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V8N8 - February 10-March 1, 2010:

Spotlight feature:

Marianne (Marion) Clemens
Oak Bank, Manitoba

“May you live in interesting times.”

~ Proverb (included in Al Simmons’ (the entertainer) book review for Marianne Clemens’ first book.

Finding your way in the world in familiar surroundings is difficult enough. But imagine growing up in Nazi Germany and then moving to Canada to start over!

Marianne is her real name, although many in Oak Bank, Springfield, Steinbach, Beausejour—the whole North Eastman region—probably know her better as Marion. She started going by the pen name, Marion, once she became a writer/reporter/journalist for local newspapers and publications starting in the early to mid 1970s.

She lived on property near Oak Bank until she was in a car accident and broke her leg in 2005 Shortly after, she moved into Kin-Place in Oak Bank. Diane Dumas, the Resource Coordinator there, has this to say: “I am so proud of her in taking on a new career as a novelist in her 8th decade. In order to do it, she had to retire as the long time “Coffee Break” reporter in the Clipper. She is now deciding on her new path in life.”

Marianne’s goal is to reach 100 so she better think of something to do, because that’s a long way to go. Maybe she’d write a column for Senior Scope? (wink wink) (!!!!!!)

After nearly 40 years of writing for others, Marianne did retire at the age of 80 to chronicle her life story into two books. They were accounts of her life growing up under Nazi rule in Germany, and of starting over in Canada. The first was published in 2008 and was titled, A childhood lost in war - Growing up under Nazi rule. The second was published in 2009 and was titled, A Beautiful Life - A journey of Love & Rebirth in Canada.

Marianne was born in 1927 and has two younger sisters and a half-brother. Her parents divorced when she was just 8 years old. After that, she lived mainly with relatives, by choice. Later she lived with her father and stepmother.

Marianne met Louise through her work at Siemens company in Germany, by telex, the precursor to the computer. Marianne worked in Munich and Louise worked at a branch in The Hague, Holland. Marianne went to visit her friend in Holland and fell in love with the country. She then moved there. And four years later, Marianne got the notion to move again... to Canada! And Louise too! Why not? Marianne’s long-time boyfriend was trapped in East Germany and didn’t dare escape, since his mother was still alive and he feared for her safety in this Communist governed part of Germany. Louise’s marriage was ending and her relationship with her mother was never a close one, deteriorating during the later years.

They sold all of their belongings in Europe, and opted to pay for the trip solely on their own. They could have gotten everything paid for through immigration if they agreed to sign a two-year work contract with a family
as a live-in housekeeper/nanny, but that seemed like such a long time to hold back their dreams of starting a new life on their own terms.

And, off they went. The two officially became Canadian landed immigrants on April 7, 1957. They landed on Canadian soil in Toronto, Ontario, via New York. It took only two days for both of them to get jobs in Toronto. Both spoke several languages and it proved to be an advantage.

But that wasn’t the end of the road for them. The climate in Toronto was too humid and hot. They learned that Manitoba had the most days of sunshine in a year in all of Canada. So that was it. After a few months in Toronto, they headed for Winnipeg. In Marianne’s book, she laughs at how, when looking at a map of Canada, they thought of living in Churchill and commuting to their jobs in Winnipeg, thinking in terms of Europe, forgetting how vast Canada is.

Eventually they found property to purchase about five miles north of Oak Bank, near Birds Hill Park. Twenty acres was theirs to build their lives on. And they did. They tried several ventures, many that were quite successful. Challenging, yes, but rewarding.

Goat cart rides in front of Marlo’s Coffee Shop.

They raised a variety of animals on their hobby farm including several dogs, horses, geese, rabbits and goats—at one time having 72 of them. They sold the milk and the young. This opened up a door to start a petting zoo. Then came the goat cart rides. They also opened Marlo’s Coffee Shop on their premises. The two women were quite diversified in their endeavours.

When Marlo’s Coffee Shop closed its doors, Marlo’s Music Centre was in the process of opening its doors in 1969 in the same building. It was a musical instrument training facility and Marianne taught the younger children and then Louise took over from there. Marianne played the drums and taught them, as well, along with the saxophone, flute, clarinet, banjo and bass guitar. Louise taught all key instruments and guitar—electric and acoustic. It took only six months to have enough students for both to teach six days a week. By 1972, they reached their capacity of 120 students. Several students even went on to have their own bands.

Marlo’s Music Centre finally closed in 1997 but the memories and contributions to the community are everlasting.

