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50+ Active Living Magazine

The Heavenly Works of Father Dunstan Massey Creating with Clay Delta Potters’ Co-op

Serious Senior Playfulness BC Seniors Games


A New Writer in Old Skin 1 OCTOBER 2012

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Young at Heart Fall harvest traditions hold special meaning for young and old in our community. We can count on these seasonal activities to bring Peninsula residents and their families outdoors year after year to enjoy Nature’s bounty before winter comes upon us again. Sidney SeniorCare is creating a tradition of its own; a tradition of providing superior home support service to seniors and their families that is the most flexible, most responsive and the most economical, ensuring that seniors remain a vital part of their communities for years to come. ���������������������������������� ����������������������������������� ������������������������������ ������������������������������ ������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������� . . . & any other service that you may require.

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20 Setting Sail

A Ladysmith couple throws off the bowlines and sails away from their safe harbour in an adventure of a lifetime.

6 The Heavenly Artworks of Father Dunstan Massey

Father Dunstan is the artist responsible for numerous paintings, sculptures and frescoes adorning Westminster Abbey’s walls.

24 My Medical Adventure

A Victoria man shares his story of navigating the healthcare system during a frightening health challenge with a happy ending.

8 The Zen of Bonsai and Ikebana

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Meet Victoria’s Bonsai expert and sensei of the Sogetsu style of Ikebana.


10 A New Writer in Old Skin



Learning how to write fiction and then working to get better at it calmed Tricia Dower’s fears.

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12 Serious Senior Playfulness

27 Classifieds 29 BBB Scam Alert


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The BC Senior Games covers everything from physically demanding track and field sports to more leisurely card games and one-act plays.

16 Creating with Clay


The Delta Potters’ Co-op consists of (and welcomes) experienced artisans and budding potters.

18 Never Too Old to Learn

At age 57, Ken Matheson decided to return to school to follow his dream of becoming a documentary filmmaker.

4 The Family Caregiver by Barbara Small

28 Ask Goldie

by Goldie Carlow

30 Courageous & Outrageous by Pat Nichol

32 Reflections Then & Now by Gipp Forster

Cover Photo: Long-jump athlete at the 2012

BC Senior Games held in Burnaby in August. Photo: Mark Whitehead

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Senior Living is published by Stratis Publishing. Publisher Barbara Risto Editor Bobbie Jo Reid Advertising Manager Barry Risto 250-479-4705 ext 101 For advertising information, call 250-479-4705 Ad Sales Staff Ann Lester 250-390-1805 Mathieu Powell 250-479-4705 ext 104 Barry Risto 250-479-4705 ext 101




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 Website 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)

Arts & Entertainment

New TV Series Proves Senior Life is Far From Ordinary


eptember saw the launch of Senior Living’s new television series Senior Living On Location. “We’ve had very positive feedback from viewers who have seen the first few shows,” says Senior Living Publisher Barbara Risto. “We even had someone call us from Alberta who had seen it on satellite and wanted to let us know how professional and interesting they found the show.” And interesting it is! In October, the series follows some senior adventure seekers as they don scuba diving gear to survey the ocean floor for lost wrecks, perform open sea barrel rolls with a kayak, hike, cycle and golf at a championship calibre. Then we take you along to Providence Farm where senior volunteers and participants work side by side seeking to renew their lives through interaction with nature. We head to Tsawwassen where the first seniors fitness playground was established by a retired pharmacist, visit a co-op community where one of its members brings a new perspective to life through comedy, and watch as another senior lives out his rock star dreams. Have we intrigued you yet? How about a peek into the life of world-renowned photographer Ted Grant, or the lifestyle of senior buskers? If that doesn’t get your juices going, we’ll rev them up with our segment on automotive racing and inspire you with the

story of a man who defied disability to become a champion paralympian. Meet a special lady with a passion for parrots, and take a trip down memory lane with a vaudeville troupe. All this and more is coming to you this October on CHEK TV – Sundays at 2:30pm. Turn to page 5 to view the Senior Living On Location October show schedule. For more detailed information on episode content, visit Enjoy a segment? DVDs are available for purchase from Senior Living’s website store for $35. Let us know what you think of the show. Email us at SL

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Am I a Family Caregiver?

n BC, there are over 1 million family caregivers. Are you one? Family caregivers provide care and support to family members, friends or neighbours who are in poor health, frail, elderly or disabled. The person they are caring for may be an elderly parent, a chronically ill spouse, an adult disabled child or a sibling with mental health issues. The care recipient may either live in his own home, with the caregiver or in a residential care facility. You can also be a long-distance caregiver when the care recipient lives in another location. Family caregivers provide care for a variety of reasons. It may be out of love and caring, a sense of duty, obligation, guilt or because there doesn’t seem to be anyone else available. The support provided can range from simply driving the person to a doctor’s appointment or picking up groceries to providing oneon-one personal care 24 hours per day 7 days per week. You may have become a caregiver because of a health crisis or accident or you may find yourself gradually taking on more responsibilities as the care recipient becomes less independent. Family caregivers can provide a variety of support such as: • Personal care: Assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, medications or communicating with healthcare providers. • Household tasks: Paying bills, shopping, cooking, laundry or cleaning. • Companionship: Accompanying someone to a doctor’s appointment, playing cards, going to the park or simply keeping them company and providing emotional support. • Legal and Financial: Managing household paperwork and

finances or, depending on the person’s cognitive condition, the caregiver may have Power of Attorney to make decisions on behalf of that person. Self-identifying as a family caregiver is one of the first steps toward recognizing the demands and responsibilities the role entails, asking for and receiving help and accessing resources that can help alleviate some of your burden. Once you recognize you are a family caregiver, you will realize you are not alone – onein-four Canadians are in the same situation as you. The Victoria-based Family Caregivers’ Network Society (FCNS), and similar organizations in your own community, provide programs and services that can assist you. Call the FCNS at 250-384-0408 (1-877-520-3267) or visit for more information, including referral to resources in your own community. Also, your local health authority can provide support and assistance through their Home and Community Care programs. For SL contact information call FCNS or HealthLink BC at 811. Next month: Communication Skills for Family Caregivers Barbara Small is the Program Development Coordinator for Family Caregivers’ Network Society located in Victoria, BC.

The Family Caregiver column is brought to you by the generous sponsorship of Saint Elizabeth







senior living MAGAZINE

Now Senior Living brings to life the stories you have been enjoying in our magazine.

Episode 4 Senior Adventure Seekers Airs: October 7th, 2012 Join us as we paddle into happiness with an avid sea kayaker, show you how to create your preferred future, take to the links with a senior amateur golf champion and explore treasures beneath the sea with the diving enthusiasts that ����������Topics: UASBC Scuba Divers, Vic Lindal - Coach/Speaker, Doug Alderson - Kayaking, Alison Murdoch - Golf.

Episode 5 Giving Back Airs: October 14th, 2012 Visit a farm community practicing renewal of life, frolic with a retired pharmacist on an outdoor seniors playground, visit a comedian, and see how one senior is living out his rock star dreams. Topics: Providence Farm; Harry Caine – Seniors Wellness Park; Marylee Stephenson – Comedian; John Pippus - Musician.

Episode 6 Entrepreneurs for Life Airs: October 21st, 2012 Explore the world of renowned photographer Ted Grant, watch an artist with a signature twist, and hang out with a group of buskers. Topics: Ted Grant – Photographer; Peter Forbes – Barrel Carver; Senior Buskers.

