Social distancing is not enough, we also need social networking awareness and much more attention to basic hygiene!

Posted by admin on March 30, 2020 in COVID-19, Hygiene and Handwashing, Social and Physical Distancing with Comments closed |

As a home care provider working and collaborating with persons with complex care needs, their families and the wider community we are especially aware of the greater vulnerability that many have to the Novel Coronavirus, both young and old.

There is a lot of information on the COVID 19 virus:

– Some sources say that it can be spread without symptoms, others say that it cannot;

– Others say that while it can be transmitted without symptoms it does not transmit “much”;

– Other sources however state that while you may not transmit as much in the early stages, because there may be a lot of people who are asymptomatic (have the virus without symptoms), the risks of transmitting it are high. Some sources state that that those in the 20 to 40 age range are more likely to transmit the virus without symptoms.

How do we limit the risks of contracting the virus? There are four main options:

1 – One is social distancing, or as the WHO now calls it, physical distancing;

2 – A second is social contact monitoring;

3 – A third is social isolation;

4 – A fourth is infection prevention and control, which means hand and surface washing and a number of other routines designed to minimise viral transmission.

In reality we will likely need to use a mix of all of the above.

Social distancing

Social/physical distancing is:

a) limiting the number of people you make contact with, at any one point in time, and

b) increasing the amount of space you have between the person or persons you are connecting with.

The study of intimate, social and personal space is known as Proxemics. The actual dimensions of space can differ amongst different cultures and amongst individuals.

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Intimate space is any contact or communication within 18 inches of the person: many personal support workers and nurses engage at this level for quite some time, and this applies to physicians depending on their role. Health care workers may not be able to avoid intimate contact.

Personal space is anything between 18 inches and 4 feet usually. This would be reserved for anybody you are talking to.

Social space is between 4 and 12 feet, and social space is usually reserved for groups of people.

Social/physical distancing is essentially about a) reducing our contact with groups of people and b) pushing out the intimate and personal contact we used to have to this wider area.

But just how far should we be social distancing?

With respect to actual distance, the current recommendation is to have 2 metres of space (6 feet) between people.

This appears to be due to the fact that most airborne transmission of the virus is in droplet form, and droplets are meant to fall to the ground pretty quickly. A 2 metre radius is deemed sufficient to avoid the risk of passing the virus from person to person.

However, there are differences of opinion with respect to the ability of finer particles to remain in the air long enough to be of issue in an enclosed space. In this case being 2 metres in a confined area, without protection in certain instances, with someone exhibiting viral symptoms (coughing and sneezing especially) may not be sufficient distance without personal protection equipment and without infection prevention and control protocols. Most of the research we see on this suggests that the risks are very low and are usually associated with advanced medical procedures.

Clearly for people with compromised immune systems and for people in direct contact with people with compromised immune systems, being in the same room as someone with viral symptoms, without personal protection equipment, even with social distancing, is not something we would recommend. While we are required to follow appropriate protocols in this respect, we would refer persons and families to seek appropriate clinical direction from public health and/or primary physician.

In public space (12 feet or more away), the likelihood of contamination by direct contact, is likely to be infinitesimally small. However, while a person may not be close enough to pass the virus on via a cough or a sneeze, their touch and the transmission of the virus to surfaces might be.

Public spaces therefore pose a risk for transmission via touch and we need to sanitise our hands regularly after coming into contact with high contact areas; doors into grocery stores and store produce; malls; public washrooms; elevators; transportation etc.

Why is reducing our contact with groups of people important? 

Over the course of a week the average person will have had a number of different types of contacts with people; intimate, personal, social and public. We are all potentially connected to a great many others at any one point in time.

Limiting contact to smaller numbers of people at a time and to those we know allows us to limit the uncertainty with respect to our overall number of contacts.

And remember you do not need to be close to someone to catch a virus from them. You just need to touch the same surfaces they have touched.

Social contact monitoring

The fewer people we have contact with allows us to better track the contacts of those we do see.

Do you know if a prospective contact has had one or more of the following?

a) Significant one on one and/or significant group contact in the last 14 days.

b) Direct contact with anyone who has COVID-19 or suspected to have had COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

c) Direct contact with someone with influenza or cold type symptoms in the last two weeks that have not been tested to rule out COVID-19?

Do you know if your prospective contact can confirm whether any of their recent contacts has or has not developed cold or influenza symptoms? Do you ask your contacts to keep you informed of any significant developments in their health or the health of their most recent contacts?

Limiting your contacts and knowing more about your contacts helps reduce the risk of infection.

If the person you are about to meet has been in close contact with someone with an undiagnosed influenza like illness, then knowing this in advance will help you prevent exposure to this person.

