Marlborough Mid-Week : October 1st 2014
12 MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK, OCTOBER 1, 2014 INTERNATIONAL OLDER PERSONS DAY OCTOBER 1, 2014 A MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK ADVERTISING FEATURE They say age is nothing but a number, and Marlborough is full of over-60s who have proven it is no barrier to enjoying life to the full, while contributing to their community. To celebrate the United Nation’s International Older Persons Day, we meet five senior Marlburians who are not letting age encroach on their positive attitude to life. Four mornings a week, Bob Wilson walks the winding tracks of the Wither Hills. The 82-year-old leaves after sharing breakfast with his wife Beverley, have just returned from summiting Mt Vernon. Walking the Withers has been part of the Wilsons’ routine for 43 years. Even when holidaying in their Ngakuta Bay bach, they still fit in long walks. “I’m a great believer in keeping fit, keep your body going and it helps your health,” says Bob, who is a retired JP of 15 years. Sport has been an integral part of Bob’s life: He was involved with Marlborough Cricket for 60 years and is patron of the Wairau Cricket Club. When his eyesight began to fade so he couldn’t see the cricket ball as a spectator, Bob in-stead focused on other interests, 78, who would “Retiring wasn’t part of my plan.” So says Graeme Grennell, who at 76 is anything but retired. Instead, he contributes to Marlborough’s community in a myriad of ways, particularly the Maori community. Graham is Ngati Mutunga, Te Atiawa and Ngai Tahu, and is kaumatua for the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, Blenheim Police, The former National Party member has phoned headquarters weekly during the election campaign, and fondly remembers his role with the party. “You meet wonderful people on all sides who are determined to make things better for everyone.” Bob also keeps up with local body issues, which helps to “keep your mind alert”. He and Beverley are very active at St Christopher’s Church, where they have been for 50 years, and continue to do Meals on Wheels after 30 years.Another way is to keep up with his four active children and 13 grandchildren. He watches the latter play hockey, basketball, rugby and cricket and generally keep in touch:“My wife and I we text them weekly, just one little text, ‘what are you up to?’” “Having a happy family is really important. Enjoying life like politics. Community Law, St Marks and the Marlborough Probation Service. Formerly the assistant manager of Te Rapuora Te Waiharakeke Health Services, Graeme’s latest focus has been redeveloping programmes for Maori emerging from the probation system. Called Ko Wai Au, ‘Who I Am’, the programme looks at where issues like violence stems from and “where it belongs.” “There is a great need for that.” “It helps people change from survival mode to living mode”. With parents who were “always into things,” keeping busy is the norm for Graeme. He is a Canon at the Anglican Church, runs a small church in Blenheim where services are held in Maori, is involved with a small Maori radio station called TRFM and is a bone carver. “Its easy sometimes just to sit back and do nothing and waste away. Keep your mind active.” Until two years ago, Joan Bottom travelled the world. She toured Mongolia in a 4WD and the Southern Ocean on a ship. She searched for dinosaur bones and camped in Australia and suffered altitude sickness in Peru. Joan began travelling after he husband died 9 years ago. She joined the Friendship Force and ticked off many countries. Then she fell and lost the use of one arm. Other health issues cropped up: Six months ago her hip was replaced. Now, her knee is letting her down. At almost 87, she no longer attends the gym, stopped selling books at Marlborough’s markets after 30 years and gave up her regular walks. It hasn’t stopped her: “So what?” Says Joan. “You just work with what you have.” “I take it all in my stride.” Joan joined the University of the Third Age, “an organisation for people who are retired and want to have friendships and keep their marbles”. Through this, Joan attends poetry readings, a geology group, watches classic and documentary films, discovers music and discusses current events. An avid fossil collector, Joan is still a member of Marlborough’s rock and mineral club, though she can’t attend most field trip. She tends to her own garden, housework and uses the internet and Skype. “You have to look on the positive side. People say I’m amazing but no, I’m not. I just go from day to day, I make the best of everything and make the most of everything.” Age Concern Providing, support, information, advocacy, advice, friendship