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SEPTEMBER 2011 TM

Vancouver’s 50+ Active Lifestyle Magazine

Health & Wellness

Fun Fitness Mental Health Back to School...again www.seniorlivingmag.com


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Where to go today? Perhaps a boat trip on the Harrison River to see eagles nesting, or a scenic trip to a lavender farm in Langley? Maybe a drive to Whistler to experience the Peak to Peak gondola? So many choices... At The Summerhill we get Out and AboutTM together in our state-of-the-art, kneeling, easy access bus to explore new places, and revisit places we have not been to in years. What would you like to do today? Explore with us at The Summerhill. Call us for a personal tour. 135 West 15th Street (off Lonsdale) North Vancouver | 604.980.6525 www.the summerhill.ca Part of Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities

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MAGAZINE

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SEPTEMBER 2011

1


SEPTEMBER 2011

www.seniorlivingmag.com

Publisher’s This month, we focus on people who are living healthy, wellnesscentered lifestyles and enjoying life to its fullest. When was the last time you thought about playing table tennis? Going back to university? Taking up martial arts? Writing a book? Have you tried boogie boarding recently? If not, you’ll want to find out how this ocean sport is taking the 50+ crowd on a wave of adventure. How about a game of pickleball, combining elements of badminton, tennis and ping-pong while you keep out of the kitchen? Strange as the name may sound, this strategic game puts you through the paces, improving cardio, coordination and agility. If some of the activities mentioned above are not written up in the Senior Living magazine you’re reading, look for them online in our Vancouver Island September magazine. Statistics Canada says seniors are living longer and staying healthier. This may be in part to a health system that has advanced the ability to prolong life, but seniors of today are a lot more proactive when it comes to their health. No longer willing to flex only their calves in a rocking chair, they are taking to the hills, to the ocean, and down the roads of new experiences in their quest to stay young, active and agile – both mentally and physically. Someone once said to me, “Life is good – you just have to live it.” It is my hope that the varied articles this month will propel our readers to higher levels of health and wellness in their quest for the good life. Happy reading! 2

SENIOR LIVING

FEATURES

COLUMNS 4 The Family Caregiver

5 Boogie Boarding Boomers

by Barbara Small

Snowbirds catch the wave in Costa Rica.

12 BBB Scam Alert

6 A Passion for Pickleball

by Lynda Pasacreta

A mix of badminton, tennis and ping-pong – this court sport is gaining momentum.

26 Forever Young by William Thomas

8 Working with Wood

Ladner Woodworkers’ Club provides the space, equipment and training for wood-loving hobbyists.

31 Ask Goldie

by Goldie Carlow

32 Reflections: Then & Now

10 Golf is Not Enough

by Gipp Forster

Maintaining mental health as we age.

13-19 Health & Wellness Supplement 20 Back to School – Again

Cover Photo: Pickleball players Inge Scholz and Charles Lefaive. Story page 6. Photo: Philippe Martin-Morice

First-day jitters soon turn to an enthusiasm for learning shared by more mature students.

22 Grace in Difficult Times

Author Cathie Borrie explored her mother’s spiritual insights as she went through Alzheimer’s disease.

28 Underwater Wonders of Palau Exploring the depths in Micronesia.

30 Celebrating National Seniors Day Community events mark Canada’s National Seniors Day on October 1st.

Senior Living (Vancouver & Lower Mainland) is published by Stratis Publishing. Publisher Barbara Risto Editor Bobbie Jo Reid editor@seniorlivingmag.com Ad Coordinator Steffany Gundling Copy Editor Allyson Mantle Advertising Manager Barry Risto 250-479-4705 ext 101 Toll-free 1-877-479-4705 sales@seniorlivingmag.com Ad Sales Staff Mitch Desrochers 604-910-8100 Ann Lester 250-390-1805 Mathieu Powell 250-479-4705 ext 104 Barry Risto 250-479-4705 ext 101 WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

Head Office Contact Information: Box 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1 Phone 250-479-4705 Fax 250-479-4808 Toll-free 1-877-479-4705 E-mail office@seniorlivingmag.com Website www.seniorlivingmag.com Subscriptions: $32 (includes HST, postage and handling) for 12 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 Vancouver Island is distributed free throughout Vancouver Island. Stratis Publishing Ltd. publishes Senior Living Vancouver Island (12 issues per year) and Senior Living Vancouver & Lower Mainland (12 issues per year). ISSN 1710-3584 (Print) ISSN 1911-6403 (Online)


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SEPTEMBER 2011

3


THE FAMILY CAREGIVER

Accepting Help is Essential

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t is natural for a person to feel overwhelmed and stressed by the responsibilities of caregiving. An increased amount of time and energy is used to navigate the healthcare system, find resources or figure out how to meet someone else’s personal and medical needs. Don’t burn out; it is essential to ask for help and support. Asking for help is important to the well-being of both the family caregiver and the person receiving care. When you share the responsibility, you will have more time and energy for a normal relationship with your family member, and to take care of yourself as well. You are less likely to be angry and resentful. Having the opportunity to interact with more people will also enrich the care recipient’s experience. Despite the fact that family caregivers may be overtaxed with responsibility, they often do not ask for help or reject help when it is offered. Asking for help can be difficult when we don’t know what we need, we don’t want to be a bother, or we feel guilty that we can’t do it all ourselves. Beliefs such as “no one can do this as well as I can” can also be an obstacle

to asking for help. It’s true. No one will do it the same as you, but that does not mean that they cannot be helpful in their own way. Recognize that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It means you are acknowledging the challenges of the situation and are being proactive in resolving problems and preventing stress. It is a sign of strength because it requires putting your pride aside and acting in the best interest of your family member and yourself. First, you need to admit that some help will make a difference to the care recipient’s quality of life and, therefore, yours. You need to identify what help you need: tasks that are easiest to ask others to do; what you want to do yourself; and if you can afford to pay for assistance. Discuss your needs with family members and friends who might be willing to help. They may want to contribute but don’t know how. Create a list of tasks. Then focus on each individual’s strength. Some people may be better at personal care while others may be better able to help around the house or run errands.

The Enjoyment of Dance

Next Month in Senior Living...

�������������� ������������������������ Waltz, Mambo, Tango, Cha Cha, Swing & More! Line Dancing: Improves balance, timing, musicality; It’s a Heap of FUN! ���������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������������������������

Fashion & Beauty Tips to help you look your best. Interviews with boomers and seniors in the industry.

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4

SENIOR LIVING

WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

BY BARBARA SMALL

Contact your local health authority to see what services are available to assist you, such as home support and respite. There are many businesses, community and volunteer agencies that offer services to reduce your load. People may not realize you need help if you don’t ask for it. Remember, you have the right to ask for help. Everyone will benefit from sharing in the SL caregiving. Next month: Coping with Loss Barbara Small is the Program Development Coordinator for Family Caregivers’ Network Society located in Victoria, BC. www.familycaregiversnetwork.org


BOOGIE BOARDING BOOMERS

Photos: Diane Madson

BY DIANE MADSON

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ined up at the edge of the surf, they stand there waiting – then spring to action at exactly the right moment. This is the sport of boogie boarding – Flamingo Beach style. People of all ages can participate, but this group was all age 50-plus. My husband, Denny, initiated and perpetuated this sport among friends and acquaintances at Flamingo Beach, Costa Rica since the early 1990s. Even I finally overcame my fears four years ago to become an active, albeit cautious, boogie boarder. Denny learned to body surf while in the presence of a champion butterfly swimmer from Wales in 1970, when we lived at Scarborough Beach in Perth, West Australia. His previous experiences in Saskatchewan, where he learned to trick water-ski, combined with an awesome athletic ability in hockey and baseball, a bachelor’s degree in physical education and 20-plus years living, fishing and boating on Vancouver Island, all added to Den’s success introducing would-be boogie boarders to the Flamingo Beach surf. Boogie boarding, as with anything in-

volving the power of oceans, can be dangerous, so common sense is vital. What Den has learned and passed on countless times are a few basic “rules.” Plan your boogie escapade for the time frame starting at or just after the low tide. The next hour or less is commonly the best time to enjoy. As the tide comes in and gets higher, beaches are often steeper near shore and the water becomes more treacherous, so best to leave before then. Begin by only catching a ride in the white water after the wave breaks. You will still experience the exhilarating ride toward shore and have fun without putting yourself at risk. All beaches are different, so find out which ones are boogie board friendly. Den says Flamingo Beach is excellent. Many others are not. This beach sport is so enjoyable that some of our friends go every day – planning their days by the tide chart! Others of us go when we can and the tide is right. But regardless of what schedule we follow, one thing is clear – this group of boogie boarding boomers rocks! And, if you SL choose to partake, you can too! WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

