The Science of Sleep
Tips to maximize your ZZZs
Trailblazers Meet the Calgarians who launched, learned and discovered something new in their golden years
Highway, My Way WHY RV LIFE IS THE PERFECT WAY TO TRAVEL
IN SEASON: THE BEST OF SPRING
LIVINGWELL INTO THE FUTURE Love your days at Trico LivingWell’s new 60-plus aging-in-place community in Calgary
e all deserve to live well as we age, and Trico’s new community, LivingWell, is making that possible for Calgary’s older adults. Opening this summer in Kingsland Junction next to Macleod Trail, Trico LivingWell embraces three pillars of senior living — Build WELL, Live WELL, Age WELL. Whether they live independently, assisted or with Active Body Active Mind dementia care, residents of Trico LivingWell won’t simply age in place, they’ll “love their days.”
Calgary homebuilder Trico Homes began the design for the LivingWell community in 2018, carefully considering the convenience, comfort and safety of its future residents. “Trico’s foresight was to build a community that is more resilient to pandemics and outbreaks, and is going to truly allow people to age in place as long as they can,” says Grace Su, Executive Director of Trico LivingWell. “That is why the ‘Build WELL’ piece is so important. If you don’t have the proper design, people can’t live and age well.” From lighting to acoustics, paint and furniture choices, Trico LivingWell was built with the needs, wellness and desires of older adults in mind. Even air quality was considered, with two HEPA filtration systems on the main floor and dementia care floor
that purifies the air and helps filter out viruses like COVID-19. Residential suites are negative pressured and have individualized heat and airconditioning systems with a MERV13 filter. In the event of a viral outbreak, areas and floors can be isolated to limit spread, allowing the rest of the community to live without restrictions. Trico LivingWell is also the first older-adult community in Canada
registered to pursue the International Well Building Institute’s (IWBI) WELL V2 Certification, which promotes health and wellness in buildings and communities with a vigorously assessed, performance-based rating system.
Su and her team believe living well starts with innovative and
individualized programming. “The next generation of older adults are not content to have typical wellness programming; they need more thoughtful programming that encompass the Seven Dimensions of Wellness, so people find purpose and experience meaningful moments to love their days,” says Su. Carole Kelly, Director of Health and Wellness at Trico LivingWell, says programming and care plans are never one-size-fits-all. “We offer a spectrum of choices that are adjusted to different abilities and interests, and residents can choose to join on an á la carte basis or a monthly plan,” she says. Whether looking at physical activity, cognitive well-being or food choices, Kelly and her team assess each resident on an individual basis. Nutritional diet plans are delivered with delicious and elevated cuisines, and Trico LivingWell doesn’t cut corners when it comes to food quality, elevation and delights.
“We are very cognizant of how food should be prepared for special dietary needs and what would be appropriate for people aged 55plus,” says Su. “We’re looking at nutritional values, balance and, most importantly, the enjoyment of fine dining.”
When people live well, they are bound to age well, and LivingWell’s professional health-care team is on hand to provide individualized care services using a relationship-centred approach that supports residents and families. With a care philosophy that puts the health of its residents first, Trico LivingWell recognizes the value in what it can offer its residents and what they offer the community. “They have so much professional experience, a wealth of knowledge and they love to give back,” Su says of residents looking to pass that knowledge on through LivingWell’s
planned mentorship program. “We like to bridge that gap and provide them with opportunities to mentor young people and volunteer in the community.” Accessibility to the surrounding community and what Su says is an “openness to different ideas that bring joy and purpose to people’s lives” is how Trico LivingWell brings older-adult living to a whole other level. “We want this to actually bring value to the community and to the people we serve,” says Su. “We need this in Calgary, we need this for Canada and we need this for senior living.”
To redefine what you thought about seniors’ communities, aging and what it means to live well, visit tricolivingwell.com and find out how you can Love Your Days!
Independent Living. Assisted Living. Dementia Care. Trico LivingWell is the first older adult community to pursue International WELL Building Standard™ Version 2 to enhance human health & wellness. Offering a variety of flexible living options with an abundance of features & amenities at great value.
