Archive for ‘Advocacy’

January 11, 2017

#514 – Goodwill Snow Challenge for Gym Owners

One very snowy and cold Northwestern Ontario winter, long ago.

We’ve had an unusual winter here in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Since the beginning of December we’ve had what most of the rest of Canada usually has – snow and colder temperatures. In fact, this is the most snow I’ve seen since I’ve lived here. There are a number of problems with this – the municipalities aren’t set up to deal with the snow with enough equipment (like sidewalk plows and odd/even parking), nor in their budgets. Driving around, it is clear that a number of people don’t realize that there are bylaws on the books that require owners to remove the snow from the sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses (another post for another day).

When you live in a snowy climate and are mobility-challenged with a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, it can be a challenge to be a good citizen by shovelling your walkway and driveway.

While browsing through the Delta Parks, Recreation and Culture Leisure Guide I came across a page that melted my heart, even if it didn’t melt the snow. There is a call for Snow Angels who are volunteers who shovel the sidewalks and driveways of the residents who are unable to do so, thus ensuring safe passage.

I’m proposing a goodwill challenge for gym owners whose patrons religiously come to lift, push, step, climb, cycle, row or run their way into better health. Why not create some healthy competition between gyms, such as Trevor Linden’s Club 16, or Steve Nash’s Fitness World, to see how many mobility-challenged homes can be shovelled after a snowstorm? Prizes could be rewarded, even though the opportunity to do some functional fitness (aka real-life workout), enjoy fresh air, and to do something kind and valuable for someone else, should be reward enough.

Imagine if a flurry of Snow Angels descended upon your home or that of a loved one, spreading kindness and goodwill, while helping to encourage mobility and independence in those who might otherwise be housebound. This would be an act of community service that not only warms the heart, but also clears the path to enable the mobility-challenged to get out of the house and take part in the exercise they need to maintain the mobility they do have.

I could see The Arthritis Society, The Arthritis Foundation, The Canadian Cancer Society and other groups who support people with mobility challenges working together to promote this within the community. Exercise and volunteerism are great antidotes to stress and depression. Mental Health advocates can also encourage their clients to get shovelling!

Let it snow! Let it snow? Let it snow. Or, maybe not!

 

 

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November 6, 2016

#508 – Architectually and Accessibly Speaking

mariannapaulson2sg

As you may or may not know, this blog has recently been revived. Below, is an excerpt from a Twitter conversation I had saved, but never published.

I didn’t know about the public hearings prior to construction of the Grandview Aquatic Centre, but if I had, I would have added my voice.

It’s tough enough when you move through the world differently, whether it be in a wheelchair, with a cane, or on your own steam.

When architects and communities get it right, the system blurs the lines between the able-bodied and those who live with a disability – the diffabled. At first glance, the Walking Disabled may present the appearance that there is nothing wrong. As a result, people zoom to assume – judgement can be quick. “You don’t look disabled, why do you need extra help/special assistance?” What they may not realize is that a hip replacement, dislocated fingers, or painful joints make it difficult to do some of those “ordinary” things.

The Corporation of Delta got it right in with the ramp in The Sunshine Pool at Sungod Recreation Centre. During my swims, I’ve seen people use the ramps in a number of different ways – in wheelchairs and with canes. Young and old, able-bodied and diffabled. They’ve all spent time on the ramp. Then, there’s me. I jump into the pool in the deep end and use the ramp to get out of the pool. I don’t have to call anyone for help, I just get out.

Isn’t that the pinnacle of self-reliance? Architectural designs that don’t require “special” assistance or attention in order to be accessible.

January 17, 2014

#499 – A dash of this, a pinch of that

graduation

A very long time ago!

“It ain’t over until the fat lady sings,” so goes a politically incorrect reference to opera singers.

As you can see by this image, the fat lady has slimmed down considerably—80 pounds, to be exact—and although this blog is soon coming to a close, you can still read my posts over on Auntie Stress Café (ASC) – no singing, though. At least, not on either of my blogs! As for the weight, yo-yo would be a good word to use. Although, in recent years I’ve either maintained or watched the numbers on the scale decrease. But that’s a story for a whole other blog.

Incidentally, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis about a year before that picture was taken. It’s been a long journey, fraught with tears, pain, sadness, contentment, laughter, disappointments, satisfaction, worry, uncertainty, frustration, anger, depression, loneliness, calm, joy, peace, … in other words, life!

We all have a story to tell, secrets to keep, gifts to give and love to share. A Rheumful of Tips (ART) is my gift to you.

So, on my second-to-last post I’d like to share a few final thoughts that didn’t make it into full-blown posts.

Medication

Always check your prescription when you get home. Recently, I discovered that although the medication was correct, the dosage was 5 times greater than prescribed!

Delivery Drivers

Admittedly, this one doesn’t have the potential for dire consequences, but it is annoying. The phone rang once, twice, and then stopped before I could get it. It turns out that it was supposed to be a door-to-door delivery; unfortunately, the driver was in too much of a hurry to wait. I promptly emailed the company and got a standard response that might as well have said, “Yeah, we care, but don’t expect us to make any improvements.” I also mentioned it when I picked up the parcel. “We hear the same thing from seniors and many people who have disabilities.” Well, if that is the case, why aren’t the drivers told to wait a little longer? Have you experienced anything similar?

Adjust your attitude

Recently, I came across two blog posts that resonated with me. Both these women have made a decision, one that demonstrates an incredible capacity to live well, in spite of the mercurial nature of rheumatoid arthritis. The sooner you can come to terms with your disease—and it does take time—the better off you will be. I hope you’ll enjoy the posts on  Beating Rheumatoid Arthritis and The Life and Adventures of Cateepoo as much as I did.

Notice

Keep track of when you have your flare-ups. Is there a pattern? What is going on in your life. Specifically, how are you responding to the events that are swirling around you? Perhaps you notice that you always flare at holidays? Several things could be at play. You may associate your holidays with past ones like ‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly…Or Is It?

The downtime may signal the crash that is preceded by months of high cortisol levels. Remember that cortisol is cumulative. You may have “held on”, until it was more “convenient” to get sick. How many of you have become ill while on vacation? It’s important to see if there is a pattern. If there is, you can be proactive and make some changes.

Although the stress techniques I teach are not meditative in nature, they do induce mindfulness, which as this one study shows, proves beneficial in the extinguishing of those inflammatory fires that are all to common in a rheumatoid disease flare-up. Call or email if you’d like to find out more about how I can help you help yourself. Programs are only five weeks long – the effects last a lifetime!

 

One thing I know is that I would never have had the courage to write this blog had it not been for the growth I’ve experienced from my stress transformation. I believe that when you feel better, you do better.

September 16, 2013

#481 – Window of Time

Image courtesy of Chris Worfolk.

Image courtesy of Chris Worfolk.

Energy. Inflammation. Pain. You have a window of time when your condition may have improved to the point where you can get out and do some of the things you need to do, or that you’d like to do – errands, shopping, visiting friends, getting out for a hike, etc.

For example, first thing in the morning, you may be extremely stiff. This might be a great time to do some breathing and gentle movement exercises. Once you start to limber up, you are ready to get out and do some of the things on that list, be it a fun list, a work list or a life list.

Become aware of your window and schedule your activities to make the best use of your time and energy. Share this strategy with your family and friends so that they understand, and hopefully, be willing to accommodate you in your mission to get out, to do and to see.

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