Before Marlo’s Music Centre opened, Louise had joined a band that was looking for a piano player. But Marianne got tired of sitting at home when the band played for dances, so she learned how to play the drums and joined the band as well.

And that is how their music centre started. Both knew how to play their instruments, but they had to learn the procedure and protocol of teaching it. The women always found a way to turn their passions into dollars.

Marianne always wanted to be a writer. In school, she loved writing essays. Fiction was her favourite, and she took a Correspondence Course much later in life to brush up on her non-fiction skills.

Marianne’s first job in the newspaper business was with a German paper in Winnipeg during the end of the ’50s. She convinced the editor that she would be a good proofreader, and soon after, she was also covering events and writing small articles.

When Marianne decided to pursue a writing career, Marlo’s Music Centre was just opening for business. She approached the biggest newspaper in the area– The Carillon–published by Derksen Printers in Steinbach. There were no openings. Then she tried The Beaver in Beausejour, also published by Derksen Printers. Again, no openings. Then her innovative ideas and skills kicked in and she created a column called “Kaffeeklatsch”, German for “Coffee Break.” It was designed to mimic a friendly conversation among friends and family over a cup of coffee and ‘Kuchen’ (cake). Still both papers had no room for it, so Marianne approached the Transcona News to pitch her idea. They liked it and agreed to publish it, but there was no budget to pay her for it. She decided to go for it, anyways, as it would be a great opportunity to launch her writing career and get noticed. The editor, however, did agree to pay her in advertising which worked well to help promote the new Marlo’s Music Centre and their band, The Cosmopolitans, named so for their vast and varied repertoire of international songs. Marianne played the drums while Louise sang and played electric organ and piano.She knew every tune that was ever requested and this proved beneficial when they played live on the televised “Cosmopolitan Show” recorded at the Greater Winnipeg CableVision studio in the 70’s and 80’s. Before they called their band The Cosmopolitans, they were called the Alley Cats.

The weekly Cosmopolitan Show materialized after Louise and Marianne were asked to produce a short video to promote the upcoming Hazelridge Fair on Cablevision TV Channel 13. They brought students from the Hazelridge school down to the studio on Nairn Street

Louise on electric organ and piano, Marianne on drums on The Cosmopolitan Show.

Marianne on drums on The Cosmopolitan Show.

in Transcona, Winnipeg, and the result was a success. The station managers were so impressed that they invited Louise and Marianne to produce and perform a regular weekly show. The rest is history. The show ran for over 20 years ending in 1996.

Marianne’s first Kaffeeklatsch column under the pen name, Marion Clemens, hit the presses in the Transcona News. She went on to write this column for nearly 40 more years, in various local papers, retiring in the fall of 2008.

Then one day, Marianne heard from the Oakbank columnist for The Beaver who was looking for a replacement so she could move on. Marianne agreed but decided she wanted to use her own style and flare. For her first story, she covered the Dugald Costume Museum’s opening for the season. Her photo made the front page proving that she had what it takes to capture the essence of the community in a way that the readers could really relate to and appreciate. Marianne, still writing under the pen name, Marion, was a full-time reporter and was getting paid accordingly, now, as well. Her perseverance paid off, and she credits the Higher Power above for watching out for her.

When the Beausejour office closed, all that remained was the Oakbank column, then changed to the Oakbank-Dugald column, and the Hazelridge column, which now were published only in the Carillon. Marianne was then reporting for all of Springfield covering Oak Bank, Dugald, Anola, Hazelridge and Cooks Creek. This lasted for eight years.

For the first 15 years of Marianne’s writing career, it was a struggle as she did not have a computer or a digital camera. She was less than a half mile away from getting the internet as well. But she has no regrets. It became easier in time as she advanced with technology. The internet eventually made it into her home.

Marianne has many fond memories of her reporting career. In her second book, she talks about the time she covered the Scouts’ Jamboree camp in Birds Hill Park reporting on the games and contests, and climbed one of the high towers at age 68, after a little
coaxing, of course.

The farm had been a paradise for both Marianne and Louise. They built it up together. But then, Louise became ill and passed away in 2002 leaving Marianne to tend to their property alone. Marianne quit all reporting but continued writing her personal “Coffee Break” column in the Clipper Weekly until fall, 2008.

Although Marianne didn’t get to volunteer in the community as she planned after retiring, because she no longer drove, she was recognized for her contributions in other ways and received the Queen’s Jubilee Award in November, 2002, with three others in the community. It was a real honour for her.

