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JANUARY 2014 TM

50+ Active Living Magazine

Health & Fitness Issue

• Crazy for Curling • Hockey Fantasy Camp

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• Retiring to Ecuador JANUARY 2014

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Wisdom is a dish best shared. The best part of my day? Learning all our residents’ stories.

Denise, Executive Director, has been with us for 13 years. PREPARED FOR: NORGARDEN PUBLICATION: SENIOR LIVING_”DENISE” SIZE: 7.25” X 4.75” PREPARED BY: BRAVO ADVERTISING 250 590 1169

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The reasons to come see us are all in a days work.

Staying connected when it’s time to get down to business, is a great reason to get your hearing checked. Book a complimentary hearing screening today and try hearing aids for two weeks at no cost, and no obligation.* With 45 convenient locations throughout British Columbia, call 1 800.563.4327(HEAR) or visit us online at connecthearing.ca to book an appointment at the clinic closest to you.

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*Registered under the College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC. No fees and no purchase necessary. Complimentary Hearing Screenings are only applicable for customers over 50 years of age. See clinic for details. ®CAA and CAA logo trademarks owned by, and use is granted by, the Canadian Automobile Association. ™CAA Rewards is used by the Canadian Automobile Association. VAC, WCB accepted.

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JANUARY 2014

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FEATURES 20 Cuenca, Ecuador: An Ideal Retirement Destination

6 Never Too Late to Start

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When it comes to staying active, fitness enthusiast Kathleen Nichol follows the “use it or lose it” philosophy.

8 Langley Prepares to Host

SENIOR LIVING

One bad knee shouldn’t sideline you; chair yoga offers opportunities to keep you in motion.

10 Fulfilling a Fantasy

A Red Wings fan for nearly 60 years, Peter Whelan got to experience a lifelong dream.

DEPARTMENTS

12 Bet Smart!

26 Classifieds

One of the fastest growing pastimes in the world, gambling attracts seniors for largely social reasons.

COLUMNS

14 Skating Through Life

4 The Family Caregiver

Once an enthusiastic ice skater, Beth Senini is strapping on inline skates for fitness and fun.

by Barbara Small

24 Courageous & Outrageous by Pat Nichol

16 School of Rocks

25 Fit for the Adventure

Despite its global acclaim as a mainstream sport, curling maintains its grassroots popularity – particularly among seniors.

18 Weaving Magical Creations

by Eve Lees

27 Ask Goldie

by Goldie Carlow

Gabriola Island artist Marylyn Beaubien creates unique works using natural materials often found while roaming beaches and woodlands.

28 Reflections: Then & Now by Gipp Forster

Cover Photo: Kathleen Nichol of Nelson is an avid hiker with a lifelong passion for health and fitness. Story page 6. Photo: Kate Robertson

Proud Sponsor �������������� of the 2014 �����������

Senior Living is published by Stratis Publishing. Publishers Barbara Risto Barry Risto

Office Manager Shayna Horne 250-479-4705 office@seniorlivingmag.com

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23 Chair Yoga

Organizers of the 2014 BC Seniors Games are preparing to host nearly 3,800 participants in 25 areas of competition.

Editor Bobbie Jo Reid editor@seniorlivingmag.com

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Pleasant weather, affordable living and a vibrant culture draw North American retirees to the highlands of Ecuador.

Advertising Colevin Crause 250-479-4705 ext 102 Kathie Wagner 250-479-4705 ext 103 For advertising information, call 250-479-4705 sales@seniorlivingmag.com

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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 GST, 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 is distributed free throughout British Columbia. Stratis Publishing Ltd. publishes Senior Living (12 issues per year). ISSN 17103584 (Print) ISSN 1911-6403 (Online)


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THE FAMILY CAREGIVER

The Importance of Your Own Health As Well

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aring for your own health is one of the most important – and also one of the most often neglected – responsibilities you have as a family caregiver. When you are healthy, the person you are caring for will benefit, too. You will be a more effective caregiver, less likely to experience burnout and, therefore, able to caregive for a longer period of time. Remember, it is not selfish to focus on yourself and making your health and wellness a priority. Like your car, you must fill up your tank and get proper maintenance in order to function well. If you deplete your time and energy providing care without replenishing yourself, you will burnout quickly. Research studies shows that caregivers report chronic health conditions at nearly twice the rate of non-caregivers. Peter Vitaliano, a professor of Geriatric Psychiatry and an expert on caregiving says, “The chronic stress of caring for someone can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and a compromised immune system.” Many caregivers do not see their own doctor, have regular dental check-ups or have necessary preventative testing like mammograms and colonoscopies since taking on the demands of caregiving. Their reasons? They are too busy focusing on the health needs of their care recipient; their own health is not on their mind, so they never think about it or they just simply don’t want to have to go to another medical appointment. However, the welfare of another person depends on you and, if you get sick, there will then be two patients. Who will take care of the both of you? So, in order to be an effective and resilient caregiver you

need to take good care of your physical health. This includes stress management, nutrition, sufficient activity and sleep. Below are some ways to focus on your own health: 1. Take some time to focus in on how YOU are feeling and make notes about any concerns BY BARBARA SMALL you are experiencing. 2. Schedule a check-up with your doctor and let your doctor know about any concerns. 3. Tell your doctor you are a family caregiver and what that entails in your specific situation. 4. Have a nutritionist look at your eating, as well as the diet of the person for whom you are providing care. 5. If you have to lift your care receiver, learn proper methods for lifting and transferring to protect your back. 6. Watch your stress levels and practice good stress management. For additional information, visit www.caregiverstress.com or www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/caregiverSL advice-cope Next month: Relocating to Facilitate Caregiving Barbara Small is the Program Development Coordinator for Family Caregivers’ Network Society located in Victoria, BC. www.familycaregiversnetwork.org

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Health & Fitness

Never Too Late to Start

BY KATE ROBERTSON

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Photo: Kate Robertson

the sports and fitness activities she utdoor enthusiloved, like tennis. However, she ast? Absolutely. managed to keep running well into Health and fither 50s, until a physiotherapist told ness nut? Most definitely. her how hard it was on her knees. Sixty-six-year-old Kathleen She switched to cycling, instead. Nichol of Nelson was born in And a hot summer day’s work in the the mountains of the Bridge vineyard often ended with a family River Valley and introduced swim in the Okanagan Lake. to the outdoors and skiing at As romantic and exciting as a young age. owning a winery sounds, Kathleen “My family all skied and has never looked back since sellsailed, but I discovered that I preferred having my feet on ing the business six years ago, and the ground and never took to loves having more free time. Now, sailing.” Fortunately, as the depending on the season, she alteryoungest of four children, her nates hiking and cycling or snowfather already had his sailing shoeing and cross-country skiing crew. a few times a week. Most activiKathleen’s family moved to ties are done with her husband or friends, and she belongs to the KooVancouver when she was five, and she continued to ski regutenay Mountaineering Club and the West Kootenay Naturalists Club, larly at Mounts Seymour and Baker. But she says she really plus has “a group of friends who hike.” A bonus of belonging to the “lived to ski” when she started her undergraduate years at clubs, says Kathleen, “is that the vast majority of friends I have made UBC and became a member of the university ski team. Trainsince retiring to Nelson have come Outdoor enthusiast Kathleen Nichol hikes near her Nelson home. out of my sports activities.” But you ing for the team meant running three miles, then doing aerobic exercises two to three times a will just as easily find Kathleen cycling alone or hiking up Pulpit week at the gym with the men’s ski team. Kathleen quips, “I Rock, a popular, up-and-down hike in Nelson, which she does for never thought of it as fitness, just what you do to make it on the quick exercise. Since retirement, Kathleen has added some new activities to her ski team.” It was also while attending UBC that Kathleen joined the Varsity Outdoor Club, where she was first exposed to hiking, repertoire. Now, she starts her day doing yoga for half an hour and occasionally attends classes. She also began taking Feldenkrais and she instantly fell in love with it. The ski team gym was a life changer for Kathleen in another classes, and she explains, “These have formed a basis for all the way – it was where she met her husband-to-be, Alex Nichol, other activities, as they re-train the body to move the way it did as whom she would marry five years later. Kathleen and Alex a child before bad habits were taught and ingrained.” What is Kathleen’s philosophy on fitness? “Well,” she says, shared their love of the outdoors and skied, hiked and backpacked together often. The birth of their first of two children in “I think ‘use it or lose it’ is true, but also that it’s never too late 1981 slowed down the backpacking trips, but the Nichol family to start.” She re-started yoga (she had done some pre-natal yoga classes, then again some classes for a year when they started the continued to stay active. Fast forward to 1989, the couple decided to make a big change vineyard, but had given it up due to the busy schedule) at the sug– leaving their life in Vancouver behind to buy a vineyard and gestion of her physiotherapist just before she retired to Nelson. winery in Naramata. The hard work required on their five acres Kathleen recalls, “I remember the first ‘down dog’ and I thought, of grapes kept Kathleen physically active through the years, but ‘Are you kidding? I’ll never be able to get that back leg forward in she says the business interfered with being able to do some of one fell swoop.’ But there I was, a few weeks later, able to do it.” 68

