BC Care Providers Annual Conference 2015

The 38th Annual BCCPA Conference (BC Care Providers Association) was attended by two members of the Mennonite Benevolent Society Board, along with the entire Executive Team. We are grateful to a member of the MBS Board who offered their place in Whistler to reduce cost, permitting the entire Executive Team to participate.

The theme of the conference was “Sustainability through innovation”. There were more than 24 thought-provoking workshops, 60 speakers and over 70 vendors in the Exhibitor Marketplace.

Speakers included:

  • Dr. Darryl Plecas, MLA, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Seniors
  • Daniel Fontaine, CEO BCCPA
  • Robert Ghiz, former Premier of PEI and co-lead of the first Health Care Innovation Working Group (HCIWG)
  • Dr. Sacha Bhatia, Director of the Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care at Women’s College Hospital, Evaluation Lead for choose Wisely Canada
  • Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of geriatrics at Mount Sinai and the UHN hospitals, Provincial Lead, Ontario’s Seniors Strategy
  • Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, Professor and BC Leadership Chair in Medical Technologies at Simon Fraser University and Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation
  • Sharon Simpson, Director Communications and Marketing at Menno Place spoke on a panel on the topic, “Incorporating faith in a non-faith based care home (addressing spiritual needs of individuals in non-faith based care home).”

Topics included:

  • The Innovation Paradigm: Delivering Excellence and Sustainability in Continuing Care
  • Spiritual Care of People with Dementia: A Creative Approach
  • Creating a Change Platform: Quality Improvement in Residential Care “Safer Care for Older Persons in Residential Environments”
  • The Changing Face of Residential Care
  • Music for Living – Concerts in Care
  • How the Smartphone and mHealth Technologies will Transform Healthcare
  • Reawakening the Connection: A presentation on technology and person-centered care
  • Revisiting End-of-Life in Canada

The conference is a reminder that innovation is necessary in these changing times. As the demand for senior care increases, there is a need to provide care in new ways, to use technology to increase effectiveness and to collaborate in order to create synergy.

Dr. Darryl Plecas announced $50,000 in funding to the Health and Arts Society and Concerts in Care. Menno Place regularly enjoys the musical talents of the Concerts in Care program.

SafeCare BC Welcomes New Board Member – Jeanette Lee

Menno Place is pleased that Jeanette Lee. Director, Human Resources will be serving as the Not-for-Profit Employer Representative on the SafeCareBC Board.

Jeanette Lee has worked in the area of Human Resources for 18 years. She sees how the Continuing Care sector needs to be well-informed when it comes to occupational health and safety, knowing that care staff have the highest risk of injury at work.

Click to read more about Jeanette Lee and her role on the SafeCare BC Board.



Established in 2013, SafeCare BC (SCBC) is an industry funded, non-profit society working to ensure injury free, safe working conditions for long term care (LTC) workers in BC. SafeCare strives to be the industry leader in advancing injury prevention and safety training for LTC workers. We are committed to improving health and safety within the work place and responding to the needs and priorities of our members.

SafeCare maintains a strong emphasis on injury prevention in the field of long term care through the following methods:

  • Offering online/in-person learning for health care professionals working in the long term care sector
  • Improving health and safety protocols within the workplace
  • Providing management with training on creating and fostering an organizational culture of safety
  • Providing materials and resources to support safer workplaces.

Did You Know?

Continuing care workers experience more time-loss injuries than almost any other occupation.


Aging Together Abbotsford 2016 Conference – Isobel Mackenzie, Seniors Advocate

Aging Together Abbotsford 2016 is a conference for baby boomers and seniors. It took place over two days with educational workshops, expert speakers, as well as vendors and exhibitors that promote a full and healthy lifestyle for older adults. Presented by Abbotsford Community Services (www.abbotsfordcommunityservices.com), the conference was well attended with over 130 registrants who were engaged fully in the sessions, workshops and ongoing conversations that ensued.

Dan Levitt, Executive Director of Tabor Village and adjunct professor of Gerontology at SFU emceed the two day event. He said that he “hoped the next 2 days would help all of the participants grow in wisdom and although growing old may be a challenging chapter in life, it will also be a valuable and meaningful time in your life”. Dan’s engaging sense of humor and knowledge of the field of gerontology set the tone for the two days of information, networking and fun.

Greetings were brought to the conference by Mayor Henry Braun who affirmed Abbotsford as an Age-Friendly community with desire and initiative to continue providing services for seniors.

