It was a good opportunity for community engagement, hosted by Rideau Community Health Services, and attended by over 50 community members, we talked about the high costs of health care versus the ability of us all to fight for good health.
Well attended by many who represented constituents, as well as agencies, there was lively discussion.
Pam Blackstock, chair, led the discussion.
Five mayors & Reeves; Dennis Staples, Smiths Falls; Doug Merrickville; Drummond councilor; Ron Haldman, Rideau lakes; Reid Dobson.
Peter McKenna, ED, Rideau Community Health Services.
Chair, Wynn Turner, SE LHIN
Deb Connors, Christine Perringer
Dr. Paula Stewart, medical officer health Lanark Leeds, Grenville.
There is no question that poverty results in poorer health, more job stress, lack of housing, and good health is the result of good education regarding healthy food choices, adequate housing, employment and employment benefits, social supports and stress relief.
Unfortunately, there are many who make choices and fall into addiction, substance abuse, smoking. I recall a visit to the beach last June, watching a pregnant mother playing with her young son in the water, smoking all the while. The impact on her son and her unborn child is immense. We have worked hard to educate smokers, for example, yet she has made a choice.
|pregnant mom smoking at the beach|
I agree that the focus should be on health, not healthcare, on prevention, rather than curing health issues, but it is reality that some of us will suffer from cancer who do not smoke. Some of us will have chronic conditions in old age that cannot be prevented.
Each group of 5 or so people sat at the tables, and brainstormed ideas to getting all of us out there exercising, participating, getting kids off computers and out playing sports.
There are many opportunities for such activities.
The barriers are, of course, those who are caught up with jobs that demand long hours, caregiving tasks, and those unable to get motivated.
There was teacher-bashing, as always, since there were no teachers in attendance who currently teach. I was appalled with this reaction. Teachers spend so much time researching and participating professional development in all areas of good health, from exercise to nutrition. I spent many years teaching kids about exercise, good health, designing excellent physical education curriculum.
We are the converted. Of course, participants recalled their own elementary education, some more than 40 years ago. We have learned much more about getting kids fit and healthy.
I explained that I could teach many lessons on good health and healthy eating, yet I had an argument with a parent. She had sent her child in with lunch consisting of chocolate milk and a icing-covered donut. She angrily phoned me and complained that she didn't have enough money to buy her child better food. When we must argue with families, we will be defeated.
There are those who do not know how to buy healthy food and create nutritional meals for family. And it costs money to educate these families.
I feel, as do our Canadian doctors, that we need money to help those who cannot help themselves.
The Trouble With BIllionaires is that they do not pay their fair share. Treatment is essential, despite Drummond's notion that we prevent poor health.
A group of doctors is calling on federal and provincial governments to raise income taxes levied on high-income Canadians.
Many are not paying fair taxes, and there is a cost to those of us who cannot afford transportation to health clinics, or the appropriate medications. I have many ill hospice clients who cannot be cared for by a spouse, as they are on hourly wages and must go out to work.
Another point I made was that we need to target those in middle-age, who continue to overeat, and ignore their nutrition, do not exercise, preferring snowmobiles or boating to real exercise.
Yet, by lecturing we will not make progress. No more than lecturing seniors about their health risks. It falls on deaf ears.
Several of the participants went outside, during this 2-hour session, for a smoke break. I rest my case.
We will continue to have barriers to good health. We will continue to find many communities making a difference. We spoke of the SE LHINs activities, as well as Rideau Lakes, Drummond/North Elmsley, and area groups who have many opportunities for exercise.
There are walking trails, walking groups who visit schools in Perth in the evening, many senior exercise classes that are inexpensive. We have many seniors who are fit and active. We must celebrate these people.
|Participants made recommendations:|
yellow post-its for the things corporations or communities can do,
green for the things that individuals can do for themselves,
or others, as role models.