Not long after, about 2004, Marianne suffered from congestive heart failure and had to have open heart surgery at the age of 77 to replace her valve with an artificial one and also to implant a pacemaker. She developed a bacterial blood infection within five months and that new valve had to be replaced too. It was the first time in history that it occurred, and doctors told her at that time that if she had the surgery she might not make it. But if she didn’t have the surgery, she wouldn’t make it for sure. She also has had two hip replacements, one in 2006 and the other in 2007. Other than that, she feels great.

Marianne is grateful for the gifts she received from God, and Canada is one of them. And Canada is grateful for the gifts of Marianne and her partner Louise for all they contributed to our Native land and to society.

They both proved that with hard work, a sensible mind, faith in God and believing in oneself, dreams can and will come true.

February 12th is Marianne’s 83rd Birthday. So, Happy Birthday, Marianne... And Many More!

For those who have or had opinions and prejudices of German people, you must read her first book, A childhood lost in war - Growing up under Nazi rule. It is a fascinating and enlightening account of what it was like to experience and pay the consequences of Hitler’s rise and attempt to conquer the world. The German citizens were also victims although not to the extend of so many others. Had they known of the atrocities that were taking place as they were happening, instead of after the war, the outcome might have been a whole
lot different.

Both of Marianne’s books are available in Winnipeg at McNally Robinson’s at Grant Park Mall, and in Oakbank at the Family Fare Foods Store, and the Country Town'N Dollar Store/Postal Outlet. Also at Dugald Convenience Store, and at the Settler's Esso store and seasonal restaurant in Anola.

“Let’s hope we can keep our Canada a free country, upholding the pride and values of the pioneers who built it and the veterans
that fought for it!”
~ Marion Clemens

(Read more in the Feb 10 /2010 issue of Senior Scope)



excerpt from ‘Coffee Break’ column in the Manitoba Beaver, July 23, 1975

by Marion C. Clemens

"I just watched the three astronauts getting ready for their historical flight called "Union in Space". Even after so many occasions of witnessing a launch or a return of a rocket I still feel like I'm viewing a science-
fiction movie.

For youngsters,who grow up during these decades, the different technical developments and inventions are all quite normal. I don't think that they will ever experience the feeling of disbelief or awesome wondering. Yet, these space visits are, every time, giant miracles of scientific achievements. I'm always especially fascinated by the fact that TV cameras can get pictures from inside the space-ships and beam them down to earth.

It's a pity though, that USA and USSR are only able to arrange a "Union in Space". How much more important would be a union between these two governments here on solid ground.

We're using hundreds of words daily and hardly ever stop and think where they all come from. Some, of course, are very young, created just recently in consequence to new situations like, astronaut, pollution, aerosol, telex, computer, radar, nuclear, iron curtain, hitch-hike and others.

But most of our vocabulary originates from centuries back and, often, the meaning of a word today is quite different from the original usage, like "bribe". It meant, once, a lump of bread in Old French, then it changed to begging and living by beggary. Later the meaning changed to theft and finally today bribery is known as inducing a person to do something illegal by giving or promising money.

The English language is very complex and varied. The original inhabitants of England, the "Celts, contributed almost nothing to it, but in the 6th century the invading Angles, Saxons and Jutes introduce the basic structure of our most common words. "English" remained a Germanic language until Norman-French was imposed in 1066, the year of the Battle of Hastings.

Here are a few examples of the variety in the origins of our words: Furlough comes from the Netherlands, army is French, whiskey is Irish, alcohol comes from the ancient Arabic language, coffee is Turkish, tea - Chinese, cigar - Spanish, and cigarette - French.

The word, spoon, in Old English, meant a chip of wood, and the first spoons for eating were made of wood or horn and later, iron, silver or other precious metals. Sweethearts would exchange prettily carved spoons in an early English tradition, which is very likely the origin of the words spoon and spooning in regards to the matter of hearts.

Well, it's here - the gorgeous summer weather we were wishing for during the winter, when blizzards caused cheeks and feet to freeze. Funny that summer always seems so desirable in January and February and now while it's here with record-breaking heat waves, I could easily live without it.

Hordes of mosquitoes and flies attack you outside, perspiration is running all over you and makes everything feel sticky, nights are sleepless, because of the heat, cars seem like ovens on wheels and the gardens scream for water, which means carrying pails and pails of water. Most offices and stores are air-conditioned now, which makes it much more pleasant to have to go to work than staying home.

If you're perspiring profusely, then it is important that you consume enough salt. Your body loses a considerable amount of it through the sweat, which should be replaced. Athletes, people who do physical work and very lively children should get more than the usual amount of salt during extra hot days, by eating a few salted nuts, crackers or potato chips or adding salt to tomato juice."