Choice of stylish studio, one bedroom, one bedroom + den & two bedroom suites 1 Bedroom Independent Living Starting From:
1 Bedroom Assisted Living Starting From:
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From 621 Sq.Ft. & Up
2 SHOWSUITES NOW OPEN • PET FRIENDLY & WALKABLE COMMUNITY Contact us today at 403.281.2802
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INSPIRE �������������������������08 Meet yogi Rosemary (Rudrani) Nogue.
RESEARCH �������������������09 Pharmacogenetics reveals what pills can help and harm.
NOURISH ������������������������ 10 The science of sleep, pickleball 101 and a recipe from the Inn on Officers’ Garden.
OPINION ������������������������14 Can Canada’s universal health-care system survive?
EXPERIENCE �������� 16 Discover why RVing should be your next travel adventure.
PURPOSE ������������� 24
Staying connected to the community through volunteering.
THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING Meet three inspiring older adults who prove you can take risks and try new things at any age.
Published by RedPoint Media & Marketing Solutions | President Käthe Lemon | Editorial Advisors Ron Jacobson, Tina Stewart | Manager of Custom Publishing Meredith Bailey | Art Director Veronica Cowan | Staff Photographer Jared Sych | Contributing Writers Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, Derek Clouthier, Jennifer Friesen, Nathan Kunz, M. Garth Mann, Michaela Ream, Debby Waldman, Sean Young | Statements expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher. | Copyright 2022 by RedPoint Media Group Inc. | Letter mail only to 172129 Ave. S.W., Suite 375, Calgary, Alberta T2T 6T7 | Phone 403-240-9055 Toll free 1-877-963-9333 Fax 403-240-9059 | Advertising inquiries email@example.com | No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written consent of the publisher. | Canadian Publication Mail Product Agreement No. PM 40030911
IN EVERY ISSUE
IN SEASON ���������������������� 06 BRAIN TEASERS �������������� 26
10 DOWNSIZING OR MOVING? SELLING ESTATE FURNITURE? CONTACT BEX VINTAGE We BUY 1950s/1960s/1970s Vintage, Mid Century + Danish Teak Furniture, Housewares, Art + Decor.
Welcome to Dignified Living, the magazine for healthy, active and engaged seniors. In our inaugural issue, we celebrate all aspects of aging well, from sleeping tips and nourishing recipes to travel inspiration, discovering purpose later in life and much more. Curious about the best blooms to attract bees? Check out “In Season” on page 6 to learn about bee-friendly flowers to plant now. And, for those considering their next travel adventure, we explore why RVing is the perfect way for retirees to see the country in “Highway, My Way” (pg. 16). We also highlight some inspiring older adults. In our feature story, “There’s a First Time for Everything” (pg. 18), we meet three Calgary seniors who launched, learned and discovered something new in their golden years, proving it’s never too late to try something new. And, in our “Inspire” photo series (pg. 08), we learn why 72-year-old yogi Rosemary Nogue is passionate about helping others find bliss through yoga. Through useful and empowering content, our goal is to inspire you to redefine aging and consider how you want to live. We hope we can support you to add life to your years and years to your life.
CONNECT WITH US! bexvintage.ca @bexvintage.ca firstname.lastname@example.org 403-472-5213
Do you have a personal story to share or know of an inspiring senior or expert in the field of healthy aging or wellness we should speak with? We’d love to hear thoughts and ideas on aging well. Email us at email@example.com
Enjoy life and celebrate spring with our roundup of gardening tips, flower facts, notable seasonal events and more BY MICHAELA REAM
Joshua Slocum standing in the bow of his boat, Spray, in 1902.
Stargazing is an easy way to calm the mind and reconnect with the natural world. Choose a night where the moon is barely visible, so the moonlight doesn’t obscure the stars. Apps, such as Star Tracker and Night Sky, can help you become familiar with constellations and planets. Keep your eyes on the sky for these seasonal astronomy events: APRIL LYRIDS METEOR SHOWER The annual meteor shower is usually visible between April 16-25 and can feature between 10 to 15 meteors per hour.
2 SEASONAL WALKS 1. JANE’S WALK
This Month in History On April 24, 1895, 51-year-old Nova Scotian sailor Joshua Slocum cast off from Boston to attempt to become the first person to sail alone around the world. During his three-year journey, Slocum faced storms, pirates and nearly drowned. But, by June 27, 1898, he successfully completed his journey. He later released a memoir called Sailing Alone Around the World.
