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Female doctor high-five a kid on the couch
Female doctor high-five a kid on the couch

Health for the whole family: a parent’s guide

Virtual care · Sep 21, 2022

As a parent, the health of your family is at the top of your priority list, and the fall season can challenge that — both mentally and physically. Kids face big adjustments when school begins, whether they’re starting elementary school, entering a new grade, or going away to university. As temperatures drop, the likelihood of catching a cold rises1, and fewer hours of daylight leaves many working parents feeling in the dark.

With family members at different life stages under one roof, it’s complicated to consider everyone's individual needs. To make things easier, here's a guide to cultivating health and happiness for the whole family this fall.

Mental health

Fall features changes of scenery, from cloud cover to classroom, that can sometimes lower the mood. Follow these tips to help your family keep spirits up.

Flex on flexible work

Parents, start by making the time to fill your own cup. A LifeWorks survey found that 34% of Canadian employees consider work flexibility “the most important action their employer has taken to support their mental health.”2 

As more organizations facilitate this way of working, employees are recognizing the broader benefit to their wellbeing. Another survey showed a positive correlation between flexible work and quality of life, including diet, sleep, and exercise habits.3 

Watch for back-to-school blues

In Canada, an estimated 1.1 million children and youth experience mental illness, and if they are not treated early, these disorders are likely to worsen and reoccur during adulthood.4 Watch for signs of stress, anxiety, and low mood5 as kids transition back to school, and don’t delay seeking support and treatment.

Stay a step ahead of SAD

Young adults are at higher risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression associated with winter conditions,6 and this could hit harder for post-secondary students away from the support of home. Fall is the season to start a routine of physical activity and a habit of stepping outside at lunch, two of the best defenses against SAD. 

Physical healthcare

As nature heads into hibernation, we get cozier — but also more contagious.7 Try taking these protective measures this fall. 

Call the shots

Children are often the first to face flu season when they exchange restful summer days for the challenges of school and the crowded playfields that go along with it. To ease the strain of seasonal illness on everyone, sign them up for their annual vaccination first.

Get in the know

Parents can fall into the habit of putting their health second, but it’s always important to have nagging symptoms checked out.8 Learn your risk factors so you know when it’s time for a regular appointment — most adults need a checkup at least every three years. 

Young adults are discovering how to navigate their health independently, but you still want to give them support. So, know your benefits too: TELUS Health Virtual Care provides coverage for dependents under age 26, even those living away from home. 

Accessible health 

A survey conducted by The Conference Board of Canada and TELUS Health found Canadian employees receive 83% less extended health and wellbeing support than they want from their benefits plans,9 but we aim to bridge that gap by making services more accessible.

Whether you need primary care, your spouse needs an appointment with a medical specialist, or your dependent needs a referral, TELUS Health Virtual Care makes it easier to access personalized support around the clock, across the country, and through every season.


Sources

1 Northwestern Medicine. (2022). Can Winter Make You Sick?. Retrieved September 13, 2022 from https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/can-winter-make-you-sick

2 Ovid, N. (2022, February 25). Posthaste: Canadian employees prioritize flexible work over career progression. Financial Post. Retrieved September 14, 2022 from https://financialpost.com/executive/executive-summary/posthaste-canadian-employees-prioritize-flexible-work-over-career-progression

3 FlexJobs and Mental Health America. (2020). FlexJobs, Mental Health America Survey: Those With Flexible Work Report Better Mental Health. Retrieved September 14, 2022 from https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/flexjobs-mha-survey-flexible-work-improves-mental-health/

4 Alimi, I., Mathies, I., Archibald, A.; Compton, C. & Keku, E. (2021, November 28). Improving Child Mental Health Policy in Canada. Cureus 13 (10). Retrieved September 14, 2022 from https://www.cureus.com/articles/77319-improving-child-mental-health-policy-in-canada

5 Canadian Mental Health Association: BC Division. Mental Illnesses in Children and Youth. Retrieved September 14, 2022 from https://cmha.bc.ca/documents/mental-illnesses-in-children-and-youth-2/

6 Canadian Mental Health Association: BC Division. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Retrieved September 14, 2022 from https://cmha.bc.ca/documents/seasonal-affective-disorder-2/

7 Northwestern Medicine. (2022). Can Winter Make You Sick?. Retrieved September 13, 2022 from https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/can-winter-make-you-sick

8 CBC News. (2022, March 10) Time for a regular checkup? Here's what doctors say you should ask about. The Dose. Retrieved September 14, 2022 from https://www.cbc.ca/radio/whitecoat/time-for-a-regular-checkup-here-s-what-doctors-say-you-should-ask-about-1.6379048

9 The Conference Board of Canada. (2021, November 16). Study: Canadian workplace health benefits critical for employee retention. Globe Newswire. Retrieved September 14, 2022 from https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2021/11/16/2335507/0/en/Study-Canadian-workplace-health-benefits-critical-for-employee-retention.html