Welcome to North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services

Helping frail older adults maintain wellness, independence and quality of life in aging

Recent News & Resources

February 20, 2024

World Delirium Awareness Day 2024

On March 13, 2024, people around the world will take time to bring awareness to delirium. In older adults, delirium is a condition that comes on suddenly and requires medical attention. Delirium can create new or worsened confusion, difficulty concentrating and changes in thinking. Any older adult can develop delirium but certain things put people at higher risk:

  • Advanced age
  • Frailty
  • Hearing or visual impairment
  • Dementia or pre-existing memory problems
  • Being in hospital with a serious illness or broken hip

Some of you may have friends, relatives, or acquaintances that have experienced delirium. While it can be scary, most people usually make a full recovery from delirium within a few days after treatment. Identifying it early and seeking treatment quickly are important.  However, for some people, delirium can persist, particularly in older adults who are living with frailty or dementia.

Watch Liz and Mike’s video about how Mike ended up with delirium and what they did to address the issue.

Symptoms of delirium can range from a struggle to think clearly, inability to concentrate, awareness of surroundings, hallucinations, recent memory loss, agitation or withdrawal. Common delirium causes include infection, dehydration, malnutrition, constipation, change of environment, pain, urinary retention, alcohol use or withdrawal, surgery and any related issues or medication.

As a care partner or relative there is much you can do to help. Some things that aid those experiencing delirium are:

  • Stay calm and reassure them
  • Talk in clear short, simple sentences, repeat things if necessary
  • Limit the number of visitors at one time
  • Remind them of the time and date.  This could be done by bringing the person a clock, calendar or newspaper
  • Bring some familiar things or photos from home and talk about them
  • Make sure they  have their glasses and hearing aids, and the room is bright and well lit
  • Ask the care team if you can help at meal times or encourage/assist the person to drink and bring  foods they enjoy
  • Explain what is happening to the person and their progress

For additional resources and information that might be helpful for older adults, care partners and health care providers, please refer to the WDAD 2024 website.

December 21, 2023

Keeping Older Adults Safe During the Holidays

The busy holidays are upon us and the North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services (NSMSGS) offers some advice to keep older adults safe and healthy while celebrating the season.

“Many of us are planning menus, last minute shopping and other details that come with sharing the holidays with family,” says Sandra Easson-Bruno, Director, NSMSGS. “It’s important to support aging loved ones so they can enjoy the time with you safely.”

Some tips the team encourages you to consider:

  1. Stay Connected: Older adults should stay connected with friends and family, even if it's virtually. Social isolation can impact mental well-being, and maintaining connections is vital.
  2. Celebrate at Their Pace: While celebrating, be mindful of noise levels and overwhelming environments which can be stressful and overstimulating.
  3. Create a comfortable space where they can participate how they feel comfortable, or somewhere where you can take breaks if you’re visiting loved ones.
  4. Medication Management: Ensure you, or your loved one, stays on schedule with medications. As the holidays are typically busy, it’s important to have an established routine.
  5. Safe Decorations: When decorating, prioritize safety. Avoid tripping hazards, secure loose wires, and ensure proper lighting to prevent accidents.
  6. Weather Precautions: If planning to go outdoors, ensure you dress appropriately for the weather and be cautious of slippery surfaces. Consider arranging for transportation if needed.

North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services wishes everyone a joyful and safe holiday season. By following these tips, we can ensure that older adults enjoy the festivities while prioritizing their health and well-being.

November 15, 2023

Preventing Falls In Older Adults - What More Can We Do?

November is Fall Prevention Month and an opportune time to increase awareness of the significant impact that falls have on older adults, the factors that contribute to the risk of falling, and the ways falls can be prevented.

Dr. Lisa Simon, SMDHU

Falling remains the leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths among Canadians 65 years and older. Simcoe Muskoka is consistent with this, and the rates of fall-related emergency visits and deaths are significantly higher when compared to Ontario. Between 2014 and 2018, approximately 125 Simcoe Muskoka residents died annually from a fall, and more than 90 percent of those that died were aged 65 years and older.