Inspired by urbanist and activist Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walk is an international event held May 6-8 that invites city dwellers to stroll through and rediscover their communities with fresh eyes. janeswalk.org
2. WILDFLOWER WALKS
Visit Bow Valley Provincial Park in June and hike the Many Springs Interpretive Trail for a scenic walk filled with seasonal wildflower blooms, including yellow lady’s slippers and various other orchids. albertaparks.ca
PHOTOGRAPH: CLIFTON JOHNSON, COURTESY NEW BEDFORD WHALING MUSEUM
MAY LUNAR ECLIPSE Look out for a blood moon total lunar eclipse happening May 15 and 16. A tiny bit of light from Earth’s sunrises and sunsets create a blood moon’s reddish hue.
These three plants are ideal for the spring, as they bloom quickly and are particularly attractive to bees.
redefining retirement living from the
Chive flowers bloom in pink, purple, red and white, and attract butterflies and bees. The stalks themselves make a great seasoning for potatoes, rice or eggs.
These easy-to-grow perennials boast thick, round clusters of flowers in either bright pink or lavender. They’ll bloom well into the summer and make a great border plant.
JACK FROST BUGLOSS
ILLUSTRATIONS: (BEES) WACOMKA; (CHIVES) KEIKO TAKAMATSU; (SEA THRIFT) NASTASIC, ALL COURTESY iSTOCK
For shady gardens, plant the Jack Frost bugloss. It grows heart-shaped leaves with dark-green undertones and a silver overlay that looks like lace and blooms with delicate blue flowers.
TIPS AND TRICKS TO ATTRACT MORE BEES
Bees are essential to the health of any garden. We ask Will Pratt, owner of Ol’ Grumps’ Honey in Cochrane, about what flowers will help draw more bees to your garden. “It is so rewarding to watch bees thrive in habitats we have cultivated for them. Plants with large clusters of a single flower, like sea thrift, are more efficient for bees, as they will often forage from a single type of plant. And planting a variety of flower types will help attract more than one type of bee.”
Garden-Ready Tools If you have arthritis or joint pain, the Radius Garden ergonomic hand tool set will help make gardening pain-free. The tools are lightweight, easy to grip and offer extra leverage. Available at Lee Valley and Walmart.
• Are you tired of constant upkeep and repairs? • Do you travel and wish for a Lock n’ Leave lifestyle? • Do you want to simplify home ownership but don’t want to compromise on quality, workmanship or space?
What a beautiful way to live life! Visit us at THE VIEWS where the lifestyle is wonderful and the single level living is award winning. Phone Tina for a Private Tour
403-369-6000 theviewscalgary.com 15 Cougar Ridge Landing SW
ROSEMARY (RUDRANI) NOGUE FINDS BLISS THROUGH YOGA AT THE BEGINNING OF Rosemary (Rudrani) Nogue’s classes, minds are often racing. Participants are noticeably preoccupied by work, family troubles or even just thoughts of what they’ll make for dinner. “At the end of a class, participants' minds are quiet,” says Nogue. “I’m filled with joy seeing how serene their faces look.” Nogue, 72, teaches Svaroopa® yoga and meditation at her Calgary studio, Bliss Yoga. Svaroopa uses simple poses to decompress the spine from the bottom to the top. When done correctly, Nogue says students can feel benefits in their mental, physical and spiritual states — known in Sanskrit as dropping into Svaroopa, or “Bliss of your own being.” Nogue’s interest in yoga began in the 1970s, with her originally attending classes hosted in Calgary church basements. After a near-two-decade break, she reconnected with the practice in 1997, and, by 1999, had begun training to become a certified Svaroopa teacher. Svaroopa uses blankets for propping and participants are adjusted into poses. Because of the supports, students of all ages and abilities can take part in the classes safely and comfortably. While Svaroopa yoga has deep
IN OUR ONGOING PHOTO SERIES, WE FEATURE INSPIRING SENIORS WHO ARE LIVING WITH PURPOSE, GRACE AND DIGNITY
PHOTOGRAPH: JARED SYCH
BY NATHAN KUNZ
spiritual ties, Nogue says everyone is free to take what they will from it. And while change is often visible at the end of each session, Nogue says the benefits also go far beyond her classes.
To learn more, visit blissyogacalgary.ca
“People start to feel a sense of peace coming from inside. They may take better care of their bodies, including how they are eating,” says Nogue. “To give people something that can change them while they're right in the middle of their life, that seems really big to me. I call it changing the world, one yogi at a time.”