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Of course, an important part of physical fitness is healthy eating. A firm believer in the “100-mile-diet” initiative, Kathleen buys local and organic. “I am a child of the ’60s — the hippy days and all that,” and she still makes her own granola adapted from a recipe she got from a friend in grad school in 1974. Over the years, she has met different cooking challenges head-on – her daughter embraced vegetarianism through her teen years and, more recently, her husband had a brush with cancer in 2007, when she learned how sugar feeds cancer cells and, therefore, the new learning curve of cooking to reduce it. Kathleen recalls thinking, “What? He can’t eat my regular home-made bread twice a day?” So, she started to make totally sourdough bread, experimenting with different grains, and sprouting them. She discovered there are, in fact, other things to eat for lunch besides bread-based sandwiches.

• How the jeans fit is one way! • Clear thinking – time spent on the trail can be for personal musing or meditation. I often find a problem can be solved by the end of a hike. • When I had to take up running in order to be on the ski team at UBC, I conjugated German verbs to help get me through what, at first, seemed like torture, before I came to enjoy running. Now, sometimes when cycling or hiking alone, I try to name all the things I see or count all the cars, in Spanish, in my head, keeping the brain cells active and alive. • Being positive, especially if the weather is dodgy. Although I don’t usually start a big hike in bad weather, I’ll at least go for a walk. I just tell myself “it’s only weather; I’ve got rain gear, snow boots, or whatever, just get the clothes on and go.” • Reminding myself how I will feel after the activity is a motivation, or giving myself a reward like returning home to a hot shower, a relaxing soak, a cup of chai, or the fireplace and a book. As a research librarian and a life-long learner, Kathleen often uses the Internet to research nutrition and recipes. She also likes to take classes like one about digestible, healthy grains that was offered by a Nelson nutritionist when the Community Supported Agriculture Project started with the Creston grain farmers. Aside from her physical activities, Kathleen also fills her days volunteering at the Nelson Archives or for the Civic Theatre Society. She’s committed to improving her Spanish skills with regular study and attending a weekly conversation group, which is put to good use with her passion for travelling. To create balance, something she was lacking pre-retirement, Kathleen now reads whenever she feels like it, not just at night, and spends days baking to relax. Part of her morning yoga routine includes meditation, journalling and reading something inspirational. “My life is my own, and I love the Spanish word for retiree, SL ‘jubilada’ – sounds pretty jubilant to me,” she smiles.

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Kathleen’s Tips to Stay Motivated

JANUARY 2014

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Langley Prepares to Host L

BY KEVIN MCKAY

angley is a suburb of Vancouver nestled in between Surrey and Abbotsford in the heart of the Fraser Valley. In September, this bustling community will host the 27th annual BC Seniors Games, the third major event to be held there since 2010. It is largely due to that experience that the organizing committee is moving confidently towards welcoming seniors from across the province for the annual competition. Since the first Games were hosted by Vernon in the summer of 1988, British Columbians, aged 55 and over, have gathered to face off against one another in some spirited yet friendly games. While every competitor would delight in winning a medal, most simply enjoy competing, meeting likeminded people from other regions of the province, and getting together to socialize at the banquet and other events. Over the years, communities from almost every region of the province have hosted the Games, at one time or the other, but this is Langley’s first time to serve as host. Milt Kruger, President of the Langley 2014 BC Seniors Games host society, was appointed in March 2013 and he is one of the people who has benefited from being part of the previous competitions held in his community, or rather, communities. Langley is comprised of both a city and a township, making this successful bid one of the most unique in the history of the Games. “I had no previous experience with the Seniors Games but, in 2010, we hosted the BC Summer Games for young people, and I played a minor role for those games,” says Milt. “Then we hosted the Special Olympics in 2013, and many of our directors gained a lot of experience volunteering at those major events. We have a great depth


and breadth of experience on our team.” The BC Seniors Games take place over a five-day span towards the end of summer (September 9-13), but the organization of the Games takes much longer. This year, the organizing committee is expecting approximately 3,800 participants to take part, and they estimate they will require about 1,500 volunteers to make this happen. Details are already being worked on in a number of areas by the various directors and their chairs. “We will be hosting 25 distinct areas of competition,” says Milt. “…some areas of competition have multiple events in them. For example, track and field is one area of competition. However, it consists of multiple events within that area. The same would be true of swimming, equestrian and others.” Even in events that do not have multiple events within them there can often be a number of different competitions, such as table tennis being broken into singles and doubles tournaments for each gender plus mixed doubles. There are also age divisions in most of the different competitions. Milt and his leadership team also took advantage of an opportunity presented to them this past summer. “Our Board of Directors attended the 2013 BC Seniors Games in Kamloops this past summer. We all had a chance to experience the Games and work alongside our counterparts in Kamloops. It was an invaluable experience for all of us,” says Milt. “We had a good understanding of multi-sport games, but what we learned were the differences between youth and seniors games.” “For example, in youth games there is a lot of requirement to provide transportation because most of them are too young to drive. All the meals for youth games are covered by the Games committees and most of the competitors receive accommodation in schools, which requires chaperones. In the Seniors Games, [competitors] stay in hotels, with family and in RVs. Mostly, they are responsible for their own food and many of them come with their own vehicles or modes of transportation.” The backbone of any successful games, of course, is volunteers. While all of the Board of Directors and most of the approximately 80 chair positions have been filled, there is much work yet to be done in this area. “We will need several more volunteers early in the New Year to help during the lead up to the games, as well as hundreds of volunteers as we get closer to the actual events,” says Milt. “These volunteers will be required in virtually every aspect of delivery of the Games – areas such as medical, security, visitor hosts, accreditation, registration and results, and much more. Right now, games awareness is what we are striving for. Langley is a real hotbed of people who are willing to give back to the community, so we are not worried about finding volunteers.” Online registration for volunteers will go live sometime in February 2014 at www.2014bcseniorsgames.org The final emphasis right now is corporate involvement in the Games. “One thing we would like to generate now is interest in sponsorships,” says Milt. Interested companies or potential sponsors should contact AnSL ton Donkers at atdonkers@bcsg2014.com