Episode 7 Life Less Ordinary Airs: October 28th, 2012 ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� golden dreams, discover a woman with a special passion for feathery friends, and laugh out loud with group of senior entertainers. Topics: Old Time Racers Association; Daniel Westley – Paralympian; Wendy Huntbatch – World Parrot Refuge; The Vaudvillians.

Episode 8 Hobby Diversion Airs: November 4th, 2012 Enter the model railway world, watch some wood-loving whittlers, learn some traditional Celtic dance moves and enjoy the magic of sleight of hand. Topics: Model Railroading; Scottish Country Dancing – Eileen MacKenzie; Ladner Woodworkers Club; Ray Roch – Magician.

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Artist Profile

The Heavenly Artworks of Father Dunstan Massey BY JOHN THOMSON

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Artist Father Dunstan



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Photo: John Thomson


e starts his day with prayers and classes. At 87 years of age, Father Dunstan Massey is a familiar figure at Westminster Abbey, a Benedictine monastery and seminary outside Mission, BC. In the mornings, he teaches theology and high school English. In the afternoons, he retires to his studio, a converted barn on the Abbey grounds. Father Dunstan has devoted his life to serve God, but he’s an artist too, responsible for the numerous paintings, sculptures and frescoes that adorn the Abbey’s walls, often out of public view but enjoyed by the 30 monks and 75 students who live there. “I certainly have a vocation in my life as a priest monk, but I also have a vocation that was given to me when I was created,” says Father Dunstan of his artistic talent. “Life in the monastery is simply part of my creative life.” Born in East Vancouver, – “my mother was religious, my father not so much” – the future seminarian displayed a natural talent for drawing. He was an avid reader; he especially liked Greek drama and filled his sketchbooks with mythological figures. “Mythology confronts the really deep and serious questions of life,” he says. “Love, bravery, death. In the realm of fantasy, I found it to be very attractive.” “I also kept tabs on Buck Rogers,” he adds with a laugh, referring to the comic book superhero of the day. “And I was interested in spaceships. In fact, I drew plans for spaceships. I doubt if they would fly, but they looked terrific.” At 15, he dropped out of high school to attend the Vancouver School of Art, where he studied under local luminary Jack

Shadbolt. Father Dunstan, the traditionalist, did not agree with Shadbolt’s rush to abstraction. “I felt the modernists somehow had broken with a long tradition of art and I saw no reason why that break should have taken place. I have never subscribed to the theory of art for art’s sake alone,” says Father Dunstan. “If it’s going to have any lasting character, it has to address human life. That doesn’t mean it has to be subject-oriented all the time, but it has to be something with a permanent way of speaking to people.” At 16, he had his first one-man show at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He was a rising star. The art world was beckoning. But the priesthood was also calling and, at 18, he gave up a secular career to enter the monastery. Anxious to conform to communal life, he told Abbey Abbot Eugene Medved he would give up art. “And he said you’ll give up nothing, you’ll do exactly as you’re told,” recalls Father Dunstan. “He was very interested in sacred art, especially adorning the church.” Father Dunstan complied with the Abbot’s wishes and created numerous art works for the Abbey, a tradition that continues today. His works are scattered throughout the complex. A depiction of Jesus hauling in the fishes dominates the student dining room. A painting of Christ curing a blind man lies in a stairwell students pass every day on their way to class. “The Temptation of St. Benedict,” a stunning fresco deep in the Abbey’s bowels is perhaps Father Dunstan’s most striking work. It’s also his favourite. St. Benedict is depicted rising from a bramble bush with a serpent in hand symbolizing his liberation over temptation. He painted it when he was 50 years old after teaching himself the ancient but forgotten art of painting on fresh plaster. Thirty years later, at age 79, he started his second fresco, “The Celestial Banquet,” which portrays Christ and the 12 disciples in Heaven. “Banquet” covers the entire wall of the monk’s dining room. His art works celebrate the Christian life and inspire the young seminarians. “You can really identify,” confirms John Moss, a young divinity student, as he

walks past “Curing the Blind Man.” “It really helps you to feel that emotion and to focus on God.” Profiled in print and TV, Father Dunstan has become a bit of a local celebrity, but the ever-humble monk doesn’t let fame go to his head. Nor has he forgotten his primary audience. “I know many modern artists prefer to retreat into sort of an ivory tower, but I always wanted the rapport with the people for which I was doing these artworks,” says Father Dunstan “and that was one of the big appeals of the monastery. I like my art to be integrated with the life of the people who are there.” He paints for his peers, adds Dal Shindell curator of Regent College’s Lookout Gallery. “He fulfills all sorts of religious functions in the life of the community. Just like some may be preachers and some may be carpenters, he brings his artistic talents to bear.” Well into his eighth decade, Father Dunstan admits to some aches and pains. “I have a problem with my back,” he says. “Standing for any length of time is painful.” Nevertheless, he’s not slowing down nor has he lost his robust sense of humour. His creative drive is as strong as ever. The author of two poetry books, which he also illustrated, he’s presently finishing a third book, a poetic drama he calls it, which he started in 1955. Father Dunstan is also casting a five-anda-half foot crucifix that will hang above the high altar in the Abbey church. Figurative but stylized, the crucifix will complement the 22 cement reliefs he sculpted in 1980. Asked if he’ll be remembered for his reliefs, paintings or sculptures, Father Dunstan declines to answer. Ever the jokester, he prefers to leave his legacy up to fate... and to the weather. “As long as the roofing stands the sculptures will be there,” he says with SL a laugh. To see many of the artworks mentioned in this article, go to to view the slideshow. WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM



Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of our 4th Annual Charity Golf Tournament



With your help we raised over $25,000 for family caregivers

s a young boy growing up in Japan, Yukiyazu “Yuki” Kato helped his father by watering his 150 bonsai trees. “My father knew trees, and he liked trees better than flowers for his bonsai,” recalls Yuki. “I had the chore of taking care of them because, at that time, it was the man’s job to learn this. The containers were quite shallow, so the trees needed watering twice a day, which was my responsibility, especially in the summer when the temperatures were very hot.” Yuki Kato is Victoria’s Bonsai expert and sensei (teacher) of the Sogetsu style of Ikebana. Yuki Kato and some of his bonsai trees. (250) 384-0408 Rick Hoogendoorn & Cheri Crause

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Over a thousand years ago, it was the Chinese who first began the art of “punsai,” the practice of growing single miniature trees with sparse foliage and naturally gnarled trunks in small pots. These trees were especially valued if their twisted trunks and roots stirred the imagination to see dragons, serpents or birds. When the Zen Buddhism movement spread rapidly across Asia, the punsai was adopted by the Japanese Buddhist monks as “bonsai” possibly around 1195 A.D. Later, as a symbol of prestige and


honour, wealthy Japanese male aristocrats learned and practiced this horticultural art. Yuki explains the different styles in two junipers: “This 20-year-old juniper is a very traditional Japanese-style bonsai. I used a shallow container and allow the roots to spread wide and low below the soil line, filling this entire space. It shows more tree. I changed the container once three years ago.” Pointing to another 20-year-old bonsai, where the thick main roots from the trunk are exposed above the ground, Yuki continues. “This style has a big gnarled or twisted trunk with a few larger roots showing above the soil line, but the smaller roots spread out sideways below.” The miniature juniper looks as if it had been buffeted by nature’s wind. All bonsai plants and trees require watering and trimming to stay alive and keep their shape. “These are man-made plants because they are clipped and trained to grow a certain way,” says Yuki. “If these trees are planted back in the ground without clipping and trimming, they will eventually become a normal tree again.” No matter which direction the bonsai is turned, Yuki’s impressive collection of bonsai trees are balanced and pleasing to the eye. “Watering and trimming is very important, but you must also change the soil every two years, occasionally adding some nitrogenrich supplement. The container must not be too big or too shallow for the size and shape of the bonsai. You want just enough space all around so the tree doesn’t look crowded,” advises the bonsai expert. Showing his 92-year-old bonsai tree, Yuki says, “Not only do the trees need maintenance and water, but they need to be cherished. Often a prized bonsai will be passed from one generation of a family to the next or to a close friend.” Bonsai, Ikebana and even Zen gardens share similar concepts. Each has a placement of a large, medium and small shape set in a specific arrangement. If the centre points were joined, it would form an irregular triangular shape. “It is not necessary to have this pattern, but it is a traditional Japanese arrangement because the design is simple,” says Yuki.

