Communicating With Those Who Have Dementia

While there have been many dramatic advances in the world of medicine over the years, one area that is proven persistently difficult to conquer is dementia. While many of the brain’s mysteries have been effectively mapped, there is still much that even finest medical experts don’t know. This is especially unfortunate given not only what dementia does to people, but the fact that it is on the rise worldwide. As a result, there is a very good chance that you know someone who has dementia. That person may even be your spouse or a member of your family.

As dementia can have a drastic effect on the areas of the brain involved in comprehension and communication, interacting with someone who has, say, Alzheimer’s disease, can be a significant challenge. Here are two tips on how to make the process a bit less difficult:

Go easy on yourself

Working with someone who has a form of dementia is a learning process even for professionals who are trained for such a duty. If you are just an average citizen, and are only beginning to learn how things work in this area, you will inevitably make some mistakes. This can be especially troubling if the person you are communicating with is a friend or loved one. Nonetheless, try to go easy on yourself. Even professionals can find this to be quite challenging.

Change your thinking

While it is always worthwhile to learn new tips and even take a course on how to work with people who have dementia, it is important not to expect things to work in a conventional way. For example, it is fruitless to try and make an arrangement with anyone who has dementia. Try instead to be proactive and figure out an alternative that can help to rectify whatever the problem is.


Job Search Tips: References

When it comes to job search these days, discussion usually centres on how the Internet and digital technology have changed things. However, it is important not to forget that some of the basics of job search have not changed over the years. One of the key aspects that does not get as much attention as it deserves is References. Believe it or not, it is possible to make it all the way through job search and be on the verge of getting an offer only to have it torpedoed by one of your references.

Here are some tips to follow in regards to your references that can make or break your job search:

Choose the right people

While we are sure that your mom would like to help you get that job, you need to be a little more imaginative. Be sure to only choose people whose opinions and positions are relevant to the job you seek. It is one thing to have someone vouch for your character, but you really need more than that.

Be sure to have their permission

Just because you had a good relationship with your old supervisor, do not automatically assume that they would be willing to be a reference for you. Always contact potential references first and get their permission. Put yourself in their shoes: how would you like it if someone phoned you up out of the blue and asked for your opinion of someone without you knowing in advance? You might not handle it very well.

Coach them

There is nothing wrong with telling a reference what you would like them to say about you. Feel free to give them aspects of your career or experience to emphasize in conversation with the prospective employer. Also be sure to tell them things that you would not want them to say.


Is Green Tea Actually Good for You?

If you are looking for healthy foods and practices on the Internet, you can find all kinds of articles recommending all kinds of things. But how much of what you read is actually true?

For example, green tea has been widely celebrated as one of the most healthy drinks around. But does it actually live up to the hype? Thankfully, yes.

Can Green Tea Make You Smarter?

Not in the sense that it will automatically get you into Mensa, but it does contain the amino acid L-theanine, which increases the production of dopamine and alpha waves, both of which are beneficial for brain function. Improved brain function = improved performance. Doing a better job can make you feel smarter…or at least seem that way to those around you.

Green tea also contains caffeine, which can help you to function longer, but it does not contain as much as coffee or tea, so you get the good effects without overdoing it.

Green Tea Contains Antioxidants

Have you heard of antioxidants? These help to prevent the oxidative damage in your body which can lead to cancer. Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, but make sure that you do not put milk in your tea because this reduces the effectiveness.

Green Tea Can Kill Bacteria

Here is a green tea power you might not have suspected: germ fighter! Cavities can result from a build-up of bacteria in your mouth; green tea helps you deal with those germs by inhibiting the growth of streptococcus mutans.

Green Tea Can Make You Thinner

No, drinking gallons of green tea will not automatically cause you to shed those extra 20 pounds you put on over the summer. However, it does help to decrease the build-up of abdominal body fat and green tea is not the least bit fattening.


Unleash Your Creativity and Imagination

Everyone hits a creative wall sometimes. You find yourself staring at a blank screen, knowing that you must pull ideas and words out from within and commit them. There may even be a deadline looming, adding to your stress and potential agony.

