It's National Carers Day!

Today we celebrate the caregivers!

According to Statistics Canada 2013, 8.1 million Canadians are carers. That means that 1 in 4 Canadians are a caregiver/family caregiver. Of those carers, 6.1 million are balancing work with their caregiving responsibilities.

Today we recognize the hard work and dedication of caregivers and family caregivers, who take on the unpaid role of caring for someone with cognitive or physical complications. Whether you are caring for your family member or friend, we want to thank you for the hard work you do. 

Being a carer is not an easy role; the responsibilities can be immense but incredibly rewarding. Take a moment to thank a carer today!

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There are new technologies which are changing accessibility

The world of assistive devices and technology is growing at the same rate as many other forms of technology. Some devices and applications available today were merely seen as science-fiction in the not-too-distant past. These days it is common for fiction to inspire reality.

We have compiled a list of devices and mobile applications currently available that are on the forefront of accessibility.

Home Assistants

Home assistants may seem like an entertaining trend, but these small devices pack a big punch when it comes to helping individuals with varying levels of needs. These devices are a hands-free way of completing daily tasks, from planning your calendar to commanding other devices in your home. The home assistant is ideal for those with visual impairments or mobility restrictions and can be optimized by connecting it with other devices such as your laptop and smartphone.

Access Now (Mobile App)

This Toronto-based mobile application allows individuals to see which restaurants and stores in their vicinity are accessible. The app is updated by users, which means that anyone who installs this free app is able to pinpoint the most or least accessible businesses. The Access Now app is available for you to install on the Android phone or iPhone.

Sensory Feedback Glove

Wearing a glove that can identify what is in front of you sounds like something that would definitely exist in a Black Mirror episode, however we assure you that this new device is very real. The glove emits sonar (like bats and dolphins) that sends feedback to a small computer in the glove to tell those who have a vision impairment what objects are in front of them.  

Standing Wheelchairs

The standing wheelchair is a relatively new invention and is continually being updated. This form of a wheelchair provides an entirely different perspective for those who use wheelchairs as an assistive mobility device. Recently, this form of wheelchair has been modified to electric wheelchairs that are more capable of going over slanted surfaces which allows for longer use and increased independence.

The world of assistive devices and technology is advancing at a rapid rate. It is exciting to see what devices will be available in the near future to assist with accessibility. If you find assistive technology interesting, we also have a post about what types of technology are available for people with vision impairment/blindness.

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These are the signs of a heart attack

This month is Heart Month. We wanted to share the common signs of a heart attack. Knowing these signs can help save the life of a client, a loved one or yourself.

The longer blood supply is cut off from the heart, the more damage a heart attack can be. If you act quickly enough, a life can be saved.

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February is Heart Month!

To celebrate, we wanted to share with you some interesting facts about the hardest working muscle in your body - your heart.

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Let's talk today!

Bell’s Let's Talk initiative strives to help eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness. Today is THE day to reach out and support someone who may be struggling with their mental health and well-being.

What are the facts?

According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness or addiction. An Environics Research survey shows that 40% of people polled have experienced feelings of anxiety or depression but have never sought medical help for it.

What can you do?

Text, call, tweet, post! Today, Bell will contribute 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives for every text, call, tweet, Instagram post, Facebook video view and use of Snapchat geofilter. Don't forget to use #BellLetsTalk

How can you help?

Ask and listen; being a good listener and simply asking your friend, family or coworker how they are doing can go a long way. Here are a few examples of what to ask: 

  • I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well.
  • I’ve noticed you’ve been down lately. Is everything OK?
  • Would you like to talk? I am here to listen.
  • How can I help?

What does mental health mean to Spectrum?

We asked employees in the branch offices to share with us what mental health means to them. Here is what they had to say:   

Thank you to all the employees who shared words of encouragement. Your words and actions are important in making Spectrum an inclusive and positive environment to work in. Let's continue talking about the importance of mental health today and every day! 

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Smoke, it doesn’t just affect the smoker!

Since the Surgeon General’s Report released in 1964, 2.5 million adults who were not smokers themselves have died from secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is classified as a combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out from a smoker. As we close out National Non-Smoking Week, we wanted to look more closely at the facts of secondhand smoking.

Why is secondhand smoke so harmful?

