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WRITING A POEM HELPS ME TO LIVE GRATEFULLY: Born in 1912, Naomi Wingfield of Guelph, Ontario (Canada) began writing poetry in her early 80s.

At the age of 98, two years after moving to a retirement residence, Wingfield explained how writing poetry changed the tenor of daily life: “When I am screaming inside at not hearing in the dining room or not being able to read, the creativity of writing a poem helps me to live gratefully.”

Here are two of her poems:

Youth is a Flying Horse

Youth is a flying horse
age slows to a walk on sand
now I notice sea shells.


My attic has changed.
For fifty years we stored our treasures there,
my mother’s wedding dress
great-grandfather’s solemn face in the ornate frame
love letters from high school days.

Change. My house is sold.
I return grandchildren’s drawings.
My brother’s wife cherishes letters from war-time years.
My daughter has my mother’s dress.

The attic is bare,
but my heart is full
of what has been.

The poems appeared in the Journal of Aging, Humanities, and the Arts (Vol.4, 2010).


TYZE NETWORK: BRIDGING FORMAL AND INFORMAL CARE: In 2011, the Financial Times listed Tyze among “the world’s most innovative aging projects.” The Vancouver-based company is a private, Facebook-style social network that allows older adults to share private information with their family, friends, caregivers and health providers. In 2010, founders Vickie Cammack and Al Etmanski were recipients of the Canadian Psychological Association’s Humanitarian Award.


CLIMATE CHANGE: AN ISSUE OF INTERGENERATIONAL JUSTICE: The director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies says that humanity is facing extreme weather events which would have disastrous effects for large areas of the planet.

“The situation we’re creating for young people and future generations is that we’re handing them a climate system which is potentially out of their control,” Jim Hansen told the Guardian during an April visit to the U.K. to receive the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for his contribution to science. “We’re in an emergency: you can see what’s on the horizon over the next few decades with the effects it will have on ecosystems, sea level and species extinction.”

Hansen said current generations have a moral duty to their children and grandchildren to take immediate action.

Meanwhile, Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and founder of, is urging people around the globe to unite for Climate Impacts Day on May 5, 2012. For details:


ROBOT COMPANIONS SERVE THERAPEUTIC PURPOSE: Interest continues to grow in how robotics can enhance care. Preliminary findings by researchers at the University of Manitoba say robot companions may be valuable in improving communication and social interaction among older, agitated persons living with dementia in long-term care settings.

The first of its kind in Canada, the paper describes research in which Paro (a robotic baby harp seal) was used as part of a summer training program for students (Canadian Journal on Aging, March 2012).

The Interdisciplinary Summer Research Program provides an opportunity for students to work at Deer Lodge Centre, a 431-bed long-term care and rehabilitation facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba. See AHB Nov/Dec 2009 for the interview with Lorna Guse, the lead investigator.