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Archive for category: Solutions For Living

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Coping with COVID — Finding the New Normal

In the following video, the team at FunctionAbility discusses the emotions of COVID and provides helpful strategies to help people cope through uncertain times.

For more helpful information check out our Coping with COVID video series on our YouTube channel.

About the Experts:

Brenda Power Ahmad, BSc(OT), BSc(Hons Psych), OT Reg.(Ont.), – Brenda obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in 1999 in Occupational Therapy from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor of Science (Honors) degree in Psychology in 1996 from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Brenda also completed post-secondary education in the fields of Criminology and Linguistics. Brenda has been practicing occupational therapy since 1999 in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario. She has extensive experience working with people of all ages with a variety of developmental and physical disabilities and works mainly with clients who have complex orthopedic, psychological and brain injuries. Brenda is trained in administration of the AMPS and the PGAP program and is a Canadian Certified Canadian Life Care Planner. She has completed additional training in catastrophic assessment through the Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators and has successfully completed the C-CAT Certification exam. Brenda sits on the Board of Directors for the Hamilton Brain Injury Association. As Vice President of Clinical and Community Partnerships in one the largest rehabilitation firms in Ontario, Brenda is responsible for training and mentoring other therapists and also leads the Catastrophic Assessment (CAT) program at FunctionAbility. Brenda maintains an active social media presence and co-hosts an educational video series called OT-V which aims at educating the public about the various roles of her profession.

Lynne Harford, BA, MSW, RSW, D.VATI is a Registered Social Worker, Director of Pediatrics and a Clinical Supervisor with The Social Work Consulting Group. She obtained a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Glendon College-York University. Prior to her university studies, Lynne pursued a career in business and received a Marketing Administration Diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. In 2013, Lynne achieved her designation of Art Therapist graduating with an advanced diploma in Art Therapy from the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute.

Emma Fogel, MSW, RSW is a Registered Social Worker with a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto. Emma’s true passion is working with youth and families whereby she draws upon an eclectic framework to provide client-centered counseling support, which includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Play. Wendy Gage MSW, RSW is a registered social worker with a Master of Social Work Degree from the University of Toronto. She received her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario with a focus on child development. Wendy is a certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist (EFT) with advanced training in EFT for families, individuals and trauma. Wendy has training in child-led play therapy (Watch, Wait and Wonder) for children ages 6 months to 6 years. Wendy joined The Social Work Consulting Group with 18 years’ experience practicing clinical social work on the Neurology Program at The Hospital for Sick Children. At Sick Kids, she developed expertise in child and family adjustment to illness, loss and trauma. Wendy has participated in research, teaching and speaking events related to pain management for headaches, managing behavior in children with neurological conditions, and long-term family functioning and adjustment to children’s neurological conditions. She was invited to provide input to the provincial government on gaps in service to children with mental health conditions arising from neurological illness and injury.

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COPING WITH COVID– Staying Active

FunctionAbility’s Elly Baker and Lynne Harford discuss staying active while working from home and review some helpful exercises to help keep you moving.


About the Expert:

Elly Baker is the Director of Physiotherapy Services at FunctionAbility. Previously to this role, Elly spent many years in the role of Physiotherapy Practice Leader at Toronto Rehab, University Health Network, as well as a physiotherapist on the inpatient, Acquired Brain Injury program. She has extensive experience helping individuals living with mild to complex neurological and orthopedic injuries and has special interests in concussion management and higher-level balance re-training post-traumatic brain injury.

Lynne Harford, BA, MSW, RSW, D.VATI is a Registered Social Worker, Director of Pediatrics and a Clinical Supervisor with The Social Work Consulting Group. She obtained a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Glendon College-York University. Prior to her university studies, Lynne pursued a career in business and received a Marketing Administration Diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. In 2013, Lynne achieved her designation of Art Therapist graduating with an advanced diploma in Art Therapy from the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute.

Lynne has had an extensive work history in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining The Social Work Consulting Group in 2008, she was employed at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) where she spent five years providing clinical social work services to children and their families in the Trauma Program. Throughout her career, Lynne has been an active member in the larger community participating in various committees as well as presenting at a number of community-based, insurance and legal conferences. Other areas of specialization in which Lynne has focused and devoted her practice to include, acquired brain injury in children and youth, acute and chronic illness, domestic violence, separation/divorce and issues related to grief and loss. Lynne is both a therapist and advocate who is committed to enriching the lives of children and adults in the aftermath of physical and emotional trauma.

