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MAGAZINE

(Vancouver & Lower Mainland) is published by Stratis Publishing. Other publications by Stratis Publishing:

• Senior Living (Vancouver Island) • Senior Lifestyle: A Housing Guide for Vancouver Island

FEATURES

Publisher

Barbara Risto

DEPARTMENTS

4 The Good Ol’ Hockey Game

Editor

Bobbie Jo Reid Sheriff editor@seniorlivingmag.com

Hockey has always played a huge role in Gren Coombe’s life – from spectator to coach to board of directors to player.

Proofreader

Allyson Mantle

8 On The Gold Trail

Advertising Manager

Two accidental tourists discover priceless nuggets of British Columbia’s history.

Barry Risto 250-479-4705 Toll Free 1-877-479-4705 sales@seniorlivingmag.com

14 The Land of Eternal Sunshine Adventure seekers put Guatamala on their must-see lists – as a tourist destination or even retirement option.

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Johnny Forrest was a performer on one of Canada’s highest-rated television shows – and he’s still making music.

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

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Neil McKinnon treks paths unknown – but they are all part of his life’s journey.

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32 Reflections: Then & Now by Gipp Forster

Travel writers Rick and Chris Millikan don’t just play on their travels; they learn a thing or two – this time it’s history and marine life.

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No portion of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Senior Living is an indepdendent publication and its articles imply no endoresement of any products or services. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher. Unsolicited articles are welcome and should be e-mailed to editor@seniorlivingmag.com Senior Living Vancouver & Lower Mainland is distributed free in Vancouver, North & West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Delta, Twawwassen, White Rock, Surrey, Cloverdale and Ladner. ISSN 1911-6373 (Print) ISSN 1991-6381 (Online)

Cover Photo: Gren Coombe has been a hockey fan all his life. As a boy, he played soccer, but now he’s out on the ice. Story page 4. Photo: Kevin McKay

Senior Living Vancouver is available at most Recreation Centres and Libraries in the following municipalities: • VANCOUVER • BURNABY • NEW WESTMINSTER • WHITE ROCK • NORTH VANCOUVER • LADNER / TSAWWASSEN • PORT MOODY • COQUITLAM • PORT COQUITLAM • SURREY • RICHMOND • WEST VANCOUVER • LANGLEY • ABBOTSFORD • PHARMASAVE STORES THROUGHOUT BC

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1


THE FAMILY CAREGIVER

T

Navigating the Healthcare System BY BARBARA SMALL

crisis intervention at home and facilitate he Home and Community grooming, hygiene and toileting. early hospital discharge. The QRT team Care program (HCC) of the Vancouver Island Health Community rehabilitation servic- includes physiotherapists, occupational Authority (VIHA) provides commu- es provide home-based physiotherapy therapists, social workers, nurses and nity-based health services intended to and occupational therapy services in home support workers. support people with an acute or chronic order to help a person remain living at Anyone can make a referral to the illness or a physical disability to remain home safely. at home, as independently as possible. Home and Community Care program. Each region of VIHA has a HCC The services a client is eligiGeneral Enquiries Line. For ble for are based on a standard those who live in the South Isassessment of needs; may be The services a client is eligible provided on a short- or long-term land region call 250-388-2273, for are based on a standard basis; and may be subsidized acCentral Island 250-734-4101 or North Island 250-898-2255. The cording to the client’s income or assessment of needs; may be above information can be found provided at no cost. Other health provided on a short- or longin more detail on the VIHA webauthorities throughout B.C. provide similar services. site at www.viha.ca/hcc/ This term basis; and may be subsiTeams of healthcare profeswebsite also includes a helpful dized according to the client’s booklet that can be downloaded sionals deliver HCC services to Home and Community eligible clients. Below is a list of income or provided at no cost. entitled, Care, A Guide to Your Care. some of these health care professionals and the services they For additional assistance in provide: navigating the healthcare system Adult day programs provide sup- and finding resources, call the Family Case managers conduct assessments port in a group setting for older adults, Caregivers’ Network Society at 250SL to determine eligibility for home sup- especially those with chronic illness or 384-0408. ports, suitability for adult day programs cognitive impairments. Day centres ofor placement in assisted living and resi- fer opportunities to socialize, have a hot FCNS is offering a workshop for dential care facilities. They will work meal and participate in recreational and family caregivers on April 4 entitled with the client and the client’s family health maintenance activities. Navigating the Healthcare System. Visit to address his or her health care goals. www.fcns-caregiving.org for more deCase managers also provide ongoing Victoria Innovative Seniors Treat- tails. co-ordination of services. ment Approach (VISTA) offers a Next month: The Emotions of Carprogram for seniors experiencing dayLiaison case managers work in the to-day problems with the misuse of al- egiving hospital to organize the community cohol and/or prescription drugs or elder supports necessary to discharge clients abuse issues. safely home or assess for residential facility care placement from a hospital Clinical nutritionists help a perBarbara Small is Program Develstay. son maintain optimal nutritional health opment Coordinator for Family Carewhile living at home by providing asgivers’ Network Society. Home support (community health sessment, consultation and education. workers) provide in-home care to assist Quick Response Team provides criindividuals to continue living independently in their home and provide respite sis intervention at home to eligible clito family caregivers. They offer per- ents when required, aimed at preventing sonal assistance with bathing, dressing, avoidable hospital admission, provide 2

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NEW BC EDITION

Published by Senior Living

JANUARY 2009

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To Move or Not to Move? A Helpful Guide for Seniors Considering Their Residential Options

If you are a senior who has been wondering lately whether you should consider moving - either because you find the maintenance of your current home more difficult due to diminishing ability or energy, or you simply want a lifestyle that allows you more freedom and less responsibility - then this is the book that can help you ask the right questions and find the solution that is right for you. • What residential options are available? • Define your current situation - What residential option is right for you? • How to research and assess Independent and Assisted Living residences. • What do Independent, Assisted Living and Complex Care facilities have to offer? • How much does it cost to live in an Assisted Living residence? What subsidies are available? • Thinking of moving in with family members? Questions to consider before making your decision. • Are there any other residential options besides Independent, Assisted Living and Complex Care facilities? • If you choose to stay in your own home, what are your options and what should you plan for? • Who can help you decide what you can or cannot afford? • Funding sources available to seniors - tax deductions, housing subsidies, home care subsidies, equipment loan programs, renovation grants, etc. • Selling your home - how to find the right realtor or relocation services to assist your move. • Downsizing - Where do you start? How do you proceed? • Adapting your home to meet your mobility needs - tips and suggestions • Hiring home care services; do it yourself or hire an agency? • Legal matters - how to make sure you receive the care you desire should you not be able to communicate due to some incapacitating condition • AND MUCH MORE Advice from professionals who are experts in the area of assisting seniors with their relocation

questions and concerns. A handy reference guide for seniors and their families wrestling with the issues around whether relocation is the best option. This 128-page book provides helpful, easy to read information and suggestions to help seniors and their families understand the decisions they need to make.

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3


The Good Ol’ Hockey Game

BY KEVIN MCKAY

M

illions of young Canadians would love the opportunity to play hockey. Many of them start out in an organized minor hockey league at local arenas or trying their hand at shinny on a frozen pond. Then there are people like Gren Coombe, 59, of Vancouver. A self-confessed “huge hockey fan” all his life, for a variety of reasons, didn’t take up the game until he was 28. Born in Comox in 1949, this baby boomer moved to Vancouver a couple of years later and grew up in the Dunbar region of the city. His father had served in the Forces during the Second World War before settling down to work in the automotive service in4

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

dustry. Gren was an only child, and since his mother also worked, he spent a lot of time playing outside with his friends in the neighbourhood. Gren recalls that only one family owned a television when he was growing up; the boy could only invite one friend in at a time to watch it with him. “He would pick the petals off a dandelion to select who would get to watch,” says Gren. “It was the only fair way.” Gren was always athletically gifted, but the only organized sport he played was soccer. He credits his father’s British background for this. “My parents both enjoyed hockey,” says Gren, “but they felt the game was

too dangerous and never signed me up to play on a team.” Though he did very little ice-skating at Kerrisdale Arena as a child, he played a lot of street hockey with his friends. He grew up a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. When his family finally bought a TV, he watched Hockey Night in Canada regularly on Saturday nights with his parents. When the Vancouver Canucks entered the league in 1970, Gren’s allegiance changed and he remains a Canucks fan to this day. At 23, Gren started his own business. “I inherited a green thumb from my parents,” he says, “and during my high school years, I worked in the summers


for a gardening company. I decided to start my own gardening and landscaping business, went out and found a client and never looked back. I never advertised. I grew the business all by word of mouth. I am now semi-retired and work as much as I want.” Once the business was established, Gren married and the children soon followed: two sons and then a daughter. Not wanting his children to miss the opportunities that had passed him by, Gren enrolled his first son in minor hockey at age five. “That introduced me to coaching,” he says. “I never thought I would be a coach, but I met one of the other coaches and got involved from there. You know, some people are better at teaching than others. I discovered I could teach and I enjoyed it.” Over the next couple of decades, Gren spent countless hours at the rink coaching both of his sons’ hockey teams. In the spring and summer, he would switch to coaching his daughter’s softball teams. Gren also served as coach for the senior boys’ ice hockey team at Kitsilano High School when his boys were 17 and 18. The highlight of his coaching career took place during this time. “My younger son was in Grade 12. We went over to a tournament on Vancouver Island and we won that tournament, playing against and beating the best teams. Our kids will never forget that tournament. We played good, hard, clean hockey and won despite very tough odds. My older son also coached that team so it was a real family win.” From coaching minor hockey, it was only a short step to joining the board of directors for the Vancouver Thunderbird Minor Hockey Association, then the largest minor hockey association in the province. He served on the board for more than 15 years, including stints as Division Manager, Equipment Manager and Association President for three years. “It was a big time commitment but at the same time a wonderful opportunity,” says Gren. “My social life came out of hockey. Between minor hockey and now senior hockey, it largely shapes my social life. Hockey is huge. It’s amazing the number of things that spiral out of