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SEPTEMBER 2011

5


Fitness & Recreation

A Passion for Pickleball BY JANE CASSIE

6

SENIOR LIVING

Photos: Philippe Martin-Morice

“W

anna play?” asks the pepper-haired senior. “We need another person to make up a foursome.” After challenging my quads in an energetic fitness class, I find myself gazing into the adjacent gym. Beyond the wall of windows is a set of courts, three of which are filled by active 55 plus-ers who, with super-sized paddles, whack little plastic balls over low-slung nets. A fourth court is vacated, short by one person to complete the two-paired team. Will it be me? Should I give it a go? Although I’ve never played before, it looks simple enough – kind of like badminton, tennis and ping-pong all rolled into one. Even its name, pickleball, sounds kid-like corny – reminds me more of a cheesy-dill appetizer I made last Christmas than a court sport. My confidence and cockiness builds after checking out my opponents. Although I’m “boomer-age appropriate,” I still have a fondness for fitness – and these people are at least a dozen years my senior. How hard can beating them be? “It’s all about strategy,” my partner explains, after I quickly lose the first serve. This aged, yet agile, athlete has quicker reflexes than a super sniper and more patience than a saint. He takes a few moments to outline the plays: drive shots, high lops, shallow drops, overhead slams. “Just follow my lead – stay back when I am, move to the net when I do, and keep out of the kitchen.” Finally, a familiar term! But unlike my favourite haunt at home, this net-close territory is strictly out-of-bounds when smashing the ball back. Assuming, I ever get the chance! Before I know it, the score is 10-zip (for the other guys!) and I’m eating my previous words. Once again, our opponents have the serve – possibly (probably) for the last time. While my partner gets ready to receive the ball, I move up in the court, making sure my feet are well behind the no-no line. With my wide-stance and attack position secured, I prepare for the next whirl of the wiffle ball. Soaring adrenaline, racing heart, sweaty brow – based on my induced physical symptoms, you’d think I was competing in an Olympic event! Pickleball has been having this effect on players for over 45 years. Since 1965, when it was created on Washington’s Bainbridge Island and named after Pickles, the family’s ball-retrieving pooch, it has gained popularity. In February 1968, a Seattle-based business began marketing the game and selling equipment. In 1972, copyright was given to the initial set of rules. And, in 1987, the official United States of America Pickleball Association was launched. The sport has also received a fond following closer to home. “Over the past six years, it’s grown from three small B.C. programs (in Guilford, Kirkbride and Coquitlam) to a total of 80,” explains Chuck Lefaive. “And it’s also spread to the other provinces.” Chuck does his part to promote the sport both as the founder of

the national association (www.pickleballcanada.org) and as a familiar face at the South Surrey Recreation Centre where he reaches out to other venues and teaches all ages. “Most P.E. teachers know of the game and, if they could, would squeeze it into the curriculum,” he explains, while rattling off the notable list of elementary schools where he’s shared his pickleball pointers and passion. “At present, with the seniors and schools, we’re ranked the 4th largest program in North America.” Based on how my inaugural game is going, I doubt I’ll add to these stats. But there’s no excuse. Like this activity hangout, most city-based recreation centres offer multi-generational programs that are reasonably priced, especially for the senior crowd. There are even a few where I can feel like a true Olympian: the once-skating arena of Richmond Oval, Creekside Recreation Centre, a.k.a. the athletes’ village, and Vancouver’s Hillcrest Recreation Centre, where the world-class curling took place. I can also take this sport further afield – Washington, California, Arizona and even Florida. And when I reach my golden years, I can rally my way around the senior centres – from North Delta’s Kennedy House, across the water to play with the Sechelt Seniors, or even Alberta-bound to challenge the folks at Canmore’s Senior Centre! Tournaments are also a popular pickleball pastime. The first Canadian National was held in Calgary in July. The Third Senior Games was held a month later in Trail, B.C., and coming up on September 17 is the annual recreation tournament here at South Surrey Recreation Centre. Maybe by then I’ll be ready to sign up! But first, I have to get

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Pickleball players (left to right) Joseph Hillhouse, Charles Lefaive, Susan Telawsky, Anna Hillhouse and Inge Scholz. a few games under my belt and this one does not have a happy ending. Even though we’re totally total shut out (yes, 11-0 for the other guys), it changes my view on a couple of things. Firstly, never again will I underestimate the ability of a fit, fun-loving (and somewhat competitive) senior and, secondly, from now on, whenever I see a little plastic ball, an oversized paddle and a low-slung net, I’ll prepare for the surge. SL It’s called Pickleball Passion, and I’ve got it!

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NEWS BRIEF

Widowed.ca helps ease the transition

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oping with the aftermath of loss and finding support services can feel overwhelming. What to do regarding legal or financial matters? Where to receive bereavement support? How to address health and wellness issues? Widowed.ca is a free online resource for widows, widowers and their loved ones, and provides an easy way to connect to information and services, which address needs on a practical and emotional level. From quick answers and informative articles to forums, seminar and event notices, it’s all conveniently located in one place at Widowed.ca, including access to trusted resources and local services. Widowed.ca was developed as a compassionate and caring response to site founder Jennifer Black’s personal and professional experiences with loss. “I saw how friends and clients were affected by the loss of a spouse and realized there was a number of things people were looking for in terms of support,” says Black. “Alone, and with emotions running high, the biggest fear they had was in making mistakes. Widowed.ca looks to alleviate many of their fears by providing guidance and support to help ease the transition to a new chapter in life.” For more information, visit www.widowed.ca

SL WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

SEPTEMBER 2011

7


Health & Wellness

WORKING WITH WOOD BY BEV YAWORSKI

Dudley Ritchie inspects shelving constructed by a Ladner Woodworkers’ Club member.

We meet a need for the community by providing a woodworking space. Some fellows may have their own equipment at home, but it may be very limited. We have commercial-grade equipment here.” Club members have created wooden pens, bowls, pepper mills, shelving, tables, and even a bass fiddle. The club also teaches young people the basics of woodworking, and trains their own members in various aspects of woodworking and safe equipment use. Some of the young students have gone on to study construction courses at BCIT. Dudley emphasizes that woodworking can be a dangerous environment, so their group is always very concerned about safety. The Ladner Woodworking Club began in 1976 with a grant from the federal government New Horizons program. In those days, it was known as “Hobbies Unlimited” and existed primarily for seniors. The group began with seven members and has since expanded to about 70 members, 30 per cent of which are women and 50 per cent seniors. “We also do odd jobs for people in the community,” adds Dudley. “Recently, we had a lady come to us who had a loveseat that needed repair. We have done small repair jobs such as a wobbly chair leg, and may ask for a small donation. Our club does not want to get in 8

SENIOR LIVING

competition with larger woodworking businesses and will only take small jobs – ones that businesses don’t have time for. We’re not interested in the money aspect. We try to help people if we can.” Along with Dudley, club members Jack Hunter (retired from ICBC) and Dave Howell (retired from BC Hydro) also take an active part in maintaining the club. Jack got involved after his son Brent joined. Brent was getting married and wanted to make a hope chest for his new bride. Brent is acknowledged by club members to “be a driving force with the foresight, knowledge and experience to continually bring new ideas to the club.” Jack has become one of the group’s dedicated teachers. “I have been involved with woodwork all my life as a hobby,” he says. “My first job was in a sash and door mill, and I’ve had experience commercially as well.” Member Dave Howell says, “I’ve been interested in woodworking since taking courses in Grade 7 and 8 in Toronto. I then joined the army, was overseas, came back and set up my own woodworking shop in my garage. I joined the club to help with the teaching when the kids come in to the shop. I also maintain the club’s website.” The workshop is generally open to members seven days a week until 9:30 p.m. – so they can come and go on their own schedules. The club often receives donations of tools, wood and furniture. Membership is a diverse group, including sailors who repair parts of their boats moored out in nearby Ladner Harbour. It’s not been all smooth sailing for the Ladner Woodworkers Club. The group suffered a serious setback about five years ago when their workshop location at Ladner McKee Seniors’ Centre was redeveloped, leaving the group out on the street because of the demolition of their clubhouse. The issue was a controversial topic in the Ladner community for months. Delta Parks Recreation and Culture Department attempted to find them another location – without success.