“The way you place your flower or rock makes it pleasing to the eye.” Both bonsai and Ikebana mimic nature as seen in the tiny trees, maintained as miniatures of their full-grown counterparts. Ikebana is an artistic form of floral arrangement using minimal flowers or foliage. It allows the artist to be creative with a deceptively simple composition of a few blooms, stems and leaves in a container that decides the form and shape of the Ikebana. It was the Buddhist monks, more than 13 centuries ago, who initially created simple arrangements for their altars. Later, it was the male aristocracy, Samurai warriors and warlords who practiced Ikebana with more elaborate arrangements. It wasn’t until 1868 that women were allowed to learn Ikebana as part of their education. Yuki first learned Ikebana from his mother who was an expert in the 400year-old style of Koryu. “At first, it was a hobby because I wanted to do something artistic using flowers.” The simplicity of Ikebana incorporates the use of space in the composition. Yuki explains. “In traditional Japan, space is used as part of our surroundings, whereas in Western thinking, space is filled with a picture or some other object. Canadians seem to think the Japanese focus on space is different and special, but it’s not. It’s just our traditional way of looking at it.” Yuki is a certified instructor of Sogetsu Ikebana. His style is an 85-year-old Japanese contemporary style of floral design. “I give Sogetsu Ikebana lessons using our West Coast plants and flowers. This method teaches anyone to create an Ikebana arrangement anywhere using whatever is available to them,” says Yuki. Away from his bonsai trees and Ikebana, Yuki enjoys family time and watching baseball, which is the favourite national sport in Japan. “I also like watching tennis and car races. Being an Olympic year, I followed as many events as I could!” SL

Now Available

For more information and classes on Sogetsu Ikebana, visit WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM


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Author Profile

A New Writer in Old Skin “I

grew up in an age when secrets crouched behind closed doors and it wasn’t polite to interfere in another family’s business,” says Stony River author Tricia Dower. “Children were left to decipher the meaning of adult whisperings and come to frightening conclusions.” Growing up in Rahway, New Jersey, 20 miles outside of New York City, Tricia remembers a time when malls hadn’t yet taken business away from downtown, and stores painted their windows for Halloween. On Sundays, commerce shut down and people went to church. Although she always wanted to be a writer, Tricia didn’t consider writing fiction a practical career choice. According to the culture of her day, a

woman was supposed to find a husband and have children. Studies were for something to “fall back on” if anything should happen to the husband. Of the conventional career options Tricia’s father allowed – teacher, nurse or secretary – Tricia chose teaching. She entered Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and graduated with a BA in English and a minor in Education, however, her only experience in the field was as a substitute teacher. After a divorce, Tricia attempted to “fall back on” her education to support herself, her five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, but her teaching certificate didn’t give her the back-up she anticipated. A surplus of teachers in Minnesota, where she lived at the time,

8th Annual

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Author Tricia Dower on a carousel.

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Photo: Colin Dower


prohibited her from attaining a job in her chosen profession. Moving to Canada some years later, Tricia temporarily joined TVOntario as manager of advertising and promotion for Englishlanguage programming, but soon returned to business and took a job as senior vice-president of human resources and corporate communications with ING Canada. She admits to being an over-achiever even when she’s her own boss, a reflection, perhaps, of her upbringing and her father’s frequent question, “What did you do today to justify your existence?” Although it was said with tongue-in-cheek, “the need to be productive each day infected my mind for good.” Although Tricia was afraid of not having an identity or anything meaningful to do if she didn’t have a regular job, workplace stress was damaging her health and she took an early retirement. It was then she discovered her other talents. “Learning how to write fiction and then working to get better at it calmed my fears. I have new friends, virtual and otherwise, who have welcomed me into a rich community of writers of all ages, and expanded my vision of life and what lends it meaning.” Looking at retirement, Tricia now sees “more and more people reinventing themselves several times during their life. We have many talents and our senior years may offer the opportunity to develop a talent that has lain fallow for a time.” In 2005, after retirement, Tricia and her husband of 20 years, Colin Dower, a Canadian, sold their home in Scarborough and took off for parts unknown with only whatever the car would hold. They landed in Victoria for a three-month visit and decided to stay. Tricia has published her short fiction in Room of One’s Own, The New Quarterly, The Malahat Review, Hemispheres, Cicada, Big Muddy and NEO. Her collection of short stories, Silent Girl (Inanna 2008) came about when she and Colin saw a production of Othello at the University of Toronto. “Reflecting on how willingly Desdemona allowed her life to end, I thought of domestic abuse victims.” Deciding to write her own story, “Nobody; I Myself,” led her to consider a collection inspired by Shake-

speare’s female characters and the lives of women in the twentieth and twentyfirst centuries. Tricia’s latest book, Stony River (Penguin), reflects life in the ’50s that “wasn’t all poodle skirts and rock ‘n’ roll. The threat of violence was all around.” Stony River expands upon Tricia’s first story in her Silent Girl collection, where two girls watch a third leave her house accompanied by two police officers. The novel tries to fill in the blanks of what happened to the girl the police took away. Exploring the lives of three girls coming of age in small town New Jersey between 1955 and 1962, Stony River challenges the reader’s assumption about right and wrong, sanity and madness, love and abuse. “I structured the novel as a mosaic of interesting events, attempting to reflect the fractured experience of damaged psyches.” Reflecting on life in the Fifties, Tricia notes that differences in today’s culture include gender roles, what children knew then and know now of sex and violence, and how willing people were then and are now to intervene when they suspect abuse. “It’s not as easy now as it was then to control what children see and hear,” she says. “I was forbidden to play the song ‘Chantilly Lace’ in our house because the Big Bopper said, ‘Ooh baby, that’s what I like.’ So-called Marriage Manuals were kept in a locked cabinet behind the checkout desk at our local library.” “A new writer in old skin,” having once more reinvented herself through her writing, Tricia Dower, reaches back into the ’50s in Stony River to unveil the dark secrets of a seemingly quiet generation. SL Stony River is available in major bookstores. Tricia Dower will be appearing at the Victoria Writers Festival on October 12th at Camosun College. For more information, visit WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM


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BC Senior Games

Serious Senior Playfulness BY JAMES ELLSWORTH

On August 21-25, Burnaby hosted the largest collection of seniors in one BC venue who participated in the 25th annual BC Senior Games. Inspiration was in the air.