Creativity often comes in bursts and disappears quickly.  This can be very frustrating for both designers, writers, and clients.  If you work in a creative field, there’s nothing more agonizing.

What is creativity? Most of us think of artistic pursuits like painting, writing or making music. But creativity is much more than that. It is a way of thinking and relating to others and the world around us, unleashing the imagination.

What are creative people? Creative people tend to be rooted in reality, but also have a sense of fantasy and playfulness. They hover between perfect introverts and perfect extroverts.  They are both passionate and critical of their own work. It’s this teetering between opposites, this flexibility of being, that can lead to ideas and solutions and what we like to think of as creative thinking.

Instead of beating yourself up, you can take steps in the right direction, promoting the flow of creative juices. Your creativity can be awakened by doing something inspiring.

Calm the mind.

Sometimes it’s life’s distractions that get in our way. This is when it’s a good idea to take a walk or find a quiet spot to meditate and calm the mind. It might be worth a trip to the gym to have a workout, or attend a yoga class. Relieving physical tension can help to calm and relax the body and mind.


You can involve others by reaching out and sharing your thoughts and brainstorming ideas. Looking at work done by other designers is often just what you need to launch the solution to your design problem. Sometimes you need to immerse yourself in a topic to understand it and see what’s been done before. Stop worrying so much about originality. You can use a design as a foundation and take it in a new direction by building on it and making it your own.

Taking time out to watch a movie, or read a magazine, blog or book might give you a fresh perspective.

Doodle and sketch.

Get ideas and scribbles down onto paper, no matter how crazy they may seem at first. This is a good idea anytime. Creative people always have a notebook with them, wherever they go. Creativity can strike at any time! While out buying groceries, walking the dog, or at any time throughout your day. Be prepared to jot down any idea when it hits. Before you know it, it will disappear!

Set the stage.

Get comfortable. Love your work environment. Make it pretty. Get happy. Add inspiring music. Be with other creative people, even if this takes you out to a coffee shop.

Inspiring quotes.

Keep a collection of inspiring quotes, and draw from them when needed.

Exercise Your Creative Muscles

Like anything else, creativity improves the more you use it. So, exercise that muscle and try to do something creative every day. Paint, write, doodle, or just get outside and explore every day.

Sleep on it

At the end of the day, if you are not accomplishing what you want, and frustration is taking over. Stop, draw a bath, listen to some gentle music, then slide into bed and have a good night’s sleep. Sleep is vital to reset your brain and reenergize. It’s amazing how many ideas seem to pop into our heads in the middle of the night.


Five Top Reasons to Use Apple Cider Vinegar Regularly

You’ll find many claims about the many uses and benefits of apple cider vinegar on the internet these days and not many are backed up by science. That doesn’t mean they aren’t true. If you are interested, it is a good candidate for experimentation.

Raw, “unfiltered” apple cider vinegar is the one to use, one that has the “mother” (strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria) in it. It is cloudier than regular vinegar.

Here is what you may find it will do:

  1. Help Control Blood Sugar Levels – You don’t have to be a diabetic, to benefit from controlled blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugars are a major cause of aging and chronic diseases.  Two tablespoons before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugars by 4%.
  2. Help with Weight Loss  – Apple cider vinegar can help in 2 ways. Having 2 tablespoons of ACV with water before a high-carb meal will cancel out some of the carbs you eat. The acetic acid found in vinegar interferes with the enzymes in your stomach responsible for digesting starch so you can’t absorb the calories from carbs you’ve eaten since fewer calories enter the bloodstream. The acetic acid also suppresses your appetite and makes you feel full longer and eat less throughout the day.
  3. Boost Your Energy – Next time you feel tired, try a tablespoon or 2 of ACV with water for relief. Stress and exercise can cause lactic acid to build up in the body and cause you to feel fatigued. Apple cider vinegar may be just the remedy that you need.
  4. Treat acid reflux and heartburn – Sixty percent of the adult population will experience acid reflux throughout the course of a year year and 20 to 30 per cent have weekly symptoms.  Contributing causes of acid reflux and heartburn are an unbalanced stomach and lack of enzymes and probiotics. Apple cider vinegar will provide these.  Also, the vinegar increases the acidity of the stomach, which allows it to digest the food you’ve eaten and helps propel it into the small intestine.  Because slow digestion can cause acid to back up into the esophagus and create that nasty burning sensation, not to mention the uncomfortable bloating that can follow.  Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of ACV to a cup of water before meals.
  5. Regulate Your body’s PH and detoxify – Even though vinegar is acidic in nature, it has an alkaline effect on your body. Balancing your body’s PH can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses like cancer and dramatically increase your energy.