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Health & Fitness

Fulfilling a Fantasy BY JAMES ELLSWORTH

A

n original-six outdoor hockey winter classic start- with some professional Detroit Red Wings retirees. It was ed off the New Year on January 1, 2014. The NHL an opportunity he could not pass up. Pete subscribes to staying hale and healthy and agrees pros of the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs faced off in Ann Arbor’s Michigan Stadium with Oxford University research that getting together with in the elements, just the way they did when they were kids. friends to chat and “do stuff” at least twice a week helps The players say, “It’s exciting to go back to your roots there with male wellness and fitness. To that end, he meets with a and get out and play outside just like it was when we were quartet of guys for weekly coffee, an occasional golf game young, playing on the ponds and lakes and makeshift back- in the summer, hockey at least twice a week in the winter, yards and home ice rinks.” For one Victoria senior, watch- and Gyro club outings. The rest is gardening and cottage maintenance that includes ing that game will have 102 steps down to the lake. some added fantasy and evoke special memories. So, Pete gave up a week Peter Whelan, a dyedat the lake to go to Detroit in-the-wool Red Wings fan at the end of August 2013. since 1954, when the likes The Motor City, Hockey of Gordie Howe, Terry Town! He found that the Sawchuk and Ted Lindsay sanctuary of the Joe Louis were winning the Stanley Arena and nearby MotorCup, has been playing recCity Casino Hotel were an opulent and odd juxtaposireational and pick-up hockey for 35 years. tion in the city that filed for bankruptcy amid an $18 bil“I started playing recreational hockey in Chillilion debt. In fact, Pete made a point of taking the time to wack about 1978 at the age of 31,” he says, “then played walk several parts of downOldtimers (age35+) hockey town Detroit and discovered with referees and team unithe city’s aging past, like the majestic and abandoned forms for about 25 years.” train station. Given the hecNow, Pete plays in a duffers’ league in Langford and tic three-day schedule of the participates in the occasioncamp, pedestrian exploration was a venerable add-on. al hockey tournament. But From August 15-17, Pete last summer, he was able to Peter Whelan in the Red Wings’ locker room – a dream come true! and the other 25 participants, fulfill his hockey dream. who represented a wide Every man-child who puts on skates admits to daydreaming about being on the range in age, gender and origin, met to have the time of their ice at memorable times, like the 1972 Summit Series for lives, albeit a busy one. “Surprisingly, most of the players were between the ages of Henderson’s goal or the 2010 Olympics for Crosby’s winner. It’s at the core of being Canadian, imagining getting a 25 and 40,” he says. “There were about half a dozen, maybe, Bobby Orr pass and flicking a wrist shot into the net. Well, over 55, and I’m pretty sure I was the oldest at 66. There were the fluff of dreams became the stuff of reality for this 66 two young women - one from New York state and one from year old, who serendipitously heard a siren call while sitting Los Angeles. It appeared that about two-thirds were Ameriat his computer last summer… the first 26 people to ante up can and came from all over the States including Texas, Louicould attend a hockey “executive fantasy” summer camp siana, South Carolina, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. The rest 12 10

SENIOR LIVING

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were Canadians, mainly from Ontario.” They had three one-hour practices and two games in three days, plus were feted to a Tigers baseball game, a round of golf, tours and talks – all in the company of former Red Wings. Pete says the drills during practices were more gruelling than the games. Some of the exercises, like skating backward crossovers using the face-off circles as a guide, separated skilled from lesser skilled players. Everyone, however, was made to feel welcome and be a part of the proceedings – including the usual locker room banter. For instance, Pete was sharing family information on the bench with Jiri Fischer, a former Red Wings defenseman who had collapsed with a career-ending heart seizure during a game at age 25. Pete surprised the legend with how much he knew and explained that as a former probation officer he was trained to investigate people. He teased the Red Wing that he “was pleased that I could find no evidence of you having a criminal record.” Of the Red Wings alumni, there were three (Dallas Drake, Chris Osgood, Tomas Holmstrom) who were part of the 2008 Stanley Cup winning Wings and two (Kirk Maltby, Jiri Fischer) from the 2002 Cup team. Each was a model of continued fitness and wellness. Pete chatted with Kirk Maltby, now a pro scout for the organization and also tried to defend and prevent a Maltby highlight-reel goal on him. “Maltby said he never had a chance to score a goal like that when he played in the NHL,” says Pete ruefully. Pete sat beside Fischer on the bench, now the Director of Player Development, and watched him with admiration score four goals for his Red team. Dallas Drake who “lightly” checked Pete into the boards during a game said afterwards that “everyone in the Red Wings organization, including former players, still has tremendous respect and admiration for the team owner, Mike Illich, whom Drake described as an amazingly generous and humble man.” Of course, all the participants experienced the Fantasy Camp generosity in various ways, not least by receiving ball caps, a personalized jersey (Pete got #5, famous Red Wings Captain Niklas Lidstrom’s number and actually played Lidstrom’s position in the games), a practice jersey, Red Wings logo golf balls and a memento DVD. Pete even shared some of the swag with his coffee buddies. It was the chance of a lifetime and Pete grabbed the brass ring. “For various reasons, I never had the opportunity to play hockey as a kid,” he says, “so this was one chance I wasn’t going to procrastinate on.” There are some memorable lines by Robert Herrick, a 17th century English poet, that warn, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying.” Peter Whelan, now a firm believer in carpe diem, says the hockey camp was an experience that affirmed both his fitness and well-being. In his case, he insists, he plucked not a bud, SL but a rose in full bloom – a red one.

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Leisure

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Bet Smart!

he scene is a familiar one – a weekday morning around 11 a.m., seniors flood onto the main floor of a casino, heading for the glittering bank of slot machines that will hopefully make their day trip worthwhile. While some position themselves strategically in front of their favourite machines, others meander towards the free or very inexpensive buffet that is an enticement in itself. Depending on the onlooker, this scene can be interpreted as a well-orchestrated stampede of sheep to slaughter or a happy, content gaggle of older people out for a day of fun. Gambling (or gaming as it is sometimes called) generates few tepid feelings. You are either for it or against it! One thing is for sure – gambling is ubiquitous, and one of the fastest growing industries in the world. All the provinces (although Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick have no casinos) and 48 of the 50 United States (not Hawaii and Utah) permit some kind of gambling. Just about anywhere you travel, there are places to gamble – slot parlours, poker rooms, bingo halls, race tracks, racinos, off-track betting parlours, full-service casinos, and every convenience store on every corner sells lottery tickets of some kind. Over 75 per cent of Canadians have gambled in the last year and a healthy portion of those are people over age 60. Depending on whose statistics you accept and what slant the researcher is championing, anywhere from less than one per cent to over four per cent of those who gamble can be categorized as problem gamblers. Yet, when these statistics are broken down further by demographic, a slim two per cent of senior gamblers fall into the “at-risk” category, the lowest at-risk percentage of any group. All of which raises the question, why do seniors gamble? Unlike younger, even adolescent, gam14 12

SENIOR LIVING

blers who are more likely to gamble for excitement and financial gain, seniors typically gamble for social reasons. According to the Nova Scotia Gaming Foundation in its 2010 report, Seniors and Gambling, the majority of seniors see gambling as an “opportunity to socialize,” a way “to be entertained,” and a means “to have fun.” The dangers of excessive gambling, well reported in the media and sensationalized to the point of fear in some communities, often do not apply to seniors. Chiefly because of age and experience, seniors are more apt to “know their limits” than any other group. The fact remains that any kind of gambling involves putting some money at risk. Unaware and compulsive gamblers often do that willy-nilly. Smart gamblers put their hard-earned dollars into play with the full knowledge of the odds they are facing. Becoming a smart gambler is well worth the time and effort required. The easiest games to play often carry the lowest odds of winning. Bingo is easy to play but the odds of winning are against you and dependent on the number of people playing with you. Increase the number of players and your chances go down; decrease that number too much and the people running the game will lower the jackpots. If there are 1,000 players in the bingo hall, someone will ordinarily get a regular bingo within the first 10 numbers called; increase the players (or the number of cards they are playing) and it will take fewer balls to find a winner. Smart bingo players invest the least amount of money needed to play all the game options – regular games and special games. They play as many cards as they comfortably can and hope for the best. In many cases, the money investWWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