Inspirational The Senior Games have provided inspiration in various guises to many

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Photo: Barbara Ellsworth


he games started in 1988 in Vernon for 650 participants “to provide an opportunity for all BC residents aged 55+ to participate in provincial games and to promote an active, healthy lifestyle.” Since then, communities all over British Columbia have bid to be hosts. From leisure activities to aerobic events, from ‘A’ as in Athletics to ‘W’ as in Whist, four days were dedicated to 26 areas of competition. They included various card games and judged one-act plays to track and field, cycling and even an ice hockey tournament. Instead of the Olympic motto of Faster, Higher, Stronger, the Senior Games was more experiential than competitive. Its Memorable, Inclusive, and Sustainable exhortation rang true for the approximately 4,000 participants and their supporters.

people, young and old. Burnaby’s Gina Grain, herself a Canadian Olympian who was ranked #1 in 2006, said her mother, June, who took up power walking, was her own motivational figure1. Gina’s mom became a changed person, losing 30 pounds, changing her diet, and walking indoors in inclement weather. The results were awesome! June won a silver medal in the 5-km


walk at the 2010 games and, in Burnaby, she took gold in the event, plus silver in the 10 km. Many had similar stories. Herb Phillips, a retired electronics instructor, began running in 1982 when he was 42. “I had spent over 20 years of neglecting good health and fitness, and looked to running as a means of getting into some sort of reasonable shape.”2 Since then, Herb lost 55 lbs, ran 50

marathons and, at age 72, he beat all age groups in winning the 10 km race held in Burnaby’s Central Park. He also won three other gold medals in track and field, cheered on by family, including his grandson. Brock Paton took up archery when he was 58 because he needed something to do when he retired. Now aged 67, he runs his own archery school, makes quivers, and will go to Italy in 2013 to represent Canada. His friend, Vladimir Samek, was a pattern maker who started making bows when he was 65 and still competes at age 83. Jeanne Nightingale was the coordinator for the Whist event and has participated in nine Senior Games. Whist, which is like Bridge and similar to Hearts, is very popular in England, where it is organized into county leagues. At 73, Jeanne plays Whist twice a week, but can’t compete with her 94-year-old sister at Bridge. “The Games are like a social reunion,” she says.

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Herb Phillips and grandson Cole Wheeler. *Suites are reserved by signing a new rental agreement. Contact us for more details.

Photo: James Ellsworth



The players display vests and scarves festooned with traded memorial pins, and the card games have kept their minds sharp. “After all, poker is on TSN and having cards as activities have allowed those who aren’t physically able to participate.” Seniors from their 50s to their 90s have certainly embraced the Games. First Timers and Veterans Pentathlete Barry Adams, who was in the 70-74 age group, participated last year in Trail and, encouraged by the efficiency of the organization, he dared a coterie of friends to take up the relay baton this year, so to speak. One non-runner, Neda Dzoja agreed to train and compete in the 5,000-metre race in the 65-69 age group. Not always being able to keep count of the 12-and-a-half laps on the track required for her event, Neda trained by placing a small white towel on the grass by the starting line and putting 12-and-a-half chick peas on one edge of the towel. Every time she completed a lap, she stopped to pick up a chick pea and put it on the other edge of the towel. She enjoyed seeing the pile get bigger as she approached the end of the 5 km. First-timer Neda ran her personal best.


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Little did she know though that veteran Lenore Montgomery, an 82-year-old competitor who suffers from osteoporosis was also running in the race. Lenore lapped Neda on the way to winning her age group. “Again I was reminded to never judge a book by its cover,” Neda quipped while recovering. I also participated in the Games for the first time, and asked two 70 year olds where the 1,500-metre race started. When they saw my bib with its 60-64 age grouping, they pointed to the start but not without chortling, “Oh, you’re in the boys’ race.”

Burnaby’s Role Burnaby was no stranger to hosting big games; the city put on the World Police and Fire Games in 2009, and the BC Summer Games in 1984 and 1997. For the Senior Games, Burnaby hotels were at 100 per cent � occupancy and city council provided some extra space for RV � camping participants coming from the other 11 zones of the province. Most venues were already in place, but Burnaby did build new bocce ball courts, a legacy from the Games. Two ex��������������������������� ������������������������������ amples of behind-the-scene workers, who were old enough to participate, but chose to help instead, illustrated the efforts to ������������������������� make the Games enjoyable for seniors. Warren McKay, Director of Results and Registration, said the �������������������������������� executive began in earnest 14 months before the event, pulling together funding of more than $2 million, and trying to include ��������������������������������������������� ������������ the whole community. They made presentations to Burnaby’s ����������������������������������������������������������������� ethnic groups and to local high school students to act as volunteers. “All the work was worth it just to watch an 85 year old and his wife dancing to the Elvis and Patsy Kline look-alike singers at the registration,” he said. “Just seeing people hanging out by the Games’ flame and taking pictures after the Opening Ceremonies, it was like a re-union.” It was also a first for Lori Miller, Volunteer Manager for Sports. She was responsible for phoning and allocating 600 volunteers for all sports venues. Athletics, Slo-Pitch, Swimming and Golf needed the most at about 100 each, while Archery and One-Act Plays needed eight. Lori appreciated the assistance given in her task too. “There was always good humour and never any grumpiness.” With almost 2,000 volunteers serving 3,700 participants, Matthew Coyne, Executive Director of Tourism Burnaby said, “We generated ambassadors for Burnaby; we’ve heard nothing but good things and positive remarks from all the participants….”3 One overheard exchange stood out. There was an electronic time board on the infield at Swangard. “The times are coming up,” said one after their track and field event. “Oooh, I can’t see that far,” answered her companion, and they both laughed. Yes, memories, collegiality, and sustaining aging bodies, among other things, were the order of the 25th Senior Games. For more information about the 2012 BC Senior Games, visit SL

Burnaby NewsLeader (February 28, 2012); 2Running Times magazine (Jan./Feb. 2005); 3Burnaby NewsLeader (August 28, 2012). 1