and social services for all older people. Phone (03) 579 3457 Office: Room 5, Marlborough Community Centre, 25 Alfred Street, Blenheim. U3A – University of the Third Age A club for older people, no longer in full time employment, who want to keep the grey matter stimulated while having fun and meeting others with similar interests. Remember, use it or lose it! Annual sub is only $10. U3A general meeting is held on the second Monday of every month at 2pm – venue is the Salvation Army Rooms. Phone: Charles (03) 578 0109 or Elizabeth (03) 572 7238 Nancy Sherwood was somewhat surprised to be included in this feature. With a packed schedule, tonnes of energy and long list of plans to look forward to, her busy lifestyle belie her 62 years. Nancy runs Presbyterian Support’s Synergy Youth Mentoring programme, which matches children aged 7 to 12 with trained mentors within the community. about 45 pairs “matched”, more in the pipeline, and “heaps” on a waiting list. Nancy also teaches Tai Chi several times a week which helps keep her “centred” and active. Home life is no less busy. On 16 acres of Wairau Valley land, Nancy prunes the trees she herself planted and watered and occasionally finds time to ride her horses. There, Nancy and her husband also run the Dharma Shed, which hosts music gigs and is already booked out until March 2015. Nancy also enjoys painting, a talent she most recently exercised on Gascoigne St fences during a neighbourhood cleanup day. One day, she hopes to paint overlooking the wetland on her property - “like Monet and his garden” - but only after ripping out the willows and replacing them with native species. With little time to contemplate retirement, Nancy does know she wants to become a volunteer for her mentoring programme, Nancy currently has with only to keep it going, but for her own benefit. “Research shows that people who volunteer are happier people because they get a lot out of life. Ageing positively is all about keeping active, she says. “It’s better not to lock yourself away, but to keep up with people.” not You’re never too old to learn a new skill, and for 75-year-old Talua Simonsen that skill meant tackling modern technology. So far, she has mastered internet banking and is gradually learning more. “I do try. It gets a bit frustrating sometimes. I have a laptop, and I’m slowly coming right.” It’s a wonder Talua has time to surf the internet at all in her busy schedule. She has been involved with the Country Womens’ Institute for 25 years and has been secretary of the Bright Centre on Dillons Point Rd, since 1979, the year it was signed over by council to become a community centre. Talua also volunteers for the Salvation Army, working in their Blenheim shop on Friday mornings and helping at their base in George St on Thursdays. She has been doing this for about a decade and loves meeting “a whole lot of different people every time”.Talua, who enjoys her “freedom” by way of mobility scooter, says keeping active is very important for older people, particularly those who are widowed as she has been for 15 years. “If you’ve got the chance to do it, do it. If you sit around doing nothing you will get to the stage where you just about think of nothing. “You’ve got to get out as long as you’re capable of getting out.” There are a wide range of local organisations that support older persons in our community; these are a few key contacts: Grey Power The active organisation protecting the rights of senior citizens. Grey Power offers advice, support services and representation of its membership and speaks out on issues affecting older persons in our community. Phone (03) 578 4950 or email: offi email@example.com Office: Unit 19 - 25 Alfred Street, Blenheim Welcome In Meets first Friday of every month 11am Waves Cafe, High St, Picton. Rides are available. Contact Susan on (03) 573 7790. Out & About Club For older people who like travel, being with friends, meeting new friends, companionship, learning about their country and having FUN! Phone (03) 579 3290 Mobile 027 223 2578 Email: AKWilson@xtra.co.nz MVIP – Marlborough Violence Intervention Project The Marlborough Violence Intervention Project is a network of organisations and members of the public working to make Marlborough a safer place to live. We want to ensure Marlborough is a community where people enjoy personal safety and security, and are free from victimisation, abuse, violence and avoidable injury. www.marlbvip.co.nz 6304886AA Marlborough Violence Intervention Project is a Marlborough based initiative with a vision to have Marlborough a violence and abuse free society.
September 24th 2014
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