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January 2007

VERA McIVER l a i c e p S

Humanizing Healthcare

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CELEBRATING SENIORS IN OUR COMMUNITY JANUARY 2007

Wellness is about more than avoiding illness – it incorporates a balance of good nutrition, exercise, detoxification, emotional health, having fun and adapting to aging.

FEATURES 2 I Did It!

Departments 10 VICTORIA’S PAST REVISITED

COVER PHOTO: Vera McIver changed the face of healthcare when she took on a job to help out her sister. Read her story on page 6.

Celebrating a milestone birthday at 12,500 feet.

Photo: Roy Ferguson

6 Humanizing Healthcare

38 TASTY TRADITIONS

Vera McIver made a decision in 1967 that changed her life, and the lives of seniors in extended care.

46 AUTHOR

Publisher Barbara Risto Editor Bobbie Jo Sheriff Contributors Mary Allen, Norman K. Archer, Pablo Archero, Carol Baird-Krul, Barry Bowman, Goldie Carlow, Sandra Dyer, Faye Ferguson, Roy Ferguson, Judee Fong, Gipp Forster, Janice Hall, Debbie Harper, Christel Martin, Mike Matthews, Mayo McDonough, Carrie Moffatt, Starr Munro, Bala Naidoo, Pat Nichol, Sara Park, Vernice Shostal, Barbara Small, Margot Steward, Darryl Wilson, Kathleen Zaharuk Design Barbara Risto, Bobbie Jo Sheriff Proofreader Allyson Mantle Advertising Manager Barry Risto For advertising information, call 479-4705 Ad Sales Staff Ann Lester (Nanaimo) 250-390-1805 Mathieu Powell (Victoria) 250-704-6288 Barry Risto (Vancouver) 604-807-8208 Shelley Ward (Comox) 250-897-1798 Distribution Ron Bannerman, Jim Gahr, Bob O’Neill, Ron Peck, Lorraine Rhode, Barry Risto, Betty Risto, Ted Sheaff, Denise Sterman, Mark Stratford, Tanya Turner Contact Information Senior Living, 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave.,Victoria BC V8T 2C1 Phone (250) 479-4705 Fax (250)479-4808 E-mail (General) office@seniorlivingmag.com (Editorial) editor@seniorlivingmag.com Web site www.seniorlivingmag.com Subscriptions $32 (includes GST) for 11 issues. Canadian residents only. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Senior Living is an independent publication and its articles imply no endorsement of any products or services. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher. Unsolicited articles are welcome and should be e-mailed to editor@seniorlivingmag. com Senior Living is distributed free throughout Vancouver Island. Senior Living is published monthly by Stratis Publishing Ltd. ISSN 1710-3584 (Print) ISSN 1911-6403 (Online)

8 Hometown Heart

The Romping Tale of Billy Barker

32 IN MY BACKYARD Art in the Garden Fond memories and heritage recipes Carol Matthews

Coal mining town pub continues to thrive.

Columns

WELLNESS FEATURE

4 The Family Caregiver

12 Nutrition and Aging 14 Aging-in-Place

26 Ask Goldie

16 Heart Disease 18 Playing for your Health 20 Heavy Metal Headache 23 Emotional Wellness 24 Pain Management 25 Ask Your Pharmacist 29 Dealing with Dementia One family’s determination to carry on despite an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

42 Memories By Any Other Name...

Barbara Small Goldie Carlow

28 Scam Alert Mayo McDonough

36 Courageous & Outrageous Pat Nichol

37 Fit for the Adventure Kathleen Zaharuk

48 Just Rambling Gipp Forster

aand nd...

Home Support Directory 34 Crossword 39 Classifieds 40 Events 44

Remembering the smells of childhood.

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I DID IT! BY MARGOT STEWARD

I

we’re going to take your grandchildren to watch you plummet into the ground?” Enthusiastic me: “But that’s not going to happen!” Fortunately, I had one friend willing to go with me. I’m not sure he realized I was serious – until I’d booked the jump and it was too late to back out. We arrived at the jump site, got suited up, received the 15minute training in free-fall form and were loaded into an ancient Australian Second World War Platypus fighter. Up, up, up we went. At 12,500 feet my tandem instructor harnessed himself firmly to my back. I donned the helmet and goggles and found myself sitting on the floor of the plane, door open, legs dangling into space – lots and lots of space!

per ebbie Har Photo: D

DID IT! A few months ago, I jumped out of a plane at 12,500 feet and lived to watch the DVD. I know you’re thinking either “Wow!” or “Wow! She’s nuts!” Let me explain. When I was 19, which although nearly half a century ago often feels like yesterday, my summer boyfriend was a skydiver. I was dying (bad choice of words) to jump too, but in those days you had to have a parental signature if under the age of majority and my parents unreasonably refused to sign. “When you finish university you can do anything you want, dear.” Of course student loans, mortgages, babies and responsibilities overcame adventure. But I never forgot, and decided to celebrate my 65th by jumping. But a dead of winter birthday (another unfortunate choice of words) delayed the adventure until summer, which due to other adventures, became late summer. My car has a picnic table built into the cargo area. Sensible Daughter asked when I bought it, “Mom, you didn’t buy that car because of the picnic table, did you?” “Of course not!” Then the idea came that I could have a tailgate party at the jump site with a sumptuous picnic and chilled champagne with my daughters, their partners and all my grandchildren. Sensible Daughter: “Mom, you don’t seriously think

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And then with camcorder rolling we tumbled out and I assumed the free-fall position of arms spread like a bird, head up (so the camera could catch every grimace) and ankles neatly crossed for stability. Ten to 15 seconds of free-fall, like life, seems to last forever and was over in a flash. My fourpoint landing lacked a certain style and grace and I was deaf for an hour while my ears thawed and popped, but I was the most exhilarated birthday girl in the valley. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! You may not be impressed, but my 12-year old grandson was! I’ve never impressed him before and may never again, but for a few seconds I loved the look on his face. And now I’ve crossed skydiving off my “once-before-you-die list” and have a sixminute DVD to prove it. What’s still on your list? And what are you waiting for? SL

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From the Editor

W

elcome to our Special Wellness Issue of Senior Living. In these pages, you’ll read about how senior residences are taking an holistic approach to recreation; advice on adapting your home for aging-in-place; the dangers of mercury poisoning and what to do about it; and tips for asking your pharmacist the right questions (pages 12-25). Wellness covers a multitude of topics and we will continue to bring you various articles on various wellness topics throughout the year. For now, sit back and enjoy our Special Wellness Issue. And if there’s something or someone you’d like to read about in the pages of Senior Living, please get in touch. All the best in 2007! –Bobbie Jo Sheriff Editor editor@seniorlivingmag.com

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THE FAMIILY CAREGIVER

The Health Care Team: Who’s Who?

A

re you confused about the roles of the various members of the VIHA Home and Community Care Team? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Figuring out the who, what and why of Home and Community Care can be daunting because unlike the hospital where the health care team directs care given to individuals throughout their stay, community health is focused on families as active participants and organizers of the care that comes into their homes.

Services provided by Home and Community Care: • Home Care Nurses – provide assessment, teaching, treatment, counselling and monitoring. The service is provided in clients’ homes, if they are home-bound, and in nursing clinics for those able to attend. • Case Managers – carry out assessments to determine eligibility and need for home support, attendance at adult day centres or placement in assisted living and residential facility care. Case managers also provide ongoing co-ordination of services, referrals and monitoring. • Liaison Case Managers – these case managers in the hospital organize community supports necessary to discharge clients safely home or assess for residential facility care placement after a hospital stay. • Home Support Agencies – three agencies are contracted to VIHA to provide community health workers to assist with in-home care. These agencies work closely with the Home and Community Care team to ensure adequate home support is provided to assist individuals to continue living independently in their home and provide respite to family caregivers. This care may be subsidized, depending on the financial assessment completed by the Case Manager. In addition to the three contracted agencies, there are many private home support agencies available that caregivers can utilize, but not at a subsidized rate. • Community Health Workers – home support workers who provide personal care and respite care to individuals in their homes and are employed by the Home Support Agencies.

BY BARBARA SMALL

• Clinical Social Workers – provide assessment and counselling for issues such as adjustment to illness, client/family anxiety, caregiver issues and advocacy. • Rehabilitation – includes non-urgent physiotherapy and occupational therapy services in order to promote and maintain optimal functional independence in a safe home environment. • Nutritionists – provide assessment, consultation and education to nutritionally compromised individuals who are homebound. • Quick Response Team – an interdisciplinary team, who provide rehabilitation, nursing, social work and home support. Their goal is to provide short-term service to prevent hospital admission and to facilitate early hospital discharge. They are involved in more urgent home assessment and treatment until the Home and Community Care team is able to take over care. Hopefully this overview will answer some of your questions about Home and Community Care. However, next time someone shows up from the community health team and you are not sure what role they play, please ask them. They will be happy to respond to questions, or find out the answer, if they don’t know it. If you are not yet known to Home and Community Care, but have questions please call the General Inquiries Line at 388-2273. Adapted from an article by Amanda Proznick, Community Case Manager, VIHA, which appeared in The Network News, Family Caregivers’ Network Society, July 2006. SL Next month: Coping with the Ongoing Losses Experienced When Providing Care. Barbara Small is Program Development Coordinator for Family Caregivers’ Network Society.

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sto ry co ve r

Humanizing Healthcare BY FAYE FERGUSON

I

Photo: Roy Ferguson

n 1967 Vera McIver faced a dif- turn, eroded the women’s spirit, pride tance and who were likely to live out ficult decision. She was asked by and dignity. their lives in a facility. Sister Mary Elizabeth (who was “I knew changes had to be made,” Before coming to her work at the also Vera’s sister) to take on the role of says Vera. Priory, Vera had had extensive nursing Nursing Director at St. Mary’s Priory The care the residents at St. Mary’s experience. “I always had a strong callextended care facility located in Lang- Priory were receiving reflected com- ing to be a nurse,” she says. Graduating ford. Recalling the offer, Vera says: “It mon practices of the time. Similar de- from the Regina Grey Nun’s Hospital in wasn’t nepotism; Sister could find no personalized approaches were com- 1941, Vera spent much of her career as one else.” Vera was less than enthusi- mon in extended care facilities all over a private nurse. In those days, before the astic. “I was too steeped advent of critical care in the prevailing false units, the private nurse impression that working was utilized when pawith the elderly wasn’t tients required intensive challenging.” monitoring and care. She decided to take Although her years the job for six months. of acute care nursing did Little did she know what not specifically prepare a life-changing decision Vera for the challenges she had made. At the end she faced at the Priory, of the six months, Vera her nursing practice had knew she had found her always focused, first and calling. “I was hooked! foremost, on the needs I had no intention of of the patient and this leaving those wonderful perspective served her old folks.” well in her new role. Vera commenced her As Nursing Direcnew job by rolling up tor of an extended care her sleeves and workfacility, Vera found hering side-by-side with self in an arena of health the care aides. What she care with little prestige saw was discouraging. and meagre resources. The frail elders at the Nevertheless, she was Priory, all women, had determined to find ways a roof over their heads, to improve the care beregular meals and adeing provided. Her comquate hygiene. That was mitment was boundless. it. The environment was “I was consumed by a sterile, monotonous and passion to bring humanregulated by impersonal ity to all those who beroutines. Restraints, came my responsibility. Vera McIver and her daughter Ruth and granddog Tessa. both physical and meI don’t know what took dicinal, were frequently used to keep Canada – and throughout the world. hold of me. It became my vocation.” patients “manageable.” Not surprising- Care practices in long-term institutions She read by the hour, seeking inforly, these ill elders quickly lost interest in were modelled on those that had been mation that would eventually be used life with resulting declines in physical established for acutely ill hospitalized in a program of care, which became and mental abilities. This deterioration people. They were not geared for older known as The Priory Method. “We created increased dependency that, in people who required continuing assis- began by meeting our residents’ basic 6

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human needs,” says Vera. The elderly women were gradually introduced back to walking and basic exercises. Social activities were planned both in house and in the community. The residents wore daytime attire, not hospital gowns, during the day. Their rooms were painted in bold colours and each woman was encouraged to use personal mementoes to individualize her environment. The Priory’s Activity Co-ordinator, using an 8mm movie camera, documented the various activities within the institution. The residents enjoyed watching these in-house movies and, over time, Vera and her staff realized they had evidence on film of some remarkable transformations. Vera pieced these “before and after” segments together into a 30-minute film. “Then I had to make sense of what these pictures represented.” In creating the commentary for the film, she developed her model of care. Vera travelled the world with the film. “I had never spoken or presented papers before, but now I couldn’t shut up,” she says with a smile. Vera’s approach to the care of institutionalized elders shook up the accepted practices of the time and not everyone involved in health care was pleased. She often had to struggle with uncommitted health professionals and government bureaucrats in order to get her philosophy implemented. As the years passed, however, the concepts inherent in The Priory Method have become increasingly accepted as part of recognized health care practice. With considerable sadness, Vera left St. Mary’s Priory in 1979. Her husband’s health was failing and he needed her attention. She cared for him until his death in 1985. Since the loss of her husband, Vera has immersed herself in history. In 1987, she was approached by the Bishop of the Catholic Church in Victoria to take on the role of Diocesan Archivist. She immediately began the daunting job of organizing, sorting and cataloguing a vast array of diocesan material dating back to 1842. “I’m still doing it. I just love it,” she says. She has also researched and written a book that traces her family – hard working, resourceful Germanized Poles – who immigrated to Canada from Russia in the early part of the last century. Since her retirement, Vera has had time to enjoy travelling with her daughter, Ruth, whom she refers to as “the apple of my eye.” One especially enjoyable trip was to Ottawa in 1986, where Vera was presented with the Order of Canada for her work in humanizing care for ill elders. In 2002, she also received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. While the accolades are appreciated, Vera affirms that it was the work itself, and the appreciation of the people in her care, that meant the most to her. Thinking back to her time at the Priory, she says: “Oh, I had so much fun.” For more information about McIver’s work at St. Mary’s Priory, a recent book entitled Forgotten Revolution: The Priory Method: A Restorative Care Model for Older Persons by Jessie Mantle and Jeanette Funke-Furber (in dialogue with Vera McIver) is available at www.trafford.com SL

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HOMETOWN HEART

BY DARRYL WILSON

T

he small coastal community of Lantzville may be a lot quieter since its days as a booming coal mine town in the early 1920s, but its heart still beats strong. The Village Pub, also affectionately known as the Lantzville Pub & Hotel, could take top prize as an Island survivor. It has endured the closing of the Lantzville Mine, the Great Depression and even a World War. The business has been home to many in this community of 3,500. Upon entering the pub, one gets a feeling reminiscent of the comfort and camaraderie of another era – or maybe that’s just the resident ghost. The pub dates back to July 25, 1925, in its first incarnation as the Lantzville Hotel. With Lantzville booming as a coal mine town and the Vancouver Island