Before introducing Isobel Mackenzie, Seniors Advocate, BC, Dan shared Henry Fredrick Amil’s powerful quote, “To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.”

Isobel Mackenzie, Seniors Advocate, BC – Keynote Address

Isobel Mackenzie, Seniors Advocate, BC addressed the crowded room mixed with seniors, professionals, pastors and chaplains. With more than 20 years of experience working with seniors, Isobel MacKenzie brings a thorough, evidence-based, researched method to her work in advocating for seniors in British Columbia. Just prior to becoming the Seniors Advocate, Isobel was leading BC’s largest non-profit agency, serving over 6,000 seniors.

Isobel debunked a number of myths in her keynote address, such as the idea that seniors are a burden – that there is a great silver tsunami coming that will come by surprise and wash over British Columbia devastating everything in its path. She addressed the myth that all seniors are rich, stating the statistic that at age 65 over half the people are living on an income of $24,000 or less. There are 54,000 seniors in British Columbia who are living only on Old age Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement, a sum of $16,800 per year.

Isobel shared how well-meaning professionals are trained to make people’s lives as risk-free as possible and yet, it’s time to allow individual seniors to live at risk as they choose.

Another myth addressed by the Seniors Advocate was the idea that you will get dementia if you live to be elderly. Statistics show that four out of five people over 85 do not have dementia. An unintended consequence of creating awareness of Alzheimer’s for research dollars is that everyone fears that they will get dementia.

What about resident-on-resident aggression within residential care homes? For the first time, there is a benchmark statistic collected by the Seniors Advocate office. This says that between 425 and 550 reported cases resulted in harm in residential care. Although our aim is to have no aggression, this rate of aggression needs to be understood in the context of the 27,000 residents in British Columbia.

What about the myth that all elderly people will lose their driver’s license? Over 97% of seniors over 80 years old will pass the DMER test and not be subject to the DriveABLE test. From there forward, they will be able to renew their license.

The Seniors Advocate also shared that they are collecting statistics through the Senior Abuse and Information Phone Line as to how many seniors are being abused. As the benchmark numbers are being developed, Isobel noted that many of the reports of abuse were more than five years old, indicating an under-reporting of abuse incidents.

Her work ahead will include a Resident on Resident Aggression Review, Home Support Review and a Pharmacare Review.

Conference workshops at the Aging Together Abbotsford 2016 Conference ranged from Advance Care Planning; Financial and Estate Planning; Successful Aging; Privileges and Responsibilities of Driving; Intimacy Through the Years: Exploring Sex as we get Older; Travel Tips; Family and Friend Caregiver Tips; Heads up for a Healthy Brain; Healthy Smoothies and Laughter Yoga.

Aging Together Abbotsford 2016 – Wisequacks -Dr. Dave Hepburn and Dr. Rob Seeley

Keynote speakers at the Aging Together Abbotsford 2016 conference, Dr. Dave Hepburn and Dr. Rob Seeley, The Wisequacks. WiseQuacks is the most fun, informative and upbeat health show in the media today. Heard nationally across Canada and the USA every Sunday, this live call-in show allows you to talk to Dr. Dave Hepburn and Dr. Robert Sealey, both MDs (Masters of Deception), about any medical issue. (www.wisequacks.org)

With absolute hilarity and belly-laughter, the doctors shared how to live health for longer. Dr. Dave Hepburn shared the doctors orders to exercise, work on your sense of humour, keep your mind sharp, get enough sleep and learn to connect. With hilarious photos accompanying his talk, Dr. Dave Hepburn quoted from The Gesundheit Foundation and from his favorite philosopher, Willie Wonka, “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” Final thoughts were, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” Mickey Mantle.

Dr. Rob Seeley’s talk on How to Die Young at an Old Age touched on the eight important numbers for seniors as well as the Hits and Myths of Medicine. Myths include: everyone should take an aspirin a day; cell phones cause brain cancer; drink 8 glasses of water per day and only men have prostates.

Continuing their comedic talks, they shared the power of optimism in living long and truly living. Laughing 100 times a day is the equivalent of 20 minutes in the gym. The most influential factor in enduring happiness is that we are born into a wealthy democracy followed by education, spiritual path, happy marriage and large social network. The biggest single factor that we can control is our circumstances – reducing stress as effectively as possible.

The doctors shared multiple research studies, including research on happiness, optimism, anger and how using your money to help others is the most powerful factor to how it effects your happiness level. Quoting the Dalai Lama, they inspired the audience to really live, “What surprised me most about humanity is that man sacrifices his health to order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

They continued to bring laughter and inspiration through multiple stories and photos of the people on the island of Tanna in the South Pacific where they have both served the happiest people on earth, according to Conde Nast.

