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OVER-60s ON THE MOVE: Free bus travel for Britain’s over-60s went nationwide on April 1, 2008. Since then, they have been flashing their free passes and zigzagging from
one end of the country to the other. Among the travelers is Richard Worrall, secretary of the Walsall branch of the National Pensioners’ Convention. “People are beginning to
realize the potential,” he said. “They think it’s brilliant.” His favourite bus journey is the trip from Lancaster to Carlisle, through the Lake District. Source:


DAILY READING KEEPS DOCTOR AWAY: A new study (Health Literacy in Canada: A Healthy Understanding) reveals daily reading outside of work is associated with higher health-literacy scores – 50 per cent higher for those 66 and older. Health literacy refers to people’s abilities to find and interpret health information and make well-informed decisions about their own well-being. According to the Canadian Council on Learning, “Those with the lowest levels of health literacy are more than 2.5 times as likely to report being in poor or fair health as those with the highest levels.”

And check out The Last Well Person (McGill-Queen’s University Press), by Nortin Hadler. He warns against medicalizing everyday life.


HERMITS MAKE A COMEBACK: A new Italian study reports that hermits are making a comeback in Italy after disappearing for almost two centuries.

Forget cross-legged men holed up in caves sporting unkempt beards. The Catholics signing up to be hermits today are just as likely to be middle-aged women, well educated with a laptop nearby.

Isacco Turina, a sociologist at the University of Bologna, estimates there are about 200 full-time hermits living in Italy today. Nearly all have had primary careers as teachers, artists, monks, priests or missionaries. As they hit middle age, they turned to a life of prayer and solitude.

Turina puts the comeback down to the hermits’ wish to mesh aspects of modern life with traditional religious life. The Vatican formally recognized hermits in 1983.


GOT GRANDKIDS WHO ARE OUT TO CHANGE THE WORLD? Keep handy a copy of Take Action! (Gage Learning). Written by Canadians Marc and Craig Kielburger, the book provides easy-to-follow guidelines for writing petitions, planning fundraisers, contacting public officials and preparing press releases. Their most recent book Me to We (Wiley) hit it big with the young crowd too. It celebrates the power of the individual to make a difference.