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picious debut, Gren is now not only a good skater and adequate player, but organizes and runs the beer league games at UBC. When the rink at UBC underwent renovations a couple of years ago, in preparation for the upcoming Olympic Games, Gren and his fellow players were forced to look elsewhere to get their hockey fix. A brief search brought them to the Adult Safe Hockey League (ASHL), a league of many divisions

and categories run out of the Eight Rinks complex in Burnaby. They ran two teams the first season they played and continue in the league today playing as the Done Guns. The team competes in the Over-40 division, despite the fact that most of the players are in their mid to late 50s. They were forced to compete in that division because neither of the teams’ goalies has turned 50 yet. But despite being more senior than the players they are competing against, the Done Guns are competitive. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but we are doing quite

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well,” says Gren. As he did with the teams at UBC, Gren manages the Done Guns. He makes sure there are enough players in each position for all the games, and organizes a couple of team bonding parties each year. Once they got involved in the ASHL, the team realized the game was much different from what they were used to. “We have learned a lot playing hockey at Eight Rinks with actual referees. An organized league was a real learning experience for us since half our team hadn’t played any organized hockey before becoming involved with this league.” For his own part, Gren describes himself as “A defensive kind of player. I’ve been a defenseman since I started playing, and when you play defense that many years, you become a stay-at-home defenseman. I’d like to be more offensive-minded now that I am not such a bad skater. I know what to do when playing the game thanks to my years of coaching, but because my skating is not as good as those who grew up playing the game, I can’t always get where I want to go.” This is a gentler game than that played by the younger generation. There are no body checks allowed and slap shots are strictly banned. Aside from that, it remains the same great team sport. One thing about hockey that doesn’t change with age is the dressing room banter. According to Gren, “We are all ragging on each other, playing little jokes, having fun. You have to stay on the ball in the room or you are going to get it.” It’s no longer impossible for older Canadians to continue playing ice hockey. Whether you are five or 65, you can still suit up and chase the puck across the frozen surface. One of the players Gren plays with at UBC is over 70. Something to which Gren aspires. For more information on the Adult Safe Hockey League, call Dave at 604SL 291-0626. Photos: Kevin McKay

hockey. We go on summer outings like hiking and canoeing with those same people and have made so many friendships.” In 1977, a family moved in across the lane from Gren’s childhood home and, when he was visiting his parents, he met the man. They struck up a fast friendship as they discovered mutual interests, and remain great friends to this day. This neighbour asked Gren if he would like to play some hockey and, though he had never played a game of ice hockey in his life, he quickly agreed. Excited to be on the ice with the other “beer league” players at the Thunderbird Arena at UBC, Gren quickly realized he was not the star of the game. “The first time I played with them, I knew right away that I was a really horrible player,” he says. “But it didn’t matter because I was trying my best and really enjoyed being with the guys playing hockey.” In those days, these twice-a-week pick-up games did not have goalies. The players needed to hit the posts in order to get credit for a goal. Eventually, goalies got in on the action, and Gren found himself strapping on the pads to play in net for some games. And though he danced between the pipes for quite a few games, he found out that in order to play the position, “you really need to enjoy facing the puck.” From his inaus-


Between Friends J

CHANGE

ust as a blanket of snow covers the land and the scene we once knew changes, so do our lives. Change is the only constant in life. Just as one scene becomes a memory, a new scene becomes the reality. Change has a way of moving us out of our comfort zones. Seldom are we able to stay in the same state of being for long. Change forces us to acknowledge it and either move with it or resist it; the turmoil of change can cause overwhelming stress. “Life is a progress, and not a station.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson. We often become complacent and unmoving, wanting to stay with the status quo. We like to park indefinitely, without plugging the park-

ing meter. BY DOREEN BARBER Without change or movement, water becomes stale or stagnant. This can happen to humans, as well. The challenge for us is to objectively look at change as a catalyst that can lead to a better tomorrow. Arnold Bennett said, “Any changes, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” Knowingly standing in a stationary position is not an option. Perhaps summed up best by what Anatole France said, “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” Change holds the promise for the future; our past is but hindsight that helps us reflect upon our life’s journey. SL

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ON THE GOLD TRAIL BY JOAN W. WINTER

I

t was the prospect of jelly rolls, not gold, which drew us off the Trans Canada Highway into Lytton, in early September. We had just passed a large billboard advertising Lytton’s famous jelly rolls. I was intrigued – and hungry. “Mmm, jelly rolls,” I murmured to my husband, wondering how a small community like Lytton had placed itself so firmly on the Jelly Roll map, but Bruce was already negotiating the turn. The community of Lytton, 265 km north of Vancouver, is nestled cozily at the confluence of the mighty Fraser and Thompson Rivers. Once known as “camshin” (Kumsheen) or “meeting place” by First Nations people, it is a natural gathering spot. In 1808, Simon Fraser came this way on his quest to find a route to the Pacific Ocean. Some years later, similar to many other Gold Country communities, it became a supply centre for goldseeking adventurers and has remained an important social and cultural hub. Lytton also has the reputation as the “hot spot” of B.C. On that day, sunshine sparkled on the twin rivers and the spectacular Fraser Canyon, with its rugged backdrop of mountains; it highlighted fall foliage and warm earthen colours. It was Friday, and Farmers’ Market day. Seeing no sign of a bakery, we 8

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

At Lytton’s railway museum, Caboose Park.

strolled around the open market, talking with vendors and sampling their wares. We explored the town, commenting on its unique signposts and fabulous views; we watched osprey diving and swooping as they fished for lunch. Downtown, we climbed aboard the big orange caboose at Caboose Park, Lytton’s railway museum. It was fascinating to discover how trainmen had lived and worked aboard the early steam trains after the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, and Canadian National Railway in 1913. Still mindful of the elusive jelly rolls, we headed to the Visitor Information Centre. “Jelly rolls? Ah, you mean Lytton’s famous Jelly Roll!” The kind young attendant smiled. The Jelly Roll, she explained, is the name of a local natural geological phenomenon. Pre-historic glacial movement created the huge, circular roll-like earth, silt and sand formation, 11,000 to 25,000 years ago. The Lytton specimen is rare because of its size. Usually measured in centimetres, it measures in metres and is one of the largest, if not the largest, formation of this type in the world. The original was discovered south of town; we’d missed seeing a detailed replica at Caboose Park. Observing our interest in history, the attendant suggested we might like to visit other Gold Country community towns and


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Reflections, Rejections, and Other Breakfast Foods Reflection��s,��������

t Foods

and Other Breakfas

Limited Edition

Limited Edition!! A collection of Gipp Forster’s published columns in Senior Living magazine, with other unpublished writings thrown in for good measure. A unique blend of humor and nostalgia, Gipp’s writings touch your heart in such an irresistible way, you will want to buy not only a copy for yourself, but as a wonderful gift for friends and family members. 128 pages Softcover • Published by Senior Living

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enter the annual Gold Nugget Contest. She provided us with a Visitors’ Guide and a map of the area. All we had to do was have a page of our Visitors’ Guide stamped at each location visited. Eight towns were listed, but we only needed three stamps to enter the contest. Our Lytton stamp in place, we departed for our next stop. We had planned a holiday in the Peace River District, but sad news before we left home had changed our minds; we were now headed to Edmonton for a memorial service. With a few days to spare, we thought it would be interesting to follow the footsteps of early prospectors and pioneers, explore some Gold Country towns and enter the Gold Nugget Contest. It was no Fool’s Gold either, not gold dust or flakes, but a solid gold nugget worth serious coin – valued at $1,000. We never win contests, but that didn’t matter. Some of the towns listed on the brochure – Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton – we had bypassed many times, promising ourselves a visit someday. Now, with no muddy rivers to pan, no pack mules to lead or hard tack to eat, we’d be modernday adventurers, hot on the trail of history – and gold. Back on the highway, we headed north to Spence’s Bridge. Relaxing over coffee at The Packing House, a Spence’s Bridge heritage building, we happened to hear the name “Smith” and “apples” mentioned in the same sentence. Immediately jumping to the wrong conclusion, we begged for explanation. Packing House staff shared the fascinating story of pioneer Jessie Ann Smith. In 1884, newlywed Jessie made the long, arduous journey to Spence’s Bridge from Scotland, bravely crossing the fearsome Fraser Canyon at Cisco, in a large basket suspended from a cable. She, her husband, a friend and the cable operator stepped into the basket; the operator released the rope and down they slid, landing in a pile of hay on the other side of the raging Fraser River. Jessie was a teacher and her husband John, an orchardist. Together, they raised a family of seven children, in an often harsh and unforgiving land. Courageous and resilient after her husband’s death

MARCH 2009

9


in a mining accident, Widow Smith and her children worked the family orchards, producing international award-winning Grimes Golden apples; King Edward VII of England’s favourite. Our next stop was Ashcroft, a town steeped in Gold Rush history. From the stagecoach era on, Ashcroft has played a significant part in the transportation and service industry. Accommodations, harness and wheel repair shops, blacksmiths, livery stables and freight warehouses sprang up with an influx of people, after the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 1800s. It became Mile 0 on the road to the goldfields, and a major freight depot for all supplies heading north. Located in a curve of the Thompson River, surrounded by a northern desert of cactus and sagebrush-covered hills, Ashcroft enjoys an almost perfect summer climate, with little rain and long hours of sunshine. Unlike many small communities that grew and then declined with the gold rush, Ashcroft not only survived, it flourished. The area developed as a rich agricultural vegetable, fruit and flowergrowing region, when it was discovered that, if watered, the parched desert soil would grow almost anything. Visiting the old Fire Hall, we learned of the shocking destruction caused by numerous Ashcroft fires. The worst was in 1916 when, after fire broke out in the Ash10

croft Hotel, the entire downtown business centre was reduced to ashes within half an hour. At the museum, feeling like we had stepped back in time, we immersed ourselves in gold rush lore. We learned about early pioneers who had settled in the area; First Nations and Chinese history; mining, agriculture and railway. We remembered our contest stamp before departing for our next stop - Logan Lake – where we discovered copper rather than gold. It was late afternoon and light rain was falling when we arrived at the Visitor Centre. Surprise, surprise, we found it situated inside a huge 1958 Bucyrus Erie mining shovel, complete with 13-cubic-metre bucket. Beside it was parked a humongous 235-ton haulage truck, so big Bruce was dwarfed when standing beside it. Highland Valley Copper, who had donated the mammoth trucks, is one of the largest ferrous open copper mines in North America and has been in operation for more than 40 years. The town of Logan Lake was an “instant town,” built in 1971 to accommodate mining in the region. Surrounded by peaceful lakes, streams and vast forests, it continues as a viable, thriving community. We visited Clinton, the most northern of the Gold Rush towns, on our