BY ROBERT CANCELLARO

ed goes to charity; in other cases, it helps provide the free coffee and treats that bingo halls liberally dispense. Bingo is enjoyable and social – have a good time and you are a winner! Slots are another case altogether. The old-fashioned three-reel one-armed bandits are long gone in most modern casinos and so are the somewhat reasonable odds of cashing out at least a little something. Older slot machines had three reels with 17 characters on each reel. Lining up the jackpots involved one chance in 17 X 17 X 17 chances or 1 in 4,913 – long odds, but it did happen once in a while. Today’s electronic giants have any number of reels and any number of characters and the chances of winning are far less and not at all determined by how quickly or slowly you crank the handle, or how many times you pat the machine and urge her on, but on some random number generator embedded deeply within the circuit boards of the computer (yes, a computer!). Smart gamblers know that different denomination machines are set to payout in different percentages, and the higher the denomination (a 25-cent machine as opposed to a penny machine) the better the payout. Five-cent machines generally pay out at rates close to 90 per cent of the time while dollar machines pay out at the rate of 95 per cent of the time. What that means is for every $100 you put into those machines, the nickel machine will return $90 and the dollar machine will return $95. All of that, of course, happens over thousands and thousands of chances. The casino wins 10 per cent of your money, in one case, and five per cent, in the other. If you are lucky you may win the jackpot along the way, provided you know enough to play the maximum number of units on each pull, and have the gumption to get up and walk away while you are still a winner. Play slots judiciously and, if you ever do get ahead, quit


and come back again later. Any gambling game that involves skill is a game you should consider. Blackjack has “rules” (mostly when to take a card and when not to take a card) that allow you to reduce the casino’s edge to less than one per cent. Playing craps and making pass line bets and taking the full odds the house allows can reduce the casino’s take to about oneand-a-half per cent. A roulette table with a zero and a double zero affords you no better odds than a dollar slot machine. All the other casino games are highly disadvantageous to players except Baccarat, but that can be extremely boring. Sitting down at a poker table may be the best bet in a casino for anyone. Learning how to play is fairly easy - getting good at it takes some experience, and digesting a few good poker books is helpful. Of all casino games, poker involves more skill than any other. By learning how to play, learning how to “read” other players, and learning how to manage your money, the skill part of

this game reduces the “luck” factor significantly. And keep in mind that the casino allows you to exercise all of your skill since they are cutting their share out of the pots and when you win you are taking another player’s money, not theirs. Take advantage of this subtle difference. Smart seniors walk into a gaming establishment with a plan. Just like you are apt to set goals in other areas of your life, set gambling goals and limits. A number of strategies reduce the chance that significant amounts of money will be lost. Here are a few suggestions: • Set time limits for your gambling ventures – 30 minutes at the slots, an hour playing blackjack, a relaxing half hour in the Keno lounge. When the time is up, it’s time to move on – no grousing, no waffling, just stick to your plan. • Set money limits. Regardless of what game you are playing, only put a certain amount of money at risk. The amount can vary, but it should be a sum

that you can afford to lose so you won’t feel bad when you do. • Set win limits. A good rule of thumb is if you win 50 per cent of your bankroll, quit. Putting $100 at risk at a blackjack table and leaving when you have accumulated $150 is a pretty good outcome from any gambling session. If you can afford to put more at risk, by all means do so, but winning 50 per cent of your initial stake is always a good goal. • Mix gambling with other activities. If you are a vacation gambler, be sure to include other activities in your daily plans – a trip to the beach, some shopping, a good restaurant, a show in the evening, and some sightseeing. These activities not only break up the gambling grind but, in the long run, save lots of money. With a little bit of luck, lots of patience and self-control, your gambling experiences can be entertaining and satisfying. Like anything else, the more you know about it, the better off you SL will be.

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15 13


Health & Fitness

Skating Through Life BY VERNICE SHOSTAL

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SENIOR LIVING

was built in St Mary’s. “These activities appealed to me,” says Beth who decided to participate in the new sports. In her youth, Beth delighted in every experience that came her way and sparked her desire to do more. She picked up a flare for interior decorating when her parents renovated their heritage home, and fashion design when she made and modelled a floor-length blue velvet skirt and jacket at a school fashion show in Grade 10 – another opportunity to be on stage.

Beth Senini enjoys the feeling of freedom and the good workout she gets from inline skating.

Photo: Vernice Shostal

A

n only child born to avid figure skating parents in St. Mary’s, Ontario – birthplace of Arthur Meighen, Canada’s ninth Prime Minister, and Timothy Eaton, who became one of Canada’s greatest retailers – Beth Senini, in her late 70s, jokes that she knew how to skate before she could walk. An inline skater, golfer and curler, Beth recalls having the old-style “bob-skates” strapped to her feet and learning to skate on a small patch of ice that her father made on their lawn. A handy chair assisted her balance and provided a seat when the tot grew tired. In the winter, Beth’s parents liked to put her on a sleigh and go to the frozen Thames River, where the family skated. When she ran out of steam, Beth’s parents returned her to the sleigh and pulled her along. “I enjoyed the cold, sunny weather,” says Beth. “The river was quite long and it seemed we could see for miles!” The outing was a family affair, with lunch included. Beth says she “waited for it each week with anticipation.” At the age of 10, Beth began roller skating. “The first skates I had were the type that adjusted to fit over your shoes with clamps at the side that were tightened with a key and a strap around your ankle,” she says. “We skated on the sidewalks as there was no arena or outdoor rink, at that time. There were many scraped knees and bruises, says Beth, as the sidewalks were uneven and, although flying down hills was fun, it was also dangerous.” The newest thing in roller skating in the 1950s were the boot skates that had two wooden wheels at the front and back. “All my friends and I just had to have a pair,” says Beth, who worked hard to earn the $12 needed to purchase them. Continuing to enhance her graceful maneuvers, at age 12, Beth began taking ballet lessons. For eight years, she enjoyed the grace and expression of the ballet movements but, most of all, she relished the recitals. “I enjoyed being on stage,” she admits. In figure skating, she continued to be “on stage” by performing in local shows, competitions and events. When her mother became ill in the early ’60s, Beth temporarily became her father’s ice dancing partner. During this time, Beth recalls, a live band played in the centre of the rink making skating “enjoyable, with the proper beat to the music and the sound filling the arena to the rafters.” The “Hammond Organ” playing skating music high above the ice surface “was magical.” She wished it would go on forever. With marriage and children, Beth put skating on hold and soon replaced it with other sports. A new golf and curling club

During her career in human resources and finance in Stratford, Calgary and Victoria, Beth never gave up her other interests. She was instrumental in designing and building two family houses. The second one, her home in Victoria, where she lives with husband, Ed, was included in the “Parade of Homes” local fundraising charity in 1999. “I am sure we had close to 300 people through the house over the two days,” says Beth. “It was around Christmas, so I really had a great time decorating the house.” Fashion-wise, an opportunity to model clothes at a fundraising garden show for the IODE, of which Beth was a member, eventually led to weekend modelling employment for her. Always up for a new adventure, a friend from Calgary asked

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Beth one day if she had ever tried rollerblading. She hadn’t, so at age 63, Beth purchased a pair of rollerblades, took lessons and learned to rollerblade. “I loved it,” says Beth. On family trips to Calgary, Beth packs her rollerblades and skates with her friend on the many available trails. In Victoria, she takes to the Galloping Goose Trail, enjoying the freedom of the outdoors, surrounded by nature, solitude, fresh air and the wonderful exercise. “It is a delightful feeling,” says Beth. “I feel free and exhilarated.”

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Beth skates with her great-granddaughter, Anjella, during a visit to Calgary.

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In April 2000, Beth was chosen from many rollerblading applicants to participate in the Trans Canada Trail Relay. This involved carrying a bottle of water from the Arctic and Pacific Oceans down the trail for a few kilometres to the next person on the team (a jogger). The relay travelled through 800 communities over 16,000 kilometres. When fully connected, it will stretch 23,000 kilometres and is geared to be completed in 2017 – Canada’s 150th anniversary. Skating, whether on blades or wheels, continues to be a family tradition. Her rollerblading granddaughter in Calgary tells Beth that great-granddaughter, Anjella, age 7, and great-grandson, Brady, age 5, are rollerblading and both “really like it.” Active and willing to try something new at any age, Beth has passed her love of skating from her parents down through the next three generations. At home, she continues to do the things she still loves: curling, golfing, spending time with famSL ily and inline skating.