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Photo: Bev Yaworski

ottery has its roots in prehistoric times, but a BC potters’ with lots of laughing.” “People also have the advantage of being able to come and go group has been putting their own contemporary spin to this ancient craft. The Delta Potters’ Co-op consists of and practise between their lessons. We offer a number of courses artisans and budding potters who create functional and artistic pots and also bring in internationally recognized professional teachers while learning new skills in a co-operative environment at their from England, the US and throughout BC. Our members are always being exposed to lots of good knowledge and great potters.” studio in Tsawwassen. Retiree Chris Heywood joined the club in 1999, took two beginCarole Clancey and Sheron Erickson, talented potters with ners classes from Carole Clancey and got into it seriously after he the Delta Potters’ Co-op, love to get their hands dirty while retired in 2001. they delight in the feel of clay and the “I really enjoy the challenge of makcreative process. Both have been poting ‘good’ pots and making different ters since the 1980s. things,” says Chris. “I really think it is “There are marvellous things you the challenge that I like just as much as can do with clay,” says Carole. “And the finished pot.” our studio is a great place for people Sheron loves to work on the wheel who are retired. It gives people a while focusing on pieces such as teapots, place to come to.” Sheron adds, “It’s casserole dishes, plates and even sea also a never-ending learning experisculptures. ence every day.” “The first thing you have to learn with Sheron, when she was a mom with clay is to centre it,” says Sheron. “As a two young children, felt a need for result, it’s a great stress releaser because something extra to do and signed up you can’t let your mind wander. But the for a pottery class in Kamloops about Sheron Erickson creates a bowl on a pottery wheel. beauty of clay is you can always fix it, if 30 years ago. Her attraction grew to the something goes wrong. We have a lot of fun in the studio. There is point where she also teaches classes at the studio. Carole came to great camaraderie here.” pottery through her interest in ceramics. “Potters are also great cooks,” adds Carole. “We like to have potBy crafting hand-built and wheel-thrown pottery, these artists create one-of-a-kind decorative and functional pieces. To add to luck dinners when we bring in a dish displayed in our best pots.” What is the most challenging aspect of pottery for Carole and the artistic appeal, the strong shapes are often decorated with comSheron? They both agree it is the glazing because it involves unplex glaze surfaces. The Delta Potters emphasize their goals of “coming together as individuals from diverse backgrounds to offer derstanding what the colouring ingredients will do, which recipe help to one another, share ideas, learn new skills in the craft of combinations will work well together and which will not eat one pottery and support the ongoing success of our guild.” 2013 will another when they are fired. For many pottery enthusiasts, the glazing process, along with a be their 40th Anniversary. The well-equipped studio offers members the use of nine pot- variety of decorating and firing techniques, becomes almost magitery wheels, two kilns, an extruder, about 10 different kinds of cal. Intricate mixtures of shiny, matt and semi-matt glazes can be clay, a library of art books along with other resources and supplies. built up in layers with bold patterns in vivid or muted colours. For those interested in experiencing the art of the Delta Potters’ The group has 80 regular members and four honorary members. firsthand, the group will be hosting a display and sale of their potAges range from 30 to 85 years of age. Operating as a co-op, everyone is expected to contribute, tery on November 2nd, 3rd and 4th at their Tsawwassen studio in whether it is on committees such as mixing glazes, firing the kiln, the South Delta Recreation Centre – 1720 56th Street. Visitors will studio cleaning or organizing sales. Potters come from Delta, see stunning functional food-safe pieces such as teapots, mugs, White Rock, Surrey and Richmond to participate. New members bowls and plates along with dazzling decorative pieces, sculptures, jewelry and more with prices ranging from $1 to $100, in all sizes, are always welcome including more male participants. SL “The beauty of this place is we have an exceptionally lovely something for everyone. For more information about Delta Potters, go to Senior Living’s studio,” says Carole. “We have use of this location from early morning to late at night, seven days a week. It’s a happy place website at 18 16



Giving feels so good

Doing good feels good. For everyone.



19 17


at The Wellesley

Saturday, October 13th, 1-4pm

Never Too Old to Learn BY MARGOT VENEMA

2800 Blanshard St. Victoria


Best City of the



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“Ah, you so old,” said the little Chinese lady to Ken Matheson when he told her that this was his first day of university. She was dropping off her 20-year-old son for school and asked him to take their photo. At age 57, Ken decided to go back to school to study Documentary Filmmaking at Capilano University – a big step, and a particularly courageous one, considering his age and the fact that he had barely finished high school. “I was completely overwhelmed that first day back in school after so many years,” he recalls. “I stood out and felt totally out of place in the sea of children.” Classmates Robyn Thomas and Ken Matheson discussing camera angles for a documentary on prison rehabilitation.

Photo: Margot Venema

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“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Community Kitchens - varied locations Guided Walks - Thursday 9:30am Sunday Hikes - Throughout the year Social Drop In - varied times & locations Table Tennis - Thursdays For details visit our website or call Julie Wallace at 250-475-5408 20 18


That feeling, however, did not prevent him from trying because “only fear and common sense hold you back” and Ken tends to run towards his fear. A few months into the program now, he is happy the feelings of anxiety have subsided. He finds his younger peers very accepting. The whole experience has allowed him to see things through different – younger – eyes. A whole new world has opened up he did not know existed. And most importantly, it exercises his brain. The biggest challenges about going back to school are figuring out how to study again, trying to fit in, and learning the technology. “There has been an enormous change in how schooling is done as opposed to 40 years ago,” says Ken. “Everything is pretty much




t The Summerhill you will enjoy chef-prepared meals, professional driver service, outings with new friends ������������������������������������������������������������ work and worry. Now is the time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and leave the driving and the dishes to us! Be open to new possibilities – call us today to learn about making the move to The Summerhill. 135 West 15th Street (off Lonsdale) North Vancouver | 604.980.6525 Part of Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities

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by Lucia Frangione Ted Cole, Christina Nicholaou u SeaShine Design u David Cooper Photography

computerized now and it has been a huge learning curve getting the movie programming down.” Though the experience has been a big adjustment, it’s also a rewarding one because, in documentary filmmaking, Ken has found his passion. He feels that everything he did in his life ultimately prepared him to be a documentary filmmaker. When he was young, he dreamed of being a veterinarian, but after high school, he chose military college instead. He ended up joining the RCMP where he saw life at its best and worst. After 20 years in the Force, he retired to become an outdoor adventure guide, which gave him the opportunity to travel the world, meet people from all walks of life, and gather stories. Documentary filmmaking allows Ken to combine his passions for storytelling, the outdoors, people, and experiencing new things, into one. “I love the power of storytelling and I want to learn what motivates people,” he says. “I always wonder about the human spirit and what can be accomplished.” It also gives him the chance to meet people and make deep personal connections. When they share their most intimate thoughts and emotions, they become part of his family. When generating story ideas, he always asks two questions: “What is the story?” and “Where is the story?” He wants to tell human-interest stories; the kinds of tales people connect with. Stories are all round us and there are so many out there that need to be told, it is overwhelming. At 3 a.m. when – in general – the ideas start to flow, he dreams of making documentaries about famous mountaineers, the RCMP, the environment, and people in the North Thompson, to name a few. He draws inspiration from Facing Ali, the best documentary he knows. He loves the way it was shot. The director Pete McCormack, whom Ken had the pleasure of meeting in school, never interviewed Muhammad Ali. He only spoke to the people who fought Ali, so the audience learns about the boxer through his opponents. Yet, at the same time, you learn about these fighters themselves. The strength of the story lies in its ability to show these fighters as real people. Ken’s early role model and motivator was his dad. “He used to be a documentary filmmaker but did not know it,” he says. His dad would go out on these great adventures and take photos, which he would then put in a book along with short stories. Ken is convinced his dad would have been proud of him and that he would have loved his new profession. He believes he would have done the program himself, if he had had the chance. Ken’s biggest supporter is his wife. Three years ago, in her forties, she decided to go back to school to finish her Bachelor of Arts degree. “Margot showed me that I could go to university to realize my dreams at any point in my life and that it was not restricted to a young age,” he says. Apart from long stretches of time away from home, the financial challenges, and the adjustments to learning again, it has been a rewarding journey Ken would not have missed for anything. He hopes to inspire people regardless of their age, to follow their passion and pursue education if needed. After all, “you SL are never too old to learn.”

with music by Royal Sproule, Lewis Frere,

Mark Lewandowski and Jason Bertsch

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2012 OCTOBER 2012

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Travel & Adventure


“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain


n international kinship of seafaring adventurers harnesses the winds of the oceans – they are a global community of sail-cruisers. Andrew and Janet Gunson have earned their place in this fusion of unique voyagers. In 2001, Andrew, Janet and their two children Melissa, 10, and Thomas, 14, cast off their Mission, BC moorings amidst the cheers of well-wishers. Upon reaching the open Pacific, Skipper Andrew set a southerly course. Then, signalled by the brusque Crack! of unfurled sails, Andrew commanded the helm of the sailing vessel Maiatla II as she charged forward, diving head-on into the white-capped blue waters of the North Pacific Ocean. Her destination? The warm water currents of the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. The Maiatla II (pronounced My-atla) meaning “friend,” would be home to the Gunson family for the next 14 months; a home where wind fills the sails and sea spray fills the air. This is the world of sail-cruisers: exploring – dreaming – discovering. Over the past 12 years, the couple’s

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Look up! Look way up! That’s Janet Gunson on the mast of the Maiatla II off the coast of Ladysmith.

land-based residences have been in Mission, BC, and more recently, the midVancouver Island district of Ladysmith. “We sold almost everything we owned and the Maiatla II became our new home.”


