SENIORCENTRIC NEWS WEEK ENDING Feb 13, 2021

Scanning the globe for news by, for and about Senior Citizens

Quotables:

Christmas in February:I’ve had needles galore but, my gosh, that one yesterday, that one starts a new life. What I miss most is being able to give my daughter a hug.

Pat Van Kregten
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NEWS

Valentine campaign for seniors in central Alberta

Communities encouraged to start their own flower campaigns for seniors

Two Ponoka-area teens want local seniors to know that someone is thinking about them on the Valentine’s Day weekend.

Friends Dustin Ellingson and Lucas Berg are behind the campaign Roses for Seniors and plan to give out about 500 roses on Feb. 12 to seniors at Ponoka’s hospital and seniors facilities in Ponoka.

Ellingson spearheaded a similar project that distributed about 200 poinsettias to Ponoka seniors at Christmas. He said the potted plants really made a lot of people happy judging by all the calls of thanks. Valentine’s Day was another opportunity to put more smiles on seniors’ faces.

“Seniors really like flowers, it’s also the thing you do on Valentine’s Day,” Dustin said.

A large vase containing roses for seniors will be delivered to about six facilities.

He said another flower campaign is being considered for Mother’s Day, and he encouraged people in other communities to start their own flower campaigns for seniors.

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‘As long as I can walk, I can ski,’ says 90-year-old Corner Brook woman

Peggy Jacobs cross-country skied in a snowstorm to mark her 90th birthday

While many people in Corner Brook were hunkered down at home during a snowstorm Monday, Peggy Jacobs celebrated her 90th birthday by gliding at Blow Me Down Trails, the city’s cross-country ski club.

“I ski on my birthday, regardless the weather,” she said. 

“So, I’ll ski for five minutes, just around the block there, and I’ll say I skied on my 90th birthday.” 

Jacobs and her grandchildren Savannah and Daniel snapped on their skies and looped around the trails on a blustery cold winter’s day.

“It is pretty crazy that we have this weather but she is going to try it anyway. It is nice to see,” said Daniel Jacobs.

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‘Planning for dropouts’: Drugmakers grapple with testing unproven vaccines on seniors

At age 70, retired nurse Donna Lessard can expect to be towards the front of the line for a COVID-19 vaccine when supply and distribution expands in coming months.

But instead, she’s opted for an unproven vaccine candidate she can have now — a two-dose product by the Quebec City-based biopharmaceutical Medicago currently running Phase 2 clinical trials.

Because the trials are blinded, the Montrealer doesn’t know if last month she received a second dose of the prospective vaccine or a placebo, and may not know for a year — well after most Canadians are expected to receive one of several licensed vaccines.

Lessard admits her decision could put her at risk of COVID-19 infection much longer than other seniors, but says there are many people who need approved vaccines more urgently than she does.

“I’m not in a nursing home, I’m in excellent health,” says Lessard, who was a nurse for 50 years before retiring in 2020. “There are a lot of other people, rightly so, that would go before me.”

Despite the willingness of senior trial participants like Lessard, whether and how to include seniors in COVID-19 vaccine trials poses thorny ethical questions now that effective vaccines are available and more are soon to come, says University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman.

Seniors, by far, have been hardest hit by the novel coronavirus, with about 70 per cent of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths involving people aged 80 and older, and nearly 20 per cent between the ages of 70 and 80.

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