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

Photos: Joan W. Winter

Lytton’s famous Jelly Roll – a local natural geological phenomenon.

way home from Edmonton. Arriving late morning, we enjoyed lunch at the Clinton Hotel, and then browsed around town soaking up the fall sunshine, finally making our way to the museum. Camels! In B.C.? We stared in disbelief at Mike Brundage, long-time resident of Clinton, museum curator and our guide. Mike laughed. “Yup” he said, “23 of them.” Apparently, in 1861, Frank Laumeister and some investors decided camels would be the answer for pack animals up the Cariboo Highway. In the desert, camels can carry heavy loads and travel for days without food or water. Why not here? The camels were bought with quick dispatch from the U.S. Army for $6,000, which was a large sum of money in those days. It was a disastrous idea. One camel died along the way, and another escaped, but worse, the camel’s feet were not suited to walk the rocky roads of the B.C. Interior. Canvas boots were made for them, but the beasts were cantankerous, kicking horses, mules, oxen and even men, and gave off a terrible odour, spooking the horses. They were finally set free in various parts of B.C. After roaming the country for 40 years, the last of them died in 1905. Mike Brundage had many such tales about life in Gold Rush country; fascinating stories passed down from generation to generation; tales of pioneers and packers, of disasters and discoveries, murder and mayhem, and the amazing courage, tenacity and determination of early pioneers. So many, in fact, that he has written them into a book, Tales of the Cariboo. Unfortunately, we listened to too many of Mike’s tales and missed the Cache Creek Info Centre by a hair. It had just closed. However, we had four Gold Rush Community stamps, more than we needed to enter the contest. We mailed the form from home and promptly forgot about it. Three days before Christmas, we received a phone call. We had won the contest! The gold nugget was ours. We were truly delighted, but more precious than the gold is our memories of Gold Country, and learning priceless nuggets SL of B.C.’s history.


FOREVER BY WILLIAM THOMAS

Jake’s Deaf and My Vocal Chords are Shot

M

y dog Jake has gone deaf. It happened all of a sudden at the end of last summer. At first, I thought he was just having one of his streaks of stubbornness in which everything I tell him is ignored, and he knows he can get away with it because he’s the most handsome pup on the planet. Soon to be 17 years old, Jake is fit, feisty and still running around the house with a stupid teddy bear in his mouth. He has so many toys his name should be changed to Fisher Price. The last few years, I’ve noticed him staring off into the distance a lot, contemplating life. So, when I called him and he didn’t respond, I assumed he was deep in thought, lost in a daydream. Aging gracefully and enduring with style, Jake is the only dog I know who can exhibit great wisdom while taking a whiz. When he first failed to respond to my instructions, I began to shout them out. And seeing this, he would look around the room inquisitively like: “Hey, is there an echo in here?” I took a lot longer to adjust to his deafness than he did. About the same time he was losing his hearing, I noticed him staying closer to me. Soon his head and my right knee were one. That little bugger quickly figured out that if he couldn’t gather information from his ears, his eyes seeing what my eyes saw, compensated for the hearing loss. With his

head at my knee, he was translating my body language and moving in the same direction. And for the first while, with his head to my knee, I was picking myself up from the ground a lot because I kept tripping over him. No longer hearing doors open, he now sleeps with his head resting against them so as not to be surprised. Jake doesn’t seem to mind his new handicap and I have to believe it’s because for the first time in his life he’s got a legitimate reason not to do as he’s told. He sleeps sounder with fewer nightmares, and squirrels running through the eavestroughs no longer make him crazy. Every so often, I catch a little smile on his face while I’m yelling at him and I wonder if he’s faking it. Not likely. He’s probably thinking about all those years of being shouted at and scolded and how they could have been easily avoided by premature deafness. Not hearing a word, I’m sure he’s saying to himself: “Bill, you gotta get more sleep. Every time I look at you you’re yawning!” Finally, I had to stop yelling at him, my voice going the way of his ears. This is the consequence of an old dog being ordered around by a man who’s no spring chicken. He still responds to my whistle when we walk and the clap of my hands in the house, but normal verbal communication no longer works. So, I’ve become pretty proficient at hand signals. Being half border collie, with an an-

cestry of working dogs but no history of employment himself, he’s quick to follow hand gestures. Right, left, stop, come, get your head out of the fridge, don’t you dare take another sip of my beer. Nonetheless, deafness can be a career-ending ailment for a dog who’s head of household security. I spend most days writing in a small office near the house and Jake assumes a protective position nearby, intercepting all intruders including Mike the mailman, courier drivers and meter readers. Most bring him treats to move the inspection process along. Lately, he looks embarrassed as one of these visitors wakes him up by dropping a treat at his feet. Forget teaching an old dog a new trick, I’m just trying to get this one to maintain existing routines. Sometimes, just to trick him, I’ll pretend to talk to him but really mouth the words silently. That’s when he becomes indignant. “If a tree falls in the forest and I don’t hear it or see it, who cares? I’m 85 years old for Dog’s sake – cut me some slack!” So, I do. Deaf for sure, but Jake is definitely not dumb. The bonus? I’m winning at Hide & Seek for the first time in 12 years. SL

William Thomas is the author of nine books of humour including Margaret and Me about his wee Irish mother. www.williamthomas.ca MARCH 2009

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Senior Living Vancouver & Lower Mainland Distribution Locations

ABBOTSFORD A&W - FRASER DOWNTOWN BUSINESS ASSOC ABBOTSFORD REC CENTRE ABC RESTAURANT - MARSHALL FAMILY RESTAURANT - ESSENDENE FV REGONAL LIBRARY FV SENIOR’S RESOURCE CNTRE GREYHOUND BUS STN IGA MATSQUI REC CENTER MEDICAL CLINIC - S FRASER HWY MEDICHAIR MSA GENERAL HOSPITAL PEOPLES DRUG MART SEVEN OAKS MALL SHOPPERS DRUG MART TRIANGLE COMMUNITY CENTRE WALNUT GROVE COMM CENTRE ZELLERS ALDERGROVE ALDERGROVE MALL EXTRA FOODS BURNABY ABC RESTAURANT AMICA @ RIDEAU MANOR BRENTWOOD SKYTRAIN STN BOB PRITTIE PUBLIC LIBRARY BONSOR COMMUNITY CENTRE BRENTWOOD MALL CUST SERV BRENTWOOD SKY TRAIN STN BURNABY GENERAL HOSPITAL CAMERON RECREATION CENTRE CHOICES MARKET IN THE PARK CONFED COMM CNTR FOR 55+ EASTBURN COMMUNITY CENTRE EDMONDS COMM CENTER FOR 55+ EDMONDS PUBLIC LIBRARY EDMONDS SKYTRAIN STN EILEEN DAILEY FITNESS CENTRE GILMORE SKYTRAIN STATION HILTON HOTEL HOLDOM SKYTRAIN STATION IGA KENSINGTON COMM REC OFFICE LANCASTER MEDICAL LAKE CITY SKYTRAIN STATION LOUGHEED SKYTRAIN STN MCGILL PUBLIC LIBRARY MEDICHAIR METROTOWN BUS LOOP MULBERRY SENIOR’S RESIDENCE NORBURN MED CENTRE OLD ORCHARD MEDICAL CLINIC PATTERSON SKYTRAIN STN PRODUCTION WAY SKYTRAIN STN ROYAL OAK SKY TRAIN STN. SAFEWAY SFU LIBRARY SPERLING SKYTRAIN STATION STATION SQUARE MEDICAL CLINIC TIM HORTON’S

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VANCITY - 2991 LOUGHEED VANCITY - 5064 KINGSWAY WILLINGDON COMMUNITY CENTRE WHITESPOT CLOVERDALE CLOVERDALE LIBRARY COQUITLAM ABC RESTAURANT BREAD GARDEN CITY CENTRE AQUATIC CENTRE COQUITLAM CITY CENTRE LIBRARY COQUITLAM LIBRARY DOGWOOD PAVILION GLEN PINE PAVILION MEDICHAIR POIRIER COMMUNITY CENTRE PARK & RIDE SHOPPERS DRUG MART SOCIAL REC CENTRE SUPER VALU DELTA AUGUSTINE HOUSE KENNEDY SENIOR’S REC CENTRE LADNER COMM CENTRE LADNER PIONEER LIBRARY LADNER PUBLIC HEALTH UNIT MCKEE SENIORS RECREATION CENTRE NORTH DELTA HEALTH UNIT NORTH DELTA REC CENTRE PINEWOOD LEISURE REC CENTRE SOUTH DELTA RECREATION CENTRE SUN GOD AQUATIC CENTRE WINSKILL AQUATIC CENTRE VANCITY FORT LANGLEY FORT LANGLEY LIBRARY IGA LANGLEY A & W - 6241 200 ST A & W - 19705 FRASER BROOKSWOOD LIBRARY CASTLEBAY COFFEE HOUSE DOUGLAS REC CENTRE ESQUIRES COFFEE FORT LANGLEY SPORT PLEX GLOVER MEDICAL CLINIC LANGLEY LIBRARY MARKET PLACE IGA PORT KELLS PUB LIBRARY TIM HORTON’S TIMMS COMMUNITY CENTRE WALNUT GROVE COMM CENTRE WALNUT GROVE LIB MAPLE RIDGE MAPLE RIDGE HOSPITAL MAPLE RIDGE LEISURE CENTRE MAPLE RIDGE LIBRARY VANCITY

