We All Deserve a Barrier-Free Manitoba. Accessibility Shouldn't
- The Push
for Provincial Legislation By Hilary Grammer
By Hilary Grammer
is basic to the quality of life of all Manitobans. Seniors,
unlike many Manitobans, cannot take accessibility for granted.
The design and conditions of our streets and sidewalks, even
our parking lots, make it hard for many seniors to get around
their communities. Many of our buildings are hard for seniors
to get in and out of. Likewise, basic services ranging from
transportation to snow clearing and even information in print
or on the web often seem designed to meet the needs of healthy
35 year olds with perfect hearing, sight and mobility.
bulge of baby boomers reach retirement age, accessibility
is going to become an issue for more and more seniors. The
numbers are undeniable. In 2006, an estimated 71,000 to 77,000
Manitoba seniors faced accessibility challenges due to a disability.
By 2031, the number facing such challenges is expected to
double to almost 150,000.
is aging and the incidence of various disabilities
increase with age. Patrick Falconer, spokesperson for Barrier-Free
Manitoba (more on that organization later), addressed what
this means to us all, saying that, every Manitoban now
has a disability, knows someone with a disability or will
acquire a disability in the coming years.
surveys completed by 1,100 persons concerned about seniors
issues in 46 communities across Manitoba clearly identified
accessibility issues related to
Public / commercial buildings (i.e. heavy manual doors,
lack of elevator access, narrow hallways)
Parks / walking trails (inadequate benches and rest
Public telephone services and written material not
adapted to seniors needs.
easy to understand how these everyday features in our community
can either lend themselves to easy, pleasurable participation
in friendships, community events, shopping, appointments and
entertainment or, conversely, chip away at a senior's
ability or desire to go where s/he wants or needs to go, to
receive the information s/he wants or needs to receive, and
most importantly to feel comfortable in his
or her community.
are two major efforts underway to address accessibility issues.
of these is the Age-Friendly Manitoba Initiative (www.gov.mb.ca/shas/agefriendly),
led by the provincial government's Seniors and Healthy Aging
Directorate in partnership with community groups. The Age-Friendly
Manitoba Initiative supports seniors in leading active, socially
engaged, independent lives that contribute to healthy aging.
A second effort, the drive for legislative reform,
spearheaded since 2008 by Barrier-Free Manitoba, a community-based,
cross-abilities initiative. Based on its extensive research,
Barrier-Free Manitoba has found that voluntary measures encouraging
accessibility, while useful, are simply not adequate. They
have found that accessibility legislation, like the laws now
in place in Ontario, the United States and Australia
that actually requires accessibility measures be implemented
is the key mechanism needed to ensure timely change.
change legislation for a Barrier-Free Manitoba.
Click on image for larger form to print, fill out,
sign, and mail.
Manitoba`s web site (www.barrierfreemb.com) provides more
information on these findings.
both these efforts are making progress, the work of Barrier-Free
Manitoba has now reached a critical juncture.
Toward Accessibility Legislation
last 2 1/2 years, Barrier-Free Manitoba has not only raised
awareness about accessibility issues, but its call for legislative
change has been endorsed by such prominent Manitobans as Dr.
Paul Thomas, Reg Alcock and John Loxley and by a diverse range
of organizations and agencies including groups like:
Age & Opportunity
Alliance for the Prevention of Chronic Disease
Canadian Council of the Blind - Manitoba Division
Fédération des aînés francos-manitobains
Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba
Manitoba Association of Senior Centres
Manitoba Chapter - Canadian Hard of Hearing Association
Manitoba Federation of Labour
Meals on Wheels of Winnipeg
Provincial Council of Women of Manitoba
for legislation has also been endorsed by hundreds and hundreds
of concerned Manitoba citizens whose lives have been seriously
affected by the lack of accessibility in their communities.
of last year, the Government of Manitoba released the Discussion
Paper for Made in Manitoba Accessibility Legislation. The
purpose of the paper was to encourage discussion on proposed
legislation that would move our province toward the goal of
an inclusive society. As had been called for by Barrier-Free
Manitoba, the legislation being considered would set out a
process for elimination of the institutional and physical
barriers faced by seniors and persons with disabilities"
and the "prevention of new ones". The paper also
stated that increased accessibility also promises to
provide significant economic benefits and will support Manitoba-based
businesses in better meeting the growing demand for accessible
products and services."
news for Barrier-Free Manitoba, and the many that support
the call for legislation, is that The Province of Manitoba
seems poised to introduce this landmark legislation. The bad
news is that there is only one sitting of the Legislature
left before the upcoming fall election. As Falconer stresses,
"this is an amazing opportunity but if the government
does not act this spring before the next election
it may be years before we have the same chance again.