To read Dr. Simon's full article please visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website.

October 5, 2023

North Simcoe Muskoka AFHTO Bright Lights Nominees!

Each year, the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario hosts its annual convention. It is here that a select number of lucky winners, are chosen from a group of AFHTO membership nominees, for recognition with a Bright Lights Award. Award submissions are focused on leadership, outstanding work and significant progress that has been made to improve the value of primary care teams across Ontario.

Congratulations to the Algonquin and Cottage Country Family Health Teams for being selected as a Bright Lights Awards nominee! Their submission, development of the Muskoka Geriatric Team, was chosen in the category - Optimizing teams’ capacity and creating efficiencies. In addition to the two family health teams, the Muskoka Geriatric Team is supported by physicians as well as North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services.

The Muskoka Geriatric Team was developed to optimize the health, independence and quality of life for at-risk older adults, as well as increase the capacity for geriatric care in the two Muskoka family health teams. The geriatric team is based on an idea generated from both family health teams' boards of directors. The purpose is to promote equity to care and address the growing need for access to specialized geriatric services in an area where few specialist physicians exist.

In addition, NSM SGS would like to acknowledge the other North Simcoe Muskoka submissions also chosen as Bright Lights Awards' nominees:

  • Barrie and Community Family Health Team– Obesity management strategy, providing evidenced-based practice and addressing wait times
  • Couchiching Family Health Team –Navigating health care for the Couchiching community
  • Algonquin Family Health Team – Eating disorders –Comprehensive mental health, nutrition and primary care
  • South Georgian Bay Family Health Team - myDAWN(Depression, Anxiety, Wellness, Navigation) integrated into a service pathway to enable coordinated access to most appropriate, least intensive service.

Congratulations to everyone! Hopefully we’ll see a winner or winners for North Simcoe Muskoka!

September 30, 2023

Engaged Older Adults Learning Technology's Capabilities

Fall has arrived - for some too early, some just in time. For others it signals the continuance of an adventure that began early in June.

Throughout June, and continuing over the summer, 16 of the 26 North Simcoe Muskoka long-term care homes agreed to participate in our older adult technology boost by accepting SGS’s offer of different types of social technology for their homes. Depending on technology available, homes would choose options that might work for their residents. In addition to receiving the equipment, some homes hosted information sessions for residents and staff, which were delivered by our two enthusiastic summer students, Nicholas and Jordan, along with NSM SGS Recreation Therapist Jenna. One of the primary objectives of the project was to observe how technology cannot only improve quality of life for older adults, but also improve the way we deliver our care. Apple and Samsung watches, wireless Bluetooth speakers, iPod shuffles, Meta Quest 2 (virtual reality headsets), Google Nests and Amazon Alexas were some of the products demonstrated.

It was an especially rewarding experience watching older adults interact with technologies such as virtual reality, which they can use for enjoyment and not just health benefits. Recreation teams that participated through our community and long-term care home presentations were encouraged by the many possibilities of how technology could be used to benefit older adults living not only in long-term care, but also in their own homes.

The results on how each home has adopted the technology will be part of a follow up survey that will take place in October. In the meantime, we can say based on our presentations and visits to the homes that, while the digital gap is still large, it is evident that many individuals are more than willing to learn about the different types of social technology and with training, will be able to benefit from them.

June 20, 2023

Surprise and Delight as Residents of Long-Term Care Home Go Virtual

Every June is Seniors' Month in Ontario and every year there is a different theme for organizations to use when planning seniors events or communications. This year's theme is "Working with Seniors" - so here at North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services (NSM SGS) we decided to focus on how current technology might help improve or maintain the care and well-being of older adults.

On June 13th NSM SGS and IOOF Barrie held an interactive session for older adults focused on some of the current technology options. From virtual reality to Google Hubs and Amazon Alexas, the participants were able to access information and entertainment quickly and easily.

Gloria, an IOOF resident, was thrilled to participate in the demonstration and was particularly fascinated with the virtual reality headset. She experienced a trip to outer space and commented that she ‘was above the stars’ and ‘literally out of this world”. She also thought it was amazing that a 95 year old could visit the International Space Station!