PHOTOGRAPH: TOONDELAMOUR, COURTESY iSTOCK
PHARMACOGENETIC TESTING 101
Personalized therapeutic systems can help you take responsibility for your health BY SEAN P. YOUNG Pharmaceuticals have remarkable abilities to heal, but an emerging field of science is helping consumers understand that pills can harm. Pharmacogenetic testing (or PGx for short) uses DNA testing to determine how a person’s genetic makeup will affect how they respond to certain medications. “With pharmacogenetic testing, many times we can find why
a person has side-effects to a particular drug,” says Ruslan Dorfman, chief science officer at GeneYouIn, the Toronto-based developer of PGx service Pillcheck™. It is estimated that 200,000 adverse drug reactions occur annually in Canada, with five to 10 per cent being fatal. All medications metabolize differently in a person’s body, many of which are affected by genetic variations.
PGx can help determine if you are at risk for adverse reactions to more than 200 drugs based on unique genetic markers that have been scientifically proven to impact drug response. PGx can also show if drugs are ineffective, require dose adjustment or increased monitoring. “If you’re having side-effects, your doctor or pharmacist can’t pinpoint what’s in the drug that’s causing the problems,” Dorfman says. “And that creates an unfortunate cascade of medications where you see people taking another drug to treat side-effects of the first drug.” Dorfman says the medical establishment has been slow to adopt PGx as a standard of care, even as studies continue to prove it can help many people, particularly older adults, avoid harmful medication-related side-effects. “The challenge is it’s a fairly new science. While psychiatrists are familiar with PGx, most primary care physicians are completely unaware this technology exists,” Dorfman says. More and more companies, including GE Canada, are beginning to offer PGx as an employee benefit, and several of Canada’s big insurers, such as Sun Life and Manulife, are running their own PGx programs. Dorfman says these are positive indicators for the future of PGx and personalized therapeutic systems like Pillcheck, but most older adults will likely have to pay out of pocket. “If you want this care, you need to make the decision and take it into your own hands,” he says. For more information, or to order a Pillcheck kit ($499 + tax), visit Pillcheck.ca.
Practice mobility in all aspects of your life with our tips for how to nourish your mind, body and spirit
CHICKEN, WILD RICE & KALE SOUP
Mike Preston, executive chef at the Inn on Officers’ Garden in Calgary, shares this recipe packed with nutrients and flavour
PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF MIKE PRESTON AND THE INN ON OFFICERS’ GARDEN
GARLIC IS A POWERFUL ANTIOXIDANT. EATING IT REGULARLY CAN BOOST IMMUNE FUNCTION AND LOWER THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE.
PHOTOGRAPH: BHPIX, COURTESY iSTOCK
1 chicken breast raw, small dice 1 rib celery, small dice 1 white or yellow onion, small dice 1 medium carrot, small dice 6 garlic raw, minced 1 stalk green kale, rough chop 1 tsp thyme, dried 1 tsp parsley, dried 100 g black beans 100 g corn 200 g wild rice, cooked 3 litres chicken bone broth
1. Using a small amount of cooking oil, brown chicken pieces in medium sized pot until fully cooked. Remove chicken from pot and set aside in refrigerator for later. 2. Using the same pot, sweat carrots, celery and onion in small amount of cooking oil until onion is slightly translucent. Add minced garlic, thyme, parsley and kale, and sweat for another 2 minutes. 3. Add remaining ingredients to pot (except reserved chicken) and simmer lightly for 20-25 minutes to incorporate flavours together. 4. Add reserved, cooked chicken pieces to soup when ready to serve. Makes three litres.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE INN ON OFFICERS’ GARDEN, VISIT THEINNCALGARY.COM
5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT PICKLEBALL
Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong into a fun and engaging game. Invented in 1965, it’s one of the fastestgrowing sports in North America. Here, Ray Schoepfer, president of the Invermere Pickleball Club, shares some essential facts:
1. SIMPLE SPORT
“It’s played on a small surface with two players per side. The paddle is somewhat short, yet has a relatively large head size, making it easier to properly hit the ball. Most first-timers can really enjoy playing after five or 10 minutes.”