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Jack Hunter works at a lathe machine in the Ladner Woodworkers’ shop.

Photos: Bev Yaworski

D

udley Ritchie, with a playful twinkle in his eye, loves to get people’s attention by telling them he spent 13 years in jail – that is – as an Anglican prison chaplain. After this startling revelation, he revels in telling all about one of his main loves – the Ladner Woodworkers’ Club. Dudley Ritchie, now in his active 80s, is one of the original founding members and served 14 years as president of the club. “One reason why our club exists is because in Ladner we are at sea level, and people here don’t have basements,” says Dudley. “They use their garages for workshops and then their cars would sit out on the street – so they don’t have enough space in their garages.


Finally, Ladner Christian Reformed Church came to the rescue and provided a large portable located on their church parking lot – a site that, in fact, already had some previous woodworking use. The city of Delta also helped upgrade the electrical system. Ladner Senior Secondary students built a storage shed for the club, which holds wood donations. “It’s been an extraordinary relationship with the church,” says Dudley. “We’re very grateful and very fortunate to be in here at our new location. When we moved in, we upgraded the equipment to commercial grade. We are independent of the city and have our own liability insurance. The club now has a formal memorandum of understanding with the church.” There are 14 different jobs in the club. “One of the challenges is to get members to take on responsibilities to keep the workshop clean, purchase things and other duties,” says Dudley. The Ladner Woodworkers Club always welcomes new members and accepts donations of usable wood. For more informaSL tion, visit ladnerwoodworkers.com

Embrace the Journey - A Care Giver’s Story by Valerie Green The very personal story of her own journey as a care giver to her elderly parents. This is a story which will touch many hearts and be relevant for numerous adult children who, in midlife, are faced with a similar challenge and must make agonizing decisions and choices. It painfully addresses the problems encountered of ‘aging in place’ and the desire for loving couples to stay together in their home until the end of their lives. 96 pages. Softcover. 5.5” x 8.5” Published by Senior Living. Price $14.95 To order, please send cheque for $20.12 ($14.95 plus $3.95 S&H & taxes) payable to Senior Living. MAIL TO: Senior Living 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1 Please include your clearly written shipping address and phone number. Allow two weeks for shipping.

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lets you be pro-active about your health

by Jamie Schaab

IMAGINE LIVING WITH SEVERE PAIN and having to wait a year to find out what — if anything — can be done to remedy the problem. What would your life look like? In addition to the physical discomfort that accompanies suffering from a medical ailment, the unknowns perpetuate constant stress and anxiety. Quality of life deteriorates along with your mood and manifests in strained interpersonal relationships. Once enjoyed pastimes are put on hold, and chores of daily living go undone. Sleep becomes interrupted by constant pain and mental anguish – and this starts taking a toll on your career. “It’s just a big ripple effect,” says Dr. Kristina Sharma. Dr. Sharma is a radiologist at AIM Medical Imaging, a leading edge MRI centre located in the heart of Vancouver, and she knows all too well the distress in which people are living when waiting for their turn within the medical system. Choosing to visit a private MRI centre, such as AIM Medical Imaging, is choosing to be pro-active about your health. Good news elicits instant peace of mind, and even bad news becomes empowering because something can now be done with that information. Clients at AIM are people first and patients second. From the moment a client walks through the door, each staff member is committed to providing the most comfortable experience possible. Instead of waiting months to have an MRI through the public medical system, AIM’s clients can often be seen the day they call for an appointment. The atmosphere in the clinic is tranquil. Each patient is provided with a private waiting room in which accompanying friends or family members can sit and watch TV while waiting. And patients are welcome to bring their favourite music or an audio book to listen to for the duration of the scan, though

some find it so relaxing they drift off. Upon completion of the scan, clients have ample time to ask questions during their one-on-one session with the doctor. This is a service unique to AIM Medical Imaging and really sets them apart from other centres in regards to customer service. Not only do clients find out the results of their scan right away, but they also receive a CD of their results and the information is

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SEPTEMBER 2011

9


Health & Wellness

GOLF IS NOT ENOUGH BY MARYLEE STEPHENSON

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he key to maintaining mental health is to stay ac- is for seniors to feel that their lives have meaning – that what tive, stay connected and stay engaged. However, they do is valuable, that they themselves are valued, and that there are many factors that can upset the daily bal- there is a purpose to their lives. For some women, the increasance of people’s emotional lives and ruin their sense of well- ing caregiver role may strengthen their sense of meaning in being as they get older: illness, solitude, financial problems. their lives or it can also mean more and more challenging The following captures the positive and diverse character of mental and physical effort. For men, as the work-based social mental circumstances as a person ages. world and their work itself drops away, it can be difficult to According to Dr. Paula Chalmers, an expert on the cor- feel their lives are meaningful. At first, men relish the freedom and leisure time of retirerelation between careers and self-esteem, between the ages of 50 and 60 people still feel they have control over their lives. ment, but after a couple of years, it has been found that all that “They are probably in reasonably good physical health – well- leisure time begins to pale. “They find out golf is not enough,” nourished, active, have energy, free of harmful addictions. says Anne Martin-Matthews, scientific director at Institute of They are people who feel they have choices and opportuni- Aging at UBC. But Anne adds that there are ways to work toties and they feel connected to others, either through partners, ward mental well-being at this stage: “create new relationships, children, close family and friends.” learn new things, and have the deShe adds that, “Often people at this sire to do this. And physical activity time of life are employed in meanis really important. There is a rela“There is a relationship between ingful, remunerative work or in a tionship between physical activity physical activity and mood meaningful volunteer capacity.” and mood enhancement and optimal cognitive capacity. So, for well-beOf course, financial circumenhancement and optimal stances and unemployment affect ing, a person must be socially and cognitive capacity.” well-being. Annwen Loverin, who physically active.” runs Silver Harbour Senior Centre in Jemma Templeton, manager Vancouver, says of seniors who face of client and volunteer services at major challenges in these areas: “People who have had a lifetime 411 Seniors Centre, points out that volunteerism is one way of insecure housing, perhaps living with a disability, a lack of of achieving a sense of meaning in daily life. Seniors make up money, and have been exposed to much greater traumatic situ- the largest portion of volunteers around the world. Jemma adds ations, may have more to deal with. But these are opportunities that volunteering is “the big piece in well-being, because you for developing resilience. What I’ve noticed is those who have are giving back. It gives a sense of purpose, of belonging. You well-being have become what I call, ‘clever self-advocates.’ create new friendships, and have a routine, a structure, a place They can identify sources of help and they rely on these to the to go. And you can use your skills, whether you’re a scientist or degree they choose. But they don’t rely on these supports to de- a woman who has worked as a homemaker all her adult life.” For those in their 70s, Anne sees a time where changes in a fine themselves. They don’t see themselves as victims.” At the age of 65, there can be some major economic chang- person’s physical condition are more likely to occur. Many peoes for women and men, alone or in partnership. If there is a ple at 75 are completely physically healthy, but lifestyle diseases sufficient pension or other income, this can be a time of real (from smoking, poor eating habits) appear and other causes dileisure for the first time in a man’s adult life. For a woman, it minish physical health. Anne has observed, however, people in tends to be different because she may not have worked out- this age group, “are wanting to make their dreams come true, beside the home as much, and this also means she is less likely cause they realize they will not be able to do some of these things to have sufficient income for retirement. She may have to later.” There are many programs and activities for these seniors, continue to be employed – if she can even find employment. which help create a sense of belonging, and can be a source of This is also the time of the “sandwich generation” and life be- new and longtime friendships. At this stage, it is important for people to be able to self-advocomes even more complex for a woman, as she may be caring Activities include zip-lining for both nearly grown children and aging parents. cate, when difficult changes in financial, mental, physical or resiandand boogie (above). Many experts agree that the key to happiness at this stage dential circumstances become more moreboarding prevalent. Jemma 10

