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September 2020

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Housing Emerging As A Presidential Campaign Issue

For millions of Americans, housing costs rank with health care, student debt, and taxes when it comes to issues that affect their personal budget. Unlike those other three, however, housing hasn’t gotten much attention from presidential candidates. That could be changing. As Democratic hopefuls vie to stand out in a crowded field and appeal to urban voters stressed by rising rents, more candidates are bringing up housing on the campaign trail. Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for $500 billion in additional spending on affordable housing, and Senator Kamala Harris’s plan to offer tax credits for renters and $100 billion to help would-be home buyers in redlined neighborhoods. Senator Cory B

Why Are Ontario Seniors Turning To Drop-in Centres And Food Banks

Ontario seniors are feeling the squeeze as housing and food costs continue to rise. The situation is resulting in a growing number of seniors turning to food banks and drop-in centres for support. Use of foodbanks by seniors in Ontario has jumped 10 percent in the last year. At Haven Toronto, the only drop-in centre in Canada dedicated to elder men age 50+, the number of meals served has increased 20 percent in four years. In an aging society – there are more seniors in Canada than people under fifteen - seniors are often some of the first and the most impacted. Lauro Monteiro is the Executive Director of Haven Toronto, a Toronto drop-in centre that serves thousands annually and sees 250 to

Loneliness: A 'Silent' Killer

Loneliness is deadlier than obesity and should be considered a major public health hazard, that according to the biggest ever review into the problem. Researchers in the US looked at 218 studies into the health effects of social isolation and loneliness involving nearly four million people. They discovered that lonely people had a 50 per cent increased risk of early death, compared to those with good social connections. In contrast, obesity raises the chance of dying before the age of 70 by around 30 per cent. Lead author Dr Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Professor of Psychology at Brigham Young University, Utah, said people should be preparing for retirement socially as well as financially, because

Is 65 Too Soon To Retire? 40% Say Yes.

You’re born, you go to school, and then for 40 or 50 years you work, until, one day — like free falling from whatever mountain you’ve climbed, back to the plains — you retire. It’s a big change, and a sudden one. Is this the way people want it? Both theory and observational data suggest not: People prefer life to be “smoothed,” in the language of economists. “We don’t eat all of our meals on Sunday and then starve on weekdays,” says Christopher Tonetti, an associate professor of economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business. We spread out experience; we seek transitions. “And not just for food, but for all consumption.” Retirement, it turns out, is no exception to this preference. In a n

Music As A Weapon Against Homelessness

Earlier today is was reported that officials in West Palm Beach are hoping that playing the children’s songs ‘Baby Shark’ and ‘Raining Tacos’ on a loop will discourage people from sleeping outside the Waterfront Lake Pavilion, a city-owned rental banquet facility. Yesterday, in another, separate incident, @InvisiblePeople shared on Twitter news of a retailer piping classical music outside of their store to drive away panhandlers. And in the last year, news surfaced of the town of Bournemouth, England using music as one tactic designed to drive out homeless people living in a parking garage. The town wanted to “clean up the streets” before the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan. One of those t

What Older Employees Want Out Of Their Job

There is little doubt that great employees are an organization’s number one resource. Keeping workers happy helps strengthen an organization in many ways, including: Lower Turnover – Turnover can be one of the highest costs attributed to the HR department. Retaining workers helps create a better environment, and makes it easier to recruit quality talent and save money. The bottom line: satisfied employees are typically much less likely to leave. Higher Productivity – Irrespective of job title and pay grade, employees who report high job satisfaction tend to achieve higher productivity. Loyalty – When employees feel the company has their best interests at heart, they often support its mission

What Living in Poverty Means in Canada

At least 4.8 million Canadians live below the poverty line, according Statistics Canada. The agency defines that as households with earnings less than half of the national median income — $22,133 for a single person, or $38,335 for a family of three. A survey by the Angus Reid Institute released Tuesday took a deeper look at exactly what living in poverty means in Canada, and the challenges faced by those who struggle to make ends meet. According to the survey, 27 percent of Canadians say they have experienced or are currently experiencing financial difficulties. Another 31 percent feel “very stressed about money” either often or all the time. Researchers at the institute note that those liv

Older Employees Breathe New Life Into Europe’s Labor Market

When entrepreneur Kim Diaz opened a bar-restaurant in Barcelona four years ago, he adopted a strict hiring policy: only workers aged 50 and above. The bet has paid off. Older staff are punctual, polite and hardworking, the 51-year-old said, and their professionalism has proven a hit with younger customers. “We’re talking about waiters who enjoy their jobs, remember exactly how you take your coffee in the morning, how you want your beer without a head and your Coke with just one ice cube. These are values that we’ve been losing in hospitality recently,” Mr. Diaz said. His average employee is 54. Across a rapidly aging Europe, employers are finding ways to keep older staff on the job for longe

Arts and Culture Help Reduce the Risk of Depression

For adults over age 50, arts and culture can dramatically reduce the risk of developing depression, decrease the possibility of dementia through volunteer engagement and improve mental and emotional processing power. A recent major study shows monthly engagement in cultural experiences – including art galleries, exhibitions, cinema and museums – reduces the risk of developing depression by a staggering 48%. The emotional response to cultural activities such as music involves brain regions critical to the processing of positive emotions and reward. Cultural activities also require cognitive and perceptual engagement associated with lower levels of depression, and cultural engagement has been

Volunteering Helps Reduce the Risk of Dementia

A recent study shows that for adults over 65, active volunteer work combines clear structure, collective purpose and increases in cognitive, social and physical activity that improves brain function and reduces the risk of dementia. Regular volunteer work makes older adults 2.5 times less likely to experience dementia. Seniors who volunteer continuously (once a month or more) are significantly less likely to need anti-dementia treatment and have fewer cognitive complaints than seniors who volunteer occasionally or do not volunteer at all. Haven Toronto is open 365 days a year and relies on volunteers to help deliver a variety of programs including food service, an emergency clothing room and

A Knapsack Full Of Dreams

Excerpt from A Knapsack Full Of Dreams, Chapter 9 - Street Health’s roots went deep in the community around Sherbourne and Dundas. Homeless people themselves had come together to say they needed health care. They called themselves “the balcony crew,” as they had concocted their dream of better health care for homeless people on someone’s balcony. They were adamant they were not receiving good, if any, health care in the existing system. They identified that they were not only under-serviced, but when they accessed care, they frequently experienced discrimination. They knew they deserved better and fought for it. They approached Dilin, a nurse who was volunteering in the community. Fortunatel

The Invisible Value Of Experience

Who knew that experience could, does and will work against older employees? Studies show that senior staff are being laid off, in part, due to age. At the same time, many older job applicants are being turned away or turned down because they are seen as ‘too old’ and behind the times. Age and experience are made an issue rather than an opportunity. In the 1984 U.S. Presidential election, age was presented as an issue. Ronald Reagan was in his 70s. His opponent, Walter Mondale, in his 50s. A win for Reagan would make him the oldest elected President in U.S. history. But, in what would be the defining moment of the election, the topic quickly became a non-issue with Reagan’s response to a deba

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