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COPING WITH COVID — Youth and Teen Mental Health

 

Social Work Consulting Group’s Emma Fogel MSW, RSW and Lynne Harford, MSW, RSW discuss strategies to help teens and youth cope with “the new normal” with COVID-19.

About the Expert:
Emma Fogel, MSW, RSW is a Registered Social Worker with a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Toronto.

In 2016, Emma joined The Social Work Consulting Group, a large community-based clinical social work practice within the Greater Toronto Area established in 2006. In 2017, Emma co-created MindCALM, a therapeutic counseling service within The Social Work Consulting Group, specifically designed to assist youth and their families through the provision of counseling/psychotherapy, psychoeducation and the implementation of effective strategies to promote emotional regulation, increase resilience, coping capacity and overall emotional well-being. The program aims to help improve children/adolescents’ experience of varying psychoemotional challenges such as stress, anxiety, sadness, and navigating social/family relationships.

MindCALM offers both in-home or in-clinic counseling to youth and families within the GTA in addition to offering a variety of educational training and presentations to schools and camps across Ontario.

MindCALM is proud to be a preferred vendor the Ontario Camp Association (OCA). Emma provides camps throughout the OCA with mental health training for both staff and campers to ensure happy and healthy summer experiences at camp.

Emma’s true passion is in working with youth and families whereby she draws upon an eclectic framework to provide client-centered counseling support, which includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and Play.

Lynne Harford, BA, MSW, RSW, D.VATI is a Registered Social Worker, Director of Pediatrics and a Clinical Supervisor with The Social Work Consulting Group. She obtained a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Glendon College-York University. Prior to her university studies, Lynne pursued a career in business and received a Marketing Administration Diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. In 2013, Lynne achieved her designation of Art Therapist graduating with an advanced diploma in Art Therapy from the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute.

Lynne has had an extensive work history in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining The Social Work Consulting Group in 2008, she was employed at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) where she spent five years providing clinical social work services to children and their families in the Trauma Program. Throughout her career, Lynne has been an active member in the larger community participating in various committees as well as presenting at a number of community-based, insurance and legal conferences. Other areas of specialization in which Lynne has focused and devoted her practice to include, acquired brain injury in children and youth, acute and chronic illness, domestic violence, separation/divorce and issues related to grief and loss. Lynne is both a therapist and advocate who is committed to enriching the lives of children and adults in the aftermath of physical and emotional trauma.

Links to resources:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/talking-with-children.html

https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/helping-children-cope-with-stress-print.pdf?sfvrsn=f3a063ff_2

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COPING WITH COVID – Emotional Well-Being

COVID-19 has had a major impact on almost everyone. FunctionAbility, Solutions for Living and Social Work Consulting Group social work experts Wendy Gage, MSW, RSW, and Lynne Harford, MSW discuss practical strategies for coping with the new reality many of us face on a daily basis.

About the Experts:

Lynne Harford, BA, MSW, RSW, D.VATI is a Registered Social Worker, Director of Pediatrics and a Clinical Supervisor with The Social Work Consulting Group. She obtained a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Glendon College-York University. Prior to her university studies, Lynne pursued a career in business and received a Marketing Administration Diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology.  In 2013, Lynne achieved her designation of Art Therapist graduating with an advanced diploma in Art Therapy from the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute.

Lynne has had an extensive work history in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining The Social Work Consulting Group in 2008, she was employed at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) where she spent five years providing clinical social work services to children and their families in the Trauma Program. Throughout her career, Lynne has been an active member in the larger community participating in various committees as well as presenting at a number of community-based, insurance and legal conferences. Other areas of specialization in which Lynne has focused and devoted her practice to include, acquired brain injury in children and youth, acute and chronic illness, domestic violence, separation/divorce and issues related to grief and loss. Lynne is both a therapist and advocate who is committed to enriching the lives of children and adults in the aftermath of physical and emotional trauma.

