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January 30 – the month is almost gone – I am questioning how to adjust my future.

What future are we looking for? How do you describe this future?

For most of the time-  our values, our spirituality makes a difference to how we see ourselves and others. To some – we may not have answers to what is occuring this the world and the evil that is occuring. To others- they don’t look around but turn inwards.

History does repeat itself, but have we learned from history? The negative daily information had made many look away and shrug their shoulders. Stop for a moment and think about what you can do that is in your incontrol, and not just take pictures of the disasters that are around you to post on social media – the big things may be out of your control. For this coming year I want to remember something that is not remembered but is really part of the global community.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 25 states:

“Everyone has a right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

For me to advocare for this standard has become important when I look at the future that COVID19 has exposed.

 

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor in Toronto. Research areas - health and equity, the nursing profession, Anglo Burmese culture Published in the areas of Nursing, health, racism, critical human rights

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Beirut explosion, COVID 19, Isaias leaves at least 5 dead – Human Sufferings

Beirut explosion, COVID 19,  Isaias leaves at least 5 dead – Human Sufferings

Listening to the different death occurring explosions, human-killing virus, and storms leave me feeling helpless. Are we helpless? Events that occur in producing social dislocation as noted are from internal forces such as disasters, persecutions, and intra-group armed conflict, the militarization of developing countries, as well as from external forces such as bombings and imposing wars from the Security Councils of other states. This displacement leads to the marginalization of many ethnic communities as well as many war-related deaths. All these traumatic events precipitated large groups of people to be dislocated with the next process being relocation and resettlement. This process results in the loss of many basic needs, the loss of loved ones, and unfamiliar cultural environments and communities. Dislocated persons become strangers in a new land with the loss of familiar sounds, sights, and smells.

What is missing around social dislocation is the discussion on the positive aspects of the human spirit. The destruction of traditional bonds of community and the new formations of the community is complicated and is unclear if the label social dislocation answers questions related to new realities of local-based networks and identities. Types of traumatic experiences are not the only variable in a person’s existence but attitudes towards life and the know-how in rebuilding, adapting to the present are part of a successful resolution (Sixsmith et al., 2014; Ungar et al., 2013; Polk, 1997; Fine, 1991) to trauma experiences.

Resilience is a useful concept regarding human populations as life for many is about the opportunity available for ‘that life’ to not just exist but to thrive. Resilience is part of the human experience from the time a human takes her\his first step. Falling due to balance and staying down is not an option for a toddler. They get up and try again. Reconstructing the self when allowed to do depend on social networks and economic policies. Social behaviour is constructed by reflecting on experiences the person has and interprets as positive and the reactions of others towards the same experience. Positive feelings can provide an impetus for repeating behaviours. To carry out daily life experiences many well-adapted individuals will seek help in unfamiliar environments. The ability to seek help is a transferable skill that not only shows resilience but also the ability to adapt. My question to myself and to you  – how are you adapting and thriving?

(some of the content is taken from my published chapter –

Social Dislocation, Adaptability, and Resilience in

Merle Audrey Jacobs (2015) Social Dislocation to Geographical Dislocation: Trauma & Resilience  (Ed). Toronto, APF Press. (refereed)

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor in Toronto. Research areas - health and equity, the nursing profession, Anglo Burmese culture Published in the areas of Nursing, health, racism, critical human rights

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Good Relationships are a 2 way experience – even with cats

Good Relationships are a 2 way experience – even with cats

I dedicate this blog post to my (Anglo Burmese) good friend Dean and his lovely Queen Silvia who passed away recently. She was the apple of his eye and bonded since birth. Looking at their relationship gives me hope for mine with Kayli and Bella.

 

I picked up, on July 9th with the help of my brother, 2 female kitties from the Toronto Cat Rescue https://torontocatrescue.ca/ around 7-8 months as they were found – sisters I am told and not feral. They are still learning their names which I changed as one was named Blue. Bella and Kayli are not my first cats, remember Daisy my last (2018) cat? I was close with all my feline family but this time our bonding is taking longer.