If you have had contact with a person, who subsequently finds out that one of their contacts has a viral infection, then keeping a track of that person’s symptoms is also important.

How social contact monitoring works to prevent virus transmission?

It takes an average of 5 days ([1],[2]) to develop symptoms (sometimes as long as 14 days and some data suggests as early as 2).

If a contact of a contact has just developed symptoms, by having this information you theoretically have an average warning of 5 days, a fire break as it were.

If each contact in a chain of contact informs their contacts of symptoms in the chain then we create important fire breaks in the chain of transmission. We believe that screening of visitors to homes, residential communities and long term care homes should incorporate this type of advanced screening protocol.

Advanced screening protocols should be used for all health care workers (persons) who have direct contact with vulnerable people.

Social contact monitoring principles

So keep a close eye on your social and support network for the contacts they have. Especially for those who depend on personal and other supports in the home and community and who may have weakened immune systems:

  • At the present moment in time limit the essential contacts you have to those who are practising social distancing (i.e. limited contacts) and good hygiene (hand washing etc).
  • Make sure your essential contacts know the importance of tracking their own symptoms and those symptoms of those they have had close contact with. You should do the same for the people you know.
  • Also, for the moment, it might make sense to avoid younger adults and children as the anecdotal and limited research evidence suggests that they have a higher risk of asymptomatic transmission (passing the virus to you with having symptoms themselves).
  • If you are about to have contact with people, always screen them with respect to their social contacts and frequency of contact and if they are up to date on the health status of their contacts. Merely saying that they have heard nothing is insufficient. To be safe, defer all contact until the person is able to confirm the health status of their recent contacts.
  • Keep track of all those you have met and ask them to provide information on their contacts, with respect to the number of contacts they have had, in particular group social contacts, and contacts with people with symptoms of viral infection.

Social isolation

Social isolation is a form of social distancing and it can be total, i.e. no visitors and no contact, or it can be selective, i.e. only health care workers and visitors practising good hygiene and social distancing protocols.

Isolating yourself from others and the outside world eliminates the risk of viral transmission by social contact and by public space surface contact.

However, total isolation for many people is not realistic. For those who rely on personal and nursing supports in the community they may need regular daily interaction and for those who do not we need to shop, work and perform essential functions.

Infection prevention and control

Infection prevention and control looks at the interaction of the person, the people they interact with and the places in which they live and interact (their home and community environment). It places additional protections against viral transmission. Many are basic and can be practised by all of us, and all of us who care for others.

Hand washing

Good hand washing techniques and procedures are an important foundation for infection protection and control important:

If visiting or providing care to a vulnerable person:

  • Wash hands immediately upon entering the home. Do not touch anything or any surface until you have washed your hands. Soap and water or a healthy dose of hand sanitiser are two options – hands need to be soaking for hand sanitiser to work effectively.
  • Wash hands before you touch a person, if providing assistance (bathing, toileting, moving, dressing, feeding), and after providing assistance.
  • Wash hands before preparing food and drink and before passing items to a person.
  • Wash hands regularly throughout the day if you are touching a person’s surroundings and/or yourself, especially if the area has high contact from others or if the number of person to environment contacts is unknown.
  • Make sure that the person you are looking after also washes hands after toileting, before eating, after close (touch) interactions with other people and regularly throughout the day. Please check with a health care practitioner with respect to skin care considerations and other health issues that may impact hand washing.
  • Extend washing protocols to all produce and goods that come into the house that are likely to be touched or used or consumed within say a 3 to 5 day period. Recent research on the virus suggests that it can remain active for up to 3 days on steel and plastic surfaces and up to 24 hours on surfaces like cardboard. You can easily quarantine non perishable items within a specific area.
  • Appropriately sanitize the environment: if you are briefly visiting someone make sure to touch as few surfaces as possible and/or to sanitise those surfaces you touch. Sanitise all affected surfaces after toileting and bathing and before and after food preparation. Otherwise regularly sanitise contact surfaces (door/cupboard handles, countertops, taps, water jugs, kettles etc).
  • Clean your cell phone regularly!
  • Exercise good judgement with respect to hygiene.

Hands can be washed with soap and water or with hand sanitiser, if there is no visible sign of dirt or other contamination.

Here is instruction from Public Health Ontario, Best Practices for Hand Hygiene in All Health Care Settings.

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Here is a video link to Public Health Ontario Hand Washing techniques.

Here is a link to instruction from the World Health Organisation on hand rubbing (alcohol based hand sanitizers).

Here is a link to instruction from the World Health Orgnisation (WHO) on hand washing.

Masks and other protections

In the current COVID-19 environment where it may be difficult to know when and if a person can transmit the virus, we believe that those who look after those who may be more vulnerable to the virus should wear a mask, if at all possible, when interacting closely with the person.