There is a multitude of other uses, and here are a few of them to try:

All-purpose Cleaner: Mix 1 cup water, ½ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon dish soap, and a few drops of tea tree oil.

Skin-Toner: 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts water, and applied with a cotton pad.

Fruit Fly Trap: Apple cider in a cup with a few drops of dish soap.

Salad Dressing: Mix together 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup avocado oil or olive oil, 3-4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped, Salt and pepper to taste.

Meat Marinade: Combine with garlic, soy sauce, and onion.

Homemade Weed Killer: Spray undiluted onto unwanted weeds.

Dandruff Control: Rub directly onto scalp and rinse after 20 minutes.


Do You Have a Drinking Problem?

Do you enjoy a drink or two after work? Do you look forward to the weekend because it means you can get rip roaring drunk? There has been much debate over the years about what constitutes too much alcohol. Is it the quantity you drink? The frequency you drink? Both?

There is no clear answer to those questions, but here are some signs that it might be time for you to cut back on your consumption:

Drinking to Relax

There’s nothing wrong with taking an occasional nip to calm down. However, if you are at a point where alcohol is the only thing that will provide you with a sense of relaxation, then it’s time to re-examine your lifestyle.

Hiding Your Drinking

Have you been criticized to the point where you feel it necessary to hide your drinking? This almost certainly means that people believe you are overdoing it and, chances are, you probably do need to cut back.

Blacking Out

It is not unusual for someone to become sleepy and hit the sack after drinking, but if you just plain black out, and then can’t remember what happened, this is a bad sign.

Experiencing Withdrawal

Does your body and/or mind experience issues when you are not drinking? This is an indication that your body has developed an actual need for the alcohol because it is so used to it being in your system. If you find yourself trying to cut back, but are unable, that is also problematic.

Relationship Problems

Has your drinking compromised the quality of the relationships you enjoy with friends, loved ones, and work colleagues?

Increased Intake

Do you find that you can drink increasingly more than you used to? That is also a sign that your body is growing too accustomed to the intoxication.

If you are displaying any of these signs, it is time for you to talk to a professional about how you can overcome this habit.



Product Placement in Movies and TV Shows

Have you ever been really engrossed in a movie, only to have its spell broken by a blatant advertisement? You sit there thinking, “Why would the director have this big emotional moment playing out in front of a Coca-Cola billboard? It’s all I end up seeing in the shot.”

In that case, it’s possible the director did not have a choice. As the costs of making movies and promoting them continue to rise, movie studios are looking for ways to save money. One recent boon has been tax credits. Areas like Georgia, Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia offer tax credits—sometimes quite substantial ones—to encourage production in those areas. Depending on the size of the production, than can mean millions of dollars in savings, while also leading to much local hiring and economic stimulation. So, win-win, even though it means Toronto having to sub for New York City yet again.

However, Hollywood has spent more time relying on the quick and easy savings that come from product placement. In the early days of the practice, having someone eat Kentucky Fried Chicken onscreen might mean a few days worth of free chicken for the cast and crew. However, the rewards have expanded considerably in recent years. Depending on the movie and the product, millions of dollars might change in hands in order for James Bond to wear a certain type of watch or a drink a certain brand of alcohol (Daniel Craig’s 007 infamously broke from tradition of Vodka Martinis by drinking Heineken beer in SKYFALL).

