Think Local  

Self-Management BC helps chronic health sufferers develop skills

Health coaching can help

Good health is easy to take for granted, that is until you no longer have it. Living with a chronic health condition presents challenges one doesn’t think about until faced with them. Those issues can seem minor to others, but overwhelming to the person coping with the illness.

Whether trying to organize treatment options or starting a new regimen, figuring out a way forward can be daunting, even when surrounded by family members with the best of intentions.

Self-compassion is what people need, says University of Victoria professor Patrick McGowan, director of Self-Management BC, which offers a health coaching program for people with living with chronic conditions.

“We say that self-compassion is an important thing especially during this time when people are so isolated,” McGowan explains. “Self-compassion means taking care of yourself and thinking, ‘Yes, I’m worth it. I should do something good for myself.’”

Health coaching is an easily accessible, simple and practical way to achieve that all-important self-care by developing self-management skills to navigate the daily challenges of a chronic health condition. 

The three-month, provincially funded, BC Health Coach program is conducted by phone with a trained volunteer coach who also has experienced chronic health issues. 

“Coaches are people coping really well with their health challenges and have an interest in helping somebody else,” McGowan says.

Participants are matched according to gender and age, and, if possible, similar interests. 

Once a week, for about 30-45 minutes, the coach will chat with the participant about how their condition has been affecting their daily life. They’ll ask questions about their health, their medications and the things they’re supposed to be doing. 

“People will usually identify something they’re having a problem with,” McGowan says. 

“Here’s where we show the person the problem-solving process. There’s a way to solve the problem to get the answer. People don’t always know how to solve problems very well.” 

Both the participant and the coach receive a comprehensive resource book Living a Healthy Life: With chronic health conditions or chronic pain which supports the coaching process and references real-life situations and solutions. It’s also a way to have the participants start exploring resources.

McGowan says that the book is “one way to get people to find information for themselves, and especially to learn how to problem solve.” 

Through the conversation an action plan can be formulated to easily achieve a certain goal; for example, going to the pharmacist to ask a question about their medication. 

Making small steps builds confidence, McGowan asserts. 

“People who are more confident usually do things,” he says.

It’s important to note that the coaching is completely health focussed, meaning it is not life coaching. Nor is it an intense psychological intervention. The objective is to start and sustain healthy behaviours. 

“This is a peer health coach who shows people self-management strategies: problems solving, how to start something or make a difficult decision. The participant has the chance to learn these skills and then move on at the end,” McGowan explains.

However, if a participant feels they need more than the three months, Health Coach BC will look at extending it for another three-month term.

McGowan is careful to point out that during the program, the coaches and participants don’t meet in person. The coaching is conducted solely by telephone and they must agree to that. “It’s not a dating service or a buddy service,” he says. “But if at the end of the program, it’s up to them if they want to make arrangements to have a cup of coffee together.”

He adds that sometimes people do meet up but it’s rare because everyone is situated all over the province.

The most important outcome of this coaching connection, McGowan says, is that the participant develops skills, so they manage their chronic health condition to be happier in their life.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

IWG Corporate Services provides year-end analysis for businesses

IWG brings business clarity

Times have been difficult enough this year for small and medium business owners.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions have cut the number of visitors and eaten into profits. The trouble has been showing no signs of slowing down, either.

That is why now would be a good time to bring Kelowna’s IWG Corporate Services into the fold. The end of the year is approaching, which means it’s time to analyze the good and the bad of the curveball that was 2020—and look ahead to hopefully much better times in 2021.

“We can help business owners sleep better at night knowing their employees are working effectively," IWG vice-president of services Lisa Jaffary says. "They can focus on what they do best.

“It’s important for business owners to do their year-end analysis, because it gives them the focus of where they want to go next year. It looks like we’re in it for another year here, so being able to adjust and adapt, be flexible ... and once they review their 2020 year they can make plans for 2021.”

IWG Corporate Services provides a road map for your business for continuous growth and increased profitability as it looks to survive the pandemic and come out on the other side smelling like a rose. Your year-end analysis reviews operations, systems, sales and financials to give you a crystal clear picture of where your business stands in the big picture.

Another benefit for business owners at this time of year is they can review their health and dental plans, which could save plenty of cash during these crucial times. A Private Health Services Plan is 100% tax deductible and a 100% tax-free benefit to employees. There is no monthly premium and no medical questionnaires, either.

“Many business owners are interested in this plan,” Jaffary says, “because they are looking at their expenses and wondering how they can manage these expenses and the most tax effectively.”