According to summer student Nic, his a-ha! moment was hearing Gloria speak about the Google Hubs and Amazon Alexas that were being demonstrated.

“We talk a lot about the potential impacts of these devices and how we think people will use them, but when Gloria sat in front of the two devices and said - “I need one of these in my room”- I was very curious as to why. She said her room doesn’t have a TV and she has no way of communicating with her family, apart from a landline. She said a device like Google Hub or Amazon Alexa would work perfectly because she could watch TV or communicate with her family by using one device for everything.

She also said that she makes notes of things she needs to do or medications she needs to take, but to have a voice reminding you to do these things, would make it a whole lot easier. I never considered these devices for use as an all in one communications / entertainment / personal assistant, but I suppose they are actually the perfect device to fill all those needs.”

Wearable technology, that can keep older adults safe, was also on display.

  • Apple AirTag - acts as a locator, in the event that an individual needs support
  • Apple Watch - can send a notification to a family member if their loved one falls or has a health emergency
  • Samsung Galaxy Watch - fall detection capabilities and other medical uses

Media Coverage

To watch the Barrie CTV video from the June 13th event: https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/seniors-in-long-term-care-home-escape-reality-with-immersive-program-1.6439840

To listen to Nic and Recreational Therapist Jenna Davis speak with CBC Ontario Morning host Ramraajh Sharvendiran about the June 13th event: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-112-ontario-morning-from-cbc-radio/clip/15992214-seniors-begin-taking-virtual-reality.

June 5, 2023

Teaching LTCH Residents the Potential Benefits of Technology

As part of our Ontario Seniors’ Month initiative, North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services (NSM SGS) has begun to distribute different types of technology to our NSM long-term care homes, supporting the implementation through the help of our two talented summer students.

Read on to meet our students - Nic and Jordan - who talk about experiences they’ve had or knowledge they’ve acquired, that make them the perfect complement to our technology roll-out.

Young man smiling.

“My name is Nic and I’m a third year Business student at Wilfrid Laurier University. I feel like I am a great fit for this position due to my previous experiences and current passions. I have always found technology to be incredibly interesting. Growing up in a household that was passionate about the care of older adults, I firmly believed there was an opportunity to marry the two together. I volunteered at a local retirement home running a program called “Cyber Seniors” where I taught a group of older adults how to use their iPads in day-to-day life. I taught everything from how to send emails to helping integrate keyboards for different languages as many of these adults were writing down messages on paper in their native tongue to then take a picture and send it to their friends and family.”

“Hi – my name is Jordan and I’m in my final year of postgraduate studies in public health and occupational safety at Toronto Metropolitan University. I have worked with older adults for the past few years. Through my experience working in a retirement home, as well as taking older adults and determinants of health  courses throughout my undergrad, has given me a strong understanding of the prevalence of social isolation in older adults and how digital literacy can possibly help to bridge this disconnect gap. I look forward to seeing how technology will build or enhance a sense of community in the lives of older adults!”

Nic and Jordan, along with SGS staff, will be taking the different technologies to long-term care homes, providing knowledge and advice on how to use the equipment, not only for residents but staff as well, so that going forward, staff will be able to assist residents when they need some help.

On June 13, 2023, we will be hosting a media event at IOOF Barrie, as part of our Seniors’ Month technology roll-out - a way of showcasing how different modes of technology can support, enable and enhance the lives of older adults.

Watch this space.

May 29, 2023

Helping Residents of Long-Term Care Homes Bridge the Technology Gap

If technology intimidates you, you’re not alone! But while healthy older adults have proven time and again they can adjust to the ever-evolving tech landscape, those that live in long-term care homes are often not as lucky.

Prior to living in long-term care, many residents were active members of our communities – travelling, visiting museums and other attractions, socially busy. Now we often find that those same older adults are unable to participate in many of these activities and that’s where we see technology becoming a viable option for some.

