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CANADIAN MALES LIVING LONGER: A new report by Statistics Canada shows men are closing the life expectancy gap between men and women.

According to the national statistics agency, the average male life expectancy reached 78.3 for babies born between 2005 and 2007, a gain of nearly three years compared to a decade earlier.

While women still traditionally outlive men, the report shows males are catching up. Instead of living nearly six years longer than men on average, the female life expectancy in Canada is now just 4.7 years longer than their male counterparts.

Scientists credit the gains to advancements in medical science and a shift toward healthy living.

More men today:

shun smoking
eat healthy diets
visit the doctor
share the role of breadwinner, which may help alleviate stress and enhance health over a long period of time


MORE HI-TECH ADVANCES: One out of every seven Canadians today is 65 years and older, according to Statistics Canada. Far behind Japan, which has one-fifth of its population in the same age group. Canada is encouraging immigration to help solve its demographic woes.

But not Japan, which instead is leading the way in developing hi-tech products such as cars, toilets, and robotic beds that turn into wheelchairs.

Intelligent cars: Your car will have dashboards with large numbers and letters, hand controls for the brake and accelerator and swiveling seats that make it easier to get in and out. Currently, researchers are working with Toyota to create intelligent cars that monitor brain activity in older adults. The idea is the car will learn your driving patterns, and then curb any unusual and dangerous activity. For example, it would automatically slow the car if it senses you are hitting the accelerator for no reason.

Intelligent toilets: Your Toto-made toilet will come with a built-in bidet and variety of heat settings for the seat. It can push up to help you off the loo. Medical sensors on the toilet measure blood-sugar levels based on your urine and blood pressure body fat. The data is dispatched to your doctor through a built-in internet device. Better eat your fruits and vegetables.

Robotic beds/wheelchair: Last year, Panasonic launched a robotic bed that can transform into a wheelchair, so you can get up without assistance. One half of the mattress rises, while the other half lowers, then a unit slides out from the bed and you slip into a motorized wheelchair. You can drive the wheelchair around the house or even on to the street. Source:


OVER-65s TRADE WORK FOR RENT: They are curious and in love with the outdoors. And most are short on cash, so this army of retirees trade work for rent.

Wendy Foster, 70, has led bird-watching trips all over the United States, and plans to keep doing it. The retired biologist first hit the road 17 years ago, when her husband died from cancer.

According to a spokesman for Kampgrounds of America Inc., Foster is one of an estimated 80,000 work-campers helping to keep cash-strapped parks, campgrounds and wildlife sanctuaries open across the United States. The outbackers move from site to site mostly in couples, although there are singles too. They pick up trash, lead nature walks and staff visitor centers, usually in exchange for camping space.

Meanwhile, these footloose travelers get freedom, adventure and the opportunity to make new friends. Source:

(Readers may want to refer to our Jan/Feb 2008 issue to learn about the Australian nomads. – Ed.)


FABULOUS STYLE: Forget the catwalks of Paris and New York. When 29-year-old Leni Goggins steps out her front door and on to the streets of Vancouver, she spots fashionable women and men everywhere.

Goggins says these older adults are an inspiration. “They’re wearing the clothes they wore when they were young. It’s not vintage for them,” she says. “To take something you’ve been wearing for 50 years that’s sill working . . . speaks to a certain longevity of style.”

Goggins has launched GranPaparazzi, a website dedicated to fashion choices of the older set. Source:

Editor’s Note: Thank you for your letters. We always love to hear from you. Just use our Contact page to send us your comments, suggestions and ideas. – Ruth Dempsey.