More than ever before the world needs Social Workers…

February 28, 2021 in Social Work Week |

Social workers are a part of the helping profession. I first learned about social work when I was in Highschool because my mother works at a hospital and works closely with social workers daily. After learning more about the role of a social worker, I was drawn to this field. I graduated from Ryerson University with my Bachelor of Social Work degree and minored in Family Supports and Community Practice.

Throughout my years being a social worker, I have learned that life can be joyous and exciting, but it can also be very difficult. Social workers are the individuals who support people through these hard times.

There are various sectors within social work that you can specialize in. I’ve worked in many different sectors including disability, homelessness, mental health, but I was drawn to gerontology and working with older adults. Through case management at Mosaic Home Care, I have worked specifically in areas involving senior’s mental health, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, addictions, palliative care and end of life, outreach, advocacy, and navigation and support for older adults and their families. As the Family Social Worker Consultant, I work very closely with families daily. Advocacy has been a very important part of services provided, and Mosaic provides resources, services, and programs within the community that individuals can access. There are many challenges that older adults face as they age, and it’s been my goal to assist individuals in the aging process.

During the pandemic many social workers have taken on an increased role that has led to higher rates of burn-out, general fatigue, and we continue to manage various challenges. However, providing solutions to individuals and working closely to increase their overall well-being has been rewarding. It’s also been important to focus on self-care and I’ve been enjoying exercising, going for long walks outside, golfing in the warmer months, spending time with close family and taking part in Zoom birthday parties and celebrations. I’ve also spent a lot of time reminiscing on my favourite memories and activities before the pandemic began. One of my favourite memories includes an annual baking event at my aunt’s house around the Christmas holiday.

In the photo I am seen with my Nana, who is very special to me. I’ve been able to see her ‘from a distance’ during the pandemic and I cannot wait to continue our baking tradition when it’s safe to do so.

As we always say at Mosaic Home Care, “compassion is our passion” and the world needs us (social workers) now more than ever before.

– Sarah McGilvray

Family Social Worker Consultant

Get Moving with Canada’s National Ballet School This Winter!

February 22, 2021 in Keynote |

Take part in an interactive presentation and hear more about the benefits of dance and the Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors Program. Tune in to the First Link® Memory Café on February 23rd from 1:00 – 2:00pm.

Article provided by Canada’s National Ballet School:

At Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), excellence, access and inclusion fuel our belief in sharing the transformative power of dance to change lives for the better. NBS knows how dance affects our bodies, minds and souls. We know it because we live it and help others live it every day. People of every age, ability and aspiration have a transformative experience waiting for them in dance.

Why dance?

Dance is a powerful, yet underutilized tool for health and well-being across all spectrums of Canadian society. Creative movement has the unique ability to connect people and provide comfort during challenging times. Research also suggests that dance is an exciting new direction in the study of aging and cognitive neuroscience, offering a unique combination of physical, mental and social benefits for seniors at home, in retirement and care facilities and with age-related illnesses like Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

The physical benefits of dancing in older adulthood may include:

● improved aerobic power

● improved balance and gait

● increased muscle endurance

● reduced risk of falls

● greater strength and flexibility

Dance may also be emotionally and socially beneficial for older adults by helping to reduce isolation, encouraging a sense of community and providing a space for creativity and artistic expression.

“Participating in Sharing Dance Seniors truly changed my life. It helped me
physically do things I haven’t been allowed to do for more than 50 years.” – Participant “When I dance, I feel free, ageless and euphoric.” – Participant

Discover the joy and benefits of dance – at home!

Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors – at Home

Baycrest and Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), industry leaders in geriatric care and dance training, are offering FREE six-week dance courses for older adults, which can be accessed at home.

Weekly online classes are taught by professional dance teachers from NBS, are accompanied by a live musician, and include a variety of movement options to suit participants’ needs. Classes are 20 minutes in length and both seated and standing course options are available. Join any time and engage in these fun, creative and musical classes at your own pace. No dance experience required! Visit www.nbs-enb.ca/sharingdanceseniors and start dancing today!

Want to learn more? Take part in an interactive presentation and hear more about the benefits of dance and the Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Seniors Program. Tune in to the First Link® Memory Café on February 23rd from 1:00 – 2:00pm.


Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS) and Baycrest, industry leaders in aging and brain health and dance training, have collaborated to develop meaningful dance activities for older adults. Through its artistry and physicality, dance supports overall physical, emotional and social wellbeing. Take part in this interactive presentation, and hear more about the benefits of dance and the Baycrest NBS Sharing Dance Programs.

Photos courtesy of Canada’s National Ballet School

Alzheimer Society of York Region – https://alzheimer.ca/york/

Canada’s National Ballet School Senior’s Dance Program – www.nbs-enb.ca/sharingdanceseniors

Mosaic Home Care – https://www.mosaichomecare.com/

Some Helpful Tips from Kristi Stangeland on Relaxation and Meditation

February 19, 2021 in Keynote |

The coronavirus pandemic has profoundly changed so many aspects of our daily lives, including the way we work and play. Many of us are navigating a “new normal” that entails working from home while also balancing the responsibilities of childcare, eldercare, schooling, etc. Striking a healthy balance between work and home life has never been more challenging. And on top of that, it is also much more difficult to engage in our traditional strategies for dealing with stress, such as visits to the gym, church, the therapist, etc.

But there is something that everyone can do at home right now—and after the pandemic passes—to deal with life’s stresses: meditate. More than 20 years ago, I discovered the power of meditation and mindfulness to help me focus my thoughts, energies and insights. Without a doubt, meditation has helped me find more opportunities for peace, power and play in my life.

Regardless of where you are on life’s journey, it is never too late to take up meditation, especially since the benefits are so invaluable. Consider this:

  • Meditation is a powerful tool that enables us to push away distractions and excuses so we can focus on what we really want to achieve and create the attitude for success that will get us there.
  • Meditation boosts our resiliency so we can live with less fear of what might (or might not) happen.
  • By allowing the mind to tune out distractions, we can train our minds to let go of the easy stuff so we have more energy to concentrate on bigger challenges with greater focus, creativity and productivity.
  • When we meditate, we create the opportunity to focus on values that matter most to us. We can “clear the clutter” so we can find compassion and understanding for those in our families, our workplaces and our communities.
  • • A Dutch study cited by the University of California- Berkeley’s Greater Good magazine found that even a 10-minute meditation practice for just two weeks led to enhanced quality and duration of sleep.
  • Meditation leads to more inner peace and fosters forgiveness, the benefits of which are well-documented: less stress, anxiety and depression. But studies also show that forgiveness reaps physical benefits as well: lower blood pressure, improved heart rate and strengthened immune function.
  • • When we focus on the meaningful things that have shaped our lives during meditation, we literally do ourselves good. Studies have shown that gratitude and appreciation can reduce the risk of death from cardiac disease.

Like so many things in life, the best way to enjoy the benefits of meditation is through a regular practice. As noted above, just a few minutes daily of dedicated mindfulness and meditation can significantly improve our physical and emotional well-being.

Through my business, My ParaVita, I provide my clients with additional techniques and insights on how to enhance their meditation so they can bring their practice to a higher level and reap even greater benefits from it. Through guided meditations, retreats and other wellness programs, my goal is to help people tune out distractions and negativity in their lives so they are better equipped to face life’s challenges with less stress and more serenity.

Kristi Stangeland is the founder of My ParaVita. She holds several advanced certificates and diplomas from some of the most renowned Chinese philosophers of our time. Learn more about her and her meditation business at www.MyParaVita.com.

Taking Care of Care in the Community

January 18, 2021 in Keynote |

During COVID-19 many families and individuals have decided against Long-term care and older adult retirement residences.  The risks of catching COVID-19 and of social isolation have been considerable over the period. 

COVID-19 has also raised the curtain on long standing living and social care conditions in Long-term care.  While Long-term care homes supposedly provide 24/7 care the amount of time that residents actually receive is considerably less.  A 2018 study looking at data between 2014 and 2015 found an average of 2.55 hours of care a day across Ontario homes studied with little if any time allocated to meeting social and emotional needs.  Numerous studies and reports have continued to find serious deficiencies in our long-term care system.

