Aging/Gerontology, Health Conditions/Diseases, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Promoting Activity, Independence and Stability in Early Dementia (PrAISED) — British Geriatrics Society

Article on dementia research worth looking at….


Professor Rowan H Harwood is a geriatrician at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and the University of Nottingham, with particular interests in delirium, dementia and end of life care, who maintains an active portfolio of research. He tweets @RowanHarwood Can exercise-based therapy prevent or delay disability and dependency in those in the early stages of dementia? […]

via Promoting Activity, Independence and Stability in Early Dementia (PrAISED) — British Geriatrics Society

Aging/Gerontology, News

A Company with a Focus on Canadians: Safe Tracks GPS Canada Inc.

Safe Tracks GPS Canada Inc.

The technology, the data, the services are all Canadian; almost unheard of today when much of production is typically shipped overseas. What began as a company of one with entrepreneur Vince Morelli, President with a business background expanded to Bob Aloisio, Vice President with a technology and particularly a GPS technology background for the past thirteen years, to six employees, and now has expanded from Western Canada to Eastern Canada and the Atlantic with partner, Erik Kikuchi.

Their diverse backgrounds provide a good foundation for technology and services whose mission is to provide Pro-Active electronic solutions to help improve the safety and security of our communities. 60% of their clientele is in Alberta with the other 40% spread across Canada. Their clientele ranges from government to the average Canadian citizen.

Safe Tracks GPS Canada Inc began in 2009 with a focus on increasing public security with GPS technology. SafeTracks initially focused on GPS-equipped ankle bracelets and other tracking devices worn by offenders under court order. About 3 1/2 years ago, it expanded into personal tracking, including devices to protect those in high-risk professions or situations.

More recently, the company expanded their market by creating technology that is geared at individuals with Alzheimer’s and other types of Dementias, those with cognitive disorders, seniors, those who are vulnerable, those with intellectual challenges and benefits both the user and family and/or agency.

The GPS device locates someone who is lost, missing or needs help. Unlike typical monitoring devices which only work in the individual’s home or living quarters where the base is connected to a phone line, this technology goes with the individual wherever there is cell service.

Some are wearing a cell phone-like unit called a ST PRIME; others have a TRiLOC GPS Locator watch, and the rest have electronic GPS SmartSoles in their shoes. Their location can be tracked by smart phone or computer. If you as a family member or as a professional have ever had to go out and look for an individual with Dementia who has wandered off, you will certainly see the benefits to this technology. Something else that sets this company apart is the fact that the ST Prime and GPS SmartSoles are rechargeable by USB or inductive wireless chargers and do not require changing of traditional batteries.

If you would like to read more about Safe Tracks GPS Canada Inc. additional information can be found on their website: along with media coverage through CBC News Edmonton and CTV.

There are no contracts for personal devices and the cost for the items is affordable with manageable monthly fees. Each month SafeTracks offers online demonstrations on its GPS technology.
Register here:

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

Healthcare, News, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Seeking Action for Safety in Long Term Care Facilities

Advocacy, one of the core competencies in the profession of social work. It is one skill that I was taught both in graduate school and as a professional over the past 15 years, it is a skill I take to heart.

On February 9, 2013 a documentary W5, Crisis in Care, reported by Sandi Rinaldo and the CTV team of investigators, was released. This investigation uncovered horrific statistics and stories of abuse taking place in Long Term Care facilities in Canada. The focus was on residents with dementia assaulting and killing other residents.—crisis-in-care—february-9-2013/#clip862011

After viewing it, the natural human response is to wonder how something this horrendous could happen. Further questions of who is at fault and what solutions will facilitate the needed changes, come to mind as well. Finger pointing and blaming will not provide solutions or changes. Staff that work in residences and Long Term Care (LTC) facilities, for the most part, are very good at their job and demonstrate the skills of empathy, compassion, and hard work.

A team of three dedicated professionals who all belong to the professional LinkedIn group, Gerontology Professionals of Canada, decided to team up to formulate a response to the W5 documentary, Crisis in Care. Eleanor Silverberg, BA, Psych, MSW, RSW drew up the initial draft and is the main author, asked Angela Gentile, BSW, RSW and  Victoria Brewster, MSW for their contributions. Seeking Action for Safety in Long Term Care Facilities was completed on February 20, 2013, and was forwarded to the following individuals/organizations as of February 23, 2013:

•W5, Sandi Rinaldo, the investigative team and the producers
•Federal Health Minister, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
•Alzheimer Society of Canada, CEO, Mimi Lowi-Young
•Alzheimer Society of Ontario, CEO, Gale Carey
•Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, CEO, Sylvia Rothney
•Federation of Quebec’s Alzheimer Society, CEO, Sandro di Cori
•Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Deb Matthews
•Quebec Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Réjean Hébert
•Manitoba Minister of Health, Hon. Theresa Oswald
•Canadian Alliance for Long Term Care
•Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Minister of Manitoba, Hon. Jim Rondeau
•Misitere de la santé des Services sociaux- Services Quebec

The site, Action for Safety, created by social worker, Angela Gentile will continue to be a place where updates will be provided, as well as a place where other professionals, families and concerned individuals can express their views, working together on behalf of the vulnerable residents in Long Term Care facilities.

