Monday, 28 April 2014

Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards

In addition to the many contributions seniors in Canada have made to our country, many continue to offer their services to all of us, without receiving any financial gain. Many  Canadians (often seniors) volunteer their time in many different non-profit settings. In a time of decreasing budgets, volunteers are vital in hospitals, community organizations and many other places. Millions of Canadians volunteer every year and in an effort to recognize them, our federal government has created something called the Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards. Nominations for this award are being accepted until May 9, 2014. There are 17 awards in total and organizations, individuals, groups and businesses can all be nominated in different categories. Specific to individuals who may be seniors, there is a National Lifelong Achievement Award for those who have volunteered for many years of their lives. For information and criteria about this award, visit 

Do you know a volunteer, organization or a business you would like to nominate???

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Driving and Dementia

I saw something online today that caught my attention. It had to do with the changes this month to Ontario's driver license renewal program for seniors over 80. While when I initially read about the changes, I thought they were making it easier for a senior to pass and worried about what that would mean for seniors with some forms of 'hidden' disabilities, I have come to understand that in fact, they have added a much needed dimension to the testing process. The Ministry has added some cognitive testing that will hopefully ensure that those with dementia who have a reduced reaction time or have difficulty with important cues will be identified through this renewal process.

While driving is an important aspect of independence that can be difficult to give up - and for that reason, one would not want to be forced unnecessarily to give this up before one has to - a car driven by someone who has reduced cognitive capacity can put the driver and others on the road with him, at great risk. For this reason, while it is wonderful that the Ministry of Transportation is taking the initiative by adding this new level of testing, in fairness, their scope of identifying issues is limited because those over 80 renew every 2 years. A lot can change in a 2 year period so this does not in any way remove responsibility from medical personnel or family members from expressing concern and in fact, dealing with those concerns, if they notice a senior is exhibiting cognitive issues that may impact their driving safety.

Talking to a loved one about emotional issues impacting their independence - whether its needing help at home, relocating to a care home or possibly giving up their driving license - is never easy. In fact, it can be some of the most difficult conversations you will have but, all are important and very necessary if you hope to keep them and in some cases others, safe.

For added reading material or support information on helping someone you know with dementia please visit For information on the new Seniors' Driver Renewal Program in Ontario visit

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Cost to Mail a Letter in Canada Goes Up Today!

"With the increasing use of digital communication and the historic decline of letter mail volumes, Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses," the corporation said in a December news release.

As of April 1, 2014 (today)  the cost to mail a single letter envelope (up to 30g) in Canada goes up from 63 cents to 85 cents. The 85-cent rate is only available if stamps are purchased in a pack. If you want to buy just one stamp, it will cost $1.00. All other package mail will also cost more to mail (larger envelopes can cost up to $1.80 each). US mail costs anywhere from $1.20 to $2.95 depending on how much it weighs and international postage costs between $2.50 to $5.90 - again depending on the weight. Check the Canada Post website ( for prices for larger packages.