Interacting with them, I started to think about relationships because the first thing they did was to hide from me. If they could not see me all was well. So I kept them in my large bathroom for a few days. Safety was their number one goal as their food was not a problem – they ate when I was not around. No matter how much I felt love for them or spoke in a sweet voice, they were having none of me until on the 4th day they did not hide but stayed far so I could not touch them. Then I let them into my bedroom and locked the door so they could not hide in the rest of the home where it would be difficult to find them. Another step in the relationship. Now they live in the bedroom but still aloof. They know I bring them their food and treats – that’s nice but go away so we can eat. One step at a time. They have to learn to trust.

Made me think about how many other relationships are much the same. The lack of trust hinders a relationship where both parties can enjoy the interactions understanding the comfort level of each party. Sometimes letting another person into a paired relationship (they have each other – I am the outsider) can be problematic. I saw this as both would come and look at me and then one would run calling the other (they talk a lot to each other). There I was left alone. In human relationships, we can lock other people from joining our groups when we view them as intruders – the outsider who just is not one of us. They don’t look like us, speak the same language or behaviours that are different. We humans can learn from our furry friends – their loyalty and love when they trust you.

As the days went on since July 9, every day showed improvements. I could touch one or both on the heads when I was in bed and they were on the floor. Then they would run. Last night both Bella and Kayli jumped on my bed, (I am sure they did this when I was asleep) and allowed me to pet their heads – nothing more, and off they went after a few minutes. I was elated, wanting more but knowing the relationship was on their terms. I acknowledged that they now trust me a little more because when I am in the room they no longer hide but have begun to play non stop – but I must not go near them or off they go under the bed or chair where they love to sleep – that is where they still feel safe. Yes, I could grab them and force them to let me pet them, but I am building trust on their terms.

Take away thought – trust and feeling safe are the foundation of a good relationship even with other humans. Sometimes we have to wait for people to come and interact with us and not push them on our timeline. ©

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor in Toronto. Research areas - health and equity, the nursing profession, Anglo Burmese culture Published in the areas of Nursing, health, racism, critical human rights

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Did COVID19 make us count our blessings?

Did COVID19 make us count our blessings?

Models use mathematical equations to estimate how many cases of a disease may occur in the coming weeks or months. They help researchers simulate real-world possibilities in a virtual environment. COVID19 has provided researchers to understand how many cases occur linked to our behaviours.

Big moments like graduations and weddings not held in the usual rituals, meetings on Zoom or Skype, loved ones dying alone, no hugs as people were told to social distance and now wear masks. No more bumping into another person in a store and automatically saying “sorry’ even if they bumped into you. Humans are inherently social creatures where memories are made from interactions. The need to belong, to enjoy the company of others which is called bonding can be seen worldwide according to cultural norms and values. Social contact is said to influence our behaviour, cognitive, and emotional responses.

With the entry of COVID19 into our world, we have been experiencing Social exclusion which is in usual societal interactions an effective form of punishment. We know that Social Networks are part of the Social Determinants of Health in Canada. It is very important as we have learned from research that support from families, friends & communities is associated with better health. Those enjoying strong social ties appear to be at low risk for psychosocial and physical impairment. The lack of social support is associated with depression and other psychological problems and in some cases even mortality. In general, social support seems to be an important moderating factor in the stress process and it’s consequences to health.

COVID 19 has made us limit ourselves to engaging in social support other than virtually. Virtual humans cannot substitute the real human experience. Research has detailed that when people do even an easy task, and another person is nearby, they tend to do that task better than when they are alone. Research than placed virtual humans and found performance in the virtual human condition was worse than in the alone condition. We have learned the value of our relationships in a new way – sometimes the very relationships taken for granted. I have often said, “Love never dies”. Sitting with myself during social distancing, I have found this to be true. Loving relationships do stay with us even when we are apart.

