Tuesday, 27 March 2012

I Made It Through Without "Passing Out" !

"All ready to "Rock & Roll" to head out this morning to the Grey-Bruce VON's "Day Away for the Caregiver".  Feeling pretty nervous .... can't you tell? "

"I pulled in to the Owen Sound Day's Inn just before the scheduled time of 9:30 am."

I had an amazing meeting from the ladies at the Registration table, as well as from VON's Jackie Herbert, who reassured me "speaking" in public was nothing to be frighten of.  After hearing Jackie, herself speak later in the day, as well as the other speakers, they all made it look pretty darn easy .....

I was totally delighted when I walked in to the conference room to see that Andrea, one of the other VON SMART volunteers from Wiarton was in attendance.  It was so nice to sit with someone I knew.  Andrea is such a "wonderful" person who lends support as well, which was exactly what I needed this day.  Thanks Andrea !

"This is Jessica Slater-Hamilton, VON Caregiver Support Circle Coordinator, who was hostess to this fantastic Caregiver Day Away."

Once Jessica had given her "Opening Greetings", Ross McLean, a local Lawyer in Owen Sound, spoke on "Law for the Sandwich Generation 101" (or how NOT to get squeezed out by your parents & your children).

"Sandwich Generation", you say?  Well I am in that category, as we are the generation who are looking after our aging parents, as well as helping and giving our own children support while they get started with their own families.  Sound familiar to anyone else out there?  Are you part of the "Sandwich Generation" ?

Mr. McLean touched base on such subject headings on the ins and outs of, Gifts, Guarantees, Powers of Attorney, Estate Planning, Making a Will, and being a Estate Trustee.  It was all very interesting and useful information.

The next speaker on the podium was Kathryn Forsyth, Nutritionist from the Grey-Bruce Public Health offices.  Oh how interesting did I ever find Kathryn's topics to be !  

"I was very,  very interested in some of the areas Kathryn touched base upon."

Here was a question Kathryn put to us, "What if people bought sickness more then Health?"  How I interpreted this as, "otherwise if people are NOT buying the proper foods for a healthy diet in their lives, they in turn are buying "sickness" for themselves".  How true is this in your case?  Good question I thought !

Another fact Kathryn stated was Grey-Bruce Counties has the "highest" record in the World for "Bowel Cancer" !!!  Wowsers, that is one scary fact Grey-Bruce !!!  This in fact can be contributed to poor diets and lack of exercise.  Where do you fit into this category?  I hope I am one of the few who don't fit anywhere near this "recorded" fact.

Here is something else I didn't know .... 1 large potato contains 6 tsp. of sugar energy.  Potatoes are not colourful  enough to provide the essentials we should be going for.   Go for the "colourful" vegetables as they provide the Vitamin A we require.  

Number 1 on Canada's Food Guide is Fruits and Vegetables, which provide lots of good fibre.  Don't forget to keep up those fluid levels with lots of water too !!!  

So much more great information, but just too tired to share it all at the moment.  Here are some pretty resourceful links, and go figure one of them is Eatright Ontario !!!  The one I have been going on about here the last Month since March is "National Nutrition Month".

National Nutrition Month - Get Your Plate in Shape

www.ontario.ca/eatright ~ Your one stop shopping for nutrition

www.dietitians.ca ~ Dietitians of Canada - this site features interactive nutrition programs

www.healthcanada.gc.ca/foodguide ~ Features eating well with Canada's Food Guide

The above links are all worth "checking out".

Kathryn's presentation brought us up to the lunch hour.  It was a nice lunch with pickle trays, sandwiches, cheese/crackers, fruit and beverages.

With an hour for lunch over with, we had Mary of VON, speaking on the departments needing volunteers.  I am sure if you were wanting to volunteer a bit of your time, there would be an area that would most certainly appeal to your needs, whether it be Hospice, the SMART Exercise program or the Caregiver Support Circle. 

To inquire about volunteering for the Grey-Bruce VON, please contact their offices at 519-376-5395 .

The time had arrived for me, being on the day's agenda as "The Caregiver Perspective"

Everyone will be please to know, I did it without passing out, however not without a quiver to my voice and tears brimming in my eyes at times throughout.  I did not think it was going to be so emotional sharing a bit about my experiences of being Caregiver to my Mother, but it was and will still be at times I am sure.  I will some day, maybe soon, share the speech I had given this day.