This does not mean that failure to wear a mask represents a high risk in all cases, just that the risks are uncertain and the costs of transmission for certain portions of the population extremely high. As a provider of health care services our objective in this environment is to manage risks to a far higher standard.

With respect to the care of persons with undiagnosed influenza and other viral symptoms as well as diagnosed COVID-19 cases, while we have our own protocols for the management of these risks, we would direct persons and families to current Public Health Ontario guidelines, recommendations and supports.

Some Resources

Ontario.ca – General Guidance https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-3

Public Health COVID-19 Resources – https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-and-conditions/infectious-diseases/respiratory-diseases/novel-coronavirus/public-resources

When and how to wear a mask – https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet/factsheet-covid-19-how-to-wear-mask.pdf?la=en

COVID-19 – Health Care Resources for Health Care Professionals- https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-and-conditions/infectious-diseases/respiratory-diseases/novel-coronavirus/health-care-resources

CDC – Cleaning and Disinfection for Households https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fcleaning-disinfection.html


[1] https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2762808/incubation-period-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-from-publicly-reported

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/coronavirus-incubation-period#incubation-period

6th Annual Conference, European Society for Person Centered Health Care (London, UK, February 2020)

Posted by admin on March 22, 2020 in Conferences, European Society For Person Centered Health Care with Comments closed |

Amidst the Coronavirus storm we have managed to piece together a summary of the recent 6th Annual Conference of the European Society for Person Centered Healthcare in London, UK, from 27th to 28th February of this year.

Conference Brochure

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What a conference! Speakers and delegates from around the world, and well engaged panel discussions that overflowed into the breaks and far beyond..

Person centeredness has many perspectives and many disciplines. Whether you are an academic, a physician, a person as a patient, a patient organisation, an administrator, a social worker or home care provider, we all have input into how person centeredness is being shaped.

The central theme of the conference was one of collaboration, or as it was referred to by Dr Amy Price and others in their talks, co-production. Creating a system that can deliver person centered care requires us all to work together, to make sure that all our perspectives are shared and incorporated in the system itself.  Everyone is a person, each with valuable perspective and knowledge, each with human rights and sensitivities.

The 2020 conference addressed many of the inputs, conflicts, trends and components of person centered care.

Myriam Dell’Olio (and co-workers) noted that “that while there is surging interest in person centered care, feedback from persons as patients finds that “healthcare professionals are not delivering or implementing… in a meaningful way”.

Dr Michelle Croston, a senior lecturer and advanced nurse practitioner, discussed what it meant to be person centered in the care of people living with HIV. She referenced a Wellness Thermometer that had been developed to assess the wider social and emotional and spiritual wellbeing of persons in addition to clinical and biological concerns – the inserted link refers to a previous presentation on the Wellness Thermometer.

Dr Jeremy Howick talked about the use of positive expectations, empathy and placebos in addressing some of the many ailments that clinical method seems unable to address and a link to one of his and other co-workers papers is provided.  Lower back pain is one such area of attention.  A UK BBC2 documentary programme did a study on placebos with the help of Dr Howick and found some interesting results. 

We then considered the impact of robots, nursing culture, spirituality and artificial intelligence with presentations by Professor Marilyn Ray, Colonel (Ret.) and Colonel Dr Marcia Potter of the US Air Force.  The US Air Force through the work of Dr Ray (her Theory of Bureaucratic Caring) and others has helped develop person centered care processes within the US forces medical system, addressing the interaction of formal structures and the needs of the person.

The conference was well represented by “patient” groups: The Patient’s Association (UK), Melanoma UK, Cannabis Patient Advocacy with its mental health focus, Genetic Alliance UK (Rare Diseases) and the Brittle Bone Society, and last but not least Parkinson’s Concierge, a dynamic duo, both living with Parkinson’s and both engaging widely in addressing the many aspects of the disease.  The patients organisations discussed many of the barriers they face in helping the needs of persons as patients be recognised, but they also discussed the many ways they are working with health systems and other organisations.

We had a talk from a director of patient engagement at a UK National Health Service Trust (Co-production) that illustrated how bringing in patient engagement within hospitals can significantly reduce complaints and enhance person as a patient satisfaction.

We had a talk from Grace Meadows, program director Music for Dementia 2020, on the importance of music for those living dementia from the perspective of “doing with” as opposed to “doing to”.  This was followed by a presentation by Samantha Hughes, a doctoral student, on some important results from one of the longest running studies on social prescribing in the UK. Social aspects of social prescribing and the need to provide ongoing social opportunities beyond the often short periods of these interventions were highlighted results.