The Gunson family embarked on their first extended open-ocean cruise aboard the Maiatla II, a 55’, 20-ton sleek sailing vessel. Maiatla II is fitted with a water desalination system, freezer, marine cooking appliances, full gal-

ley, bathroom facilities with hot water shower, multi-sleeping accommodation, and high-tech navigation equipment including autopilot, and lots of headroom. The Maiatla II sailed south more than 100 miles offshore for safety along the rugged, dangerous coastlines of Washington, Oregon and California; navigating past the Baja Peninsula into the warm currents of the Sea of Cortez. Andrew authored his first book on this adventure, The Voyage of the Maiatla with the Naked Canadian. The Naked Canadian gets naked indeed, but who is it? Janet homeschooled the children during this time away aboard Maiatla. At times, she had to choose schooling over snorkelling and beachcombing. Janet says her students were excellent. When Melissa and Thomas integrated back into the school system in 2002, they were advanced in their studies and maturity; Thomas said he felt different, not better, but different from his schoolmates.

Maiatla II in the Gulf Islands.

Cooking, cleaning and the always-necessary laundry are well within the Gunson’s cruiser lifestyle. “We anchored just off shore in the Sea of Cortez after we learned of a well, where the locals came for their water, about a mile in from the beach,” says Andrew. “It had been weeks since doing the last wash; clothing, towels, bedding, everything piled high. We loaded up the Zodiac, landed on the hot sand, and went hunting for the well.” “We found it and a discarded road sign that became the laundry table. Melissa and Thomas filled coolers and buckets with water,” says Janet. “I cranked the hand powered washing machine in the mid-morning 110 degree temperature.” “The kids hauled bucket after bucket of water from the well and I’m cranking the handle,” she says. “When we got back to the Maiatla, we strung it up to dry bow to stern, every available wire, the entire length of the boat covered with hanging laundry.” Andrew and Janet have been married for 28 years. Andrew has been sailing all his life having gained his highly skilled experience from the instruction of his father. “We met in 1981 and we were married in 1984,” says Andrew smiling. “On our second date I took Janet sailing on English Bay in Vancouver on my 36’ sailboat.” Janet says, reflecting back, “I had no experience sailing whatsoever. It was beautiful, cold, snow on the mountains of North Vancouver.”



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Est. 1944

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“He was trying me out,” laughs Janet, adding, “and probably trying to impress me too.” Their second Pacific journey in 2007, crossed to the Hawaiian Islands. Andrew wrote his second book based on this exploit titled, The Tahiti Syndrome Hawaiian Style: a Naked Canadian Adventure. Andrew says that cruising is broken up into thirds: one third boredom, one third pleasure, and one third sheer terror and that there have been times when he has asked himself, “What am I doing here? Oh-h crap!” Such an incident occurred in 2007, but Andrew was too busy to ask himself the question, What am I doing here? “I broke my main boom when we were returning from Hawaii in 2007, 1,200 miles out from shore. We were under gale force winds. We had a wave come up behind us at two o’clock in the morning causing the boat to broach. We were running dead downwind, so my boom was all the way out. When the wave came up behind us, the stern lifted and the boat started to surf. It can be quite exciting when you’re surfing 20 tons of boat down the face of a 30-foot wave in the pitch-dark. You can hear waves roaring like express trains approaching from behind you,” says Andrew. Andrew explains that while he was sitting at the wheel, the boat continued surfing this monster wave and the automatic pilot that was steering at the time, lost control of the boat — which turned — broad siding the wave. The Maiatla II rolled to port as the wind from the opposite side filled the boom sail shooting it back across the deck to the other side. It hit the wire stays with such force that they snapped the boom. The 55-foot sailboat shook. Andrew says he ducked behind the control panel in the cockpit thinking the mast was coming down (fortunately, it didn’t). He managed to straighten the boat’s course and yelled for the crew to come on deck to help deal with the broken boom. The autopilot resumed operation. “It was one of those moments when something does happen,” Andrew says. “But if you worry about all these things that could go wrong,” he says, “it will drive you nuts and you’d never leave the dock.” Andrew and Janet have been cruising for over 30 years.

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Janet and Andrew scuba diving off Mexico coast.

Photos: Courtesy of Andrew and Janet Gunson

Travel & Adventure

“We’ve met couples in their 60s and 70s who are out there cruising. The amazing part being that when we get together over a glass of wine, talking about where we’ve been and what we’ve done; there they are, chatting casually about handling their boat, reefing sails during storms and hurricanes, losing masts as if it’s an everyday occurrence for them,” says Andrew. “They are voyagers, talking about the seriousness of coming through a hurricane at sea as if they’ve just had a bad encounter in a mall parking lot. They seem to relish taking on adversity,” he says admiringly. Andrew and Janet make family their priority. When they are away on an excursion, new friends become like family. “While sailing, we constantly meet new people,” says Andrew, “many we would develop deep and lasting relationships with, which filled the voids that our shore side friends had left. Our boat has always been the springboard for all of our recreational activities; we did more, not less by leaving. So aside from the other part of our family, we missed virtually nothing by sailing off.” “It’s the people. It’s the place and the getting together. It’s the way we are. It’s the living,” says Janet. Andrew and Janet continue befriending an enormous multiplicity of sail-cruisers living fascinating lifestyles. Andrew tells of a humorous occasion while anchored off


La Paz when an internationally well-known physicist/cruiser came over from his boat to assist Andrew in making a repair on the Maiatla. Andrew called out for the physicist’s help at a crucial point, but without reply. The physicist had abandoned Andrew and was now helping Andrew’s son, Thomas, with his homeschooling Grade 9 math. The Gunsons have a third voyage planned – sailing down the West Coast towards Mexico, passing through Panama then possibly visiting Costa Rica. The departure date was July 7, 2012, but without warning, their leave-taking from Ladysmith became delayed. “We were one day away from departing Ladysmith Marina when engine problems developed,” says Andrew. “It looks like God, fate, and those little gremlins that live in Maiatla’s bilge have all conspired to sabotage our departure for Mexico this month [July 2012]. Jan and I are disappointed, but that’s cruising.” Janet says past cruising memories and adventures and the current excitement of preparation for their third voyage bonds them together, focused on the future — living in the present. “Departure won’t be a certainty until our lines are cast off from the marina dock,” says Janet. Andrew adds, “And leavSL ing the dock can be the hardest part of cruising.” For more photos of the Gunson’s adventures and to find out where to purchase Andrew W. Gunson’s books, go online to

Andrew with dinner in the South Pacific.

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Health & Wellness

My Medical Adventure BY KEN PLEASANCE

I found myself in. I was already booked for my annual visit to my GP for August 16. When I related to my doctor what had happened, he remarked in a very matter-of-fact manner that we should look into this. Before I left his office, I had a requisition for a chest x-ray and a referral appointment to another doctor whose specialty is internal medicine. I went to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital the next day for the x-ray, and met with the specialist on the following day. He scheduled me for a heart stress test (treadmill). To my surprise, his office called me the next day and cancelled the treadmill test without explanation. While pondering what this all meant, the receptionist from my GP’s office called and indicated my doctor wanted to see me

for a non-urgent meeting. The outcome of this meeting was the revelation a shadow that could not be explained had been observed on the x-ray on my right lung. A requisition for a CAT scan and referral appointment to a respirologist followed. The CAT scan happened the first week of September, and the respirologist appointment about two weeks later. This doctor, with a wry sense of humour, said the CAT scan had sliced me into 414 pieces – a bit over the top when only 60 slices would have done the job – but the camera work definitely showed something in the upper lobe of my right lung that did not belong. He indicated that he was going to book me for a bronchoscopy, a procedure in which they would explore the upper reaches of my lungs with a video camera and possibly take a biopsy.

