Monday 26 October 2015

End of Life Discussion

This week we have a guest blogger. Thanks to Phyllis Nixon for writing this, and to Dr. John Ross for  his talk in Bridgetown. 

An interesting presentation of ‘how to talk about death and mortality as a natural function’ took place at the Bridgetown and Area Library on October 18, 2015.  Dr. John Ross, Emergency Medicine Professor at Dalhousie University presided, sharing his views about end-of-life options.  The roomful of inquisitive attendees, asking questions and providing their own outlook, set the tone of the evening’s discussion.

Dr. Ross stated his opinion that death represents the ending of ‘life’s circle’; that death and mortality are natural functions.  He reminded us that hospice and palliative care are available in Nova Scotia to offer dignity and acceptance in death, peace, and easing of pain.  Talking about our death and mortality with our children or friends is good for us and is less injurious than keeping these feelings inside.

Dr. Ross mentioned that ‘Death Cafes’ are becoming more familiar.  These are places where concerned people can meet together and talk about death and dying.  He thinks that these places can be better termed as ‘Sharing Circles’, and they can help us to care for each other and be of assistance to those who need it.

Questions arising from the discussion

DNR – Do Not Resuscitate.  This request should be witnessed by two people.  Make sure you talk to your family or a friend about your death wishes and let these people know where you keep this information as this request is usually carried out in a medical emergency situation.

Power of Attorney.  This document can include a legal acknowledgement of your request to `not resuscitate` and any other end-of life-options agreed upon.

Doctor Assisted Death.  This HIGHLY controversial proposal is expected to become formal legislation in 2016.  A few scenarios were generally discussed, such as:
  • What happens if a doctor refuses a request for assisted death due to religious or ethical objections?
  • What are the requirements for assisted death?
  • Should a person with dementia be eligible to request assisted death?  

As yet, official conditions and restrictions have not yet been laid out and clarified, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons has not put out their attempt at defining or responding to the issues.  

Neuroplasticity.  This term refers to changes in the neural pathway synapses of the brain due to changes in behaviour, the environment, the neural processes of thinking and emotions, as well as changes resulting from body injury.  The concept of neuroplasticity has replaced the formerly held position that the brain is a psychologically static organ, and explores how the brain changes in the course of a lifetime, thereby negating the idea that our brain is static and unchangeable.  Dr. Ross said that the brain continues to grow and our muscle mass maintains itself with exercise, keeping the muscles active as we age, giving us a quality of life for a longer period of time.

Dr. Ross:  `Words of Wisdom`
  • Make sure you discuss your death wishes with your family or friends, and state exactly what you want.  This is very important.
  • Make use of hospice and palliative care in your area.  These offer help to die with dignity, a sense of peace, easing of pain and the acceptance of death as part of the life cycle.
  • Educate yourself and others.  Most people don`t know enough about their own bodies and therefore we should take more responsibility to learn more about our physical self.  Do your own research to increase this knowledge.
  • Get rid of the word elderly`.  Knock off the `ly`at the end of this word and you are left with elder`, a word signifying a collective wisdom which can be shared and engaged by living fully, being productive, and having a sense of purpose.
  • If you were told you had a year left to live, name what you would like to do with that time allotted to you.  Then ask yourself this question: Why not do them now.
  • Recommended reading about the subject of death and dying:  Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

Monday 19 October 2015

Epistolary reading

I just finished listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows . What a remarkable book to listen to, especially with the full cast of readers portraying the many characters in the story. This book, if you don’t know about it, is told in letters. Set just after World War II in London and the Channel Islands, it gave me a glimpse into post-war England that I had not before experienced in a book – and it also happens to be a book about the power of books.  It made me think about other books written in letters.  I loved those books too!

There’s 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Also about books, this one is a series of letters between a woman who is looking for out-of-print books, and a London bookseller. It is set between 1949 and 1969, so a bit of that post-war London feel is there. There’s also a great movie version of this book starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.

Alice Walker’s heartbreaking novel of two sisters is told through letters. If you haven’t read The Color Purple, you are missing out on a literary gem.  This, too was made into a film, starring Whoopie Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.

Teen love is handled in letters and images in this brilliant book, Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman. In addition to a letter describing why the teen romance ended, Min, the letter-writer, also includes a box of items that symbolize their failed relationship.

For the younger set, you can’t go wrong with Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers’ fun book, The Day the Crayons Quit.  In a series of letters, the crayons explain why they are leaving. They are tired of being typecast, it seems. And just released is the sequel, The Day the Crayons Came Home.

What are your favourite epistolary books?

--Angela J. Reynolds, Community Engagement Coordinator

Monday 12 October 2015

Seniors Week at Nova Scotia Public Libraries – October 18 – October 24, 2015

During the celebration of Canadian Library Month, Seniors Week is an opportunity for public libraries to focus on programming, services, books and materials for seniors provided by the nine public library regions in Nova Scotia. Throughout the year, library staff continue to welcome and serve older adults coming to the library.

The Annapolis Valley Regional Library’s eleven branches and Bookmobile have a wonderful list of programs and events planned. Some of the exciting events include Third Thursday Social Group in Windsor (October 15) with a display of artifacts from the West Hants Historical Society. Drop by the branch to test your knowledge. Or join Sue at the Berwick branch for a Kitchen Party. Perhaps now is the time to try Chair Yoga at the Isabel and Roy Joudrey Memorial Library in Hantsport. The programs offered in Bridgetown include a Recipe Swap, Seniors Travel and a Talk with Dr. John Ross about end-of-life options. The Kentville branch is offering a slide presentation on Miner’s Marsh.  The Rosa M. Harvey Library in Middleton has a full week of events including a presentation on Mona Parsons, and Seed Saving and Herbal Medicine.  For a complete list of all programs go to the Event page on our website:
Browse our online catalogue for some interesting reading material, such as iPad for Seniors or Senior FitnessStop by and check out the creative displays of items chosen by staff at each branch. And this may also be a good time to celebrate our senior library workers!

Wendy Kearnes
Bookmobile & Off-Site services Manager
Member of the Service to Older Adults Working Group

Monday 5 October 2015

Congratulations to Hantsport

Congratulations go out to the community of Hantsport, Susan Oickle-Shano and all the Friends of the Hantsport Public Library.
Dedication, perseverance, hard work, or in others words, plain old community spirit were the catch phrases of the day  September 23, 2015. After being a tenant for more than 50 years in the Hantsport School,  the Isabel and Roy Jodrey Memorial Library officially opened its doors.  
The weather couldn’t have been better as approximately 130 guests gathered  in front of the former Hantsport Legion at 10 Main Street. A smudging ceremony, greetings and congratulations from  invited dignitaries preceded the official unveilings and ribbon cutting  by Roy Bishop and other family members of Isabel and Roy Jodrey.  
Guests were greeted by branch manager, Liz Gibson as they enjoyed refreshments, and  live music as they toured the newly renovated facility.
“We are so pleased to present this new facility to the community,” said Ann-Marie Mathieu, the new CEO of Annapolis Valley Regional Library. “Hantsport should be proud of this library that so many people worked to create.
Stop by and see the newest addition to the community.

If you would like to see more pictures go to this album on our Facebook page.