Day two started with our own “Jane Teasdale’s” keynote presentation on some of the many complexities of home care, then moved to a presentation on behavioural science and how this impacts decision making for clinicians and persons as patients. Next, Dr. Rajni Lal, a Specialist Registrar in Geriatrics, talked about the decision making process for older people undergoing surgery and how older adults’ priorities often conflict with prescribed surgeries. 

We had presentations on quality of life decision making and some of the ethical dilemmas posed by the cost of medical treatments, by Dr Vije Rajput, and a talk from Denmark on some of the pitfalls in assessing infant social withdrawal. This was followed by a light-hearted presentation on Frohlich groups, which is a form of acting therapy for both clinicians and patients.

Dr Bruno Kissling, a Swiss doctor then presented on a person centered framework of interaction for both doctor and patient, addressing trusting relationships, active listening, patient reflection and the consultation as an interactive process, with both doctor and person as patient as experts at “eye level”.

The conference also addressed the importance of digital and data solutions, from pharmaceutical companies reinventing themselves to software developers (RemindMeCare/ReMeLIfe,Simon Hooper) engaging fully with the social and emotional space of the person living in the care home. We had an especially interesting talk from Dr Bharat Tewarie who presented on how artificial intelligence and big data could be used to inform decision makers of human needs, wishes and priorities in health care.

A special thanks to the European Society for Person Centered Healthcare, in particular Professor Andrew Miles and Sir Jonathan Ashbridge for organising and running this highly focused, incredibly detailed and informed set of presentations and discussions.

Active Living with Walking Poles (Urban Poling)

Posted by admin on February 2, 2020 in Health and exercise, Nordixx Pole Walking, Pole Walking with Comments closed |

It is not uncommon to see someone strolling past with a cane, having to rely on it for balance and stability. But don’t be surprised if you see someone zip past you on the street, propelled by specialized walking poles. This is exactly what participating in a fitness activity called Urban Poling (aka Nordic walking) looks like. Just think of cross-country skiing (minus the skis) in an urban setting!

ACTIVATOR poles are a specialized kind of walking pole designed by a Canadian occupational therapist specifically for rehabilitation and active living. It continues to gain popularity among people looking to prevent falls by staying active. One of these individuals is Bob Lewis, who describes himself as follows:

I am 61, overweight and have Type 2 diabetes and [have] twisted my ankle a few times. Now, with the ACTIVATOR poles, I have no problems with balance, sore feet, or going downhill. I enjoy walking because I don’t have my fears of injury.”

Interestingly, perhaps the most valuable aspect of the poles is that they have a look and feel that represents active living in a way that traditional assistive devices, like canes, do not. Fourteen years since the development of the Activator Poles, many have embraced it as just that – a tool to promote active living. Letty Kurucz agrees with this perception of walking poles. She recalls that when her orthopaedic surgeon recommended a cane for her painful knee joint, she felt depressed and discouraged, perceiving herself as disabled at the age 42 and unable to be actively manage her weight. She felt helpless until she saw someone urban poling. At that moment, she recalls that one word came to mind: “Ability.”

You might be wondering about the benefits of walking with these specialized poles? That’s what Urban Poling Inc. founder and occupational therapist Mandy Shintani wondered after a neighbour from Sweden attributed the health of Scandinavians to their culture of walking and in particular, Nordic walking. Mandy was surprised to find independent research studies showing numerous benefits of pole walking in key factors related to preventing falls (as of December 2019, there are 280+ listed on PubMed!). For example: improving core strength, stability, posture, balance and also confidence for walking. Walking with poles offers these benefits because it engages approximately 90% of a walker’s muscles. Walkers actively swing their arms and shoulders while pressing down on the ledge of the poles’ handles with each step. Doing so contracts the core ab muscles giving the walker a full-body workout.

Conditions like osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, ABI and MS typically produce a stooped posture and a shuffling gait pattern, which are two factors that increase the risk of falls. ACTIVATOR poles support good posture by providing bilateral support while encouraging the walker to stay upright and lift their feet. 

Unfortunately, wintertime presents more challenges for walking due to rough and slippery roadside conditions. As a result, many older adults sometimes report feeling trapped in their homes. While walking on ice is not recommended, there are a few strategies for walking more safely in the winter. For example, taking off the rubber tip from the ACTIVATOR poles and using the carbide steel tip underneath, and also walking with supportive footwear and good treads.

With safety in mind, Mandy developed the ACTIVATOR poles with several features to improve balance and weight-bearing capacity. To learn about the research on the patented ACTIVATOR Poles and the walking technique designed for improving balance, go to www.urbanpoling.com

Whether you love walking and are looking for a way to make the most out of your walks or seeking a solution for fall prevention for your clients, one thing is for sure: adding a set of specialized poles to your walk might just be the answer!

