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Aug 222017

(NC) Did you know that some of the vaccines you received when you were young won’t protect you forever? While you may know of a handful of vaccinations that are needed in adulthood, there are some that you probably didn’t know require additional doses.

“When you get vaccinated against a disease, you build up your immunity, making you stronger and more resistant to that disease,” explains Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health. “It’s important for adults to keep their vaccinations up-to-date, especially seniors and those with high-risk medical conditions.”

The protection offered by some vaccines only lasts for a certain amount of time. Having the right vaccines according to your age will ensure you keep yourself and those around you healthy.

The vaccine that protects against pertussis or whooping cough, is required once in adulthood. Vaccines that protect against tetanus or lockjaw, and diphtheria — a serious disease of the nose, throat and skin — are required every 10 years. Pneumococcal vaccine that protects against pneumonia and the shingles vaccine are recommended at age 65.

If you have special medical conditions or other high-risk factors, you may need additional vaccines. Women who are thinking about having a baby should also make sure they are up to date with their vaccines to protect themselves during pregnancy to keep the baby from contracting a serious disease. Talk with your doctor or nurse practitioner, or the local public health unit to learn more.

You may also need vaccines when you travel outside Canada. Check in with your health professional two to three months before you travel, especially if it’s a country where vaccine-preventable diseases exist.

More information about Ontario’s publicly funded immunization program and school immunization requirements can be found online at Find your local public health unit at

Attention editors: This article is for distribution in Ontario only.

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Jul 132017

(NC) Through the touch of a button and the click of a mouse, we can now make countless decisions and transactions in the privacy of our own homes without speaking to anyone. However, nothing quite replaces a relationship with a professional who knows more about a product or service than you do. In a recent survey, over half of Canadians indicated that they do not have a relationship with key professionals. Take a look at how these people can help you.

Lawyer. Useful for more than just suing somebody, lawyers can help you to prepare a will, purchase property, or set up a family trust.

Insurance Advisors. Chartered Insurance Professionals (CIPs) can help you figure out the small print in your home insurance policy to make sure you’re protected against floods, fires and other disasters; yet only 26 per cent of Canadians have a relationship with a CIP. They can give you the peace of mind that should the unexpected occur, you’ll be covered and supported.

Bankers. Online banking has eliminated the need for a personal banking relationship for most people. But working with a trusted banker can be helpful when applying for a loan or mortgage. Bankers can explain in simple terms the ins and outs of interest and other conditions of the loans, as well as answer all your questions on the spot.

Accountant. Tax season happens once a year, but 71 per cent of respondents indicated they don’t have a professional relationship with an accountant. Accountants can help you ensure you are filing your taxes correctly, and haven’t missed any boxes or claims.

Financial Advisor. These money experts are the professionals with whom most respondents said they have a relationship. They can assist in investments, business advice, and planning for your kids’ education or your retirement.

Find more information at

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Jun 132017

(BPT) – Most of us save and plan for decades to enjoy the period of our life when we no longer need to go into the office and work an eight-hour day for a paycheck.

But even with those decades of hard work, it can be tough to save up enough cash to cover all your costs in retirement. Many soon-to-be-retirees face a shortage between what they saved for retirement and what they actually need to live on.

For homeowners, that may be a problem that’s relatively easy to solve. Tapping into the equity in your home can help you stretch your nest egg quite a bit further.

Use a home equity loan or line of credit

You can tap the equity in your home with a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (known as a HELOC). A home equity loan works like most other loans: you agree to borrow a set amount of money, receive a lump sum, and pay that back with interest and in installments each month.

A HELOC works a little differently, because it’s not a loan with pre-determined monthly payments. Instead, it’s a revolving line of credit, similar to a credit card. You usually have between five and 25 years to borrow against a certain amount of equity and repay (with interest) whatever you take out.

The time during which you can use the HELOC is called the draw period. The line of credit revolves during this period, so you can borrow and repay the balance multiple times. The total amount is due back in full with interest at the end of the draw period. Any time you have an amount outstanding, you will make monthly payments.

You can use a HELOC or home equity loan during retirement, but remember that you will need to pay the money back. You should have a plan in place for how to repay the funds — and the interest — before you agree to take a loan or a line of credit on your home.

Use a home ownership investment

A home ownership investment is a powerful way to unlock some of the equity in your home without taking out a loan.