Before the crisis families who had loved ones in care often spent considerable time in care homes providing care and social and emotional support.  Those who could afford would also pay for private care givers to go into the homes to provide additional care.  Since the onset of the crisis visitation has been restricted and care provision has declined further in the face of staff shortages and other issues.  Recent reports have documented the significant increase in medications being given to care home residents.

Other countries around the world, notably those in Europe, spend a far greater amount of their care budget on providing care in the community, allowing people to remain in their homes for longer, connected to their communities and their supportive social networks.

The question is how do families and family caregivers who might have considered putting their loved one into care make the transition to providing more care in the home?  Many caregivers are already struggling and with COVID-19 they too have become more socially isolated and distanced from their social support networks. 

For those persons with complex care needs the key to looking after persons in their home and community is to find a way of working with family caregivers, public health and family funded providers and to take advantage as much as possible of local community resources.  Social networks and addressing the social, emotional and health needs of family caregivers is also an important aspect of the overall plan. 

Public Health provides limited input over and above the limited care current funding allows so families are often forced to either go it alone or to pay for a professional social worker and other care providers to come in and develop a cohesive plan of care that addresses the wider care needs across the day to day. 

At Mosaic we have a client services team staffed with nurse, social work, geriatric and counselling expertise that we use to bring to bear to develop a cohesive plan and supports to families, family caregivers and the person at the heart and centre of care. We provide case management services for our families that help address the fundamental needs of care over and above those provided by public health.  We support the continuing social, emotional, cerebral, spiritual, creative, cultural and physical capacities of assets of the person.  Our care is designed so the person as an intrinsic being can continue to express their unique human individuality.  We look to social networks and community assets as well as public health services and clinical relationships to help determine what we can and cannot do and work with families to achieve realistic holistic goals. We also work with families to advocate for care provided in long term care homes.

Article provided by Mosaic Home Care Services.

An Update from the Principal Owners of Mosaic Home Care Services & Community Resource Centres

January 6, 2021 in Keynote |

Nathalie and I, our Mosaic Team and front-line staff would like to wish you all a Happy New Year!

We have all experienced a difficult year. Our ability to connect eaningfully has been severely restricted. With a vaccine in the works, this year’s holiday season will hopefully be the last of the COVID-19 restrictions.

We remain vigilant with respect to infection prevention and social contact awareness. The COVID-19 policies we have had in place since March for our frontline teams and families remain in place.

Over the last six months we are seeing more families deciding to keep their family members in their homes and communities. Our client services team with its nursing, social work, geriatric, counselling and case management expertise has been working hard.

The wider supportive community that has developed during COVID remains in place; we continue to engage with the IFA’s Town Hall Meetings, The Alzheimer Society of Toronto’s Community Partner updates, Sunnybrook Health Sciences and North York Health Partners and
The Integrated Partnerships for Seniors online forums.

Given the continuing COVID environment we will be moving our Steeles community resource centre upstairs to a space available within our main offices. We will continue to run events in Centre Court at The Shops
on Steeles and 404 once the COVID risk has subsided.

Over the last few months our free online programs continue with events from Joanne Picot, the Alzheimer Society York Region, Donna Zekas, Theatre in the Web and Dr. Daren Heyland.

Finally, in November Jane Teasdale received a Recognition Award from the Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario: “Jane is recognized for her continued efforts for the committee and for always coming up with new and creative ways of offering support to the seniors in the greater community.”

On behalf of our Mosaic team and front-line staff, all the best for 2021!

Jane Teasdale and Nathalie Anderson

For information on our integrated person centered care services please contact 416-322-7002 or 905-597-7000 or www.mosaichomecare.com

Our current newsletter can be found via the following link: https://www.mosaichomecare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/nov2020-mosaic-home-care-winter-2021-newsletter.pdf

Information on our online programs can be found at https://www.mosaichomecare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/winter-ZOOM-Mosaic-Events-Flyer.pdf

And our activity booklet for January 2021 is available via the following link – https://www.mosaichomecare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/January-2021-Activity-Booklet-Final-.pdf

An Update from Jane & Nathalie: Fall Newsletter

September 21, 2020 in Newsletters |

Jane’s GTA Cafe – A blog about life in the community for those in need of care and their families, and much more….

