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Posts Tagged "Awareness"

1Oct

Minister’s statement on Registered Disability Savings Plan Awareness Month

by admin

Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, has released the following statement in recognition of Registered Disability Savings Plan Awareness Month:

“October is Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Awareness Month in British Columbia. More than 31,000 people with disabilities have opened an RDSP in B.C., giving our province the highest per capita enrolment rate in Canada. This month is an opportunity to further increase awareness of RDSPs and how they can help to ensure a stable and independent financial future for people with disabilities.

“Right now, 40% of eligible people have signed up, which means there are still tens of thousands of British Columbians who are qualified but don’t have an RDSP yet. We want to make sure that every eligible person knows about this savings plan and how to access the resources and support to sign up.

“RDSPs are an excellent savings tool that help people with disabilities, and their families, plan a financially secure and independent future without affecting disability assistance. Anyone under the age of 60 who qualifies for the disability tax credit can open an RDSP. The federal government matches up to $3 for every dollar deposited through the Canadian Savings Grant program — up to $3,500 annually to a lifetime maximum of $70,000. People with low incomes can also receive a Canada Savings Bond of up to $1,000 annually, to a lifetime maximum of $20,000, even if they aren’t able to contribute. 

“Reducing poverty is a major challenge for our province. The RDSP is a valuable tool that can help to address poverty for people with disabilities. It’s an opportunity for people with disabilities to have some peace of mind, knowing they will have savings available as they age. I encourage everyone to visit RDSP.com to sign up or help someone start an RDSP today.”

Quick Facts:

  • More than 926,100 British Columbians aged 15 to 64 years, almost 25% of the population, identify as having a disability.
  • The federal government launched the RDSP in 2009.
  • B.C. continues to lead Canada with the highest per capita uptake of RDSP in the country:
    • 40% of eligible people now hold an RDSP (31,000 British Columbians).
    • The average value of an RDSP in December 2017 was $24,300 — $2,050 above the national average.

Learn More:

Registered Disability Savings Program: www.rdsp.com

Registered Disability Savings Plan action group and guide: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/family-and-social-supports/services-for-people-with-disabilities/supports-services/registered_disability_savings_plan_guide.pdf

B.C. government accessibility initiatives: www.gov.bc.ca/accessibility

B.C. government services for people with disabilities: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/services-for-people-with-disabilities/supports-services

31Aug

Woman refuses to burn out her torch as she marks Overdose Awareness Day, crisis

by admin


Tabitha Montgomery with free materials she’s distributing to B.C. libraries.


Francis Georgian / Postmedia News

It was during the International Overdose Awareness Day activities last year when Tabitha Montgomery really noticed it — events that had once been rallies had become vigils.

“There was a feeling that no one was listening. That it was not making a difference,” she recalled Saturday as she set up an information booth at the Vancouver Public Library.

Montgomery’s booth was one of several awareness activities happening in B.C. this weekend to mark International Overdose Awareness Day, a global movement designed to remember those who have died from drug overdoses. And to push for change.

However, some advocacy groups that organized activities in the past were noticeably absent from this year’s list of planned events.

Montgomery attributed that to burnout.

“It can be difficult to keep going,” she said. “I want to thank those who have been paving the path for so long.”

Montgomery’s father, her best friend and her daughter’s father all died from drugs. She believes the only way to end the overdose crisis is to remove the stigma and judgment around drug use and addiction and bring the issue fully into mainstream health care.

“This is a torch in my heart,” she said.

While she doesn’t represent any single group, the former director with From Grief to Action has had success asking B.C. libraries to display free books on grief and addiction in their community resources sections. She’s hoping to get the material into more libraries in the months ahead.

(Postmedia News photo by Francis Georgian)

In a statement, B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy recognized those who have died are “parents, children, co-workers, neighbours, partners, friends and loved ones.”

The politician said the B.C. Centre for Disease Control estimates 4,700 deaths have been averted by scaled-up distribution of Naloxone, more overdose prevention sites and better access to medication-assisted treatment, known as opioid agonist treatment.

“We have a responsibility to each other, our communities and the loved ones we have lost to keep compassion, respect and understanding at the forefront of our minds — and to continue to escalate our response,” she said.