2. HIGHLY SOCIAL
“Pickleball is usually played with four people on a small court, so there’s an opportunity to talk and enjoy each other’s company while playing.”
3. SIMPLE SETUP
“Since the court is small, you can fit a lot of players, and, with portable nets, setting up on a vacant parking lot or indoors in a gym is easy.”
“All that is required are a paddle and ball, which can be as low as $30 or $40, and athletic shoes. Club fees, if required, also tend to be very low.”
5. HEALTH WARNING
“Surprisingly, pickleball-related injuries are common among very fit seniors. Because the sport is so easy to pick up, the ‘gung-ho’ crowd can easily overdo it. But if you have normal athletic abilities, you likely don’t have much to worry about.” —MICHAELA REAM
PHOTOGRAPH: RACHEL LINCOLN
Dr. Brian Rotenberg at Advanced Medical Group in London, Ont.
THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP BY MICHAELA REAM
Getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of our overall health and plays a vital role in healthy aging. Research suggests that a healthy sleep schedule means 7.5 to nine hours of sleep each night. As children, sleeping for that long is easy to achieve, but that ability becomes more difficult as we age. These evolving sleep patterns can be frustrating, but they’re natural, says Dr. Brian Rotenberg, a specialist in ear, nose and throat surgery with an interest in surgery for snoring and sleep apnea at Advanced Medical Group in London, Ont. “As we age, our body’s ability to have continuous sleep decreases and sleep patterns become more erratic,” says Rotenberg. “Most older adults do not sleep the entire night through, and that is a normal behavioural change.” Although natural, how aging changes our sleep patterns can
affect overall health. “Without sleep, our body’s physiology becomes less restorative,” says Rotenberg. “This can affect metabolism, cellular repair and immune function.” To avoid such risks, Rotenberg says it’s important to create healthy sleep habits. Simple changes, like eating a nutritious meal or snack no later than three to four hours before sleep, regular mobility and turning off your devices all help your brain and body destress. Technology can also be utilized
to improve sleep. “White-noise generators can help to soothe into sleep,” says Rotenberg. “Tech can also help with sleep apnea, [specifically] devices that buzz when you’re on your back, so you flip to your side.” But not all technology is helpful. Rotenberg recommends avoiding sleep apps, many of which are a source of distraction and unnecessary screen time, neither of which are conducive to good rest. “For some people, surgery is the best solution to stop snoring and get a good night’s rest,” he says.
5 MORE TIPS FOR OPTIMUM SLEEP 1. Avoid eating after 6 p.m.
2. Take a gentle evening walk to help destress. 3. Enjoy a warm bath while listening to soothing music. 4. Use your bed for sleeping. Avoid lying in bed reading, watching television or texting. 5. Follow a guided mindfulness meditation right before bed, which can help you relax into sleep.
THE SURVIVAL OF CANADIAN UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE We need real solutions for the future of Canada's universal health-care system BY M. GARTH MANN
Canada spends more on health care than all the comparative G20 countries but one. Despite this, our universal health-care system ranks poorly in the world of sophisticated nations. We have the longest wait times and the largest wait lists amongst G20 countries. According to the Fraser Institute, a public policy think tank, Canada is also now lagging behind other
countries in access to medical technology. A November 2021 report cowritten by Bacchus Barua, director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute, and Mackenzie Moir, the Institute’s policy analyst, states there is a clear imbalance between the high costs and the value Canadians receive in terms of availability of resources and timely access to care.
UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) latest data from 2019, which compares the spending and performance of 28 countries with universal health care, Canada's health-care spending as a share of its GDP is 11.3 per cent, the second highest among its comparators.
CANADIAN STATISTICS (OECD numbers from 2019) 26th out of 28 for number of doctors per capita 14th out of 28 for number of nurses per capita 25th out of 26 for number of acute beds per capita 24th out of 28 for number of psychiatric beds per capita 21st out of 24 comparable countries for magnetic imaging (only 10.5 MRI units per million people) 22nd out of 26 comparable countries in terms of CT scanners (only 15.2 scanners per million people) 10th out of 10 comparable countries to see a specialist and receive elective surgery (according to the Commonwealth Fund’s latest international survey)
Only 38 per cent of patients can see a specialist in less than four weeks, with many waiting up to three years. Universal health care is important to Canadians. But raising taxes is not the solution; this would slow the Canadian economy, and, at its root, the problem is not how much we’re spending, it’s the value we are getting for our health-care spending. So, what is the solution? It starts with prevention.
