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.
T: 416.319.1900 | T: 1.877.499.7999 | F: 604.990-7715 urbanpoling.com
Health Promotion, Urban Poling Inc., 416-319-1900 www.urbanpoling.com
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.
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!
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
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:
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.
Supporting identity and its opportunity for expression may be a better way of looking at falls risks.
Person centered home care requires sensitivity to the character, identity, wishes and abilities of the person:
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.
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.
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:
● 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:
● Brain injury
● Parkinson’s Disease
● Palliative care
● Speech disorders
● Developmental disabilities
● Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
● Down syndrome
● Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
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.
● 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
What events are happening in your local area?
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15th. There are many events happening in and around your communities designed to engage people in awareness and prevention of financial, emotional, physical and sexual abuse of older adults specifically.
A good website for information can be found at Elder Abuse Ontario and we provide a copy of their Spring 2019 Newsletter for your information:
“My knitting group has broken up,” said mom on the telephone, “but I may have found a new group to join. We got a flyer at the condo about a knitting group at the CNIB that’s open to the community.”
“You should go,” I said. “Winter is coming and you’ll need something to do. Besides what are we going to do with all the hats, mittens, and scarves we make every year?”
My mother, Katharina Duhatschek, lives in a condo at the Kilgour Estates, and for the past few years she has been meeting weekly in the condo library with a group of like-minded women to knit and crochet for charity. When I retired three years ago I got in on the fun, not showing up for meetings, but crocheting throughout the winter, making so many hats, scarves, and mittens that all family and friends were well-taken care of. I gave all my extras to mom’s knitting group which sent them to women’s shelters once a year.
I have long understood the therapeutic benefits of knitting and crocheting. Even before I retired I would often come home after a stressful day and crochet for hours into the evening, using the repetition of the stitches and the rhythm of the patterns, to calm me down. Plus I got a big kick out of making something, choosing colours and textures and patterns, and bringing them together into a finished product. It would be hard to get through a winter without knitting and crocheting.
“We’re making Twiddlemuffs” said mom on the phone. “Do you know what that is?”
“Nope. Never heard of them,” I answered. “But let me see the pattern and we’ll figure it out.” Mom had walked over to the CNIB the previous week and met the wonderful women of Mosaic. Mosaic, we learned, is a home care and community resource centre. The knitting and crochet group was making muffs, decorated on the inside and out with buttons, flowers, elastics, and ornaments. The muffs would be distributed to residents of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centres Veteran’s Wing. Not only do the muffs keep fingers warm, but they keep fingers busy.
“They’re doing decoupage,” said mom on the phone a few months later. “Do you know what that is?”
“I think so I said. You stick pictures on wood and then varnish it. You should go.”
The next time I visited, mom proudly showed me her decoupage box. She had painted the exterior of the wooden box in blue and then cut out shapes of cottage scenes, black bears, canoes, and pine trees. “I think I’ll take it to the cottage this summer and put all our cottage photos in it. I’ll leave it on the coffee table so people can look through the pictures.”
Creativity is important to well-being, and while we all encourage creativity in children, sometimes we forget that we still need to be creative as a we get older. Making things, whether it’s boxes, or mittens, or muffs, allows us to design and innovate, to express ourselves through our hands, to produce something and be proud of it. I’m glad mom has found a group like Mosaic, where she can participate in a creative community.
By Monica Duhatschek