Do you find it distracting to see name brands appearing in movies and TV shows? Producers argue that this adds to the realism, but if you bought a ticket (and are already sitting through ads before the movie or during the show), haven’t you already done your part?

Daniel Craig and a certain brand of laptop in SPECTRE. Courtesy MGM/Sony.


Do Rabbits Make Good Pets?

We hear so much about cats and dogs and whether someone is a “cat person” or a “dog person,” you can almost forget that there are other options out there. Another choice is rabbits and an increasing number of people are identifying as a “rabbit person.”

Rabbits can make excellent pets, though you do have to make allowances if you plan on keeping one in your house. They are generally not quite as domesticated as cats and dogs, so rabbits will sometimes try to gnaw and dig, both natural behaviors.

As far other tendencies go, rabbits have much the same appeal to a human companion as a cat or dog. They can be extremely playful, respond to their names, and be trained to use litter boxes. However, some people are surprised to find that rabbits require the same degree of attention and care as their feline and canine counterparts. Children, in particular, must be taught how to properly interact with rabbits as they generally do not like to be held as much as a cat or dog. A scared rabbit may scratch or bite, leading to the mistaken impression that it is feral and unsuitable to be a pet. That can lead to a rabbit being surrendered to a shelter and possibly even euthanized.

Like cats and dogs, rabbits should be neutered to reduce habits like spraying and, yes, rapid reproduction (a rabbit can have a litter every 30 days). Choosing to adopt a rabbit from a shelter, rather than purchasing from a pet store, usually means getting a rabbit that has already been neutered. It is also the more humane thing to do.

If you decide to do go for a pair, it can be challenging as rabbits do not always get along. In general, a male/female pair of neutered bunnies is a fairly safe bet.


Why Are There So Few Canadian Paralegal Textbooks?

There are over two dozen accredited paralegal programs in Ontario. Last year, the Law Society of Upper Canada issued 994 new paralegal licenses. There is a clear demand for paralegal education in the province; so why are there so few Canadian paralegal textbooks on the market?

If you search for paralegal textbooks on a site like Amazon, you’ll find plenty of results. However, most of them are written for and by American paralegals. These books are at least inadequate for Ontario paralegal students – in many cases, the information they contain is simply incorrect or irrelevant when it comes to Ontario.

It’s not just that Canadian law is different from American law. It’s that paralegals in Ontario play a different role from most of their American colleagues.

In most parts of Canada and the United States, a paralegal is someone who works under the supervision of a lawyer. While a paralegal’s duties vary across different workplaces, they generally do work similar to that of a law clerk or a legal assistant. Many paralegals have an education in the law, but as of mid-2017, Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America where paralegals are licensed and regulated by the law society.

The fact that paralegals in Ontario are licensed means paralegal students are held to fairly strict educational standards. All paralegal applicants must complete an accredited paralegal program, and all programs must meet the Law Society’s criteria. The mandatory subject areas include criminal law, administrative law, alternative dispute resolution, and ethics.

Because of this, it’s important that these programs use material from a Canadian textbook publisher writing with Ontario paralegals in mind. However, few publishers offer textbooks specific to Ontario paralegal programs.

Since Ontario is the only province to regulate paralegals, a textbook written for paralegals in Ontario is not entirely relevant to paralegals in other provinces. Additionally, the paralegal scope of practice includes areas of law that vary between provinces (such as provincial offences and Ontario tribunals.) This limits the potential audience for the book.

Another reason for the lack of material is that the licensed paralegal profession is still very new. The Law Society only started regulating paralegals in 2017. Many large, international publishers are still waiting to see how the profession changes over time. In the meantime, Canadian textbook publishers have stepped in meet the demand.


Which Pet Loves Us More: Cats or Dogs?

Most everyone has a favourite when it comes to the world’s two most popular pets: you’re a cat person or you’re a dog person. There’s no problem with loving both, but each species has its own unique charms and characteristics that usually cause people to pick a side. Dogs have always had the reputation of being more lovable and loving, while cats are known for being more aloof, but also offering their own form of addictive affection. It seems like science has an answer for most everything and now a neuroscientist may have an answer to the question of whether one is more in love with their humans than the other.