Link to Canada’s economic plan: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

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COPING WITH COVID – Functioning in Times of Uncertainty

COVID-19 has had an impact on us all. The Solutions For Living, FunctionAbility and Social Work Consulting Group Team discuss how to keep functioning during the COVID crisis. Strategies and discussion include working from home, setting up routines and handling issues when meeting online.

Visit our YouTube page to learn more in our Coping with Covid series.

About the Experts:

Brenda Power Ahmad, BSc (OT), BSc (Hons Psych), OT Reg. (Ont.), – Brenda is a member in good standing of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO) and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT). She obtained a Bachelor’s of Science degree in 1999 in Occupational Therapy from Dalhousie University and a Bachelor’s of Science (Honors) degree in Psychology in 1996 from Memorial University of Newfoundland. Brenda also completed post-secondary education in the fields of Criminology and Linguistics. Brenda has been practicing occupational therapy since 1999 in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario. She has extensive experience working with people of all ages with a variety of developmental and physical disabilities and works mainly with clients who have complex orthopedic, psychological and brain injuries. Brenda is trained in administration of the AMPS and the PGAP program and is a Canadian Certified Canadian Life Care Planner. She has completed additional training in catastrophic assessment through the Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators and has successfully completed the C-CAT Certification exam. Brenda sits on the Board of Directors for the Hamilton Brain Injury Association and assists in the running of their Annual 5k By the Bay fundraiser. As Vice President of Clinical and Community Partnerships in one the largest rehabilitation firms in Ontario, Brenda is responsible for training and mentoring other therapists and also leads the Catastrophic Assessment (CAT) program at FunctionAbility. Brenda maintains an active social media presence and co-hosts an educational video series called OT-V which aims at educating the public about the various roles of her profession.

Leanne Shapiro is a speech-language pathologist (S-LP) –  Leanne is registered with the College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPO). She currently holds the title of Director of Speech-Language Pathology Services at FunctionAbility Rehabilitation Services. She mentors Speech-Language Pathologists in the practice and oversees quality assurance initiatives. As well, she continues to assess and treat clients. Her current clinical case load consists of individuals who have speech, language, fluency, swallowing, and cognitive-communication deficits. She works with clients and families to facilitate functional independence.

Lynne Harford, BA, MSW, RSW, D.VATI – Lynne is a Registered Social Worker, Director of Pediatrics and a Clinical Supervisor with The Social Work Consulting Group. She obtained a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Glendon College-York University. Prior to her university studies, Lynne pursued a career in business and received a Marketing Administration Diploma from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. In 2013, Lynne achieved her designation of Art Therapist graduating with an advanced diploma in Art Therapy from the Vancouver Art Therapy Institute.

Lynne has had an extensive work history in both the private and public sectors. Prior to joining The Social Work Consulting Group in 2008, she was employed at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) where she spent five years providing clinical social work services to children and their families in the Trauma Program. Throughout her career, Lynne has been an active member in the larger community participating in various committees as well as presenting at a number of community based, insurance and legal conferences. Other areas of specialization in which Lynne has focused and devoted her practice to include, acquired brain injury in children and youth, acute and chronic illness, domestic violence, separation/divorce and issues related to grief and loss. Lynne is both a therapist and advocate who is committed to enriching the lives of children and adults in the aftermath of physical and emotional trauma.

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What is a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)?

Guest Blogger:  Marie Phillips HBA, RRC, CFDS
Marie is a licensed financial planner with IPC Securities Corporation (CIPF member)

It is tax time…are you eligible for, or have you considered, contributing to a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)?  

Anyone with a disability, or who has a family member with a disability, or who works with people who are disabled can attest to how expensive solutions for living can be.  Medical equipment, assistive devices, therapy, home and vehicle modifications, and care can cost thousands to hundreds of thousands over a lifetime.  It is important that people with disabilities consider all the financial options available and try to “maximize any freebies” if they can.

A Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) helps individuals with disabilities save for their retirement on a tax-deferred basis, with the added boost of federal grants.  Learn more about RDSP’s in the following infographic care of IPC Securities Corporation and contact a financial advisor to discuss solutions available to you.

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Caregiving in Canada

According to recent research over eight million Canadians act as a caregiver to a family member or friend, and these numbers are expected to grow with time.  The following article care of the Hamilton Spectator provides an overview of the research compiled in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) and discusses the rising demand for home care providers.