They quoted Walt Whitman who said, “Happiness – not for another place, but for this place. Not for another time, but for this time.”

They closed by saying that, “there ain’t much fun in medicine, but there’s lots of medicine in fun”.

TV Show features a resident of Menno Place – Deals with issues of aging






In January, Tina Dyck, resident of Menno Place was featured on a television show that deals with the issues of Aging. Her daughter, Lorna Dueck, is a broadcaster who is becoming increasingly aware of the issues faced by the elderly. Lorna Dueck is the host of Context.


On this episode of Context we hear from Ontario’s minister responsible for seniors, plus when was the last time you talked to a 101 year old? Get a peak inside the life of veteran and poet George E. Hart.


Context with Lorna Dueck is a weekly, half-hour, independently-produced television program. Our mission is to create boundary breaking media that reveals Christ. We explore news and current affairs stories from a Christian world view by looking into the stories and issues that matter to you.  Journalist and host Lorna Dueck and the Context team deliver media that explores peoples’ experience of God in the topical happenings of our day.

Produced from offices located downtown Toronto, in the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, the program first aired as a stand alone production in 2003, under the name Listen Up TV. The format is flexible, varies from week-to-week, and includes on-location reports, documentary style features, studio and double-ender interviews.

Context with Lorna Dueck is a production of Media Voice Generation, a registered Canadian charity incorporated in the summer of 2004. Through Media Voice Generation, the program is funded entirely by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations who believe Context with Lorna Dueck provides a crucial perspective on the most significant issues of our day, presenting a unique and valuable voice in Canadian media.

BC Seniors’ Guide – Would you like one? Download PDF or pick up at Reception

Would you like a BC Seniors’ Guide?

BC-Seniors-GuideThe BC Seniors’ Guide, 11th Edition is available for download or at the Receptionists desks (until supplies last).

Download PDF – BC Seniors’ Guide, 11th Edition

Order your own hard copy – call 1.877.952.3181

What’s in the BC Seniors’ Guide?

Information, Resources and Phone numbers for:

  • Benefits
  • Healthy Living
  • Health Services
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Personal Security
  • Finances
  • Much More!

Message from the B.C. Government

As the population of British Columbia continues to grow, and grow older, we need to support seniors to be as healthy and as independent as possible. We know that older adults prefer to age in their own homes and communities, and may need access to appropriate services and supports in order to do so. The Government of B.C. is committed to promoting healthy, active aging, and providing information and resources about the services seniors and their families and caregivers need to make good decisions about their health, care, and overall well-being.

The BC Seniors’ Guide is a prime example of this commitment. While more and more seniors are accessing resources online, many seniors tell us that they would rather receive information that they can hold in their hands. With the BC Seniors’ Guide, we make a wealth of useful information available in print and online, in Chinese, English, French, and Punjabi, to reach as many B.C. seniors as we can. In addition, government partnered with the First Nations Health Authority in 2014 to adapt the BC Seniors’ Guide into a new BC Elders’ Guide for First Nations and Aboriginal older adults. You can find the BC Seniors’ Guide and the BC Elders’ Guide online at www.gov.bc.ca/seniorsguide.

In this guide, you will find information and resources on benefits, healthy living, health services, housing, transportation, personal security, finances, and other services. In addition, there is a listing directory at the end of the guide, and questions in each section to consider as you plan to remain as healthy and independent as possible as you grow older. We hope the BC Seniors’ Guide will help you find what you’re looking for.

For more information on government support for seniors, visit the SeniorsBC website at www.SeniorsBC.ca.

The 11th edition of the British Columbia Seniors’ Guide was printed in 2015

Information may change from the time of publication. Visit www.gov.bc.ca/seniorsguide for periodic updates to this guide, as well as translated versions available in Chinese, French and Punjabi.


White Cane Week 2016: Feb 7-13


Held annually, White Cane Week is to create awareness of issues that confront the blind and vision impaired community. Just as important, demonstrate ability over disability to others as well as themselves.