(Read more in the Feb 10 /2010 issue of Senior Scope)



Getting “Pruny”
on Purpose!

By Deborah Lorteau

When was the last time you got “pruny” on purpose? I am not talking about eating prunes, though those little fruits really pack a punch if you need to get ‘things’ moving. No I am talking about something much closer to living a life of hard work and leisure, and how getting ‘pruny’ takes on a whole new meaning.

First of all let’s look at the different ways a person can become ‘pruny’. Some of you might be wondering, okay, she better have a point soon. I do. While doing various jobs and tasks around the home and at work I have discovered some surprising ways where your hands actually get the “pruny” look. While gardening with rubber gloves for instance, or while working in a dish-room in an institution style kitchen, while washing clothes outside, while doing spring cleaning, and while doing dishes the old fashioned way in a tub with cold water standing outside near a tent.

Many of us rely too much on modern shortcuts such as a dishwasher. Personally I find doing dishes to be a good time to reminisce or review the days’ events. As the scent of Sunlight drifts up to my eager nostrils, I am swept back in time to when as a young girl I stood at the sink and washed sink after sink of dishes. My sisters and I would tell jokes, share stories or trade hysterical gossip to pass the time. One person washed the dishes, one person dried them, and the other put it all away and swept the floor. There was a camaraderie and feeling of closeness that a dishwasher does not bring to the process of the meal. I washed dishes until my hands were “pruny” and to me it meant several things. A good meal was served, many people were at the table, effort was put into the meal, and we all shared in the task of the cleanup and preparing for the next one. We always had faith in there being a next one, which made the task enjoyable.

Another time my hands got very ‘pruny’ while camping in the lovely area of Roseau River with a multitude of friends on some private land. There was no running water at the campsite but the owners had a nice big barrel that caught rainwater that we could use to our hearts content. There was never a huge amount of dishes to be done but the task was made so much more pleasant by being outside, hearing the birds cheering us on, and doing it at a pace that was slow to some, but sooo relaxing to us.

While spending some time up north at a fishing camp, I had to resort to washing my clothes by hand and hanging them to dry on a makeshift line outside my tent. I was one of two females in the entire camp and my
fellow campers were confused as to why I would need to wash clothes at all. These men all thought why bother, we are camping. We were there for three weeks and as a woman I tell you that is a long time to go without washing your clothes, I don’t care what you guys say. So there I was washing, scrubbing by hand with no washboard and then hanging the clothes up on the line. It was cold, and my hands felt like they were going to start cracking but then the ‘pruny’ effect took over and the chore had triggered some memory from long ago. When I was growing up we lived in some housing that did not have running water so we had to melt snow in the winter and hang the clothes outside. The pants would stiffen up like frozen scarecrow legs but when they thawed out from the heat of the wood stove there was a smell that you cannot find anywhere. The clothes smelled fresh, clean, and wild from the wintry air. Our hands got ‘pruny’ but the effect was worth it considering what had to be done to achieve that special look.

This brings me to getting ‘pruny’ in another way. When was the last time you got ‘pruny’ from sitting too long in a bathtub? When we were kids we would sit and soak forever, playing with our toys, making Mohawk hairdos out of bubbles or pretending to float and listening to our heartbeats. These times were spent in honeysuckle splendor, with mirrors fogged up and our little hands turned ‘pruny; telling us we were truly clean. The dirt of our childhoods had nothing left to hold onto. There are now companies in town that can refit your tub so you can once again soak to your heart’s content in a safe and affordable way. This is a pleasure no one should be denied at any age.

I have saved the best for last though, which is getting ‘pruny’ from the life that you have led. When your days have been filled with caring for children, running a household, building communities, planting a garden, or
taking frozen clothes off the line, your body becomes filled with the memories of all that you have done much in the same way your body becomes filled from the bathwater resulting in a distinctive ‘pruny’ look. That is a look to be proud of and to strive to achieve. Leave plastic surgery to the stars that need them, I prefer to shine with my ‘pruny’ skin that reflects how much life I have lived.

(Read more in the Feb 10 /2010 issue of Senior Scope)

Recognize the warning signs of fraud

Scams and frauds come in various forms largely depending on the creativity of the criminal. Many of the frauds targeting Canadians have been categorized or given a title to distinguish one from the other, but they all share some commonalities and in the end they are designed to deprive you of your hard earned money. Here are a few tips for you to recognize, prevent, and stop fraud:

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
• You've won a big prize in a contest that you don't recall entering. You're offered a once-in-a-lifetime investment that offers a huge return. You're told that you can buy into a lottery ticket pool that cannot lose.