The Unison HomeOwner program can unlock up to $500,000 of your home equity and the money can be used for anything you want — including paying monthly expenses, paying off debt or making home improvements. Because it’s a home ownership investment, not a loan, there are no monthly payments and no interest charges. Learn more at

Unison invests in the home alongside you. In return for the company’s investment in your home, they receive a portion of the future change in the value of your home. Unison shares both the upside and downside risk with you. When you choose to sell your home, up to 30 years later, if the home value rises, both you and Unison share in the appreciation. If the home value falls, both you and Unison share the loss.

Consider a reverse mortgage

A reverse mortgage can allow homeowners 62 years or older to turn equity in their homes into cash in a way that provides them with the income they need through retirement. You can get your cash in a lump sum or in monthly payments, or in a line of credit.

But it’s important to remember that a reverse mortgage is still a loan that comes with origination fees and interest charges. It requires that you have no other debt on your property, so if you have an existing mortgage loan, you will have to repay that in full from the reverse mortgage proceeds. You will also need to pay the reverse mortgage loan back when you move out of the home, sell it or pass away.

A reverse mortgage can give you income in retirement and whenever the home is sold, the money is used to pay off the loan. However, reverse mortgages can cause a lot of trouble if you’re not careful, and the high fees that you incur when you sell the home can leave you in a worse financial position than if you skipped the reverse mortgage altogether.

Jun 042017

(NC) Travelling by air in the busy summer season can be challenging, especially for seniors with limited mobility or

Thursday, September 15, 2016 – Calgary, Alberta – Calgary International Airport (YYC) is shown on Thursday, September 15, 2016 for security protocol and how non-passengers screening works for The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. Photo by CHRIS BOLIN / For CATSA –

specific medical needs. Here, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority shares their top tips and information that can make the passage through security a little easier.

Most liquids, aerosols and gels in carry-on baggage must be in containers of 100 millilitres or less, but this rule doesn’t apply to prescription and over-the-counter medications. To assist screening officers, leave these items in the original manufacturer’s packaging or with pharmaceutical labels intact so they can be easily identified.

While passengers are often limited to one or two carry-on bags, medical supplies, equipment and mobility aids don’t count toward that limit.

For those with mobility issues, CATSA has ceramic canes available to traverse the walk through the metal detectors. Passengers in wheelchairs or with implanted medical devices — such as pacemakers, ostomies or joint replacements — have additional options and should communicate their needs clearly with screening officers. A private search is available on request.

Find more air-travel tips on CATSA’s website. Agents will also take questions toll-free at 1-888-294-2202 during regular business hours.

Jun 012017

(NC) Children are never too young to learn basic financial skills. The earlier you start, and the more you teach them, the easier it will be for them to navigate the complexities of personal finance as they grow up. While some schools are now adding financial literacy into the curriculum, there’s an important role for parents to play in teaching kids how to manage their money. Here are some ways you can help your kids become financially literate.

  1. Nothing in life is free. How many times have your kids asked for a new toy, with no understanding of the cost? Even young children can be taught the concept that things cost money. Let them know how much the item they’re asking for costs, and compare it to the costs of other items. It won’t register right away, but it will introduce the idea and give them something to think about.

  2. An allowance. A great way to start teaching your children about money is to start giving them some. Help them set a savings goal. Is there a special toy they want? How much does it cost, and how much do they need to save to buy it? The allowance doesn’t have to be a lot––even a small amount will help teach them the value of saving.

  3. Earning their allowance. You can take this one step further, and create a special list of chores. You may want your kids to pick up their toys, do their homework, or bring their dishes to the kitchen without any specific reward, but for larger chores, consider letting them earn a token amount that they can put towards their savings.

  4. Open a bank account. Now that your child is learning how to value money and save, it’s probably time for them to open a bank account. Start getting them more familiar with words like compound interest!

  5. Give a little (or a lot). An important lesson in life is learning that there are people who need a hand up. Now that your child is saving, don’t forget to talk to them about charity, and why giving to others is just as important as saving responsibly. Talk to them about charities you support and why. Habitat for Humanity Canada is a great example, because they don’t offer a handout, but a hand up. It’s a smart investment too — for every $1 you donate, there are $4 in benefits to the community.

