Posts in Active Living
Groundbreaking Ceremony for a Seniors’ Play Park in Fenelon Falls

Submitted by Mike Perry

Fenelon Falls – On Thursday morning, the Hon. Laurie Scott, MPP participated in a groundbreaking ceremony for Ontario’s first Seniors’ Play Park, which is about to be built in Fenelon Falls. Thanks to the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team receiving a $121,600 Capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation earlier this year, the park is on its way to becoming a reality.

“I am pleased that the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team has been awarded a $121,600 grant to build the first Play Park in Fenelon Falls,” said MPP Scott. “By providing a free and accessible recreational space for seniors, this is an investment in the promotion of social and active lifestyles.” – Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock

The creation of a Seniors' Play Park for Fenelon Falls is the initiative of local resident Penni Holdham. The basic idea behind designing outdoor gyms and play areas for older adults or those with mobility challenges is to help improve people’s overall health and fitness and reduce isolation. The park, located at the Lloyd Kelly Parkette behind the Red Apple, will provide 24/7 outdoor space with activity stations that have no barriers to access. 

"We are very proud to deliver the first Seniors' Play Park in our area, generously funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation,” said Penni Holdham.  

The most recent population data available indicates that 50 per cent of people living in Fenelon Falls are over 55 years of age. Seniors Play Parks are designed for older adults looking to safely maintain their flexibility, agility and mobility through use of low-impact equipment geared for gentle exercise while enjoying time with friends. It’s expected that the park will be an outdoor recreational space where seniors can engage in a range of stretching and balancing activities using the onsite, fun and easy-to-use activity stations. There will be no fees or set hours to use the park and all activities are self-guided.

“We are pleased to help provide opportunities for local seniors to stay active and socialize,” said Mike Perry, Executive Director of the City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team. “There are great health – and health care cost savings – benefits to keeping active and this kind of park really has great potential.”

The City of Kawartha Lakes municipality approved the park to be used for this purpose and will be taking care of its maintenance for the coming years. The park is scheduled to open this fall.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded more than $108 million to some 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario.  For more information, please visit: www.otf.ca

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Photo 1: (L-R) Construction Team Liam Brierley & Kevin Strybosch; Mike Perry, Executive Director, City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team; Penni Holdham, Fenelon Resident/Project Manager; Mike Barkwell, Vice-President, Fenelon Seniors’ Club; The Hon. Laurie Scott, MPP; Deputy-Mayor Doug Elmslie (Councillor Ward 3).

Media Contact:                       

Mike Perry, Executive Director      

City of Kawartha Lakes Family Health Team

55 Angeline St. North, Lindsay, ON, K9V 5B7

Ph: 705-328-9853 

Introducing the Trent Severn Waterway's "Trail Town" Program

Kawarthas Northumberland invites local businesses to be involved in Canada’s first ever waterway “Trail Town” program, featuring the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site of Canada as the trail. Similar programs elsewhere have created trail-friendly towns that successfully entice trail tourists into local business districts, generating millions of dollars in sustainable economic growth for small businesses.

“Benefits for participating businesses include the opportunity to increase revenue by engaging relatively low- impact trail visitors,” said Brenda Wood, Executive Director for Kawarthas Northumberland. “Participating businesses receive guidance on how to better serve paddlers, boaters, and land-trail users who seek to enjoy areas within two kilometers of the Trent-Severn Waterway. We provide a kit that includes trail information and history as well as a decal for their window, and an opportunity to participate in related retail promotions and tourism marketing as a Trail-Friendly business.”

Thus far, the communities of Campbellford, Hastings, Lakefield, Buckhorn, Lindsay, Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, Coboconk, Rosedale and Kirkfield have confirmed interest in becoming designated as Trent-Severn Trail Towns. Businesses within these communities can apply for “Trent-Severn Trail Friendly” designation. The program is voluntary and has criteria, including that staff be familiar with the waterway, provide friendly customer service, be knowledgeable of other businesses along the waterway, and maintain trail-friendly information. The program is intended to help local businesses serve trail users and to encourage trail users to patronize the businesses that participate. There is no cost for businesses to participate.