It is worthwhile to read the full response which describes the issues, provides some examples of assaults and deaths that have occurred in Canada while making suggestions for solutions. It is not possible that these horrible tragedies have only occurred here in Canada. It is not possible that budget cuts, reduced staff, lack of education, and a lack of awareness only effect Canada when it comes to LTC facilities and the disease of Dementia.

The link to Action for Safety has been shared with friends, family, colleagues, on social media through LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook with an end goal of obtaining solutions to a very serious issue. This will continue along with contacting media to further bring the issue to light and raise awareness.

It is necessary for professionals to unite over a cause while advocating for needed change and I consider myself fortunate to have been a part of this project. A special thank you to Eleanor Silverberg and Angela Gentile!

Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW

Health Conditions/Diseases

Disabilities: A Category that Includes Mental illness, Dementia, Learning Disabilities+

Did you know that the World Health Organization reports that between four hundred million and five hundred million people are affected by a disability? Autism, learning disabilities, mental health issues and dementia fall into the disability category. If you look around and think of colleagues, friends, family and clients, at least one, most likely more, fall into the category of having a disability. Mental Illness is the leading cause of disability with Depression listed as the 3rd cause of disability in the world.

Imagine two individuals going to the hospital for chest pain, shortness of breathe, both are male and approximately age 50. Do they both receive the same attention, the same treatment? According to Vikram Patel, psychiatrist-the answer is no. One is recommended special tests and the other is sent home. Why? The one sent home has a mental health issue.

“If you should speak to anyone affected by a mental illness, the chances are that you will hear stories of hidden suffering, shame, and discrimination in nearly every sector of their lives.” (Vikram Patel)

How do we advocate for those with mental health issues? What is the best way to give treatment? Where should the treatment occur? In a hospital? Local community clinic? At home? Do services exist in every country for those with mental health issues-the answer is no.

Watch the attached video and a few ideas will emerge as to ways to address mental health issues and disabilities, whether in a city, town, remote village in Africa, or a rural village in India.

First posted at:

*Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW

Aging/Gerontology, Health Conditions/Diseases

South Korea Addressing Dementia

Thanks to a fellow social worker, I have this link to share to show how South Korea is addressing Dementia.
Like many other countries in the world, 40-50% of the population will be 65+ and with each year of being in the ‘older adult’ demographic, the chance of developing Dementia rises.
It is definitely worth reading and I think the best way for any country to implement a plan is to look to other countries to see what is being considered, implemented and addressed.

Aging/Gerontology, Health Conditions/Diseases

Common Dementia Symptoms and Warning Signs

Symptoms of Dementia: Memory loss is usually the earliest and most noticeable symptom. Other symptoms of dementia are:

■ Having difficulty recalling recent events.
■ Not recognizing familiar people and places.
■ Having trouble finding the right words to express thoughts or name objects.
■ Having difficulty performing calculations.
■ Having problems planning and carrying out tasks, such as balancing a checkbook, following a recipe, or writing a letter.
■ Having trouble exercising judgment, such as knowing what to do in an emergency.
■ Having difficulty controlling moods or behaviors. Depression is common, and agitation or aggression may occur.
■ Not keeping up personal care such as grooming or bathing.

Possible Warning Signs of Dementia:

■ Learning and retaining new information (forgetting recent events and appointments or frequently misplacing objects)
■ Handling complex tasks, like balancing a checkbook
■ Knowing what to do when problems come up (such as knowing what to do if the bathroom is flooded) and using good judgment (for example, showing a new disregard for the rules of social conduct and doing or saying things that are inappropriate)
■ Finding his or her way around familiar places, driving to and from places he or she knows well (for example, getting lost when walking or driving from the house to the store a few blocks away)
■ Finding the right words to say what he or she wants to say
■ Understanding and responding to what he or she sees and hears
■ Acting more irritable or suspicious than usual, or withdrawing from conversation and activity

Speak to a medical professional about any of the above possible symptoms or warning signs if you notice or have concerns about a family member or friend.