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Highway passing on its doorstep, the ville would soon become another coal hotel was a natural fit to serve the in- mine ghost town, like Wellington and creasing number of travellers. Built by Northfield. But the Caillets could still the Caillet family, the hotel opened with see a future. A sign was placed on the highway ad10 rooms on the second floor, a dining room, a large dorm in the attic and a vertising the weekend special of Frenchzoo outside that housed a menagerie of cooked chicken. This held the bank at bay, until the miners’ houses filled with bears, monkeys and other animals. In 1926, the facility became licensed and was given approval to sell beer and cider by the glass or bottle. A gasoline pump from the coal mine was purchased and set adjacent to the hotel steps. As the years passed, the one gas pump gradually grew Lantzville Hotel (photo circa 1930s) THEN... into the Lantzville Garage. A rubber hose across the gas pump area workers from the Straits Lumber Comactivated a buzzer in the dining room. pany and the local logging camps. Between the late 1930s to the 1940s, Not only were the Caillets parents to three small children, they also served as the hotel telephone served the wider cook, bartender, gas pump jockey and community. In a small village, it was customary to phone the local hotel to get chief bottle washer. Armand Caillet was born in the Lantz- a message to those without a phone. The ville Hotel in 1921. In his memoirs, he message was usually delivered by bike. Stories of the pub’s history add to its recalls many fond memories including his mother polishing chimneys and oil charm. Stories range from the resident ghost, to the local drunks, to the back lamps and refueling the gas lanterns. The hotel operated without electric- door (illegal) beer sales on Sundays. ity for 10 years. The property also used Current owner Rod Egerton recalls to boast a cow barn, a chicken house, his first encounter with the ghost. a smoke house, a large orchard with “I don’t believe in ghosts, but last apples, pears, plums and cherries and a year, I was here renovating at night; it large vegetable garden. The family and was around Christmas time. Everything the hotel guests consumed the produce. was finished for the day and we were Armand’s father would fish around sitting in the main area having a cofMaude Island or buy locally caught fish, fee when we heard a bang in the pool served fresh or canned in fruit sealers. room,” says Egerton. “We went to inAt one point, the miners’ houses vestigate, and I felt something grab my looked abandoned. With talk of trouble arm. I must have jumped about six feet in the coal mine, most believed Lantz- off the ground! My dog is a Rottweiler

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and he [hid] under the pool table for at least three or four hours with his claws dug into the floor.” Between the early 1950s and late 1970s, a reformation began. Prior to the ‘50s, the Liquor Act prohibited food in the pub. Dancing and singing was also not permitted, nor was moving from table to table. Gentlemen had to have an escort to sit in the ladies’ section and no ladies were permitted to sit in the gentlemen’s section. Renovations commenced after the government adopted a new type of license in 1977. The bathrooms were completely rebuilt, the stripped walls were insulated and Gyproced, the upstairs was blocked by a heavy steel fire door and the dining room and lobby walls were eliminated. In 1975, the Caillets brought in a 100-year-old antique bar, salvaged from an old saloon in Missoula, Montana as the centrepiece. Rumour has it that it may have been one of the bars that Jesse James used to frequent. With the antique saloon bar as the centrepiece, the newly renovated pub took shape. A side porch was added and hours were spent in the Caillet home basement fibreglassing 29 burl tables and upholstering 125 wooden chairs. The Caillets eventually sold the pub in 1979. For some time after, Armand Caillet would still walk into the pub and behind the bar, ready to work, before realizing he didn’t own it anymore. Fast forward to present day, the same atmosphere, sense of history, and hometown friendliness that made the Village Pub the heart of this town, lives on. Staff members love their jobs and have been around for years. Many of them know regulars by their first name, and if that isn’t enough, ocean views blow the customers away. Assistant Manager Arlene Scott has been at the Village Pub for over a decade. “The locals are definitely what make up the Village Pub,” she says. “Even Armand Caillet, who was born in the hotel still comes for lunch about three times per week.” With the friendly hometown atmosphere and great pub food, it’s no surprise the Village Pub has been home to many for so many years. Historical reference adapted from Lantzville Hotel The Caillet Years: July 25, 1925 to October 5, 1981 by Armand Caillet. SL

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VICTORIA’S Past REVISITED T

man, and then heard of the Gold Rush in the Fraser Valley. He seized the opportunity, jumped ship in Victoria in 1858 and made his way to Lillooet. Around this time, his wife, whom he had never contacted after his emigration, died in abject poverty in a workhouse in England. No one knows what happened to his daughter. His search for gold was unsuccessful and each winter he returned to Victoria where, on more than one occasion, he found his name in the

Illustration: Pablo Archero

“I’m English Bill, Never worked and never will; Get away, girls Or I’ll tousle your curls.” his bit of doggerel verse was sung with gusto on the Cariboo goldfields by the miners about one of their own, Billy Barker, a pioneer who struck it rich, gave his name to a town, died penniless and was buried in Victoria’s Ross Bay Cemetery in an unmarked pauper’s grave. Not much is known about Billy’s early life. For many years, it was thought he was born in Cornwall, England and his nickname was “Cornish Bill.” But that epithet belonged to another Billy Barker, while the Billy Barker of Cariboo fame was born in Cambridgeshire in March 1817. His father was a waterman on the barges in Norfolk, but with the advent of rail travel, Barker and his family were rendered jobless. Billy married Jane Lavender in 1839 and they had a baby girl. Around 1850, he left his wife and child without support and went to the United States to seek his fortune in the California Gold Rush. This venture was a dismal failure, so he took up pottery and failed. In desperation, Barker became a sea-

The Romping

newspapers. Barker was short of stature and had a temper to match. He was always spoiling for a fight and when the notorious John Copland (who had created more than one disturbance among the city officials) locked horns with Barker, he met his match. On January 23, 1862, Copland brought a case before Magis-

trate Augustus Pemberton, claiming that he had not been paid for work he had done on Saltspring Island for Barker. But Copland had not prepared his case well and Pemberton threw it out. Copland left in a rage, vowing to return, but he was denied the privilege, because Barker returned to the goldfields – a little earlier than usual. On this trip, he decided to try his luck further north. The previous year, William “Dutch Bill” Dietz had found gold in a stream, named “Williams Creek” in his honour. By the time Barker arrived, all the best claims had been staked around what became the town of Richfield. He staked six more claims below the canyon, where 4,000 miners had already exhausted all the possibilities and so became the butt of ridicule as an “ignorant immigrant greenhorn.” Months of hard labour yielded nothing and the scoffing continued. Unaffected by the taunts, he proceeded to stake eight more claims and along with five other miners, the “Barker Company” worked from dawn to dusk. They had sunk shaft after shaft and found nothing. Disillusioned miners drifted home and Barker decided to give up. Even his boundless optimism was exhausted. As he readied to leave, he encountered High Court Judge Matthew Begbie. Barker had gone to him in a penniless state for help to get out. Something

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g Tale of Billy Barker about Barker impressed the Judge, who offered to support him in one more try. With renewed heart, Barker returned to his last shaft, already 40-feet deep – much deeper than any of the experienced miners would go. He continued to dig another 10 feet but with no result. Feeling it was all in vain, he decided on one last try. Two feet further down, on August 17, 1962, he hit pay dirt. The richest claim to date, overnight Barker became one of the wealthiest men in the province. From a 600-foot-long segment he would earn about $1,000 a foot – over half a million dollars. In today’s value, it would approach 10 million dollars. Instantly, the word spread and 10,000 people poured into that lonely stretch of land and created “Barkerville” – the largest town north of San Francisco and west of Chicago. The Cariboo Gold Rush was on as men, women and children continued to struggle through the forbidding terrain in search of the precious metal that had made the stocky, bow-legged, quick-tempered Englishman rich. Barker was now ready to enjoy his wealth, and returned to Victoria at Christmas 1862 to live in luxury. A fatal mistake, for it set in motion a chain of events that reduced this wealthy, successful miner to a penniless and broken old man. The

announcement in a January 1863 edition of the Colonist newspaper seemed innocuous enough. “Married – on January 13, by the Reverend M. Macfie, at the Metropolitan Hotel, William Barker of Williams Creek, Cariboo, B.C., to Elizabeth Collyer, widow, late of London and passenger by the ship Rosedale from England.” Not much is known about Mrs. Collyer until this time, and some historians are of the opinion that her bad reputation

The richest claim to date, overnight Barker became one of the wealthiest men in the province. has been exaggerated. However, the story has it that this merry widow knew exactly how to spend poor Barker’s money in very short order. She accompanied him back to the goldfields, where men out-numbered women about 200 to 1. In order to keep her happy, and terrified he would lose her to a younger and more handsome man, he indulged her ex-

BY NORMAN K. ARCHER

travagant tastes. He squandered countless thousands of dollars on useless claims that she thought he should support. In Barkerville, Richland and other camps, he became known as a soft touch, aided and abetted it seems, by his spendthrift wife and scattered his money to all and sundry. Suddenly, the gold ran out and so did his wife. He had to beg to pay his stagecoach fare back to Victoria. Here he worked in obscurity as a cook and at some menial jobs for about 30 years, and for many successive summers he would go back to the goldfields to try his luck. But he never found success again. Eventually, he developed cancer of the jaw and was unable to work. He ended his life in an old men’s home, where he died on July 11, 1894 at the age of 77 and was buried as a pauper in an unmarked grave in Ross Bay Cemetery. In 1962, 100 years after his celebrated gold strike, a memorial stone was erected over his grave. And here Billy Barker, the battling bantam rests. SL

Norman Archer is an historical city tour guide in Victoria.

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WELLNESS

NUTRITION AND AGING BY DR. BALA NAIDOO

E

veryone is destined to age because of cumulative damage to cells and tissues. Although genetics plays an important role in determining longevity, people can increase their lifespan by reducing the risks from degenerative diseases through proper nutrition, adequate exercise and a healthy lifestyle. As people age, calorie requirements generally decrease due to reduced activity. However, in order for the body to work well, a balanced diet, with all the necessary carbohydrates, proteins, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals is still needed. For example, an excessive consumption of animal fats may lead to a partial blockage of the arteries by cholesterol plaques. This could result in tissues and organs getting less oxygen and nutrients, and give rise to many diseases common in old age. Inadequate absorption of vitamins and minerals is common among seniors. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 and vitamin D are the rule, rather than the exception. In fact, the U.S. Institute of Medicine has advised people over 50 to take vitamin B12 supplements to compensate for the decrease in absorption as they age. As for vitamin D, people in their 70s produce only about half of the amount they did in childhood through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is needed not only for good bones but also, according to new research, for protection against autoimmune diseases, hypertension and some cancers. A lack of B vitamins can also lead to depression, as does inadequate vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids. Low folate levels can increase blood ho-

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mocysteine levels, which can lead not only to heart disease and stroke, but also to the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Mineral deficiencies are responsible for a host of medical conditions from osteoporosis to goitre. For example, anemia results from low blood iron level coupled with insufficient vitamin B12 and folic acid intake. Incidentally, increased iron absorption by the body occurs when food containing vitamin C is also included, one of many examples of nutrients working in conjunction with one another in the body. Many of the degenerative diseases common in old age, such as cancer and heart disease, are initiated by “free radicals,” which can attack DNA, proteins and cell membranes. By destroying free radicals, antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids, polyphenols and certain minerals can help protect against diseases and may even slow down the aging process. We should, therefore, maximize our consumption of foods rich in antioxidants: carrots, spinach, citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, red grapes, red wine, peppers, broccoli, cabbages, garlic, onions, Brazil nuts, soy and tea. Many fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, potatoes and oranges, are also rich in potassium, which helps keep blood pressure low. Plus, a new study shows that nuts and grains reduce the risk of prostate cancer. It’s advisable to cut down on animal protein – most people consume too much. Eat lean, white meat and low-fat dairy, with red meat making only an occasional appearance. Avoid bacon, sausage and other high-fat meats.

Stick to complex carbohydrates by eating whole wheat bread, pasta and cereals, bran and brown rice. Avoid cookies, sweets and other foods made with refined carbohydrates. Ideally, consumption of saturated, and especially trans fats, should be limited. By eating whole and natural foods, trans fats, which can increase the risk of coronary artery disease even more than saturated fats, are avoided. So, choose trans fat-free margarine and stay away from fast food, commercially-fried food, chips and crackers which are often prepared with trans fats or their close relatives, partially hydrogenated oil and shortening. A diet should be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines or tuna and in walnuts, flaxseed and other nuts. If contaminants are a worry, such as mercury in large fish, eat sardines and other small fish. Reduce the intake of omega-6 oils such as those made with corn, sunflower or soybean, using instead monounsaturated fatty acids from olive oil, nuts and avocadoes.

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Dr. Naidoo, is a retired Chemistry professor who now lives in Ladysmith. He is the author of two books, Nature’s Bounty: Why certain foods are so good for you and Nature’s Bounty: More about foods for a longer and healthier life.

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WELLNESS

And don’t forget the daily glass of red wine! Many studies, including the Physicians Health Study, have found that men and women consuming one drink a day live longer than those who don’t drink at all. Don’t overeat, since we are all well aware of the increased risk of diabetes and heart disease associated with being overweight. In fact, calorie restriction, along with the intake of all required nutrients, has been shown to prolong the lifespan of laboratory animals. So, to increase the odds of living a long and healthy life, try to stay thin! In summary, there’s not much people can do about their genes, but a good diet, together with plenty of exercise, SL may increase longevity.

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WELLNESS

Adapting Your Home to Age-in-Place S BY STARR MUNRO

eniors who want to age gracefully in their own homes or with their family, find that simple home modifications improve their quality of life, reduce opportunities for accidents and longer periods of time are spent independently in a familiar environment. How to make a home more accommodating for aging-in-place:

Entrances

• Widen walkways and entrances into and throughout your home • Replace steps outside your home with a graduated ramp • Install handrails along walkways and steps • Add non-slip grip on and around stairs and entrances • Eliminate step-down or step-up door thresholds • Add colour contrast to door entrances, especially if there is a change in floor texture or grade of door threshold

Lighting

• Install sensor lights outside to illuminate walkways and steps • Make sure all stairwells are well lit with easy-to-reach light switches • Install two-way light switches at all entrances and exits, rooms and stairwells • Ensure there is sufficient lighting around all appliances, halls and doorways • Add electrical outlets in easy to reach locations

Doors

• Replace heavy doors with doors that are easier to open and close • Install intercoms or flashing lights

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to replace doorbell • Install lever handles and relocate locks to convenient locations

Stairs • Relocate commonly accessed rooms and appliances (such as laundry, bedroom, bathrooms. kitchen etc) to main floor level • Install stair lift systems if main rooms in house cannot be relocated for easier access • Install extended handrails at top and bottom of stairs • Replace worn carpet or stair coverings

Kitchen • Adjust sink and countertop height to a convenient working level • Install easy-to-grip-and-adjust lever faucets • Remove cupboards to create knee space for sitting at counter or sink • Lower existing cupboards and shelves • Add pullout storage devices to ground-level cupboards • Install electrical outlets in convenient locations (add colour contrast to outlets for greater visibility)

Bedroom • Pad or eliminate sharp corners and turns within the bedroom • Secure corners of rugs, carpets or floor coverings • Install vertical grab bars near bed • Install light switches that illuminate room near bed and doorway • Install a telephone near bed for emergencies

Bathroom • Install grab bars at strategic locations around bathroom

• Install non-slip flooring • Install walk-in shower or transfer bench in bathtub • Add vertical grab bar inside tub/ shower entrance • Adjust hot water heater to ensure tub/shower temperature is moderate • Insert a waterproof light fixture in tub or shower • Raise toilet seat to a convenient height • Relocate toilet paper roll to easyto-reach area

Storage • Install lights in closets • Install easy-to-reach shelves and/or clothing rods • Add hooks or drawers in convenient-to-reach locations

Daily Activities • Relocate appliances to convenient location within rooms • Adjust shelves and add countertops to reduce need to bend or stretch excessively • Widen door wells, hallways and rooms to allow for walkers, canes and wheelchairs To determine the home adaptations that best suit your needs, define which daily activities have become a challenge or often result in near accidents. Specialized adaptations can be made to any home for most mobility issues, visual challenges and hearing impairments. Friends or family can quickly install some adaptations, while others will require contractors or specialists. Contact your local disability resource centre, senior resource centre or CMHC for more information on home adaptaSL tions that suit your needs.