Thank you to our Personal Support Workers, Nurses and Client Services who enable the abilities and lives of the people we look after. Thank you to operations and administration for supporting us and our community facing employees for keeping our eyes on the bigger picture.  Thank you to our clients and families for their ongoing support, this has been of immense importance.  Thank you to those organizations in our communities we interact with for your support and collaboration. For each of you we would like to say “especially”, to signify your monumental importance.  We would also like to extend heartfelt thanks to members of staff we have let go in the face of a difficult environment.

In the new world organizations are coming together to, improve the way we do things in health care. We would like to highlight a) The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) and their weekly web-based Town Hall Meetings on COVID-19 and older people, b) the International Long-Term Care Policy Network for their online webinars, c) the Family Councils Collaborative Alliance (especially Wendy Francis) for their Podcast series on Long Term Care, d) The Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto and Shrid Dhungel who hosts the COVID-19 Community Partner update that brings together organizations to share experiences and knowledge, e) Kitty Liu and the “IPAC and COVID-19” Team from Sunnybrook Health Sciences and North York General Hospital (Diana Adams and Dr. Lamb) for their infection prevention and control supports to community facing organisations. 

By appointment only, our community resource centers will soon be open for information on resources in the community.  Our Markham office we will be open every Thursday from October 1st and our Armour Heights Toronto Office will be open every day from September 8th (9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).  We continue to provide events and activities in the current on-line format for the time being, with the exception of outdoor pole walking.

Some notable upcoming online events include a National Seniors Day (October 1st) performance by the Theatre in the Web troupe titled “Threads of our Past”, the online First Link® Memory Café “How Healthy is your brain” with Andrea Ubell, Alzheimer’s Society York Region, a falls prevention program with Judy Chu, a musical experience with Brian Katz, an art discussion with artist Donna Zekas and a “The Roaring Twenties” event presented by Lianne Harris.

Dr. Daren Heyland, a critical care doctor and Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at Queen’s (Kingston Ontario) will be presenting on his www.planwellguide.com an important decision aid to support decision making in serious illness on 17th November.  You will find all these events in our Fall newsletter or online at www.mosaichomecare.com. Our 10 Year Anniversary celebrations will be deferred until a time in 2021 when we can safely gather to celebrate.

We remain vigilant over the risks of COVID-19 and note our infection prevention and control protocols governing personal protective equipment and their use, procedures for coordinating caregivers, and our screening and contact tracing for COVID-19 risks.  In this time we remain in regular close supportive contact with our front-line staff and our clients and families.  Fortunately to date we have had no COVID-19 positive clients nor COVID-19 positive front-line teams.  As always when providing care our primary objective is to facilitate a person’s intrinsic physical, social and emotional capacities. 

Finally, we raise concern again over what is happening in long term care homes.  Persons remain separated from families and friends and the special care and attention they provide.  Most care homes are still under-staffed and under resourced.  Basic care needs and fundamental human rights are being neglected.  As social beings dependent on others we need to take responsibility for what is happening and to change the system to put people first. 

Here are the links to the Family Councils Collaborative Alliance Podcasts:

Here is the link to the full set of Family Councils Collaborative Alliance Podcasts – https://soundcloud.com/user-384632250

Review of Theatre in The Web’s “The Quarantime Show”.

July 15, 2020 in Community, Events, Theatre |

30 June saw our “First Link® Memory Café featuring “Theatre in the Web Acting Troupe” “The QuaranTime Show” 7 Actors performing on-line from the Graduating Class of Humber College Theatre Performance”. The following is a brief synopsis of the show itself:

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The show starts with “She’s a Maniac” as a backdrop to a montage of the characters and actors of the show. All professionally done!

She’s a Maniac is a 1983 classic song and a nice intersect for all the generations. But is there more to the song than meets the eye? As we are introduced to the host of the show you will start to wonder.

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Next up is our baking slot and everything that can go wrong does. Day time cooking shows across the generations have never been this funny. Do you have a memorable moment from the past?

