Close

Archive for category: Original Posts

by

Work Smarter — Not Harder!

Energy is like a currency, we only have so much of it and need to spend it wisely throughout our day. Conserving energy during small tasks throughout the day helps to save needed energy for important, meaningful daily activities.

Physical, psychological, and emotional difficulties can make everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, or working seem nearly impossible due to the level of energy required to perform them.

If energy is a precious resource to you or someone you care about, the tips included in the following OT-V Episode, Conserving Energy Everyday, will help you conserve as much energy as possible throughout your day.

 


You can also try our printable energy conservation planner to help you plan your daily, weekly or monthly activities for optimal conservation of energy.

 

by

Drugs or Driving? You Might Have to Choose

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA) Blog recently posted this very interesting and informative article on the legalization of marijuana and how this may specifically impact the drivers of Ontario.  The proposed reforms to Impaired Driving Laws, as listed in the article, include:

For the first time, the Government of Canada has proposed prescribing limits to the amount of THC – an inebriating component of cannabis – detected in a person operating a motor vehicle. The Government is also proposing prohibiting any detectable levels of many other drugs while operating a motor vehicle.

The proposed changes include attempts to close loopholes in our current laws and providing for easier roadside testing by authorities, including:

  • allowing mandatory roadside saliva swab testing;
  • allowing blood tests taken by professionals on the scene who are not doctors;
  • allowing breathalyser testing of any driver (omitting to the current requirement for “reasonable suspicion” of impairment); and
  • changing the definition of impaired driving with blood alcohol levels over 80mg/100ml from “while operating a motor vehicle” to “within two hours of operating a motor vehicle” (an attempt to close legal loopholes where people claim to have drunk alcohol immediately before driving or immediately following an accident to account for an anticipated failed sobriety test).

People operating motor vehicles will be committing a criminal offence if they are found to have THC levels in their blood above 2ng/ml. Drivers with levels above 5mg/ml or levels above 2.5ng/ml combined with blood alcohol levels over 50mg/100ml will face more significant penalties.

The penalties are also generally going up, especially in the case of repeat offenders who may now be sentenced up to 10 years (up from the current five), and will now be eligible to be deemed “dangerous offenders” in appropriate circumstances.

So why is this so significant?  As an Occupational Therapist it is common for many of my clients to require the use of medication to manage their symptoms.  While most (or all) would love to be able to go without regular use of these drugs, it is typical for medications to be prescribed to help people manage initial and acute symptoms for things like sleep, depression, anxiety, pain, headaches, and spasms.  Often, that usage continues beyond the acute phase of recovery to help with the management of more chronic and relentless problems that don’t resolve in time.  It is no secret then that people with disabilities tend to be high consumers of medication.

More recently, as the benefits of medical marijuana become studied and well known, my clients are choosing to forgo the gut-wrenching and highly addictive narcotics for the milder but often effective marijuana option.  My clients that use medical marijuana report better sleep and more stability in their symptoms without the intense side-effects they experienced on other drugs. 

So my clients tend to use medication, some are switching to marijuana, but most concerning with this legislation change is that most of my clients are also drivers.  Very few actually don’t resume driving and in fact returning to driving is often one of their main objectives.  Driving provides freedom and convenience, and people who end up stranded at home tend to decompensate emotionally due to the isolation that comes from not being able to enter the community often and independently.  Sure, many places offer public transit options, but try having pain, reduced tolerances for activity, standing or sitting restrictions and then be expected to walk to, wait for, and then sit on a bus that has jerky starts and stops every few blocks.  Public transit is just not a great option for people that don’t tend to feel well.

I am all for the safety of Ontario drivers and I can appreciate how the laws in Ontario need to evolve with the introduction of new policies that can impact driving.  However, I am concerned that these changes unfairly target an already marginalized portion of our population without providing suitable alternatives to allow people to get around their community.  How will my clients who currently drive while medicated be able to continue to get around? 

Further, there is also a potential change to the mandatory reporting requirements for professionals around driving.  Currently, only doctors are required by law to report potentially unsafe drivers to the Ministry of Transportation.  There is talk that Occupational Therapists will also have this responsibility soon.  So, if I know that my client is taking narcotic medication and also drives to work daily, will I be required to report this?  If that is the case, then what about the doctor that prescribes the medication in the first place?  Is he going to give people the option of:  drugs or driving? 