If more help than just a year-end assessment and lookahead is required, IWG Corporate Services is your one-stop shop. It offers everything from corporate governance assistance (human resources policies, job descriptions, organizational chart and assessing corporate culture) to financial and business modelling (business planning, succession planning and value analysis) to ongoing management (setting up targets and deliverables, and tracking performance).

IWG Corporate Services also provides financing help, which is another crucial aspect for many business owners during the pandemic. Jaffary and her team can help business owners get their ducks in a row when seeking capital for growth or succession.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Evergreen Building Maintenance puts (clean) community first

Evergreen gives to Kelowna


When siblings Ranjit and Navjot Takhar took over the family business, they did not forget about the commitment to community that has always been a critical part of its mission.

Evergreen Building Maintenance was started by their father 32 years ago in Calgary as a carpet cleaning business, and now the family venture is a full-blown corporation thanks to locations throughout B.C. and parts of Alberta.

Its home base, however, is still in the Okanagan, where it is fully ingrained in the community. Whether it’s donating time or money to organizations and initiatives throughout the Okanagan through its Evergreen Foundation, the company is always giving back to the people who have given them so much. It's a lesson Ranjit learned as a young boy from his father.

“Focusing on just the business aspect isn't enough,” says Ranjit, who is Evergreen's president. “We really respect the local community, and we want to give back to our roots.”

Ranjit and Navjot, who serves as the company’s account manager, both attended UBC Okanagan before jumping into the family business. Education has always been encouraged by their parents, and that is why the company gives back to the school system through financial awards.

“After Ranjit and I went to UBCO, we really valued being able to help other students with scholarships and bursaries,” Navjot says. “Especially at institutions that we go and clean, you see the merits of giving back to students.”

The company looks out for more than 250 employees as well, giving each of them their full December wages on Dec. 15 to make the holiday season a little brighter. This has been a company tradition for more than 10 years.

The family atmosphere that has been curated is why when you hire Evergreen Building Maintenance, you’re getting not just a company that will clean your office, school or store. You’re entering into a relationship that, based on history, will likely last for quite a while.

“There are a number of accounts here that Evergreen has had for over 20 years,” business development manager Louis Stephen says.“So we’re not trying to build clientele for just business purposes. We’re trying to build relationships, and some of these relationships have really given back to us ten times over.”

The company is responsible for cleaning more than eight million square feet of commercial building space, the technology it uses is cutting edge, and its employees are trained for four weeks before going out into the field.

Evergreen cares as deeply about the environment as it does its clients and employees, as it implements the the most earth-friendly cleaning products to leave office spaces sparkling. It uses a government-grade disinfectant called EP50, which is EcoLogo and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified. Employees also use multi-coloured microfibre cloths so they do not cross contaminate when they are cleaning.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused Evergreen to step up its game, and it delivered in a big way through its day porter service that cleans all the high-touch areas.

“People see that, and they tend to be a little bit more comfortable,” Stephen says.

Evergreen cleans for a wide range of clients throughout the Kelowna area, including the RCMP detachment, all city park washrooms and tenants in the Landmark district. Wineries, golf courses, universities, stratas and government buildings are also part of the company’s vast portfolio.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

First College offering Introduction to Massage course for students

Demand for RMTs increases

Massage therapy is a registered, regulated and highly researched medical field with great patient results for reducing stress and pain. If you are interested in this growing health-care field, you can take a weekend course to find out more.

First College will be offering an Introduction to Massage course on Friday, Dec. 11, from 5 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, Dec. 12, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This course is intended for anyone wanting to know more about massage therapy in general in British Columbia and is also a prerequisite for entering into First College’s two-year RMT diploma program.

The upcoming RMT cohort is scheduled to begin in January 2021, and the application deadline is Monday, Dec. 14. The class size is limited to 20 students due to COVID-19 restrictions, so First College recommends that potential students apply as soon as possible.

The Introduction to Massage course begins with an introduction to massage therapy in B.C., including the history and the legislation that governs this regulated profession in the province. It will also discuss the detailed outline of the Registered Massage Therapy program, which includes a summary and description of all academic and practical classes required as well as a summary of the student clinic process.

Following that, students will receive an introduction into the application of massage therapy by learning how to perform basic strokes. Then students will give a relaxation massage to a fellow student and receive a relaxation massage from that same student.

All current COVID-19 guidelines are in place and will be followed with personal protection equipment, social distancing when possible and performing daily COVID-19 screenings with temperature upon arrival.

If you would like more information about the RMT program, click here.

First College also offers many other popular programs, such as:
• Community Support Worker
• Health Care Assistant
• Bookkeeping

If you would like more information about these programs, the RMT program or the Introduction to Massage course, please see the First College website or contact Admissions Advisor Sydney Stoltz at (778) 478-6611 or [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet. 

More Think Local articles

Recent Trending