For more information contact:

Dolly Mehta, BSc, MSc, MMgt, Health Promotion and Sales Manager, Urban Poling Inc.

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T: 416.319.1900 | T: 1.877.499.7999 | F: 604.990-7715 urbanpoling.com

Or

diana@urbanpoling.com

Health Promotion, Urban Poling Inc., 416-319-1900 www.urbanpoling.com

SAFE WINTER WALKING – YOU’RE INVITED!

Posted by admin on January 19, 2020 in Community, Health and exercise with Comments closed |

Urban Poling is excited to be partnering with Mosaic Home Care Services in hosting a free round-table discussion on Winter Walking Safety on January 28 @ 10:30 am at the Armour Heights Armour Heights Presbyterian Church (Community Café)! Please join us to learn all about valuable winter walking and fall prevention safety tips while walking with poles.

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Diana Oliver, Managing Director of Urban Poling, will be sharing the benefits of this easy and fun activity and will have informative handouts available for all interested participants.

Be sure to come out and discover the proven benefits of pole walking and experience first-hand why Nordic walking is becoming increasingly popular. After all, 4 points of contact with the ground are better than 2, so it won’t take long for you to see how our one of a kind poles can help maximize your safety and boost your confidence while walking in the winter and all year round.

Whatever your age or fitness level, our poles can help you take a confident and safe step forward. We look forward to seeing you at this fun, informative and interactive event where we will all learn to way our way to better health, one step at a time. All are welcome!

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Pictures & a Testimonial from Mosaic’s Winter Holiday Celebration–Special Guest Ori Dagan and

Posted by admin on January 5, 2020 in Community, Community Centres, Events, Holidays - Christmas, Winter Holiday Event with Comments closed |

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Here are some pictures from our Winter Holiday Celebration headlined by Ori Dagan.

“Award-winning jazz singer, songwriter and recording artist Ori Dagan is taking jazz to new and exciting places. His rich baritone voice and impressive abilities as an improviser produce an instantly recognizable sound. In live performance, he surrounds himself with Canada’s finest musicians, performing an engaging mix of material which is always fresh and in the moment.“ https://www.oridagan.com/bio

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You can also follow Ori on Twitter: he gets around Toronto, performing at a wide range of eclectic venues.  https://twitter.com/oridaganjazz

And the Testimonial:

Hi Jane,

Christmastime is such a special time of the year and we are so grateful that you, on behalf of Mosaic, provided an opportunity for many of us to join together to celebrate a festive event at Shops on Steeles which was accompanied by live entertainment and good food.  We are very appreciative!  Thank you.

Sincere thanks and praise for all of the organizers who contributed and worked hard to make the event successful.

This festive celebration brought people together at the mall and helped everyone get into the holiday spirit.  I personally loved the Christmastime gathering.

Here are possible thoughts for next year’s celebration.  Maybe engage attendees with spirited Christmas carolling and even have someone read the the Night Before Christmas’ poem, maybe by the senior below.

Hope your Christmas is filled with joy and the new year brings only good things to you, your family and Mosaic. 

F.

Supporting identity and its opportunity for expression may be a better way of looking at falls risks.

Posted by admin on December 12, 2019 in Falls, Health and exercise, Person Centered Care with Comments closed |

Person centered home care requires sensitivity to the character, identity, wishes and abilities of the person: 

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Much care provision is still overly focused on completing set tasks, on illness, “age” and the many risks posed by daily living.  Person centered home care is dependent on close collaborative relationships sensitive to the person, their preferences, their social and emotional needs and capacities. 

Capacities include a person’s mental, physical, spiritual, social and emotional assets and their desire to express them through daily activities, interests, social networks and community.  At Mosaic we emphasise what we can do to help the person to express independence and control, and to live meaningfully in their home and community.  

Best practises should look at opportunities to develop and maintain physical ability, creative skillsets and social networks at levels meaningful to the person.  One important way to do this is to incorporate simple strength and balance exercises into daily life.  Research shows that exercises emphasising basic physical strength can support independence and reduce the need for home care supports.  We would also emphasise the importance of providing opportunities to continue to do things that might otherwise be done unnecessarily by care providers.  Care services should also look to engage family, friends and community, in keeping with the person’s wishes and preferences.

While professional providers of home care services must be aware of medical needs and circumstances to safely provide care, we believe that we have to engage from the person up in order to give voice to and actualise the capacities and identities of persons living in our communities.  Home care is not about the loss of identity but the continued support of its expression in daily life.  