You must give them your private financial information.

• The caller asks for all your confidential banking and/or credit card information. Honest businesses do not require these details unless you are using that specific method of payment.

It's the manager calling

• The person calling claims to be a government official, tax officer, banking official, lawyer or some other person in authority. The person calls you by your first name and asks you a lot of personal or lifestyle questions (like how often do your grown children visit you).

It's a limited opportunity and you're going to miss out.

• If you are pressured to make a big purchase decision immediately, it's probably not a legitimate deal. Real businesses or charities will give you a chance to check them out or think about it.

What can I do to protect myself?

Remember, legitimate telemarketers have nothing to hide

• However, criminals will say anything to part you from your hard-earned money.

• Be cautious. You have the right to check out any caller by requesting written information, a call back number, references and time to think over the offer.

Legitimate business people will be happy to provide you with that information. After all, they want the "bad guys" out of business too. Always be careful about providing confidential personal information, especially banking or credit card details, unless you are certain the company is legitimate. And, if you have doubts about a caller, your best defence is to simply hang up. It's not rude – it's smart.

Cst. Ben Doiron
Winnipeg RCMP
Commercial Crime Section

(Read more in the Feb 10 /2010 issue of Senior Scope)

Centre on Aging - Senator Sharon Carstairs, Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Aging - Final Report 2009

Barb Payne (left), Acting Director for Centre on Aging, and Senator Sharon Carstairs.

The Centre on Aging presented keynote speaker, Senator Sharon Carstairs to give the final report on Canada’s aging population. Senator Carstairs, Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Aging and Minister with special responsibility for palliative care—as well as teacher, politician, author—reported that Canada really isn’t ready for an aging population.

The Committee was established in November, 2006, to determine if Canada was providing suitable programs and services for seniors when they are needed in an effort to combat ageism.

Ageism is defined as discrimination on the basis of age that:
• Makes assumptions about capacity;
• Removes decision-making process;
• Ignores older person’s known wishes; and
• Treats the older adult as a child.

Senator Carstairs pointed out that, “Aging is not a disease. It’s a natural life-long process. Seniors are a rich and vibrant part of our country.”

In the study, they looked at four categories:
1) defining seniors;
2) the diversity of seniors and their needs;
3) promising policy approaches;
4) the role of the federal government.

They compiled information from seniors, senior organizations, caregivers, practitioners, policy makers, politicians, etc., and looked at issues including Health, Finance, Housing and Transportation and more.

The Committee visited communities across Canada including Halifax, NS; Moncton, NB; Sherbrooke, QC; Welland, ON; Ste. Anne and Sagkeeng First Nation, MB; plus Vancouver and Victoria, BC to learn first-hand from the people of those communities what they feel is needed to improve situations for the aging.

In the final report, the Special Senate Committee on Aging established recommendations, not only for the federal government, but also for every Canadian, province, territory, municipality, for every business, and for every volunteer organization, and so on, so we can all address the challenges of an aging population. These are only recommendations in hopes that it will trigger action at every level and aspect of our society.

During their research, the Committee learned that, “Ageism is a two-way street. Active aging eliminates aging,” says Senator Carstairs. Some concerns they recognized were seniors living in isolation or inappropriate homes due to inadequate housing and transportation, and those living in poverty where basic needs were not met with their current income security measures. As Sophie Kolt pointed out from the audience, isolation can also lead to more serious consequences such as alcohol and pharmaceutical abuse or improper use, which in turn can lead to seniors unnecessarily utilizing emergency and hospital beds, also due to the fact that there are no programs or services to address the issues before it reaches that critical point.

The Committee also recognized that health and social human resources are not prepared to handle a quickly-aging society. Harry Paine, board member and columnist for MSOS, pointed out that pediatricians outnumber geriatricians approximately 6 to 1. Senator Carstairs says that geriatric training should be included in basic physician training. Also recognized is the fact that caregivers are inadequately supported, many having to choose between their jobs or caring for a loved one.

Senator Carstairs wonders why the transition from working full time to retiring can’t be a gradual process, allowing people to work part-time for a period without sacrificing their pensions, which currently are based
on their last two years of income. She also wonders why doctors are given the responsibility of taking away drivers licenses of the elderly. There should be board to decide that fate. And why can’t there be graduated licenses, similar to that for the younger generation, which might allow a senior to drive to the local grocery store in their small town, but not on a major freeway or highway with high-speed traffic. She also would like to support the Barrier Free Living concept of having building codes on all new structures to include wider doors to accommodate those in wheelchairs and other
mobility devices.