Personally, I think the bigger problem on the roads is non-prescription related.  Drinking and texting seem to be causing more injuries and deaths than the use of properly prescribed and consumed medications.  I hope the lawmakers of Ontario are considering all the risks on the roads and working to develop solutions fair to all of us.

 

by

Summer Stress Reduction Strategies

As Canadians, we are well-known for making the most of our short summer months! We often fill them with day trips, weekends away, and vacations with family or friends. However,  this summer fun can also bring on “summer stress” with all of the errand running, planning, organization and co-ordination that’s required to make that summer fun possible. Everyone sees and defines “stress” differently, but whether you recognize these additional demands as being “stressful” or not, they certainly weigh on our minds and add to the mental list of things we need to accomplish and manage in our days.

So what can Occupational Therapy do to help? Stress management is one area where Occupational Therapists can make suggestions that are helpful.  These suggestions can help you to get the most fun from your summer, while preventing and managing the inevitable summer stress. Below you will find some general examples of the kinds of Occupational Therapy strategies that can help you limit and manage your summer stressors.

by

Vacation Plans? Consult our Accessible Travel Guide

Are you travelling this summer?   Be prepared with our guide to travelling with a disability.

Travelling with a disability can be difficult, but with thorough planning it can be a wonderful experience.  Our free E-Book on Accessible Travel is full of helpful information, tips and checklists to help you plan, pack and prepare for a fantastic getaway.

Solutions for Living:  Accessible Travel E-Book

Also check out our OT-V episode:  Travelling with a Disability for more tips for planning a memorable vacation.

 

by

Help Young Minds Stay Sharp this Summer

It’s that time again… The report cards are done, the bell has rung, and summer vacation is upon us! Summer is a time for camps, vacations, trips, cottaging and so much more.  But with all the fun in store, where do they fit in time to learn? How do we as parents make sure our kids don’t suffer summer “brain drain,” while still ensuring they get the break and vacation they need?  Check out the following infographic for ideas to keep kids brains sharp while having fun this summer vacation!

 

by

30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge: Day 30

Practice Pedestrian Safety

In cities across Ontario pedestrian deaths and injuries are on the rise.  Many blame distracted drivers, but distracted pedestrians are also a problem.  Distractions from mobile devices including texting, emailing and music are often to blame.   It is up to both drivers and pedestrians to keep people safe.  Be a safe pedestrian and put down your phone when walking.  Pay attention to the traffic around you and only cross at lights and crosswalks when it is safe to do so.  Learn more about pedestrian safety tips in the following from the Ontario Medical Association.

Ontario Medical Association:  Pedestrian Safety

This is the final day of the 30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge.  How did you do?

We hope you enjoyed the activities and encourage you to do them on a regular basis to help create a healthier brain over time.  If you missed the challenge, start today!  Visit the 30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge page on our blog to learn more.

by

30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge: Day 29

Holy Guacamole!  Eat Some Avocado

Avocados are an extremely nutritious fruit providing potassium, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, protein, healthy fats and more.  Often overlooked in our diet, avocados also can help boost the brain.  Take a look at the following from Alzheimers.net to learn more about the brain boosting benefits of avocados and for some delicious recipes.

Alzheimers.net:  10 Avocado Recipes for Brain Health

Be sure to join the 30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge, complete each day’s activity and let us know your progress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month and in recognition Solutions for Living is introducing the 30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge. We challenge you to complete these 30 simple activities and tips which when incorporated into your lifestyle can help improve memory, boost mental health, prevent brain injury and reduce cognitive decline.

by

30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge: Day 28

Take the Pledge – Don’t Text and Drive!

Did you know that 40% of Acquired Brain Injuries are the result of an automobile accident?  And, that texting while driving is basically like driving with your eyes closed for 5 full seconds?  Distracted driving is a major cause of injury and fatalities on our roads.  Learn more in our previous post, LOL…OMG…RIP, and say I Don’t to distracted driving by taking the pledge at www.idont.ca.

Be sure to join the 30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge, complete each day’s activity and let us know your progress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month and in recognition Solutions for Living is introducing the 30 Day Healthy Brain Challenge. We challenge you to complete these 30 simple activities and tips which when incorporated into your lifestyle can help improve memory, boost mental health, prevent brain injury and reduce cognitive decline.