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17 15


Health & Fitness

School of Rocks

BY SHIRLEY BLEVINGS

I

Photo: Shirley Blevings

n the not too distant past, a typical curling article Canadian curlers hail from all walks of life and all ethniciwould lead off with a brief history of Scotsmen throw- ties. Just about every town in Canada has a curling club ing rocks on frozen ponds in the 16th century or a de- – and all you need to participate is a broom and a clean pair scription of this bizarre sport where people sweep rocks on of suitable shoes. Curling is particularly popular with seniors – clubs across a sheet of ice and holler: “Hurry, hard!” at the top of their lungs. Today, curling has progressed beyond the archaic and the country are filled with mature curlers. Many of them is now part of mainstream sporting life in Canada and else- have been curling for decades, but some take up the sport where, especially since it became an Olympic sport in the as seniors – after they retire and have more time for leisure. Ursula Johannson, a 60-something senior, felt a need to in1998 Nagano Games. Olympic medal wincrease her physical activity. “Every time I open the ners Kevin Martin, Sandra Schmirler, Brad Gushue and newspaper, some new study is extolling the benCheryl Bernard have become household names. You know efits of exercise,” she says. a sport has “arrived” when “So, I took up curling. I curl it appears on The Simpsons twice a week and am now more active in sports than – in an episode prior to the I was in my younger days. Vancouver Winter Olympics, Sometimes it’s too easy to Homer and Marge Simpson sit back and relax. It’s much formed a mixed curling team healthier, and productive with Agnes and Seymour to get out and enjoy what Skinner to play in the 2010 we’re doing with other likeOlympics. minded people.” Curling is played throughUnlike Ursula, who just out the world – 50 member took up the sport a couple associations currently belong of years ago, I have been to the World Curling Federacurling for longer than I tion, including the Virgin IsTerri Osis of the Vancouver Ladies Curling Club care to remember – and I lands, Mongolia, Brazil and delivers a rock at the Vancouver Curling Club have been subjected to curlAndorra – probably due to located in the Hillcrest Community Centre. expat Canadians. The popuing for even longer. Both my parents curled – my larity of curling continues to grow in traditional curling countries and is mushrooming mom even won a provincial ladies championship. When a in Asian countries, which are adopting the sport with en- babysitter was unavailable, I would be hauled off to the rink while Mom curled for two hours. How boring is that for a thusiasm. Canada is the No. 1 curling nation in the world, winning kid? But like many things our parents do – even if we don’t more championships than any other country and boasting think it’s cool at the time – we end up doing the same thing more curlers – some 1.3 million. And our senior curlers are as adults. I took up curling in my late 20s, and have been enjoying not to be denied – both men’s and women’s teams swept the gold medals at the World Senior Curling Championships last the sport ever since, never improving a lot. But hope springs eternal and I continue to strive for that elusive breakthrough spring – the sixth time in the tournament’s 12-year history. Despite the limelight shining on our national teams, when “consistency” will become the standard. Currently, I however, curling’s greatest success is its grassroots base play in two recreational leagues at the Vancouver Curling – the diversity of people who come to the local rinks and Club – the Vancouver Ladies Curling Club, which has been curl for the love of the sport, the exercise, and socializing. operating continuously since 1948, and the Pharmacists & 18 16

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Travelers, a mixed league. Ages in both leagues range from the early 30s to 90+, with the majority in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Ron Reid, a UBC professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, now in his mid-60s joined Pharmacists & Travelers in his early 50s. The first year he curled, his team won the club championship. “Obviously, I have had an enthusiasm for the sport ever since!” he says. Ron gets his cardio workout from cycling and his flexibility from yoga, but was sold on the mental and physical skills required by curling. “And I particularly like our league because of the wide spectrum of skills represented,” he says, adding, “You don’t have to be an expert in the game to play and enjoy yourself.” Like any sport, to play at the top level requires incredible skill, dedication and fitness, but to play for fun requires a modicum of balance to stand, walk and slide on ice; coordination to multi-task by pushing a broom back and forth while side-slipping down the ice; and some agility and flexibility to squat or bend then slide along the ice while guiding a 40-pound piece of granite towards a broom 114 ft (34 m) away. Phew! – that sounds complicated, but is it any more difficult than trying to drive, pitch, chip and putt a little white ball 500 yards down a fairway into a tiny cup? And the introduction of the “stick” to curling has allowed curlers with cranky knees or hips, sore backs and arthritis to continue to play without using the more athletic, traditional slide delivery. The stick, a device that enables a curler to deliver a rock from a standing position, extends from a curler’s hand and attaches to the rock handle. A good curling delivery with a stick requires proper set up, correct aim, turn and weight control, just as in the slide delivery. Today’s recreational teams can include any number of stick curlers, who may play any position on the team, from lead to skip. Many of the ladies in my women’s league use sticks – if they were good curlers before they turned to the stick, they continue to be good curlers. Lola Holmes, who took up curling at the age of 80, had surgery on both hands for carpal tunnel syndrome some years ago and, subsequently, switched from the sliding delivery to the stick, which has enabled her to keep curling. She is now 95. Lola also swims five days a week, walks nine blocks to the swimming pool and, for mental exercise, plays bridge three times a week. “I’d never be a couch potato,” she says, “I have too many things to do.” The rewards of curling are no different than those of most recreational sports – mastering a skill, exercise and the opportunity to socialize with friends. When the game concludes and handshakes are exchanged, curlers head to the lounge for some refreshing libation and convivial conversation – a great way to finish off two hours of healthy SL recreation. WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

JANUARY 2014

19 17


Artist Profile

Weaving Magical Creations W BY BEV YAWORSKI

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SENIOR LIVING

about 10 people who meet at different people’s homes.” “We use many different kinds of materials, a lot gathered locally – like ivy and blackberry vines. With blackberry, for example, you have to take off all the prickles. We wear leather gloves, run

supply we may be looking for.” The basket group uses a galore of unusual ingredients – usually finding that the baskets with unique components have the most alluring attraction for potential purchasers. It could be ingredients gathered off the beach or

Marylyn Beaubien working on one of her woven creations.

Photo: Bev Yaworski

ith a landscape as stunning as Gabriola Island’s, it’s no wonder so many writers, poets and artists reside there. Artist Marylyn Beaubien is among them. Painting, carving, knitting, weaving – she has an amazingly prolific talent to make something beautiful out of almost anything. Recently, her art has focused on basket weaving – but not just any mundane container. These unique works of art use natural materials such as ivy, blackberry, grape or honeysuckle vines. Marylyn may often be found roaming the beaches and woodlands of Gabriola searching for weaving materials, whether it’s cedar bark, driftwood, grasses, vines and pine needles. “I’ve been painting for many, many years and have been told I have an artistic flare,” she says. “I started with oil painting and gradually moved into watercolours, which I find is a much nicer medium for me. Then I began basketry in 2002 with a group of Gabriola artists.” That year, about 30 artists met for a month to create baskets in their spare time. They sold them at a fundraiser and donated $1,800 to the food bank for Christmas. Six of these basket artists, who are all self-taught, discovered they liked making baskets so much that they continued. They still meet weekly. “I’m always doing something with my hands,” says Marylyn. “And I’ve always loved baskets and wanted to know how to make them. Our group now is

our hands down the vines one way to remove all the leaves, and then the other way to remove all the prickles. August and early September are the best times to gather these vines after they have grown the longest, so they have some woodiness and strength to them. We are always gathering throughout the year – depending on what type of plant or WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

out of the forest. Ivy, cedar bark, pine needles, driftwood and even discarded deer antlers are included. Along with traditional functional containers, these artists create trays, wall hangings and more. Each creation is unique in shape, colour and design. “At the beginning, when you are first making baskets, you tend not to want to