Canadians are not only living longer, but longer and in good health, as well. Statistics Canada stated that the number of people over 100 increased 50% from 1996 to 2006 - in only 10 years! And it’s expected to triple to more than 14,000 by 2031. With the baby boom population aging and Canadians having fewer children, it’s inevitable that we are rapidly shifting into an aging country and changes need to be made to accommodate that.

In the report, ‘seniors’ were also defined as ‘older Canadians’ and some categorized them even further as “young old”, “middle old”, and “frail old.”

The terms “senior” and “older Canadian” are used interchangeably in the report to accommodate each individual’s view of themselves. Many older people have a positive view of the term “senior” as it can suggest a sense of wisdom and experience accumulated throughout one’s life, whereas others resent the label of “senior” and the so-called stigma attached to it in some cases.

Instead of defining a senior by their age, they are defined in the report as those eligible for retirement, those retired, and those in long-term care facilities. There is an emphasis on the frail senior to ensure that human dignity is recognized in options available to them.

Recommendations the Committee on Aging submitted to the federal government are:

• Move immediately to take steps to promote active aging and healthy aging and to combat ageism;

• Provide leadership and coordination through initiatives such as a National Integrated Care Initiative, a National caregiver Strategy, a National Pharmacare Program, and a federal transfer to address the needs of provinces with the highest proportion of the aging population;

• Ensure the financial security of Canadians by addressing the needs of older workers, pension reform and income security reform;

• Facilitate the desire of Canadians to age in their place of choice with adequate housing, transportation, and integrated health and social care services; and

• Act immediately to implement changes for those populations groups for which it has a specific direct service responsibility, and in relation to Canada’s official language commitments.

The complete list consists of 32 recommendations.

This report can be downloaded at:

(Read more in the Feb 10 /2010 issue of Senior Scope)

On the Road to Awareness

March 18 & 19, 2010
The Fort Garry Hotel
333 Broadway Avenue • Wpg

This is a conference that examines the tough issues of mental health, substance use and driving as it pertains to aging. It is organized by Partners Seeking Solutions With Seniors and Transportation Options Network for Seniors.

Healthcare professionals, older adults, caregivers of older adults, and professionals in senior serving organizations are invited to attend.

Presenters are:

• Senator Sharon Carstairs – Senate Report on Aging 2009: Senator Sharon Carstairs, co-chair the Senate Special Committee on Aging will discuss the findings of the 2009 Senate Report on Aging on growing older in Canada and the many ways we need to examine and respond to help Canadians age well.

• Elliott Paus Jenssen – Changing the Dialogue on Ageism: This presentation is about ageism: our stereotypical thinking about older adults, prejudice, discrimination and the resulting adverse consequences. It explores the pervasiveness of ageism in our society through individual acts and institutional practices and policies. Ageism’s insidious effects are discussed with special emphasis on the compounding effects of ageism with other “isms.” The presentation will include discussion of changes we need to make to “change the dialogue” in order to reduce the barriers to participation
by all older adults in society.

• Economic Impact of Seniors in Vibrant Communities – panelists from Manitoba and Saskatchewan

Panel participants: Dale Worobec, Communications Manager, Saskatoon Council on Aging,
Cal Abrahmson, Mayor of Mont Marte
Saskatchewan, Eileen Clarke,
Mayor of Gladstone, Manitoba

In this presentation, Dale Worobec will discuss the paid and unpaid roles of older adults and how communities benefit when their senior residents are engaged. The Mayors of Mont Marte and Gladstone will present best practices on the successful engagement of older adults in their communities.

• Ruth Anne Craig – Empowerment
Ruth-Anne Craig, Executive Director CMHA Manitoba, will be discussing Empowerment as it refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of individuals and communities and how it often involves the empowered to develop confidence in their own capacities.

• Syva-Lee Wildenmann (MB) & Pat Harcolt-Peever (SK) – Caregivers Mental Health
Syva-Lee Wildenmann, Program Director Rupert’s Land Caregivers Services & Pat Harcolt-Peever, Caregiving Program, Saskatoon Council on Aging. This presentation will explore the issues of caregivers mental health as a result of our aging population and the shift of health care services from institution to community based settings.

