August 25, 2010

Seniors Wellness Expo helps add life to your years

As published in The Erin Advocate

Getting older is getting more complicated all the time. With life expectancy creeping higher in our affluent society, it is no wonder there are so many people trying to help seniors live better. Fortunately, we have agencies dedicated to helping us figure out which other agencies we should be using.

For those with an interest in educating themselves on the process, it was worth a visit to the second annual Seniors Wellness Expo, put on by East Wellington Community Services (EWCS) on August 18 at Centre 2000. It will be on again in Rockwood on Monday, September 13, 1-7 pm. Transportation is available – call EWCS at 519-833-9696 or go to

The displays were by private companies, charities, social agencies, health professionals and government departments, all in a casual trade show environment. EWCS unveiled a new display booth, a professional way to show off its many services, which include the Seniors Day Program, information & referral, caring callers, foot care & hearing clinics, and activities for older active adults.

There are various other free services not based in Erin, but intended to serve our population. For example, Community Torchlight of Wellington-Dufferin offers a Distress Line, 519-821-3760, a non-judgmental listening service. It is for anyone who is lonely or upset, needing to talk to a supportive person. Check out for their other services, including a Mental Health Crisis Line, 519-821-0140.

Abuse of older adults is a serious issue which often goes unreported. It is not just about violence, but includes issues of medication, denial of mobility aids and neglect of basic needs. Help is available from the Wellington Seniors at Risk System Coordinator, 519-843-6191; from the Waterloo-Wellington Community Care Access Centre, 519-823-2550; and from SOS - Seniors Offering Support, a confidential phone support line with senior volunteers, 519-767-4445.

Anyone who has experienced domestic violence can get treatment, emotional support and advice from specially trained nurses or social workers at Guelph General Hospital. Call 519-837-6440, ext. 2728.

If a senior is being treated for any type of problem at a hospital emergency department in Guelph, Orangeville, or others in the Waterloo-Wellington area, they are likely to encounter a Geriatric Emergency Management (GEM) nurse. They are trained to identify seniors at risk, and link them with community service agencies.

"We try to keep them at home as long as possible, and to avoid emergency admissions and re-admissions," said Nora Bamsey, a GEM nurse from North Wellington. It is part of the Local Health Integration Network's Aging at Home initiative. The issues can include falling, over-medication, underlying health conditions, caregiver burnout and lack of in-home help. Check the website:

Not all of the displays were about seniors needing help. Many seniors are active in providing help to others. For example, the Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington has many opportunities – call 519-822-0912 or go to

Of course, the East Wellington Family Health Team had a display to promote its community workshops, including Better Sleep, Stress Management, Weight Loss, Diabetes Management, Healthy Living and Meal Planning. One upcoming event is Eat Well - Age Well: Senior Friendly Ideas for Healthy Eating, September 29, 10 am to noon, at Centre 2000. Go to

One of the business displays was from the Lord Dufferin Centre Seniors' Residence in Orangeville. It is owned by Erna Baniulis (a resident there) with her daughter Donna and son-in-law Dave Holwell. They are planning a new "life lease" adult lifesyle condo development in downtown Orangeville. For details, call 519-943-0847 or go to

Just one more website. While poking about on-line, I came across an interesting lecture on living a long, high-quality life. Go to and check out "Dan Buettner: How to live to be 100+".