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NEW WESTMINSTER 22ND ST SKYTRAIN STN BRAID SKYTRAIN STATION CARE POINT MEDICAL CENTRE CENTENNIAL COMMUNITY CENTER CNTR OF INTEGRATION FOR AFRICAN IMMIGRANTS CENTURY HOUSE COLUMBIA ST STN NEW WESTMINISTER QUAY NEW WESTMINSTER LIBRARY QUEENBOROUGH COMMUNITY CENTER QUEENS PARK ARENEX ROYAL COLUMBIAN HOSPITAL TIM HORTON’S

CAMBIE PUBLIC LIBRARY GARDEN CITY MED CLINIC GATEWAY THEATRE HAMILTON COMMUNITY CENTRE IRONWOOD LIBRARY MINORU AQUATIC CENTRE MINORU ARENA MINORU SENIOR CENTRE PEACHTREE PANTRY SEAFAIR MED CLINIC SHOPPERS DRUG MART SOUTH ARM COMMUNITY CENTRE STEVESTON COMMUNITY CENTRE THOMPSON COMMUNITY CENTRE WEST RICHMOND COMMUNITY CTR

NORTH VANCOUVER 2ND NARROWS BUS LOOP BREAD GARDEN CAPILANO COLLEGE CHURCHILL HOUSE LION’S GATE HOSPITAL LONSDALE QUAY LYNN VALLEY MEDICAL CLINIC MEDICAL CLINIC - 1940 LONSDALE AVE MOUNT SEYMOUR MEDICAL CLINIC NORTH SHORE COMMUNITY RESOURCES NORTH SHORE NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE NORTH SHORE WINTER CLUB NORTH VANCOUVER CITY LIBRARY NUTRITION HOUSE PARKGATE LIBRARY PEMBERTON & MARINE MEDICAL CLINIC SEA BUS TERMINAL QUEENSDALE MARKET SILVER HARBOUR MANOR SUPER VALU WAL MART WESTVIEW MEDICAL CLINIC WHITE SPOT

SURREY ABC RESTAURANT - 7380 KING GEO ABC RESTAURANT - 2160 KING GEO ABC RESTAURANT 10410-158TH ST. A&W AQUATIC CENTRE BINO’S RESTAURANT BLENZ COFFEE BREAD GARDEN - 152 ST BREAD GARDEN - GUILDF’D TN CTR BOUNDRY PARK MEDICAL CLINIC BUY RITE FOODS CLOVERDALE LIBRARY CLOVERDALE REC CENTRE CLOVERHILL MARKET ESQUIRES COFFEE - 1959 152 ST ESQUIRES COFFEE - 16011 FRASER FLEETWOOD COMMUNITY CENTRE FLEETWOOD LIBRARY GATEWAY SKYTRAIN STN GEORGE MACKIE LIBRARY GUILDFORD PUBLIC LIBRARY KING GEORGE SKYTRAIN STN LONDON DRUGS MEDICAL CLINIC - 12818 72 AVE MEDICHAIR NEW HOPE CHURCH NEWTON ARENA NEWTON GENERAL NEWTON LIBRARY NEWTON WAVE POOL N SURREY PUBLIC HEALTH UNIT N SURREY REC CENTRE OCEAN PARK LIBRARY PEACE ARCH COMMUNITY CLINIC PEACH ARCH PROFESSIONAL PHARMASAVE 10654 KING GEORGE PHARMASAVE 9558 - 120TH ST RICKY’S RESTAURANT SCOTT RD SKYTRAIN STN (N) SCOTT RD SKYTRAIN STN (S) SEMIAHMOO PUBLIC LIBRARY SHOPPERS DRUG MART SOUTH SURREY INDOOR POOL SOUTH SURREY REC CENTRE STRAWBERRY HILL LIBRARY SURREY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

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CONTINUED NEXT PAGE


MAINLAND DISTRIBUTION LOCATIONS - CONTINUED SURREY CENTRAL SKYTRAIN STN THE CHEMISTS PHARMACY TOM BINNIE PARK COMM CENTRE VANCITY - 7380 KING GEORGE VANCITY - 1293 KING GEORGE VANCITY - 15175 101 AVE WHALLEY LIBRARY WHALLEY MEDICAL CLINIC WHITE SPOT YMCA SURREY VANCOUVER 411 SENIOR’S CENTRE AMICA AT ARBUTUS MANOR ARBUTUS MALL ARBUTUS CLUB ARTS CLUB THEATRE BARCLAY MANOR BC WOMENS HOSPITAL BLENZ BREAD GARDEN - 889 PENDER ST BREAD GARDEN - 1040 DENMAN BRITANNIA COMM CENTRE BRITANNIA LIBRARY BROADWAY & BURRARD WALK IN BROCK HOUSE SOCIETY BURRARD SKYTRAIN BUS STOP - 750 BROADWAY CAPERS - 2285 4TH AVE CAPERS - 1675 ROBSON ST CARE MEDICAL CENTRE CARE POINT MEDICAL CENTRE CARNEGIE CENTRE LIBRARY CENTRAL MARKET - 830 THURLOW CHAMPLAIN HEIGHTS COMM CNTR CHAMPLAIN HEIGHTS LIBRARY CHOICES MARKET - 1202 RICHARDS CHOICES MARKET - 1888 57 ST CHOICES MARKET - 2627 16 AVE

CITY SQUARE FAMILY PRACTICE COLLINGWOOD HOUSE COLLINGWOOD LIBRARY CROFTEN MANOR DENMAN COMMUNITY CTR DENMAN MALL DIAMOND HEALTH CARE CENTRE DOUGLAS PARK COMM CENTRE DOWNTOWN LIBRARY - 2ND FL DUNBAR COMMUNITY CENTRE DUNBAR PUBLIC LIBRARY FALSE CREEK COMMUNITY CENTRE FAMILY FIRST DENTAL FIREHALL LIBRARY FRASERVIEW LIBRARY GARDEN CAFE GF STRONG REHAB CENTRE GRANVILLE MEDICAL CLINIC HARBOUR CENTRE HASTINGS COMMUNITY CENTRE HASTINGS PUBLIC LIBRARY HEALTH CENTRE - 1282 HORNBY ST JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTRE JOE FORTES LIBRARY JOYCE SKYTRAIN STN KENSINGTON COMMUNITY CENTRE KENSINGTON LIBRARY KERRISDALE SENIORS CENTRE KERRISDALE LIBRARY KEVIN JAMES DAY PHOTOGRAPHY KHATSALANO MED CLINIC KILLARNEY COMMUNITY CENTRE KILLARNEY MARKET KITSILANO COMM CENTRE KITSILANO NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSE KITSILANO PUBLIC LIBRARY KIWASSA NEIGHBORHD HOUSE LANGARA - 100, 49TH AVE W LEGATO COFFEE

MAGAZINE

LITTLE MOUNTAIN NEIGHBOURHOOD HOUSE LONDON DRUGS - 1187 ROBSON MAIN & MARINE MEDICAL CLINIC MAIN ST SKYTRAIN STN MARPOLE COMMUNITY CENTRE MARPOLE LIBRARY MAYPOLE MEDICAL CLINIC MEDICAL CLINIC - 1280 GRANVILLE MERCADO MALL MID-MAIN COMM HEALTH CENTRE MT PLEASANT COMMUNITY CENTRE MT PLEASANT NGHBRHD HOUSE OAKRIDGE LIBRARY OAKRIDGE SENIOR’S CENTRE O’KEEFE SENIOR LIVING APT RAYCAM COMMUNITY CENTRE RENFREW COMMUNITY CENTRE RENFREW PUBLIC LIBRARY RILEY PARK COMMUNITY CENTRE RILEY PARK LIBRARY ROBSON PUBLIC MARKET ROUNDHOUSE COMMUNITY CENTRE ROYAL CENTRE MEDICAL RUPERT SKYTRAIN STN SEABUS TERMINAL SHOPPERS DRUG MART SORRENTO MARKET STADIUM SKYTRAIN STN SINCLAIR CENTRE S GRANVILLE SENIOR’S CENTRE SOUTH HILL LIBRARY ST PAUL HOSPITAL STRATHCONA COMMUNITY CENTRE STRATHCONA LIBRARY SUN LIFE PLAZA SYMPHONY CAFE TOURISM VANCOUVER THUNDERBIRD COMMUNITY CENTRE

TROUT LAKE COMMUNITY CENTRE UBC HOSPITAL VANCITY - 2233 4 AVE VANCITY - 5590 VICTORIA DR VANCITY - 501 10 AVE VANCITY - 4516 10 AVE VANCITY - 1675 COMMERCIAL VGH EMERGENCY VGH MAIN ENTRANCE WEST POINT GREY PUBLIC LIBRARY WEST END SENIORS NETWORK WEST END AQUATIC CENTRE WHITE SPOT - 580 GEORGIA VANCOUVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE YMCA COMMUNITY SERVICES WEST VANCOUVER BUS STOP 2002 PARK ROYAL BUS STOP 2051 PARK ROYAL CAPERS - 2496 MARINE GLENEAGLES COMMUNITY CENTRE HOLLYBURN HOUSE SUPER VALU WEST VAN MEMORIAL LIBRARY WEST VANCOUVER COMM CENTRE VANCITY - 1402 MARINE DR WHITE ROCK BUENA VISTA LIBRARY CAFE ON THE BEACH CHOICES MARKET GROC STORE - 1300 JOHNSTON RD KENT SENIOR ACTIVITY CENTRE PEACE ARCH MEMORIAL HOSPITAL SHOPPERS HOME HEALTH SKYLINE MARKET W ROCK/S SURREY PUB HEALTH UNIT

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13


THE LAND OF ETERNAL SUNSHINE

BY CAROL ANN QUIBELL

Just because you no longer carry a backpack doesn’t mean you can’t have an adventure!