By the Numbers:


Approximate number of Canadians with significant vision loss


Number of times more likely that people 60 and older with vision loss will be clinically depressed, compared with those with good vision

> 15 million

Number of children for whom Lions Club International has provided eye screenings, glasses and other treatments

> 50,000

Number of Canadians each year who lose their sight

> 5.5 million

Number of Canadians with a major eye disease that could cause vision loss


Approximate percentage of children CCB mobile clinics have found to have previously undetected vision problems, including being legally blind


Number of eye hospitals built by Lions Club International


Year the CNIB was founded to serve veterans returning home blind from the First World War

285 million

Estimated number of visually impaired people worldwide

> 80,000

Number of titles in alternative formats, including braille and accessible audio, at the CNIB Library

> 90%

Percentage of the world’s visually impaired population living in low-income settings


Sources: Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB), Lions Club International, World Health Organization

I’ll Take a New Lease on Life, Please

What if life were like a drive-through restaurant and we could order up a “new lease on life”? Would you be interested in ordering one for yourself this year?

I’m not sure where you go to order up a lease for happy, renewed energy in life, but I know that I’ve seen them here handed out here on our campus of care for seniors.

In general, elderly seniors are not expecting a new lease on life. Many of them have lived full and meaningful lives that feel “complete”. They have invested in people, in relationships, in travel, in adventure, in love, in ministry and careers. They have lived full and meaningful lives and may not feel like they need or deserve a new lease on life.

When hardship comes upon them in old age, it’s both expected and shocking. They’ve seen their friends and loved ones suffer from disease, from pain and loss. They know it’s “out there”, but when it comes home to them, it comes as a surprise and a challenge.

And yet, even in this surprising hardship there are stories of elderly seniors who are experiencing a new lease on life. This too, takes them by surprise as they see how God is giving them hope and joy. Sometimes, it’s a crisis that brings them into a new lease on life. Sometimes, it just “sneaks up on them”.

One senior came to live in the apartments at Menno Place because he was exhausted. He cared for his wife for many years and had run out of energy. After she passed away, he didn’t have the capacity to carry on by himself. He didn’t know how to cook and didn’t want to learn. All he wanted was to sit on his chair and watch the geese fly by, watch the sun rise and sit and watch the leaves turn red and fall from the trees. He needed to rest – and rest he did. It took two years for him to feel rested.

In his new home he formed new friendships, learned of others’ stories of care and grief. He felt supported by his new friends and joined a Bible Study. The chaplain asked him to lead the Bible Study from time to time and he did. He started to enjoy himself. He found a new rhythm.

Suddenly, one day, he had the thought, “this is a new lease on life”… a new era, a hopefulness that was unexpected after the dark days. He said this all with a smile of contentment. It had snuck up on him. He was surprised and satisfied with his new realization. He was experiencing a new lease on life.

Not everyone would expect that moving onto a campus of care could give a new lease on life, but it is a common experience for seniors. After struggling with increasing needs, they finally land in a place where their needs are met with dignity and kindness.

Caregivers can also find a new lease on life after their spouse passes away. For years, they devout themselves to their vow to love “in sickness”.  Daily they serve and visit with a spouse who may no longer remember them, who may have incredible chronic pain or who is suffering the effects of debilitating illness. One day, their loved one breathes their last and sorrow is mixed with relief. The suffering is over.

Can a new life begin for that caregiver? Is it possible to find a new lease on life as a widow or widower?

I know from my many conversations with seniors that there is profound guilt at carrying on after a loved one has passed away. There can be a sense that their loved one didn’t “deserve” their hardships and a deep desire to transfer the pain to oneself. And yet, they could not take on the pain or suffering. Their love and support for their spouse is all that can be done. And when the spouse passes away, is there a possibility of a new lease on life?

On our campus, there are deep friendships among the widowers who have cared for ailing spouses. They share their stories, but they don’t need to. Sometimes one sentence is all that they need to connect. They understand each other’s lives. They have lived the same dedications, the same stresses, the same undying love. And now, these friendships with their depth of understanding are a gift – a new lease on life.

Jesus, in His kindness looks at His created people with compassion – the young and the old. He looks over the crowds and feels kindness and understanding. He sees that we are like sheep without a shepherd. He knows that we need His love and His guidance, no matter what our age. He knows that we need full and meaningful lives – He promises us to give us abundance in our lives, even more than we can dream of. (John 10)

And yet, those who spend their lives trusting in God for their hope and strength are often guided by Him through a “dark night of the soul”. This is a time where spiritual strength feels like spiritual weakness, where understanding of God and His ways is unclear, foggy or confusing. It is a time of sorrow mixed with joy – a time where God feels distant or even absent.

