Archive for the ‘Public Health of Canada’ Tag

RX for Savings

When I started to think about my parents’ retirement, I was overwhelmed by the thoughts of all the “things that needed to be done should something go wrong”.  I was a single mom working full-time and I thought “time is not my friend in this” and set up a company to help my parents.  My parents oblivious to my obvious concern for their life and health and the piles of stuff accumulated proceeded to act as any snowbirds do and purchased a place in the sun.  Their annual trek to Lah-Lah land, as my mom puts it, was one of no worries, and be “happys”.  They were healthy and financially able to finance their simple needs and even could satisfy their wants occasionally.

Last year 2 things happened that brought home the reality of living 6 months in a different country than your own …both of them had medical issues.  Mom, who is 77 and a nurse, knew she had an infection and needed medication. They when to a clinic and $400.00 dollars later had the diagnosis “infection” and a prescription in hand and needed to shell out a further $385.00 for the medication.  She asked me to mail her prescription. I did it cost 10.00 to mail and their health plan covered the cost of the medication.  She saved $375.00.

Later that same year, Dad who is 80 and still the only handyman that my mom trusts, replaced the white broadloom throughout the Florida home and put in laminate.  It looked beautiful ….but Dad’s health paid the price.  In severe pain from being on his knees all day, he discovered that his medical insurance had run out.  Painfully, he got into his car and drove the two days back to Canada in the dead of winter to reapply for his insurance and to see his doctor about the problem that he was having. The doctor immediately diagnosed the problem, but said the medication that works the best was only available in the states.  He could give him a sample but he would have to fill the prescription in the states, as it hadn’t been approved by the Canadian Health Protection Branch yet.  That medication brought relief for the first time in several weeks.

So, owning a business to help seniors find the help they needed, I saw a real opportunity to make a difference.  My thoughts were to find a company that could fill prescriptions in Canada, and could also provide medication that was only available in the states.  I began my search and being for my own parents I did my due diligence in finding a safe alternative to the high cost of buying medication in the states.

The FDA encourages online prescriptions purchases and published their tips to finding a good online source which is:

  • Make sure the site requires a prescription and has a pharmacist available for questions.
  • Buy only from licensed pharmacies.
  • Don’t provide personal information such as credit card numbers unless you are sure the site will protect them. That they will not sell contact information

It was with those tips in mind I began a search for a licensed pharmacy that complied with those guidelines. For my Dad’s situation I found a US pharmacy that is licensed and provides US Brands and US Generics located in Lakeland Florida.  They partnered with a Canadian pharmacy which is located in Alberta, Canada called Extended Care Pharmacy license no. #1636. This pharmacy is owned by a pharmacist, Andy Troszok, the first president of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association, who is a pioneer and advocate for low cost importations of prescription drugs to US Citizens.  I told my parents that by faxing their prescription to Extendicare Pharmacy they would be ordering the drugs directly from Canada.  They would pay only the shipping and pharmacy fee but their medication would be covered by OHIP. Any medication that is only available in the states would be provided by their US counterpart in Lakeland Florida and that wouldn’t be covered but would be available to them with a prescription. They loved the idea and told me I should include this information on my website, knowing that I would never sell contact information as I set the company up to protect seniors.  They were wondering if their American friends in Florida could take advantage of the link that I created.  I researched the process online and realized that the American Drug Companies were protecting their huge profit margins by scaring the general public into believing medication from Canada was “fake” and they continued their propaganda campaign by painting all foreign pharmacies with the same brush.

I was at a party in Florida to celebrate my friend’s victory over Cancer and spoke to her about her medication. She had already done a lot of online searching to discover a pharmacy that could provide her with her medication. That said, her friends were warning her of medications from Canadian pharmacies.  Canada is not a third world country, but protected by more restrictive rules about medication then in the states.  However, because of our public health insurance, it is simply a country that legislated that Pharmaceutical companies were only allowed to charge so much. Lipitor is Lipitor period.  A licensed pharmacy would lose their license if they tried to pass off “fake” drugs.  This would be evident quickly from complaints.

My thoughts were confirmed when the Governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty visited Canada and established a website providing information to Americans on how to import safety.  I decided to create a link on my website so that Americans can exercise their rights as free citizens to make their own choices. It’s up to you now. However, the following state Governments are using Canadian Pharmacies to lower the cost of running their states, why shouldn’t you? What do they know that you should too?