Final Push Making it Happen
cooperation of seniors' organizations across the province,
Barrier-Free Manitoba is mounting a final push to ensure that
the Government of Manitoba moves beyond promising words when
the last sitting starts on April 12th.
point of the final push campaign are action post cards that
Barrier-Free Manitoba is inviting seniors and those concerned
about seniors issues to send to the Premier's office. Key
statements on the cards read:
The Government of Manitoba needs to play a much stronger role
in ensuring the timely removal of the barriers and in creating
accessible and age friendly communities.
I am calling on the Premier to demonstrate leadership
by introducing accessibility legislation in the Spring 2011
sitting of the Legislature.
Barrier-Free is providing three easy options to join the ranks
of those who are encouraging the government to take action
now. Seniors and persons concerned with seniors issues can:
Complete and mail in action postcards which are available
from participating seniors organizations.
Complete a web-based version of the action card. The
link to the e-card can be found on the home page of Barrier-Free
Manitoba`s web site
Complete the clip out action card form on this page
and mail it to the Premier`s office.
seniors and those who care about them and provide services
to them have historically had a strong voice in Manitoba.
to be a perfect opportunity to use this voice again in a way
that will benefit all Manitobans now and in the years to come
more in the March
29 - April 18/2011 issue of Senior Scope)
is Nothing Better Than Spring Training Baseball to Get Away
from the Cold
By Scott Taylor
training in Dunedin, Florida
Fla. Its hard to imagine there is anything better
than this on the planet: Youre sitting in a beautiful
little ballpark just like Shaw Park in Winnipeg, only it happens
to be a warm March day. You have a nice cold beverage, a tasty
hotdog with some nachos and plenty of cheese, good friends
and theres Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera hitting
back-to-back home runs against the hated New York Yankees.
Detroit Tigers at spring training.
it might not be perfect for Yankees fans but they can
have their own fantasy. We like ours, thank you.
do hundreds of Manitoba seniors who make the trek every year
or every other year to Grapefruit League Baseball
in Central and Western Florida.
love baseball. There is nothing I love more, said Tom
McClusky, 73, who spent a life in sales in Winnipeg before
always wanted to go to Spring Training, all my life. Ever
since I read about it in the Sporting News when I was a kid.
I got my first chance 1976. We took our two daughters to Florida
and I saw four games. The first Grapefruit League game I ever
saw was in Vero Beach where the Los Angeles Dodgers used to
be. Ill never forget it. Then we saw two Cincinnati
Reds games in Sarasota and then we saw the Orioles against
the Yankees in Miami.
absolutely loved it, but I didnt get back until my wife
and I went to Arizona three years ago. Next year, were
already planning our trip to Spring Training in Florida.
The 2010 Grapefruit League season has just wrapped up and
yet Tom and his wife are already preparing for 2012.
were going to go to baseball, definitely, he said.
But there are a lot of other things to do. Im
even going to apply to be a volunteer at Arnold Palmers
(PGA Tour) golf tournament, the Bay Hill Classic. There is
a lot more to the trip than just baseball.
got that right. When you consider all the casinos, the great
beaches, the theme parks, resorts, golf courses, racetracks,
hockey teams, basketball teams, hiking trails, shopping malls
and restaurants, there is never a dull moment on the Florida
spring baseball trail.
Training in Florida is called the Grapefruit League. Its
not a league really. Its a just a month long series
of games in which the stars of Major League Baseball
along with the fresh-faced kids and aging veterans
either get ready for the regular season or try to win that
first or last job.
begin around February 25 and last until the final week of
March (this years regular season started on March 31).
are 15 teams in Florida: the Atlanta Braves are at Disney
World at Lake Buena Vista, Boston and Minnesota are in Fort
Myers, the Yankees are in Tampa, Philadelphia is in Clearwater,
Detroit is in Lakeland, Baltimore is in Sarasota, Pittsburgh
is in Bradenton, Houston is in Kissimmee, Tampa Bay is at
Port Charlotte, the Mets are in Port St. Lucie, Washington
is at Viera, St. Louis and the Florida Marlins are in Jupiter
and Toronto is at Dunedin.
are three ways to attack a spring baseball trip depending
on the time you have in Florida.