P

Chicken Bus

ack your suitcase, call your travel agent and book a flight to Guatemala for a journey of adventure and fresh new experiences. If your “must-do list” includes learning a new language, climbing a volcano, exploring noise-filled colourful markets or visiting Mayan pre-Columbian ruins, Guatemala is your destination. Quoted as being the land of eternal sunshine, it has become popular with more than just young backpackers. Retirees from all over the world are finding this Central American location an eventful place to visit or even retire. If you are looking for all-inclusive beach resorts, amusement parks or well-manicured golf courses, make other arrangements. But, if you are a bit of an adventurer and are 14

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

Historic Building in Antigua


looking for the extraordinary versus the ordinary, take a chance on this emerging tourist destination. Many travellers stop in Guatemala to study Spanish at one of the hundreds of language schools that can be found throughout the country. The most popular location is the city of Antigua, with international travellers on every corner and over 75 schools to choose from. It’s definitely not a typical Guatemalan city, but its crumbling ruins covered in vivid bougainvillea, the three volcanoes that overlook it, very comfortable accommodation and great restaurants make it a stop that should be part of every tour. The low cost and a friend’s recommendation brought Gloria Forbes, a university professor from Saskatoon, to Quetzaltenango (Xela) to study Spanish at one of their reliable schools. Living in an area less populated by foreign tourists, Gloria was forced to use the words she learned daily in the classroom to mix with the friendly locals. San Pedro La Laguna and Panajachel are also popular for people wishing to spend time exploring Lago de Atitlán (Lake Atitlan) and attend one of their language schools. Walking through the town centre in Panajachel and looking into the open-air cafés and bars reveals that tourists of every age enjoy a good meal and great company. Chichicastenango market originally sold the basics to locals, but it has expanded to become one of the most popular tourist shopping areas in all of Guatemala. Thursdays and Sundays bring busloads of foreigners into town looking for the traditional distinctive rich-coloured Mayan textiles that include clothing, linens, wall hangings and blankets. If you want to buy a chicken, you can find one here too. They have it all! Thirty-five volcanoes are spread throughout Guatemala with four currently active. Many can be explored by climbing and stumbling up over the lava rock, which crumbles under foot with each step. A day trip to Pacaya, one of the active volcanoes, is 25 km from Antigua and includes the opportunity of looking down into the hot smoking crater.

»

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Photos: Carol Ann Quibell

Chad Allan playing the piano – one of many instruments he’s mastered in his musical career.

Lago de Atitlan

that is able to enter the park to watch the sunrise, you will feel the magic that surrounds the ruins. “It was definitely a culture shock and nothre: e th t e g ing like I exto Air How lines, Delta ir A l ta en n pected,” said my ti w Con are just a fe a an ic ex M husband Barry, a lines and that fly ional airlines at rn te first-time visitor in e e er th h w of a City from al em at to Guatemala. u G s n into to destinatio se er p is d rs “Although we only visited Antigua, travelle try. n u co e th t u Panajachel and Chichicastenango, at no througho n: tio a rt time did I feel unsafe, but I was wary in o e sp k n ta a Tr ill cheap and w e ar s le the crowded market town of Chichicastt u e h at S riv There are p e! er h w y er tenango and was watchful when wanusyou ev taxis, tour b s, er v ri d h dering the streets.” cars wit all-famous course, the f o , Panajachel on Lago de Atitlán was d an es ” s. se u b en a favourite stop, says Barry, because it k ic “ch was possible for him to become com, : on Tours tourist locati y er ev st o m pletely immersed in the culture of the In al at can arr operators th local villages that surround the lake. r fo s there are tou ticket ortation or sp an tr “Foreigners can be both good and e e m g n ra o so attraction. D r o y it v ti bad for any country,” says Gloria rac fo any ing and don’t p p o sh n o is about whether she would recomcompar . It’s expected mend Guatemala to her friends. She get to barter. A short flight from Guatemala City is one of the most fascinating Mayan archaeological sites in Central America. Situated in a rainforest, the sounds of howling monkeys can be heard from the hotels located in the Tikal National Park. If you are one of the lucky few

16

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

Chichicasten ango market

hesitated and then responded with a “yes.” She spoke of not wanting the country to lose its appeal and charm, but knows the locals need the tourist dollars. Many foreign retirees have chosen to live in Xela because it is quieter than the more popular Antigua. Their pensions from home stretch further here and the climate is milder than Canada’s. As with travelling in any foreign country, visitors to Guatemala should be cautious. With proper planning and an open mind, there are endless new experiences for every level of adventure. SL


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NUDE ON A FENCE by Eliza Hemingway

Fourteen short stories about people in compromising situations similar to being caught nude on a fence. Some are humorous, others poignant. 269 pages.

Price $17.95

The story unfolds in England at the beginning of WWII. Angela Gibson, affectionately known as Angel, finds out that it isn’t always the plans that we make for our life, sometimes it’s the plans that life makes for us that determines the course of our life. 144 pages.

Price $20.00

NATURE’S BOUNTY: Why certain foods are so good for you by Dr. Bala Naidoo

Reduce the risks of heart disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes and obesity by choosing your food carefully. 176 pages.

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NATURE’S BOUNTY: More about foods for a longer and healthier life by Dr. Bala Naidoo

By choosing your food properly, you can reduce the risks of heart disease, cancer, type-2 diabetes and obesity. 168 pages.

Price $21.95

GIPP FORSTER’S COLLECTED RAMBLINGS by Gipp Forster

A collage of over 150 anecdotes and insightful ruminations on life’s experiences, first aired on C-FAX radio, now provided in print format for your reading enjoyment. 188 pages.

Price $10.00

Purchase these items online at www.seniorlivingmag.com GST and Shipping Costs will apply. Please allow 2 weeks for delivery

NOVEMBER MARCH2008 2009

17


BORN TO PERFORM

BY KEVIN MCKAY

I

f fortune favours the bold, Johnny Forrest could not have been bolder one Edmonton evening in June 1963. After hiding in a dressing room of the Edmonton Pavilion with the lights turned off for two hours, Johnny screwed up his courage, strapped on his accordion, and knocked on the door of the dressing room across the hall. When Don Messer answered, Johnny introduced himself and told the famous host of the musical variety program that he was a Scottish entertainer who felt he’d be a great addition to Don’s show. “I can still hear him telling me, ‘Okay laddie, let’s hear you,’ as plain as if it was yesterday,” Johnny recalls. An impromptu performance followed in the hallway with Johnny playing and singing his favourite Scottish songs for Mr. Messer and much of his troupe, who came out of their own dressing rooms to listen. Fifteen minutes later, Don asked him what he was doing for the next three weeks. “I told him I could get a leave 18 18

SENIORLIVING LIVINGVANCOUVER VANCOUVER&&LOWER LOWERMAINLAND MAINLAND SENIOR

Musician Joh nny Fo Don Messer rrest with in 1963.

of absence from my job with the City of Edmonton to catch some of the tour,” says Johnny. The author with his llamas in Ecuador. The occasion was the annual summer tour that Don Messer undertook to bring the music of his show across the country. Don was from Nova Scotia, and the show was taped each week in Halifax for broadcast across Canada on CBC. Johnny knew he couldn’t get to Halifax, so his only chance to prove that he belonged on the show would come when the tour came to Edmonton. Once he secured some time off from his job, Johnny paid his own way out to the West Coast to join the tour for their show in Vancouver at the PNE Agrodome. This was Johnny’s first performance as a member of Don Messer’s troupe and it would be a memorable one. “The audience was in my hands, singing along with me. They gave me a standing ovation when I was finished, and Don said ‘Well done, Johnny.’ I rejoined the tour in Saskatchewan and did a number of


shows there before heading back to Edmonton with Don’s promise that he would be in touch.” That fall, a letter arrived inviting Johnny to appear on the Don Messer show for his St. Andrew’s show scheduled to air near the end of November. The show would be taped that October in Halifax, so the network included a round-trip airline ticket. At the time of Johnny’s first appearance on the show, it was the highest-rated television show on the CBC, even ahead of Hockey Night in Canada. “When I first saw the script, I thought we were doing The Johnny Forrest Show,” says Johnny. “They scheduled me for six numbers, including one playing the accordion.” After that, Johnny was asked back for the Robbie Burns tribute in January, and then joined the troupe again for the summer tour. This pattern continued for three years, performing a couple of specials a year and then touring every summer. Then, in the summer of 1966, Johnny picked up the phone on his desk at Edmonton City Hall. Don Messer was on the line asking if he would like to be a regular on the show. “I accepted on the spot,” he recalls. “This was the opportunity I had been hoping for. It had always been my dream to be a full-time entertainer.” Johnny, his wife Shirley and most of their possessions piled into a car headed east to Halifax. They moved into a Dartmouth suite and settled down to enjoy life in the Maritimes. “Don let me choose which numbers I would like to perform, though it was always subject to his final approval, of course,” says Johnny. They taped about six weeks prior to each show going to air, and would rehearse each Wednesday and tape the episodes on Thursdays. Johnny remembers enjoying opening the shows, but felt a lot more pressure if his number came at the end of the segment. “Everyone had done their job right, the singers, the musicians and the dancers,” he says. “I did not want to make any mistakes and let them down. No one wanted to retape the whole show again going back to the beginning. I prided myself on always being prepared for each show and learning my music.” Johnny received a lot of fan mail in those early months and was enjoying his success. But he also received some negative mail from people who did not like his singing or had other complaints. “Don assured me that as long as you are able to please 51 per cent of the people, you have it made,” says Johnny. “I decided that I would be accepting of my audiences’ reaction, no matter what they thought of my act.” For three years, Johnny was a regular on the show. In addition, he found work at local clubs and bars, doing shows and concerts on weekends, as well as putting out records. Over the years, he recorded and released 16 albums. In May 1967, Shirley gave birth to their first child – a girl born on Don Messer’s birthday. They named her Lynn-Ann Dawn Forrest.