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Since blasts from the past seem to be a theme of the show, does anyone remember the Clairol Herbal Essence adverts of the latter part of the last century? You might wish to see the 1998 Dr Ruth advert on youtube as a primer for our next segment.

We are then introduced to our sports segment, and new meaning is given to the term “spectator sport”. We will let you decide on the “action”, but this was a wholly unexpected take and shows the depth and variety of content produced for the show.

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Much of the show revolves around the host and unfortunately a postal delivery happens just as our host is disposing of……. We are not going to spill the beans, but how long is our host going to be able to hold it together?

In coronavirus times getting enough exercise is difficult. The next segment provided viewers with an opportunity to try a new exercise craze that the Theatre in the Web crew have thought up. There is also a guest appearance from a Dr Jacobs presenting the research on this important tool.

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Next up our host provides us with a short gardening interlude before we slot into our pet detective story with Detective Romanov. But we will leave the plot under wraps for those who have yet to see the show.

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Toilet paper was in short supply a few months ago. Along with the stress of coronavirus and the anxiety of the times we are introduced to a skit on a trip to the store for toilet roll. Many felt that this segment was especially poignant.

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Our host then manages to throw in a bit of Shakespeare before introducing the show’s black and white cinema moment: “Now I shall tame the lion”.

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The final segment combines elements of heaven and hell with puppetry before the credits roll.

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You might be surprised to know that one of the many skillsets Humber College actors learn is puppetry.

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“Stream it or skip it” is a tag line on Decider which is a site dedicated to reviews of Netflix and other online content. What is our verdict? Stream it!

The show is 25 minutes long. It is extremely funny and has an incredibly diverse subject matter. The acting is great across the board and the cast work well together. Technically the show is well oiled and transitions from segment to segment are helped by the innovative host of the show. We would stream it, it would be a crime to skip it. We look forward to more and so should our communities.

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The Theatre in the Web Troupe is self-financed and dependent on alternative sources of financial support for its events and productions. Any organisations in the community that are willing to help support creative community productions are welcomed. Please contact Theatre in the Web at Theatreintheweb@gmail.com

Theatre in the Web is the name of a group of young emergent actors recently graduated from Humber College’s highly respected three year Theatre Performance conservatory program. Three hard years of early mornings and late nights, weekends as well as weekdays later produced a band of dedicated professionally trained creative artists. The attrition rate in these programs can be 50% or more over the three year period and there are no easy passes. Not only do you need to shine and endure to succeed in acting, you also need to be able to work together, to collaborate effectively.

Acting as with all creative arts is an incredibly competitive and difficult medium to survive in. While financial success is not what drives most artists the ability to procure a basic living is important to an artist’s canon and durability. In a COVID world the ability and opportunity to both create and to survive financially is a much more challenging endeavour for all of us. We believe that there are many opportunities for the creative arts and the community to work together to transform our world for the better.

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Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Theatre-in-the-web-102176201529390/

Black Lives Matter & Anti-Racism: Where Do We Stand?

June 26, 2020 in Black Lives Matter, Human Rights |

The question we should be asking ourselves is “Why do Black Lives Still Not Matter after all this time?”  After the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and much more both before and after, why are we still in this dark inhuman place? Who would not want to walk side by side with Martin Luther King on his March to Washington and breathe in his words at the Lincoln Memorial.  Who would not want to walk side by side today with our fellow Black Lives? 

We are proud to provide a piece on “Black Lives Matter” written by our staff. We support and endorse it fully.

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Black Lives Matter & Anti-Racism: Where Do We Stand?

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind for everyone, to say the least. I think we can all agree that 2020 has not gone the way many of us have planned or imagined. In the midst of a global health pandemic, we have simultaneously witnessed the emergence of a great social shift. George Floyd’s murder was a heartbreaking and egregious act of injustice that Black communities are, unfortunately, all too familiar with. Although the pain and numbing of this open hate is felt the same each time it occurs, something was different this time. Black communities and non-Black allies alike, said enough is enough.

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Mosaic Home Care does not condone racism or hatred of any kind and we have taken it upon ourselves to create safe spaces for people from all races, ethnicities, creed and sexuality. Embedding anti-racism in our work structures and models, from the care we provide to the interactions with community members, is something we acknowledge is necessary and how we move in the right direction.