Hamilton Spectator:  Report highlights growing burden of care for seniors

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Six Simple Ways to Improve Nutrition As A Team

Julie Entwistle, C.Dir. (c), MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

It is no secret that obesity is on the rise across North America.  In fact, a 2014 study shows that obesity now accounts for 8.6% of youth and 25% of the adult population.  (Després, Alméras, & Gauvin, 2014)   The leading causes of this “obesity epidemic” are sedentary lifestyles, lack of physical activity and poor nutritional choices.

With the stressful lives being led by our generation, taking time to prepare and bring healthy lunches and snacks to work is difficult.  Yet, without a healthy snack or lunch, the tendency is to purchase food that is not healthy, or to under-eat which, believe it or not, can also cause obesity as our body works to “hold onto” every calorie in fear of starvation.

Employers may ask “why do I care if my team is eating unhealthy”, but the answer is obvious:  a healthy workforce is a productive workforce and workplace absences for health-related problems (including obesity, heart disease, diabetes etc) are hugely disruptive.

Here are a few suggestions that can be implemented in the workplace to help improve the health of your staff and organization:

  1. Schedule Regular Healthy Pot-Luck Lunches — choose a day of the week and have each person bring in a healthy lunch item for a team-building activity.
  2. Bring a Colleague a Lunch — people are more likely to prepare healthy meals for others than for themselves, so capitalize on this and arrange for “bring a colleague a lunch week” and see the efforts people will go to in order to promote the health of a colleague.
  3. Recipe of the Week — each week choose a member of the team to share make their favourite healthy meal or snack and bring it in to share with the team.  Have them send each member a recipe via email for them to make on their own.
  4. Education Opportunities — bring in a nutritionist, dietician or health coach to speak to the team about how to create healthy meals and snacks to help fuel their day at work.
  5. Brown Bag Week — encourage the team to have a “brown bag” week.  Eating out can lead to unhealthy choices and lack of portion control.  Bringing your own lunch can help to ensure you are getting the nutrients you need and fueling productivity the entire day.
  6. Russian Lunch Roulette — like secret Santa, have everyone bring a balanced lunch and randomly select who gets what lunch.  It always tastes better to consume something made by someone else, so people should enjoy the surprise lunch they end up with.  Of course, plan ahead for any allergies/food requests and ask people to put sauces/condiments on the side to be added only if desired.

In the end, lead by example.  Employers have the ability to create opportunities that can help their workforce to engage in healthy habits.  Use the strength of your organizational alliance to bring people together to help them achieve healthy goals.  Everyone will benefit, including the organization.

 

Previously posted August 2015

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Intimacy Following Injury or Illness

Sexuality is an incredibly important part of being human. Yet, when we are injured, ill, or suffering from physical, cognitive, emotional or behavioral difficulties, this too can suffer.

The following article, care of the Neurology Centre of Toronto, discusses some commonly reported sexual issues that occur after brain injury.  If you have issues with sexuality after an injury or illness, know that this can be common and can be improved.  Contact an Occupational Therapist, we can help.

Neurology Centre of Toronto:  Sex after Brain Injury: What does this look like for me?

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Nutrition Month O-Tip of the Week: Make Room for Veggies in Every Meal

Our O-Tip of the week series we will be providing valuable “OT-Approved Life Hacks” to provide you with simple and helpful solutions for living. 

For the month of March, Nutrition Month, our O-Tip series will help you find simple ways to improve nutrition in every meal!

A simple way to improve nutrition is to increase your vegetable intake.  Vegetables are nutritional powerhouses full of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to thrive.  Increase your veggie intake by ensuring you include them in every meal and/or snack. 

Some helpful examples include:

  •         Adding spinach or kale to a breakfast smoothie
  •         Adding spinach to your eggs
  •         Protein-packed salads as a meal for lunch or dinner
  •         Substituting veggie noodles (zucchini, spaghetti squash or sweet potatoes) for pasta
  •         Substituting cauliflower for rice or pizza crusts
  •         Using lettuce instead of traditional wraps
  •         Carrot sticks and hummus as a snack
  •         Kale chips instead of regular potato chips as a snack

How do you include vegetables in your meals?  We’d love to hear your delicious and nutritious suggestions!