Jane Teasdale

REMEMBERING THE PAST AND THE PRESENT (Dina Campeis on November and the Danish term Hygge)

Posted by admin on October 12, 2019 in Keynote with Comments closed |

November. It’s the one month of the year that seems dreary. The days are shorter. The leaves have fallen and the grass is brown. And the cold wind and rain seem to blow right through you. It’s time to cozy up!

Pull out the soft blankets and candles (battery-operated candles are fine). If you have a fireplace consider yourself lucky and use it! Some call this Hygge which is the Danish word describing a feeling or mood of coziness and contentment. It is a lifestyle, not just an evening/weekend/seasonal thing.

And while updating your home is one way to enjoy the month, getting out of your home and being active and around family and friends is also part of Hygge and is important to avoid becoming isolated.

There are so many opportunities to attend interesting events that it’s easier than ever to stay connected, even during the nasty weather. Pop in to your local library to see what programs they have. Guaranteed they have a knitting and crochet group, a puzzle or adult colouring program or perhaps a book club or authors talk is more your style.

At Mosaic, our Community Resource Centres offer a number of programs that are open to the community to attend. We have a drop-in knitting and crochet group that meets weekly and the participants work on their own projects or help with charity knitting. This year, the group is working on hats and scarves for the Out of the Cold program. It is amazing what a small group of people can do to remember those in our community that may be struggling to make ends meet this season.

If knitting isn’t your “thing”, come out to a Mosaic Community Table Talk! Held in various locations for anyone to attend, join us for interesting discussions. The coffee is on us!

Every year on November 11th, we take time to remember soldiers who fought in wars past, as well as current soldiers and those training for the future to keep our world safe. We invite you to attend a Remembrance Day Ceremony at The Shops on Steeles at 404 at 10:30am on November 11th, 2019.

Hygge, knitting for charity, Community Table Talks and Remembrance Day ceremonies are all ways to get involved in your community. You can also stay involved by helping the people closest to you. Perhaps offer to do some yard work for someone who is not able to do it themselves. Offer to pick up some groceries or simply call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. These are all ways of remembering people in our lives who may not be family, but are somehow connected to us. We refer to this as being a part of a Compassionate Community.

Should you find that a neighbour, friend or family member requires more support, whether this be cooking, cleaning or personal support, Mosaic Home Care is just a call away.

For information on our programs and services visit us at www.mosaichomecare.com or call 416.322.7002 or 905.597.7000.

What is Music Therapy? By Dorothy M. Davies, BMT, MA, MTA, NMT Fellow

Posted by admin on August 26, 2019 in Life and art, Music and healing with Comments closed |

You don’t need to be a musician to benefit from music therapy.

My name is Dorothy Davies and I am an accredited music therapist with advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy. In this article, I will be answering some common questions related to music therapy, including:

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● Do I have to know how to sing or play an instrument?

● Is music therapy the same as music education or performance?

● What is music therapy?

● Who is it for?

● What areas can be addressed?

Do I have to know how to sing or play an instrument?

No, the focus of music therapy is not on musical skills or expertise. Rather, music is used as the primary tool in order to address clinical, non-musical goals.

Is music therapy the same as music education or performance?

No, music education (lessons) focus on the development of musical skills, techniques, and expertise. Music performance focuses on the implementation of those skills for entertainment purposes.

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is a therapeutic service provided by an accredited music therapist (MTA), in which music is used as the primary tool in order to address clinical, non-musical goals. These may include development and/or training within cognitive, motor, speech/language, social, behavioural, emotional, and mental health domains.

Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) is a specialized area of music therapy that requires additional training. It is a research- and evidence-based system built on how music perception and music production influences the brain. Music-based exercises aim to address functional, non-musical goals in 3 main areas: motor, cognition, and speech/language.

Did you know that music can be harmful if not used properly?

Accredited music therapists are trained to use music clinically and intentionally in order to support clinical goals and overall health and well-being.

For example, if not carefully delivered, music can bring up trauma for some clients, which requires proper support in response. If not carefully delivered, music can also overstimulate some clients.

Who is it for?

Music therapy has the unique ability to benefit people of all ages and abilities. This includes toddlers, children, adolescents, adults, and elderly individuals. Some examples of client populations that can benefit from music therapy include:

● Alzheimer’s/Dementia

● Stroke

● Brain injury

● Parkinson’s Disease

● Palliative care

● Speech disorders

● Developmental disabilities

● Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

● Down syndrome

● Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

● Depression

● Anxiety

What areas can be addressed in music therapy?

Music therapy can address goals related to cognition, motor, speech/language, developmental, social, behavioural, emotional, and mental health.