Chronic health disease in Canada is related to a high percentage of deaths annually and an estimated $80 billion in annual health-care costs. Many chronic diseases are preventable through lifestyle choices, such as maintaining mobility through exercising and selecting more nourishing diets. Mental wellness disorders often originate from lifestyle stresses and can lead to anxiety, depression, poor sleeping habits and even dementia. Reducing chronic illness plays
a significant role in reducing provincial health-care budgets and decreasing the burden on the health-care system.
Active aging should be the objective of all Canadians to avoid preventable chronic health diseases that lead to the rising costs of health care. To avoid government’s tradition of raising taxes to cure a problem, and to repair the long wait lists for required surgeries, here are simple solutions: • Offer tax credits to Canadians who follow the Four Pillars of Wellness. If there are tax-credits for anything, it should be based on improved health by preventing needless illnesses. • Education is so important in helping people understand what their body is trying to tell them about their lack of wellness. Patients should understand their lab test results and vitals. • Charter certified day-surgical centres through the College of Physicians and Surgeons in each province. This will alleviate the long wait lists and reduce expenses by
freeing up hospital surgical suites for more intensive procedures. • Create insurance-benefit programs for employed Canadians who utilize employee, non-taxable benefits (called health-care spending accounts or HCSA). The revised legislation would encourage growth over time of these HCSA funds, so affordable procedures can be paid through these accounts for procedures in-province such as MRI and CT scans and surgeries. • Unemployed or retired persons could receive benefits through a Canadian Wellness Investment Trust. For each $1 invested in the Wellness Investment Trust, the taxpayer would receive $1.06 as a tax credit. Designed for Canadians who don’t have HCSA, these trust funds would provide funding for wellness programs, like Advanced Medical Group’s ReJuv-Health, MRI and CT scans and day surgical procedures. The government benefits with reduced taxes — the hospital wait times benefit — the patient requiring surgery benefits, and Canadians receive an improved universal health-care program.
HIGHWAY, MY WAY
Discover why more and more retirees are choosing to RV and spend time on the road BY JENNIFER FRIESEN
Ken and Janna Francis have been RVing full-time since 2014.
JANNA AND KEN FRANCIS were sitting out front of their home in Vernon, B.C., on a spring evening in 2013 when they had a wild idea. “We thought, ‘In another eight years, our mortgage will be paid off, and we’ll have a nice place to sit and stare at each other while we wait to die,’” says Ken, who is 63. “We both like travelling, so why not sell the house?’” At the time, Ken worked in landscaping, and Janna was a social worker, but the couple knew retirement wasn’t far off and were ready to plan their next adventure. They set their sights on buying an RV to live in and travel with. By January 2014, they put their
five-bedroom home on the market. That same month they found a Class A, 34-foot “buslooking, diesel-pusher” 2003 Winnebago Journey and moved into an RV park shortly after. The couple has since moved on from their Winnebago and now own two RVs: one 39-foot Grand Design Solitude they keep as their home base in Vernon and one 2000 Regal Class C they use as their “explore vehicle.” Janna and Ken are now both retired and have been RVing full-time for eight years. They’ve travelled across North America and are currently spending the winter in an RV park next to a jungle in La Peñita, Mexico.
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY JANNA AND KEN FRANCIS
ILLUSTRATIONS: FILO, COURTESY iSTOCK
“We never expected we’d be doing this,” says Janna, who turned 72 this year. “We thought we were going to be in the house paying off a mortgage. But we’re just the kind of people who really value new experiences in life.” The trend of retirees choosing life on the road has grown in the past decade. According to the Canadian Camping and RV Council, there are at least 50,000 full-time Canadian RVers spending their winters south of the border. RV sales across North America have also grown steadily. A study completed by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association found that RV ownership has increased more than 62 per cent in the past 20 years, with a record 11.2 million North American households owning RVs and another 9.6 million households intending to purchase one within five years. The trend has largely been driven by baby boomers as they hit retirement age. And, while Canadian retirees have long chosen the snowbird lifestyle, Snowbird Advisor has noted a
significant increase in travellers choosing RVs over vacation homes and rental ownership for their winters down south. Affordability is a factor, too. A survey of RV owners by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association in 2015 found that three-quarters of those surveyed saved at least 25 per cent on
holiday costs when travelling by RV. For Ken and Janna, RV travel has opened them up to a community of like-minded people, often meeting up in Mexico or California or Newfoundland as they make their way across the continent. “I think that’s the best part,” says Janna. “There’s a kinship between people who live this life because it’s not about possessions, it’s not about money — it’s about experiencing life. We’ve made some wonderful friends along the way. Wherever there are RV parks, there are people like us.”