part with any,” says Marylyn. “If you’re happy with it, you hang on to it thinking - I’m so proud of that and everybody admires it, you don’t want to sell them – until you’ve made enough so that your house is overflowing with baskets!” Marylyn has even taken to naming her artistic watercolours and woven creations with playful poetic, descriptive titles like: Woven with Love, Surfing the Internet Café, Guacamole Oval or Multicoloured Sea Urchin. In the summer of 2013, Marylyn teamed up with her basket making enthusiasts from Gabriola and Nanaimo, calling themselves The Basket Cases, to mount a stunning and successful exhibition of over 100 hand-crafted baskets at the McMillan Art Centre in Parksville. Titled Flight of Fancy, the show highlighted a bird theme. Artists used a variety of non-traditional weaving materials such as kelp, paper, seagrass and even daffodil and iris leaves. Show organizers described the exhibition as: “whimsical, comical, imaginative and outrageous.” Marylyn’s art also includes shimmering watercolours – from soft, delicate and transparent to luscious, deep and vibrant hues. She especially loves to paint flowers, leaves and collages with inspiration from her own garden – a garden that also features some of her own wood carvings. While living in Mexico, she was influenced by the local culture. “There is a totally different colour palette in the tropics because of the light there. It’s so much brighter and sunnier. The colours on our west coast are much more subtle. Even though the trees are green in both places, it’s a very different green because the light makes them different.” If life is not busy enough for Marylyn and husband Bill, together they operate and live at Casa Blanca by the Sea Bed and Breakfast on Gabriola Island. Bill’s pancake breakfasts are acclaimed by international travellers stopping by to stay at their attractive, peaceful waterfront location while also enjoying impressive artwork displayed in every SL room throughout the house.

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JANUARY 2014

21 19


Travel & Adventure

CUENCA, ECUADOR An Ideal Retirement Destination

BY RICHARD NEAL

20 22

SENIOR LIVING

ers to move here.” “Ecuadorians make average salary of $300US per month,” she enthuses, “so if you have monthly income of $2,000, or even 15 hundred dollars, you can live like Bill Gates!” Before I head out to see the sights, Maggie assures me that, while the ex-pat population has rapidly grown to almost 400,000, there is plenty of room for more in this dynamic city of almost half a million.

Cuenca flower market.

Photo: jrubinic flickr.com

A

s I exit the bus depot in Cuenca, Ecuador, a dazzling full moon emerges from behind a nearby mountain range. Earlier today, the active volcanoes and ice-blue glacial peaks of the northern Andes gave way to the rushing rivers and bottle green hills that characterize these equally impressive southern highlands. Due to its colonial charm, low cost of living, temperate climate, and dependable infrastructure, Cuenca is ranked as one of the top overseas retirement spots for North American ex-pats. I can’t wait to check it out it for myself, but first I need to find a place to bed down. A rusted-out taxi traverses a maze of snarling traffic jams that clog the narrow cobblestone roads. Finally, we reach the Hogar Cuencano Hostal. The budget hotel is spartan, but it’s smack in the middle of el centro, and for $13US I get a clean single with banos privado overlooking a peaceful courtyard. That night, thanks to the cleansing mountain air, I slumber like a newborn. The next morning, I pass Maggie, the hotel’s jovial owner, lugging a basket of laundry through the lobby. She tells me she was born in Ecuador but lived for several years in the United States. When I ask her what it is that draws gringo retirees to Cuenca, her face lights up. “Cuencanos are muy generoso and muy simpatico,” she gushes,” and ex-pats love our so vibrant culture. Also, every day the weather is like spring, and because the elevation is lower here than northern Andes, the nights not so cold.” “Ecuador’s one of the most affordable countries I’ve ever visited,” I tell her, “I’m sure that’s an incentive for foreign-

I walk a half block from the hotel to Calle Larga, a street that runs parallel to the smooth-flowing Rio Tomebamba. Lovers, young and old, stroll arm in arm along the riverbank. The road is lined with grand colonial structures whose backsides seem to literally “grow” from its verdant shores.

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This curious layout caused locals to nickname the stylish barrio El Barranco (The Cliff). From the river, I delve north into the heart of the centro historico. It’s immediately apparent why Cuenca’s 16thcentury historic centre was chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A splendid cathedral, exquisite historical structure, or fountain-anchored plaza waits on every corner. Pots of enormous geraniums spill from wrought iron balconies attached to enchanting red-tiled roof bungalows. As I wander the cobbled avenues under the balmy afternoon sun, I feel like I’m lost in a land that time has forgotten. On the centre’s southern perimeter, overlooking the river, I come across the artsy El Vado area. Galleries and artisan studios that sell curios, antiques, and religious art radiate

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Catedral de la Immaculada Concepcion

from the charming Plazoleta de la Cruz del Vado. The irresistible scent of spicy grilled meats and southern Ecuador’s famous coffee wafts from funky cafés and bistros. There’s even a Grim Reaper-themed bar and gallery. From El Vado, I wander east along Mariscal Sucre, until I reach Parque Calderon. Encircled by beautifully preserved colonial buildings, the city’s most striking plaza is obviously the focal point of the centro historico. Native women crouch over steaming baskets of pungent empanadas, girls in catholic school uniforms giggle on benches, and proud

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23 21


parents snap photos of bashful children posing beneath swaying palm trees. I sip a cappuccino and listen to a young muchacho sing Ecuadorian folk songs as he strums his acoustic guitar. Across from the plaza, the 19th century Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion is one of Cuenca’s major landmarks. The church’s enormous domes, constructed of indigo blue tile, can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The façade is made from alabaster and local marble, while the floor inside is covered with pink Italian marble. When the cathedral was built in the late 1800s, nearly all of the city’s then 10,000 residents could fit inside. Today, only a few locals kneel in silent prayer before the sumptuous gilded altar. A block over from Parque Calderon, the unassuming white Church of El Carmen de la Asuncion contrasts sharply with the kaleidoscopic flower market in the plazoleta out front. Cholas cuencanas (native mestizo women)

Photo: Theodore Scott Flickr.com

Travel & Adventure

Panama hats in Cuenca.

in embroidered blouses, white straw hats, and braided pigtails peddle gigantic calla lilies, bright orange orchids, and aromatic roses. Other exotic varieties in every colour of the spectrum are also on display. Barely two blocks away, I encounter another street bazaar. The vast array of household items and touristoriented goods offered at the Plaza de San Francisco market is totally different from flowers, but the atmosphere is just as electric. Raven-haired

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senoras haggling for kitchen utensils stand elbow to elbow with turistas on the hunt for unusual keepsakes. Vendors hawk plastic cutlery, kitschy religious trinkets, oil paintings of Andean landscapes, and for the hombre who has everything, guinea pig roasters. Merchants from the nearby villages of Gualaceo, Chordeleg, and Sigsig have also come to trade gold and silver jewelry, handmade guitars, and indigodyed cotton shawls. From the market, I meander west onto Calle Tarqui, which is lined with emporiums that sell Ecuador’s most famous export, though it is usually credited to another country – the Panama hat. The misunderstanding began in the 1800s, when traders started exporting them through the Central American country. When workers on the Panama Canal started wearing the durable hats, the fallacy was further reinforced. Ecuadorians proudly refer to it as a sombrero de paja toquilla, a toquillastraw hat. The hats are painstakingly woven by hand from the fronds of the toquilla palm, which grows near the central Ecuadorian coast. The best weavers will only work by moonlight, so their fingers don’t perspire. Hats with the tightest weave will actually hold water. Standard models start at $15US while a superfino can fetch hundreds. This is a third what I would pay at home, but I’m running low on dineros, so I leave hat-less. A few minutes after six p.m. el sol disappears behind a mist-shrouded mountain and the city is abruptly plunged into darkness, a reminder that I’m only 250 kilometres from the equator. I haven’t eaten since breakfast, so the tangy aromas that escape from Café Eucalyptus easily pull me in. Located in a restored colonial mansion, the restaurant’s roaring fireplace, dark red walls and wood trim remind me of an English pub, albeit with an Ecuadorian twist. After I order an Ensalada Thailandia and Ceviche Mixto (mixed seafood) from the internationally fla-


