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Roundup

 

DON'T CALL ME A SENIOR: Numbers show adults 65 and over outnumber children in Canada for the first time since Confederation.

According to Statistics Canada's 2016 census figures, there are now 5.9 million Canadian seniors, compared to 5.8 million Canadians 14 and under.

Some say this is an ideal time to banish the term "senior."

In a letter to Nova Scotia's Advisory Committee on Aging, one person wrote:

We all have various identities in our lives – we are athletes, artists, musicians, labourers, professionals, carpenters, etc., . . . but we turn 65 and become a "senior," the term used for everyone from the age of 65 to 105 . . . It's like calling the rest of the world "the juniors" and stripping away all other identities or titles which allow us to be individuals.

By 2030, more than one in four Nova Scotians will be 65 years or older. The province's
new action plan for an aging population invites all citizens to embrace opportunities offered by an aging society.

 


 

ABORIGINAL PATHS TO AGING WELL: As the cohort of aging Aboriginal people in Canada grows, anthropologists are collecting their stories and expanding our understanding of aging.

Born in 1939, Marie Favel has lived most of her life in the Metis community of Ile a la Crosse in Saskatchewan, Canada. She married her husband Jimmy in 1958 and raised eight children. Favel became a teacher, community health worker and an advocate for her Aboriginal heritage.

She describes her aging journey this way:

I see that I have moved through the medicine wheel; that my pursuit of more education and experience has taken me through all four quadrants as a teacher (mental and emotional), as a religious educator and sweat leader (spiritual), and in community health education (physical). And having searched the wheel I found the last piece in health education. And this is where I feel I can make the most contribution to the health and healing of my community.

So today, I am still involved in many things that are about sharing my life experiences, about helping our youth stay in school, about helping our young people parent well and drawing on the old ways, and about dealing with the hurt that is still there in the high suicide rates among our youth.

Source: Anthropology & Aging Quarterly (Vol. 33, No. 1, 2012).

 


 

OLDER AUSSIES REDISCOVER THE "HIGH" LIFE: As Canada gears up to legalize marijuana, a new report finds substance use is on the rise among older Australians.

Victoria Kostadinov and Ann Roche of Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, analyzed data from the 2004 and 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey. Their findings show cannabis use, among Australians 50 years and over, increased from 1.5 per cent to 3.6 per cent between 2004 and 2013.

The study finds unmarried men aged 50 to 59 who also use other substances are at particular risk.

Much of this is attributed to aging baby boomers who dabbled with the drug when they were young. As cannabis becomes legal and more normalized, they are returning to it for medical or recreational use.

Cannabis use is also on the rise among older Canadians. A 2012 Statistics Canada Community Health Survey found that the percentage of older cannabis users has quadrupled since 2002.

Past studies suggest cannabis can place older adults at risk due to aging-related physiological changes.

Researchers say healthcare professionals need support in updating skills to effectively support older cannabis users. Age-appropriate interventions are also required to reduce and manage cannabis use among older adults.

Details of the study appeared in the March 2017 issue of the Australasian Journal on Ageing.

 


 

LATE RIPENESS

The land of old age holds both openings and closings for Polish Nobel Laureate, Czeslaw Milosz.

In "Late Ripeness," published in Second Space, he writes:

Not soon, as late as the approach of my ninetieth year,
I felt a door opening in me and I entered
the clarity of early morning.

One after another my former lives were departing,
like ships, together with their sorrow.