Through the enhancements that have been made in technology, folks can visit Africa to see elephants, lions and other animals in their natural habitats. Or they might want to hike to Machu Picchu to take in the majesty of the Andes and see how the Incas lived centuries ago. Or watch otters and other creatures interact and cavort at aquariums or zoos. Some may just want to chat with their friends or family on a regular basis.

NSM SGS is looking to help our long-term care home residents experience, again or some for the first time, the magic that technology can make happen. Beginning in June, Ontario Seniors Month, we will be visiting our long-term care homes helping residents that are interested learn how to become comfortable and knowledgeable with the technology that will be donated to their home.

To meet those goals, NSM SGS has hired two summer students who, along with members of our NSM SGS staff and long-term care home staff, will be using their technological savvy to encourage residents to challenge themselves in how to access various sites or applications.

To learn further about work that has already been done in Ontario, please have a read through the article “How Tech Can Help Seniors in Long-Term Care Homes Gain Independence” by Christine Persaud. A great piece about the benefits of various types of technology that can be helpful for long-term care home residents.

And watch this space to see how our Seniors Month June 2023 project rolls out in North Simcoe Muskoka.

May 10, 2023

Senior Friendly Care in North Simcoe Muskoka

The Senior Friendly Care (sfCare) Framework, developed by the Regional Geriatric Program of Toronto, provides the foundation for achieving improvements in care across the health care system, while inspiring greater collaboration between older adults and their caregivers, care providers and organizations.

Senior friendly care is preventive and proactive care that meets the unique needs of older adults. It is NOT an “add-on”, “pilot project”, or “special initiative”. It is essential foundational care implemented by all care providers within an organization and across sectors.

Senior Friendly Care helps healthcare organizations assess where they are on their sfCare journey and provides practical resources for implementing real change.

What does Senior Friendly Care look like in North Simcoe Muskoka?

While the sfCare Framework can be incorporated into any health care organization, at NSM SGS we have focused our work in helping our North Simcoe Muskoka hospitals implement initiatives supporting senior friendly care.

Over the past five years, each NSM hospital has completed the Senior Friendly Care Organizational Self-Assessment several times. Areas of focused work include, but are not limited to, training staff, implementing delirium and functional decline prevention and management programs, ensuring care during COVID focused on senior friendly principles, completing physical environment assessments of the hospital buildings, to name a few.

Watch this space to see how Senior Friendly Care will play a major role when implementing Alternate Level of Care Leading Practices.

March 16, 2023

Central Intake Takes on Expanded Role

It is impressive how far North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services (NSMSGS) Central Intake (CI) has come in such a short time. The NSM SGS Central Intake team is comprised of Registered Nurses (RN), Registered Practical Nurses(RPN) and clerical support. Connecting and supporting our clients and their caregivers with appropriate specialized geriatric services (SGS), has been a key role for NSM SGS.

We are pleased to let everyone know that NSM SGS has expanded the role of Central Intake. In addition to coordinating SGS referrals, the team has begun referring and linking clients, families and staff to community supports (eg. Psychogeriatric Resource Consultants, Alzheimer Society, Health Care Connect and Paramedicine),ensuring those clients requiring necessary support, receive it as quickly as possible. Linking older adults and their caregivers with community services, enables us to regularly check in on them, assessing needs, providing education and capacity building.

Central Intake clinicians review referrals and assess eligibility/priority based on referral information. If, for example, a client needs 3 or 4 different services, by coordinating access to those services, the number of phone calls, messages and wait times are reduced. Referring patients for specialized geriatric services through this synchronized approach, makes referring much easier, enabling physicians to focus their efforts on patients and their care needs.

March 7, 2023

World Delirium Awareness Day 2023

This year, World Delirium Awareness Day 2023 (#WDAD2023) is happening on March 15, 2023. WDAD 2023 will be a day of delirium recognition, education, and prevention through community engagement. This year’s theme is “Delirium is Everybody’s Business”.