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says that even for those in the most limited circumstances, “the very fact that they are coming through our door says that they are empowering themselves.” As a society, “we need to stop the pathologizing of seniors, to think more about wellness and put supports in place so that seniors can age gracefully, purposefully, and be independent. If we have those attitudes, it wouldn’t make any difference how old a person is.” For seniors 80 and older, security is particularly reliant on finances. This plays a crucial role in where seniors live, access to and the quality of daily lives. During this time, seniors also lose lifelong social connections – partners, friends, even neighbourhood services and activities that were shared over the years. “As threads break, hopefully you will create new threads,” says Anne. “You don’t just become more dependent on fewer people. This is the time to say, ‘if I’m going to be independent, in what situations do I ask for help, so that I won’t need more help.’ It’s counterintuitive, but if you make your own choices, you are still in control, and choosing the help you need makes you more independent.” There can be mental wellness throughout a person’s lifecycle even with extraordinary difficulties and barriers. Money, social surroundings, living circumstances and physical health all influence the degree of a person’s mental well-being, but it seems that in most situations, at each of these stages of life, there are ways people can advocate for themselves and keep connected to SL friends, family, and community resources.

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BBB Better Better Better Better

Business Business Business Business

Bureau Bureau Bureau Bureau

SCAM ALERT

BY LYNDA PASACRETA

Social Media Opens New Opportunities for Scammers

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eniors are often the targets of scam artists who view this demographic as particularly vulnerable and trusting. Scams range from phoney lotteries to prize offers to business opportunities. The Better Business Bureau warns the public about the variations on these scams. One old scam has taken on an alarming new twist. The so-called Grandparent Scam generally worked like this – the grandfather receives a distressed phone call from who he believes is his grandchild. The supposed grandchild typically explains that she is travelling abroad and has been arrested or involved in an auto accident, and needs him to wire money to post bail or pay for damages – usually amounting

to a few thousand dollars. The scammers’ basic tactic is to pose as a grandchild and let the unsuspecting grandparent fill in the blanks. For example, the scam caller might say, “It’s me, your favourite grandchild,” to which the grandparent will guess the name of the grandchild it sounds the most like, and then the call proceeds from there. In the updated scam, callers identify themselves by the name of the grandchild or other family member. They say they are being held in jail in Mexico and they need bail money wired immediately. They lace their conversation with accurate references to other family members, increasing their credibility. One caller even knew that the person they were impersonating had a twin who was born two minutes later. There are many ways that scammers can get this kind of detailed information. One is through social media, where people update their status on Facebook or send a message on Twitter announcing details of their travel plans. A quick Google search on the user can yield a lot of information for scammers to take advantage of: name, hometown, employment, even relatives. To protect people from this nefarious scam, and other scams that may use a distressed loved-one tactic, BBB advises that you remain calm and confirm the status of the caller. Get their phone number so you can call them back directly, or verify the story with other family members before taking any further action. Even developing a secret code that is known only within the family can save lots of heartache and distress. The BBB also encourages people to limit the amount of personal information shared on social media sites, and to SL only “friend” people they know personally. For more advice, tips, and alerts, or to check out a business, visit www.mbc.bbb.org Lynda Pasacreta is President of the Better Business Bureau of Mainland B.C. www.mbc.bbb.org To contact Lynda Pasacreta, e-mail president@mbc.bbb.org

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You CAN change the

any patients with reading difficulties due to eye disease ask this question. The stronger the reading glasses, the closer the reading must be held. Most patients with impaired vision require reading glasses so strong that reading material needs to be held uncomfortably close. Low vision devices use magnification techniques not available in glasses to allow a person to read at a more normal distance.

way you see things!!

T “Many of my new patients with vision impairment have been told there is nothing that can be done to help them,” says Dr. John Stuart, Jr. of the Surrey Low Vision Centre. “We are here to help the patient maximize the use of remaining vision and achieve functional vision goals. The focus at the Surrey Low Vision Centre is to provide each patient with an individualized program of care, including the appropriate low vision devices and therapy as needed. This leads the patient to experience a more personally satisfying and productive life.”

Example of reading with Macular Degenera�on

Low vision is a term that is used to describe impaired vision that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Low vision rehabilitation refers to the process of helping patients with vision impairment learn to maximize the use of their remaining, or residual vision. This enables the patient to lead as independent and safe a lifestyle as possible. The Surrey Low Vision Centre team is specifically trained and experienced in providing low vision diagnosis and rehabilitation.

Macular Degeneration Diabetic Retinopathy Glaucoma Retinitis Pigmentosa

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Eye diseases are often the cause of visual impairments, but help is available. Vision can be enhanced! The Surrey Low Vision Centre provides ongoing services to meet each patient’s unique needs. Call for a low vision assessment and get life back on track!

                  options for visual independence

604-951-8575

Surrey Eye Care Centre 13490 104th Avenue Surrey, BC V3T 1V8 Dr. John Stuart, Jr., Optometric Corpora�on

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For people who have reduced vision due to eye disease, there is new hope for increasing comfort in the performance of daily visual tasks and activities. Technology has expanded the availability of choices and quality of low vision aids. The Surrey Low Vision Centre provides patients with a full range of low vision products and services, and low vision assessments are covered by the BC Medical Services Plan. Over one million people in North America are at risk of becoming legally blind. As a large percentage of the population ages, more seniors are being diagnosed with life-altering eye diseases and low vision. The four diseases that are most commonly responsible for contributing to reduced visual independence are Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, and Retinitis Pigmentosa. Since eye disease symptoms are not always noticed, it is crucial to have regular eye health examinations. The benefits of early diagnosis by an eye care professional have a huge impact on managing the disease later. Armed with current information, optimal eye health care, and early intervention, aging eyes can now fight a dim future.

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e are living longer more healthful lives. I see this trend in dentistry too, people maintain their natural teeth for their entire lives and this is contributing to an overall better quality of life. Yet, while their numbers are decreasing, one in three adults over 65 does not have their natural teethi. Missing one or several teeth can impact your ability to eat, change your speech and appearance it may also cause social embarrassment. These same challenges are ever present for denture wearers.

Complaints with dentures range from loose and uncomfortable to downright not wearable. Overtime the loss of supporting bone and gum tissues result in ill-fitting dentures. Even accurately made dentures cannot overcome this loss of retention. The denture simply has nothing to hold on to. So many patients have come to accept this as their reality and don’t even ask if there is anything that can help. Enter the ‘mini implant’. Small diameter implants can use the remaining bone to anchor a partial or complete lower denture. Traditional implants are the option of choice for replacing

single teeth or bridges that are not removable. They can be used to stabilize dentures but the surgical procedure, amount of bone available and cost make them out of reach for many people. Small diameter implants are specifically designed for use with little bone, as is the case in anyone wearing prosthesis for 5 or more years. They are much more affordable and much less invasive. The procedure takes only a couple of hours and you can wear your denture the same day. In most cases your existing denture can be secured as long as it is in reasonably good condition. Afterward you can expect a smile that does not move when laughing, eating and talking. That means living in comfort and confidence.

Dr. Maureen Piché HB.Sc., D.M.D. is a practising general dentist in Richmond, B.C. She is a graduate of the University of British Columbia and a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentists. She was the winner of the 2007 Earl Ellison prize for excellence in geriatric dentistry.

i Bèland Y. Canadian Community Health Survey— methodological overview. Health Reports (Statistics Canada, Catalogue 82-003) 2002; 13(3): 9-14.

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������������� hy choose an adjustable bed? Whether it’s breakfast in bed, watching TV, reading, working on your laptop, relaxing or sleeping, a Levmatic Sleep System could be your next wisest purchase.

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Levmatic Sleep Systems® is a family owned and operated mattress business with our Head Office located in South Surrey, BC. We are the region’s largest family owned and operated specialty adjustable sleep system company, serving the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and the Interior.

of bed, but there are many health benefits as well. Tossing and turning on their mattress is the most common reason that people don’t sleep well at night.

We are the leaders in Adjustable Sleep because we SPECIALIZE. We don’t have 50 other FLAT beds to choose from, although ALL of Levmatic Sleep Systems can be flat anytime. We don’t push you to buy something simply because we are running a promotion with one supplier over the other.

