Gerontologists and family on the East Coast

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks…

I was at the WPC2013 in Montreal, the first week of October, and recently have been on the east coast for a couple conferences.

The Canadian association on gerontology held their annual conference in Halifax… which, is close to family for me! I presented some PDF research on categorizing dementia caregiver stressors across neurodegenerative diseases (AD, PD, MCI, DLB).


The typology shows that different symptoms, lead to different secondary strains (i.e. memory –> role-strain, motor –> constant vigilance) and this varies with disease. The implications of this are that we cannot provide the same support across all dementia caregivers.

I also did a workshop on Yoga for Parkinson’s disease, with a specific focus on application to this population from a pathological and physiological perspective, as well as some issues around current yoga research.

Aside from both of these, I got to teach early morning yoga classes for those participants who wanted to get some physical activity in before the conference sessions. I had a good group of 12 people both days… you know who you are, way to go! Thanks to Moksha Yoga Halifax, and my dear friend Jo, for letting us use your yoga mats! … and for the delicious breakfast date with your cutie!

After my workshop, I hoped in my car and drove up to Cape Breton Island. Let me tell you, the trees on the east coast are so incredibly beautiful this time of year. It was indescribable. The pictures don’t do it justice.

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I have a “boatload” of family in and around Nova Scotia (that’s what happens when your dad is 1 of 10 siblings!) and was lucky enough to see: 4 Cousin, 7 Aunts or Uncles, and Nanny … the one and only.  All who left me feeling spoiled and full of love … not bad for a 30hour trip to the Island and a 2-hour conference break!

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… and then my adventure continues in the NorthEastern United States. Stay tuned. Much love.

Chair Yoga

Last week I wrote (albeit, briefly!) about my experiences at The Canadian Association on Gerontology annual meeting (check it out HERE!). What I didn’t talk about was the interesting ‘Chair Yoga’ session put on by Annette Wertman of Ageless Yoga.

Annette is in the data analysis phase of her MA (at Simon Fraser University) examining “Yoga and the Older Adult: An exploration into pathways, barriers and experiences“. Her workshop focused on tips for offering chair yoga classes and the benefits she sees from her own teaching experiences. It was refreshing and inspiring to end the conference weekend with some yoga TLC – Annette, it was just what I needed! It’s great to bridge the gap between the research and yoga communities!

Chair yoga is the adaptation of yoga poses that use the chair (either seated or standing) for support. It can offer modifications for people who have difficulty getting up off the ground, poor leg strength or balance. It’s also easier on the bones and joints (especially knees). Annette offers this class to older adults, but chair yoga is also a great option for those who work in offices and schools to do during breaks throughout the workday!

Here are 3 of my favourite chair poses. It takes 5mins, so try them when you first wake up, during your lunch break or to help you get through that late afternoon slump!

1. seated twist (for SPINE). sit up tall and feel your sits bones on your chair. engage your core. place one palm on seat of your chair and the other on the arm or side. enhale and twist from your navel, waist, ribs, chest, shoulders, and neck. keep chin near your shoulder. to release, exhale and reverse twist.

2. warrior II (for HIPS). sit with your right leg resting across the chair, foot flat on the floor. reach back with your left leg, placing your left foot on the floor pointing out at a 45degree angle. you should feel a stretch through your left hip and feel supported by the chair on your right. hips should be square (as your hip flexibility allows), spine long, and shoulders away from your eyes. reach arms out in either direction.

3. legs up on chair (for RELAXATION!). lay on your back (on the floor) and place a bolster under your hips. rest your calves on the seat of the chair. take 5 mins to breath and feel the relaxing effects of the inversion. My Fave!

NOTE: if you live in the Vancouver area, Annette will be running a chair yoga workshop at the Vancouver Yoga Conference, so check her out!

much love.

I do gerontology

last thursday i boarded an early morning ferry, and found myself on the mainland.

ferry ride

I had a big conference weekend ahead of me at The Canadian Association on Gerontology. The first day, I took a great student workshop on how to “market yourself in gerontology”. I love re-connecting with fellow students and seeing all the successes they’ve had over the year (you know who you are!)!

conference basics – coffee, name badge, notebook, assigned seating

Over the next couple days I learned…

Senior & baby-boomer bloggers are taking over – seriously, they are adventurous and funny!

The influence of anticholinesterase inhibitor (anti-dementia medication) marketing on prescribing healthcare professionals – and how the advertisements (i.e., long term use) doesn’t necessarily match the research trials.

advertised use vs. that proven in clinical trials?


About a major new research initiative – The Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA)

The CCNA will create a Canada-wide network aimed at innovative and collaborative research. Researchers will be able to start applying to be part of this network this fall and workshops early next year will integrate the groups into one large network. This approach encourages Canadian dementia researchers to work together in new, collaborative ways to solve brain disorders.

The goals are:

  • Prevent neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, from occurring
  • Delay or slow the onset of neurodegenerative diseases
  • Improve the quality of life of those living with neurodegenerative diseases

You know I will be staying up-to-date to see how this rolls out and how I can get involved in this innovative initiative! If you want more information, there’s a great online webinar HERE .

Finally, I wrapped up the weekend eating amazing pizza at Novo Pizzeria

perfect pizza.

and hanging out with these two gents… lucky me! much love.

catching up.