Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sexual Health Resources for People with Disabilities

People with disabilities often have a hard time finding sexual health information because of myths and discrimination surrounding their sexuality. Some of the myths about people with disabilities, as identified by the Canadian Health Network, are:

  • People with disabilities don’t have any sexual needs or feelings at all
  • People with physical disabilities aren’t capable of having sex
  • People with developmental disabilities can’t understand their sexual feelings and don’t need sexual health information
  • People with developmental disabilities have a higher sex drive than people without disabilities and need to be controlled
  • Nobody would be attracted to a person with a disability

These myths are prevalent in our society and believed by many caregivers. Caregivers, whether they are parents, siblings, social workers or doctors, often act as information gatekeepers – deciding what information a person with a disability should have based on their discriminatory ideas about the sexuality of people with disabilities. As a result, people with disabilities have a much harder time getting sexuality education and good sexual health information.

The AIDS and Disability Action Program (ADAP) at the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities offers sexual health resources designed specifically for people with disabilities. We have five information booklets on sexual health available free of charge:

  • Know About HIV and AIDS
  • Know About Safer Sex
  • Know About Condoms
  • Know About Seniors and HIV
  • Know About Communicating with your Doctor

ADAP also sells Condom Educator Kits for $15. Included in the Condom Educator Kits are two instructor’s guides – one for HIV/AIDS prevention for people with disabilities and one for people with developmental disabilities, a wooden demonstrator, condoms, lube and the five information booklets listed above.

If you are interested in any of these resources please contact Claire at 604-875-0188 or toll free at 1-877-232-7400. You can also email her at

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Fostering a dog

Did you read the last post? Are you interested in becoming more active, but not sure you want the responsibility of a dog? Maybe you should become a foster parent to a dog. This means that you would provide a temporary home for a dog until a permanent home is found. The City of Vancouver Animal Shelter has a foster program and is always looking for new members.

There are lots of benefits to fostering a dog besides increasing your activity level:

  • animals that have endured hardship and could really use a loving home where they can get used to living with people again while waiting to find a permanent home
  • provides a great lesson in compassion, nurturing, and generosity to children in a home

What type of dog needs a foster home?

  • older dogs
  • dogs with health problems
  • mothers and puppies (Fostering a litter of puppies a great way for your family to experience raising baby animals without adding to the pet overpopulation problems)
  • dogs with behavioral problems or unaccustomed to living indoors
  • any dog who has been at the shelter for more than three months.

My family adopted an older dog and had a great experience. Older dogs need homes and are usually somewhat trained when they join your family - which makes the whole process of getting a dog easier on everyone! I think they also make more loyal and loving pets because they appreciate a good home.

If you are interested in joining the Vancouver foster program please call the shelter at 604-871-6888 (MUTT) or visit the Animal Shelter's website

If you live outside of Vancouver and are interested in fostering please email Claire at or call 1-877-232-7400 and I’ll help you find a foster program in your area.

Dog Ownership and Regular Walking

The Alberta Centre for Active Living recently reported on a study that examined the relationship between dog ownership and regular walking. The purpose of this University of Victoria study was to find out whether a sense of responsibility for the health and well being of the dog is the cause of the relationship between physical activity and dog ownership.

The results of their studied revealed:
· dog owners spend more time walking than non-dog owners
dog owners walked on average 300 minutes per week
· non-dog owners average 168 minutes of walking per week
· dog owners were also more likely to engage in mild or moderate activity than non-dog owners.

What conclusions should be drawn from this? Are dogs the newest exercise fad? The study showed that dog owners who feel a sense of responsibility or obligation for the health and well being of their dog are more likely to walk more. About 25% of dog owners were found to be not walking their dogs! The study’s results suggest that a caring relationship between the owner and the dog was the most important factor that led to increased exercise.

For more information on this study please visit the Alberta Centre for Active Living

Make your grocery shopping more efficient

By Rose Reisman

(NC)—For some shopping is a pleasure, for others it's a chore. Whichever it is for you, when you have a family, grocery shopping is a necessity.

I enjoy grocery shopping and I like to take my time picking the best-looking fruits and vegetables, scanning all the new product offerings and reading labels. The problem is, most of us don't have the time to enjoy the experience. Here are a few tips for grocery shopping that I developed as the national spokesperson for Balanced Living for McCain Foods.

• Make a good grocery list and stick to it, carefully crossing out items that are added to the cart. The best list is based on a weekly meal plan and meal planning is an important tool in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

• Keep the list in a handy spot like the fridge door. Jot down things when you're using them up.

• Start shopping from the outside aisles where you usually find the fresh fruits and vegetables – I call it the healthiest section of the store and starting there puts me in the right frame of mind to complete my purchases.

• In recent years food labels have changed significantly. Take a bit of time and become familiar with the labels. Being knowledgeable about labels will allow you to make better decisions in the grocery store. A good source of information about labels can be found at www.healthyeating

• Did you know that some words commonly used on labels such as "light" or "lite" can mean different things to different shoppers? The term "light" means that the food contains one-third fewer calories or half the fat of the regular product. "Lite," on the other hand, is often used to describe the product – light in taste, color or texture.

Try doing your label reading at off-peak times. Many supermarkets are open late so this may be an option that works for you. The shopping aisles are not as congested then and you'll feel more comfortable pushing your cart to the side to review labels more completely. If possible, avoid shopping on weekends or the day before a holiday because it's a lot easier to get help from a store attendant when you are one of only a few customers.

Finally, try to always shop at the same supermarket. Familiarity with the layout of the store means quicker and easier shopping! More information is available online at or www.