When working in careers based on and positioned in community work, it’s important to work from an anti-oppressive lens while including anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and social justice frameworks. Recognizing unearned white privilege is also important and understanding that it exists because of historic, enduring racism and biases. To know that someone automatically has an advantage just because of the colour of their skin is to recognize privilege. Providing the spaces to enhance the voice of marginalized and oppressed groups, through your unearned privilege, is essential.

You might wonder where you fit into all of this, “how can I help?”. We have seen various forms of activism and tools for change come into play recently that help advance social justice substantively in different ways.

Activism can range anywhere from personal critical self-reflection, pursuing education, expanding your community/relationship boundaries, taking part in local protests and having difficult conversations with family and friends. A dialogue around these social justice issues is not only essential but long overdue.

As a company, our staff held a guided discussion about Black Lives Matter movement and Anti-Racism. This conversation was difficult, uncomfortable, and eye-opening but it was an important conversation to have. Mosaic’s goal is to work towards ending the silence and continue the conversation. To do so, Mosaic has created a Resource Board platform for our team and we want to share some of our resources with you. These resources are a great place to start to learn more about the Black Lives Matter Movement and Anti-racism. These resources allow us to dive deeper into race issues right here in Toronto and and across the world.

If you want to share any resources with our team that you may have come across, please email us at info@mosaichomecare.com.
Thank you,

Sarah McGilvray (bio) & Beth Eshete (bio)

Podcasts:

Brene Brown and Ibram X. Kendi: How To Be an Antiracist

https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-ibram-x-kendi-on-how-to-be-an-antiracist/

9 Podcasts on Racism: Understanding The Black Lives Matter Movement
https://www.harpersbazaararabia.com/featured-news/podcasts-on-racism-black-lives-matter-resources

Movies/TV Shows:

Just Mercy
American Son
Mudbound
When They See Us
Selma
13th
Get Out
Fruitvale Station
* You can stream any of these movies online/using a streaming platform. Keep in mind that Netflix Canada has added a new Black Lives Matter category as well.
Educational Links:

Anti-Racism Voices and Resources
https://sites.google.com/tdsb.on.ca/antiracism-voicesandresources/home?authuser=1

National Museum of African American History and Culture Releases “Talking About Race” Web Portal:
https://nmaahc.si.edu/about/news/national-museum-african-american-history-and-culture-releases-talking-about-race-web

Talking about Race:
https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice:
https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234

Anti-Racism Resource Centre:
http://www.anti-racism.ca/
Welcome to the Anti-Racism Movement – Here’s What You’ve Missed
https://medium.com/the-establishment/welcome-to-the-anti-racism-movement-heres-what-you-ve-missed-711089cb7d34
Implicit Bias Test
https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/
Holy Sh*t, being an allly isn’t about me!
https://medium.com/@realtalkwocandallies/holy-shit-being-an-ally-isnt-about-me-ae2de5c47514

Support Black-Owned Businesses:
Black-owned businesses in Toronto you can support right now

https://nowtoronto.com/lifestyle/black-owned-businesses-toronto/
135 Black-owned restaurants and other businesses in Toronto you can support right now
https://www.blogto.com/city/2020/06/black-owned-restaurants-businesses-toronto/

Message From Jane and Nathalie to our community(from our current newsletter)

June 8, 2020 in Mosaic, Newsletters |

When providing care to persons and families our primary objective is to facilitate expression of a person’s physical, social and emotional abilities. Social networks and community connections remain important. Life continues, we continue to grow and learn, to connect and to be in this world of deep meaning and context.

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For most of us COVID-19 has not changed who we are, or what we are capable of, at least for the moment. But it has changed how we connect and the risks of social connection. For a particularly vulnerable element of our communities, those in long term care homes, COVID-19 has been disastrous, deadly and isolating.

Because of the risks of infection, COVID-19 has added many additional layers of complexity and concern. In the last three months we have developed and implemented advanced infection prevention and control protocols governing personal protective equipment and their use, procedures for coordinating caregivers and for screening for COVID-19 risks.