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WELLNESS

Home Adaptations for Seniors’ Independence

Ronald A. Postings Denturist

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The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) operates a program specifically designed to help homeowners and landlords cover the costs associated with making minor home adaptations, in order to extend the time seniors are able to live independently in their homes.

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Minor home adaptations that qualify for funding include such modifications as the installation of: • handrails; • easy-to-reach work and storage areas in the kitchen; • lever handles on doors; • walk-in showers with grab bars; and or bathtub grab bars and seats. Many other minor home adaptations that benefit seniors with age-related disabilities may qualify for funding under the HASI program. All home adaptations covered by this program should be permanent and fixed to the dwelling. Any work carried out before the loan is approved in writing is not eligible for funding, so be sure to contact CMHC in advance of making any modifications to your home. For more information, or to find out if you qualify for the HASI loan, contact the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) at 1-800-639-3938 or visit www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/

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WELLNESS

HEART DISEASE:

Are You at Risk?

S

BY SANDRA DYER

teven Robinson* thought he was healthy. In fact, However, angiograms showed artery blockages, which he rarely thought about his health, until, in his proved to be the real source of his lessened ability to exerearly fifties, he suffered a heart attack. Like many cise. Canadians, Steven knew little about heart disease. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease because it can “Less than 25 per cent of Canadians know the symp- cause plaque to build in arteries, makes blood clots more toms,” says Victoria Newstead, of the Victoria Branch of likely, and causes blood pressure to increase. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the risk of having heart disYet, coronary artery disease is the leading cause of hos- ease related to smoking is cut in half after only one year of pitalization for Canadian men and women (excluding child- not smoking, and even those over 60 can extend their life by birth). It is important that people monitor their health with quitting. High blood pressure causes significant strain on the heart, the help of their doctor and be aware of the signs of heart but it can be managed with the help of a doctor. High blood disease. cholesterol can lead to plaque building up in arteries and can So, what are the signs? Victoria cardiologist Dr. Evan Lockwood cites central be managed by eating well, especially avoiding a high-fat diet, not smoking, and staying active. Ask chest pain related to exertion, and a doctor to test cholesterol levels. pain in the right or left arm, jaw, People with diabetes are at risk for neck, or into the back, dizziness, Coronary artery disease heart disease, but controlling other shortness of breath, loss of confactors can significantly reduce this sciousness, nausea, and sweatiness is the leading cause of risk. as some key symptoms to pay attenhospitalization for CaObesity or sedentary lifestyles tion to. increase risk, but can be easily man“Most people downplay the nadian men and women aged. chest pain itself,” says Lockwood. (excluding childbirth). Factors people can’t control are “Men over 55, especially those who age, family history and ethnicity. are obese or have diabetes and who Risk for men increases after 55 years, have pain after meals, will often put and for women, increases after about it down to reflux disease.” Pain that could mimic gastro-esophageal reflux disease, 60 years. The risk increases if someone has a close family commonly known as heartburn, could be something more seri- member who has had heart disease before 55 for men and ous. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor about any symptoms. before 60 for women. Both men and women are susceptible Like men, women are at risk, but may be less likely to to heart disease. recognize symptoms as heart disease. “[Women] are at the same risk as men, just later,” says “Women experience what is often not typical chest pain, Lockwood. People of First Nations, African or South Asian as portrayed in the media. They may experience chest pains descent are more likely to have high-blood pressure and diathat are not a typical squeezing sensation or a feeling of betes according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Cantightness in the arm or the jaw and they may not recognize ada, and are in turn more likely to have heart disease. The good news is that everyone can reduce risks and them as heart attack symptoms,” says Lockwood. For both men and women, “any chest pain that is repro- decrease the chance of heart disease causing a stroke or ask their doctor for guidelines ducible or becoming more frequent definitely needs urgent heart attack. People should on prevention of heart disease for their age group, and medical attention,” says Lockwood. other relevant information to Symptoms can be subtle. The ability to exercise can be share family history and identify any testing that should be done. effected. Richard advises telling a doctor about the pos“Normal walking was OK, but my jogging ability went down by about 25 per cent,” says Richard Neve*. “It was sibility of heart disease in thought that I had what is known as runner’s asthma, which the family, is chest soreness.”

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angioplasty and vascular stenting, which inflates then reinforces a clogged artery, are performed successfully each year in Victoria. Medical knowledge of treatment is improving, and combined with a healthy lifestyle, heart disease is largely manageable. February is Heart Month. Victoria Newstead encourages people to look out for heart month events and plenty of volunteer opportunities this year. The Heart and Stroke Foundation offers many opportunities to get involved, and publishes the Annual Report Card on Canadians’ Health each February. *Not his real name.

SL

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WELLNESS

even when the family history is inconclusive. He cites the case of a patient he met while going through treatment. “He told his doctor that he had no family history of heart problems, but what he didn’t tell his doctor was that his dad died in a car accident at 40.” Some people who have heart disease, “are thin and they exercise, but if heart problems are in their genes, they eventually will probably have problems. A lot of them are fit people,” says Richard. The importance of regular exercise cannot be overstated as it both substantially increases health and the ability to recover from heart disease. “I didn’t have a heart attack. I put it down to exercising every day and I took an Aspirin a day,” says Richard. (Always check with a doctor before taking Aspirin or any other medication). It is never too late to start eating well. Follow the 0-530 rule, recommended by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, where zero is smoke-free, five is at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and 30 refers to the minutes of exercise a person should get each day. Increase the intake of high-fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, cut out fat whenever possible and use vegetable fats instead of animal fats. Cutting down on meat helps to reduce fat and calorie intake. “I stay away from red meat,” says Steven. “I just realized how important it is to make the adjustment to healthier eating.” Steven had a successful open-heart bypass surgery, and he doesn’t take his health for granted. Don’t ignore heart disease. “I think there is a reluctance to seek medical attention,” says Lockwood. “Men tend to think everything is fine.” Have routine annual check-ups, check blood pressure and cholesterol and pay attention to diet and exercise, even if there are no signs of heart disease. “By exercising and eating correctly, I did all the good things that prevented a heart attack,” says Richard. “Others get to the point where they can hardly walk and they finally see someone. They ignored symptoms, didn’t listen to their bodies, and they had an attack. That’s much harder on their heart.” Myocardial infarction, or heart attack, due to reduced blood flow through coronary arteries will cause more serious damage to heart muscle. Fortunately, coronary heart disease is getting a lot of attention from the medical community. In Victoria, worldclass research is taking place. “We do state-of- the-art coronary heart disease and arrhythmias (heart rhythm) research,” says Lockwood. Thousands of medical interventions, including openheart bypass surgery, which creates a bypass for a clogged artery, and

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WELLNESS

PLAYING FOR YOUR HEALTH

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Board games, card games, puzzles and other activities that use the brain cells are not just entertainment pastimes, but fun exercises for the mind. The “Talespinners” at John Alfred Manor (JAM) are in top form. Once a week, senior storytellers share stories, like their childhood memories and life in another era. “It’s listening to history told by someone who had been there!” says Chelsea Neumann, JAM’s Recreation Therapist. Storytelling is a memory exercise, often generating spirited audience response. The “Hearts with Hands” knitting group at John Alfred Manor keep their fingers nimble by busily knitting tiny hats for premature babies, plus blankets and mittens for the homeless. Other JAM activities includes music, singing, tai chi, a walking group, bridge/cribbage, bingo, bus trips and social events, all carefully planned to encourage maximum resident participation. Amie Aniban, Recreation Director for The Victorian at McKenzie, has a busy schedule for her seniors: bowling, bean-bag toss and billiards hone hand-to-eye co-ordination; a volunteer resident teaches a form of tai chi; an exercise room has a few machines for fitness buffs, while gentler chair exercises keep others agile. Bridge, tile rummy and poker keep the residents’ brain cells stimulated along with bingo, books and music. Four years ago, Ken and Evelyn Martin moved from their condominium to The Victorian at McKenzie. Utilizing his writ-

Photos: Judee Fong

P

laying is a holistic approach to illness prevention. In most seniors’ residences, it is an entertaining way of staying active, healthy and mobile. The thought of exercising makes many people cringe. Rob Huppee, Wellness and Vitality Manager of Amica Lifestyle, says the key is to keep things fun and light. “Everyone exercises at their own comfort level – whether it’s strength conditioning (MPower), aquafit or tai chi – classes are always in a supervised setting, often turning into a social event.” Somerset House residents Earl and Dorothy Kimmerly reap the benefits of staying active. Married for 63 years, the Kimmerlys say there’s too much to do. Daily morning swims, carpet bowling, chair exercises (Dorothy), MPower circuit (Earl), the challenging complexities of Mexican dominoes and social outings fill their monthly calendar. “We’ve been here a year and still haven’t done everything,” say the busy couple. Bubbling with energy, Margaret Rippin stays dynamic with the walking group, the MPower workouts, the Somerset Follies, bingo and Mexican dominoes. She admits her list keeps growing. “I’m 86 years old, feeling healthy and having the time of my life!” says Margaret. Nordic Pole Walking is the latest addition to Amica’s fitness options. With special benefits for older adults, it works 90 per cent of the body’s muscles, burning more calories while improving balance and mobility. “If you can walk, you can pole walk,” says Rob. Holistic recreation affects the mind, as well as the body. Many seniors’ residences include numerous activities to challenge the intellect.

BY JUDEE FONG

Top to bottom, Dorothy Kimmerly stretches using an exercise band. Evelyn Martin makes a bold chess move. Earl Kimmerly builds strength in his legs. Kay Doonen works her upper body on the MPower circuit.

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activity lowers blood pressure, maintains weight control, increases mobility,

Recreation personnel plan activity programs that are fun and adaptable, motivating residents to remain active in a pastime they love, or learning a new one.

reduces stress, builds self-esteem and increases confidence. For seniors living alone, diabetes, heart disease and joint problems such as arthritis initiate the end of many of their physical activities. Today, seniors’ residences understand that activity leads to overall wellness and longevity, and health problems mean an adjustment, not an end, to enjoying favourite forms of recreation. SL Playtime is good for you!

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WELLNESS

H

ing, editing and organizational skills, Ken produces the monthly Victorian Views newsletter for residents. “We love the activity, the food and the whole atmosphere,” says Ken cheerfully. “There’s always something interesting going on.” Betty Tupper, a neighbour, echoes Ken’s enthusiasm. “I enjoy being active and social. For instance, the walking club goes to different locations such as UVic, the Gorge and even Mattick’s Farm. If the weather is terrible, we become mall-walkers.” Newly opened senior residences such as Legion Manor, The Peninsula and Cridge Village Seniors Centre, plus established senior complexes such as The Wellesley and Berwick House, all have activity programs geared to the abilities of their residents. Certified recreation therapists and recreation personnel plan activity programs that are fun and adaptable, motivating residents to remain active in a pastime they love, or learning a new one. Over time, and with a healthy diet, continued

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WELLNESS

E

Heavy Metal Headache

very day, the news is filled with information about environmental toxicity, multiple allergies, autism, cancer, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, infertility, irritable bowel – it’s enough to make a person buy a fancy car and drive off into the sunset. Chemainus boilermaker Brian Lenny will say to buy that car because it’ll be enjoyable – if the person can remember where he or she is going – “but I wouldn’t,” he says. During 35 years of industrial welding, Brian inhaled vapourized metals and preservative coatings daily.

ter many visits to the doctor, Brian was surprised to learn that Parkinson’s is not genetic, but environmental. According to Dr. Olinka Hrebicek, Victoria neurologist and head of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic, “chronic diseases are multifactorial and in many, such as MS and Parkinson’s, the environment is probably a significant factor.” Some of her MS patients use chelation hoping to control symptoms. Hrebicek does not prescribe chelation; she leaves that to doctors specially trained in the process, such as Dr. John Cline, integrative medicine practitioner in Nanaimo. According to Cline, chelation is the process of giving “a chemical, called a chelator, intravenously or orally, which binds metal ions, pulls them out through the kidneys in the urine to decrease the body burden of heavy metals.” Brian wondered if chelation could help him. “Fifteen years ago, one of the guys at our church had real bad heart problems; they Brian Lenny was surprised to learn Parkinson’s told him to go home and Disease is environmental and not genetic. die. Instead, he went to “You absorb a lot of this stuff the States for chelation [not available through your skin, too,” he says. in B.C. at that time] and he was fine.” He also had “15 or more [amal- An avid computer (“Mac!”) geek, Brian gam] fillings. It sounds like a lot, but surfed the Net for a local practitioner. that’s about normal.” Meanwhile in Port Alberni, denIn his 40s, Brian developed aller- tist Jim Bradley felt lousy: short-term gies, short-term memory problems, memory loss, irritability, and bouts of and Parkinson’s-like tremors. anger. Several family members have Par“I’d get up in the morning and [realkinson’s disease, including his grand- ize], ‘I just can’t do it, I’m too exhaustfather who’d also had dementia. Af- ed.’ I felt as though I was living in a

20

BY CHRISTEL MARTIN

fog,” says Jim. “I couldn’t make a decision about anything.” His doctor said he was depressed. Just before Jim graduated from the University of Alberta School of Dentistry in 1983, Drs. Vimy and Lorscheider, at the University of Calgary, were examining the safety of “silver” amalgam fillings – actually 50 per cent mercury, with tin, zinc, nickel and silver. “They used radioisotope mercury in [pregnant] sheep’s fillings so they could track where it went – gut, kidneys, brain and [fetus],” says Jim. When dental students asked about this, professors said sheep chew differently than humans, therefore, mercury release in humans was not an issue. The studies were flawed. “No student would have dared to say, ‘Mercury’s No. 3 on the toxicity list of all time. Why are we using it and how can you say that once it’s mixed up with this stuff that it’s safe?’” says Jim. “It wouldn’t be a smart thing to do in dental school to challenge the powers that be.” By the early 1990s, Jim had seen enough evidence of mercury’s toxicity that he started filling with “white stuff” only. It was better for his patients – less mercury to ingest and inhale. But Jim never considered what the inhaled mercury vapour during amalgam removal, and his own amalgams, were doing to him. By his late 40s, Jim felt the effects. At 52, he sold his Port Alberni dental practice. “Actually, I pretty much gave it away; it was just too much trouble to negotiate.” His doctor treated him for depression, but “I knew I was poisoned,” says Jim. After sitting on the couch for several months without relief, because it’s “hard to make any decision when you are in the midst of The Fog,” Jim called a former Port Alberni family doctor: Cline.

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Regaining one’s health is easy. Cline describes the chelation protocol:

lular enzymes, causing over 200 different symptoms (the U.S. Center for Disease Control Web site shows 367 pages of health effects). “The vast majority of people who are 55-60 years old, have a mouthful of mercury,” says Jim. “What age group has the biggest number of abnormalities? It’s the 55-65 senior group that has had time for all this stuff to kick in.” “Mercury is known as the Great Masquerader,” says Cline. “The symptoms of mercury poisoning are easily mistaken for something else.” “[My] conventional doctor dismissed the toxicity, even after I was seeing Dr. Cline and had good results,” says Jim. X

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1. Decrease exposure: remove dental amalgams. “When you get the mercury out, there is a protocol that needs to be done so that it doesn’t make you worse,” warns Jim, “only one or two fillings at a time” with proper ventilation and antioxidant supplements. 2. Chelation to decrease body burden of heavy metals – mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, etc. By eliminating the cause of chronic disease, not just treating symptoms, the body can heal itself. 3. Optimize nutrition to support the body’s own detoxification organs [kidneys, liver, skin] with supplements and healthy foods. For dietary advice, Cline recommends Foods That Fight Cancer by Drs. Beliveau and Gingras, cancer researchers at the University of Quebec.