I was so humbly flattered with people approaching me afterwards with such a positive caring response on how and what I had presented.  My dear associate, Andrea, had told me that I had moved a few people with their eyes brimming also with tears .... sharing and caring to make it known to others that we do not stand alone, that is what it is all about, is it not?  I do not want sympathy for myself, just understanding, empathy and caring from my fellow mankind is all, with an overall respect to the "Caregiver", an easy task it is always not, as it takes a very "special" person to be a Caregiver in my eyes.

I would also like to thank Pat, who being a Caregiver herself, for coming up and introducing herself to me, making it known that she follows my daily "blogging" and expressing that reading my "blogs" has inspired her.

I am very much flattered to think that I have "inspired" anyone, and am most grateful for that.  Thank you.

Sandra Hong, Public Education Coordinator for  Alzheimer's Society of Grey-Bruce, speak to us, as well as answer some very important questions her audience had for her.  

Sandra Hong will also be doing a presentation on "Meaningful Visits" on the 23rd of April 2012, at 1 PM, Grey-Bruce Health Unit, 101 17th Street East, Owen Sound, ON.  I am planning to attend, as I am interested in learning all I can if it will make visits to my Mother any easier for her and myself if I can learn more about Dementia and how to better approach situations with visiting and filling the "voids" of silence.

While we waited for VON's SMART Coordinator, Jessica Doerr, to make her appearance at the scheduled time, we were fortunate to have others in the room who shared with us, such as:

Andrea Prentice, Resident & Family Services & Volunteer Coordinator for the Southampton Care Centre Inc. gave us some of her time.

Andrea touched base with us on some of the services the Southampton Care Centre provides, as well as making it know there is two beds available for a Short-Stay Program for Respite Care, for example giving a Caregiver Family time away from their family member for a weekend or so, at a reasonable cost of $34.63, per night.  

Being the intake person for this facility, Andrea also made a very interesting, and what I thought to be valid point, that there should never be two separately appointed Power of Attorneys for Property and/or Personal Care, that maybe two persons for each POA, would work better in most circumstances had been her opinion in her experiences.  This I tend to agree with, as from experience it is difficult to fully understand the Caregivers or person being cared for financial needs, unless you are personally experiencing them yourself, so this would give the Caregiver more access to covering needs as necessary.  Unless in the said situation one's self, how could anyone else know.   Good point, well taken on my part.

There was also Lucy Gowers, who was there representing the Parkinson's Disease Society.  I found Lucy very passionate about the work she does for the Society, which is how it should be when you are representing for so many individuals I am sure.  Lucy informed me that April is "Parkinson's Awareness Month".  Lucy will be getting in touch with me soon to provide me with further details on same.  Looking forward to learning more, so I can pass it forward !

Jessica Doerr arrived, wherein she gave the room a wonderful presentation on what the VON SMART exercise program was all about, also with demonstrations and having us all participate in some of it.  Wonderful job she did of it all, I might say so myself. 

"... and here is Jessica Doerr, all outfitted in her SMART gear."

I am pretty partial to both the VON Caregiver and SMART programs, as they have both touched me personally.  The are so "OUT THERE" for others that I find it totally amazing, as well as all the volunteers that make it possible by giving so much of their own time to make it all come together for so many others.  

SHARING & CARING !!!  You just have to LOVE it, do you not???

Thank you for inviting me as a speaker today, Jessica Slater-Hamilton, and thank you VON Grey Bruce for making so much happen for so many others, including all of us CAREGIVERS out there !!!

I can not begin to tell anyone how physically and emotionally exhausted I am feeling right now.  As much as I enjoyed my whole day away, I am still feeling a bit drained by it all, however not in a bad way, just in the way I am .... any grammar, spelling or parts missing, it can not be helped as my eyes are pretty much at half mast right now.

On that note, I think I will call it a "great" day in itself, and call it a night here now, "Just North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard".


  1. Great day for you ,and as you say a very interesting one also!

  2. Well done! We need to take a stance on many everyday illnesses and show the world we care - good, nutritional foods, well cooked and regularly eaten - include lots of fruit and vegetables.

    Last night we had PIZZA - yes! Pizzas - but they were home made with healthy ingredients, no added salt, fresh vegetables and tomato paste and our only 'extravagance' was the shredded ham and sliced cabonosi that went with the mushrooms, capssicums (red and yellow) tomato and chopped spring onions on Turkish bread bases.

  3. Jessica Slater-Hamilton28 March 2012 at 07:57

    Thanks Cindy! Your voice is valued, your words are wise! Jes xo

  4. It sounds like a wonderful conference and I'm so glad that your nerves didn't get the best of you. Next time will be easier still. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary


How nice of you to drop around to have a wee visit with me to see what I have been up to from time to time. I look forward to your comments as they add much brightness to my each and every day to know there are such wonderful people out there.

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