Scott McGillivray is the star of hit TV series Moving the McGillvrays and Income Property on HGTV Canada and proud supporter of Habitat for Humanity Canada. Learn more at

May 282017

Thursday, September 15, 2016 – Calgary, Alberta – Calgary International Airport (YYC) is shown on Thursday, September 15, 2016 for security protocol and how non-passengers screening works for The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. Photo by CHRIS BOLIN / For CATSA –

(NC) Travelling in the summer, the busiest time of year at Canada’s airports, can mean longer lines. Here are some tips to speed things up before you even leave for the airport recommended by the experts at the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

Dress for screening success. Avoid wearing large metallic accessories, such as heavy jewelry, big belt buckles and shoes with metal pieces that will set off the metal detector.

Pack for security. Place small electronics in your carry-on and leave them there for screening. Only large items like laptops and game consoles need to be taken out and placed in bins. If you’re packing liquids, aerosols or gels in your carry-on, make sure they’re in quantities of 100 millilitres or less and are placed together in a clear, resealable one litre plastic bag. Medications, as well as liquids for children under two years of age (such as milk and juice), are exempt from this rule, but any other liquids exceeding the limit must be packed in checked baggage.

Arrive early. This is especially important during busy periods, like summer and the holidays. Giving yourself plenty of time to get through security will reduce stress and allow you time to enjoy the airport amenities.

Ask questions. You can check out CATSA’s website or mobile app for more tips to help you breeze through security. You can contact them on Facebook and Twitter to ask questions if you need clarification or more info.

May 262017

(BPT) – Mental health disorders impact thousands of people every day, including many of our friends, neighbors and co-workers. Everyone reading this likely knows someone struggling with mental illness and is aware of the toll it can take on individuals, families and communities. Mental health challenges do not discriminate — they affect people from all walks of life regardless of age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic level.

While stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders impact an estimated 43 million adults nationwide each year, the World Health Organization reports that only about one in four people with a diagnosed disorder is likely to pursue treatment.

Unfortunately, barriers prevent people from getting the mental health care they may need. The reasons are many. Consider these statistics: 4,000 areas in the U.S. have only one psychiatrist for 30,000 or more people; the average waiting time for a first psychiatric visit is 25 days; and stigma is the fourth highest-ranked barrier to help-seeking.

The good news is that people who access care more quickly may be more likely to engage in their treatment and have a better outcome. With the right treatment and support, people can recover from mental health disorders to live healthy, self-directed lives as valuable members of their community. Sometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge from a friend or loved one to help someone take that first step on their path to recovery.

For some people, that best first step may be a virtual visit with a mental health provider via a mobile device or computer. For many, access to virtual care may already be available as part of their health care benefits.

Virtual care can shorten wait times for an appointment, fit work and personal schedules, and eliminate travel time and expense. An appointment conducted in the safe, comfortable environment of home may reduce stigma. And, research shows that outcomes of a virtual visit with a mental health provider are similar to in-person sessions for multiple disorders.

Raising awareness and reducing stigma around mental health issues are keys to supporting well-being within our communities. Today, people can access effective, proven treatment in a variety of formats, including using video-calling technology. It’s up to all of us to reach out and encourage our friends, neighbors and family members in need to access these available resources.

For more information and links to recovery support resources in your area, visit To learn more about available health care benefits, call the number on the back of your health plan identification card.

May 252017

(NC) With winter ending and warmer weather approaching, the time is right to think about spring and summer cruising in some great wheels. If you’re in the market for a vehicle this season, there are some things you can do to make the experience interesting, rewarding and satisfying.

By analyzing your driving lifestyle, choosing the vehicle and power that’s right for you and doing your fuel consumption homework, you’ll be driving in style in no time — with money in the bank and a green mindset. Whether you’re looking for a new or used vehicle, check out these tips to get you started:

  1. Analyze your driving needs. Where do you live? What do you do? How will you use your vehicle? How many people and things will you carry along with you? How much will you travel each day? Do you need to tow a boat to your cottage? These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself to get a realistic idea of the size and type of vehicle you’ll need.

  2. Analyze your choices. Gasoline, diesel, electric or hybrid are your basic power choices nowadays and each has its advantages depending on your driving needs. Do your research to find out which combination of pros and cons works best for you.

  3. Avoid temptation. There are some thirsty, fuel-guzzling vehicles out there and they’re not all pickup trucks or large SUVs. You can find a vehicle with moderate thrills that won’t cost a bundle to fill up or maintain.

  4. Think light, think small, think efficient. Why buy a bigger, more expensive vehicle when a smaller, greener one will do? Help protect the environment for future generations with a more fuel-efficient vehicle that produces fewer greenhouse gases.