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4. Drink water – half an ounce per pound of body weight – daily, to dilute and flush poisons. “Most of us are dehydrated,” says Cline. 5. Sauna. “Profuse sweating reduces the burden on kidneys.” 6. Exercise “greatly enhances the effectiveness of detoxification.” JANUARY 2007

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WELLNESS

While working as a general practitioner, Cline observed a bedridden patient’s struggle with severe fibromyalgia. Standard medical treatments did nothing. Desperate, the patient tried chelation – and recovered. Why? The World Health Organization has known since 1991 that the greatest individual source of mercury poiDr. Jim Bradley noticed the effects of mersoning is dental amalcury poisoning after years of working in his gams. Mercury vadental practise. pourizes in the mouth. Inhaled mercury vapour enters the bloodstream and travels directly to the fatty cells (brain, nerves, glands, kidneys, liver). Slightly less neurotoxic than plutonium and uranium, more poisonous than lead and arsenic, mercury disrupts cel-

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WELLNESS

While chelation is not yet cov- whether heavy metals are causing your ered under B.C. Medical, says Cline, problems. Then you can set your priori“insurance companies are starting to ties.” realize it’s cheaper for them to pay At 60, Brian’s priority is health. “I for this than expensive long-term do want to live a longer and prosperdisability [LTD].” ous life, and I want to remember what Jim’s disability insurance paid I did when I was doing it. Alzheimer’s, LTD, and private insurance paid a Parkinson’s, a lot of other illnesses are portion of Brian’s dental work. Both environmental. You have to have a lifemen paid for chelation and deducted style change. You have to think things it from taxes. through and do “If you look it things differ“Insurance companies up in a medient.” Most of cal journal, the allerare starting to realize it’s Brian’s treatment for gies have disapcheaper for them to pay peared and he lead poisoning is EDTA chelajust remodelled for this than expensive tion [covered his kitchen, doby MSP], so, ing fine woodlong-term disability.” why isn’t it OK work that was – Dr. John Cline for mercury, impossible when arsenic, nickel, he had tremors. cadmium?” asks Jim. “I’m happy that I figured out what “You’ll probably be dead by the was going on,” says Jim, now 55. “I’m time the government gets around to embarrassed that it was right under my funding it,” says Brian, “don’t worry nose all those years.” about it, just go and do it. Only you Now that The Fog has lifted and Jim control your health. This is why I can think clearly again, he plans to open believe in computers and all the ac- a mercury-free dental practice followcess we have to knowledge. Without ing the International Academy of Oral knowledge, you cannot make an in- Medicine and Toxicology guidelines, formed decision on anything.” as soon as he can find space. [Ed. Note: Not all information For more information about mercury on the Internet is correct and true. and other heavy metals, search the folPeople should conduct thorough relowing Web sites and references: search.] “Just get the metal out,” says Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Jim. “A $500 investment (complete Registry, Center of Disease Control, physical examination, lab work, che- U.S. Government: lation challenge test) will tell you atsdr.cdc.gov

22

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Food & Drug Administration, U.S. Government: fda.gov World Health Organization: who.org University of Calgary, for a video: ucalgary.ca toxicteeth.org for a list of symptoms ukentucky.edu for Dr. Boyd Haley’s work on autism at the University of Kentucky American College for Advancement in Medicine for a qualified chelation practitioner in your area: acam.org iaomt.org for a dentist clinemedical.com for treatment options “The Chemicals Within Us,” National Geographic, Oct. 2006. An exposé on internal pollution. Old medical dictionaries, such as Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 1960 edition, contain interesting information modern dictionaries no longer list. SL

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eelings of pleasure and contentment enhance one’s physical health and lead to a sense of well-being and self-empowerment. While feelings of depression and loneliness often contribute to physical ailments. Just as physical health requires cultivation through good nutrition, rest and exercise, good emotional health requires cultivation through meaningful activities and positive relationships. University of Victoria, Department of Psychology Centre on Aging professor and researcher Dr. Holly Toukko, shares tips for seniors who want to maintain a healthy emotional outlook on life. Toukko suggests staying connected by participating in activities at recreation centres, and maintaining long-term relationships with family and friends as well as developing new relationships. Find someone to share feelings with. Another benefit to emotional health is pursuing a hobby. In addition to maintaining old activities and hobbies, seniors should develop new ones. To help keep the mind sharp, Toukko advises embracing technology. Surf the Internet and communicate with grandchildren by e-mail. Watch television and listen to the radio to keep up with current events. Do crossword puzzles, Sudoku, read, memorize poems or plays and join an amateur theatre group. “Nutrition, sleep and exercise,” she says, “keep the blood flowing and the mind sharp.” Pets can also provide good emotional support. “You can talk to them. They don’t talk back to you,” says Toukko. Spirituality, self-reflection and the desire to be a contributing member of society also enhance emotional wellness. Toukko says spiritual well-being ties in with mental and physical well-being. Former social worker Judith Everson, widowed for four years, is involved in meaningful activities and positive relationships. “Meeting people leads to new experiences,” says Judith. “Stay active by picking up a calendar from a seniors’ centre to find out what activities are available.” It’s important to always have something to look forward to. “Get up in the morning and plan your day. Ask yourself what you should do and work towards that plan.” Reading is also important. Good books are available at the library and second-hand bookstores. “When you read a good book,” says Judith, “you disappear into a different world.” Judith has three hobbies – her winter projects. She is learning calligraphy and takes lessons on Monday afternoons with a Chinese group. She also works with watercolours and thread embroidery. Judith’s friend and former polio victim Nicole Anderson, in her second year of living alone, says she makes use of her nearby seniors’ facility where she has joined an exercise group and a hiking group. “I use the facility mostly to meet new people,” she says. “I

BY VERNICE SHOSTAL

signed up to start taking bridge lessons in January. I haven’t played bridge since the kids were little.” When she’s not at the seniors’ centre, Nicole is either swimming with her post-polio group, walking with her neighbours or volunteering as a secretary at an outreach program. At home, in her spare time, she is a painter and a fabric artist. She is also taking free lessons in computer skills at the public library. Both women suggest there are many activities to get involved with that don’t require spending money. In addition to local seniors’ centres, Seniors Serving Seniors (www.seniorsservingseniors.bc.ca) is a resource offering several avenues of assistance. For emotional counselling, peer counsellors help seniors get in touch with feelings and solve problems. One volunteer-run program, Seniors in Stitches, is a group that meets once a month to share patterns, sort through yarn and bring in newly made items, which are given to the children at the Cridge Centre for the Family at Christmas. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. The mind, body and spirit work together for optimum physical and emotional health. Make the most of every day! SL

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WELLNESS

Emotional Wellness

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WELLNESS

Pain Management A

s part of the body’s defense system, pain mobilizes people to act in order to minimize physical harm. It’s an excellent warning system. Although pain incites fear and dread because of the suffering it produces, it can be successfully managed. Good pain management “eats up the pain, but leaves you still functioning,” says Diana Bichel, an RN with South Victoria Home Care. Sue Morrison of Doveworks Inc., Acute, Chronic and Cancer Pain Management Services, has a passion for it. Encouraged by her discovery “that I wasn’t the only one in the world concerned about this, and there were people doing [something],” Morrison earned a masters of nursing at the University of Washington, specializing in the management of physical pain. She recognizes three distinct kinds of pain: acute, cancer and chronic. Acute pain originates from a source that eventually heals. “You expect it’s going to go away over time and it usually does.” There are ways of managing acute pain, such as drugs. Cancer pain can arise from both a malignancy and its treatment, such as surgery and radiation. It’s particularly challenging to manage as “it can be acute and chronic all at once,” says Morrison. Chronic pain frequently begins as acute pain that hasn’t been properly cared for. Its source may be difficult to identify, as seen in ailments such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. “We are beginning to understand that if we get on top of it quickly, [we] can do a lot better than we used to. We’re beginning to learn that there are a number of chronic pain conditions that we can make a difference in,” she says. Morrison teaches clients to become more aware of their pain. She alerts them to its many nuances. “One of the first things I would do, regardless of what type of pain you have, is I would say to you, ‘what is the worst that your pain gets?’ I usually use the 0 to 10 scale, where 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst imaginable pain. I’d say, ‘OK, how good does it ever get on your best days?’ I’d [ask], ‘how do you get it there?’ So many [people] have no idea what the [factors] are. Nobody’s worked with them to take a look at it, to teach them how to learn about their pain.” Morrison encourages her clients to be methodical in educating themselves about their pain. Be persistent, she advises. Take notes and keep a pain diary: When the pain is felt, what makes it better, what makes it worse, what foods are eaten, types of activities and activity level, weather, and stress level. Alternative methods for chronic pain relief focus on calming the mind, body and spirit. Good nutrition and vi-

24

BY JANICE HALL

tamin supplements nourish the body. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and aromatherapy relieve physical tension that can exacerbate pain. Moderate, low-impact exercise such as walking, swimming and biking yields numerous benefits. Exercise strengthens muscles, increases flexibility, helps restore balance and coordination, invigorates the heart and lungs, aids in the maintenance of a healthy weight, improves sleep and promotes a sense of well-being, all of which can diminish pain. As an adjunct to exercise, massage stimulates blood flow and relaxes muscles. The hands-on, touching aspect of massage is very soothing, says Morrison, particularly when one “connects” with the massage therapist. Guided imagery taps into the healing power of the imagination. A relaxation technique that can improve one’s quality of life, it evokes physiological changes that promote healing. Patients listen to a recorded message that instructs them to relax, close their eyes, breathe deeply and feel the air flowing in and out of their lungs. They are invited to imagine being in a favourite place, and to describe the sights, sounds and smells in order to engage their senses fully. In studies done among women suffering from osteoarthritis, guided imagery has increased mobility. Cancer clinics in the U.S. use it to relieve pain and nausea. Although a scientific explanation for its efficacy eludes practitioners, the technique has much to recommend it. It’s easy to use, inexpensive and has no adverse side effects. All that’s required is the ability to visualize images in the mind’s eye. Used for centuries in China, gently swirling needles inserted into acupuncture points in the body have proven effective at relieving chronic pain. Acupuncture points can also be stimulated with deep massage. To ease the anxiety and depression, which frequently accompany pain, spiritual counselling, psychotherapy, joining a support group, and journalling one’s thoughts and feelings are recommended. Cognitive reframing teaches people to monitor negative, self-defeating thoughts and images and to replace them with positive, more realistic ones. Morrison sees her role as empowering people to learn all that’s required to become healthy. “I want to figure out with them what’s going on, what’s working, what isn’t working. I do a tremendous amount of teaching, not just about pain but about medications, what they are, how to take them, how not to take them.” She addresses the issue of pain and how it can mould one’s identity, asking sufferers, “who are you in this world? How do you get on with your pain?” Pain may be a formidable adversary, but with the help of SL specialists, it can be targeted, tamed and transcended.

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Ask Your Pharmacist BY VERNICE SHOSTAL

H

ave you ever taken overthe-counter drugs for pain or indigestion while you were on prescription medication? Did you ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medicine could be safely combined with your prescription drugs? Carmen Troje, a pharmacist in Nanaimo, sheds light on combining medications, drug awareness and questions seniors should ask their pharmacist. “Your pharmacist understands drugs and how they work in the body,” says Troje. “He understands how they interact with each other.” Patients are often afraid to reveal their use of alternative therapy to doctors or pharmacists. In fact, Troje says seniors should always feel comfortable consulting their pharmacist, who knows if the painkiller or supplement their clients are taking will work with their prescription medication. Some non-prescription drugs, when combined with a doctor’s prescription, have the potential to alter the strength of prescription medication, creating an additive or reducing effect. In some cases, non-prescription drugs create a substance that destroys the healing power of prescription medication. Pharmacists can advise whether a painkiller or a supplement will interfere with prescription medication and if a particular supplement is needed. Proper diet can sometimes replace the role of a supplement. When filling a doctor’s prescription, Troje says it is important to alert the pharmacist of any allergies or special needs you might have so he can confirm there is nothing in the medication that can cause a problem. “Understanding disease states is the business of the pharmacist,” says Troje. After the medication is dispensed, Troje recommends patients carefully read all the labels, which may include instructions on the time and method of taking medication. The label may also alert patients of any side effects, especially if it’s a new medication. When seniors start a new medication, Troje suggests they have their prescription filled on a one-month trial basis to avoid a wasted supply until they gauge their body’s reaction. Side effects should be immediately reported to the pharmacist. Sometimes, seniors feel that prescriptions are forever. Not necessarily so. In fact, patients should find out from their pharmacist how long they might have to stay on a prescribed medication. The Provincial Profile keeps a confidential record of every individual taking medication in the province of British Co-

lumbia. In order to keep your profile accurate and current, inform your pharmacist of any change in medication. For example, if your doctor has advised you to take only half of the medication you were on, your pharmacist needs to pass this information on to the Provincial Profile. In addition to records kept by the Provincial Profile, it is necessary for you to know what medication you are taking in case of a hospital visit. Troje advises that seniors carry, in their wallets, a current list of the medication they are on. Has your doctor prescribed more than one medication for you? Statistically, the greater the number of times a day you have to take your medication, the higher the chance of forgetting to take it. Seniors on multiple medications should ask their pharmacist to suggest an administrative aid to develop a structured routine for taking medication. Besides monitoring your medication, says Troje, your pharmacist is a good resource for information on room care, diabetes care and a range of other health needs. Finally, know the drug you are taking and why you are taking it. If you don’t remember or understand, ask your pharmacist. SL

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ASK

include you in their social circle again. It is important for you to appear eager for the interaction to occur. It’s normal to feel down and lonely when one loses a spouse and all the soBY GOLDIE CARLOW, M.ED cial activities of a couple. Dear Goldie: However, there are many single people Well here I am, nearly 78 years old your age in the same boat. As I have and in good health, but alone for New Year’s Eve. Somehow, I can’t find some- mentioned before, there are community events where you can meet some of one to share good times with me. When my husband was alive, until these lonely souls and begin new friendfive years ago, we had a very active so- ships. This can increase your circle of cial life. A month after the funeral our friends and maybe next New Year’s Eve friends seemed to disappear. They do you will have a partner! These events phone occasionally and always send require action on your part. Start now!

Photo: Jason van der Valk

Goldie

Christmas cards, but never visit me or ask me out. How can I find new friends? R.L. Dear R.L.: I am sorry to hear you are so lonely. Everyone needs a social life, yet it is amazing how many people feel the way you do. First, it is important to look at the reason old friends are not in touch. Friendship is a two way street, and perhaps you stopped phoning and inviting them after your bereavement. Following your loss, people hesitate to disturb you in your grief and then time passes quickly and they put off renewing contact. So, why not take matters into your own hands. Phone a few of your old friends and arrange an evening together. Splurge a little on flowers and good food to make it a special occasion. I am sure some of your guests will start to

Dear Goldie: Although I am senior, I think my problem may surprise you. So many of your letters are from lonely people wanting partners, but in my case I am completely content to remain by myself. My wife died four years ago and, of course, I still miss her and our good life together. However, I have no interest in married life again. I am quite content with my memories, children, grandchildren and even great grands, as well as many friends. I belong to a men’s club and go to the Legion every Saturday for a social evening with veteran buddies. So, what is wrong in my life? It is well-meaning friends who are always trying to match me up with some widow or single lady! The women all seem to be looking for marriage so the friendship ends quickly. Please tell me how to discourage these matchmakers. W.J.