• Manitoba Public Insurance – De-mystify the process of losing your drivers license
This presentation will help to demystify the process of losing your drivers license through a voluntary decision or medical reason. Chris Beck will discuss the Manitoba Public Insurance policy pertaining to driver licensing and Linda Johnson will discuss the Driver Assessment Process and tools that are used when assessing people’s skills and abilities in relationship to driving.

• The Dream of Peer Helping– Lynn Crawford, Coordinator PSSS Peer Helpers, and
Deb Kostyk, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba.

This workshop will provide a historical look of peer helping in Manitoba and also illustrate current highlights of peer helping developed and implemented by Partners Seeking Solutions with Seniors. Older adult peers will share stories about their work that will inspire participants and affirm the value of peer helping programming.

The full conference program and registration forms are available on the websites: or
and registrations can be faxed to:

Costs: Early Bird (Jan. 4 – Feb. 12)
Regular (Feb, 13 – Mar.12)

Professionals /General Public :
$150 / 2 days (early bird)
$200 / 2 days (regular)
$100 / 1 day (early bird)
$125 / 1 day (regular)

Retired 65+ :
$50 / 2 days (early bird)
$80 / 2 days (regular)
$35 / 1 day (early bird)
$45 / 1 day (regular

For more information, please contact:

Linda Rigaux
Partners Seeking Solutions With Seniors
or 943-8176

Lisa Tinley
Transportation Options Network
for Seniors
or 668-6299

(Read more in the Feb 10 /2010 issue of Senior Scope)

William J. Thomas

Oh Captain, My Captain, run for your life

I recently toured the ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. After walking the sacred grounds which the Maya established 1500 years ago, most people feel a deep spiritual transformation. Me, I came away thrilled that I wasn't good enough to make their ball club.

Today, the Maya of Mexico are a friendly, peace-loving, docile people. Sweet is an apt description of these squat, copper-toned Indians. But back in 500 AD, their ancestors were quite the brutal and blood-thirsty bunch.

At Chichen Itza, they've discover secret cinotes or deep natural wells where 13-year-old girls, weighted down with heavy jewelry, were once sacrificed to the gods. And when the Mayan king died, his man-servant had to die as well in order to take care of him in the next life.

The Chichen Itza ball court consisted of a long and grassy field, walled along the sides with a temple at one end, a grandstand for the elite at the other. Hordes of spectators lined the court as the captain stood on an elevated knoll under a stone ring very high up the wall and attempted to knock a three-kilogram hard rubber ball through the ring using only a knee, a hip or an elbow. His six teammates used bats on the field to gain possession of the ball from their six opponents then fired it at the captain who would redirect it for the score.

If he hit the ring, he scored a point but when he miraculously powered the ball clean through the hole in the ring, a tremendously difficult feat, the game ended immediately and triumphantly.

Then, in the mother of all award ceremonies, for leading his team to victory, the captain was immediately decapitated by the sword of the losing captain.

With the exception of Toronto Maple Leaf fans, who will go Stanley Cup-less for this, the 37 th consecutive year, I don't know of anybody who would root for this kind of victory celebration.

No doubt, Don Cherry would like to see human decapitation in professional hockey, but I'm sure he'd insist on a five-minute major to go with it.

The winning captain's head was then impaled on a sharp stick and planted in a nearby garden where the dripping blood provided the enrichment for new life to spring forth from the soil.

I think killing your captain is a very bad idea and I couldn't help but feel sorry for Enrique of the Chichen Itza Eagles.

"Enrique, this is the luckiest day of your life."

"How's that, coach?"

"The King just named you captain for today's game against the Toltec Serpents."

"You know coach, I'm flattered, I really am but I'm not what you call a born leader. Now you take Chuchalub over there, he's the guy the boys would follow into a cinote full of crocodiles."

"Boy, I'll tell you, Enrique, that shot you made in practice yesterday, that was to die for!"

"Sure, I'm great in practice but let's face it, coach, I'm a game day dud. Boy that Chuchalub, he's got an elbow like the great Gordonis Howe."

"Well today's the biggest game of your life, Enrique, and as you know, Xavier, the captain of the Toltec Serpents is out for blood."

"But what happened to Kukula, our previous captain?"

"He ended his career on a high note, Enrique. Won his last game. Now he just putts around in the garden."

"I don't know coach, I'm a lot more comfortable on defense."

"Nonsense Enrique, all you have to do is go out there and play like there's no tomorrow."

"Ah, I don't know, the thrill of victory just doesn't do it for my anymore."

"No, Enrique, you're the guy. Without your leadership, the Eagles look like a bunch of Chickens running around with their heads .. their heads .. their heads up their cavities. Besides, you get to wear the big "C," you get to do the coin toss and if you're lucky, you get to catch the half-time show."

