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Franco Monopoli, general manager of Amica at West Vancouver, laughs when he says that Kay Hutchinson and Jean Brown are “the quietest ones we have” in the community.
They’re a pair of real live wires. Kay is 86 and Jean is 81. When it comes to activities, they both insist that mental exercise is just as important as physical.
And that includes the occasional night out at a bar! “I’m on the activity committee and I insist that we include the mind as well as the body,” says Kay. “We have so much to choose from, you could be on the go all day. But we have a new venture—a discussion group. Our first topic was global warming and then we talked about global migration and Canada’s immigration policies.
“It’s heavy-duty stuff—really gets you thinking and broadens your outlook. There are about 18 people in the group. We only have two men so far, but they’re the biggest trouble! No, really, there’s some good discussion that goes on.”
But what about those trips to a bar?
“Franco lets us have a bus and a driver every Friday evening to do whatever we want,” says Jean. “We go to plays and musical events. And sometimes sit in a bar and talk and watch what’s going on. It’s really fun. We went to one of the big downtown hotels recently and visited their cocktail lounge.”
“We’ve been to a golf club for dinner, too,” adds Kay. “Right now, we’re seeing all the movies that had Academy Award nominations.
“It’s all part of wellness and vitality. You really must include the mind.”
“Getting out and meeting people—it’s better than sitting in a chair,” says Jean.
Kay believes the next generation of senior citizens will be in a better position to enjoy all that a retirement community can offer.
“Our generation, when we got married in the 1930s and 1940s, women weren’t generally going out to work,” she explains. “So we weren’t exposed to the learning side of being at work. And exercise—my lord, I had to stop and think before it would occur to me to go for a walk!
“The next generation will be stimulated to go on learning. They’ve grown up with new ways of eating and healthier living. They’ll be more active in retirement,” Kay says.
“My son teaches philosophy at the University of Toronto. He loves this place. He loves that we’re getting people to think.”
“My son found this place for me,” says Jean. “He decided he wanted to move in too!”