With the above in mind, I understand that need for missing the extra hug from a grandchild, a face to face meal with parents, or a BBQ with friends. The new normal of wearing a mask has allowed for us to socialise and meet – even if it is in units of 2 to 3 bubbles. All this has allowed me to become more grateful for having family, friends, and work colleagues. I value all of them in my life with the differences and caring that each brings to our relationships. The flowers on this page are for all of you – saying thank you for being in my life.

Perhaps, COVID19 has made us count our blessings.

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor in Toronto. Research areas - health and equity, the nursing profession, Anglo Burmese culture Published in the areas of Nursing, health, racism, critical human rights

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Who is dying from COVID19 in Ontario: how do we move information to action!

Who is dying from COVID19 in Ontario: how do we move information to action!

8,430 Canadians have died from COVID19 in Canada. They are family and friends, not just a number. The News Media has helped us keep up with the information and presented how Seniors, Minorities and people in low-income neighbourhoods are more likely to be harmed by COVID19.

Cases continue to rise in Ontario and Quebec, the two provinces that have accounted for a majority of Canada’s death toll and caseload ever since the pandemic began. Living in Ontario prior to COVID we were fighting back against the Ford’s government cuts to education, social services.  People are out on the streets for Black Lives in Ontario, a good issue to promote a better society. What about being out protesting for “Seniors in LTC Lives Matter.”

Authorities have revealed that postal code data shows people in minority and low-income areas of Ontario are three times more likely to test positive than predominantly white and wealthy neighbourhoods. https://www.thestar.com/politics/provincial/2020/06/15/six-new-outbreaks-of-covid-19-in-ontario-nursing-homes.html.

Ontario has the highest number of for-profit care homes in Canada, with 57% of the more than 600 facilities owned or managed by for-profits with 17% fewer workers. Residents of for-profit nursing homes in Ontario are far more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and die than those who live in non-profit and municipally-run homes. Long-term care is the front line of Canada’s battle with COVID-19, accounting for as many as four out of every five deathshttps://www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca/index.php/for-profit-nursing-homes-have-four-times-as-many-covid-19-deaths-as-city-run-homes-star-analysis-finds/  Ontario’s home care system provides care to more than 730,000 Ontarians.

Doug Ford and his PC government are moving ahead with their new home and community care legislation. The new regime set out for home and community care dismantles most if not all public governance of home care. All remaining publicly owned & controlled home care would be transferred to an array of provider organizations including for-profit and non-profit organizations. The legislation is permissive, repealing the previous Home Care and Community Services Act and enabling the provider organizations to structure, contract, subcontract & run home care in an array of different ways that they would develop themselves. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aQpch2pYj3Utx7qdQ2CY5RO1lP2mcVSz/view  In May, the Toronto Star reported that “three of the largest for-profit nursing home operators in Ontario, which have had disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, have together paid out more than $1.5 billion in dividends to shareholders over the last decade.” Mike Harris( former PC Premier) has profited a lot from his part-time boardroom-based job with Chartwell. According to the Toronto Star, he was paid $229,500 last year. https://canadians.org/analysis/mike-harris-raking-profits-long-term-care-system-he-helped-create

As I was reading the news about COVID19 and LTC – it seemed distant. People’s lives are in danger and it has become a back page issue. Why are we becoming numb to the deaths in Canada and around the world? This is ageism. Are we upset about racism, LGBTQ injustices but not about ageism?

As Canadians, we need to ask this question – why are people who are unable to care for themselves, those who live in minority and low-income areas have a higher number of deaths in Ontario? Are we advocating for them? Write to your MPP in Ontario https://www.ola.org/en/get-involved/contact-mpp  – send them an email !!!!  as an MPP should help their constituents with petitions or raise this issue with the government. Doug Ford- Help us understand why you are not acting in the best interest of Ontario, but in the best interest of Mike Harris?

 

 

 

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor in Toronto. Research areas - health and equity, the nursing profession, Anglo Burmese culture Published in the areas of Nursing, health, racism, critical human rights

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