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John Evans refuses to cut himself any slack: “I had a fall and hurt my back. It was my own fault,” he says simply.

But he’s looking forward to getting back soon to regular exercise and believes the level of fitness he had before his fall is helping speed his recovery.

“I’m 84,” John says. “I never ever thought I’d find myself doing Tai Chi! I don’t think I’d even heard of it till I came here. But it’s a great thing; it really keeps you loose and gives you some strength. That and taking a walk two or three times a day keep me going.”

Isobel Borland would agree with that. When the weather’s too bad, she walks the halls of Windsor Court Retirement Residence in Fredericton.

“There are some people,” she starts and then stops herself and laughs. “I was going to say ‘some older people,’ but that’s me! I’m 97. When I moved in six years ago, I was younger and I was able to do everything. Silly games. They’d say, ‘We’re going to play golf tomorrow.’ They set something up indoors and you had to hit a ball. It was all good fun. They put a lot of thought into what works for people.”

Other regular physical activities include “stretchercise” and even light weight training, says Elizabeth Clarke. She’s 91 and says, “I enjoy both of them. You have to have to lots of activities. If you have a lot of people who can’t hear very well talking to a lot of other people who can’t hear very well, it’s hard to sit and have a good conversation! And no one can ever remember everybody’s name.”

“I used to do exercises every day,” says Isobel. “I enjoyed it but I started thinking it was a little too much for me. Someone said, ‘Walking is the best exercise.’ And I thought, ‘Well, I can do that!’ I’ve covered a lot of distance in here.”

She, John and Elizabeth all play bingo, though Elizabeth thinks the residence’s Scrabble games are more interesting. John has three women—“You couldn’t call us a club”—whom he plays cribbage with. “Even the bingo is well organized,” says Elizabeth. “There are volunteers to help anyone who can’t hear properly. And really big bingo cards for anyone who can’t see very well.”

“You try to keep yourself young,” says John. “That’s what it’s all about.”

“We laugh a lot together,” Isobel adds. “Laughter’s very important.”

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