Interested businesses can contact partner@rto8.com for an application. The local contact for Fenelon Falls area businesses is the Chamber Office: 705-887-3409 or hello@explorefenelonfalls.com.

Watch for Heat Warnings to be issued this Summer

Submitted by the HKPR District Health Unit

When hot, humid weather hits home this summer, take precautions to beat the heat, the local Health Unit advises.

This summer, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit will issue public warnings in the lead-up to extremely warm conditions in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. A heat warning will be issued when day-time temperatures are forecast to be 31°C or higher, with a minimum day-time low of 20°C or higher, for two consecutive days. A heat warning is also issued if the humidex will be 40°C or higher for two consecutive days.The Health Unit will issue an extended heat warning when the same conditions apply, but the heat event is expected to last for three or more days in a row.

Notifications will be posted on the Health Unit’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/HKPRDHU) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/HKPRDHU) pages. Information is also available by calling the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.

“Heat-related illnesses can take a toll on many people, especially infants, older adults and people with chronic conditions,” says Melissa Johnstone, Emergency Management Coordinator with the Health Unit. “If a heat warning is issued, residents are encouraged not to overdo things and instead drink plenty of water and seek out cool places.”

During heat warnings, many municipalities open cooling centres where people can visit to beat the heat. Johnstone suggests people contact their local municipality for the locations of cooling centres in their community. People are also encouraged to:

  • Avoid going out in the sun or heat when possible.

  • Stay cool, and if possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall, library, community centre, or friend's house.

  • Stay in the shade as much as possible. If you plan to go outside during a very hot day, do so early in the morning or evening when it is cooler.

  • Avoid outdoor sports and physical activity.

  • Wear loose-fitting, light clothing and a wide brimmed hat.

  • Drink lots of water, even if you don't feel very thirsty. Avoid alcohol, coffee/tea and pop.

  • Check in regularly with vulnerable family, friends, neighbours and others who could be affected by the heat. These include children, older adults and persons with chronic illnesses. Make sure they are OK and are well-hydrated.

  • Avoid heavy meals that involve using the oven or other hot appliances.

  • Keep shades, drapes and blinds closed on the sunny side of your home, but keep windows open slightly. If you do not have air conditioning, use fans.

  • Keep lights off or turned low.

  • Take a cool bath or shower periodically, or cool down with cool, wet towels.

  • Never leave a child or pet in a closed, parked vehicle.

Enjoying the Not So Great Outdoors...

Submitted by Marina Hodson

It must be spring in Ontario when we move from dodging snowflakes to dodging black flies and it certainly is an abundant harvest this year!

Living in the country brings its joys and frustrations this time of year. As I move outside to plant my gardens and clear my flower beds, I am under constant barrage by my pesky little companions. In fact as I cleaned our vehicles of the salt and grime from the winter this weekend, I believe I had more mosquitos and black flies in the vehicles than remained outside. So what is one to do? Sure, hunkering down indoors is an option, but non-winter is short and we want to have an opportunity to enjoy it.

So I for one, opt to win the battle, even if I have some itchy scars to show for it. First and foremost in my arsenal is definitely good apparel.  Whether that is light coloured clothing to reduce attraction or my favourite bug jacket, I may not win a fashion contest, but it does keep me protected. Unfortunately there are times it simply gets too hot or uncomfortable to wear such items, especially the face veil and that is when I do opt to resort to the repellents. My personal favourite this year is the PIActive Deet free line.  While I have to admit that the 12 hour protection claim is likely extended by ten-fold, I have found it to be effective if re-applied and without the use of any Deet.

Of course as always, try to remove any standing water to limit the breeding cycle. Screen off water barrels, dump standing water that should not be around and add mosquito dunks to water you cannot or do not wish to drain. Made with a bacterium that kills larva, the dunks are safe for pets, wildlife and fish so can be used in bird baths and ponds. Lastly is a mosquito magnet or similar contraption to break the breeding cycle of the hatched adults. While none of this is perfect, it does seem to get me through the season relatively unscathed. At least until deer fly season!