For example:

● Exercises can aim to train and/or rehabilitate functional abilities. These may include:

○ Cognitive goals related to memory, executive functions, and attention

○ Motor goals related to gait, balance, range of motion, gross/fine motor skills, strength, and endurance

○ Speech/language goals related to retrieval and production of functional phrases, speech intelligibility, articulatory control, and respiratory capacity

● Exercises can aim to enhance learning and education

● Exercises can aim to teach appropriate social behaviour and conduct

● Exercises can aim to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and encourage self-expression and self-exploration

● Music therapy services can also be provided through adapted music lessons, where learning of musical skills are paired with therapeutic goals

Music therapy services can be offered on an individual or group basis.

In summary, music therapy is a unique form of therapy that can address people of all ages and abilities on their journey of realizing potential and shaping health through music.

If you have any questions, please visit www.cornerstonemusictherapy.com for more information.

For specific inquiries, please email me at dorothy@cornerstonemusictherapy.com.

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Exploring your community? Why not MAP IT?

Posted by admin on July 4, 2019 in Community, Mapping, Social and isolation, Third Places with Comments closed |

If you want to remain socially active and connected you might want to take a look at your local community and perhaps then at yourself.

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Map produced by Community Cafe Member

How walkable or bikeable, how friendly, how sociable, how inclusive and how active is your local community? What makes your community tick? How much thought have you given to your immediate walkable area, your social contacts within it, your neighbours, the opportunities to meet new people and to engage in interests and activities?

Does your world begin and end at your front door or does it extend to the spaces beyond? Do you know where the meet up and bumping places are? Bumping places are where you are able to literally bump into people and start a conversation (coffee house, town square, local park, faith based organisation). Do you have a local park, is it socially and physically active? Do you have a local town square with adequate community seating and space and do people use it? Is your community open to intergenerational connection, accepting and inviting to different cultures and lifestyles and personal choice? Are new people made to feel welcome in all environments?

Do you know your neighbours? How many do you know and how well? Are you able to rely on them for the occasional errands or emergencies? Do you talk to them beyond the hello and the how are you? Do your neighbours hold condo or street events?

Would you call your neighbourhood a close community? If not, what would be your attitude to making it more connected and engaged? Do you know your neighbours attitudes towards creating more connected communities? Why not ask?

Is the world you live in, the people you know and the opportunities to make the most of your life important to you?

How dependent is your community on government action and supports? If you want to make a change you may have to get together with like minded individuals and local community organisations to make your community a more active, friendly, supportive and socially connected space.

To find out the answers you might want, as a first step, to map your walkable area. Your walkable area is defined by how far you would normally walk to get and do things in your local area? Any local parks, grocery stores, community centres, libraries, coffee shops, faith based community hubs and friends’ homes that you would regularly walk to and from, as part of your daily or weekly errands and activities, would be considered in your walkable area.

Get a piece of paper draw the boundaries and fill in the places you go to. clip_image002

Produced by a Community Cafe member

Your area may be 500m to either side and for others a bit bigger. If you have difficulty getting around, your area may depend on help from neighbours friends and family. Importantly, if you drive everywhere, you risk limiting social connection and engagement in your community for everyone.

Once you have mapped your area think about the places you go to and ask yourself the following:

· Do you bump into people on the way and say hello, or do most people ignore each other?

· Is your local Starbucks or Tim Hortons or Second Cup open and friendly with customers sharing a conversation every now and then?

· Does your local library hold events and clubs and meet ups in areas of interest to you? Do you go?

· What activities happen in your immediate neighbourhood, your condo or the 5 or 6 houses to either side of you?

· Are there regular events in local parks, town squares? Are they inviting, with people made welcome?

· Faith based organisations are the new leaders in community, opening themselves up to providing social connection and community function. 

· Do you know your local neighbourhood organisations? Why not contact them and find out what is happening in your area. Who are the “go-to” people? Connect!

· What would you like to see happening? What can you and others in your community do to make things more socially connected and inclusive? How can local businesses make their places of transaction also places of interaction?

While you may be too busy at the moment to consider your community, this may well change. How your community meets your future needs will depend on all our efforts made today.

Communities are not built solely by our governments, they are built by people who have a social and environmental interest in their local area, who recognise that trust and cooperation and connection lie at its very heart. Think about how local businesses, people of all ages and abilities, non-profits and the public sector can work together.

Community is a place where everyone has a potential role and a contribution to make. We can all start by educating ourselves about the importance of community, of social interaction, trust and cooperation. Most importantly we need to think of others and how each and everyone one of us contributes, connects and communicates.

Perhaps the most important change we can all make, as a first step, is by engaging in more meaningful conversation at every opportunity. Instead of just a “hello” or the “weather is great”, or “I am fine”, ask another deeper question and respond yourself with something more about yourself. If we grow our communities grow.

These and many other issues and questions are being addressed by Mosaic’s Neighbours and Communities group. Mosaic’s Neighbours and Communities group is exploring community, its development and its voice amongst interested citizens from a variety of backgrounds, perspectives and interests.