Delirium is a serious medical emergency that can often be reversed with proper assessment and treatment. An individual's family or caregiver would notice a worsening or change in their loved one's mental state that would occur suddenly over one to two days. Delirium can be distressing for those around the affected individual. However, it is far more distressing for the person involved, especially when they have no idea as to what might be causing these changes to their thinking, memory or personality.

Often delirium goes undetected. Or misdiagnosed as dementia or depression. Screening and prompt assessment are important. Identifying and addressing delirium will help prevent and reduce further patient decline, Emergency Department visits, hospital admissions, longer lengths of stay in hospital, unnecessary long-term care home placement and even death. Up to 75% of older adults experience delirium after acute illness or surgery. One-third of medical and hip fracture hospital patients, and at least one- half of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients, experience some form of delirium.

Since 2020, NSM Specialized Geriatric Services has worked with area partners to raise awareness of delirium throughout our region, across all sectors. If you know of someone who may be exhibiting signs of delirium, help them take action to address the issue. #WDAD2023 is a great opportunity to work together to raise awareness about the challenges of delirium and how those challenges can be met.

Visit World Delirium Awareness Day for information on March 15th planned activities.

Join NSM SGS on Twitter for a daily exchange of helpful information and resources.

 Delirium is Everybody's Business - What Role Do You Play?

January 25, 2023

#ShowTheLove - Valentine's Day 2023

It’s time to #ShowTheLove to all those in our region who are living or working in long-term care and retirement homes!

North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatrics Services has partnered with Barrie Police and Catholic Family Services of Simcoe County once again to collect Valentine cards for older adults, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

Physical cards can be dropped at either:

  • Barrie Police Headquarters, 110 Fairview Road, Barrie
  • Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, Reception, 500 Church Street, Penetanguishene, ON.

We ask that submissions be made no later than February 8. After that, cards will be distributed on Valentine’s Day to long-term care homes and retirement homes throughout North Simcoe Muskoka.

We also want to share other forms of greetings for older adults.  Photos and videos can be shared on social media using the hashtag #showthelove and tag us on Twitter at @NSM_SGS. Any greetings or wishes will be shared with our long-term care and retirement home residents!

Together we can #showthelove to those in our area.

October 28, 2022

Recognizing NSM SGS Staff - Core Value Awards

Each year, Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care recognizes employees who have gone above and beyond the day to day requirements of their position to improve the care of our patients and caregivers.

The Core Value Awards celebrate staff who contribute significantly to the greater good or mission by exemplifying exceptional values-based behaviours. This can be through actions that are simple and special or grand and complex. Nine values were chosen as nomination categories and this year we are pleased to acknowledge and nominate two individuals for awards.

CARING is defined as treating every person with compassionate sensitivity. This may include helping someone obtain knowledge, resolve their needs or positively grow and develop. It may also include demonstrating excellent customer service, supporting their coworkers in challenging times and valuing people by recognizing their importance.

Cindy Kosynski is a Community Clinician with the NSM SGS Community Mental Health team. She has a passion for supporting older adults and consistently goes beyond her regular duties to provide excellent and compassionate care.

Isolation, a serious threat to the well-being of our older adults, challenged many folks during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the Mental Health team resumed home visits, they often encountered distressing situations and a particular referral stands out with respect to Cindy’s diligence, excellent person-centred customer service and promotion of dignity for the patient and family.

Cindy was supporting an individual with dementia, and behaviour concerns were identified that could possibly result in injury and/or emergency service support. Cindy spoke with the family and the decision was made to notify the police. With the consent of the family and patient, Cindy spoke with the police about the individual, their diagnosis, safety concerns and ways to mitigate a high-risk situation if police needed to become involved. Safety was the goal for all, while at the same time maintaining the client’s dignity.

Cindy is very supportive of her co-workers. She is happy to jump in and lend a hand, whether it’s as simple as helping out with process questions or more complex challenging clinical situations. Cindy values her teammates and is the first to congratulate or celebrate successes. She demonstrates the mission, vision and values of Waypoint daily and we are pleased to nominate Cindy for the Caring core value award.

