Seniors Health and Wellness

Health experts call for shift in COVID strategy, say current track is ‘a fool’s errand’

Article by Cormac Mac Sweeney and Hana Mae Nassar and originally posted here in CityNews 1130 (July 9, 2020)

COVID-19 virus

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/NIAID-RML via AP

OTTAWA – A group of 18 prominent health experts in Canada, including the two previous chief public health officers of Canada, is calling on the federal and provincial governments to change their strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group is calling for an end to attempts to eliminate the coronavirus, instead advocating for an approach where Canadians would learn to live with it.

“It’s a fool’s errand,” Dr. Neil Rau, an infectious disease specialist with the University of Toronto, says. “We’re not going to win with that strategy.”

Rau argues business closures, mandatory masks, and complete border closures are doing more harm than good for employment and the wellbeing of our society, and adds these things disproportionately affect low income and racialized Canadians.

“Poverty has huge health impacts on people. Health is wealth, wealth is health,” Rau says.

He says trying to stamp out COVID-19 will not work and we need to accept that the coronavirus is with us at least until a vaccine is developed.

Rau joins other experts in calling on governments to further relax lockdown measures and not return to the Phase 1-style restrictions we saw in the spring, even if there is a second wave.

“We strongly believe that population health and equity are important considerations that must be applied to future decisions regarding pandemic management,” the open letter, dated July 6, reads.

“Canada must work to minimize the impact of COVID-19 by using measures that are practical, effective and compatible with our values and sense of social justice,” the letter adds. “We need to focus on preventing deaths and serious illness by protecting the vulnerable while enabling society to function and thrive.”

The experts are also concerned about the development of children and are calling on the federal government to create a national strategy to reopen schools in the fall across the country.

They note Canada needs to “improve infection prevention and control in long-term care and congregate living settings,” while also providing support for those who choose to isolate “when the disease is active.”

Support should also be provided to people “who have been adversely affected by COVID-19, or the consequences of the public health measures,” the letter adds.

“Canadians have developed a fear of COVID-19,” the experts write. “Going forward, they have to be supported in understanding their true level of risk, and learning how to deal with this disease, while getting on with their lives – back to work, back to school, and back to healthy lives and vibrant, active communities across this country.”

Jill at Financial Concierge’s comment:  It took more than 200 years and a worldwide vaccination program to smallpox.  Let’s get back to living and working!

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The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders

People with dementia are still capable with guidance, supervision and acceptance.

 

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Power of Attorney and Personal Directive for Seniors

Why are Power of Attorney and Personal Directive so Important for Seniors?

Bring up talk about legal documents and many people’s eyes begin to glaze over, especially if you’re a family caregiver. After all, you have enough to do caring for your senior loved one without worrying about complicated legal issues and paperwork, right? However, two legal documents can potentially be important in the life of family caregivers and the seniors for whom they care: Personal Directive and Power of Attorney.

Generally, a Power of Attorney “POA” is a legal document that gives an individual the power to act on another person’s behalf. In other words, having this document in place could give the older adult in your life the confidence in knowing that choices about their financial life would not be left in the hands of a stranger if they no longer could make decisions for themselves. A POA allows adults over the age of 18 to designate another adult to manage their financial affairs if, because of health issues, they couldn’t.

More specifically, an enduring POA is one that can stay in effect even when the individual can no longer make decisions on their own or loses capacity because of a physical, mental, or cognitive condition.

So why go through the hassle of putting these legal documents in place? Not doing so can creates a risk. For instance, if something happens to your loved one who does not have an enduring power of attorney, you may have to go to court to get the authority to handle that person’s financial affairs and that can take weeks to months.

  • POAs have the ability to give seniors who have them in place greater control over their lives. For example, if you were your mother’s POA and she could no longer handle her business affairs, you would have the authority to pay bills, manage her daily business dealings, manage property, file taxes and apply for public benefits such as CPP or GIS.

A Personal Directive is a “medical” power of attorney legal document.  In general, a Personal Directive makes one individual a healthcare Agent for another. Depending on the situation, this can allow the Agent to do, for example, the following:

  • Direct the medical care that someone needs. For instance, if your father was ill or needed surgery and you were his healthcare Agent, you could work with medical professionals to determine the type of care he receives, the doctors and care providers who treat him, and even where he lives while he recovers.

There are certain things POAs cannot do:

  • Change someone’s will
  • Make decisions after their death (unless, for example, the POA is also the executor of the will)
  • Change or transfer POA to someone else

Remember, it’s important for you to obtain such documents as well. All adults 18 and over need these documents to help ensure their wishes are carried out if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.  A terrific graduation present for those young adults in your life.

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Top Concerns About Living a Long Life

51%    Health problems/costs

47%    Financial security/fear of running out of money

40%    Being a burden on family

20%    Loneliness or having no purpose

14%    Having nothing left to leave to heirs

13%    Being a victim of abuse, neglect or fraud

2%      Other

Source: BMO Wealth Management survey by ValidateIt Technologies Inc., July 2018.

Overall, the most frequently cited concern was about future healthcare costs and whether health problems will affect quality of life (51%).

Fears about running out of money during retirement (47%) and being a burden on family members (40%) also came high on the list.

Being lonely later in life was a concern for 20% of respondents, and not having anything left to leave to heirs was mentioned by 14% of those surveyed.

A similar number (13% of respondents) worried about becoming a victim of abuse, neglect or fraud.

Financial Concierge Inc. can help mitigate the risks of financial abuse and fraud through assistance with day to day money management as a second set of eyes.

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