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Produced by Community Cafe Member

Mall wide Seniors’ Month event at Mosaic and the Shops on Steeles and 404: Music, Dance and Theatre in Appreciation of Seniors and community

Posted by admin on June 17, 2019 in Community, Community Theatre, Dance, Social and isolation, Third Places with Comments closed |

June 14th was a day for celebrating, for connection, for interests, activities, inclusiveness, multi-cultural engagement and community. It was also a day for showing how we can transform places where people go to transact to one where we can also connect, bump into one another and experience.

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At Mosaic, with the help of the management of the Shops on Steeles and 404 we staged a music, dance and theatre appreciation event for Seniors’ Month. The event was held in the mall itself!!

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Jay Franco – One Man Big Band


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Humber Actors Puppetry

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Karen Millyard Danceweavers

We had more than 50 people attend: around 50 who were sitting in the seating prepared and more who were looking on from a distance.

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Yes, everyone in the mall that day took part, either from a distance or from up close and personal.

If you hold regular events in public spaces, this allows some to engage at a distance and others to be up closer and more personal.  What matters more may be what happens over time: many of those who attended this event have come to Mosaic’s open community space events before, and know each other. This dynamic is important.

We had public space interaction, social space interaction, personal space and intimate space interaction. People were able to appreciate from a distance or dance with others up close. A range of preferences were provided for.

One Man Big Band (Jay Franco) provided music and dance at the start of the event:

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Dancing as it went on…..

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Then enter a youth theatre performance from Humber College Actors & Puppeteers: a well delivered comedic performance that combined a puppet cooking class with a tongue in cheek guide to dating for those who may have gotten out of the swing of things.

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Then we switched back to lessons in English folk dancing:

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Third places in our communities

We would like to see more creative use of space in our communities.

Every square foot of our public space is a potential stage for communication, creativity and activity.

Developing these “third places” for natural community interaction is very important. Most of these spaces exist outside the institutional and health care realm and tend to be neglected when assessing community funding and grant decisions.

We urge our communities to look beyond the “doing to” deficit based model that has driven the institutional focus on community development hitherto towards an inclusive, active community based model that embraces all aspects and areas of our communities, our neighbourhoods, our businesses and our private individuals.

“Neighbours and Communities” group

A special thank you to members of Mosaic’s “Neighbours and Communities” group. The Neighbours and Communities group is a grassroots group looking at community engagement and voice at the community and neighbourhood level. The first few months of group has been spent looking at social networks, social capital, meaningful communication and the need for collaboration.  It has also been introduced to the differences between asset based models of community development and the “doing to” model that tends to focus on peoples’ and communities’ deficits and weaknesses.

The group is looking at walkable neighbourhoods and after the summer break will be looking to reach out to local organisations, businesses and people to assess how we can all develop closer connection with community and support community building.

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Marty and Miriam at the Neighbours and Communities Information Desk

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Ramon and Regina at the event desk!

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A simple plan to address social isolation

At Mosaic we have a simple plan to address social isolation. And because this last Saturday was also World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) our simple plan for community development also addresses one of the biggest risk factors for elder abuse, that of social isolation.

Our simple plan for reducing social isolation and community engagement is as follows:

A) Encouraging meaningful conversation and communication beyond the simple hello, how is the weather, how are you. Ask another question or two.

Recent research points out that people are actually more open and receptive to talking to strangers than you might think. But, let us not forget that we also often lack meaningful conversation with those we see day to day and that are close to us. 

B) Develop socially supportive networks and culture in our walkable areas: these are our close neighbourhoods and our immediately walkable communities. Note that walkable may mean different things for different people and will vary according to how supportive our neighbourhood is. 

C) Opportunities to engage in interests and activities that allow for a wide variety of interests and social needs.   It is important that these opportunities do not frame participants as suffering from a deficit or a need but are considered as people who are able to contribute to community and its vitality.

D) An awareness of the importance of diversity, inclusivity and most importantly of empathy. Building a culture of empathy allows to take an interest in the realities of our joint existence and our rights to our own unique individuality within a social and community context. Our social interactions in public space should not exclude others, but should provide opportunity for connection with those important inner realms of being (social, personal and intimate space).

All of the above are dependent on the need for collaboration across our communities: individuals, private businesses, public sector and local governments, our environment and use of space. This is big picture, this is grass roots reaching out and connecting with our wider infrastructure, this is the development of voice, of awareness and empowerment and personal and community growth.

Let us move from the deficit, the bias, the need to the ability, the capability and potential of individuals and communities.  We can have both the simple and the diverse experience, the engaged and the reflective solo moments.

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