COLLABORATION is defined as working together toward a common purpose. This may involve demonstrating strong leadership skills, cooperation with others, or the ability to resolve conflict constructively. It may also include demonstrating best practices, research and evidence, role modelling, mentoring and coaching staff or having knowledge of the role of other team members.

Jenna Davis joined NSM SGS as our first permanent Recreation Therapist just over a year ago resulting not only in a positive impact to the SGS team, but for our clients, families and community partners.

Two prime areas of focus this past year have been – developing and implementing client assessment/consultations and building relationships with community partners through networking and capacity building.

Jenna engaged multiple community partners with the purpose of reducing social isolation in older adults through engagement and activity. Jenna collaborated with the McLaren Art Centre and the Alzheimer Society (Muskoka and Simcoe County) on numerous initiatives. Art kits and activity kits were created for seniors living in the community and long-term care, and large containers of activity supplies were delivered to all NSM long-term care homes.

In addition Jenna, along with the McLaren Art Centre, hosted an event for Leisure Enrichment Teams from different organizations across the region, to collaborate and build capacity related to engaging seniors in art activities. Jenna also collaborated with Georgian College for the Connect Us program to connect older adults and community members of all ages to share stories, interest and skills.

At the height of the pandemic Jenna developed an activity calendar to engage older adults in staying active. The popularity of the design and purpose of this calendar caused it to be shared widely across the province.

Presently Jenna is developing a community of practice in North Simcoe Muskoka for Life Enrichment and Recreation Therapists. Jenna has also been a member of the Therapeutic Recreation of Ontario (TRO) Board of Directors and co-chaired the TRO annual conference this past June. 

Jenna has certainly exemplified the mission, vision and values of Waypoint and NSM SGS in her daily work. She has been the catalyst that has brought many organizations together for the greater good of our NSM older adults. For these reasons and others, we are nominating her for the Collaboration core value award.

October 1, 2022

Celebrating National Seniors' Day 2022

October 1 has become an occasion for Canadians to celebrate the contributions of seniors in our homes, communities and workplaces.

In 2016, there were approximately 101,660 seniors—ages 65 years and older—living in Simcoe Muskoka, up from 82,475 seniors from 2011 – 18% in Simcoe and 25.5% in Muskoka. This was a 23.3% increase, the fastest growing age group. (Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit)

North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services (NSM SGS) supports older adults living with frailty/complex health conditions. We believe that older adults should have the resources they need to live well, while continuing to be engaged in our communities.

One of the ways NSM SGS is working to help improve access to these resources is the recent addition of information for older adults and their caregivers on our website.

Here, older adults and their caregivers will find information on:

  • NSM healthcare providers and other partners who support seniors;
  • Initiatives on how to stay active and engaged; and,
  • Resources for those who want to learn more about how to address challenges facing older adults.

North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services (NSM SGS) would like to take the opportunity to thank all seniors for being such an important influence in our communities!

You can participate as well. Show your gratitude by:

  • Simply saying ‘thankyou’
  • Visiting them where they are
  • Taking a walk together
  • Treating them to a day out
  • Cooking a meal together

 “Take time today, and every day, to recognize and celebrate the amazing seniors in your life!” – Annalee King, Manager, Geriatric Mental Health – Community, NSM SGS.

Thanks to the Victoria Harbour Girl Guide and Pathfinder troop for the picture of the cards they made! NSM SGS clinicians will be distributing the cards throughout the North Simcoe region as they make home visits to our clients.

February 14, 2022

Changes to Geriatric Medicine Services

This communication provides notice to partners of the following changes within the North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services (NSM SGS) program effective February 14, 2022.
•  A new NSM SGS program Referral Form
•  Changes in access to geriatric medicine team services across NSM sub-regions.