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Dear W.J.: Well, you certainly have introduced a new problem. I now wonder how many other senior singles are trying to escape eager potential partners. You certainly have accepted your loss and continue life in a manner that suits you. It’s too bad that your friends can’t accept it too. This kind of problem occurs when people try to put their code of values onto someone else. Each of us forms a unique value system from what we are taught, and from our life experiences. We live and interpret life around us by these strengths. Your friends mean well, but you must be firm to convince them you have the life you want. I am sure they can find other senior men willing to meet the ladies. Continue to enjoy your life. SL In the December issue of Senior Living, I promised to provide ideas for single seniors to meet. The following seniors’ centres in Victoria offer programs: James Bay New Horizons offers a Thursday afternoon drop-in dance. For details call 386-3035. Fairfield New Horizons is planning a “new activities� meeting in January where seniors can offer their input. For dates and times, call 384-6542. Monterey Seniors Centre in Oak Bay is also organizing events for the new year in January. For more information, call 370-7300. For seniors living outside Victoria, contact your local seniors centre. – Goldie SENIOR PEER COUNSELLING CENTRES Victoria (250)382-4331 Duncan (250)748-2133 Nanaimo (250)754-3331 Sidney (250)655-4402 Courtenay/Comox (250)334-9917 Salt Spring Island (250)537-4607 Port Hardy (250)949-5110 §§§

Goldie Carlow is a retired registered nurse, clinical counsellor and senior peer counselling trainer. If you have a question, please e-mail editor@seniorlivingmag. com or send a letter to Senior Living, 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria, BC V8T 2C1.

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Tips to Avoid the Fitness Funk

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ith the new year upon us, people of all ages make resolutions to get fit, lose weight and improve their health. Plenty of options exist, like joining a gym, beginning a diet plan or participating in a fun health or fitness program. When eager consumers jump into health and fitness contracts without fully understanding the terms and conditions, New Year’s resolutions become New Year’s headaches.

facility on a day and time you plan to use it to see how crowded it is. Is the facility conveniently located? Do you like the equipment, classes, amenities and hours of operation? Are you comfortable with the atmosphere and clientele? Note the cleanliness and condition of the equipment, workout area and locker room, as well as staff availability. If food supplements are offered, ask if you can test them first to ensure you don’t have a food allergy.

This year, make it your resolution to become an informed consumer and take time to think through your needs before joining a health or fitness program. Consider these tips:

• Talk to other facility users. Are they satisfied? Have they experienced any problems? Do they have any suggestions or recommendations for programs you might enjoy?

• Determine whether your fitness goal is to build endurance, increase strength or lose weight. How would you like to accomplish these goals? Do you enjoy swimming, weight-training or yoga? Do you want a diet or lifestyle change? Consult with a medical professional before setting fitness goals, especially if you are taking medications or have a health problem.

• Interview staff. Are staff members friendly and helpful? Ask about their qualifications, certification and education.

• Consider your budget. What amount can you comfortably devote to physical fitness? Can you afford to pay daily, monthly or annual fees for a program? • Shop around. Do some research to find out what programs are offered in your area. Ask friends and family to recommend facilities or programs they have used. Pick three that appear to align with your fitness goals and budget and look up their company BBB Reliability Reports at www.bbbvi.ca • Check out the facilities. Visit each 28

• Get the details. Is there a membership contract? What is the cost? Can you pay month-to-month? Are there extra fees, clothing, food or equipment you might need? Is there a trial period or drop-in option to see if the facility meets your needs? Are personal coaches, advisors or trainers available? Do they cost extra? • Review the contract. If you decide to sign up for a program, be sure to take the time to read the terms and conditions of use or the membership contract. Walk away from facilities that pressure you to sign up on the spot. Ask for a sample contract to take home and read it thoroughly. Does the contract list all the services, facilities and the hours of operation? Is everything the salesperson promised in the contract? What’s the to-

tal cost and payment schedule, including enrollment fees and finance charges? What are your cancellation rights if you move away, are injured, or the facility closes? Will the unused portion of your fees be refunded? Those details should be in the contract. • Know your rights. Health and fitness contracts are also known as “continuing service contracts.” In B.C., there is legislation regarding what is and isn’t allowed to be in this type of contract. You have the right to cancel by written notice, for no reason, within the first 10 days of signing the contract. You should also make note of the expiry date of your contract and know your cancellation rights. For more information on continuing service contacts visit the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority at www.bpcpa.ca There are many great health and fitness facilities to choose from. But, like in every industry, there are some con artists as well. Don’t fall for claims that are too good to be true. Staying healthy, getting fit and losing weight takes hard work, commitment and patience. Be realistic with your goals, do your research, find a facility that meets your needs and you will be much more likely to make your New Year’s resolution a reality! SL

Mayo McDonough is the Executive Director of the Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island. If you believe you have been the target or victim of a scam, please call the Better Business Bureau Vancouver Island at 386-6348 in Greater Victoria or at 1-877-826-4222 elsewhere on the Island, so others can benefit from your experience. E-mail info@bbbvanisland.org

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DEALING WITH DEMENTIA

M

BY CARRIE MOFFATT

emory loss is generally accepted as a fact of aging but for some, it can be a symptom of a more serious problem, like dementia. Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms related to a decline in cognitive abilities, such as loss of memory, judgment and changes in mood, says Jani Cardinal, Support and Education Co-ordinator of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. There are many causes of dementia, but Alzheimer’s disease accounts for two-thirds. Orvall Roer was one of thousands of seniors in B.C. who could no longer ignore his symptoms, and decided to seek a diagnosis. “I was really diagnosed with vascular dementia, which is not quite the same as Alzheimer’s,” says Orvall. “I was a pharmacist, so I’m familiar with diagnoses and treatment and that sort of thing, and if that’s the way it is, so be it. But I’m just trying to make the best of it.” Orvall’s wife, Freda, a former psychiatric nurse, noticed Orvall was having trouble with his short-term memory and had changes in his personality. In 2002, Orvall was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but, after suffering a stroke in 2003, he was re-diagnosed with vascular dementia. Diagnosis can be difficult because there is no single test for doctors to tell if it is Alzheimer’s. Expert clinicians who specialize in memory disorders can now diagnose Alzheimer’s with 80-90 per cent accuracy, but a definitive diagnosis must await microscopic examination of brain tissue, generally during an autopsy. “Dementia is a very complex condition with sometimes multiple causes and unique presentations in each individual,” says Cardinal. Orvall’s family was relieved to find out what the problem was because now they can deal with it head Orvall Roer was one on. However, it of thousands of seniors hasn’t always been smooth in B.C. who could sailing. no longer ignore his While there is currently no symptoms, and decided cure for demento seek a diagnosis. tia, some medications can help slow the progression. These medications are expensive, however, and B.C. is the only province that does not fund them through health care. X

We are now accepting applications for the next Senior Peer Counsellor course. Volunteer counsellors provide compassionate listening and encouragement to their peers to help them make the decisions necessary to solve their own problems. Preference will be given to those who have a background in peoplerelated professions and those with some knowledge or experience in helping others.

Training Topics: • Communication Skills • Self-Responsibility • Self-Awareness • Problem Management Techniques • Ethics in Counselling

Training begins on January 17th 1 session per week for 12 weeks Wednesday mornings 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Phone Jane to Register: 382-4331

Seniors Serving Seniors

We are pleased to offer a special “Senior” rate in our Restaurants. Afternoon Tea: “The experience that defined an era, and delights an afternoon”. Join us for 50% off the rate of the day. The Empress Room: Enjoy items from our locally inspired menu, serving a 2 course lunch for only $20. The Bengal Lounge: Serving a world famous Curry Buffet for both Lunch and Dinner, $20. (Guests must be 19 years of age)

For reservations or additional information please call 250-389-2727 721 Government Street, Victoria, BC, V8W 1W5 JANUARY 2007

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Photo: Sara Park

“[The government] won’t fund the Aricept, the medication we think they should. It’s $5 a day for Orvall’s medication,” says Freda. “I’m sure a lot of people can’t afford it and don’t take it, therefore their condition deteriorates and then they have to be hospitalized sooner.” The Roers, along with the Alzheimer Society of B.C., are currently lobbying the government in an effort to get these medications covered. “There are so many dementias that I think the government feels if they open the box to treat one condition, then everyone else will be screaming for help in treating their condition, and I can understand that,” says Orvall. However, the Roers point out that covering the cost of these medicaOrvall and Freda Roer deal with Alzheimer’s Disease head on. tions is far less than the cost of hospitalizing patients with Alzheimer’s. they need support.” “They have to be ready to have many more beds available The Alzheimer Society offers support groups for caregivfor care because there just aren’t enough,” says Freda. “There ers, family members and those who have all types of demenare so many caregivers at home who are worn right out and tia. Freda and Orvall both attend a support group, where they share information, advice and get emotional support. Orvall and his family are this year’s Walk for Memories honourees, an event put on by the Alzheimer Society to raise awareness about the disease. January is also Alzheimer Awareness Month, and the Society is launching a nationwide Has answers to your questions campaign, “Heads Up for Healthier Brains!” (see sidebar, about seniors’ services in page 31). Greater Victoria. For those who may be experiencing symptoms, or are worPhone 382-4331 ried about a partner, the Roers recommend an up front approach. Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. “If you’re exhibiting symptoms, you should seek help from the proper sources. Gerontologists are an excellent source for this,” says Orvall. “The sooner you get treatment, generally speaking, the less severe the symptoms are going to be.” SL

Seniors Serving Seniors

Senior Link Information Line

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IMPROVING BRAIN HEALTH The Alzheimer Society of B.C. recommends the following actions to help maintain or improve brain health: • Challenge your brain – keep the brain active every day. For example: play games or maintain a hobby. Research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections. • Be socially active – staying connected socially helps you stay connected mentally. The more engaged you are the better. This can include taking a class, staying active in the workforce or becoming a volunteer. • Choose a healthy lifestyle – a healthy lifestyle is as important to brain health as it is to the heart and the rest of the body. Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity are all risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to make healthy food choices, reduce stress, be active and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. • Protect your head – brain injuries, including repeated concussions, can be linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Wear an approved helmet when participating in sports, wear a seatbelt and protect against concussions. For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, reducing your risk or the Alzheimer Society, contact the Victoria Resource Centre at 382-2052 or go to their Web site at www.alzheimerbc.org JANUARY 2007

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d r Y M ckya

Art in the Garden

S

hortly after moving to her Island home, renowned artist Morag Orr-Stevens noticed what was missing – a celebration of the artists’ in the community that had made her so welcome. After some thought, she offered her garden as a venue for colleagues she admired to display their work. In August, her Art in the Garden event celebrated its 10th anniversary with a colourful mix of sights and sounds – a delightfully unique combination of Morag’s two loves: gardening and art. Part of the decision to settle on Gabriola was Morag’s desire to actively pursue her art. She had started painting at the kitchen table about six years earlier; but what she really wanted was a proper studio filled with the right light, where she could explore her creative side. Taking time to design and build the cottage-style home, Morag, with the help of husband Don Stevens, began working on her charming and eclectic garden shortly after the treed property was purchased in 1990.

Photos: Carol Baird-Krul

a B

IN

BY CAROL BAIRD-KRUL

With care, thoughtful consideration and a touch of whimsy, Morag turned a small, rectangular-shaped property into a hidden gem that blends the natural with the cultivated. Decks add another dimension, especially in the summer when Morag’s art spills out from her studio to join the feast of texture and colour that is found in this delightful garden. The house and garden are set back from the road so visitors walk under a canopy of trees to reach the first of Don’s driftwood creations – a specially designed gate that leads to the main area. Once in the garden area, one quickly sees the special touches, such as the roughhewn arbours, fencing and interesting artwork that speak volumes about the owners, who have a knack for combining the common with the unusual. The design of hidden nooks combined with open spaces cleverly disguises the rectangular shape and relatively modest size of the lot. Native plants, shrubs, a water feature or two, wind chimes and pots of seasonal annuals are displayed

Looking for a Senior’s Relocation Specialist? Three excellent reasons to choose Rosemary Kay • Rosemary’s Professional health care experience with elder care at home ensures an honest, caring approach to your needs. • Her Certification as a Senior Advisor (CSA) qualifies her as a first choice for seniors and their families contemplating lifestyle changes. • As a licenced realtor, she offers free, no obligation consultations to assist you and your family. Rosemary has always been dedicated to finding the right home for you and your family, and at COLDWELL BANKER VANCOUVER ISLAND REALTY, her primary focus is on senior relocation/retiring or facilitating unplanned transitions from their present residence.

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Rosemary’s Health and Home Consulting for Seniors 32

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LEAVEA LEGACYTM

Leave a Bequest in your Will to Variety - The Children’s Charity and BC’s ‘special needs kids’. You will truly be making your Gift of a Lifetime. Your generosity will provide a future gift for children like Grace and may provide you and your estate with substantial tax benefits. Please notify us of your wishes or contact us for more information on how a charitable bequest will benefit you and Variety’s children with special needs. VARIETY - THE CHILDREN’S CHARITY OF BC DIRECTOR OF PLANNED GIVING 4300 STILL CREEK DRIVE BURNABY, BC V5C 6C6

against a backdrop of forest green. Not a pristine or sculptured garden, this is a mix of cultured and naturalized plantings combined with art objects set to complement and contrast in interesting ways. As visitors explore Morag’s garden, they discover salal, ferns, wild current and holly trees mixed with rhododendrons, viburnum, beds of periwinkle and St. John’s wort, hydrangea, photinia and a gorgeous Japanese maple. Participation in Art in the Garden is by invitation only. In the first few years, seven artists were invited, however, it has now been expanded to 12. The participants in Art in the Garden range from the well-known to the neophyte, from those who make their living with their art to those who simply do it for pleasure. Glass art, silk hangings, pottery, jewelry, woven items, photographic art and paintings of various techniques; there’s something for everyone. Just as the artwork is integral to this unique event, so too is the accompanying music of recorder, guitar and harpsichord that adds another dimension as visitors move from one garden room to another. And everywhere the garden forms a canvas for the riot of colour, texture and sound. The individual artisans decide how to best display their work within the context of the garden. Some choose to use the garden as a backdrop; others blend their work into garden features, or prefer to display their art in a more conventional manner on tables nestled into corners of the garden rooms. The two-day event attracts people from near and away, who enjoy making the event part of their summer calendar. Morag Orr-Stevens’ Studio and Gallery is open to the public all year from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. SL

TEL: (604) 320-0505 • FAX: (604) 320-0535 TOLL FREE IN BC: 1-800-381-2040 EMAIL: peter.chipman@variety.bc.ca WEB: www.variety.bc.ca/legacy VARIETY IS A REGISTERED CHARITABLE SOCIETY

90

%

FULL

“I checked other facilities and none were comparable to the Mackie Lodge. The staff are the best of any that I checked. I feel at home here & highly recommend it.”



– Resident Sy Blair

ALEXANDER MACKIE LODGE Retirement Community

Tel (250)478-4888 753 Station Ave, Langford www.hayworth.ca

INFO SESSIONS JANUARY 11 & 24, 3 PM JANUARY 2007

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HOME SUPPORT SERVICES DIRECTO OR A concise reference guide of services and products offered by businesses and organizations ons on Vancouver Island that make it easier for seniors to stay longer in their own homes.

CC

Debbie 250-739-1111

ottle

(Nanaimo)

reek

R

etreat

Daybreak for Seniors Personal Care debbie@cottlecreekretreat.com www.cottlecreekretreat.com Daily respite for Caregivers

Live safely and independently in your own home

Serving Parksville to Port Alberni, Nanaimo to Bowser

• Companionship • Meal Prep. • Housekeeping • Shopping • Errands • Respite & Personal Care

Treat Yourself

Contact one of the Lifeline Programs on Vancouver Island Lifeline Victoria Medical Alert 475-6415 ext.7783 South Vancouver Island to Malahat and Ladysmith

Nanaimo Lifeline Program 753-3566 or 248-2332 ext.3208 Mid Island, Cassidy to Bowser

Call Gerry Bird (250) 703-1712 Affordable pricing

www.customcomfortmassage.com

Angel Companion Services

Helping make life just a little easier We are caring, devoted, very reliable, and are always here for you!