voured menu, I strike up a conversation with Earl from Arkansas, a burly fellow who sports a white ponytail with a matching goatee. Earl tells me he moved here shortly after his 70th birthday a year earlier. When I ask why he chose Cuenca, he says the low cost of living was a big factor. He rents a furnished two-bedroom apartment for $400US a month, and a recent trip to the doctor cost him 25 dollars, with no wait. “Now, don’t get me wrong,” he drawls, “living here has its challenges. You know, the traffic can be a nightmare. And Ecuador is a developing country, so things move slower than at home. But if you can learn some patience, and maybe a little Spanish, you can do just fine.” “How’s the social scene?” I ask. “Haven’t had a minute to myself,” he asserts, “I get invited to social functions just about every night, by ex-pats and locals.” He leans closer. “I been married four times. Now, I’m looking for numero five.” “Have you found many prospects?” “I’m hoping to find some right here,” he winks. “It’s ladies night in the bar upstairs. Care to join me for a libation?” We grab our cervazas and migrate up to the raucous tavern, where a live band churns out blood-boiling salsa rhythms to an enthusiastic clientele of Cuencanos and ex-pats. Between a little bit of English, poquito Espanol, and mucho alcohol, they find a way to communicate. After four hours of dancing and countless mojitos, I’m done in. When I leave, Earl is still collecting phone numbers. As I head back to my hotel, I reflect on a magnificent day. Exploring the cobblestone roadways of Cuenca’s centro historico has been pure bliss, but then I realize all I’ve experienced is only within a six-block radius. There’s a lot more to see, so I decide to schedule an extra day. But first, I make a quick mental SL note: retire in Cuenca.

Chair Yoga A

nnette Wertman would like you to sit down and do yoga. And here’s the exciting part – no need to suffer through the aches, pains and exasperation of getting all the way to the floor to do a yoga class – take a seat on a chair. You may have a knee or hip that has worn out faster than the rest of your body. Spines and shoulders also suffer greatly from accidents and overuse. Because one joint is temporarily or even permanently out of order, doesn’t mean the rest of the body can, or should, take a holiday. In a regular yoga class, students roll around on the mat, which is on the floor. Unfortunately, the floor is not reachable to every body. A basic chair brings yoga to those who are restricted by joint, disc or muscle aches and pains. All you need is a simple straightback chair; the kind on which you always place a cushion before taking a seat. Keep the cushion – it can be used under your feet as a yoga prop. The chair is a prop too; it is there when you need it. Sit on the chair to perform foot exercises and spinal twists, hold onto the chair back for balance poses, or do a version of “adho mukha svanasana” (downward-facing dog) using the chair seat as your “floor.” Yoga is a health practice, it’s not a panacea. So, of course, you need to get your doctor’s advice before taking your first step – or, in this case, seat – in a yoga studio. Yoga on a chair uses regular yoga poses, but modified. You will do a lot of stretching and loads of breathing. The quiet and calm atmosphere relaxes your body and this is where the healing takes place. Here’s another exciting thing about yoga: you learn to listen and care for those places WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

BY LEE MASSEY

in your body that need tending. The good news is that there is still lots of your body that is working and is still mobile, and you’ll want to “use it or lose it” as the saying goes. Annette returned to university in Simon Fraser’s gerontology program. Her master’s thesis is entitled Yoga and the Older Adult: An exploration of pathways, barriers and experiences. The course required Annette to interview older adults and get their feedback, and it was here that the link was made: yoga has health benefits; not everyone can get to the floor; do yoga in a chair. Yoga cannot cure diseases, and it won’t make you any younger, but yoga can help maintain and possibly improve what health you have got. One bad knee shouldn’t take out the whole body; chair yoga offers opportunities to keep the rest of you in motion. Annette also created a chair yoga teacher training program, a Yoga Alliance accredited certification course. More seniors with more issues mean more teachers are needed. A young 61 years old, Annette looks fabulous and credits yoga for her good health and flexibility. Her swimsuit figure is, of course, thanks to her genes. Both her parents, Frieda, 87, and George, 92, are still healthy and active. If you want to try yoga, but you’re having trouble getting down, or you’re a little shy about getting your bottom up in downward dog, sit down and do chair yoga. Before long, you’ll be speaking a little Sanskrit and requesting “savasana.” Find out what this means, and get more information about chair yoga at your local community centre, or on Annette’s website www.agelessyoga.ca SL JANUARY 2014

25 23


BY PAT NICHOL

NEW YEAR NEW CHALLENGES

H

appy New Year! First, can you believe the number of the year? Wasn’t it just last year that we were worrying about Y2K? How could 14 years slip by so quickly? It’s particularly poignant for me as last month I walked away from the house I have lived in for 34 years. My younger daughter commented that this was the only house she knew. She was three when we moved in. Wow, the trees grew taller and I shrunk! But enough thinking of the past. Time to think of the future. When you hear “Baba Yaga,” what comes to mind? I first heard about it on CBC earlier in the year. A group of senior women in France who had been activists in their younger years convinced the government to put aside land and housing for their needs. When I began to do some research, I found that there is a Baba Yaga movement in Toronto. Then, I dug a little deeper and discovered that it is already happening in Australia and in the States. I spoke to a real estate agent friend and, while she thought the idea was great, our challenge here in British Columbia would be finding a new way of doing it since available land is shrinking and housing costs are prohibitive.

Photo: Frances Litman

COURAGEOUS and OUTRAGEOUS

So, what I am doing with this article is tempting you to begin thinking of solutions to the challenge we face. Living alone and cocooning as we age, living in a regulated community or helping re-define old age by becoming what you always knew you were destined to be: a wise teacher and a community leader by living as you choose in what Janet Torge calls “Radical Resthomes.” This had been on my mind a great deal since before I made the decision to sell my home and become a gypsy (sort of). So, I’d like to hear your thoughts: is this the sort of lifestyle that appeals to you? Is there some way we could begin a movement here on the west coast? Let’s talk. On a separate subject, I wanted to thank all of you who came up with acts of kindness. There were some great ideas; some that you were already doing; and some suggestions for the future. I didn’t quite reach 73, but I will keep trying and hope that you will as well. Make this year your best ever – and have fun doing it! SL

Pat Nichol is a speaker and published author. Reach her at mpatnichol@gmail.com or visit www.patnichol.com

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To Move or Not to Move? A Helpful Guide for Seniors Considering Their Residen�al Op�ons ������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������� ��������������������� ���������������������������������� ���������������������������������

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Fit for the Adventure Overcome Exercise Excuses

E

veryone knows we should be physically active, yet many of us are not. We resort to a list of “reasons” for being inactive. Sadly, most of these “reasons” are invalid excuses and many are easily overcome. Here are some of the most common excuses and how to overcome them: No time. Try to make time. Schedule an appointment with yourself and don’t break it. Ask a fitness professional for ideas to squeeze exercise conveniently into your busy day. Exercise at home, to avoid the time wasted travelling to do your workout. Interferes with work or studies. Activity improves the mind and body. With clearer thinking and increased energy you’ll be more productive and have greater control of stress. Family obligations interfere. Get your family involved. Plan more “active” gettogethers. Too tired. Regular exercise increases energy levels. Improved blood circulation brings vital oxygen more efficiently to muscles and the brain. Exercise is hard. You don’t have to do a sport that requires a special skill or complicated choreographed movements. Find an easy activity (walking is easy). Progress at a moderate pace. I’m too busy. Good health is more important than anything else in your life. If

BY EVE LEES

you aren’t healthy, you aren’t operating optimally – at home or at work.

ing proper technique from a personal trainer, tennis or golf instructor, etc.

Bad weather is a deterrent. Dress for it or exercise indoors. Many activities can be done inside – like wall climbing, tennis, even golf. Check your local shopping mall to see if they offer mall walking.

Self-conscious about appearance. You can exercise in the privacy of your own home. No one has to see how you look or what you wear. After you’ve become fitter and are more confident with your appearance, treat yourself to a gym membership and a new exercise outfit!

