By Peter Shawn Taylor - Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 0 Comments
Seniors protest a move to standardized tests that could take away their licences
Few public policy issues are as fraught with competing interests and short fuses as that of elderly drivers. The ability to drive is an important part of independence for most seniors and the loss of a driver’s licence can be a devastating blow. On the other hand, we want to keep our roads as safe as possible; everyone, it seems, has a story to tell about an aged relative prone to “senior moments” at the wheel. To ensure all elderly drivers are fit for the road, many provinces now impose specific tests or medical requirements on seniors renewing their licences.
However, Ruth Adria, spokesperson for the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society, argues current licensing procedures in her province have become “an injustice.” Earlier this month, her group organized a seniors’ protest outside a Red Deer hospital to bring attention to the issue.
Currently, Albertans aged 75 must pass a medical exam to renew their licences. As a component of this, doctors may additionally request that patients complete two cognitive-ability tests. The first, performed in a doctor’s office, requires patients to answer a variety of fast-paced questions, such as naming 30 things you can buy in a grocery store. If the driver fails that, a computer-based exam called DriveABLE may be required, at an out-of-pocket cost of $250. Both tests are widely used in other provinces as well.
By Julia McKinnell - Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 11:55 AM - 0 Comments
At 92, A.E. Hotchner has his reasons why seniors should avoid Jeopardy and the evening news
Ernest Hemingway’s dear friend, the quick-witted A.E. Hotchner, has had more than one retirement in his 92 years. Born in 1920, Hotchner practised law for two years before turning to writing plays and biographies—he was a biographer of Hemingway, Sophia Loren and Doris Day. His other pursuits include co-founding the salad-dressing company, Newman’s Own, with his good pal, Paul Newman.
His newest incarnation is as a self-help guru of sorts. His latest book, out Feb. 13, is aimed at all those 70- and 80-year-old whippersnappers who are after him for his secret to longevity. “Orange juice in the morning, gin and tonic at night,” is his answer every time, abbreviated for the book’s title, as well: O.J. in the Morning, G&T at Night. Each chapter is an essay on growing old, peppered with Hotchner’s unexpected, at times mischievous advice. “Don’t watch Jeopardy,” he writes. “It makes your brain feel bad.” And when trying to nap, suspend the mind rather than revisit sexual highlights of the past. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:46 PM - 0 Comments
BRAMPTON, Ont. – Officials are investigating after an elderly woman was trapped in an…
BRAMPTON, Ont. – Officials are investigating after an elderly woman was trapped in an elevator at her Mississauga, Ont., nursing home for more than 24 hours.
Peel Region chair Emil Kolb said Wednesday in a statement that the senior was trapped in the elevator at the Malton Village Long Term from the evening of Dec. 23 until early Christmas morning.
Kolb says the woman had been out with her family on Dec. 23 and was dropped off at the front door that evening, but staff thought she was staying with family when she didn’t return to her room.
It’s believed she became trapped in the elevator between floors on her way to her room and it no one realized that she was missing until 24 hours later.
A search was begun and she was finally found in the malfunctioning elevator, was treated at the scene by paramedics and taken to hospital for evaluation.
Kolb says she returned to the centre on Christmas Day by dinnertime and although she is recovering well, she remains under close observation.
Kolb called the incident “very distressing” and said it was “very unhappy news on what should be one of the most joyous (days) of the year.”
“My distress was certainly far less than that of the resident and her family,” he added.
“We consider this an extremely serious failure,” Kolb said.
The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care was advised of the incident and Kolb said regional officials are co-operating fully with the investigation.
He said action has already been taken to ensure residents on leave from the centre are accounted for on their return, including requiring that families and residents sign in and out of the centre.
“No resident or family should ever have to experience such an event again,” Kolb said.
By Colby Cosh - Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 11:03 AM - 93 Comments
Okey-doke. Let’s think this NDP polling surge through. Tell you what: go ahead and pick some riding where the New Democrat is said to have a chance of knocking off a high-profile incumbent. We’ll take Justin Trudeau’s Papineau, which is thought to be in some danger from Laytonmania as its MP flits about stumping for Liberals elsewhere in the country. Visit the La Presse 2008 election map with me, select “Papineau” on the pulldown menu, and let’s see what the Little Prince’s victory there actually looked like…
In the constituency as a whole, remember, Trudeau got 41% of the vote. But try clicking on the dots that represent single-institution polls, mostly long-term care facilities. Trudeau ran at much, much better than 41% inside those buildings. At the Hôpital Jean-Talon, he got 45 of the 69 valid votes cast. At the Centre d’hébergement de soins de longue durée-Les Havres, he also got 45 of 69. He swept the Résidence St-Michel and the Résidence d’Iberville like a meth-crazed janitor.