The main reason people toss and turn is pressure points; traditional coil and spring mattresses put pressure on different areas of your body causing restricted circulation to those areas, so when your body becomes uncomfortable you turn to a new position. All traditional mattresses are flat but our bodies are curved. The traditional mattress fails to offer the lumbar region enough support, often allowing your lower back and hips to sink below the rest of your body. This causes pressure and discomfort which causes your body to turn to a new position. Adjustable sleep systems offer you several great benefits.

Our sleep systems help alleviate a variety of health issues including acid reflux disease, degenerative spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis, to name a few. ��������������������������������������

Obviously, the Levmatic ������������������������������� A Levmatic Adjustable Adjustable Sleep System base Sleep System consists ���������������������������������� is only an adjustable base. To of two parts, the base and the get all the benefits, you need mattress. Concentrate on the the proper mattress to work with it. Together they can create a frame construction; you want the heavy duty construction with totally pressure free environment while you sleep. The proper the look of an elegant piece of furniture. Preferably, a regular box spring appearance giving you the ability to dress it how you like mattress should provide the proper support, pressure relief and it. Look for quality motors at the “head and foot”, and make sure spinal alignment. Many companies only offer coil and spring they are CSA approved. Also, your mattress is the single most mattresses with their adjustable bases. The coil and spring important component of any bed. We will provide you with all the mattresses are not very pliable and don’t really work well with an adjustable base and often need replacing every five years. information you require for the appropriate mattress purchase. Try looking at one of our most popular “Lifestyle” pocket coil While our sleep systems start as low as $1799, we offer mattresses. These mattresses are made from highly specialized financing options so you can get better sleep, better health foams and are more durable and pliable than regular coils and and more energy. In an ever increasing market for the ultimate springs, and will work in unison with the adjustable base to Levmatic Sleep System, most people still believe that the ultimate adjustable sleep experience. Also, your provide the Levmatic Adjustable Bed which was originally used in hospitals mattress will most probably last for its intended life and these and Homes for the Elderly are still only used there. Although mattresses can go for twenty years. The final tip is to stay away they are extremely helpful in those situations, they can also be from deals that promise, “Mattress Included” - rarely does this very important for anybody in today’s lifestyle. mean you’re getting any quality in the mattress. So depending on There are many “side effects” from poor sleep and sleep your lifestyle or if your health dictates, check out all the health habits that might be a clue for you to check out the benefits and convenience benefits of a quality adjustable bed, but don’t of the Levmatic Adjustable Sleep System. Some of these health forget the “quality” mattress! issues are back problems, neck and shoulder pain, arthritis, circulatory problems, gastric reflux at night, snoring, and Visit Levmatic Sleep Systems on line at www.levmatic.com or breathing problems. Not only does an adjustable bed provide call us TOLL FREE at 1-877-414-7772 ext 225 to book a free, serious convenience with regards to helping people in and out no obligation, information presentation in the comfort of your own living room.

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lmost daily in the news there is a story on how stress is making people unhealthy. Medical experts have estimated that 75-85% of illness is accelerated by stress. Stress can lower your immune system making you more susceptible to illness.

Mayo McDonough and her husband moved to Victoria from Toronto in 1989 to focus on sailing and to find a healthier lifestyle.“Victoria is a wonderful community and Vancouver Island has a unique culture yet I still found the transition hard. Everything seemed uncertain. While I was in the process of setting up my business, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and entered into a whole new world of worry.”

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Little did she know that this was the beginning of a journey of discovery and transformation. “After that health scare, I focused more on my family and my health but I found I was craving more meaning yet was not sure what I needed or how to get it.” She decided to increase her work in non-profits, looking for more fulfillment.

“As much as I really enjoyed m y w o r k s h o p s f o r t h e BBB, helping consumers avoid scams and enjoyed helping entrepreneurs with business and communications issues, I still felt scattered and unclear as to my personal purpose.”

As a private person from a practical upbringing, I was embarrassed to even voice my concerns. It was when trying to help a client that a light bulb went off! “It seemed that nothing I was suggesting was connecting with my client. And I said ‘I don’t think your heart is in this business’ and that was the beginning of everything. I ended up finding the Passion Test, clarifying my passions and using them as my compass - I redefined my whole business.” Now she offers workshops to help people unleash the power of their passion to find success and balance in their lives, their retirement or their businesses.

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Health & Wellness

Back to School – Again BY DON LESTER

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After class, a few of the kids said they were going to meet up in the cafeteria, so I thought I would head over and see what went on there. Sitting in a corner seat, I watched kids gather into groups and discuss their classes. I never got the nerve to join any of the groups that day, but it was wonderful to feel their excitement. I enjoyed the philosophy class the most I guess because it allowed me to feel like the sage to these younger people. It just so happened, I was naturally good at philosophy and I wondered if that came with age. The professor was impressed with my reaThe author studying outdoors.

Photo: S. Paterson

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have always believed in lifelong learning, so when I found myself with time on my hands, I decided I would investigate some of my interests, like psychology. So, I read a few books and become even more interested in psychology, plus business and few other topics. I knew that the local university had some basic psychology courses, so I registered and started to look over the course selections. I was like the proverbial kid in a candy store. So much to learn, so little time. After some guidance from a course advisor, I took Psychology 101 and some other basic classes like Communication and Introduction to Business. Not only did these courses peak my curiosity, they would help down the road, if I decided to pursue my bachelor’s degree. I talked with the advisor about a five-year plan to get a degree, even though I would be in my mid-fifties when it happened. A few days later, I went to the university bookstore and it was the first time I thought about my age. I was at least 30 years older than any of the other people there. I wondered if I’d be able to fit in when I got to class. After all, you hear so much about university kids and their parties. But I just bought my books and decided I would think about it later. I wanted to focus on getting ready for school. And I did think about it, the generation gap, the differences in perspective from my generation to theirs, and decided I would just see what happens. After all, how bad could it be? I had never heard of anyone being laughed out of class; maybe I would be the first. I didn’t think my age was an issue. I had just never gotten this involved with a group of younger people before. The first day of class, I was nervous. It reminded me of my first day of high school. I knew what to expect, but it was all different somehow. I walked into the classroom and had a look around as I stood at the front of the room. That pause was just enough to have another student comment as I sat down, “I thought you were the professor.” I laughed and said “No, not me.” When the professor did arrive, I noticed she was younger than me and I thought about how odd it might feel to have a younger person instruct me. I was usually the one who was asked all the questions. But she knew that I wanted to learn, so I just put that thought out of my head. Everyone was there for one reason: to learn. So, there was a feeling of equality and no one seemed to pay much attention to age. I was just another student, which was a relief.

soning abilities and the other students wanted to team with me. Even if the reason was just to raise their grades a little. In one of my later semesters, I decided to improve my spontaneity and enrolled in an acting class. I also wanted to see if I was as entertaining as I thought I was. This was a little more interactive than my other classes. I got to work with other students at a more personal level. It was in the acting class that I met another older student. He was already an actor, but wanted to get some formal schooling, so it was a little different experience for him than me. When it came to the final exam, acting in front of the class, it was more nerve-racking than I imagined. It proved to me that however entertaining I may be, I was not ready to entertain the world. But, who knows, I may get there yet.

