhere, a peaceful environment with happy people; that’s how I will describe the Guildwood community being our new home.

Looking around the Guildwood area is exhilarating. Almost everything is green: numerous trees, green lawns, plants dotting the houses’ front yards and backyards. In the morning or the late afternoon, residents walk through trails straight to the woods and the lake. It’s normal to see people briskly walking or walking their dogs around the neighbourhood—and don’t be surprised to see birds on houses’ green lawns or perching on those little tree branches on the streets.

Since we moved into our new home in the Guildwood area, I think we have an almost perfect place to retire. It’s quiet on all fronts. No noisy cars could disturb your afternoon nap, most significantly when retiring to bed after a hectic day. The cool breeze coming from the lake is good enough to put you in sound sleep. The only thing you can hear is the roaring of the lake’s waves and the sound of the wind, and from time to time, the cooing of pigeons.

Oh, what a day to begin with when the people we meet in the streets, whether they are walking with their canes, on their movable walkers, greet us ‘hello” good morning. Simply walking the neighbourhood is quite a delight, seeing hikers and seniors walking with their dogs, enjoying the green scenery. What is most noticeable is that these people will not allow anyone to pass them by without greeting them.

More than the beauty of the Guildwood surroundings, the people make the place unique, their smiling faces, welcoming greetings, and their courtesy in stepping aside, thereby allowing more space for some people walking on canes and wheelchairs.

The “little” mall at the corner of Livingstone and Guildwood parkway is enough to serve our immediate needs. There is a Tim Hortons, library, Value Mart, banks, pharmacy, travel office, doctor’s office, dental clinic, animal clinic, pizza parlour, post office, and a convenience store.

Living on the twelfth floor of an apartment affords us a beautiful view of the pristine, expansive Lake Ontario, along with its trees–and there are no infrastructures that could blur its scenery. My new neighbourhood has a park and the famous and historic Guild Inn, too.

Maybe, in the next few days, we’ll get a chance to have our breakfast at The Guild Inn restaurant and go around the park and gardens, feast our eyes on paintings—it was once an artists’ colony, after all.

But why am I writing this little piece? Since we came to this community in March, I could help myself but record my first impressions of seeing my neighbourhood’s beautiful surroundings and observing the people living in this vibrant place. Since this place will be our permanent home in the coming years, we have a chance of a lifetime to see the beauty of this Guildwood community.