In June, 73 people died of suspected illicit drug overdoses across the province, a 35 per cent drop from June 2018 when 113 people died, according to data collected by the B.C. Coroner’s Service.

But Montgomery said addiction is still treated like a “moral and criminal issue,” rather than a health issue.

“There’s so much misunderstanding,” she said.

Overdose awareness events were held around the world, including in many B.C. cities such as Vancouver, New Westminster, Kamloops, Kelowna, Powell River, Prince George and Quesnel.

In Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the Overdose Prevention Society supported the creation of a mural in the alley near its injection site. The project wrapped up with an art show.

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7Jan

Alzheimer Awareness Months targets stigma around disease

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Lisa Glanville, left, is the daughter of and caregiver for her mother Ollie, who has dementia.


Arlen Redekop / PNG

One of the biggest stigmas around dementia is that you’re going to develop the disease if you grow old, according to seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

For January’s Alzheimer Awareness Month, Mackenzie said the biggest stereotype she wants to break down is the belief that the majority of British Columbians 85 and older have dementia. They don’t.

“If you look at age 85 and over, 20 per cent do have a diagnosis of dementia — but four out of five don’t,” Mackenzie said Monday.

When it comes to nursing homes, most people might think that every resident has dementia or Alzheimer’s. In fact, about 35 per cent don’t and two-thirds have only mild cognitive impairment, she said.

Mackenzie said dementia is a spectrum. Someone who is diagnosed with dementia may be fully competent in some areas but not in others. In some cases, a person may never go on to develop full dementia.

“It’s a journey,” she said.

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In B.C. in 2018 about 70,000 people were living with dementia. By 2033, that’s expected to increase to almost 120,000.

Experts don’t believe the rate of dementia is changing. Instead, the numbers are increasing because there are more older people living longer than ever before.

The aim of this year’s Alzheimer Awareness Month is to eliminate the stigma around the disease by changing attitudes. Events culminate on Jan. 31 with a two-hour open house starting at 3 p.m. at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Resource Centre, 301 — 828 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver.


Lisa Glanville and her mother Ollie enjoy a walk in the Vancouver sunshine.

Arlen Redekop /

PNG

One family dealing with the affects of dementia is that of Lisa Glanville and her mother Ollie, 82.

Glanville said her mother worked for years as the property manager of Vancouver apartment buildings she owned after her husband died. She also worked as a bartender at the Billy Bishop Legion in Kitsilano.

Glanville said she’s seen stigma directed against her mother when she went to an estate planner and explored options for nursing homes. She was told that it didn’t matter because her mother’s dementia meant she wouldn’t remember anything.

Glanville said the most challenging times for her was before her mother was officially diagnosed. When she found out that her grandfather died of Alzheimer’s, she wondered if her mother had it. Initially, her mother passed tests measuring her cognitive abilities.

But Glanville noticed that things were starting to go awry. One day, she discovered that her mother’s online accounts were locked because someone had unsuccessfully tried to access them.

On another occasion, her mother showed her a cup with five of her molars in it. She’d never told her daughter she had any problem with her teeth.

“I thought: ‘Whoa, what is going on here?’” Glanville said.

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The clincher was a visit to the dentist.

“The receptionist said to me after my mom went in. ‘Can I give you some advice?’. I said ‘sure.’ ’Have you got enduring power of attorney yet for her Alzheimer’s?’”

Since Glanville is an only child, her mother’s well being become her responsibility. As part of her efforts to seek help, she started attending monthly Alzheimer caregivers support group meetings at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

“The validation is incredible,” she said.

Morgan Donahue, support and education coordinator at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s Vancouver Resource Centre, said she believes that there is a lot of shame associated with a diagnosis of dementia.

She said the stigma can even discourage people from getting a diagnosis or even telling people they have been diagnosed.

In a survey by the Alzheimer Society in 2018, one in five Canadians said they would feel ashamed or embarrassed if they had dementia; one in five admitted to using derogatory or stigmatizing language about dementia.

“I’ve heard so many family members say they wish their family member had cancer because there is so much more of an understanding and acceptance of cancer than this disease,” Donahue said.

An early diagnosis can mean the person is displaying few, if any, symptoms at first.

“This disease is often so invisible, as with other mental health challenges.”

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Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is aiming to address stigma around Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

Arlen Redekop /

PNG

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