Learning from my Role Model

I’m always learning from Gerald Hodge. My first lessons were imbedded in his book The Geography of Aging: Preparing Communities for the Surge in Seniors. Gerald is the former director of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Queen’s University and his book lays out a detailed practical plan for designing “Senior-Smart” communities. After reading his book, I think this issue should be understood as a looming national disaster of the kind requiring an Emergency Measures Operation type response, and I would put him in charge.

His recent e-mail included a link to his thoughtful review of Susan Jacoby’s book Never Say Die, which is posted on his daughter’s award-winning blog Gender Focus.

He also had this to say about You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready?

I want to thank you for the tip in your  book about maintaining social contacts in old age. I have made myself a nuisance with my friends by persisting in asking them to come over and have a “conversation”. Well, they do and I so enjoy it. The friends differ and so does the subject matter, from jazz to US politics and local gossip.

Another thing I do, and I think you or your interviewees mention this, is keep involved in my community. I do this by presenting a 2-hour jazz program on our recently-completed community radio station. Jazz is one of the loves of my life; I did a program for ten years at the campus radio station while I was at Queens. The program is on Sunday at four (another one coming up today on jazz before 1940) and I get quite “high” so that Monday is a bust for much serious work.


Summer at the Abbotsford Salon

     I was delighted when Pat Goyeche told me that You Could Live a Long Time: Are You Ready? will be part of the Abbotsford Salon this summer. Abbotsford is run out of the Glebe Centre in Ottawa and you’ll appreciate the extent of the compliment when you understand Abbotsford goals. Pat is the program facilitator and, as she says, “We try to be the place where those 55+ find a community, self actualize, keep fit, and keep laughing!” This photo of the staff participating in a fund-raiser as the “Fabulous Flapper’s” of the 1920’s is proof that they’re up to the challenge. They run fitness classes, host clubs (mah jongg, snooker), offer workshops (pottery, stained glass) and run a speaker’s program. One project that really speaks to me is “Bees and Bears” where seniors are teaching a group of high school students how to create teddy bears, and the young people are getting some special attention from surrogate grandmas in the bargain. You can find out more on the Glebe Centre website.


New Book Coming Soon!

I am happy to tell you that my latest book Teens Gone Wired: Are You Ready? will be released in September and is already available for pre-order. The book is about raising teens in a digital world and looks at the totality of the teen experience – mind, body and soul. Stories from parents and post-teens are interwoven with tips from teenagers themselves. I combined these honest, real-life accounts with research findings, tips and resources. My hope is that parents will be forewarned, forearmed, and can actually relax and have some fun. I am delighted that the book has been receiving terrific endorsements from the experts, which you can read here.

We’ve reworked the website to include the new book and I hope you’ll enjoy the new look. Here is where I’ll be posting details of the book launch as soon as details are finalized. The launch will take place in several cities. Also in the Fall, I’ll be meeting with a book club to develop a Book Club Guide, which will be posted here.

Whether you’re a parent or grandparent of a teen, or simply interested in issues around technology and social change, I think you’ll enjoy the book.

Please also join us on our brand new Facebook page! We hope you'll join in on the discussions. We love hearing your feedback - Keep it coming!


Retirees are Goodwill Ambassadors

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking to the Warner–Lambert / Pfizer Retirees’ Association (Toronto). They’re a terrific organization and fit into that emotional circle so highly recommended by the role models. About three decades ago, the company set up the group along with interested employees. Today there are 373 members. The primary goal is keeping alive the spirit of fellowship and camaraderie the retirees developed while working together. They hold regular meetings and special events – both educational and entertaining. Their latest newsletter has details of trips to the Shaw Festival and Herongate Farm, a talk by a nutritionist and a train trip to see the Fall colours. The group has been receiving some funding from the company, which seems like smart policy since the members are such goodwill ambassadors. Hugh Moses won a draw for a copy of the book and that’s the two of us in the photo below.


Aging Can Be Hilarious

It’s been great fun being part of Shari Graydon’s book “I Feel Great About My Hands… And Other Unexpected Joys of Aging”. Shari asked some very good writers and very funny women to write about beauty and aging and the result is a rollicking good read about getting old. My piece is entitled “Turkey Flap Wisdom’ and I was honoured to be included in such august company. We’ve given several book readings and the audiences have roared with laughter. The photo above is from the launch at Ben McNally’s in Toronto. After our NAC performance in Ottawa, Shari was approached by a 30-year old woman  who wailed, “I wish I could be 50!”  All proceeds from the book support Media Action and the Informed Opinions project. Read more on Shari’s blog