  5. Do the math. Check the EnerGuide label on the vehicle for the fuel consumption ratings. For example, a vehicle with a fuel consumption rating of seven litres per 100km would use about half the fuel than a vehicle with a rating of 14 litres per 100km. If you’re looking to purchase a used vehicle, fuel consumption ratings are available on websites such as

May 232017

(NC) Ever wonder how the coldest, most northern parts of our country are safeguarded? Located in 200 remote, isolated and coastal communities across the country, Canadian Rangers are the military’s eyes and ears in the north. Their motto is Vigilans, which means “The Watchers.”

Canadian Rangers have been around since 1942, when they were known as the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers and protected the coast of British Columbia from possible Japanese invasion.

Today they are part-time reservists who provide local assistance to search and rescue activities and offer support in moments of crisis, like during natural or man-made disasters and humanitarian operations. For example, they’ve helped with the avalanche at Kangiqsualujjuaq in northern Québec and the drinking water crisis in Kashechewan, Ontario.

As part of the Canadian Armed Forces, Rangers have an important role in protecting national sovereignty. They conduct North Warning Site patrols, report suspicious and unusual activities, and collect local data of military significance.

National Aboriginal Day and National Aboriginal History Month are perfect opportunities to learn more about Indigenous people’s contributions to Canada. Many Canadian Rangers are Indigenous peoples, which include three distinct groups: First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Many of today’s Rangers are part of a long history of Indigenous peoples making significant contributions to our military, including during both world wars as well as on peace keeping missions.

Rangers support and participate in many events in their local communities, like Remembrance Day, National Aboriginal Day which takes place June 21st, and Canada Day. They’re also positive role models and educators in the Junior Canadian Rangers, a program that works with youth in isolated areas to improve their quality of life. For more information about the Canadian Rangers, visit

Find more information about National Aboriginal Day visit

May 192017

(BPT) – It can be hard to admit your vision isn’t what it used to be, especially when it comes to driving. Maybe you’ve noticed some difficulties reading traffic signals, or you’ve found it challenging to drive at night.

If you’re a family member noticing these warning signs in a loved one, pointing out these challenges may seem like a daunting and delicate undertaking. But when it comes to being on the road, safety is one thing you can’t ignore.

Encouraging your loved one to prioritize safety can be hard, especially when it feels like their independence is at stake. That’s why it’s important to have an open and honest discussion to determine the best options for maintaining independence outside the home.

Step 1: Address driver safety

Vision is the most important sense for driving safety. Annual vision screening is important for everyone, but it is especially critical for older people, since the sensory data used for driving is predominantly visual.

For seniors still able to drive, a defensive driving class can be beneficial. These classes allow students to brush up on skills while gaining confidence and introduce them to alternative transportation options for the times and locations of their preference. What’s more, many insurance companies provide discounts to seniors who complete these courses.

Giving up driving doesn’t have to mean choosing between all or nothing. For example, start limiting driving to daylight only, non-rush-hour periods. Then look into supplementary transportation options that eliminate the need to drive while still allowing you to get where you need to go.

Step 2: Research transportation options

It’s important to educate yourself or your loved one about locally available transportation options for seniors. When you know there are reliable, cost-effective transportation options available, it can help maintain a high level of independence for a trip to the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment.

Rides in Sight is a nationwide, online database of senior transportation options built by ITNAmerica, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing sustainable transportation options for seniors. Visit and enter basic information like your state or zip code, and you can find the ride option that’s best for your situation. If you prefer to access information by phone, call 1-855-60-RIDES (1-855-607-4337).

Rides in Sight makes it easy to find customized transportation, no matter what a person’s needs. For example, you can find wheelchair accessible transportation options or door-to-door driver assistance if that’s what you need.

Step 3: Implement a trial period

Giving up the keys is easier if you do it over a period of time. Pick a date and schedule your first ride with a transportation service during a time you normally drive. Any change takes time to adapt to, so try it out for a while before reassessing and making any necessary adjustments. After this trial period, you should feel more comfortable with someone else driving you, and you get to be in control of your mobility.

For older Americans, it’s important to be able to maintain independence when they limit or stop driving. When they are encouraged to create their own driving transition plan, more emphasis can be placed on finding new passions and activities to engage with their communities. The result is a positive impact on people of all ages.

To have that impact, reliable, secure transportation is essential. Having the necessary conversations and researching appropriate transportation options helps keep everyone happy, healthy and safe.

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