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ELDERS JOIN OCCUPY WALL STREET: The Council of Elders, a newly organized independent group of elder leaders, has expressed its solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Among them is:

  • Dolores Huerta, co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers;
  • Marian Wright Edelman, the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar; and
  • writer Sister Joan Chittister, author of The Gift of Years.

On Nov. 20, 2011, the group joined demonstrators in several U.S. cities for an “Intergenerational Day.”


SEE YOU AT THE CRAFT CAFÉ: Commonly, housing associations organize social activities for older residents, and with good reason.

The Craft Café in Glasgow’s Castlemilk’s housing estate is a thriving social network. The café is funded by Cassiltoun Housing Association and run by the community arts company Impact Arts. Anyone over the age of 50 can drop in to the café and try their hand at:

  • drawing;
  • painting;
  • sewing;
  • knitting;
  • card making;
  • silk painting;
  • sculpture; and
  • jewellery making.

The place is bustling with activity. According to the staff, local physicians routinely refer their older patients to the café.

Recent work is displayed on the walls and propped against cupboards. The organizers want to partner with a professional gallery to create a formal exhibition for participants.

“I’ve always loved art,” says Hugh Fox, a 69-year-old café regular.” I won a competition when I was a boy and the painting went into an art gallery. Later I worked as a school janitor and in the school at night after I was done I used to paint, and the teachers used to steal them.”



PLANNING FOR LIFE WITHOUT THE CAR: Olive Bryanton and her colleagues interviewed 11 women from one county on Prince Edward Island. Participants were in their 80s and evenly split between rural and city settings. The women never thought they would need to stop driving, say researchers from the University of Prince Edward Island.

In hindsight, participants say they would have welcomed a program to help them plan for life after driving, but none was available.

Some of the women developed unique strategies to help maintain their independence:

  • one kept her car and hired a couple of neighbours to drive her;
  • another sold her car at a reduced price to a family member who agreed to provide transportation; and
  • another explored taxi fees and set up an account so she did not have to pay each time she used the taxi.

The researchers reported their findings at the 40th Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting & Pan Am Congress in Ottawa (Oct. 21-23, 2011).


MEMOIRS ARE MADE OF THIS: Are you planning to write your memoir and looking for inspiration to get started? The Memoir Writing Club may be for you.

Writer and photographer Irene Graham has been helping people write their memoirs for 20 years.

Perhaps you are you intimated by the idea of writing a whole book? Graham has just the idea for you. She calls it mini-memoir. In this format, writers focus on one particular incident or experience in their lives.

Here are some exercises from the author to help you kick-start your memories:

  • Who was your best friend at school? Why? What was the biggest mischief you got up to together?
  • Think about the best pet you ever had. How did that pet affect your life? What were their three good points and bad points? What adventures did you have together?
  • What was your favourite home? Why? Where was it?