In the end, every time you swat a pesky fly that just bit you, just remember, you may be itchy, but that bug is dead, so you still won!

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Our Journey...

Submitted by Marina Hodson

I recently attended a celebration of life and had the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be a part of a community. 

As I stood in the hallway of the standing room only ceremony, I was struck with how little it takes to become a part of something bigger than ourselves and what impact that has on our feeling of connection. The person being commemorated was not a politician, she was not rich and she did not hold a well-known position; yet almost 300 people congregated to remember her in a small community church.  So what does this have to do with active living? Don’t ever underestimate the impact your life and the little things you do will have not only on others but also on your wellbeing!

I am not going to pull up the scientific evidence (ok, I might later…), but leading a fulfilling and rewarding life not only makes every day rewarding, but it also provides us with the purpose to carry on into an age well beyond our anticipated years. I don’t think it is coincidental that Mother Teresa lived to be 87 despite a difficult life or that the Guinness Book of Record’s oldest volunteer was still active at 99 years of age. Feeling useful makes us want to contribute and to be happy to do so.

I know I wasn’t going to quote science, but…. it may be as simple as that according to Duke Medical School research, “Every increase of one point on the happiness score lowered the chance of dying due to any cause among participants by an additional nine percent.” Perhaps being kind and being part of our community just makes us happy which makes us live longer.

So as I reflect on that celebration of life and how happy she made herself by helping others, I can’t help but think that maybe we will all live longer if we make us all happier.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

[Media Release] Time to Fight Lyme

Submitted by Kendra Fleming

(CITY OF KAWARTHA LAKES) – The return of nicer weather means it’s also time for a ‘tick talk’ – a reminder to be on the lookout for blacklegged ticks that may spread Lyme disease.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit encourages local residents to avoid blacklegged (or deer) ticks. This type of tick may carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, an illness that can lead to recurring arthritis, neurological problems, numbness or paralysis if left untreated. With blacklegged ticks known to be present in many parts of Ontario, it’s important to take precautions.

“Blacklegged ticks settle on tall grasses and bushes, and then attach themselves to a passing person or animal,” says Dharminder Kaler, a Public Health Inspector with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Once attached, a tick will feed on the host’s blood. The longer a blacklegged tick feeds, the more it becomes engorged and the greater the risk it can spread Lyme disease to a person.”

To avoid blacklegged ticks, the Health Unit suggests you: apply bug spray containing DEET on your skin and clothing; wear closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts and pants; pull socks over your pant legs if possible; and stay on marked trails when walking in a nature area. To keep ticks away from your property, cut grass short and trim bushes and branches to let in sunlight. More tick prevention tips and additional Lyme resources are available on the Health Unit website (www.hkpr.on.ca).

After being outside, Kaler also suggests checking your entire body for ticks. It’s a good idea to have a shower as soon as you can to wash off any ticks. Put your clothes in a dryer on high heat for at least 10 minutes to kill any ticks that may be attached.

If you notice a tick on your body, remove it as soon as possible. There are many tick removal products available, so be sure to follow manufacturer’s directions. If using finely-tipped tweezers, grasp the head of the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull it slowly, straight out. Immediately after, wash the bite area with soap and water, or alcohol-based sanitizer.

People should see a health care provider right away if a blacklegged tick has been attached for more than 24 hours or is engorged (meaning it’s been feeding for some time). You should also seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of Lyme disease, such as skin rash, fever, headache and muscle/joint pain. If detected early, Lyme can be treated successfully with antibiotics.

If you have been bitten by a blacklegged tick, you can submit it for testing to the Health Unit. Ticks are tested for surveillance purposes only to see if they are the type that can transmit Lyme disease.

People can also identify ticks online through the eTick website (www.etick.ca). Using the online portal, submit a photo of the tick you have encountered. Within 48 hours, you will be notified if it is a blacklegged tick which is the type that may spread Lyme disease. The result is not meant to provide medical advice, but can help people determine if they wish to see a health care provider.

For media inquiries, contact:

Dharminder Kaler, Public Health Inspector, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2209.

Get Involved and Improve Your Health!

