Disabilities in Canada

| Jeff McKillop |

Statistics Canada recently released new information about disabilities in Canada. The information comes from the 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability (CSD).  Disability, in this survey, was defined as anyone why reported limits in their daily activities due to a long-term condition or health problem.

The survey found that:

  • Approximately 14 percent (3.8 million) of the adult Canadian population report a limitation in daily activity due to a disability.
  • Among the total Canadian population, the most prevalent disabilities were pain, flexibility, and mobility impairments followed by psychological disability.
  • Among younger adults (aged 15 to 24), the most prevalent disability was psychological disability.
  • With age, the prevalence of disability increases.
  • Women have a higher prevalence of disability than men, independent of age.
  • Over 81 percent of people with disabilities report using some form of assistive aid or device.

For more information, visit Statistics Canada.
Disability in Canada

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The Healthy Relationship: 6. You Have to be Completely Open and Honest, and Tell Me Everything

| Karen Scarth |

In the last post of this series, we reviewed the relationship rule: “You need to feel the same way I do. Otherwise you don’t care about me or understand me.” In this relationship dynamic there is an intense need by one partner to be constantly reassured that their emotions are not just validated but shared without reservation. This may lead to the other partner feeling a loss of sense of self and maintaining the demands of this form of relationship may be emotionally exhausting.

The next relationship rule we will focus on is:

  • You have to be completely open and honest, and tell me everything. I need to know what you are thinking and feeling at all times.

This relationship rule can create a profound sense of intrusion and emotional control. You receive the message that you need to open up and be honest yet, invariably, what you have to say can often lead to conflict. Individuals often feel like they are secretive and dishonest if they keep anything to themselves and start to feel they no longer know what is the right thing to do. Their judgment regarding what needs to be shared and what they are entitled to keep private gets eroded. They do not feel that they are entitled to any privacy of thought.

Individuals who have learned to operate within a relationship this way can become highly vulnerable to manipulation. They learn that if they are not completely forthcoming they may be later punished. At the same time, they also learn that if they are truly candid about their feelings, they may face conflict in the present. A common coping strategy is to present only thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are acceptable to the other person and, therefore, bypass conflict.

However, in the process of trying to avoid conflict, one’s sense of self becomes lost. A person who feels compelled to say and do whatever it takes to please the other starts to lose clarity about what they really think and what is real. Their gut tells them something is wrong with this scenario but they cannot figure it out intellectually.

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The Benefit of Listening, Connection, and Touch

| Jeff McKillop |

I read a lot of journal articles.  Most are dull and sometimes hard to slog through. Every now and then, however, I come across an article that is somewhat beautiful and charming.  One such article is a recent one by Alan Bonsteel published in the November 2013 edition of the Canadian Family Physician.

In this short article, Dr. Bonsteel reflects on his relationship with an early mentor, Dr. Zane Kime, and how that relationship shaped Dr. Bonsteel’s future practice.  What struck Dr. Bonsteel the most was Dr. Kime’s capacity to provide a kind and gentle approach to all that he helped.   Dr. Zane had the ability to understand and listen to the needs of those he was helping and he understood that the prerequisite to any change is to first establish a caring human connection.

Dr. Bonsteel also described a brief clinical study that he and Dr. Zane conducted.  Dr. Zane asked those he was helping if they might consider possibly improving their diet and level of exercise.  For one-third of these people, the request was face to face.  The next third, Dr. Zane sat beside each person when making his request.  And for the last third, Dr. Zane placed his hand on each person’s shoulder when asking for a change in diet and exercise.  The best outcome was with those whom Dr. Zane touched on the shoulder.

The point here is to highlight the importance of a caring relationship and the role of both verbal and nonverbal communication.  Touch, within a caring and nonthreatening relationship, serves as an emphasis and a method of collecting the other person’s attention.  It is a way of focusing the other person and highlighting that this message I am sending you is important.  It is a simple, yet powerful, way of communicating.

Keep in mind that we rarely change or alter our behavior for just ourselves.  Instead we change for others and in their presence, because they have asked us to and it is important to them.

All change begins with and within a relationship.

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