Background

The NSM SGS program was established in 2016 to advance the care of frail older adults and caregivers in the NSM region. Since 2016 we have been redesigning our services and building partnerships with area providers. Early redesign work focused on our geriatric mental health team. More recently, we have been redesigning our geriatric medicine team by broadening our original focus on falls (through the Integrated Regional Falls Program – IRFP) to a more comprehensive geriatric medicine focus. As part of the redesign, we received approval from Ontario Health Central Region to sunset our Integrated Regional Falls Program (IRFP). This is an important next step in creating an innovative service that can work with our sub-region Ontario Health Team partners to advance local integrated specialized geriatric medicine services for frail older adults and their caregivers. The redesign plan:
•  Is supported by our regional Seniors Health Working Group, a sub-committee of the Central Ontario Health Team for Specialized Populations;
•  Aligns with our clinical design hub-and-spoke model and advances the integration of specialized geriatric medicine and geriatric mental health services across the region; and,
•  Helps us continue to improve patient outcomes, build system capacity, make better use of specialized resources and, over time, simplify access to specialized geriatric services.

Changes

NSM SGS Referral Form: Effective February 14, 2022 we will be using a new referral form for our program and services. We recognize it will take time for partners to transition to the new form. As we receive old forms we will follow-up with referring sources to ensure they are aware a new form is available. A pdf fillable form is attached. It can also be found on the Clinical Services page of our website www.nsmsgs.ca
Geriatric Medicine Services:
•  All referrals received in our Central Intake are reviewed and triaged to the most appropriate available specialized geriatric service based on patient needs.
•  The NSM SGS program has been working with local partners to better integrate geriatric medicine team services across all sub-regions. This work is at varying stages of progress.
•  As of February 14, 2022 the NSM SGS program will sunset IRFP and complete any outstanding referrals on our waitlist over the coming months. During this transition period, access to geriatric medicine team services will vary across NSM sub-regions.

View the memo below to learn more about how to access Geriatric Medicine team services for each area within North Simcoe Muskoka.

February 11, 2022

Keeping Older Adults in Long Term Care Homes Engaged & Active Amid Omicron

Residents of area long-term care homes have endured a long, hard two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over that time, there were lockdowns that prevented them from seeing family and friends and many activities in their homes were modified or even canceled to align with public health measures. These changes have all had a significant impact on our older adults.

“The restrictions in these settings that are meant to keep older adults safe are also resulting in isolation and loneliness,” says Sandra Easson-Bruno, Director, North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized

Geriatrics Services. “As we make our way through this wave, it’s really important that we keep these older adults active and engaged. It’s so important for their physical, mental and emotional health”.

“For those living with dementia, staying socially engaged and being cognitively stimulated are key to overall quality of life,” Laura Lynn Bourassa, Manager of Education and Support Programs with the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County adds.

To support the residents and staff of area long-term care homes, the Alzheimer Society of Muskoka, Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County and North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services partnered together to develop Grab & Go Activity Kits. These kits, which included things like games, art materials, CD players, activity sheets and more, were delivered to all 31 long-term care homes across the Simcoe County and Muskoka region, including Parry Sound.

“During these restrictive periods we saw persons living with dementia experience greater cognitive decline,” says Bourassa. “These kits aim to provide opportunities for enrichment to ward off the negative effects of isolation.”

At the Bob Rumball Home for the Deaf in Barrie, the kits came at the perfect time.

“Receiving this activity kit was a huge blessing,” says Jessica Dyke, Coordinator of Programs at the home. “When the residents are alone in their rooms you can really see that lack of stimulation makes them decline faster. These activities are great to keep their minds active and encourage staff to participate with them and interact more.”

The Pines in Muskoka extended “a huge thank you for the recent donation. As you know, these are challenging times right now and to have extra resources for our residents will provide many hours of sensory stimulation. The staff and residents were excited to see the markers, fidget items, stuffed animals, stereos etc... Thank you for the great work that you do for our community!”

January 19, 2022

#Showthelove to LTCH and RH Residents in NSM

#ShowTheLove to Long-Term Care Homes and Retirement Homes in North Simcoe Muskoka 

The North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services (NSM SGS) program is encouraging North Simcoe Muskoka residents, groups and organizations to participate in a campaign aimed at lifting the spirits of those living and working in long-term care and retirement homes.

COVID-19, and the Omicron variant, has impacted everyone but especially older adults in long-term care homes and retirement homes.