CHOOSING YOUR RV CLASS Class A: The largest between 21 and 45 feet long, Class As typically offer more space and the most amenities.
Class B: Sometimes referred to as “campervans,” Class Bs are the smallest — usually between 16 and 22 feet long — but are better on fuel. Class C: At 21 to roughly 35 feet long, Class Cs have an overhead cab used for storage or sleeping space and offer more space than Class B, but are less fuel-efficient.
THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING From recording a debut album to launching a business, these three inspiring Calgarians redefine aging by accomplishing admirable “firsts” later in life, proving that age is no barrier to taking on something new BY ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH | PHOTOS BY JARED SYCH
DR. BONNIE KAPLAN: PASSIONATE ADVOCATE
When Dr. Bonnie Kaplan semi-retired in 2016, the scientific researcher knew her career wasn’t ending; it was just taking a new turn. Kaplan is still a professor emerita at the University of Calgary and the “main” part of her 40-plus-year career was spent actively researching the effect of nutrition on the brain. While she made headway on that topic academically, Kaplan left feeling frustrated that her findings had never been put into widespread practice. Plus, funding is often unavailable for young scientists who want to conduct further research. In 2021, at the age of 74, Kaplan published her first major work aimed at the general public. The Better Brain (co-written with Julia J. Rucklidge) explores the role of nutrition on our mental health and has been called “one of the most important books of the year.” But Kaplan says publishing the book isn’t what she considers the most
significant thing about her postretirement career. Rather, the book is an emblem of her new role as an advocate for the importance of working nutritional education and treatment into mental health care. Through speaking events and media outreach, Kaplan is helping raise public awareness about the brain/nutrient connection and
share resources to better people’s daily lives. “The main reason we wrote our book is because this area of medicine is being ignored,” Kaplan says. “It’s about getting this research implemented into the treatment of mental health. Our research has shown we can transform the lives of many people.” To ensure the research continues, Kaplan started charitable funds in both Canada and the U.S. First established in 2015, the funds have raised more than $1 million to help finance researchers who focus on mental health and nutrition. “It really boils down to what I’ve decided to do with my retirement,” she says. “I’m looking to change our mental health-care system. That's my real goal.” Learn more about Dr. Kaplan and her work at bonniejkaplan.com.
19 “It really boils down to what I’ve decided to do with my retirement. I’m looking to change the mental healthcare system. That’s my real goal.”
“Here I am, 86, and I’m still playing, and that’s important to me. I’m grateful I’m still able to play and that I’m keeping it up.”
AL MUIRHEAD: STEPPING INTO THE SPOTLIGHT
Al Muirhead has played the trumpet since he was a child growing up in Regina and professionally since he was a very young man. But, until recently, his name was never on the marquee. In the 1950s, celebrity musicians and band leaders would tour the world without their big bands. So, freelance musicians like Muirhead would step in to accompany artists like Dizzy Gillespie or Rosemary Clooney when they came to town.
Muirhead has never begrudged his career as a musical tradesman, and in addition to countless gigs as a supporting player, he’s appeared on 26 albums. He also ran a music store, which he opened in the 1960s when he moved to Calgary. But, in 2014, after decades in the business, it was finally Muirhead’s turn to take top billing. At the urging of his friend and Chronograph Records head honcho Kodi Hutchinson, Muirhead recorded his first solo album, It’s About Time, with good friends and fellow musicians PJ Perry and the late Senator Tommy Banks. Ever the modest side player, Muirhead plays down the importance of finally getting full credit on a recording and says the album was primarily about creating something with his friends.
