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NEW FRENCH SUBSIDY FOR THE DYING: Last February, the French government passed legislation to ensure that individuals caring for a dying relative or partner received payment. The unanimous vote entitles individuals, who take time off to look after a relative close to death, to a payment of 50 euros (about $65 Canadian) a day for 21 days. As Andrew Brown of The Guardian wrote: "What the payment does is to register the state’s belief that to tend a dying friend or relative is a worthwhile activity, which should be honoured and not needlessly impeded."


BLAZING NEW TRAILS: After retiring from the nursing profession, Barbara Hillary looked around for something interesting to do. The native of Queens County, New York City, was soon dog sledding in Quebec and photographing polar bears in Manitoba, Canada. Then, at the age of 75, the spunky lung cancer survivor became the first African American woman on record to ski to the North Pole. Hillary has told AHB she plans to ski to the South Pole and break another record in January 2011.


DANISH GOVERNMENT GREENLIGHTS BABY SEAL ROBOTS: Why has the Danish government purchased 1000 baby seal robots? To find out, watch the video at the International Federation on Ageing website. For news about Canadian researchers investigating baby seal robots, see Interview: Robot Companions for Older Adults.


MOBILE MALL MAGIC: Every other month, the Seniors’ Mobile Mall arrives at East York Acres community housing in Toronto, Ontario, creating a buzz and lifting spirits. Launched in 2005, the mobile mall is a traveling clothing bank that provides quality clothing and stylish accessories free of charge to people with low-incomes. Individuals can also pick up sheets, blankets, tablecloths and towels.

"I was lucky or else I would have been out of pants this year," smiling resident Glen Maloney told OpenFile.

The Mobile Mall is the brainchild of Cindy Blakely, co-founder of New Circles Community Services, a Toronto charity.