Comox Valley Lifeline Society 1-866-205-6160

• Companionship • Errands • Light housekeeping • Shopping And much more! Greater Victoria 250-888-6523 angelcompanions@gmail.com

North Island, Cowichan Valley and Chemainus/Crofton

Island Scooter Sales

You’re Independent. We help.

Free In-Home Assessments

• Scooters • Lift Chairs • Walkers • Stair Lifts • Grab Bars • Bath Safety Medical Mobility Solutions 2494 Beacon Ave. Sidney 656-5680

Home Care

We have qualified staff available for all your needs. Where you need us. When you need us.

24 Hrs 7 Days a Week (250) 480-1666 E-Mail: RN@a1HomeCare.ca

www.a1HomeCare.ca

GRIFFITHS Providing trusted personal care, homemaking, post operation and palliative care since 1995. As members of the Better Business Bureau you can always count on ElderSafe for the highest quality professional, caring and compassionate home support.

ElderSafe Support Services Victoria 385-0444xSidney 654-0444

www.eldersafe.com

Call today for a free in-home assessment

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“I come to where YOU are. I listen to what YOU want. I fit into YOUR schedule.”

Swedish Relaxation Massage Convenient Mobile Service in the Comox Valley area

www.bclifeline.com

927-1074

Excellent Senior Rates! Certified Mobile Hair Designer http://the-hair-a-van.spaces.live.com

HOME PLUMBING CENTRE ALL yOUR PLUMBING NEEDS UNDER ONE ROOF!

Specializing in Senior Renovations FREE ESTIMATE on bathroom renovations • walk-in tubs • safety aids • raised toilets • walk-in showers

Ph. (250) 746-4534 251 Government, Duncan BC

PROFESSIONAL NURSING, PERSONAL CARE AND HOMEMAKING WeCare offices on the Island welcome new clients and are there to serve you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

250-389-0202

250-740-0035

250-746-9224

250-334-8531

Victoria/Sidney/Sooke Cowichan Valley

Nanaimo

Comox Valley

250-830-1140 Campbell River

Where peace of mind has a home address TM

“Finally, this is easy!”

25% Discount for Seniors Assistance for all your Computer Needs: • Shop from home (safe & secure) • Do your banking from home • Share e-mail & photos with your family • Hardware & Software installation

Customized Coaching at your pace Courses for all users and levels

Senior-Friendly Computing Susi Wheelock MCSE, A+ Certified

Phone: 516-7916 E-mail: susi@wheelock.ca

Stewart’s Nannies & Caregivers “Someone to watch over you.”

Live-in caregivers, housekeepers/cooks, shopping & errands, medically trained, fluent in English, extremely capable.

For only $1,080/mo ($500/mo tax deductible) you’ll have peace of mind! 390-0778 or 619-8041

12/20/2006 7:29:19 PM


O ORY ons ons on

With our equipment, you CAN stay at home! • BATH LIFTS • PORCH LIFTS • GRAB BARS • WALKERS • STAIR LIFTS • WHEELCHAIRS • LIFT & RECLINE CHAIRS

Free In-Home Assessments

GREATER VICTORIA 250-384-8000 NORTH ISLAND 1-800-667-1406

We’re pleased to be able to offer this helpful directory and grateful to all the businesses whose goal is to provide services and products that help seniors continue to enjoy the comfort and privacy of their own homes. TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN ADVERTISE IN THIS DIRECTORY, CALL 479-4705

• ECONOMICAL ADVERTISING • 12-MONTH EXPOSURE • A HANDY REFERENCE GUIDE FOR READERS

Learn the latest on treatment, research and living well:

PARKINSON’S CONFERENCE 2007

February 19, 2007 — University of Victoria

Keynote speaker Dr. Jon Stoessl Director, UBC Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre FOR DETAILS, AND TO REGISTER, CONTACT:

“Make Plans . . . Live Life”

VICTORIA EPILEPSY AND PARKINSON’S CENTRE 813 Darwin Avenue | 475-6677 | www.vepc.bc.ca | help@vepc.bc.ca JANUARY 2007

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&

Courageous Outrageous BY PAT NICHOL

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION:

Learn to Ask and Accept Graciously “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” –Melodie Beattie

Photo: Frances Litman

H

ow many of you really know your neighbours enough to ask them for help? As adults, our egos get in the way or we forget it’s OK to ask for help when we need it. We get used to doing for ourselves. The last Sunday night of November 2006, our street went dark at 11 p.m. I was looking out the window at the snow when, down the street, there was a giant flash and fire blazed high, and then everything went black. Everything. Candles found and lit, I thought,

“Let’s go to bed. When we wake up in the morning, all will be fine.” That didn’t happen. And four very cold nights later, we were still using candles and flashlights to move about our house. By the fourth night, the waterbed was uncomfortable. A dead phone and about 15 inches of snow in the long driveway rendered us virtually cut off from the rest of the world. I now understand why people in the 18th and 19th centuries wore nightcaps. Our nights were cold, but our days were warm and cozy through the kindness of neighbours. We live on a short street with about eight houses. Only one of those houses had light or heat. Rick and Jan are genuinely caring people. Just ask any of the deer, stray peacocks or dogs and cats in the neighbourhood. This week, the list also included many human animals. Some neighbours stopped by for a quick show, others for conversation and an opportunity to warm up for a

few minutes. For several families, including mine, Rick and Jan’s became a saving place – an oasis of warmth and caring in a very cold world. Rick and Jan opened their door and insisted we share their food, company and computers, welcoming us early in the morning and having us stay through dinner. It made the trek back to our cold beds easier to endure. We cannot thank them enough. To Rick and Jan, a giant thank you for your huge hearts, for allowing us to learn from you how to give and teaching us how to accept graciously. I am used to doing things for myself. Sometimes, it’s difficult to accept a generous offer of help. So, my resolution for 2007 is to accept graciously that which is given with love. SL Pat Nichol is a speaker and published author. She makes her home in Victoria, but travels the world. She can be reached at www.patnichol.com

You’re Independent. We help. • Palliative Care • Live-In Care • Homemaking/ Meals • Household Errands • RN Supervised

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• Social Outings • Dementia Care • Staffing - RNs & RCAs • In Home - In Facility • Locally Owned Since 1993

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BY KATHLEEN ZAHARUK

New Beginnings

I

n her early 60s, Joanne Pearce retired from a large, busy retail store in 2005 and quickly found herself enjoying life as a couch potato. It wasn’t long before she was shocked at the amount of weight she had gained. She already had high blood pressure, constant heartburn and nocturia, which had her up to the bathroom several times throughout the night. She realized it was time to make a change. By autumn, Joanne joined a Full Figured Fitness class at the local recreation centre at Beban Park in Nanaimo. The instructor, Tara, formerly full figured herself, (she lost over 100 pounds) provided much of the inspiration for her class to succeed in their goals. Joanne was motivated, and focused on weight loss. “I originally measured my success by the pounds lost,” she says, “but with that loss came a healthier body.” Once Joanne reached her desired weight, she had a new, improved self-image, which gave her the confidence to join the dance classes held at the rec centre. “What a hoot,” she says. “We did western line dancing, salsa, frisky exotic dancing (fully clothed and

Photo: Kathleen Zaharuk

including a tie!). The dancing turned out to be more than just a great way of exercising. It was fun!” One of the outcomes of Joanne’s new activity was the opportunity to attend a Mind, Body and Soul weekend retreat. “It was a mind-boggling experience that completely changed my life,” she says. “It was a real eyeopener, and I continue to marvel at the strength and courage of the women who attended. There were lots of tears, laughter, hugging and bonding. We were served great meals provided by a trained chef, were pampered with massages, pedicures, facials, manicures, reflexology and even had a belly-dancing lesson. All of this was at a seaside setting.” Healthier and happier, Joanne has a positive outlook on life, living each moment for the moment. She continues to exercise regularly, makes healthy food choices, and has maintained her weight loss for eight months. “I am going to be one of the 10 per cent who succeeds in maintaining this Joanne Pearce traded the couch for some dumbbells. new lifestyle. By being vigilant, I will succeed. Life is good!” Sharon Wishart, 63, is a full-time piano and voice teacher in Nanaimo. She has an active, busy lifestyle. A couple of years ago, Sharon was involved in a car accident, which exacerbated pre-existing neck, back and knee problems causing her considerable pain and distress. She was unable to exercise properly, so she found a personal trainer to help her through this challenge. With Tara guiding her, the process toward better health was under way. Sharon’s goal was to become healthier, stronger and gain increased flexibility, as well as lose weight. It was a slow beginning and became a struggle to continue, but she persevered. She has become more comfortable with her coordination and balance, and has even found the courage to join a tai chi class,

FIT

for the adventure an activity she has always wanted to do. In April 2006, Sharon and her daughter attended a Mind, Body and Soul retreat at Rathtrevor Beach. “It was wonderful!” she says. “Lovely company, great food and the activities were so much fun that I didn’t even know I was exercising. We did some ‘sexy dancing,’ which was super fun! A couple of glasses of wine helped with the inhibitions. We laughed ourselves silly. I also made a wonderful new friend (Joanne) while I was there.” Through encouragement and dogged determination, Sharon is stronger, more mobile and generally has an overall feeling of well-being. In addition, she now takes time out from her demanding schedule to both prepare and eat healthy meals. “I am most grateful that my trainer never gave up on me,” says Sharon. “She has encouraged me to continue on, no matter what! I am really making progress now.” The Mind, Body, Soul Retreat weekends are increasingly popular with women between 40 and 65 years old. Women of all ages are welcome to pursue their mental and physical well-being, as well as take care of themselves through a weekend of pampering. Retreats are usually held from Friday to Sunday. The next retreat will be held in May 2007 (Mother’s Day weekend) at Yellowpoint, south of Nanaimo. The cabins are 60 feet from the water on a private beach with spectacular views. For more information, SL call 250-618-1271. JANUARY 2007

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TASTYTraditions GRANDMA B’s APPLE BANANA SALAD

BY MARY ALLEN

M

y 89-year-old father remembers his mother “always� making this Apple Banana Salad. I’ve never known anyone other than a relative to have heard of it; nor have I ever seen a written recipe. My grandmother taught her daughter-in-law. Mom taught her daughters; I’ve taught my son. We all love it! My 13-year-old grandson even eats leftovers for breakfast. Ingredients: As with many recipes, how much you use depends on how much you want to make. My son likes mandarin orange in

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his salad. Dad likes chopped nuts. You can also use crunchy peanut butter. Mayonnaise Creamy Peanut Butter (or crunchy, optional) Apples Bananas Mandarin orange segments (optional) Chopped nuts (optional) Method: In a large bowl, make the dressing by mixing with a spatula equal parts mayonnaise and peanut butter‌ though most of our family likes a bit more peanut butter. The dressing should be creamy, but not runny. Core, quarter then cut apples into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces. As you cut, fold the apple into the dressing to avoid browning. Peel and slice the bananas lengthwise. Cut each long slice into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces. Fold banana in gently. The best bite includes both apple and banana with enough dressing to hold it together. The salad can be served immediately or chilled, covered, for a few hours. If made too far in advance the dressing will separate. While our family favourite may not be the prettiest salad you’ll ever serve, it can’t be beat when served with roast beef, SL fried chicken or a baked ham. Please send us YOUR favourite Heritage Recipe along with the memories it evokes. Without your contributions, Tasty Traditions doesn’t exist. Contact us at editor@seniorlivingmag.com or 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria, BC V8T 2C1

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12/20/2006 7:30:11 PM


Crossword PUZZLE

Mind GAMES

Across 1. Noblest knight of the Round Table 6. Road around an obstruction 10. I’m doing the same 12. Ornamental fabric 14. Publishes 16. Controller of child thieves 17. Conclusion 20. Inactive mammals 22. Securely confined 23. Smoke deposit 25. Characteristics 27. Title of a knight 28. Small island 29. Heats to melting point 31. Choose 34. Passageway 36. Connecting chambers 38. Compact 39. Missile payloads

Down 41. Revolve 44. Weirder 46. Wicked 47. Lever for rowing 50. Fiend 52. Lake or pond 53. Spoken 55. Plaintiff 57. Revolution 58. Church council 59. Cooking devices 61. Witches 62. Efface 63. Contraction of need not 64. Infected

1. First book of the Bible 2. Current unit 3. Possessive pronoun 4. Tilted 5. Givers 7. Exclamation to express sorrow 8. Long stories 9. Science fiction 11. Capital of Canada 13. Vigor 15. Protect 18. Facial feature 19. Basic monetary unit 21. Less fresh 24. Grow teeth 26. Stenographer 30. Method 32. Set of beliefs 33. Head ornaments 35. Person who weaves 37. Farewells 39. Loud, rushing noise 40. Southwestern Asian 42. Make weary 43. Cricket team 45. Revolving airfoils 48. Of Nordic stock 49. Extent 51. Suddenly brightening stars 54. Mislay 56. Short respondent 60. Become firm

ANSWERS

JANUARY 2007

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Classifieds COLLECTOR SEEKING vintage/collectable cameras, binoculars and microscopes. Nikon, Leica, Contax, Rolleiflex, Zeiss, Canon, etc. Mike (250)383-6456 or e-mail: msymons6456@telus.net WWW.SENIORS101.CA Dedicated to Vancouver Island. For those of us that live here, and those of you who don’t. WWW.SENIORS101.CA HAIRSTYLIST has a private and comfortable studio in her Sidney home. Christine offers a full, professional service. Special senior rates. Please call 882-4247. MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the Life of a Senior with companionship and help around home. Call Susie. Home Instead Senior Care 382-6565. WANTED: OLD POSTCARDS, stamp accumulations, and pre-1950 stamped envelopes. Also buying old coins, medals and badges. Please call Michael 652-9412 or e-mail fenian@shaw.ca

FOR PEACE OF MIND while you’re away, call Heather. Housesitting/Petsitting available. Qualicum/ Parksville/Nanoose. Mature, experienced, excellent references. heathershousesitting@hotmail.com 250-338-3174. THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU of Vancouver Island is located at 220 - 1175 Cook Street, Victoria BC V8V 4A1. Toll-free phone line for Up-Island 1-877-826-4222 (South Island dial 386-6348). www. bbbvanisland.org E-mail: info@bbbvanisland.org

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING $30 for 20 words or less. $1.25 per extra word. Plus 6% GST. Payable in advance. Ph. 479-4705. Deadline: 15th of the month. Make cheque payable to: Senior Living, 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave.,Victoria BC V8T 2C1

SALES REPRESENTATIVE - VICTORIA, NANAIMO, VANCOUVER. Personable sales reps with sincere interest in the senior community. Must be reliable, selfmotivated with proven sales ability. P/T or F/T. Commission position. Opportunity to grow with expanding young company. Fax resume to 250-479-4808. PERSONALS WANTED: Nice, healthy, honest, sincere, kind, NS/ ND senior gentleman for nice, bright, outgoing senior widow who loves singing and music. 250-294-4955. SWF seeks senior male in Duncan area for companionship, loves animals, NS/ND, age 65 up. Please call 250-748-4373. PERSONAL ADS WILL BE ASSIGNED A FILE NUMBER IF REQUESTED. CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED IS FORWARDED ON THE 15TH & 30TH OF THE MONTH.