On a short
trip of three or four days, stay in Central Florida and attend
games at Disney (Atlanta), Kissimmee (Houston), Lakeland (Detroit)
and Viera (Washington) or stay in Tampa, or the beach at Clearwater
and attend games in Tampa (Yankees), Clearwater (Philly) and
have a week, pick a region. North Central will give you Viera,
Disney, Kissimmee, Lakeland, Clearwater, Tampa and Dunedin.
Southwest will give you Fort Myers (Boston and Minnesota),
Port Charlotte (Tampa Bay), Sarasota (Baltimore) and Bradenton
(Pittsburgh). The East Coast has Jupiter (St. Louis and Florida),
Port St. Lucie (the Mets) and Viera. If you want to stay south,
you can start in Jupiter on the Southeast Coast and then take
the three-hour drive across Alligator Alley to Fort Myers
on the Southwest Coast.
for the entire month and catch a game in every park. One of
the best things about the ballparks is that none of them are
far from the four major highways: I-95 on the East Coast,
I-75 Alligator Alley from East-to-West, I-75 on the West Coast
and I-4 across Central Florida from I-75-to-I-95.
that you know where youre going, how do you get there
and where do you stay? Which means the real question is, What
do I do to get started?
the Grapefruit League schedule should be announced. Always
keep tabs on www.mlb.com
to make sure you know when the schedule is released and when
the ticket-buying dates arrive.
need to rent a car and youll want to keep an eye on
hotel prices. The beaches can get really pricey in March.
But shop around. Good deals often pop up on the hotel websites
and Disney has some very economical resorts (Pop Century and
through the schedule and pick the places you want to go. As
an example, we love staying on the West Coast and in Central
Florida. Well spend a week at Disney World and watch
the Braves, Astros and Tigers play. Then well go to
Tampa for a night or two to watch the Yankees, then over to
Clearwater Beach to watch the Phillies and Blue Jays and then
down to Sarasota Beach to watch the Orioles and Pirates. We
love beach hotels, tiny ballparks and players who arent
all caught up in statistics and pennant races and are ready
to sign autographs, hang out with fans and talk baseball.
Its pretty loose at spring training and even the big
stars are accessible.
an aside, heres how society has changed. Our 27-year-old
daughter Betsy who lives in Orlando went with us to Sarasota
to watch the Orioles and Minnesota Twins play. She wandered
down to the Twins bullpen and caught the eye of a young relief
pitcher named Anthony Swarzak. While she Googled his career
stats on her iPhone, he threw her a baseball. She then sent
him a friend request on Facebook and not 20 minutes after
the game, hed already
accepted the request. Now theyre pals. Thats Spring
decided how long you want to be in Florida and where you want
to stay, youre ready to book your tickets. If you go
early in the spring youll be able to walk up to most
ballparks and buy a good seat on Game Day. If you go later
in the month, the parks tend to fill up so you might want
to pre-order your tickets. If you plan to attend Yankees games
in Tampa or Red Sox games in Fort Myers, you should always
buy your tickets in advance. The Yanks and Red Sox almost
always sell out.
has some great direct flights to Orlando and Tampa these days,
but make sure you book early. And remember, when going to
Florida, six-months-in-advance is not that early to make a
forget to take your sunscreen and your ball glove. This is
the time of year when the weather is just about perfect and
the players are tossing baseballs into the crowd almost every
love baseball more than anything else, said Tom McClusky
with a grin. But I love spring training baseball best
GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE MAP:
Toronto Blue Jays
2. Clearwater Philadelphia Phillies
3. Tampa New York Yankees
4. Bradenton Pittsburgh Pirates
5. Sarasota Baltimore Orioles
6. Port Charlotte Tampa Bay Rays
7. Fort Myers Boston Red Sox
8. Fort Myers Minnesota Twins
9. Jupiter St. Louis Cardinals and Florida Marlins
10. Port St. Lucie New York Mets
11. Viera Washington Nationals
12. Kissimmee Houston Astros
13. Lake Buena Vista (Disney World) Atlanta Braves
14. Lakeland Detroit Tigers
more in the March
29 - April 18/2011 issue of Senior Scope)
dementia? Or just a cat?