"Reach for the brass ring?"

"No, sorry Enrique, we're Mayas not Jacksons."

"Maybe I'll talk it over with my family."

"It's a done deal, Captain Enrique. Say, would you save me a trip and leave this new sword in Xavier's locker. By the way, your daughter Regina? What's she about 13 years old now?"

"Actually, she's much older, just short for her age."

"Bring her to the game. There's a party at the cinote afterwards."

"What's that?"

"A fifty-pound necklace for your little princess. Pure jade. She'll love it."

"Anything else?"

"Yeah, for being such a good sport Enrique, the King is going to make your father his new man-servant."

"Oh, no."

"Oh yeah. Easy job. Between you and me, the King is on his last legs."

"Well, thanks for dropping by, coach."

"One more thing."

"What's that?"

"In the coin toss? Don't take heads."

William J. Thomas lives on Sunset Bay in Wainfleet, Ont. He is the author of seven books of humour, including The Dog Rules Damn Near Everything (Damn Near Everything!).

(Read more in the Feb 10 /2010 issue of Senior Scope)


Manitoba Network for the Prevention of Abuse of Older Adults

The Manitoba Network for the Prevention of Abuse of Older Adults (MNPAOA) is a partnership of Manitoba-based organizations united to eradicate abuse of older Manitobans. The Network utilizes the expertise, skill, knowledge, and resolve of its partners to prevent abuse and to restore respect, dignity, independence and security to abused Manitobans. Their partners include:

- Aboriginal Seniors Resource Centre
- Active Living Coalition for Older Adults
- Assiniboine Credit Union
- Addictions Foundation of Manitoba
- Age and Opportunity
- Alzheimer Society of Manitoba
- Brandon Regional Health Authority
- Fort Garry Women's Resource Centre
- Long Term Care Association of Manitoba
- Manitoba Association of Women's Shelters
- Manitoba Bar Association
- Manitoba Gerontological Nurses Association
- Manitoba Metis Federation
- Manitoba Public Trustee
- Manitoba Society of Seniors
- Mental Health Services
- Misericordia Health Centre
- Partners Seeking Solutions With Seniors
- Protection for Persons in Care
- Public Trustee of Manitoba
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Manitoba Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat
- Seniors Resource Network
- Veterans Affairs
- Winnipeg Police Service
- Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

Regional networks are growing throughout Manitoba. The Manitoba Seniors Guide has a wide range of resources for older Manitobans including organizations serving seniors, community resource councils, senior centres, information on financial support, housing and health services. There is a wealth of information on other topics such as community living, resources for newcomers and safety and security.

Women’s shelters located throughout Manitoba provide short-term emergency shelter for women of all ages who are abused by their partners.

Provincial-wide Information/Crisis Line: 1-877-977-0007

The Manitoba Farm and Rural Stress Line provides support, counselling, information and referrals over the phone to farm families and other rural Manitobans. Counsellors are trained to provide support, referral and ways of coping. They will assist a person to make changes the caller believes to be important and will link with community resources most appropriate to help them with their situation.

For more information, contact:
Toll-free within Manitoba:

The Seniors Abuse Line is a confidential information service aimed at providing seniors, family members, professionals, and others with a one-stop information resource on elder abuse. The abuse line staff provide information on community resources and support services that are available throughout Manitoba. An elder abuse consultant is also available to provide education and training, and to assist communities to ensure that services and supports are coordinated and available to abused older persons.
For more information, contact:

Phone: 945-1884
Toll-free: 1-888-896-7183

Age & Opportunity provides confidential consultation, assessment, and counseling services to seniors who are suspected victims of abuse experiencing emotional, physical, financial abuse or neglect. Assistance accessing crisis accommodations and legal services, including protection orders, is also provided. The Safe Suite Program provides temporary housing for men and women, 55 years or older who are in need of a safe place to stay due to abuse or neglect and whose needs cannot be effectively met by existing abuse/crisis services. Abuse may be physical, emotional/ psychological, sexual, financial or neglect.

For further information:
Age & Opportunity
200 - 280 Smith Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 1K2
Phone: 956-6440
Fax: 946-5667

Adults with disabilities who have experienced abuse, or are at risk of abuse and whose abuse-related needs cannot be appropriately or effectively met by the protocols of existing crisis lines can be referred here.

Crisis Accommodation and Supports Crisis Line:
Phone: 788-8687

(Read more in the Jan 25/2010 issue of Senior Scope)



















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