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Proof 1 Seniors Living Magazine: Vancouver/Lower Mainland RaeLeigh Buchanan 1-877-479-4705 toll free rbuchanan@seniorlivingmag.com

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Articles written by professionals, answering your questions on a variety of topics. Over the months ahead, we will be inviting professionals to post informational articles on our website for the benefit of our readers. Check back often as we continue to develop this valuable resource. If you would like a particular profession represented in this section, please let us know at office@seniorlivingmag.com MARCH 2009

19


Don Messer and his wife Naomi were her godparents. From the time he was a wee lad growing up in his birthplace of Carluke, Scotland, Johnny was destined to be a musical star. The son of a coal miner, he became fascinated one day when a busker, who played the accordion, came to their small town. Johnny followed the man around all day, enthralled, and would do the same whenever the man returned. Johnny’s mother decided to surprise her young son with a 12-button accordion of his own. Johnny remembers, “My eyes opened up wide with joy and happiness. It was like a little doll to me. It was my baby. I took it to bed with me. I really wanted it. I fell in love with it right away, and I was going to look after it.” He started taking lessons. Unfortunately, his small accordion was limited and Johnny could only learn a few songs. A family friend who saw the potential in the young musician loaned money to Johnny’s father so he could buy a full-sized 120-button instrument for his nine-year-old son. Johnny’s musical journey took off! In those days, families made their own entertainment and Johnny’s parents hosted many parties. The guests would sing and young Johnny accompanied them on his beloved accordion. “They were very proud of me and they encouraged me big time,” says Johnny of his parents. “They gave me all the support I needed.” When he was 11, Johnny landed a role in a local pantomime. The performers were not paid, but Johnny says, “The

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SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

pantomimes gave me the confidence to pursue my music and singing career.” The pianist, Mrs. Muir, offered Johnny a chance to join her concert party. He was young and reluctant, but she convinced him to try it. They would travel around town and as far away as the “Big City” of Glasgow, 20 miles [32 km] away, to give concerts. “I was very fortunate that these opportunities were given to me at a young age,” he says. “They gave me confidence and encouragement. Every show I did, I grew a little more. I learned how to handle myself on stage.” At age 20, Johnny decided to venture out and see if he could make his fortune in Canada. While onboard The Empress of Britain for its Atlantic crossing, Johnny discovered a piano in the lounge and decided to play his accordion and piano to lead his fellow passengers in an impromptu singa-long. The next day, a number of other young passengers told Johnny they would like to join him to form a show, which they did. They entertained the people in economy class, where the lounge was located. When word got around the ship, the first-class passengers, who did not want to miss the show especially since there was no other entertainment, joined them. Two of the passengers who caught the show were Mr. and Mrs. Rice of Edmonton, which was where Johnny was headed. Mr. Rice sent his business card to Johnny and asked him to make contact once he was settled in Alberta. This was an offer he couldn’t refuse since Mr. Rice was the owner and president of CFRN radio and television in Edmonton. Johnny met Mr. Rice at his office. “He just made a call to the manager of his TV station and I was set up to go on the air the next week. The exposure was tremendous. He allowed me to expand my act. I was soon receiving invitations to appear at local clubs in towns all around Edmonton.” When he was not performing, Johnny found various jobs before going to work for the city. This lasted until the fateful day in June 1963 that changed Johnny’s life. The Don Messer Show was still doing very well in the ratings, and performing its summer tours when CBC cancelled it in 1969. Undaunted, Don moved the show to CHCH in Hamilton for the next few years, until his untimely death in March 1973. When CBC cancelled the show, Johnny moved his family to the Lower Mainland, where they remain today. In addition to doing his shows, recording and promoting his albums, Johnny found employment with a travel agency, and eventually started his own company, Tartan Tours. Johnny also works driving a local school bus. Some of the children noticed him singing as he drove. “A young boy asked me if I was born with a microphone in front of my mouth!” Born to entertain, he started early and has no plans to stop. “Give me a live audience to perform in front of; put SL me up on stage any day of the week,” says Johnny. Johnny has written his memoirs in a self-published book. For more info, call Johnny at 604-273-3601.


BBB Better Better Better Better

Business Business Business Business

Bureau Bureau Bureau Bureau

SCAM ALERT

BY LYNDA PASACRETA

Healthy Habits for Joining a Fitness Club

T

he benefits of regular exercise and a healthy diet are well proven, but choosing a quality health and fitness program requires some homework to ensure you avoid making a costly mistake. Better Business Bureau (BBB) receives a high volume of complaints this time of year from consumers that have gotten themselves into health and fitness programs that don’t fit their requirements. The complaint trends we see against health and fitness clubs each year suggest that consumers need to carefully read the fine print on their contracts BEFORE they sign up. BBB offers the following advice to help you select a health or fitness program that best meets your needs. Check with BBB first. Not only can you go to www.bbb.org to find a list of fitness clubs or health programs in your area that are accredited by BBB, but you can also find out the company’s customer satisfaction record. Determine your health and fitness goals. Do you want to build endurance, lose weight or become a better golfer? What type of activity do you think will best help you achieve your goals? Should you diet, weight-train or maybe do aerobics or yoga? Considering these issues in advance will help you select an appropriate facility. Always consult with a medical professional when setting your fitness goals. Consider your budget. Many programs charge an up-front membership fee to join and a monthly fee thereafter. What amount can you comfortably devote to physical fitness? Once you’ve joined a program, keep a close eye on your bank statements to make sure you’re not getting over-billed. Check out the facilities. Visit several different clubs on days and at times you would normally plan to attend. Do the facilities offer the equipment, classes, amenities, support and hours of operation you require? Note the cleanliness and condition of the equipment, workout area and locker room, as well as staff availability. Ask around. Check with friends and family for recommendations. Do you know anybody who regularly participates in a health or fitness program? Ask them about what they like and don’t like about their program. Don’t give in to pressure. Walk away from clubs or programs that want you to sign a contract on the spot. Ask to take a sample contract home to read it thoroughly before you agree join.

Read the entire contract. Does it list all services, hours of operation and details of the program? Is everything the salesperson promised in the contract? What is included in the monthly fee and what will cost you extra? What is the total cost and payment schedule, including enrollment fees and finance charges? Know the membership details. How long is the membership term and is there an automatic renewal? Can you go month-tomonth? What are the specific terms and conditions if you want to cancel your membership? Be sure it’s all in writing and keep a copy of the contract. For more advice from BBB on how to find reliable companies and businesses, start your search with trust at www.bbb. org SL

TOOLS FOR CHANGING TIMES FREE Education Forum SCAM JAM 2009

WHEN: Saturday, March 7, 2009 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. WHERE: Kwantlen Park Secondary School, 10441 132nd St., Surrey, BC COST: FREE REGISTER: Call: 604-685-SCAM (7226) or e-mail: scamjam@mbc.bbb.org or go to: www.scamjam.ca Come visit us this year: • Learn to protect yourself against the latest frauds and scams • Meet local radio personality Shushma Datt & Sukh Dhaliwal, Liberal MP for Newton-North Delta • Shred all your old documents • Win prizes including a Nintendo Wii; shredders – you must attend to win draw prizes • Eat delicious food from Taste of Punjab • Get fit and try yoga • Punjabi and Hindi materials and talks • Bring your friends and family to this free event Brought to you by the BBB, BC Securities Commission, Competition Bureau, RJ 1200 and Indo Canadian Times.

Lynda Pasacreta is President of the Better Business Bureau of Mainland B.C. For confidence in marketplace transactions, contact the BBB to check a company report or Buyers’ Tip before you purchase or invest. www.bbbvan.org or 604-682-2711. To contact Lynda Pasacreta, e-mail her at president@bbbvan.org MARCH 2009

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FOLLOWING LIFE’S PATH BY MARY ANNE HAJER

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SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

Photo: Judy McKinnon

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uthor Neil McKinnon has followed so many divergent paths that even he gets lost trying to retrace them in his memory. Never afraid to leave the familiar and head for parts unknown, he began many of these journeys after the age of 50. “Writer” is the latest entry on Neil’s CV – not a career known for its reliable income. Always a risk taker, Neil refuses to be bored. From his first job at the age of 15 as a stock clerk for Woodward’s in Port Alberni (as a teenage runaway) to a five-year stint in the navy (within an hour of seeing the movie South Pacific, he was enlisted in the RCN) to getting in on the ground floor of the computer programming industry, he has welcomed challenges. For about 20 years, Neil was involved in a variety of business ventures (financial investments, real estate development, consulting) – some as manager and director and others as owner and president. These years were kind to him financially, enabling him, in 1981, to fulfill his longtime dream of retiring from the business world to go back to university and study archaeology, an interest since childhood. “When I was a little kid, I would follow the plough as we broke land in the Prairies,” he says. “I was always looking for arrowheads and other artifacts that got turned up. I had quite a collection, and I would sit and look at them, turning them over in my hand, wondering about the stories behind them. Who had made them? How had they been used? Had this arrowhead that I was holding killed anyone?” Neil earned two degrees in archaeology at the University of Calgary, and then became a sessional instructor. His association with the department led to him working on archaeological sites in Alberta, Mexico, the Yukon and China. This, in turn, led to his next career change. “I was working for an archaeological friend on the Tibetan Plateau,” he says. “There wasn’t much to do in the evenings, so I started to write. I wrote a piece on Tibet and, when I got back to Canada, I sent it to the Toronto Star. They bought it. I thought, ‘This is pretty easy.’ Eventually, I started doing more of these things, and it led to other types of articles – business, travel, you name it. I began to write full-time. Eventually, I made enough money so we could live on it.” After a while, working as a freelance writer paled for Neil.

It was okay when he could choose the topic, but too often editors would pick subjects that he found tedious. “I decided I wanted to write a book. So, I sat down and wrote a book about a young boy coming of age in a small town on the Prairies.” Neil was unsuccessful finding a publisher for the book. After spending months attempting to sell it – and failing – he took another look at the manuscript. “Somehow, in that time, I became more critical of my own writing, and I said, ‘It is really a bad book.’ What I did is, I mined it, and I created a bunch of short stories out of it, some of which have ended up in my next book, Tuckahoe Slidebottle [a collection of short stories set in the imaginary town of


Left, Neil McKinnon on an archaeological site in Tibet. Right, completing the Honolulu Marathon after kicking a 35-year smoking habit.

only an occasional drink. He says, “I consider that since I went at smoking and drinking like I did everything else, without running I might not even be here.” He has gone on to run at least 10 more marathons, many when he was past the age of 60. Right now, Neil is content with the writing life, and, besides his novel, has three other writing projects on the go. He and Judy divide their time between their home in Steveston and their house in Mexico. He is proud of his two grown daughters and thrilled with his grandsons. However, it’s a safe bet that if a new interest beckons, he will follow to see where it leads. “I would never be afraid of quitting work because, inevitably, if you get involved in a whole bunch of things, you’re going to find that things pay off for you. Writing arrived, and it paid some money. Teaching arrived, and it paid some money. SL [In life], all sorts of things just show up.”