Willian J. Thomas
like their owners are living longer than ever before. Thats
the good news. With enhanced longevity comes the downside
of aging arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney problems
and even dementia. If you live long enough youll likely
inherit these afflictions.
survey by Scottish veterinary surgeon Danielle Gunn-Moore
reveals that 28% of cats aged 11 to 14 are affected by feline
dementia. That number jumps to 50% for cats 15 years of age
to Alzheimers, a protein in the form of sticky plaques
build up on the brains nerve cells causing mental deterioration
was inspired by Dr. Gunn-Moores own cat; 12-year-old
Cardhu started showing signs of human senility.
are exceptions to the rule of dementia for aging cats. Not
all old cats are afflicted.
ago I stayed one week in a draughty Bed & Breakfast walkup
in Chalk Farm, half way up the Black Line of the London Underground
system. The Irish lady who operated the place completely creeped
me out with her ghoulish theories on Lady Dis death
and how they first killed her unborn child before they
staged the car accident. So my only solace was Rosie,
a 21-year-old blind Tabby who slept beside my bed each night.
In the morning this cat, scrawny and rickety, but resourceful
would walk along the walls all the way down two flights of
stairs, around a couch, around a coffee table, under a TV
set and up to a window. From there she leapt up onto a cushioned
sill, her resting spot for the day. Touching the walls and
furniture with her whiskers she had committed two additional
routes to memory one to her food station and one to
the litter box. Rosies mind was still sharp at over
100 human years of age.
landlady made my stay so unpleasant; the day I left I rearranged
all the furniture just to give her cat a bit of a challenge.
(No, I did not do that.)
it seems, more so than dogs are quite prone to aging dementia.
failure and hyper-tension are just two of the symptoms of
feline dementia. Other signs include aimless wandering, a
decrease in grooming and a sudden lack of interest in food.
with some of the signs the dementia survey warns about, with
a cat, it can be a little tricky.
vocalization, for instance. Could be a symptom of senility,
or if the dog walked off with Missys stuffed mouse in
his mouth, it could be a sign that your dog is about to have
a nose bleed.
of disorientation? My neighbour once found my cat Wedgie
hiding in his bird feeder. Going a little batty? Hardly, Wedgie
all but put his toes to his lips so that Bob wouldnt
alert the incoming birds. Or as Wedgie liked to call them,
loss that causes your cat to forget commands? Hullo!!!!
A cat that followed orders!?! Until they begin to crossbreed
cats with dogs, youre pretty much talking to yourself
while giving directions to felines. In fact, if your cat does
heed your commands, that too might be a symptom of senility.
like getting trapped in corners? Once again I refer
you to my juvenile delinquent Wedgie, who, on the first day
I brought him home was so curious about his new digs; he got
his bum stuck between the couch and the baseboard radiator.
In fact, thats how he got his name.
pacing back and forth? Okay, but what if hes just
worried about something like dinner being late or chicken
versus beef or you with that bottle of shampoo in your hand?
of interest in food? Yeah, thats probably a sign
of dementia unless Tabatha there has found a better deal two
about time? Forgetting theyve been fed?
on a personal note, I once had a cat named Malcolm who could
eat a husky under the table. Malcolm ate his food and often
cleaned out the bowls of three other cats that were too well-mannered
to hiss and scratch. Malcolm was quite thin for a glutton
(I know, I know, we all hate people who can pull that off!)
and his nickname was Hoover. Many a time he tried
to trick me into believing Id forgotten to feed him.
It only worked about half the time. Senile? No. Sly? Like
The Family Stone.
in the middle of the night? That could well be a sign
of advancing dementia or a nightmare involving him, you and
the location of the litter box? Either way, you got
yourself a big problem. I never had a cat that misplaced the
sandbox, but there was old Uncle Randal from Antigonish who
lets just say the far corner of the dining room
does not make a great substitute for the john
and there are still people from that Thanksgiving Day dinner
who are still in therapy.
irritability? Not likely a serious sign. I believe it
was a cat who said: If youre not angry half the
time, youre letting down the breed.
attention seeking? Yeah, like jumping into even more
laps of people who do not like cats, than he normally would?
the real problem with cats and the detection of dementia
most of them are so wonderfully loony, how do you know for
Note: If you suspect your cat is experiencing dementia,
please see a vet. There are medical treatments and behavior
tips available to ease the problem. Also your cat could exhibit
senile habits, but might just be unhappy or depressed.
or a signed copy of
The Cat Rules, go to
more in the March
29 - April 18/2011 issue of Senior Scope)