Do you figure this pattern emerges because old folks love Justin Trudeau? I mean, I’m sure they do; he has a name they recognize. But vote totals like this also reflect the local knowledge of political professionals and their ability to devote resources to particular vote clusters—in short, “ground game” or “GOTV”. Seniors’ residences just happen to be where the effect of having a partisan machine—a network of operators who can pack buses, speak a second language, arrange targeted messaging, or, let’s face it, get a case of whisky to the right guy—is most visible. At every election, the same thing happens in workplaces, ethnic neighbourhoods, various kinds of drop-in and hang-out centre, condominiums and shopping malls. Votes come in bunches; it’s hard to gather them that way from a distance.
You’ll see the same telltale, heavily-weighted dots anywhere you look; Laurie Hawn hoovered them up in my Edmonton Centre riding in ’08. It’s awfully easy, you see, to conflate two distinct kinds of micro-scale analysis of the political landscape. The one that has received some attention is the regional scale: the NDP vote surge measured by the polls will be relatively efficient, voter for voter, in a place like B.C.’s Lower Mainland where the party is already strong, and will be relatively inefficient—at electing NDP candidates, that is—in Quebec ridings where the NDP might normally run below 2%. But at the even smaller scale, the building-by-building, neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood scale, the question is whether absentee, casual, or unfamiliar candidates will be able to deliver the level of vote share recorded by pollsters at all. This is Electoral Politics 101, but for a civilian observer outside a war room, looking at the La Presse maps impresses the truth upon one in a way that abstract knowledge doesn’t.
The NDP seems obviously poised to suffer a 2004-Democratic-Party-style letdown in which the bona fides of “youth” and “protest” and “internet” voters are questioned by those who overestimated their power, or pretended to, in the first place. Despite the last six days’ worth of polling, I am not, at this moment, convinced that the NDP is going to beat the Liberals either in seat total or national vote share. Wells’s First Rule still holds. And Lord knows the soul-searching I expect to see after the election qualifies as the “least exciting outcome”.
By Nicholas Köhler - Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 6:40 PM - 0 Comments
The year’s winners
From afar, the six-foot-five sprinter towers above his rivals as though his real trick is to cheat perspective—he looms larger because he’s already closer to the finish. At 23 he has won 25 consecutive races in two years. In August at the Berlin world championships he broke his own records in the 100- and 200-m races, a repeat of his dual golds at the Beijing Games; his part in winning a third for Jamaica in the 4 x 100-m sprint relay made it a hat trick.
Surely, when Stephen Harper crooned a little Ringo this fall, he was channelling the spirit of a frumpy Scottish lady—too old and too unkissed to be called a lass—whose appearance on Britain’s Got Talent cast us all in the role of hidden understudy or unpolished diva, capable of reducing a mob to tears. Boyle’s careening rise, with its uncertain makeovers and tantrums, has yet to eclipse that first magic shock.
Partway through the second period of game seven, Crosby finds himself crumpled against the boards after a hit from Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen. In pain, he hobbles into the Pittsburgh Penguins’ dressing room, but is back before the night’s done to lift the Stanley Cup above his head—at 21 the youngest NHL captain ever to do so, and just four years after arriving as the No. 1 selection in the draft. Nuff said.
Despite its oddly adult opening sequence—which follows Carl and Ellie Fredricksen from kiddie courtship to dotage and on to death—the animated film Up did gangbusters at the box office, making it Pixar’s 10th consecutive film to break US$100 million. Off-screen, too, it was good to be a geezer. The over-60 set learned it needn’t worry about H1N1 due to a youthful exposure to something similar. Paul Anka awoke at 68 to hear This is It, a tune he’d written with Michael Jackson years ago, on the radio, and earned a mint for his troubles. Willard Boyle of Halifax won a Nobel for physics at 85, for work put to bed 40 years ago, and McGill neuroscientist Brenda Milner a $1-million prize for her work on memory—at 91. Dame Vera Lynn, whose WWII anthem We’ll Meet Again we know from Dr. Strangelove, hit No. 1 in the U.K. with a greatest hits CD.
It wasn’t just that his new CD, Crazy Love, shot to No. 1 within days of its release; at 34, Bublé suddenly seemed comfortable being Bublé. The crooner had tired of being the big-band throwback mums and daughters love: the squeaky-clean routine didn’t fit with a lady-killer who likes a drink and may well Bublé your joint (to coin a phrase). He admits to the illicit fun-making now, and fans seem to love him no less.
