In praise of seniors

Don't sit home and complain, come out and share

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

My favourite mornings are Monday, Wednesday and Friday when I go swimming at our local community centre.
If you are ever feeling low just shove yourself out that door and join your local therapy swim group.
Every time I step into the change room at our community centre I hear the sound of laughter and buzz of excitement   I can't help but catch the bug. My mind gets clear of  problems and I smile  with everyone as they exchange latest experiences.
What a beautiful sight everyone is in their "natural" beauty.  Every size and shape. Somehow we all seem "equal" in our "birthday" suits.
Now in our colourful bathing "suits" we wait for the doors to the pool to open. 

 Then a rush to the pool. Some with walkers and some with canes. 
Some staying in the shallow end  of the pool doing exercises. Others swimming in the deeper end.

But all, and I mean all, socializing. Every single person a smile on their face as they chatter with each other.
As you swim along someone will ask you about the latest election campaign and who you are going to vote for or give you a suggestion for an exercise to ease your arthritic pain.

A son faithfully helping his mother, who had a stroke, get back her mobility. Telling you how these swim exercises helped her so much.
A lot of the people in the pool are from the local Portuguese Community. And naturally speak Portuguese.  
Well, I know everyone, they also speak english.
In the pool, just before xmas, I saw some of the women putting up their arms and speaking in Portuguese.

I thought they were doing exercises so I put up my arm also. They all looked at me and smiled.
In the change room they said "it is so good you are joining us for our Xmas event at the local restaurant".
I laughed is that what you were doing? I thought you were exerciseing. Well, I would love to join you but I'm going to Ottawa. We all had a good laugh.
As we sit around getting dressed after our swim, we compare aches and pains. 
So don't sit home alone come out and share your aches and pains and maybe get a solution.
"Oh my knee"! I say as I bend over trying to put on my underwear.
"I have just the solution for that" perks up another woman. Take tumeric and lemon juice every morning you'll see results. I actually am taking her advice.
Great laughter is coming from the shower section. Julie yells over, "what's the cause of all the laughter?"

Oh, Mary has a new boyfriend. Julie replies, "What's the matter with the old one?" "Does this new one have all his equipment working?" "Good Luck". 

Here are these seniors carrying on in all kinds of weather to keep their minds and bodies working.
As we leave the change room there are all these little ones.  The big gym is full of little tots laughing and playing together. What a beautiful sight.
Daycare. We need more.
My Parkdale