“We happened to put my name on the album,” he says. “I was playing with the same people and still doing the same kind of music I have always done. I was just a working musician. I never thought of myself as the soloist, nor was I trying to be a star.” The Canadian music community saw that first solo album as more than that, and Muirhead received a Juno nomination for the 2016 Jazz Album of the Year. Since recording It’s About Time, Muirhead has released a few more albums, was nominated for another Juno in 2020 and is still playing live shows. “Here I am, 86, and I'm still playing, and that's important to me,” he says. “I’m grateful I’m still able to play and that I'm keeping it up.”
“With my entrepreneurial spirit, I cannot walk down the street without seeing new ways to do business. I have to hold myself back.”
MARJORIE ZINGLE: AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT
When Marjorie Zingle launched the DataHive data centre at age 69, she didn’t know much about the technology required to build a data centre, Internet transit demands or security. She did, however, have years of experience on how to build a business. A lifelong entrepreneur, Zingle has helmed several different businesses throughout her career. While overseeing a room full of online servers wasn’t in her wheelhouse when DataHive started, solving problems, finding talented people who could answer the questions she couldn’t and employing visionary entrepreneurial thinking certainly was. “Being an entrepreneur usually means one is a dreamer and innovator. By extension, this kind of person needs to surround themselves with excellent staff and advisors who love and understand what I do,” Zingle says. “With my entrepreneurial spirit, I cannot walk down the street without seeing new ways to do business. I have to hold myself back.” Before Zingle got into the data business in 2004, she had built a company that offered a wide range of professional services to not-for-profit associations. When an offer was made to purchase that company, Zingle’s
late husband assumed she was about to retire. At the same time, an opportunity to buy a small, but failing data centre arose, which presented an exciting challenge, so Zingle put retirement on hold. Rather than trying to compete with large local Internet providers, she created a full-service data centre that also acts as an Internet service provider (ISP) to connect clients to some of the world’s major Internet providers. Today, Zingle’s DataHive is a 7,000-square-foot, fully appointed, modern data centre in downtown Calgary full of some 30 ISPs that need to be monitored 24/7 to
ensure service is never disrupted. DataHive is the only centre of its kind between Vancouver and Winnipeg. While she makes time to travel to satisfy her never-ending sense of curiosity, Zingle continues to work full-time, enjoying the exciting challenges the Internet brings. “I’m 86. In four years, I’ll be 90,” she says. “When one has decades of experience, and wants to keep a vibrant, healthy lifestyle during the last quarter of life, I feel I would be very foolish to just drop knowledge, background and abilities gained. Every day you get more experience. That never ever stops.”
THE BENEFITS OF GIVING BACK
Volunteering has always been a great way to connect with the community, expand our networks and contribute to a cause we care about. And for seniors who volunteer, giving back can provide mental health benefits, as well. “Mental health is a huge problem right now. Volunteering is
BY DEBBY WALDMAN
one way to help seniors combat isolation while networking, meeting people, learning new skills and experiencing a sense of belonging,” says Katie Dodd, head of partnerships, Propellus: The Volunteer Centre of Calgary. Propellus operates VolunteerConnector.org, an online platform that connects volunteers to organizations in Calgary and across Canada. There are in-person opportunities for everything from meal prep to special events, and remote and virtual opportunities where you can either get together with a group or work independently. Whatever contribution you want to make, there are plenty of opportunities, says Annastasia Stevens, director of senior social supports at the Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society. Volunteering is often associated with a formal commitment, but Stevens prefers to see it as an act of kindness. Informal volunteering — saying hello at the mailbox, dropping off cookies for a neighbour, picking up garbage at the park — is just as important as structured volunteering that
PHOTOGRAPH: SDI PRODUCTIONS, COURTESY iSTOCK
Volunteering helps older adults stay connected to community
PHOTOGRAPH: HALFPOINT, COURTESY iSTOCK
involves regularly scheduled shifts. “I don’t think we have to limit it to one or the other,” she says. “I think it can be both of those and everything in between.” About half of the people volunteering at Calgary Seniors’ are older than 60, and a handful are in their 80s. “Oftentimes the best volunteers are older volunteers,” Stevens says.
Volunteering isn’t just good for the organization or people you’re helping, it’s good for you, too. Studies have shown that adults over 60 who volunteer reap physical and mental health benefits, including decreases in stress, depression and anxiety.
“They understand the different circumstances in a way that I think sometimes younger folks can’t. They bring an appreciation for lived experience in a different way.”
LEARN MORE AT CALGARYSENIORS.ORG AND VOLUNTEERCONNECTOR.ORG
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