Our protocols are documented, well researched and benchmarked off best provincial, national and international practices. We are also committed to educating and informing all those we work with, whether it be front line staff or families.

Our most important protocols are those focusing on contact risks: if we focus not just on immediate contacts but on the contacts of those contacts, we are better able to shut down the transmission of COVID-19 before it gets to our caregivers and our clients and families. Our contact tracing protocols remain at the heart of our defenses and are used to screen new clients and families and all visitors and other health care providers attending in the home. Mosaic was also one of the first to make wearing masks mandatory for all front-line staff because of the asymptomatic risks of transmission.

Fortunately to date we have had no COVID-19 positive clients nor COVID-19 positive front-line teams. In the last couple of months we have also delivered and sent out fabric masks, soap and sanitizer for our front-line staff and families.  These are for community use, for shopping and use on public transport etc.

We have also emphasized close contact with our front-line staff through regular telephone calls and Zoom chats to provide support, elicit feedback and to let them know what we are doing.

Martha Miller our Client Services Liaison has been calling our clients and families to see how they are managing and to see if there is anything we can help with.

In a socially distanced world we have had to adapt quickly. Our community resource centers are closed and we have been developing on line programs and connections. Beth Eshete our Community Resource & Social Engagement Coordinator has been responsible for our virtual knitting and exercise programs. We have many other on-line programs through June and August including a collaboration with recent acting graduates of Humber College’s Theatre Performance conservatory program.

We will be implementing our pole walking programs in Markham & Toronto in July and August with contact tracing protocols and physical distancing in place.

We have also been advocating for families with family members in long-term care or retirement homes and have been active in social media promoting the importance of family visits. We discussed our concerns on this issue in our March newsletter. In June Jane Teasdale will be representing Mosaic Home Care on a PodCast, on this issue, arranged by Family Councils Collaborative Alliance.

Mosaic has also been invited to speak at the Sinai Health’s and University Health Network’s Covid-19 Special, Geriatrics Institute Education day.

As many of our families will know, private homecare personal support workers and nurses are not included in the provincial pandemic pay support. This is despite the fact that most care provision in the province is contracted to private companies. We have been actively advocating for pay parity across the community and have formed a caregiver advocacy group with other like-minded home care providers. We have also successfully reached out to local politicians (including Councillor Josh Matlow) on this issue and have written to numerous other senior politicians in Provincial and Federal government.

June is also Seniors Month so Mosaic will be dropping off some activity kits for our clients and a gift bag from Custodia Seniors Support.

We would also like to thank our “Mosaic in-house team who have been working non-stop in keeping our clients and caregivers safe during COVID-19. We would also like to do a shout out to Bev Crescenzi, Operations Admin and her husband Bruno who spent a weekend organizing the masks for our many front-line teams. And to Jazmyn Romano who is a student gaining her community hours. She has been working on some research and developing our programs and community resources document.

And finally, a big, big “Shout Out” to our many front-line caregivers who are selflessly working each and every day, putting the best interests of their clients first and making changes to their own lives and lifestyles so that they can safely provide the care our communities need!

https://www.mosaichomecare.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/June-2020-Activity-Booklet-COVID19-Final-.pdf

MOSAIC’s Advocacy Position on Pandemic Pay: No frontline health care worker should be left behind!

May 14, 2020 in Advocacy, COVID-19 |

From “The Forgotten Frontline: homecare during the pandemic”[1]:

“This pandemic has shone a light on the extent to which, so few people understand what homecare is. For too many there is still an outdated image of homecare as ‘mopping and shopping,’ as a set of practical activities designed to make people feel better but not much more than that. As almost like an added luxury! The truth could not be further than that”.

Every day on the radio and in social media we hear about the importance of supporting all health care workers providing care, whether this is in the home, retirement residence or long-term care home. “We have your backs” we keep hearing everyone say, but this is not the case for all workers.

On April 25th, the Ontario government made the following press release: “Ontario Supporting Frontline Heroes of COVID-19 with Pandemic Pay – Government Recognizes the Dedication and Sacrifice of Frontline Workers”.

