Monday, February 27, 2012

Fashion Funk after 40

My NYNO column this week was a lot of fun....asking a cross section of women in Victoria, BC where they shopped for funky, yet age appropriate clothing, for the 40 and up woman. Never had so many responses so fast!
What I'm asking is, where do you shop for the fun stuff that you love to wear but that doesn't make you look like a mutton dressed up as a lamb! And the responses poured in.
I learned about a line of clothing, Canadian-made, called Sympli, that is growing in popularity, and found out a lot of Victoria women are discriminating consignment store shoppers. And also love a wide variety of other stores and boutiques in our West Coast creative, casual town. To hear the full list go to my CBC url, and click on the Fashion Funk Feb. 23, 2012 column.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Silver Skier

So, how are all those older, or should we say, mature, more experienced skiers faring these days on our BC mountains? As the number of senior and almost-senior skiers increases, turns out the ski hills of BC are taking note and responding!
I think some of us have worried that by the time we get there, all the deals for seniors will be long gone, but at the moment, the opposite seems to be happening...not only are Age 65 (or sometimes even age 75) discount rates for ski passes skill in effect, but more perks are being added as mountains cater to the growing numbers of older skiers. Good news!
You can hear more of the details by clicking onto my Feb. 16, 2012 CBC NYNO column on The Silver Skier (which is, or will be, posted very soon), but in the meantime a few fun facts:
*A man at Whistler/Blackcomb is still racing at age 86
*The oldest ski instructor at Whistler is 85!
*You can ski FREE at Mt. Washington at age 75 and up.
*More than 300 people are members of the Whistler Senior Ski Team.
*At Sun Peaks, more than 100 are members of the Sun Peaks Antiques!
*Big White and Silver Star have a new Club 65, with several perks, for the senior skier.
*Shaped skis are much easier on the knees and have extended people's ski life, as have more groomed slopes, more comfy boots, and lifts that slow down for onloading and offloading....All these things of course are great for other skiers as well. Happy Skiing!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Making Metchosin Age-Friendly

The rural community of Metchosin, BC that I live in is engaged in a process...(one that I talk about more in my Feb. 9 NYNO column for All Points West on CBC Radio One in Victoria.) It's a grassroots-driven attempt to really look at the community, get feedback from seniors and "seniors-in-waiting" through workshops and discussion, and come up with a list of top ten (or 20, or 30) priorities for making Metchosin more age-friendly, a  place where residents can truly age in place and in community. I attended some of the workshops and found the discussions stimulating, the people (many of whom I didn't know) engaging and honest, and the process very satisfying....being a small part in a community initiative that felt truly worthwhile.
So, what came out of this so far? A report to council, that summarizes the findings and suggests directions to move in....the most urgent of which seem to be around Communication and Transportation improvements.
Taking a closer look at possible Housing options is another priority, a way to help make it possible for residents to age in place when they can't "run the farm" anymore. 
There are a variety of options to study, including perhaps some form of senior-friendly cottages that share a common area.
The idea of an information hub, or data centre that seniors can access by computer or call to talk to someone (hopefully a "seniors' advocate") on the phone, a central depot for all sorts of pertinent info...everything from who to call to get your roof fixed to how to access home care, or where to take the bus,... was overwhelmingly endorsed, and Metchosin has just received a grant to work further on this "one stop shop" idea for seniors.
Looking at more transportation options, like expanding the existing volunteer drivers' program in the community, or using the municipal van for outings for elders, is another hot topic.

The project is only really getting going now, and it's a long road, but I'm proud of the fact that the process is underway and people of good will are taking the time and making the effort to make Metchosin a community where people of all ages can continue to live vibrant, useful, engaged lives, to "live in community," with the active support of that community, for as long as they choose.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Under the same roof...and loving it

View of Lokhorst common living room and patio
Here's a creative idea for intergenerational "estate" house or mansion (an older home in Saanich, BC with a large addition that includes two in-law suites, plus a common living and dining area, and elevator.) The Lokhorst family lives here: David and Kathy and their 3 teenagers, plus BOTH, yes, both, sets of grandparents, each in their own lovely new suite, which the grandparents were able to design themselves.

It's a living arrangement motivated by David and Kathy's (the "sandwich generation") desire to be there to help out their parents as they age and may need more assistance, plus by the desire to see more of each other. At the same time, everyone has their own private space and independent lives. 

View from living room of in-law suite
It might not work for everyone (you've got to all get along, for one thing), but this is one family that is committed to being there for each other, in good times and bad. And in today's society of expensive housing, and long lived elders who may need help or care eventually, it's an approach that is worth thinking about. You can hear more about my visit to the Lokhorst's home, with CBC's Jo-Ann Roberts, at All Points West. Scroll down and see the Not Young, Not Old column on the Lokhorst "mansion." And thank you to the Lokhorsts for sharing their home and lives with us! It was a treat.

Large common living room

Lokhorst "estate" house

Three generations, one roof