Tuckahoe, Saskatchewan].” Again, Neil made the rounds to publishers, this time successfully. He signed a contract with Thistledown Press, who published the book and nominated it for two major awards – the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour and the Alberta Book Award for Short Fiction. Although it won neither, it was shortlisted for both. Neil is now hard at work on his next book, The World’s Greatest Lover. But writing, alone, wasn’t enough to keep him busy. In 1993, he and his wife, Judy, applied for and were offered jobs teaching English in Japan. Once there, he studied the Japanese language and, in 1994, was offered a position teaching math at a community college in Kobe. Judy was offered a post in the same institution. Life seemed idyllic until 5:15 a.m. on January 17th, 1995, when, in his words, “The Kobe earthquake hit and everything turned upside down.” Neil and Judy were unhurt, and he managed to find a working fax machine to send out firsthand accounts of the disaster to newspapers in Canada. Just before Neil reached the mid-century mark in age, he took a fitness test at the University of Calgary Physical Education Centre Read more at and failed miserably. “Everything was bad,” www.seniorlivingmag.com he says. “My strength was weak; they said “Ask A Professional” I was overweight. I had smoked for over 35 years, and I was a heavy drinker.” Then, Neil saw an ad in the Calgary paper. Somebody was training a group to run the Honolulu Marathon. “I phoned and asked if I qualified. I was accepted into the group. The very first day I went out, I couldn’t make it around the block. That was in April, and yet that December, I ran it.” Neil also gave up smoking and now takes

MARCH 2009

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SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND


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Dementia care website BY AURA ROSE

“Looking back, I think I probably knew that something was wrong. The signs were there – memory lapses, confusion, angry outbursts. I was having trouble remembering things. I would dial a phone number and forget who I was phoning. I’d be taking notes at a meeting and lose track of the discussion. Then, about a month ago, I forgot my best friend’s name!” This is just one of the stories about the effects of dementia that can be found on the new Dementia Journey website (www.dementiajourney.ca). The stories mirror the reality faced by 70,000 British Columbians who have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. New statistics released in January show that nearly 10,000 of those cases are under the age of 65.

People with dementia experience a decline in their mental abilities and, as a result, have to make significant changes in their everyday lives. To help improve quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. funded seven initiatives, through a $1 million grant from the B.C. Ministry of Health Services. The Dementia Journey website is one of these projects and includes information on services, programs and resources available across the province. “We wanted to create a web-based resource that, through personal stories from people impacted by dementia, guides users to valuable information from across the province,” explains Altaire Butler, Project Manager, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. The Dementia Journey website pro-

vides an in-depth look at the different stages of dementia, links to professional resources and fact sheets. “Greater awareness about the effects of dementia and the resources that are available to adapt to the disease can help make a difference in the lives of people who have dementia and their caregivers,” says Butler. Connecting with community resources is another way to get help. The Alzheimer Society of B.C. co-ordinates nearly 100 support groups for people in the early stages of dementia and their caregivers. To find a support group, check out the “In Your Community” portion of the Dementia Journey website (www. dementaijourney.ca) or contact the Alzheimer Society of B.C. toll-free at SL 1-800-667-3742. MARCH MARCH2009 2009

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KONA Historic and Maritime Merriments

STORY AND PHOTOS BY RICK AND CHRIS MILLIKAN

T

hese days, our Big Island geta-ways blend sunny ocean adventures with investigations of Hawai’i’s fascinating past. It’s easy to enjoy both in the Kona District; South Kona’s Place of Refuge hooked us first on island history. This idyllic palm-shaded enclave enchants visitors, who stroll about its thatched huts, small white crescent beach and fresh water fishponds imagining those early 26

Snorkelling near Cook Monument

Hawai’ians seeking sanctuary within its 10-foot-high, 1,000-foot-long lavastone walls. Then, kapu laws decreed death sentences to men simply stepping on the shadow of an ali’i (powerful chief) or women eating bananas. Even Queen Ka’ahumanu, Kamehameha the Great’s favourite wife hid near its tikiguarded temple. As for swimming, just outside this extraordinary cultural park, we plunge from lava ledges into Honau-

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

nau Bay, snorkelling above its vibrant coral and beautiful fish. Kona’s past surrounds our Keauhou resort. Adjacent to a shoreline golf course sprawls the battlefield where, in 1819, Kamehameha II and Queen Ka’ahumanu overturned the kapu system and pagan religion in favour of Christianity. Rough lava mounds inter warriors’ bones. Further inland, a remnant of an ancient holua slide dwarfs our resort’s exhilarating 200-foot


s d e fi i s s Cla TRY BEFORE YOU BUY. Rent recumbent & upright bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers or rowers. Details at www.advantagehealthandfitness.com or 1-800-661-4737.

»

Hawai’i’s Last King’s Cottage

waterslide. Seeing a replicated narrow, koa-wood sled at the Keauhou Heritage Center helps us picture early Hawaiians swiftly skittering down this steep pili grass-covered track, a mile later splashing headfirst into Keauhou Bay. At this small bay the next morning, we examine native medicinal plants along a cliffside nature trail and pause to read about Kamehameha III’s birthplace. He became king at nine when his brother died of measles in Europe. Aboard Fair Wind II, our merry-time and historic adventure continues, spinner dolphins surf in the sleek catamaran’s wake. Anchoring in Kealakekua Bay, the captain tells us, “Among other young chiefs, Kamehameha the Great witnessed the first European landing in 1779. Captain Cook arrived during makahiki (Hawai’ian New Year) celebrations, welcomed as god Lono. As ships were provisioned, Hawaiians realized their mistake; those Brits proved mortal, subject to sickness and bad behaviour. So, when they returned months later to repair storm-damaged ships, hospitality ended and disputes arose; Cook was slain. That slender white obelisk on the shore is Cook Monument, honouring England’s great explorer.”

Instructing us in safety and habitat preservation, the crew distributes flotation devices and snorkelling gear, including prescription masks. Entering this pristine marine sanctuary, many of the vibrant fish resemble their fanciful RESOURCE DIRECTORY RESOURCE DIRECTORY RESOURCE DIRECTORY RESOURCE DIRECTORY RESOURCE DIRECTORY RESOURCE DIRECTORY RESOURCE DIRECTORY

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and real namesakes: unicorn tangs, Moorish idols, butterfly, parrot, squirrel, hawk, goat and lizardfish. Hawai’i’s state fish with its tongue-twisting name, humuhumu-nukunuku-apua’a aptly translates as “pig with lei.” This surreal triggerfish fires water jets flipping purple sea urchins over for instant meals. Barbecue lunches and second dips later, our captain gathers everyone up, setting a homeward course. The onboard naturalist presents a DVD on marine animals commenting, “This monk seal came to this bay, mischievously pulling peoples’ fins. Moved to Maui, he soon returned… now he’s somewhere north of Kauai!” Suddenly, the captain announces, “A humpback mother and calf... off the bow at 2 o’clock….” Everyone hustles to the deck, watching these mammoth mammals at play. Returning bayside at sunset, we board another catamaran to dive with manta rays at the only place on earth for such an encounter, fronting our resort. For two decades, its bright spotlights have attracted these magnificent creatures. Sitting on Hula Kai’s bow, the videographer tells us how researchers identified this area’s 150 mantas by spot patterns on their backs and discovered they live only off Kona. Once called devilfish due to their cephalic horns, these toothless filter feeders are harmless. At night, their horns unfurl to scoop plankton into their huge mouths. Wingspans range from three to over 16 feet, weights from 800 to 2,000 pounds. Hearing about 2,500-pound, 18-foot winged Big Bertha, we wonder if this beauty will appear. Estimated at 50 years old, she’s only lived half her potential life. For this cool, daring adventure, we jam ourselves into wetsuits and snuggly svelte, join others hanging onto a long raft

Kamehameha’s Temple at Kailua 28

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

with a series of bright pot lamps set to attract mantas. Rising plankton squirms in a nearby beam. Small silvery fish pass by, snapping up these minuscule critters. Below us, scuba divers sit on a rocky ledge pointing flashlights upward. When the first manta swoops into view, we snorkellers shout for joy! Then two more arrive on six and eight-foot wings. Endowed with amazing vision and electromagnetic sense, they sweep around us scooping up their nightly meal. With flexible cartilage and powerful muscles, these marine ballerinas perform perfect pirouettes and jetes. One soars towards us, and just before contact, she barrel rolls, exposing her white underbelly. Another day, we hop Kona’s free trolley riding north to the end of the line in Kailua at King Kamehameha Hotel. Along the hotel corridors, we study island artifacts and admire historic artwork. In the lounge, a large painting depicts this site when Kamehameha the Great made Kailua capital of all Hawai’i. Both he and eldest son, Kamehameha II, wear royal scarlet and goldfeathered capes. Outside, Kamakahonu Beach, nicknamed “Kids’ Beach by locals, offers sheltered dips and crystalline snorkels. At its rocky end, Ahu’ena Heiau remains dedicated to Lono, god of peace and harmony. Kamehameha the Great spent his last days at this now reconstructed temple. In the centre of Kailua-Kona, Hulihe’e Palace stands regally amid palms and banyan trees. Among the several royals that resided here along the shore, Princess Ruth Ke’elikolani at six foot, 400 pounds furnished this palace to accommodate her majestic dimensions. In old Hawaii, robust size demonstrated prosperity