It went on to say: “This increase will provide four dollars per hour worked on top of existing hourly wages, regardless of the qualified employee’s hourly wage. In addition, employees working over 100 hours per month would receive lump sum payments of $250 per month for each of the next four months. This means that eligible employees working an average of 40 hours per week would receive $3,560 in additional compensation. Those eligible to receive the payment will be staff working in long-term care homes, retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, social services congregate care settings, corrections institutions and youth justice facilities, as well as those providing home and community care and some staff in hospitals.”

But, the policy excluded anyone that was not contracted directly by the government. Despite the fact that most “home care” in the community is delivered by private contractors, the government decided to exclude a large portion of this health care workforce. Perhaps the many smaller providers lacked necessary political influence or more to the point private caregivers were not considered heroes or anything close?

We believe that excluding a great many people from this important gesture is discriminatory and a human rights issue. It has also insulted a great many workers and upset many families.

The government is excluding important people who are providing care to persons in long term care, in retirement residences, and in the home and the community, contrary to the public statement and promise made. The following is from one of our caregivers:

“…in April the Premier of Ontario announced a $4/hr increase on salaries of all frontline workers…it mentioned staff working in facilities, long term care and nursing homes….I agree with the Premier. Healthcare workers are first and foremost deserving of the recognition and financial reward. Now here’s the tricky question: do we as Mosaic frontline workers and PSW’s qualify for the increase? As I read the announcement there’s a line there that says and I quote….”as well as those providing home and community care and some staff in hospitals”…. unquote. I am hoping that it included privately operated healthcare providers. That added incentive will surely boost our financial situation especially at this time, amid the pandemic where commodities, rent and everyday expenses are on the rise.”

We know that our caregivers are making personal sacrifices and taking risks to provide care in the community each and every day. The personal sacrifices they are making include sleeping apart from family, taking extra precautions to avoid contracting the virus and in many instances accepting reduced hours because of the need to avoid multiple person contacts. Many health workers have underlying health conditions, yet society expects them to continue to turn up.

The personal support and nursing care that excluded care workers provide is mostly within personal and intimate space. Many will be going into known higher risk environments such as nursing homes and retirement residences. But home and community care is not without risks: homes may receive a number of visitors including health care workers from private contracted agencies who may visit multiple people and environments on a daily basis. Our frontline staff are not just responsible for providing personal care but social and emotional supports and in the current climate are often the first point of call for monitoring visitors into the home.

The care that these health care workers provide is important to a great many families as public health only provides a limited amount of care. Most of the care provided by public health is task based and of limited duration and is insufficient to keep many persons safe in their homes. Many of the issues we see with care in the home and the community are similar to those we see in long term care. Personal support work and nursing in the community is seen more as a set of rudimentary tasks that have little value. As the quotation at the start of this article says “The truth could not be further than that”. The following is from one of our PSWs currently in a long term care environment:

“It’s hard working in the LTC, even if you’re dealing with only one client….I want to highlight the PSW working one on one. We are not dealing in physical care alone. We are working on the most important aspect, the EMOTIONAL part, which I think is the most important to be taken care of. We deal with their emotions, we talk to them, we laugh with them, we stay by their side where nobody else is with them in a situation they are now.”

Without the care provided by this excluded workforce many more human beings may need to move into long term care homes at a time when it is least feasible to do so and to receive levels of care that have long been recognised to be insufficient.

But excluding the many health care workers who work in private care impacts not only a much more vulnerable work force but also the families for whom the cost of care is itself a sacrifice.

Many of our families have decided to chip in and pay the extra fee themselves. While some families may be able to do so others will not have the financial leeway. We know that families are torn between wishing to support their care providers and being able to provide care in the first place and feel the dilemma intensely. We should not be placing families and caregivers in this situation.

Many of those we speak to believe that the government is supporting all who provide care in long term care, retirement residences and home and community. Not so. There appears to be a distinction between first class citizens who are heroes and other much deserving, apparently second class citizens, who are not worthy of being spoken of in the same breath.

We believe in all caregivers and we also believe in the families they serve. We should not divide and differentiate between what are first and foremost important relationships in difficult times.


[1] https://scottishcare.org/the-forgotten-frontline-homecare-during-the-pandemic/

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