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Keep up to date with the latest North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Gericatric Services news releases, updates and more!
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.

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.

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.


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 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. 

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