Known as the “love hormone,” oxytocin is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and regulates such processes as social interaction, sexual reproduction, and bonding. Levels in the body increase dramatically during sex, birth, and breastfeeding.

Science has already determined that when humans and their dogs interact, both release levels of oxytocin. However, this particular test had reportedly never been performed with felines, so a group of dog and cat owners were asked to play with their pet and the animals were then given a saliva test.

The results confirmed that dogs do indeed love their humans as their oxytocin levels increased an average of 57.2 percent. Cats, meanwhile, demonstrated a rise of 12 percent. So it appears that dogs do have a greater affinity for their humans, though those who feel that cats have no affection for people at all will have to alter that stance.

What is your experience? Have you had both cats and dogs in your life? Was one species more affectionate and loving in your estimation? I find it a tough question to answer as both my cats and my dogs have changed my life in wonderful ways.



How Many Drinks are Safe in a Day?

If you want to start a healthy argument, get a bunch of people in a room and ask them how many drinks are safe to have in a day. Some will argue that they enjoy two or three and are doing fine, one will argue that a drink a day is good for your health, while another will say that even one is too many.

A lot of people love their alcohol. Some use it to get through the day, some use it to celebrate, some use it to cut the chill of a cold night, and some use it for all of the above. You would be hard pressed to find medical sources stating that healthy people should never drink at all. However, how much should you have in a day?

I was Googling this subject and came up with so many different answers, my head was spinning. Depending on your gender and what country you live in, you will get a different response. For example, in the United States, the Department of Agriculture and Department of Health & Human Services says women should have no more than one drink per day. Meanwhile, across the pond in France, the French Ministry of Health and Sports says that ladies there can enjoy three. Is the alcohol different in France? Not that I know of, so why the disparity?

I could site more statistics, but there are so many variables. A person’s size can determine how much alcohol they can drink, while certain health issues can preclude a person from consuming any alcohol. If your doctor tells you to stay away from the bottle, then you absolutely should. Does alcohol make you do things or act in a way that you regret later on? Then moderation is definitely the ticket…or abstinence, if that doesn’t work.

As for the rest of us, personal judgment comes into effect. I’m skeptical of the claims that a glass of wine a day is good for you, but, by the same token, I can’t honestly say if it’s bad for you either. Everyone’s body and tolerance levels are different, so you have to chart your own course. If you think you have a drinking problem, talk to a therapist for an objective opinion. In the meantime, I will continue to use the old adage, “Everything in Moderation” as my guide.


European Love of Alcohol May Mean Greater Cancer Risk

A study recently announced that people who drank coffee regularly were less likely to die than those who don’t indulge. Good news, yes? However, there is always a downside to these studies, especially if it involves an activity that many people find pleasurable.

The latest one concerns the consumption of alcohol among Europeans throughout the EU. Many in that part of the world, especially the French with their love of wine, seem to drink in larger quantities than the average North American.

A report issued by the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) stated that Europeans’ alcohol intake ranked as moderate. That means the average person there has 1-4 drinks per day. Unfortunately, the downside of that is these individuals are at a higher risk of both colorectal and esophageal cancer. Those who regularly have more than four drinks per day fall into the category of heavy drinkers, and they are at greater risk of pancreatic, liver and gastric cancer.

The sad thing is that reportedly 90% of people do not understand that there is a link between excessive alcohol use and cancer.

Do you drink regularly? Do you get home from work and have a glass of wine to take the edge off? Do you go out every weekend and get smashed? Do you find yourself pressured into drinking by others in your social circle?

Most medical sources say do not say to shun alcohol altogether, but they definitely advise moderation. If you find yourself reaching for some liquid comfort (or courage) on a regular basis, view this as a sign of danger. Consider the possible repercussions for yourself and your loved ones. Alcohol will not just ruin your liver and brain cells. Is it worth taking the risk in order to get some relief that can be had in safer, more responsible forms?