“For nearly two years, older adults in care homes have been limited in the way they can interact with family and friends as a result of COVID-19 and ongoing restrictions. For many, activities in their homes have been reduced or stopped again to minimize the risk and spread of Omicron. This has resulted in isolation and a real sense of loneliness for so many residents and their loved ones,” says Sandra Easson-Bruno, Director of the NSM SGS program.

Last year, the first #ShowtheLove campaign was an overwhelming success with so many people and partners joining in around our region. It brought hope and joy to many of those living and working in these care homes. Because of that, the NSM SGS program is asking local communities to join the campaign for the second year. Join us the week of February 14th – 18th

  •  Participate in our social media campaign and post a video message, photo, letter or piece of art to social media channels, using #ShowtheLove and #NSMSGS between February 14 - 18. The messages will be sent to care homes and shared on various social media channels in a compilation video.
  •  Write letters, draw pictures and/or make small signs of support and encouragement for residents and staff and deliver them to a care home in your community. Mark them as #ShowTheLove and remember to mask and physically distance when you drop them off!
  •  McLaren Art Centre will partner with NSM SGS to help collect and distribute cards, encouraging local students to take part.

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According to the Public Health Ontario Daily Epidemiological Summary, from the period January 15, 2020 to January 16, 2022:

  • At least 150,784 individuals age 60+ have been identified as having COVID, representing 15.8%of all cases.
  • 9,733 individuals age 60+ have died from COVID, representing 91.6% of all COVID-related deaths.
  • 2,002 Long-Term Care Homes and 1,260 Retirement Homes in the province have been declared in outbreak.
  • 18,984 residents and 8,632 health care workers in long-term care homes have been identified as having COVID. There have been 4,112 deaths in LTC residents (representing 38.7% of all deaths) and 10 health care worker deaths attributed to COVID.

For information, or to arrange a virtual or phone interview about the initiative, contact:

Sandra Easson-Bruno, Director, North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services seasson-bruno@nsmsgs.ca

Tel: 705-417-2192 x5102

January 10, 2022

Ensuring North Simcoe Muskoka Seniors Remain Safe Amid COVID-19

The North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services program, Alzheimer Society Muskoka, Alzheimer Society Simcoe County, Prevention of Seniors Abuse Network Simcoe County and Barrie Police want to ensure that older adults and their caregivers remain safe amid continued COVID-19 restrictions. 

With the Omicron variant causing COVID-19 cases to rise again in the region and province, restrictions will continue to isolate our older adults and their caregivers. Rising cases, fewer health care providers, renewed restrictions, shorter daylight hours and colder temperatures, can contribute to several key safety concerns for our older adults: 

  • Wandering – for older adults with dementia who may wander, their health and well-being is at risk if they wander from their homes without the knowledge of their caregivers; 
  • Elder Abuse – for caregivers, the burden of care can become stressful putting older adults at risk for intentional or unintentional elder abuse, including neglect.
  • Cyber-security – for older adults and caregivers who are relying more on technology to stay connected with loved ones and to support contact with health care providers, cyber-security is a risk. 

Across the region a variety of resources do exist to support older adults and caregivers reduce risk, like the Alzheimer Society of Ontario’s Finding Your Way program, MedicAlert®Safely Home® program, Project Lifesaver, It’s Not Right resources targeting elder abuse, and both Cyber-Seniors and Telus-Wise which promote cyber safety. 

Be a good neighbour. If you know or suspect an older adult and/or caregiver is at risk, reach out to offer a hand. You can also encourage families and friends to access the resources available online. Together, we can ensure we keep our seniors as safe as possible during COVID-19! 

For information on caring for seniors, please visit the NSM SGS website’s COVID-19 web page. 

Learn more about resources available in the document linked below. 

January 7, 2022

Activity Challenge Calendar

The Activity Toolkit for Seniors has been developed for seniors who are impacted by COVID-19 - those who live independently at home, with family at home, in a retirement home or long-term care home in North Simcoe Muskoka.

View our Activity Toolkit below to learn more. 

Partner / Provider Events & Education Calendar

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