And out of this dark night of the soul, seniors testify to a new lease on spiritual life. It’s a slow renewal as God guides us through doubt and into faith. It’s a time when we rely on the community of believers to be strength for us when we can’t find it within. It’s a time of incredible awareness of our own weakness and need for others and for God. This is the testing of our faith (1 Peter 1:6-9). Through this comes perseverance and inexpressible joy. A spiritual new lease on life!

This joy… this is the abundance of life promised. Joy in suffering. Peace in confusion. Hope in hardship. Love and understanding from the community around us. It is difficult to thank these people or God for the support because words don’t convey a fraction of our hearts.

So, what is a new lease on life? Is it a feeling? Is it a circumstance? Is it both?

It’s a person or situation that makes someone happy or healthy or gives them new energy. A new lease on life doesn’t somehow magically balance the prior hardship to erase or dismiss the past. It doesn’t forget the journey and the suffering. A new lease on life is an injection of hope. It’s an injection of joy. It’s an injection of peace.

Perhaps the hardest part of embracing a new lease on life is recognizing that it can happen in ways that are unfamiliar to us, like moving onto a campus of care, receiving help from a homecare giver or even going through the “dark night of the soul”.

So, if life were like a drive-through restaurant and you could order up a “new lease on life” this year, would you do it?

Sharon Simpson is the Director, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement at Menno Place

Karen Baillie Elected Vice-President for BCCPA

The BCCPA is pleased to announce that Karen Baillie, Menno Place CEO, has been elected as our new Vice-President. Baillie is now slated to become the next President of the BCCPA. The next AGM will be held in conjunction with our Annual Conference being held in Whistler on May 29-31.

“It’s great to have someone with Karen’s experience and background take over as our new vice-president,” says Elaine Price, President of the BCCPA. “Under her leadership our organization is poised to build even further on the incredible momentum we have generated over the last few years.”

Baillie is the Chief Executive Officer of Menno Place, a campus of care operated by the Mennonite Benevolent Society in Abbotsford, British Columbia since 1953. Menno Place serves more than 700 seniors with a staff of 600. Karen has more than 35 years experience in geriatric care including executive and senior management positions in administration, staffing, resident services and nursing.

Prior to joining Menno Place, Karen served as the Executive Director of Laurel Place in Surrey and at Vancouver’s first campus of care, Haro Park Centre. She also participated in opening St. Vincent’s Langara in 1991 for Providence Health Care. Karen began her leadership in the residential care sector in a 30 year-old family-owned business which operated three small care homes.

“This is an incredible honour for me to be in a position to lead an organization I feel so passionately about,” says Baillie. “The BCCPA has a proven track record of being an extremely positive influence and catalyst in helping to shape the future direction of BC’s continuing care sector.”

Baillie has worked extensively with non-profit Boards and with private ownership facilities. Her association with the BC Care Providers began in 1980 when it was organized as Pri-Care. She is currently the vice-president for the Board of SafeCare BC. She is also the recipient of the 2015 Chapter Award for Distinguished Service for the Canadian College of Health Leaders, BC Lower Mainland Chapter. In 2011, Karen was awarded the prestigious Surrey Women in Business Award in the Professional Category.

As Vice-President, Baillie automatically assumes the role as Chair of the Governance Committee. The Committee is tasked with the responsibility of recruiting new board directors for the BCCPA.

“We are always on the lookout for members who are interested and willing to contribute back to the sector by volunteering on our board,” says Baillie. “Anyone interested in joining the BCCPA Board next year should reach out to us as soon as possible.”

Menno Place Welcomes SimpeQ Nurses

The difficult decision to contract out RN and LPN positions at Menno Hospital was made in the face of a $1.62 million deficit. The Mennonite Benevolent Society Board made the decision, giving notice of layoff to the 11 full-time and 18 part-time nurses at Menno Hospital.

The positions were contracted out to SimpeQ Care, Senior Services (www.simpeq.ca) and the transition to the new nursing team has gone smoothly. SimpeQ is an award-winning provider of value-added staffing within the senior health care industry and shares many of Menno Place’s values with their own acronym: SIMPEQ: Service – Individual – Meaningful – Positive & Proactive – Energetic – Quality.

We were delighted that many of our nursing staff have applied to work with SimpeQ moving forward. This has created a smooth transition with familiar faces for our residents. The nursing staff have regular shifts (lines of work) ensuring consistency in care for the residents.

Health Care Aides, who provide the care at the bedside and assistance with daily living have not had any change in their work schedule. Their consistency at the bedside has been an additional source of familiarity and comfort for the residents and their families.

Thank you to our residents and families for the support we’ve received throughout this transition.