A non-smoker who is in the same room as a smoker is exposed to the same harmful chemicals from the cigarette. This includes more than 7000 chemicals, 70 of which can cause cancer. Exposure to secondhand smoke has been shown to have a negative effect on the heart and blood vessels and increase the risk of a heart attack and stroke. Even brief exposure to smoke can cause damage to the lining of blood vessels; increasing the chance of a heart attack.

In the case of young children, studies have shown that children whose parents smoke get sick more often, have more lung infections, get more ear infections and are more likely to cough, sneeze and have a shortness of breath. Secondhand smoke exposure can also trigger asthma attacks in kids who previously showed no asthma symptoms.

What can be done to prevent secondhand smoke?

It is important to note that there is no safe level of exposure to smoke. Any exposure is harmful and will have a lasting negative impact. However, there are ways to limit exposure in order to protect you and your loved ones from secondhand smoke:

  • Keep your home and car smoke-free
  • Stay in smoke-free hotels when travelling
  • Do not smoke when pregnant or around children
  • Ask your family, friends and caregivers to not smoke around your children

Want to know more about the benefits of quitting smoking?

Visit Fast Facts and Fact Sheets for more information about nicotine dependence and the health benefits of quitting smoking.

What resources are available to help people become non-smokers?

There are a number of counselling services and support groups available if you want to quit smoking. Click here for a list of support services to help you make your life smoke-free.

Every day is a new day that can be smoke-free.


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These 3 steps will help you quit smoking!

Thinking of quitting smoking? This week during National Non-Smoking Week is the perfect time to quit! While smoking can be a very difficult habit to kick, these 3 steps will help you be on your way to a smoke-free and healthier life.


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20 minutes after not smoking, your body will notice a difference

What happens to your body when you quit smoking

If you or someone you know is trying to quit smoking, now is the time! This week is National Non-Smoking Week. Did you know your body starts feeling positive effects within 20 minutes of not smoking? Your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal in 20 minutes. Within 8 hours of nicotine withdrawal, your body is able to clear the carbon monoxide from your bloodstream.

Watch this video to see what happens to your body the longer you go without smoking.  


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Can technology help the blind to see?

eSight technology to help those with vision impairment

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 253 million people worldwide live with vision impairment. Of these people, 36 million are blind while 217 million have moderate to severe impairment to their vision. Companies are on the quest to develop cutting-edge technology to aid the user when the human eye falls short. Here is what is new in the world of accessible technology for the blind and vision impaired: 


Toronto company eSight is the brainchild of Conrad Lewis, an engineer who has two sisters who are legally blind. Lewis wanted to use his engineering skills to come up with technology that can enable mobility and versatility for the vision impaired. eSight has a high-speed, high-definition camera that captures what the user is looking at and then uses an algorithm to enhance the video feed and display it on two screens in front of the their eyes. The technology aims to help individuals with their daily life, at school and in the workplace. 


The area of Yonge and St. Clair is quickly becoming the most accessible hub in Toronto for the blind and visually impaired. Many of the businesses in the area are installing beacons to help blind and visually impaired customers shop at their stores. The beacons work with BlindSquare to send information about the store to the individual’s smartphone via a downloadable app. The information helps the person navigate the store by letting them know where there are fixed obstacles such as stairs, cash registers, doors, etc. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind hopes to install beacons in 200 businesses by the end of 2017.


The German startup FeelSpace has developed a technology that can help the wearer with their sense of direction. The navigation belt gives the person direction via tactile signals; the belt can be worn while walking or biking. For those living with vision impairment, the belt can help them explore their environment and help them get from point A to B.


OrCam uses wearable artificial vision to help the user by converting visual information into spoken word. The attachment fits onto glasses and allows the wearer to get information about text (newspapers, books, menus, labels), recognize faces and identify products and money. The device is meant to assist the wearer in their day-to-day tasks thus allowing for a more independent lifestyle.

Technology is constantly changing and it is exciting to see what advancements are out there to assist those with blindness and vision impairment. With the current advancements in accessible technology, visual hurdles may soon be a thing of the past.

Works cited:

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind

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Do you know the signs of a deteriorating patient?

It is Canadian Patient Safety Week! 

Research shows that virtually all critical inpatient events are preceded by warning signs that occur approximately six-and-a-half hours in advance. It is important to know these 10 signs of a rapidly deteriorating patient. 

10 signs of a rapidly deteriorating patient

Source: Canadian Patient Safety Institute


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