Tikis at the Place of Refuge

Playing on Kona Resort’s Slide

and dignity. Across the street, stands Hawai’i’s first church. Deserters from sailing ships who made this paradise home built Mokuaikaua in 1837 using lava rock and coral. They crafted its interior with koa-wood panelling atop an ohiawood framework. Our last morning begins along Outrigger Keauhou Beach Hotel’s southern shore where we meet Mahealani, administrator of this sacred site’s two reconstructed temples. Explaining the storm-proof designs of these ceremonial structures, he then points out, “Hapaiali’i Heiau also served as a calendar. When the sunset aligns with the north wall, it’s summer solstice. The centre-point represents spring equinox; its southern wall, winter solstice.” We learn Ke’eku Heiau boasts six- and 11-foot-thick walls of stone and a 15,000-square-foot platform. This second temple represents one of Hawai’i’s most famous religious sites, venerated in folktales of island wars. Here, victorious Hawaiians

sacrificed defeated Mauian Ali’i in the 16th century. Mahealani softly reminds us, “These visual stepping stones help us look back into the past at our ancestors... and see our way forward.” Walking to the opposite side of the hotel, we admire the gardens, fishpond and rebuilt summer cottage of Kamehameha I’s grandson and last reigning king, David Kalakaua. Reinstating the hula, King Kalakaua was lovingly known as the Merrie Monarch. A gateway connects to Hawai’i’s Big Island Touri sm Site www.bigislan d.org/ overfl ows with aloha spirit , photos ci ting excitin possibilities g and plannin g considerations. Luxurious Sh eraton Keau hou Bay Resort & Spa www.s heratonkona. com offers nightly Man ta Ray visits seen from it s deck and ev ening Manta programs in the adjacent lo unge. Fair Wind w ww.fair-wind .com provides info-tai ning cruises and helps guests have a terrific tim e at Kealakekua Bay. Their manta encounters conclude wit h soup, war m rolls and hot drinks. For four dec ades, along Kailua’s waterfront, Huggo’s sp ecializes in fresh deep se a Hawaiian fi sh and Pacific cuisine. www.huggos. com

Kahalu’u Beach Park, where a coral reef encloses a shallow bay ideal for snorkelling. Here, we meet further collections of finny friends and delight in the camaraderie of green sea turtles. Our sublime investigations climax with a snowflake moray eel wiggly-jiggling into the coral. Our water wonderment and historic forays end far too soon. Yet we’ll certainly return to delve further into Kona Coast’s proud heritage and to enjoy new SL ocean adventures.

MARCH 2009

29


Mind GAMES

Crossword PUZZLE Across 2. Sudden pains 6. Sturdy twilled trousers 11. American 13. Participant 15. Not closed 17. Small notch 18. Strength 19. Edges 20. Kinds of person 21. Stagnant 22. Journey 23. Long-leaved lettuce 25. In this place 26. Alimentary canal 30. 1st letter of the Greek alphabet 32. Violates 36. Full-circle artillery sight 37. Strong thread 38. Atomize

40. Sorrowful 41. Pouches 47. Twain 49. Shut with force 50. Horses 54. An Afrikaner 55. State in the central United States 56. Musical toy 57. Old 58. Change direction 59. Inactive 60. Harden by heat 61. German currency 62. Donkeys

Down 1. Subject to alternating mania and depression 2. Dry measures 3. Sacred chests

4. Openings 5. Native of Scotland 6. Book of the Bible 7. Made a mistake 8. Compass point 9. Steeple 10. Examine 12. Male name 14. It was 16. Islamic chieftain 24. Of copper 26. Incandescence 27. Conjunction 28. Curves 29. Helix 30. Insect 31. A stock exchange 33. Serpents 34. Mild oath 35. Bashful 39. Give a repeated order 42. Drug-yielding plant 43. Cried (avian) 44. Unction 45. Yogi 46. Stupefy 47. Roman garments 48. Seven days 51. Social standing 52. Adriatic wind 53. Drunkards 54. Small child

ANSWERS

30

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND


Photo: Jason van der Valk

ASK

Goldie

BY GOLDIE CARLOW, M.ED

Dear Goldie: I am troubled by something. Is it possible to change our ways after age 75? Lately, I have changed my lifestyle by selling my home and moving into a senior care home. After six months, I realize I want to live in an apartment independently. I am in good health and able to cook and shop. I am still an active person. What in the world made me choose a care home? –D.W. Dear D.W.: You aren’t the first person to make a wrong decision. It is especially difficult in the later part of life when there are fewer choices. The important thing is that you now realize it, and are willing and able to change. From what you have shared, you are still in good health, energetic and able to enjoy life. My advice is to not waste time in making the necessary changes so you can resume an active and independent life. There are a number of terrific senior residential homes these days, and this can be your choice when you are no longer able to care for yourself. Senior Peer Counselling Centres (Lower Mainland) New Westminster 604-519-1064 North Vancouver 604-987-8138 Burnaby 604-291-2258 Richmond 604-279-7034 Vancouver West End 604-669-7339 Coquitlam – Tri-Cities 604-945-4480

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.

However, there is no need to rush the situation. Independence is a wonderful asset as long as it is safe. Enjoy your life! Dear Goldie: I am turning to you for help in an uncomfortable situation. A year ago, my wife died of a heart attack. I sold our home and moved into a condo. I am happy in my new location. It is close to buses and stores. One of my neighbours, however, is an annoying old busybody. She assumes I need “looking after.” I am active and independent, and she is driving me crazy! –L.S.

Dear L.S.: This situation is common. I suspect your “helpful” neighbour is lonely, and assumes you are too. You need to nip this situation in the bud before she takes over your life. Be kind, but firm. Tell her you are entirely able to run your life, and that you have family who are in touch. Furthermore, you are busy with your own interests and wish to have more privacy to pursue them. Then suggest some community agencies that could use her help. She may be upset, but you need to remain in charge of your own life. SL

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31


Reflections THEN & NOW BRONZED

M

y children want to have me bronzed! They want to put me in the hallway so visitors can hang their coats on me in the winter, and ignore me in the summer. They want to polish me every now and then, and point to me as a conversation piece. They haven’t actually said so or put it in those words, but I can see it in their eyes. They don’t want to let me go, but neither do they know what to do with me. My wife just said she knows exactly what they mean. I don’t! I may not have a lot of zip left, but that doesn’t mean I’m totally zipless. I can manoeuvre my walker in and out of tough places and, when I’m on my scooter, I can take a turn at breakneck speed. Well, maybe not breakneck, but pretty fast! I’m tired of the cashiers at the supermarkets asking me if I need help carrying my groceries to my car. I don’t, unless, of course, the total weight of my purchases is over eight pounds. I can still go to an action-packed

movie and not fall off my seat. And I can still stuff my face with popcorn. Though I no longer drive at night, I can still look up at the stars when they come out, and marvel. I still remember to take my pills, as long as my wife reminds me, and I can zip up an escalator with the best of them. No, sir, don’t count me out yet. I’m not a relic, nor am I antiquated. There’s still a lot of will in my power. A lot of zippity in my do-dah! (My wife just left the room, giggling.) I prefer the term “seasoned” when counting years. “Mature,” “dignified,” “impressive” also come to mind. “Debonair” in a grey white sort of way. I haven’t lost my swagger, although I don’t swagger as much as I used to, I threw my hip out a while back. I was swaggering a bit too hard, I guess. I admit there are things I don’t and can’t do anymore that I foolishly took for granted. I used to enjoy sleeping in, but now I consider waking up at 8 a.m. sleeping in. It’s nice, at times, to rise with the sun in the summer and to bid farewell to the stars in the winter.

Purchase a subscription to Senior Living for just $32 and never miss an issue! SUBSCRIPTION ORDER FORM  Yes, I would like to

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32

MAGAZINE

Name __________________________________________________ Address ________________________________________________ City ___________________________________________________ Province ________________ Postal Code ____________________

Mail to: Senior Living 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1

SENIOR LIVING VANCOUVER & LOWER MAINLAND

Photo: Krystle Wiseman

BY GIPP FORSTER

I can no longer stay up to the wee hours. I get sleepy early now. I can’t run anymore or climb trees or ladders. But I don’t have the desire to see what’s on the roof of my house or sit on a branch swinging my legs. I used to like chocolate or strawberry ice cream, but now I prefer vanilla. I do miss the simple things: walking for a distance, and running, and wrestling with my kids and my grandkids, and dancing and mowing the lawn. We take these tasks as our due when we are younger and never imagine that, one day, they might not be there anymore. We are spoiled with good health and often don’t realize what we have until it’s gone. Much the pity! But I repeat, I am not ready to be put out to pasture just yet. There’s still a lot of “varoom” left in this old motor, even though the tread is almost gone on the tires. We who are older, and dare I say, old, are far from obsolete and certainly not relics left over from the 20th century. We are adventurers, explorers, guides; we have the scars and the memories to prove it. Granted, we ration our energy now and, though it may take a little longer, we still get the job done. We’re a force to be reckoned with and we’re on the move! Bronzed, indeed; we’re golden! SL


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To order, please send cheque for $19.84 ($14.95 plus $3.95 S&H & GST) payable to Senior Living. Please include your clearly written shipping address and phone number. MAIL TO: Embrace Book Offer c/o Senior Living 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1

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NEW

JANUARY 2009 VANCOUVER ISLAND

Housing Guide for Seniors Up-to-date listings of senior housing facilities throughout Vancouver Island, including Independent/Supportive Living, Assisted Living and Complex Care. This guide is an indispensable resource to:

• seniors looking for alternative housing • seniors moving to Vancouver Island from other parts of BC or out of province • children of seniors who are assisting their parent to select a housing option • professionals who work with seniors or their families • businesses that provide services to seniors

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TO ORDER a copy... Please mail a cheque for $5.25 ($5 plus GST), along with your name, phone number and address, to Senior Living, 153, 1581-H Hillside Ave., Victoria BC V8T 2C1. We will mail you a copy of this resourceful housing guide upon receipt of payment.



March 2009 Senior Living Magazine Vancouver Edition