The author (left) with his buddies (l. to r.) Neil Morison, David Barlow, Andrew MacTaggart and Bruce Tutt hiking along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. 26 24



Photo: Peter Woods


am a relatively healthy, active 71year old (I walk five kilometres every morning before breakfast) but, recently, I embarked on a journey through our public healthcare system that I am calling my “Medical Adventure.” It all started on July 20, 2011 when a group of my former co-workers and I hiked the San Juan Trail between Sombrio and Chin Beach. We were all in the 65 to 80 age demographic and this type of activity was one we have collectively enjoyed for close to 40 years. During this hike, I found myself running out of breath while climbing some of the steep grades, so much so that I had to stop and regain some semblance of normal breathing before I could carry on. This troubled me as my buddies were not experiencing anywhere near the difficulty


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There was the dreaded word – biopsy. Now there was no doubt in my mind that the possibility of cancer was a distinct option to explain the shadow in my lung. By this time, I had also had an appointment with the internal medicine specialist who explained that the treadmill test to evaluate my heart had been cancelled until they understood what was going on in my lungs. My bronchoscopy was scheduled for the first week of October. I was not fully anesthetized during this procedure, but I remembered little about it. I do recall the respirologist handing me a piece of paper with the words “atrial fibrillation” written on it and a suggestion that I book an appointment with my GP. Three days later, at an appointment with my GP, I learned that the biopsy confirmed the presence of cancer. For my generation, this is a dreaded word. Cancer means death. My wife and I spent five very emotional days together before meeting with the respirologist. As we both tend to wear our emotions on our sleeves, and Thanksgiving week-

CORRECTION NOTICE An article in the September issue, “No Age Limit to Getting Fit,” mistakenly stated that Christa Bortignon was coached by Olga Kotelko. While Christa Bortignon has been inspired by Olga Kotelko, she has only ever been coached by Harold Morioka. We apologize for the error. Read Harold Morioka’s story at www. WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

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end was approaching, we decided to flee to Seattle so as to avoid having any contact with our three children and seven grandchildren. We knew we would not be able to face any of them without them detecting that something was terribly wrong. We met with the respirologist the following Tuesday, and learned the news was not as bleak as we had first imagined. While there was no doubt now that it was cancer, we were told it had been detected early and was a “non-aggressive” type that could be cured by surgery if it had not spread to other parts of my body. Those 414 slices of the CAT scan gave some reason for optimism as they did not reveal any obvious spread to other vital organs such as my kidneys or liver. To my surprise, the respirologist informed us my shortness of breath on the hike was not related to my lung cancer. He surmised I might have been in atrial fibrillation on the day of my hike. It turned out that during my bronchoscopy, my heart had been in atrial fibrillation throughout the entire procedure. So now it appeared I had both a lung and a heart problem! By now, I felt like I was on a merry-go-round and the operator had lost control of the speed. It was going faster and faster, and I was unable to get off! In the following two-week period, I was booked for an echocardiogram, a stress test on the treadmill, a pulmonary function assessment, a full bone scan and a mediastinoscopy (a procedure where they can view and sample the lymph nodes in your chest wall with a video camera on the end of a probe inserted through a one-inch incision at the base of your throat). I was very fortunate. All of these tests confirmed the cancer had not spread and was confined to my right lung. I had meetings with thoracic surgeons, anesthetists and other hospital staff members, who laid out the game plan for the removal of the offending cancer. It was a whirlwind of activity. On November 23, I entered the Royal Jubilee Hospital at 8:30 a.m. and by 2:30 p.m. on November 26; I walked out and went home, missing the upper lobe of my right lung. Amazing! The surgery was done using Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery, an incredible procedure where the surgery was performed through three small incisions in my chest. No major incision crisscrossed my body from armpit to navel. No cut ribs. No 10- to 12week recovery period. I was out of the hospital in three days! We have an amazing medical system; and I am grateful to the vast team of professionals I encountered. Every person I met during my medical adventure was highly committed, from the people who mopped the floor and brought me my food each day to the highly trained surgeons and anesthetists who were directly involved in my operation. Behind the scenes, there have been many researchers who have designed these new operating procedures and taught others how to treat this invasive disease. I must also give my praise to the many volunteers who work at the hospital. They are everywhere, giving assistance from the admissions office to the side of your bed. I cannot begin to estimate how many people have been assisting me on my medical adventure. It must be in the hundreds. I offer my heartfelt thanks to each of you. You are my heroes! SL



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Dear Goldie: Four years ago, my wife and I broke up after 30 years of marriage, three children and two grandchildren. We did not divorce but went our separate ways. We have always remained in contact with family and are still good friends. Neither of us has remarried. During a family reunion two weeks ago, my wife confided that she had met someone and wished to remarry. She wants a divorce. I was really devastated. Should I just accept the situation or tell her how I feel? I still love her. –R.L. Dear R.L.: There is really only one way your wife will know exactly how you feel and that is through clear communication. Of course, it is equally important for you to know her feelings. Do not waste time. Make a date and let her know before she makes any further commitment. Good luck! Dear Goldie: I went on a cruise three months ago and had a wonderful vacation. I also met a widower on the trip who was very charming. When I returned, I told my family and let them know he was the first person of interest since their father’s death 10 years ago. Well, they reacted in a manner I wasn’t expecting and treated me like a delinquent school girl. Do you think they will accept my friend in time? Surely I have some right to happiness. Is this a usual reaction of families in such a circumstance? –W.D. Dear W.D.: I am sure you aren’t the first to receive this kind of treatment from family. Some of it is concern for your happiness and much of it is fear of you losing their father’s memory. Continue in your relationship and have your family meet him as soon as possible. Time does a lot in the healing process. Warn him about their initial reaction, but do not give in to their negative attitude. This is your life and future happiness. Hang in there and SL weather the storm together. 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

Senior Peer Counselling Centres – Mainland

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

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




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Phishing Attacks Still Pose Risk


nline phishing attacks continue to pose a significant risk of identity theft for both consumers and businesses. Phishing scams, using the names and identities of reputable businesses and organizations, are designed to steal personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims. The key to protecting yourself is to keep informed, and exercise common sense when using email, social networks and the Internet, in general. We often think of phishing scams as old news, but they continue to be a big problem. Phishing scams are becoming more and more sophisticated looking, modelling fraudulent emails closely after legitimate emails being sent by legitimate businesses and financial institutions. Even the BBB has been victimized by phishing. Since the autumn of 2011, an aggressive international phishing scam has targeted consumers and businesses using the false identity of a BBB to lure victims into clicking on a hyperlink that will download a malicious virus to the computer. What is a phishing scam? Phishing scams are attempts by scam artists to lure people into giving personal information like contact information, usernames, passwords and credit card details via electronic communications such as emails, instant messaging and social networks. Phishing scams typically use the name, logos and branding of a reputable, trustworthy business, organization or financial institution to persuade victims to either download something (usually containing a virus, spyware or malware) or to update their personal information via a fake website, that

looks and feels similar to the one owned by the legitimate organization. Who is targeted by phishing scams? Anyone with an electronic communications account is susceptible to becoming a victim of a phishing scam. Social networking sites are gaining in popularity as a prime target for phishing scams. Some research suggests that phishing attacks on social networks boast a 70 per cent success rate. Protect Yourself You can protect yourself from phishing scams by considering the following tips: • Be skeptical of any unsolicited electronic requests for you to verify or update account information, or to click on or download information – even if it appears to come from a known business or organization; • If you suspect a phishing scam, delete the email immediately and do not click on any links or download any attachments; • If your receive an odd electronic request for information, independently contact the business or organization via phone to determine if the request is legitimate; • Install phishing protection. Many updated Internet browsers have built-in phishing protection. • Ensure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus and malware protection installed and perform updates regularly. If you receive a suspicious e-communication, report it immediately to both the organization it appears to be from and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495SL 8501 or