Exercise is boring. Find a fun activity or choose from several to avoid boredom. No facilities or equipment. You don’t need a gym or equipment. Hike or take a brisk walk outside. Do calisthenics in the convenience and privacy of your own home. Search the internet for exercises and proper technique. Too expensive. Brisk walking is cheap. For weight training exercises, use your own body weight or improvised equipment, like soup cans. Fear of injury. Choose an activity with a low injury risk. Avoid injuries by learn-

Lack of motivation. Exercise with a friend. Choose activities you enjoy. Set goals. Hire a personal trainer to inspire you. Health problems. Everyone can do some kind of activity. Talk to your doctor and work with a fitness professional or physical therapist. Gentle exercise is SL healing! Eve Lees was a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Counsellor for 30 years. Currently she is a Freelance Health Writer and Speaker. www.artnews-healthnews.com

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FAMILY CAREGIVER WORKSHOPS An endorsed program developed by dementia care experts. • Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias • Capturing Life’s Journey • Techniques to Manage Behaviours • Activities to Encourage Engagement Call to register for January. Jan 27 & 29 6:30 to 8:30pm. These free family workshops are held at the Home Instead Senior Care Resource Centre. 250-382-6565 ALWAYS GREAT FEET. Nanaimo’s professional mobile foot care nurses. Debbie Mason LPN and John Patterson LPN. Home, facility, and hospital visits. Experienced, qualified nursing foot care for toenails, corns, calluses and ingrown nails. Direct billing for DVA clients. Please call 250-390-9266 WANTED: OLD POSTCARDS, old photographs, and pre-1950 stamped envelopes. Also buying old coins, medals and badges. Please call Michael 250-652-9412 or email fenian@shaw.ca NANAIMO - JEANNIE’S MOBILE HAIR STUDIO Affordable, Reliable, Certified Hairdresser. Hair services for men and women in your own home. 250-753-9733.

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ASK Goldie BY GOLDIE CARLOW, M.ED

Dear Goldie: I need your advice about my relationship. Several years ago, after my wife and I divorced, I met a young business woman who seemed to be a wonderful, understanding person. We began a friendship, which evolved into an intimate relationship. Recently, she has seemed very cool towards me, and now we feel like strangers. I have no idea what brought about this change, and she refuses to discuss it. Should I just accept that our affair is over? –L.W.

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Dear L.W.: The end of a relationship usually �������������������������� ��������������� leaves one or both parties unhappy. We ��������������������� ���������� ������������������ �������� � ������������������� ������������ are social beings and a breakup is a tre������� � ����������� ����������������� ������������������� mendous loss. Time does ease the pain, ������������� ������������������������������ but never completely erases it. ������� � ������������������ You need to make an effort to maintain a busy social life. Old friends and � � �� �� � ������������������������� �� even new acquaintances will help you ������������������������ in the process. If necessary, join a club �� ��� ��� ��������������������������������� and you will soon find people who in��������������� ����������������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������� terest you. ����������� Rather than dwell on the loss, anticiSaint Francis Manor by the Sea pate a new beginning. Good luck! �������������

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ANTIQUES AND FINE ART WANTED ������������������������������ ������������������������������������������� �������������������������� ������������������������ ��������������������������������������������

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Dear Goldie: The holiday season has just passed and, as usual, in our big family, confusion reigned supreme. Some members travelled to warmer spots to celebrate and others to snow ski. The rest of us enjoyed time together when possible. Years ago, we looked forward to Christmas and New Year’s as a special holiday for our family. Everyone was expected to come home. It was such a wonderful reunion. The aroma of Mother’s turkey dinner with mincemeat pies and Christmas pudding filled the air! Our lives have changed, but memoWWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

ries remain forever. As we celebrate with our loved ones, we should be thankful to be together and in good health for the season. –D.W. Dear D.W.: Yes, we should recall all the wonderful family gatherings of Christmas and New Year seasons of the past. It is also important to be aware of people who have not been as fortunate in health or happiness. They lack both the memories and present-day joy. We can help with the latter. Throughout the year, a small act or word of kindness is all that is needed. Of course, it must come from the heart. To all my readers, I wish you a Happy New Year! SL 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 – Island Campbell River 250-287-3044 Courtenay/Comox 250-890-0099 Duncan 250-748-2133 Nanaimo 250-754-3331 Port Hardy 250-949-5110 Salt Spring Island 250-537-4607 Sidney 250-656-5537 Victoria 250-382-4331

Senior Peer Counselling Centres – Mainland Burnaby 604-291-2258 Coquitlam – Tri-Cities 604-945-4480 New Westminster 604-519-1064 North Vancouver 604-987-8138 Richmond 604-279-7034 Vancouver West End 604-669-7339 Vancouver Westside 604-736-3588 JANUARY 2014

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Reflections THEN & NOW The Trojans of Time

I

mandatory that each of us be bronzed when we reach 70. I wish she wouldn’t chuckle like that!) Seventy, or three score and BY GIPP FORSTER ten as the bible says, should be sufficient as far as the accumulation of years is concerned. After that, a state of grace should be the re- more dignity than that. ward for the Trojans of time. As much as I disagree with it, howWrinkles then should be sufficient ever, I guess I’m just going to get oldunto wrinkles and arthritis unto arthri- er and my wrinkles will get their own tis and ulcers unto ulcers. Things (of the wrinkles, and the young will continue body, I mean) should not get any worse, not coming to me for advice. but remain “as is.” I thought maybe if I concentrated And then, again as the bible says, if hard enough, I could change the process by reason of strength we should have an- of time, but it hasn’t worked. (My wife other 10 years or better, then we should just said if it didn’t work when I tried be assured nothing new, as far as pain to concentrate on losing weight, why and disability, is going to take place. would it work with time?) Extra years to counsel and guide the Anyway, it was a shock to realize I young into the hallowed halls of age. was still getting older. It may be how (My wife just told me to get down off the world might see me, but it isn’t the chair and stop saluting the lamp. how I see myself. I’m still dapper. I’m I guess I do get over-zealous when it still dashing. (I hate it when my wife comes to getting older than old.) rolls her eyes like that and bursts into When I was born, I had no teeth and giggles.) My dashing may be done on lived on warm milk. I guess I’ll reach a three-wheeled scooter now, but I still that stage again of having no teeth and dash. nursing a warm glass of milk. It’s a So, I think I’m going to stop countconspiracy, I tell you. Age should have ing the years and celebrate a “senior day” and not a birthday. The nice part of that is, it’s senior day every day. The “Reflections” MAIL-IN ORDER FORM party goes on and on! Name_____________________________________ And when it’s finally time to hang up Address___________________________________ the years and leave the game, there will City______________________________ Prov ____ be a jaunt in my step as I cross over the Postal Code____________ Ph _________________ finish line and see that sign that says: SL “No Scooters Allowed!” ____ BOOKS @ $14.65 each = $_________ (incl. $3.95 shipping & GST)

������������������������� ������������������������� by Gipp Forster A collection of Gipp’s humorous and nostalgic columns. A wonderful read for yourself, and Reflections, ���������� a thoughtful gift and Other Breakfast Foods for friends and family members.

Photo: Krystle Wiseman

find it hard to believe, but I think I am getting older. When one is presented with the title “senior,” getting older should stop! After all, to bear said title with dignity and the proper decorum, one should not have to worry about a further accumulation of years. George Burns lived to be 100 and he referred to himself as a senior with a teenage mind. Even in his nineties, he wore his toupée at a rakish angle. I always thought of George Burns as a senior – especially after Gracie died. But I never thought of him as old. Being a senior means we are nearing the line and the end of our race. (At least that’s what our culture says.) We shouldn’t have to bear the indignity of counting years. The title “senior” has been earned and the bruises and the scars we have obtained in getting here should not be taken lightly by those who consider us old, or even antiquated. “Wise” would be a proper description, or “seasoned” or “renowned.” (My wife just said not to forget “over the hill,” “down to our last dollar,” and “squashed but not flattened.” She also said the best way for us not to have to count the years anymore is for it to be

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

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Sadly, Gipp passed away on April 15, 2013. He left us with some unpublished writings, so we are honoring his love of Senior Living and its readers by continuing to publish his work for as long as we can.


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January 2014 Senior Living Magazine