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Featured Business All in all, going to university at 50+ turned out to be a wonderful experience. I discovered I still have the ability to learn. When people have a common goal, like learning, age is not normally an issue. For the most part, I always felt like any other student. No one ever went out of his or her way to make a point of my age, and I was able to relate to the younger people just fine. I intend to continue learning for as long as I am able because knowledge is refreshing and exhilarating. It keeps my mind growing and alert. It also allows me to meet all kinds of new friends, some for just a semester, others for longer. Students my age, who I met from time to time, shared my enthusiasm for the experience. They were always happy and excited to learn. I eventually earned a PhD at the young age of 55, and am very proud of that achievement. It took some distance classes to get it all done, but that’s another story. SL

Enabling Tax Benefits for People with Impairments When it comes to advocating for the disabled, Linda Chornobay, owner and CEO of Enabled Financial Solutions Ltd., sets the precedent for successfully helping people file and receive a fair and generous Disability Tax Credit (DTC) refund and future benefits. By Starr Munro

“At Enabled Financial Solutions Hoodoos Ltd. most of our work is done in the “grey” area of the DTC,” says Linda. “We are passionate in helping people receive all the benefits they are entitled to.” Linda, a doctor’s daughter who is disabled herself, was inspired to create a business that is empathetic Mona Chornobay to the challenges people living Surrey Branch with disabilities face each day. Her business reaches into the community giving free seminars, educating the public to help them determine if their medical conditions would qualify them for the DTC (a non-refundable federal tax credit available to people suffering a prolonged mental or physical impairment that significantly restricts daily living). Linda Chornobay (CSA) Graham C. Lashuk “Children, people on CPP Owner / CEO Vancouver Branch Disability, individuals on Provincial Disability or anyone who has had a prolonged medical condition that has affected their daily ���������������������������� living activities within the last ten years may be eligible. Your age or whether or not you work are ��������������������������������� not qualifying factors,” says Linda. ������������������������������� “If you think you may be entitled to the DTC, give us a call. If we determine that we ���������������������������������� can qualify you, we will become your advocate and jump through all the hoops for you,” says ���������������������������������� Linda. “We work with your doctor, we complete �������������� the necessary paperwork, we file your claim with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and, if necessary, we will take your claim through the people received a refund and future benefits. appeals process.” “In the 2006 Statistics Canada report, Enabled Financial Solutions Ltd. boasts a Participation and Activity Limitation Survey 99.9% success rate. Most of their clients receive (PALS), it was estimated that less than one-third over $10,000 in refunds and are entitled to future of those individuals that fall into the black and benefits. white definition of being ‘disabled’ are receiving “We have helped many people and each the support and benefits they are eligible for,” client is unique” says Linda. “Some of our says Linda. successes have been people with arthritis, “In Canada we are a self-assessing country. bladder problems, emphysema, those who’ve This means it is up to us to find out what we had liver transplants, hip and knee replacements, are entitled to and how to go about getting it. At those who suffer from Crohns, Colitis, Multiple Enabled Financial Solutions Ltd. we know how Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.” to work with doctors on behalf of our clients In fact, Enabled Financial Solutions Ltd. and we understand Canada Revenue Agency’s has been successful in qualifying people for the protocol. We are here to help and offer all our DTC in 300 varied medical diagnoses and these clients a stress free process.” ADVERTISEMENT

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Author Profile

Grace in the Midst of Difficult Times

BY CAROL MATTHEWS

B

Photo: Eclipsephotography.ca

orn in Vancouver, Cathie Borrie’s extensive and diverse working life has included careers in health, law and business. For seven years, she cared for her mother, who had Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, which led her to write a rich memoir of that experience in The Long Hello, The Other Side of Alzheimer’s. Cathie elected not only to explore the spiritual insight made possible by the Alzheimer’s journey, but also to reveal the mysteries of the mind in what has been described as a narrative poem.

Author Cathie Borrie.

SL: Your memoir reveals honesty and vulnerability. What motivated you to take on the telling of this story? CB: One day, I was sitting in a restaurant having lunch with my mother. She had been diagnosed with dementia, and I was having “man” troubles. I wanted to ask her opinion and though I wondered if this was a good idea, considering how her mind had been changing, I went ahead and asked her what to do when you love someone but he doesn’t love you. Without skipping a beat, she replied, “Go find someone else!” I was startled by the good sense of this advice and went on to ask, “What is love, Mum?” to which she responded, “It is the sublime, felt between two people in the same working order.” SL: And these surprising responses are what prompted you to write your books? 22

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CB: Yes, I was hooked and began to record our conversations. I found her emerging Alzheimer’s voice one of humour, insight and an astonishing poetic sensibility. Against the backdrop of the negative and hopeless stereotypes like “the long goodbye” and “the endless forgetting,” I was not expecting what would turn out to be a meaningful, rich and transformative experience. Along with an honest account of the difficult days and the sadness, I felt this “other side” of Alzheimer’s should be available to others going through the experience. Writing it was a source of deep pleasure. SL: What learning have you taken from your immersion in the world of Alzheimer’s? CB: The most important thing I learned was that we should pay attention to people who are experiencing a world we do not understand and do not have access to, and not to retreat from them or write them off as “not there” simply because they are somewhere else. The human spirit prevails to the end, and it is our privilege to remain faithful and attentive to whoever it is that person is becoming. There are great gifts in this experience. SL: In addition to The Long Hello: The Other Side of Alzheimer’s, you have a companion book, looking into your voice. What inspired you to choose this unusual format? CB: I felt that my mother’s voice deserved its own place in the world, so I put together a work comprised of our conversations, working with local poet Dianna Hurford to render the words poetically. The lyrical form of my mother’s words dictated the poetic structure. Readers are often shocked that someone with Alzheimer’s said such fascinating and beautiful things. One reviewer said, ‘Out of memory loss, comes the unforgettable.’ SL: Your mother was the inspiration for your own poetry in this book. Can you talk about that? CB: As my mother went back in time, mulling over memories and reminiscing, I found myself following her lead and began sifting through my own life. I began to see everything in scenes, like film clips. In the same way her responses were often poetic and minimalist, so too were mine. I am not sure why this happened. Perhaps the musicality in her words released the lyricism in mine.

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SL: You spent a long seven years caring for your mother. What are the greatest challenges you experienced as a caregiver for a parent with Alzheimer’s? CB: Three challenges sought to undo me: isolation, loneliness and, most of all, the heartbreak of observing her suffering. Against these, what I began to hear from my mother, to learn about her new world – when I actually listened, when I followed her lead – served to ease the hard parts of the experience. SL: Your experience has been an inspiring one, but not without frustrations. What changes would you like to see in the kind of care that is given to people suffering from Alzheimer’s? CB: I am pleased to see all that is being done to stop “warehousing” people with dementia, and the emerging progressive programs that focus on respecting and understanding the needs of individuals going through this experience. SL: You’ve spoken to many groups about your experience caring for your

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mother. What do you hear from your audiences? CB: My audiences and readers tell me that the works both validate the experience of those who have gone through it, and serve as a navigational chart for those going through it. People have responded with comments like, “For a long time I have been terrified about Alzheimer’s. After reading your book, I am no longer afraid,” and, “I’m going to see my father right now. I am going to listen to him. Stop trying to make everything as it was.”

SL: With the far-ranging publicity your work has received, you’ve now established a kind of iconic relationship with the Alzheimer’s issue. Has this become a life focus for you? CB: Yes, it has. I am working on performance pieces with text, voice, film and music. I want my presentations to be as lyrical and artistic as my mother’s voice. My mother taught me that there is much beauty, grace and meaning in the midst of difficult times, and I want to share that story in the most creative way I can. SL

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FOREVER BY WILLIAM THOMAS

“And That’s Why I Love Small-Town Living”

