When bingo is not enough

When bingo is not enough

It’s a small group, nine in total, the eldest of whom is 103. Beyond the facilitator and the program’s creator  – the remaining seven participants are long-term care residents at Schlegel Village’s Wentworth Heights in Hamilton, Ontario. The group is one of many that gathers once or twice a week in the site’s non-denominational chapel to sip coffee or tea, sing a few songs and talk “into” an Aboriginal talking stick. The stick serves as visual cue meant to signal respect for the speaker and, passed upon request from participant to participant, ensures everyone gets a turn.

After the opening upbeat sing-along, a participant picks a topic from the dozens listed in a guidebook resting on the centre of the table. Being Yourself? Making Amends? Death and Dying? No, today they are talking about gratitude, a general theme yet one that seems to inspire folks to drill deeply into their own experiences.

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Q & A with Canada's oldest known citizen

Q & A with Canada's oldest known citizen

Dolly Gibb is Canada’s oldest known citizen. Born Ellen Box in 1905 in Winnipeg, she got the nickname Dolly when, as a teen, she worked at Eaton’s creating women’s accessories. Unfortunately, she had to quit when she got married because the department store didn’t employ married women in 1928. Beyond advances in women’s rights and extraordinary leaps in technology, Dolly has experienced the leadership of 17 prime ministers. Her favourite? It used to be Pierre Trudeau but not anymore. “I like the new one – Justin,”she laughs. Widowed in her 60s, Dolly had two daughters, one of whom she has also outlived by 25 years. Dolly lived alone at home in Thunder Bay, Ont., until her 100th birthday, then moved “south” to North Bay, Ont., and, now, with the help of family, friends and caregivers, she lives with her daughter, Sue Crozier, 77, who kindly facilitated our chat.

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Do New: It's good for the brain

Do New: It's good for the brain

According to Dr. Christine Beck, a Charlottetown-based psychologist, studies show that increased physical, interpersonal and intellectual stimulation and learning have been found to fend off or delay the development of dementia. That doesn’t mean just sitting around and playing Scrabble with the same person every night. Doing something novel builds stronger connections. Her words come as a welcome surprise because lately I've been on a learning whirl ...

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