For more information, contact BBB Mainland BC at 604-682-2711 and or BBB Vancouver Island at 250-386-6348 and WWW.SENIORLIVINGMAG.COM

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s we approach Thanksgiving, I am reminded of all the things in my life I have to be grateful for. My list is dominated by family. Not just my birth family, but the family that has come to me as a result of making friends over the years. For me, this has been a year of learning. At the age of 71, I became an orphan. My mom, who lovingly passed along her great wisdom and great genes, died at the age of 96-and-a-half. A number of lessons came from the experience, along with a number of things for which I am grateful. First, it is a privilege to be with someone when they are leaving this life to pass on to the next. My sister, my daughter and I spent Mom’s last hours with her, and I hope we made the transition a pleasant one. Secondly, at 96-plus, you have outlived most of your family and contemporaries. Mom was the baby of a family of nine and all of her siblings had gone before her; so had most of her friends and acquaintances. A couple of people in the

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Photo: Frances Litman


church remembered Mom from years gone by, but most of those people were friends of her children. So, my lesson is simply this: Cultivate younger friendships, so when you go, there will be lots of people to party and celebrate your life. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the great genes I have been blessed with; for friends and family, both younger and older, that fill my life with joy; for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you; and I am grateful for readers, like Julia, who sent me a list of suggestions for what to collectively call ourselves as we move through the decades. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to cultivate new younger friends, and to let those who have been around for a long time know how important they are in your life. Be grateful for every day in the sunshine. Happy Thanksgiving! SL Pat Nichol is a speaker and published author. Reach her at or visit



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want them. They may be tattered and some are really weather-beaten, but books are like aged wine. The older they get, the sweeter the stories and the BY GIPP FORSTER memories of reading them. You can’t just throw things like that to the wind as though they are just “stuff.” Friendship goes far deeper. got broken. In later years, when I settled As I sit at my desk writing this, I can down, I put it in a special place in my see a letter opener that looks like a dagger office and told the stories of my years in my pen jar. I gave that letter opener to of wandering and drifting with good ol’ my dad about 50 years ago. After he died, “stayed-in-tact” Beethoven. it came back to me; another old friend to Then one day a kid, wanting to please, while away the memories. decided to dust my shelves and knocked Allowing my eyes to play tag with poor old Ludwig von Beethoven to shatcertain things that have always seemed, ter in a hundred pieces. All the king’s somehow, to be here is kind of neat. This horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put game never seems to tire me out. One of adventurous old Ludwig together again. the few things that don’t! I can’t even begin I mourned him for the longest time. We to imagine taking all of the treasures that travelled a lot of miles together Beethoven surround me and just giving them away to and me. It seems a shame that he ended up strangers. I’m willing to help those with a pile of plaster in a dustpan. If his world less as much as the next guy; it’s the mem- hadn’t crashed, I’d probably still have him ories I don’t want to part with. to reminisce with. I remember having a bust of Beethoven I’m a great believer in “things improve many years ago. It was about 20 inches with age.” Of course, there are excephigh, and it was one of my most cher- tions: memory for one. I can remember ished treasures at the time. Wrapped with yesteryears but, for the life of me, I can’t clothes in hopes of not breaking it, I care- remember today’s date or my postal code. fully tucked it in my haversack. I had it It doesn’t matter, I guess – not now when for years and, by some miracle, it never I’m more of a conversation piece than a person to be reckoned with. But once, my life was an adventure and some that “Reflections” MAIL-IN ORDER FORM Reflections, Rejections, shared that adventure still linger to share and Other Breakfast Foods Name_____________________________________ by Gipp Forster that word “old” as well. Address___________________________________ When I’m gone, all of my treasures, A collection of Gipp’s humorous City______________________________ Prov ____ wrapped in memories, will be junk to and nostalgic columns. A wonderPostal Code____________ Ph _________________ ful read for someone else. They’ll probably give them Reflections, ���������� yourself, and a to someone or just throw them away. and Other Breakfast Foods ____ BOOKS @ $14.92 each = $_______ (incl. $3.95 shipping & taxes) thoughtful gift But while I’m still here, I’ll hold on for friends and Make cheque payable to Senior Living to many of those things that have shared family members. MAIL TO: my life. Some are still here and many are 128 pages Senior Living gone. Gone, perhaps, but not forgotten. 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1 REDUCED PRICE SL Oh no, never forgotten! $10.00 Please allow two weeks for shipping.

Photo: Krystle Wiseman

hate throwing things away. It could be a used deck of cards, a “stretched-beyond-repair” sweater, an old suit or a well-worn pair of shoes. The list goes on and on. Heck, I have a copy of a Reader’s Digest from 1940 (it cost 25 cents then and had no advertisements inside). Now that I’m embracing old, I’m sure glad no one’s decided to throw me out! (I don’t like it when my wife stares at me with that sly grin on her face… especially when the Salvation Army truck drives slowly by.) Maybe I should re-phrase: no one’s decided to throw me out YET! Things that you’ve kept for a long time become your friends after a while. You don’t throw away old friends. I’ve got an old pair of cowboy boots. I don’t wear them anymore and, although they may no longer be filled with feet, they are crammed full of memories – both of adventure and misadventure, depending on which ring of the ladder I happened to be on at the time. It is ludicrous to even think of severing ties with them. I’ve got an ancient Mickey Mouse pocket watch too (well, maybe not ancient, but old!). How could I part with that? We’re buddies – have been for years! I have a few (quite a few) old books. Second-hand book stores don’t seem to

Limited Edition


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


Now Open

After months of anticipation, Cedar Springs is now open. Perfectly located in the heart of the Seymour neighbourhood in North Vancouver so you can do your shopping, banking, or visit the library right across the street. With a range of suite sizes, views and monthly rates, take the opportunity to select your preferred suite today. Visit us today. 3633 Mt Seymour Parkway North Vancouver | 604.986.3633

The North Shore’s Newest Retirement Residence

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Our Renovations Are Complete! After almost six months of dust, noise and mayhem which inevitably ensues during any renovation, we finally have the store of our dreams. The jewellery is thoroughly enjoying the new display cases, windows and lighting; winking and sparkling their best and brightest. Come visit our new store and learn more about our custom design for the holidays this month at Barclay’s!

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106-2187 Oak Bay Ave. 250-592-1100 OCTOBER 2012





October 2012 Senior Living Magazine  

50+ Active Lifestyle Magazine for Vancouver Island and for Vancouver & Mainland BC Canada

October 2012 Senior Living Magazine  

50+ Active Lifestyle Magazine for Vancouver Island and for Vancouver & Mainland BC Canada