Japan’s Democratic party
After nearly 54 years of rule by the Liberal Democratic Party, the notoriously cautious Japanese voter decided in August to try something different and cast a ballot for the Democratic party. The landslide made Yukio Hatoyama PM, a moment Barack Obama recently called a “political earthquake,” even if it did little to fix a Japanese economy still burdened by a recession that took hold in the 1990s.
In the early 1970s, Bette Midler emerged from the bathhouses of New York with a stage show in which the outrageous costumes and setpieces were as important as the music. Strip away Midler’s irony and sense of fun and you get Gaga, a 23-year-old Yonkers gal who’s sold over four million copies of her debut, The Fame, and 20 million digital singles. If she wears bits of fly screen on her fingernails, she still sounds refreshingly expert singing solo from behind a piano.
At 37, he’s a little longue dans le dent to be up for his second straight MVP nod. Quarterback Calvillo, a 14-year CFL vet, was also among nine Montreal Alouettes named to the league’s all-star squad, and his 26 touchdown passes were tops. In July he let fly the 335th scoring pass of his career, shifting him into second. He came in third in passing and only tossed out six interceptions in 550 attempts.
Even as cost-cutting continues to gut investigative journalism, Jerry Mitchell, a reporter with the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., is a wonderful anomaly. Over 20 years, his work to probe civil-rights era killings has put four Klansmen in prison, including Byron De La Beckwith, convicted in the 1963 murder of Medgar Evers. This fall he won a US$500,000 MacArthur Foundation “genius grant”; he plans to continue his reporting.
In a series of Vanity Fair photographs featuring Hamm with his so-beautiful-it-hurts Mad Men co-star January Jones, Annie Leibovitz presented a fairy-tale creature whose veins run with ink from the Harlequin presses. But it was his turn on 30 Rock as Tina Fey’s fling, Dr. Drew Baird, that convinced the hitherto unimpressed. That self-deprecating take on a man so handsome he’s oblivious to his shortcomings led to one of two Emmy nominations—the other was for Mad Men.
The social networking site Facebook changed the way it handles personal data provided by users all over the world, in part due to a report issued by federal privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart blasting Facebook for violating Canadian privacy law. Among other things, it will make it clearer how to delete accounts and to choose what personal info is sent to third parties.
Though released late last year, Beyoncé’s video for Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), settled into being the secret heart of 2009. It was the one Kanye West felt should have won over Taylor Swift’s You Belong to Me. It became the subject of countless YouTube homages, creating the first dance craze of the 21st century. Greeting Beyoncé in January, Barack Obama flapped his hand in glorious Ring on It mimicry. With the grace of a balletic giraffe, Beyoncé demonstrated her infinite self-possession.
In flowing golden robes and trademark sunglasses, flanked by seven “traditional kings of Africa,” Gadhafi arrived in Addis Ababa in February to assume the leadership of the African Union. His ascendency was not without controversy. Gadhafi waited until 2003 to renounce terrorism and appeared to want the leadership merely to help propel Libya from the shadows of international isolation. Next stop . . . Mugabe?
Who said there are no second acts in American lives? F. Scott, meet Alec Baldwin, the leading man-turned-celebrity-divorcé-turned-awful-voice-mail-dad, whose role on 30 Rock spawned a comeback. This year he’s earned an Emmy, starred alongside Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated as a man cheating on a trophy wife with his aging ex, and was named co-host (with Steve Martin) of the 2010 Oscars. Alec, grab that winning streak and start marketing Schweddy Balls—now.
By selley - Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 2:17 PM - 4 Comments
Everybody hold hands…
Fear not, Canada. As soon as we’re back in the black,
Everybody hold hands
Fear not, Canada. As soon as we’re back in the black, our politicians will go back to hating each other.
“Glittering through [the] bleakness” of recession, deficit and abandoned election promises, the Toronto Star’s James Travers also espies Stephen Harper’s “commitment to suspend the politics of division in favour of partnership.” It’s nothing less than a “seismic shift,” he enthuses, as evidenced most compellingly by his recent meeting with the premiers. And with the opposition parties in no position to trigger another election, Travers expects a new, congenial tranquility to descend over Ottawa. We’ll all be living in abject penury, of course, but you can’t have everything.
The Globe and Mail’s Lawrence Martin believes yesterday’s Throne Speech arrived safely at the midway point between “timidity” and “rash action.” And, like Travers, he detects unusually low activity in the Prime Minister’s Van Loan lobe, the part of the brain that regulates hyper-partisan blather. “The economic crisis has focused his mind,” he suggests; “he is a more mature leader. … He understands the country better.” And as such, Martin believes he now “realizes the necessary response [to the crisis] is consensus-building at home and abroad.” However, as if sensing Canada’s collective skepticism, Martin hastens to add “it’s by no means certain” that this new conciliatory tone will take hold throughout Ottawa.