Rose Reisman, one of Canada's best selling authors and nutrition consultants, is the national spokesperson for Balanced Living on behalf of McCain Foods. This is the last in a series of four articles on how to achieve the Balance of Living Well in today's busy world.

- News Canada

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Good Health Tips: Fight afternoon slump

By J.C. Carroll

(NC)—Do you seem to run out of energy at the same time every afternoon? Feeling tired and lethargic is the price we pay for a jam-packed lifestyle, but mid-afternoon is a bit too early to come to a dead stop. There are solutions to this, say health consultants. With a little know-how, we can quickly feel more refreshed, alert and focused. Here's how:

• Take a walk or get some form of activity during your lunch break.

• Drink more water. Dehydration can often leave you feeling sluggish.

• Choose lunch options wisely. High-fat or high-carbohydrate meals may leave you feeling sleepy.

• Plan for a snack. Low blood sugar often contributes to lack of energy and difficulty concentrating. Choose a snack however, that is not high in sugar.

• Get some fresh air. Try to go outside for a few minutes in the natural sunlight.

• An aromatherapy mist, with fragrances like rosemary or clove, goes a long way to invigorate the senses.

- News Canada

Understanding Brain Stroke and Injury: A workshop for family and friends

GF Strong Rehab Centre, 4255 Laurel St. Van

When: June 24th, 2006 - 9:00 a.m. to Noon - in the Board Room

Facilitators: Karen McCombie and Jennifer Wonders

Still need more info? Contact Jennifer @604-737-6221.

Queer Summer Camp

Gab Youth Services is organizing a Queer Summer Camp for youth 25 and under. This year the invitation is being extended not only to Gab youth, but to any Queer or Straight Allied youth who would like to attend. This will be a free camp, but space will be limited to 25 youth due to funding.

The tentative location is Zajac Ranch which is on Stave Lake just north of Mission on August 26th till the 28th.

Feel free to visit or the Gab Youth web page

Gab is looking for 8 committed youth 25 and under who would be interested in being part of a planning committee as well as becoming youth leaders at the camp.

If you are interested in planning the camp, can attend the camp on August 26th – 28th and able to commit to weekly or bi-weekly meeting please email for an application form.


Friday, June 02, 2006

LGTB Health Matters – New resource launched!

LGTB (Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered and Bisexual) Health Matters, An Education and Training Resource for Health and Social Service Sector was developed to increase access to health and social services for LGTB people in BC and across Canada. It was developed by The Centre in partnership with the Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition as one of eight partnership projects that took place in different communities across the country in 2004-2005.

LGTB individuals continue to experience homophobia and transphobia in accessing health and social services. Many LGTB people also experience a lower health status than the general population. LGTB individuals indicate that they do not feel comfortable coming out to their primary health care providers who often have received little or no training on the unique health issues they face. They believe that they would not receive the best care if the service provider was uncomfortable with their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

“Access to culturally relevant health and social services for LGTB individuals is a matter of equity and reflects the equality that all Canadians are guaranteed under the Charter” says Gens Hellquist, Executive Director of the Canadian Rainbow Health Coalition.

For more information or to obtain a copy contact The Centre at or 604-684-6548. Available in coil bound hard copy or in PDF at

Got a question about asthma?

(NC) — When a child is diagnosed with asthma, it can raise a lot of questions and concerns for parents. For this reason, The Lung Association and the Division of Respiratory Medicine at The Hospital Children (SickKids) are pleased to present, Questions and Answers about Asthma - a parents handbook of information.

The book is free of charge and available by calling The Lung Association's Asthma Action Helpline at 1.800.668.7682 or at the AboutKidsHealth Family Resource Centre located at SickKids.

- News Canada

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Free publications on violence against women with disabilities

The National Clearinghouse on Family Violence (NCFV) offers free publications on a wide range of topics under domestic violence. Some of the topics covered are:

  • violence against women with disabilities
  • violence against women during pregnancy
  • violence against women who do not speak English or French
  • the link between violence against women and eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia)

Publications are available online in PDF or HTML form. They are also available in print and can be ordered online via the NCFV’s new Shopping Cart ordering system.

To explore this new ordering system and the NCFV website please visit:

The Community Advocate Support Line

The Legal Services Society of BC recently launched the Community Advocate Support Line (CASL). The CASL line will be operated through the LawLINE. CASL will be staffed full-time by a lawyer who will be available to provide brief legal advice and legal information to BC advocates in relation to certain client files the advocate is handling.

CASL anticipates their advice and assistance will generally be in relation to the following areas of law:

- income assistance;
- residential tenancy and other housing issues (including foreclosure);
- family law;
- employment insurance;
- Canada Pension Plan (including disability benefits);
- debt collection and bankruptcy;
- consumer contracts; and
- judicial review.

If you have a legal question regarding a client with a problem falling outside the specified CASL case priorities, please contact CASL and they will review the situation.

To access services through the CASL project, you must provide the CASL lawyer at the outset with the full legal name, address and phone number (if any) of your client. You will also need to provide the full legal names of any opposing parties involved in your client's legal issue. CASL’s professional responsibilities as lawyers require them to confidentially review and record this information. This means that before calling the advocate should generally obtain their client’s consent to release this information to the CASL project before calling.

The CASL line has requested that the phone number not be distributed because it only has one line and is for advocates. If you are an advocate and this service would be helpful to you please contact LawLINE for a referral at 604-408-2172 or 1-866-577-2525 (toll free outside of the Lower Mainland).

If you not an advocate, but are looking for legal information, advice or referrals you can call LawLINE at the above numbers as well.