I

so love small-town living. The good things that happen When the smashing of glass and crunching of wood in small towns are much more appreciated than in the stopped, the elderly lady tried to put the car in reverse and big city because everybody knows about it. Bad things back out of the store. “What accident?” “What damage?” do happen in small towns, but the tighter knit of the social Quite quickly, the area was swarming with police and firefabric somehow softens the blow. fighters, as well as curious shoppers. Judy returned from a Eight years ago, Judy, the proprietor of Judy’s Bakery visit with another shopkeeper in the mall and immediately at the Portal Village strip mall in Port Colborne was get- implemented the bakery’s crisis management plan. Butter ting ready for her husband’s funeral when a policeman tarts. With three dozen freshly baked butter tarts, she made knocked on the door of her home in Wainfleet. He had her way through the crowd comforting everybody with a come to inform her that a car had just crashed through the treat, a smile and a few consoling words. A good ol’ Wainfleet girl, front of her bake shop. Judy, explained that’s what you Judy, an early riser and a So, in the small town of Port do in these parts – ease the pain punctual person, would be late of people in distress with baked for her late husbands’ funeral. Colborne, population 18,450, goods and a kind word. When she arrived at the bakcalamitous events are followed by a So, within minutes of what ery, amid all the debris, there could have been a great tragedy, was a car parked in the fresh meet & greet butter tart reception. you have Port Colborne police bread section. It was a bizarre and firemen enjoying Judy’s scene, a once-in-a-lifetime butter tarts; Bill Steele, the inevent. At least it would have been except, five years later, another car crashed through surance guy, and Lester Shoalts, the mall owner, discussing the front window making it a twice-in-a-lifetime event. repairs while catching crumbs in their hands. Quite distraught, Hoping not to be “three times unlucky,” Judy considered the husband of the lady driver felt he needed two tarts. erecting a STOP sign at the front door – or at least one that So, in the small town of Port Colborne, population 18,450, read – YIELD TO PAYING CUSTOMERS. calamitous events are followed by a meet & greet butter tart In the more recent “car crash in aisle #3” event, a 75- reception. year-old lady exiting her parking spot directly in front of the Once is an accident, twice is an amazing coincidence, three store, hit the accelerator instead of the brake and sheared off times – Okay, can we all please get this straight once and for both side mirrors as the car plunged through the front door all – Judy’s Bakery does not have, I repeat, does not have a and windows. freakin’ drive thru! Okay? Please understand that if you enter Judy’s Bakery in your She and the car came to rest at the cash register at the back of the store. Joanne, the only employee, later got a car, you’re still going to have to wait in line behind the pedesrare glimpse of seeing herself running for her life on the trians that got there before you. And if you do enter the store surveillance tape. Although no customers were in the store behind the wheel of your car, no matter how much dust and at the time of the crash, 20 people had been in there five debris is falling down, do not hit the windshield washer butminutes earlier. ton. That’s just going to make the sausage rolls soggy. Also, 26

SENIOR LIVING

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Judy wants it known that she is not responsible for any vehicle or its contents parked in the store overnight. Although I must say that since the accident, the Crash Diet Muffins have been flying out the door and that special “50% Off Loaves of Bread with Tire Tracks” was a real nice touch. Placing speed bumps under the cookie counter to give Joanne a bit of a head start next time – that was my idea. I also suggested a crossing guard for people going from the quiche display to the sticky bun shelf. Resourceful but also a bit of a pessimist, Judy considered a new sign for the front of her shop: “JUDY’S BAKERY AND CAR WASH.” Judy’s Bakery has recently moved to 517 King Street. I mention this only because she promised me a dozen butter tarts if I did. When I asked her why she moved, she, once again, showed that wonderful sense of humour: “More traffic.” And that’s why I love small-town living. People don’t die in a smash-up between a car and a bakery shop. They just gain a pound of two, if they stay too long at the scene SL of the accident. William Thomas is the author of nine books of humour including The True Story of Wainfleet and Margaret and Me and The Cat Rules. For comments or ideas, visit his website at www.williamthomas.ca

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SEPTEMBER 2011

27


Travel & Adventure

Underwater Wonders of Palau BY JANE CASSIE

I

Photos: Brent Cassie

’m not a huge fan of Survivor. But as I prepare to jump Our flat-bottom boat glides over the pristine surface like a into the swarm of jiggling jellyfish, I wish I were. A well-waxed surfboard, and while slicing effortlessly through few tips from their Palau escapades might come in protected glassy lagoons and riding the crests of white water handy right now. waves, the lush rounded landscapes roll on by. Birds constantly flit in and out of my viewfinder. Although “Just take that leap of faith,” Loreen Sugiyama says with a cheeky grin. It’s easy for her to say. She’s not wearing the snorkel. too many to track and too fast to photograph, Loreen rattles But there are a couple of things I know about my Palauan guide: the names off like they’re her best friends: bat-winged petrels, she’s true to her word and she’s all red-tailed tropics, plunge-diving kingfishers. “Palau is home to 149 about the adventure! species, 12 of which are endemic,” Loreen does, after all, work for she proudly affirms. Considering Fish ‘n Fins, a tour company that the whirlwind of activity and caoffers some of the best ways to check out Palau’s treasures. As well cophony of sing song, I’m sure half The author, riveted to the bow and as land excursions that loop over of them are hanging out right here. spellbound by Mother Nature’s the hilly terrain, their aquatic lineup We also discover that our guide beauty. Below, Jiggling jellyfish. caters to any water-baby – from vethas a wealth of knowledge about Palau’s marine life. Thirty minutes eran divers to us senior snorkellers. Either way, it’s like dipping into an after leaving the main hub of Koaquarium – rain or shine! ror, we glide into a tranquil bay, just north of Mecherchar Island, where “No worries,” Loreen reassures, when we head out earlier under a a colourful coral garden is home to giant Tridacnas clams. dome of cloud. “It never rains for long in Palau.” I give her a question“Some of these beauties are ing glance when monster-size drop100 years old,” she claims, “and weigh as much as 250 pounds.” lets spill from the swolMy heart quickens, when thinking len skies. about the yawning creatures that But instead thrive beneath. But after checkof seeking refuge beneath the ing them out, it’s easy to see that cruiser’s sheltering they’re totally satiated by their inpop-top, I remain house bounty. Spiky Staghorn and riveted to the open nodular Porites coral cling to the bow – spellbound ocean’s sandy floor and provide by Mother Nature’s essential nutrients for a vibrant array of tropical fish. And intropical wash and surtegrated with this marine maze are these massive jaw-gaping clams – all vying for sunlight in an attempt to synthesize solar rounding beauty. Whatever the weather, Palau’s famous Rock Islands seem to energy through their black-eyed pores. Although the dazzling display has superseded my visual have that alluring effect. The 500 or so jungle-draped landforms in the western corner of Micronesia vary in size and appearance expectations, after coming up for air, Loreen assures, there’s – from smaller atolls and mushroom-shaped mounds to larger un- more to come. “You’ll be blown away by the Cemetery,” dulating masses that sprawl out like sleeping serpents. Over their she jests, as we troll into the next snorkelling site. Layers of 40 million years of existence, pounding wave action and burrow- more fragile organisms enshroud slabs of concrete that were ing mollusks have eroded their undersides, giving each a cute dropped here many years ago. And after planting my facebowl-style haircut. And contrasting with their verdant topcoats is mask water-side down, I discover this ocean graveyard is an embracing patchwork of blue: from the palest celadon over the anything but lifeless. Ironically, it’s drop-dead gorgeous. coral reefs to the richest sapphire where the deep drops beneath. Schools of striped tiger and pretty parrotfish give me the eye 28

SENIOR LIVING

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as they breeze on by. Goat, lion and cowfish soon follow. And feeding this frenzied safari are flourishing sponges, billowing sea grasses and more of that eco-rich coral: Flat tabletop, convoluted brain, tentacle torch – some look like mushrooms, others like clumps of cauliflower. Though I’m certainly not tempted to dig in, the riot of sea life sure is. Our lunch comes just a little later. After a quick skim over the turquoise surface, we reach an island that could dub as Eden. Swaying palms line the sugar-fine shore and thatchedroof shelters offer reprieve from tropical storms. Although Palau’s average temperature is a balmy 27 degrees C (82 degrees F) year-round, when it rains, it pours. Over this past week, Mother Nature’s faucet has turned on and off more than the one in my kitchen sink. But as quickly as it starts, it stops. Living up to her promise, Loreen’s weather prediction has panned out and while soaking up the rays on this Gilligan Island look-alike, we dine on delicious Bentos: teriyaki chicken, sweet sticky rice and tiny tasty bananas. Palau’s cuisine is a reflection of its history – a combo of homegrown, Japanese and all-American rolled into one; past dictators rotated through this country more frequently than London’s changing of the guard. Spain, Germany, Japan and the United States all enjoyed a piece of the Palau pie. And though this tiny nation of 20,000 finally gained independence in 1994, it still embraces the past, including sunken Japanese “Zero’ fighter planes and tales of Peleliu’s bloody battle that attract the war buffs. Traditional birthing and funeral ceremonies continue to lure cultural gurus and carbon dating of artifacts that go back as far as 1,000 BC are a hit with the historians. But right now, I’m fixated on the present. It’s been a day of visual overload and this final plunge is likely going to put me into overdrive. Jellyfish Lake, a tranquil interior gem that was formed by the rising seas more than 12,000 years ago has been named in honour of its inhabitants. Millions of these swimmers that have a symbiotic relationship with the sun and algae flap their way through the crystal clear water like wavering golden bells. And because they’re not threatened by any predators, and have lost their sting, they aren’t a threat to us. Although this adventure is on my must-do list, as I peer over the dock at the thriving swarm, I wish I were back at our Palasia Hotel. The courtyard pool, topped off with an hour-long massage, would suit me fine. “Fear not,” Loreen encourages, as if reading my mind. “It’s an experience you’ll never forget.” And after submerging into this bath-like ethereal lake and feeling totally connected with nature, I realize my tour guide is, once again, true to her word. Like the rest of this day in “Rainbow’s End,” it’s quite an adventure! SL Where to stay: Palasia Hotel Palau Phone: 680-488-8888 www.palasia-hotel.com