LOVING GRANNIES NEEDED - local Victoria babysitting service requires Mature women to go into families homes to care for their children. Grannies who love children, are creative and energetic are a perfect fit! We have on call, permanent and part-time jobs available. For more info call 516-5004. RUTH M.P. HAIRSTYLING – for Seniors. “Serving Seniors in Greater Victoria” in the convenience of their own homes. “Certified Hairdresser.” Cell (250)893-7082. ATTENTION EARLY RISERS! FT / PT Front Counter and Bakers *Paid Training *Medical Benefits *Professional & Fun - Accepting resumes at 3990 Shelbourne St. only. COMOX VALLEY B&B – Stafford House, Courtenay. Queen beds, infrared sauna, special diets accommodated, reasonable rates, www.staffordhouse.ca Toll free 1-866-897-1577. A UNIQUE GIFT FOR MOM – The Royal Victorian Fashion Society conducts personalized fashion shows of Victoria-Era costumes for your special event. Surprise mom and her friends with a show for $75. Lorraine 217-4421. CRUISE WITH CAROLE, inclusive, escorted vacations, seminars-at-sea for the “young-at-heart”. Carole J. Farley, CSA, Certified Senior Advisor. Vacations, Travel Clubs and FUN! (250) 896-2109 www.RetirementRelocations.com

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On Keating X Rd., turn right down the long driveway adjacent to Home Hardware

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News Brief

Property Assessment

I

n early January, more than 1.75 million property owners across British Columbia will receive their annual assessment notices in the mail, and many may note the assessed value of their property has increased. Minister of Small Business and Revenue, and Minister Responsible for the British Columbia Assessment Authority Rick Thorpe reminds seniors who own homes in British Columbia that the deadline for appealing a 2007 property assessment notice is January 31, 2007. When estimating a property’s market value, an appraiser analyzes current sales in the area and other characteristics, such as size, age, quality, condition, view and location. For questions or concerns about your assessment, contact an appraiser at your local BC Assessment office. BC Assessment was established as a provincial Crown corporation in 1974 to produce assessments that are fair, equitable and uniform throughout British Columbia. BC Assessment is required to estimate the fair market value of all properties in the province as of July 1 each year. Every spring, local taxing authorities set property tax rates, apply them to each property’s assessed value and send the owners property tax notices. Each BC Assessment office offers counter service during regular business hours, toll-free phone numbers, e-mail, fax and a Web site (www. bcassessment.ca). The province also has an independent complaint and appeal process, outlined on your assessment notice and detailed at www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/ parp/ online. You can also access information on the complaints and assessment appeal process, toll-free at 1-877-356-9313.

Senior Driver Refresher 3 Build Confidence 3 Learn new rules & regs

3 Prepare for re-examination 3 Compensate for age related changes James Bay New Horizons Open House January 10th, 10am - 1 pm Saanich Silver Threads Feb 9 & 16 9am - 12:30 pm Register 382-3151 James Bay New Horizons Feb 21 & 28 1 - 4:30 pm Register 386-3035 “55

ALIVE” Refresher Course

Roadmasters Safety Group Inc.

Developed by the Canada Safety Council

(250) 383-6041 www.roadmasters.org

JOIN THE

SENIOR LIVING READERSHIP CLUB FREE membership cards available to Senior Living readers who are at least 55 years of age. Members of the READERSHIP CLUB will enjoy: • Special value discounts or benefits from registered local businesses across Vancouver Island

JOIN TODA Y! UB SHIP CL READER UNTS & BENEFITS SENIOR

DISCO

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__ ______ ______SIGNATURE R

MEMBE

• Automatic entry in monthly draws

NLY CARD O SAMPLE HIP CARD NOT S R E B WN MEM AS SHO EXACTLY

To obtain your READERSHIP CLUB card, applicants must provide the following information - name, address, phone number, e-mail address (if available) and date of birth.

APPLY TODAY AT NO COST! EXPECTED LAUNCH DATE: JANUARY 2007

SENIOR LIVING READERSHIP CLUB APPLICATION FORM Information provided by applicants will be held confidential by Senior Living magazine. PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY

NAME __________________________________________________ ADDRESS ______________________________________________ POSTAL CODE ________________ PHONE __________________ E-MAIL ADDRESS _______________________________________ BIRTH DATE ______________________________________ (MUST BE 55 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER)

Mail Application Form to:

Senior Living Box 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1 JANUARY 2007

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BY

BA

Y RR

W BO

MA

Memories by any other name...

N

I

’ve lost my sense of smell. Well, not all of it. I can still smell burnt toast, only never before my wife yells, “Something’s burning!” or before the smoke alarm goes off while I’m cooking. Then I smell it. Of the five senses, I suppose sense of smell would be the least missed. But it’s still sad to realize you can’t smell anymore. It’s also a blessing. When I drive our kids to school and one of them accuses the other of passing gas, I don’t have to roll my window down. I can certainly remember the tear-inducing smells of changing our first daughter’s diapers. (I still gag thinking about it.) When our second daughter came around the smell wasn’t so bad. I thought maybe I was just getting used to it. Maybe that’s when it all started to happen. I think it was about that same time I realized I couldn’t smell flowers anymore. My fondest reminiscence as a kid is my mom’s sweet peas growing up our backyard fence. You

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couldn’t pass by that spot without pausing to inhale! I tried to rationalize it by assuming these new varieties just lacked the same scent as the ones I remembered. Then, it was roses. Who can’t smell roses? Of course, I’d pretend when someone gushed about the beautiful smell. “Ohhh yeah, beautiful,” I’d respond, shrugging internally. Kids have a better sense of smell than adults. In fact, the North American Natives refer to their youngsters as “wolves” because of their canine sense of smell. We lose that as we grow older. There are so many wonderful smells I remember as a kid, that I’d love to smell again: Spicy bulrushes in swampy ditches assailing my nostrils as I ride my bike down a country road on a cool spring evening. The mixed aroma of popcorn balls, apples, peanuts and candy in my Halloween pillowcase. The pleasant blend of soaps and perfumes that mingled with Mr. Campbell’s cigar smoke in that little Prairie drugstore. The scent of my old, well-oiled, leather

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SENIOR LIVING

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baseball glove. A comic book. (Especially brand new ones!) The acrid smell of cordite from my dad’s shotgun while duck hunting on a chilly fall morning. Christmas trees lined up outside supermarkets on a cold night. Plasticine and Crayola crayons! That distinctive carbolic fragrance of Lifebuoy soap. A lake’s pungent wet sand and seaweed. Perfume on a letter my girlfriend sent me one summer while I was at cadet camp. Or the musty but mysterious smells of dirt floor, crankcase oil and empty beer bottles in our backyard garage. I suppose, as adults, we find other things to occupy our senses. I can’t find a hardware store anymore that smells like the one I remember. Sure, these days they have their own aroma. But what happened to oiled floors, liniment, mulch and bug spray? Scientists have found that the memory of an event is scattered across different areas of the brain such as the hippocampus and the olfactory cortex – the smell gateway to the brain. I guess that’s why we’re transported back to childhood when the smell of a certain event or object triggers those memories from the past. But are these scents only from the past? If that’s true, then no adult can really experience those same smells today, smell challenged, as I am, or not. Nostalgia is a fleeting thing. It’s a hint, a brief blink from our past. Too much and it’s no longer nostalgia. As the old joke goes: “Nostalgia just ain’t the same anymore.” So perhaps I shouldn’t yearn for the smells of my childhood. To experience them time and again would dilute the pleasure I can now only imagine. Just as a momentary tune recalls a wonderful or poignant time, yet the more you hear it, the less impact it has. I’ll keep my smell memories tucked away for now; for those times when I feel the need to retrieve them, sparingly. As for my latent olfactory cortex malfunction, I guess it could be worse. I just wish I could tell when the toast was burning before my wife does. SL

Gordon Thurston Services of Celebration

“Your Friendly Neighborhood Law Firm”

Derek Ashurst Robert J. Salmond Victoria Pitt

• Wills & Estates • Estate Administration • Real Estate

from beginnings to endings

Housecalls for Seniors with Mobility Challenges

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Serving Greater Victoria and Duncan since 1988

1620 Cedar Hill X Road (Just off Shelbourne St. in Victoria) Conveniently open Saturday 10am - 2pm JANUARY 2007

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events

events

ART THE BAROQUE Until Feb 25

Rare 17th century paintings including works by Rubens, Rembrandt, and El Greco, complimented by furniture, ceramics and costumes, as well as events that capture this period of opulence. Fri thru Wed, 10am-5pm. Thurs, 10am9pm. Admission $10 seniors. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1040 Moss St. For more info, call 384-4101 or www.aggv.bc.ca

ANCIENT BRONZES OF THE ASIAN GRASSLANDS Until Mar 11

The Eurasian grasslands extend from northern China westward through Mongolia to the plains of Eastern Europe. This exhibition focuses on a remarkable ancient culture, whose art, richly decorated with animal motifs is only now beginning to be understood by scholars. Fri thru Wed, 10am-5pm. Thurs, 10am-9pm. Admission $10 seniors. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1040 Moss St. For more info, call 384-4101.

FAIRS & FESTS IT’S A DRAM GOOD THING VICTORIA’S 2ND ANNUAL WHISKY FESTIVAL Jan 26 & 27

The event will showcase more than 90 different whiskies; and all will be available to sip and savour. Guests are asked to honour the “no perfume, no aftershave” request of the organizers of the event. Appreciating good whisky begins with the “nose” and this scent-free requirement makes all kinds of sense. For tickets, visit www. victoriawhiskyfestival.com. For more info, call the Hotel Grand Pacific at 663-7550.

CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS Feb 17

Co-sponsored by the Chinese Friendship Centre and Victoria Silver Threads. New Year deco-

To avoid disappointment, check ahead to make sure the event you want to attend is still happening. If you have an event listing seniors might like to know about, e-mail info to office@seniorlivingmag.com

Community Radio For Seniors Every Thursday 2-3pm CFUV Radio 101.9 FM or 104.3 Cable Jan 4 Stepping Out – Singing for Seniors

Jan 11 Health and Well-being –

events

events

rations, New Year market, flower arrangement workshop, food tasting, dance performance, Tai Chi demonstration and more. Admission $10, or $15 for 2-day pass and can be purchased at Victoria Silver Threads Feb 5–10. Tickets limited. Victoria Silver Threads, 1728 Douglas St. For more info, call Li Chuang 388-4268.

FUNDRAISERS ANTIQUE SIDE SHOW AT ABKHAZI GARDEN Jan 21

Ever wonder the current retail value of Uncle Joey’s chiming clock or that painting you inherited? Evaluators will be on hand with expertise in stamps, porcelain, jewellery, paintings, First Nations art, clocks, furniture, toys, textiles and books. This is a fundraiser for TLC’s Abkhazi Garden. Admission is $25 for up to 3 items evaluated per person, or $50 for up to 8 items per person. 10am-4pm. Abkhazi Garden, 1964 Fairfield Rd. For more info, call 598-8096.

MISC

events

ROYAL TEA CONCERT SERIES BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY Jan 14

Waltzes, overtures and dances in a salute to Vienna and beyond. Enjoy the light music of Mozart, von Suppe, Smetana and others. Afternoon tea graciously provided by the Fairmont Empress. Tickets $22.25–$37.25 Seniors. Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St. For more info, call Victoria Symphony 385-6515.

20TH CENTURY MASTERPIECES Jan 17

The Galiano Ensemble of Victoria launches the New Year with four of tomorrow’s “Old Favourites,” works of youth by composers on the thresholds of their careers. 8pm. Tickets $23 seniors. Available at Ivy’s Bookstore, Larsen Music, Munro’s Books, at the door or by phoning 704-2580. The Phillip T Young Recital Hall in the School of Music at the University of Victoria. For more info, go to www.galiano.ca/galiano

VICTORIA SYMPHONY POPS Jan 18

LEGO, LEGO, LEGO Jan 2–Mar 31

This year the huge display of Lego models is even bigger and better than before, from Pirates to Star Wars, Castles to Construction Vehicles. Admission by donation. Daily 10am-4pm. Sidney Museum, 4th and Beacon Ave, Sidney. For more info, call Peter Garnham 655-6355.

CAFÉ FAIRFIELD Jan 5

A monthly series of readings, music and food in a café-style setting. January’s Café: “New Year’s Visualizations” featuring folk duo Jack ‘n Lefty, Improv Victoria, and Latin dance rhythms of “Wine and Roses” Ladies’ Salon Orchestra. 7-9pm. No cover. Fairfield Community Place, 1335 Thurlow Rd. For more info, call Barbara 592-9340 or café@fairfieldcommunity.ca

HISTORICAL DISPLAY AT BUTCHART GARDENS Jan 15–Mar 15

Benvenuto, the family residence, is open during the wintry weather for visitors to view a display of memorabilia chronicling the development of the cement making plant and Jennie Butchart’s garden. Afternoon Tea available daily in the Dining Room Restaurant. Admission $17. The Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto, Brentwood Bay. For more info, call 652-4422 or www. butchartgardens.com

One of the Victoria Symphony’s most popular series–orchestral music with a dash of pizzazz. 2:30pm. Tickets $25.25-$44.25 Seniors. The Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton St. For more info, call 385-6515.

VCM 2007 GUITAR SERIES Jan 19

Vico Brasil! with Celso Machado, the hugely popular Brazilian guitarist and vocalist, joined by Victoria’s most talented young classical guitarists for an evening of solo and ensemble music. 8pm. Tickets $12 seniors. The Alix Goolden Performance Hall, 900 Johnson St. For more info, call 386-5311.

THE JOY OF SONG Jan 28

This nine-girl ensemble will present vocal delights including classical, sacred and folk favourites. Reception to follow. 7pm. Tickets $12 available at the Dancing Bean and Gallowglass Books. (Portion of proceeds to support performers in furthering their music training). St Michael All Angels Anglican Church, 2858 Mill Street, Chemainus. For more info and group rates (pre-sales only), call 250-715-3007.

CELEBRATION OF CHAMBER MUSIC Feb 4

McVie JohnJohnMcVie Scottish songs by Beethoven; Lieder by Men-

WITH

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Jan 18 Seniors’ Organizations –

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Jan 25 Issues – The Dreaded Downsizing

MUSIC

Yakimovich Wellness Centre “We Rage, We Weep” Alzheimer Foundation

44

(250)592-4422 jmcvie@shaw.ca

ROYAL LePAGE Coast Capital Realty

SENIOR LIVING

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events

events

events

events

events

delssohn and Strauss; Three Nocturnes by Ernest Bloch; “Kakadu” Variations by Beethoven for piano trio. 2:30pm. Tickets $15 seniors. St Mary’s Anglican Church, 1701 Elgin Rd. For more info, call 598-7726.