MINNESOTA, NEVADA, ILLINOIS, KANSAS, MISSOURI, VERMONT, RHODE ISLAND, WISCOUSIN, MAINE.

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Dementia Research

written by Chloe Hamilton of Warm Embrace Elder Care

North American society places great value on independence and autonomy. These values are instilled at a young age and persist throughout life. One of the hallmarks of successful independence is the ability to remain living in one’s own home, creating a societal trend toward living in the community and not in a facility during the entire aging process.

Aging can take many forms and is a unique experience for each individual. Aging at home is preferable for many seniors, regardless of health or ability. While dementia is not an inevitable part of aging, it is an illness that does afflict some seniors and drastically influences their experience in living in the community.

The increasing trend towards independent living, combined with the rapidly aging population is focusing current research on the experience of living with dementia. Dr. Lorna DeWitt, is one such researcher whose doctoral thesis (at McMaster University) is based on qualitative research of people who live alone in the community with dementia. Her work is more detailed than a mere survey of family members; she asks probing questions of the dementia sufferers themselves. Due to the sensitive nature of the questions she asks, she struggled to find suitable and willing study participants.

Dr. DeWitt focused on individual interviews with dementia sufferers to gain a better sense of how those individuals feel. She found that her participants wanted to hold onto the “now” without thinking about the future, if possible. When asked about their plans for the future, many participants admitted that eventually they would not be able to remain alone, but they quickly focused to how they were managing to cope in the present.

They described their homes or apartments as “dead space” without the infused life of the television. For many of her participants, their connection to the outside world was predominantly through watching television or looking out the window to watch community activity.

The participants communicated their desire that others understand the importance of including the dementia sufferer in any decision making. Retaining a sense of control and independence is crucial, and is often the primary motivation behind living in the community rather than in a facility. Decisions about daily living and routine, such as bedtime, what to wear, or which program to watch on television, grant the individual a sense of control over their environment.

Although dementia sufferers may not be able to weigh the pros and cons of more serious decisions, they still need to be included in the process. The feeling of involvement often results in a more receptive response to change whereas imposed change without warning can result in resentment and hostility.

The participants responded that one of their greatest challenges is hiding the disease of dementia. Admitting the diagnosis of dementia to others makes one quite vulnerable, and asking for help can be overwhelming. Sadly, this can isolate dementia sufferers who reduce their social connections in an attempt to keep their illness unknown. Fear of the unknown intensifies as one worries about others discovering their illness and further removing any independence that the individual has retained.

The societal value of independence does not disappear when one is diagnosed with dementia; instead, it alters the form of independence that one may experience.  Retaining independence and a sense of control over environment is still vital to one’s happiness and well-being.

THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING ACTIVE

Seniors can and should remain healthy, active, vital, independent, and sexy. These qualities are ageless. In fact seniors who live an active lifestyle – are physically active, exercise regularly, and participate in leisure activities – can help to prevent or delay many diseases and disabilities.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada:

* 60% of older adults are inactive.
* Sitting or lying for long periods is a serious health risk.
* Inactivity leads to declines in bone strength, muscle strength, heart and lung fitness, and flexibility.
* Inactivity is as harmful to your health as smoking.

The one thing that most seniors fear is giving up their independence, yet the numbers of seniors who are inactive is alarming. Mobility is essential for independent living – bending, carrying, and lifting are necessary in the course of everyday living. It’s never too late to get active. In a recent study by the Buck Institute, Simon Melov, PhD, and Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, of McMaster University Medical Center in Hamilton, Ontario, found that exercise, particularly resistance training, actually rejuvenates muscle tissue in healthy senior citizens.

Start today. Keep as active as possible. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day will improve your health and quality of life. Walk, dance, garden, golf, go shopping, take the dog for a walk, volunteer, cycle, do your housework, take yoga and Pilates classes, play with your grandchildren, and have sex. Yes sex! It’s great exercise. In winter, you can still keep active by walking in shopping malls, going to your local community centre, or joining a gym.

Seniors who exercise regularly enjoy:

* Improved quality of life
* Vitality
* Prolonged independence
* Increased energy
* Stronger muscles and bones
* Fewer aches and pains
* Better posture
* Reduced risk of falls and injuries, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression

Exercise is good for all seniors, even those with medical conditions including heart conditions, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Please consult your doctor for a medically recommended exercise program.