What to do: Fish ‘n Fins Email: info@fishnfins.com www.fishnfins.com

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SEPTEMBER 2011

29


A Great Gift Idea! Reflections, Rejections, and Other Breakfast Foods Reflection��s,��������

st Foods

and Other Breakfa

Limited Edition

MAGAZINE

& Unpublished Writings A Collection of Published ist Gipp Forster by Senior Living Column

A collection of Gipp Forster’s published columns in Senior Living magazine, with other unpublished writings thrown in for good measure. A unique blend of humor and nostalgia, Gipp’s writings touch your heart in such an irresistible way, you will want to buy not only a copy for yourself, but as a wonderful gift for friends and family members.

Limited Edition!! 128 pages • Softcover • Published by Senior Living

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Mail to: Senior Living Box 153, 1581–H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1 Please allow two weeks for shipping. 30

SENIOR LIVING

NEWS BRIEF

Celebrating National Seniors Day BY KEVIN MCKAY

I

n 2010, the Government of Canada declared that National Seniors Day would be celebrated each year on October 1, to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons. Most local senior centres focus primarily on Seniors Week in June, but at least two Vancouver area centres will hold events to help celebrate National Seniors Day. Minoru Place Activity Centre in Richmond is holding their second annual event on Saturday, October 1. According to Community Facilities Co-ordinator Renata Turick, they will commemorate the event on that same day each year. “At our centre we are always thinking about ways to celebrate the older adult,” says Renata. “While Seniors Week is the main focus of our year, we attract good numbers to our special events and are always looking for new kinds of events that recognize the importance of seniors.” Century House in New Westminster has been celebrating seniors in late September since at least 2004. According to Recreation Programmer Shelly Schnee, “New Westminster is full of tradition and seniors are a big part of that. The city started the event as a way to recognize all the senior volunteers and volunteer agencies in New Westminster. We love doing it because it is a great recognition of all the volunteers we have and to let them know we appreciate them and could not have the success we do without them.”

Join in the celebration: Minoru Place Activity Centre 7660 Minoru Gate, Richmond 604-238-8450 Saturday, October 1, afternoon Entertainment and refreshments Free admission Century House Celebrate Seniors Festival Royal City Centre, 610 Sixth Street, New Westminster 604-519-1066 Saturday, September 24, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Entertainment, refreshments, information booths Free admission

WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

SL


Photo: Jason van der Valk

ASK

Goldie

Retirement Living in

Grand Style.

BY GOLDIE CARLOW, M.ED

Dear Goldie: I am a widower of four years in good health. I have three children and five grandchildren. We have a good relationship and I see them often. I have several close friends that I socialize with often, but I’m always fearful that I won’t live much longer. I don’t understand this because my health is good and my parents lived until their nineties. I’m just not sure what this fear is all about. –W.C. Dear W.C.: You don’t mention if you have recently suffered the loss of a family member or friend, but this is often a forerunner of such feelings. If this is not the case, visit your medical doctor to allay your fears. Perhaps you could make more effort to socialize with your friends or make some new friends. There are many social groups to join such as swimming, bowling or dancing. If this feeling persists, ask your doctor for a referral to a counsellor.

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Dear Goldie: I am a 60-year-old widow with four children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. It seems I have become a permanent babysitter. My family knows I love them, but it has become convenient for them to say, “Oh, Mom will babysit.” I don’t want to create a bad relationship, but I need to get my life back. –L.N.

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Dear L.N.: Things will not improve unless you tell your family what is wrong. Because you have so willingly agreed to babysit, your children think it is all you want from life. Only you can change the situation. Be clear. I can assure you they will still love and respect you for being honest. After all, they do love you as a mother and SL grandmother. Goldie Carlow is a retired registered nurse, clinical counsellor and senior peer counselling trainer. Send letters to Senior Living, Box 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria, BC V8T 2C1. Senior Peer Counselling Centres (Lower Mainland) New Westminster 604-519-1064 North Vancouver 604-987-8138 Burnaby 604-291-2258 Richmond 604-279-7034 Vancouver West End 604-669-7339 Coquitlam – Tri-Cities 604-945-4480 Vancouver Westside 604-736-3588 WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

SEPTEMBER 2011

31


NO PERSPIRATION

N

ot long ago, I was sitting down on the cold curb of existence, inhaling the exhaust fumes of the past, contemplating the meaning of life. It was unfortunate that at that very moment, my wife called for me to take out the trash. It destroyed my poetic vision and yanked me solidly, and not too gently, back to the reality of who I am. And who am I? An overweight, balding, bearded older man who is winded playing solitaire. But that was not always so. At one time, I was dapper – even dashing! I had a 32-inch waist and was two inches taller than I am now. I had hair on top of my head and I could play “Red River Valley” on the harmonica without fear of cardiac arrest. I had fewer memories then, and because of it, got into more mischief. That is not to say I don’t get into mischief 50 years later. The other morning, I left the lid off the peanut butter jar on purpose. And that evening, I did the exact same thing with the toothpaste tube. I don’t want my wife to start taking me for granted or thinking I don’t have “it” anymore. This way, she knows I still live on the edge. When I think back to the things I could do all day without breaking a sweat that now take me all day to do, I get very melancholy. This reminds me that my mom told me that horses sweat and people perspire. So, I’ve taken poetic licence in saying “without breaking 32

SENIOR LIVING

a sweat” rather than “without breaking perspiration.” Because the wrong sounds right and the right sounds wrong! At one time, I could ride a bicycle, run up and down stairs and wink at pretty girls. Now, I avoid curbs and will only drive a car or a scooter with four wheels. Recently, to let my wife know there’s still a lot of life left in me, I winked at her with a sly smile on my face. She rushed out of the room and then slunk back in, sidled over to the chair I was in, grabbed my jaw, pushed my head back and leaned in close. I hadn’t expected that reaction, but I wasn’t at all surprised. When you have it, you have it! I was ready for a great romantic kiss! You can imagine my shock when she squirted my eye with Visine. I think, at least for a while, I’m going to hold back on the winks. Perhaps I’m no longer debonair and svelte, but I was told by a panhandler that I looked very distinguished. Of course, it was after I had given him five dollars. Still, he seemed like an honest and observant young fellow. I very proudly told my wife what he said when I returned home. She just smiled. I could do a lot more when I was younger and young, but I don’t know if given the opportunity to go back that I would. It’s somewhat nice walking and not feeling I have to be running. I like counting my pennies instead of looking forward to a pay cheque that seemed to vanish in a few short days. It’s good to know my wife keeps ViWWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

Photo: Krystle Wiseman

Reflections THEN & NOW

BY GIPP FORSTER

sine handy and that if my eye gets locked in a wink, she’s there to rescue me. It doesn’t matter if a person looks distinguished or not, I guess, as long as they can still laugh – especially at themselves. Even if I could still ride a bicycle, I have nowhere to ride it to. And I live in a rancher, so there’s no need for me to climb stairs. I may no longer be able to move fast, but I’m no longer racing, let alone trying to win the race. Slow is kind of a nice speed. Maybe I am winded playing solitaire, but I usually have time for a nap, so one works for the other. And what does it matter if I decide to explore my poetic side and sit on the cold curb of existence inhaling the fumes of the past and contemplate the meaning of life – only to have my wife call me to take out the trash? At least it shows that I’m still able to do something, and that I’m still needed. I don’t take up much space anymore, and the space I’ve got is a good space. So, if someone rushes by me and gives me a bump, I just say: “Hey, don’t worry about it. No perspiration!” (That last bit’s for you, Mom). SL


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Senior Living Magazine Vancouver Edition September 2011