All performances $15 seniors. For tickets and show times, call 384-2142 or www.langhamcourtheatre.bc.ca

Lisa Tahara. The Old School House, 122 Fern Rd West, Qualicum Beach. For more info, call 250-752-6133 or www.theoldschoolhouse.org

SPEAKERS/SEMINARS/ WORKSHOPS

HONOUR Jan 16–Feb 11

This frank, honest play cannot fail to move anyone who has ever put their trust in another human being. George and Honour have been happily married for 32 years. They have a perfect understanding of each other until a beautiful female journalist, sent to profile columnist George, methodically sets out to challenge that understanding. The Belfry Theatre, 1291 Gladstone Ave. For tickets and show times, call 3856815 or www.belfry.bc.ca

MAPLE SUGARING WORKSHOP Jan 20

UNLOCK THE JOYS OF LITERATURE

From lovers of literature to readers who feel daunted by the classics, our courses will help you navigate the great works with confidence and a sense of wonder. Cost $100. Jan 11 to Feb 15–Thurs, 6:30-8:30pm. Oak Bay Library Meeting Room, 1441 Monterey Ave. Jan 16 to Feb 20–Tues, 1:30-3:30pm. Nellie McClung Library Meeting Room, 3950 Cedar Hill Rd. To register, contact Lorraine Somers 381-0490 or lsomers@islandnet.com

WRITING WOMEN INTO HISTORY Jan 17

Join the University Women’s Club of Victoria to hear Dr. Verna Linney, painter and printmaker, speak on “Writing Women into History: Mary Delaney, 18th Century Artist Extraordinaire.” Noon. Lunch $22 (prepaid). Cedar Hill Golf Club, 1400 Derby Rd. For more info http://web. uvic.ca/~canfeduw

HOW TO LIVE WITH ONGOING LOSS A CHALLENGE FOR FAMILY CAREGIVERS Feb 10

Facing ongoing loss is one of the many challenges that family caregivers encounter; including the loss of hopes and dreams for the future, changes in relationships, loss of a social life and for some leaving their job or home. Participants will learn how to deal with losses in ways that will enhance the caregiving relationship. Facilitated by Allison Reeves, M.A., R.C.C. 9:30am12:30pm. $25 FCNS members, $30 non-members. Limited seating. Registration required by Feb 5. Canadian Cancer Society, Vancouver Island Lodge, 2202 Richmond Rd. To register call 384-0408.

THEATRE HERE ON THE FLIGHT PATH Jan 11–27

VOLUNTEERS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Capital City Volunteers has some interesting volunteer opportunities helping isolated seniors stay independent. We need drivers and visitors for as little as 2 hours per week. Call 380-0660 or visit www.capitalcityvolunteers.org

NORTH ISLAND EVENTS 20 YEARS–20 ARTISTS Jan 7–Feb 16

The Old School House Arts Centre was the first art gallery in BC to be awarded charity status. A group show of 20 prominent artists will celebrate 20 years of art at the centre. A special reception for the artists and volunteers will be held Jan 7 from 5-8pm, right after Music on Sundays. The Old School House Arts Centre, 122 Fern Rd West, Qualicum Beach. For more info, call 250752-6133 or www.theoldschoolhouse.org

MIMESIS EXHIBIT Jan 12–Feb 10

This exhibition investigates personal relationships, gender and the location of the self in contemporary society. Opening night reception 7-9pm. Admission by donation. Mon-Fri, 10am5pm. Sat, noon-4pm. The Nanaimo Art Gallery, 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo. For more info, call 250-740-6350.

MUSIC ON SUNDAYS

Another great Canadian comedy by Norman Foster. This time he takes aim at lawyers, country music, poets, Leonard Cohen, bankers, theatre culture and male sexual insecurity. The Langham Court Theatre, 805 Langham Court.

Presented by The Old School House Arts Centre and Quality Foods. All concerts 2:30-4:30pm. Admission $12. Jan 7–Jazz; The Miranda Sage Trio. Jan 14–Bruce Vogt; classical piano. Jan 21–Classical; Josh Lane–harp, Toshiko Tamp –piano, Michelle Cox–flute. Feb 4–Classical; award winning young pianists, Shika Card &

Presented by Backlund’s Backwoods and The Land Conservancy (TLC-Wildwood). Includes a fabulous workshop on the secrets of tapping maple trees, and a tour of maple management practices and sap processing. Cost $50 non-members, $40 TLC members. Advance registration required. 10am-3pm. Backlund’s Backwoods, 12685 South Doole Rd (near Ladysmith). For more info, call 383-4627 in Victoria or toll-free 1-888-738-0533.

SABIR SISTERS Jan 20

An evening of toe-tapping Celtic music. A group of four sisters sing, dance and play the fiddle. 7:30pm. Tickets $14 seniors. The Capital Theatre, on Argyle St, Port Alberni. For more info, call The Rollin Arts Centre 250-724-3412.

FORGET ME NOT Jan 31

TheatreOnes’s Emerging Voices continues. This monthly series of staged new-play readings are held at ACME Food Company, downstairs, 15 Commercial St, Nanaimo. 7pm. $5 at the door. Jan 7, 11, 21 & 22–The Fringe Flick Series continues at the Galaxy Cinemas, Rutherford Mall. Sun, 1pm, 4pm & 7pm. Mon, 4pm. Tickets $10. For more info, call 754-7587 or www.theatreone.org

5TH ANNUAL SEEDY SATURDAY Feb 3

Will be held in Qualicum Beach’s Civic Centre. This event brings together over 50 vendors from all over the Island and beyond with items of gardening interest for everyone. The theme this year is “Grow Your Own Food.” 10am-3:30pm. Admission by donation.

WINTER ART CLASSES

Feb 5-Mar26–Intermediate Watercolour Painting & Drawing the Basics. Feb 6-Mar 27–Intermediate Watercolour Painting and Beginners/ Intermediate Watercolour. Feb 7-Mar 28–Oil & Acrylic Painting and Acrylic. Feb 8-Mar 29–Watercolour: The Basics and Pastel. Classes Mon thru Thurs, 9:30am-noon and 1pm-3:30pm. Members $106, Non-members $116.60. The Old School House Arts Centre, 122 Fern Rd West, Qualicum Beach. For more info, call 250752-6133.

Subscribe to Senior Living and bring your favourite magazine right to your door! Purchase a subscription to Senior Living for just $32 and never miss an issue! If you would like the convenience and reliability of having Senior Living - Vancouver Island mailed to you for a year (11 issues), complete and send this form, along with a cheque for $32, to: Senior Living 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1

SUBSCRIPTION ORDER FORM MAGAZINE

Name __________________________________________________ Address ________________________________________________

‰ Yes, I would like to subscribe to Senior Living Vancouver Island (11 issues) for the annual cost of $32.

City ___________________________________________________ Province ________________ Postal Code ____________________

‰ Enclosed please find my cheque for $32. (Includes GST and S & H) JANUARY 2007

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O

nce upon a time Carol Matthews had a busy life as Dean of Human Services and Community Education at Malaspina University-College. After taking early retirement, she continued to work as a consultant with a variety of non-profit organizations and as a director on several community boards. “I loved my work at Malaspina,” she says, “but I needed time to devote to my family and my writing.” Carol has published extensively, with articles in academic journals, magazines, and newspapers, as well as short stories in a variety of Canadian literary magazines. For years, Carol has contributed a regular column to a national journal, Relational Child and Youth Care Practice. In spring 2006, the journal’s editor, Dr. Gerry Fewster, suggested the columns could be pulled together and published as a book, to make “these wonderful anecdotes and insights available to a much wider audience.” “It hadn’t occurred to me when I started writing the column that it was the beginning of a book,” said Carol at the launch of The First Three Years in Nanaimo. “It’s certainly a painless way to create a book, writing a column and then collecting the pieces.” “I’d been writing short fiction for a number of years,” she says, “but I really didn’t see a book in my future.” Carol’s quarterly columns, however, found an enthusiastic audience from the beginning. In the book’s introduction, 46

Photo: Mike Matthews

The First Three Years of a Grandmother’s Life By Carol Matthews Relational Child and Youth Care Practice at Ryerson University, Toronto. $15.95

BIRTH of a GRANDMOTHER

Fewster praises Carol’s “richly seasoned educated eye” and her ability to “look out on a fractured world with critical concern, heartfelt caring and unconditional compassion.” Carol’s column is based on one of those life-altering events – the birth of her granddaughter, Charlotte Taylor. In writing the columns, Carol documented her experiences as a first-time grandmother, watching the development of this new person in her life. Becoming a grandmother, she wrote, brought her “to feel the connectedness of the generations, that enormous love and acknowledgement.” She notes that, lately, grandmotherly connections are felt and shown around the world. “Groups like the Nanaimo Grannies, who raise funds for the work of Stephen Lewis in Africa, base their charity work on the connections and sympathy they feel for grandmothers in other parts of our world, grandmothers who often are the primary caregivers for children who just don’t have parents to shelter them, feed them, raise them.” At Carol’s Vancouver reading, Patsy George, a Director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation Board, thanked Carol for her work in supporting connections and community in grandmothers around the world. George reported that “Canadian grandmothers are becoming activists and creating solidarity for the caring work of grandmothers around the world.” Carol has donated money from sales of her book to the Nanaimo Grannies, and to KIDS (Kids International Devel-

BY MIKE MATTHEWS

opment Society), an organization of just two Nanaimo people, Adrianne Dartnall and Rick Lennert, who take their four hands to Thailand and Cambodia to build shelters for grandmothers raising children. At book launches in Nanaimo, Duncan, Victoria, Vancouver and as far afield as Toronto, Carol has reflected on the role of a grandmother. At each of the readings, discussions have been lively and provocative, not only for seniors but for younger generations as well. Grandparenting is a topic that seems to invite searching questions and illuminating responses. The Toronto event at Ryerson University brought together a mixed audience: students, grandparents and interested readers of various ages. “It’s not just the grandparent’s life that is so transformed,” said a younger woman, “I remember what a suddenly different picture I had of my parents when I saw how they were with my daughter. I saw them as people who were ready to get right down on their hands and knees and play face-to-face with the baby in a way that I couldn’t have imagined. I’d never seen them like that before.” The First Three Years reveals how much learning takes place in becoming a grandparent. As Carol writes, “I don’t yet know where this journey will take me, but I’ve learned from Charlotte that it’s going to be two-way traffic all the way.” SL The First Three Years is available in bookstores around Vancouver Island or through Sandhill Books at www.sandhillbooks.com For more information, contact Carol Matthews at wayword@telus.net

SENIOR LIVING

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s

Senior Celebration Festival Friday, March 9, 2007

PRESENTED BY

MAGAZINE

Pearkes Recreation Centre, Victoria

2007

Plans are underway for the 2007 Senior Celebration Festival, sponsored by Senior Living Magazine. Last year’s festival boasted over 55 senior exhibitors, and over a dozen performance groups. This year, it’s bigger than ever! Come join us on Friday, March 9th and be inspired!

LAST CHANCE for Senior Exhibitor Applications Don’t miss out on your opportunity to participate in this year’s senior festival. Spaces are still available but filling quickly! Senior exhibitors wishing to display or demonstrate a special hobby, activity, interest, craft, etc., at the upcoming Senior Celebration Festival are asked to submit their application as soon as possible. If you need an application form, please contact Sandy at 3830133. Last year’s festival received rave reviews from all those who attended. How can you participate? Are you a senior, near-senior or part of a senior group? Can you set up an eyecatching display and talk to people about your interest or passion? Can you demonstrate a particular hobby? Do you have pictures, videos or slides you can show? Can you sing, dance, act, play an instrument, tell a story? It is important that every presentation and event inspire and promote the positive aspects of being a senior. Registration Registration is only $20 per booth for seniors, senior groups, non-profit societies operated solely by seniors or societies that provide services solely to seniors. Other non-profit societies can purchase booth space at the commercial rate of $350. Participants that don’t pay the commerical rate may sell or raffle items from

their booths ONLY with written permission from the festival organizers. Please contact us for details and associated nominal fees. A limited number of booths are available to businesses at a cost of $350 - first priority given to current supporting advertisers of Senior Living.

A Day of Entertainment Starting at 10:30 a.m., the stage will host a full day of volunteer performances by senior groups including dance, theatre and music. Festival doors open at 10am, close at 4pm. If you are an entertainer, please contact us for more info about how you can participate. We can only accommodate a limited number of performances, so please contact us early. Volunteers Lots of help is needed behind the scenes with preparations before, during and after the festival. If you can lend a hand, please call Sandy (250)383-0133. Plan To Join Us For The Day Make this the biggest, greatest senior event anywhere! We know you will have a wonderful time. If you live in a community of seniors, ask your event coordinator to make Friday, March 9, 2007 your special outing that week! More information to come Read Senior Living every month for the latest news updates on the festival.

Senior Living gratefully acknowledges these generous Sponsors:

JANUARY 2007

SENIOR_LIVING_ISLAND_JAN07.indd 47

47

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Just Rambling

BY GIPP FORSTER

REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST

W

hen I was a teenager, anything longer than a military cut on a boy was considered long hair, at least according to my father. Tony Curtis was just coming on the scene then and his black curly hair was the envy of nearly every guy with straight hair (in our neighbourhood, anyway). Men, before the ’50s arrived, got their hair cut on a regular basis, but times were changing even in the ’50s, making way for the ’60s and ’70s when long hair on men became the flag to be waved. I often wondered in the decades following, how, or if, the corner barber survived. That’s when, suddenly, the old cigar-chomping barber who talked about sports all day, was exchanged for hair “dressers” and hair “stylists,” some who called themselves “Mr. Ray” or “Mr. Frederick.” Where once you could walk in to any barbershop and wait your turn, fancy salons now demand an appointment, like a doctor’s office. A barber, and not a stylist, could make a living then, and perhaps some still do. Once, a man could get his hair cut for 50 cents. Now, $10 to $15 for a simple cut is considered a bargain. My wife says it’s all relative, and I guess she’s right. But still, $20 for an average cut, plus an expected tip, seems a little out of line to me, especially for older people who might be on a fixed income. I remember as a kid, my mother giving me a quarter and telling me to go get a haircut, and away I’d go with my grandmother. I was nearly traumatized. 48

The only thing that fascinated that little boy was the red, white and blue swirling barber pole. The rest was sheer terror. Barbers seemed like doctors then. They wore white frock coats and usually had a peppermint or penny lollipop for their young and tiny victims; bribes really. But not enough to appease a kid who was certain he was about to have his head cut off. I dreaded it when the barber took out the long board to put across the arms of the big silver and black moving chair that could shoot up and down and all around. What seemed like a cape would be waved and snapped, then tied around your neck in what this child thought was preparation for death. I didn’t know what “vulnerable” meant then, but I sure felt it when the tears of pain would start to well in my terror-filled eyes. It was then that my grandmother and the barber would tell me how brave I was and how having your hair cut didn’t hurt. I’d eventually start to whimper anyway, gasping out sobs as this stranger in a white coat with scissors in hand, did his dastardly deed. He faced me to a gigantic mirror, and I was certain at any moment he was going to snip my ears off, as I watched him in the glass, hearing the rapid “click, click, click,” as the scissors tested the air before going in for the kill. Finally, when he removed that big apron, picked me up and put me down on the floor, I wanted to hug his legs for sparing my life. While my grandmother paid him, I would stare at my dismembered hair, wondering why it didn’t bleed. I took

Photo: Krystle Wiseman

THE BARBER

the lollipop offered without hesitation. I had earned it. I had survived incredible danger and was still alive. I was a hero. That was many, many years ago when men could hang out in barbershops just for the conversation and little boys could get their first taste of prayer. I guess with the odd exception, the days of the crew cut are gone. Long locks have returned, the military cut is in and so is the bald look, which again makes it hard on the poor old barber. I miss Tony Curtis though. I always wanted to have hair like his, but at least then I had hair, even though it was mousey brown and had no curl. I’ve been going to the same barber for over 15 years now. He just retired. It’s an awful thing to outlive your barber. I hate change. I no longer like to look in mirrors, so I guess it really doesn’t matter how short or how long the few strands of hair I have left on top of my head are. I’m just going to let my hair grow. Most won’t be able to tell the SL difference anyway.

SENIOR LIVING

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LIFE AT BERWICK IS LIFE AT ITS BEST.

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OCCUPANCY FALL 2007—

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Jan 2007 Senior Living Magazine Island Edition  

50+ Active LIfestyle Magazine for Vancouver Island BC Canada

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