Submitted by Marina Hodson

You may be familiar with Margaret Mead’s famous quote:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

But did you know that it will not only change your community, it can also improve your health? Studies over the past 20 years, including an extensive Canadian Community Health Survey on Healthy Aging, have found that people who volunteer have lower rates of depression and mortality than people who don’t volunteer.

Evidence suggests that community involvement can have a positive effect on a person’s mental health by providing meaning and purpose and has been shown to decrease blood pressure in adults over 50 which may improve cardiovascular health. Rush University Medical Center reported that people with chronic pain experienced less pain and disability when they volunteered 1-2 hours each week.

And of course we cannot forget the positive feelings created by helping someone who needs it. So do something that will benefit both you and your community and may even change the world – Volunteer!

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Dirt-Free Gardening

Submitted by Marina Hodson

It would not be spring if I did not write at least once about gardening, but what about those of you who don’t have a green thumb or simply are unable to get out and get dirty? Don’t despair, gardening is still for you.

Whether you lack the interest, aptitude, or option to actually garden, it can still be a way to get outside and get involved. This time of year, options for gardening-related activities abound. Why not attend one of the many local plant sales, for example? Even if you have no intention to buy, similar to attending a yard sale, plant sales can simply be a fun morning out and a way to make some new acquaintances. Many of the plant sales are run by the volunteers of your local Fenelon Falls Horticultural Society and going to check out some of their meetings can be sociable and informative regardless of whether you choose to put your new knowledge into action. 

Looking for something on a bigger scale? While you have missed your opportunity for this year, why not check out Canada Blooms in 2020? Hosted in Toronto early each year, it is Canada’s largest garden and flower show and sure to put you in the mood for spring.  Of course, if you don’t want to wait until next year, you can always opt for one of Ontario’s Botanical Gardens or experience the splendour of Ottawa’s tulip festival, one of the largest displays of tulips in the world.

So whether you like to get dirty or not, take the time to stop and smell the roses. There is more to gardening than meets the eye.

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Finding Hidden Treasure...

Submitted by Marina Hodson

As spring continues to evade us, you may be trying to find reasons to venture outside for some fun and activity. Well the search is over, or just beginning if you try geocaching!

If you have ever driven through Highlands East in Haliburton around the area of Wilberforce, you may have seen the signs advertising the “Geocaching Capital of the World.” Don’t be fooled into thinking this is merely a tourism ploy - Highlands East is in fact rated as one of the top geocaching destinations in the world. Whilst I have to confess that I do not know what the criteria are that would add you to the list, I do nonetheless find it intriguing.

If you are not yet familiar with geocaching, it is the outdoor recreational activity of searching for and, ideally, finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website. Yes, it is a good old fashioned treasure hunt. With smart phones a common accessory, most of us have access to GPS (global positioning systems) at our fingertips and with a little bit of practice, you too can be a treasure hunter. You will definitely not get rich, as you will be leaving the treasure for the next seeker, so the joy is in the find. I guess it’s a little like catch-and-release fishing.

So, why not try an activity that you can do with the whole family or set up a little competition with your friends as a way to get outside and active?

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT

Mourning Winter...

Submitted by Marina Hodson

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As we approach the spring Equinox I enter stores to the Canadian salute of “I am so ready for this snow to be gone”.

I have to say, I probably am too. I have my first seeds sprouting in my living room and the snow is collected in ugly black piles in parking lots, but there is a part of me that mourns the departure of the season. I shall miss the sparkling “diamonds” of the early morning snow fall, the wonder of the snowmobile ride and the ability to assess my animal companions by the prints in the snow by my door each morning.

 So as one season departs, let us embrace the joy of spring! Put on your walking shoes and enjoy the feel of grass and pavement without the fear of falling as we await the first blooms. For me, it means a transition from my basement treadmill back to nature, and while I will miss the beauty of the sparkling snow banks, I will embrace the brown and grey surroundings as I transition. My heart beats in anticipation for gardening and healthy outdoor living as we move to the beauty of the greenery.

I know this is a difficult time in Central Ontario, but enjoy the anticipation and move back to the outdoors to stay active as we see the colours return. 

Your friends at the Kawartha North FHT