FOCUS ON SENIORS: Finding silver lining at Christmas time

Opinion Dec 02, 2014 by Gary Chalk Brant News

Ferudigan was a big old St. Bernard. He belonged to Sam Wyatt, a friend of Keith and Eleanor Gloster.

“When our 3 children were young we would bundle them up and head out into the woods to chop down a Christmas tree,” said Keith Gloster, now 75-years old. “We would take Ferudigan along to help drag the tree home.”

Christmas Day was hectic.

“On Christmas Eve, we would attend the service at St. Andrew’s Church,” Eleanor, 71, said. “Then on Christmas Day my parents would come to our home for breakfast and open presents before everyone climbed into the car to visit Keith’s family in London – for more presents and a turkey dinner. That night we would pack the car and drive home to Brantford.”

That was a Gloster family Christmas tradition.

These days the Glosters' children are grown adults with children of their own. And they live separate lives between Brantford, Toronto and Collingwood.

Keith and Eleanor believe in the importance of Christmas traditions, but realize things change.

“I believe Christmas traditions, beliefs and activities give solidarity – a connection – for families. As we age we need to recognize that change isn’t necessarily for the worse; rather it is an opportunity to find silver linings,” Keith said.

The Glosters recognize times are changing. These days it is more of a feeling of "now, not then," of "instant gratification."

“It used to be fun to go and cut the tree down with our children and Ferudigan," Keith said. “But nowadays it is difficult to get everyone together. So instead we purchase an artificial tree. The silver lining is that it is decidedly cleaner, neater, safer and easier. It’s now become a tradition.”

Keith is intent on sharing more of the family Christmas traditions with his grandchildren, and searches for ways for them to be meaningful.

“We still gather for breakfast at our house, and during the day Eleanor roasts the turkey which we take over to our daughter's (house) where we enjoy dinner,” Keith said. “Whoever can make it from out of town will come. And of course we realize that our children have another side of their family – and that is good. It just means that each year some of them won’t be able to attend. So the tradition continues, but perhaps in a different manner.”

The Glosters recognize that people in their generation need to adapt.

“We used to sit down with our kids and watch an old reel-to-reel tape of the Christmas Carol,” Keith said. “These days we watch it with our grandchildren. But instead we watch on one of their mobile devices.”

Seniors can actually use ever-changing technology to their advantage to continue Christmas traditions.

“I have a tape of the Christmas Carol with Lionel Barrymore and some old black and white images of Christmas,” Keith said. “The trick is to utilize today’s technology and share them with your grandkids – with their iPad, their smart phone, their tablet.”

Seniors hold the keys for continuing Christmas traditions. It takes some ingenuity and a willingness to adapt.

“We make time during the holiday period to repeat the Christmas activities of the past, express the importance of the time, revisit the locales, keep the symbols and share the tokens,” Keith said. “We find it works for us.”

Toward an age-friendly community

Aging successfully depends on the behaviours of individual seniors and the quality of the communities where they reside. At Christmastime social participation can challenge everyone – particularly seniors.

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) promotes the voices of seniors and believes "if it is good for seniors, it is good for everyone."

For more information visit the Grand River Council on Aging website www.grcoa.ca or call 519-754-0777.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Finding silver lining at Christmas time

Local retirees sew thread for future Christmas traditions

Opinion Dec 02, 2014 by Gary Chalk Brant News

Ferudigan was a big old St. Bernard. He belonged to Sam Wyatt, a friend of Keith and Eleanor Gloster.

“When our 3 children were young we would bundle them up and head out into the woods to chop down a Christmas tree,” said Keith Gloster, now 75-years old. “We would take Ferudigan along to help drag the tree home.”

Christmas Day was hectic.

“On Christmas Eve, we would attend the service at St. Andrew’s Church,” Eleanor, 71, said. “Then on Christmas Day my parents would come to our home for breakfast and open presents before everyone climbed into the car to visit Keith’s family in London – for more presents and a turkey dinner. That night we would pack the car and drive home to Brantford.”

That was a Gloster family Christmas tradition.

These days the Glosters' children are grown adults with children of their own. And they live separate lives between Brantford, Toronto and Collingwood.

Keith and Eleanor believe in the importance of Christmas traditions, but realize things change.

“I believe Christmas traditions, beliefs and activities give solidarity – a connection – for families. As we age we need to recognize that change isn’t necessarily for the worse; rather it is an opportunity to find silver linings,” Keith said.

The Glosters recognize times are changing. These days it is more of a feeling of "now, not then," of "instant gratification."

“It used to be fun to go and cut the tree down with our children and Ferudigan," Keith said. “But nowadays it is difficult to get everyone together. So instead we purchase an artificial tree. The silver lining is that it is decidedly cleaner, neater, safer and easier. It’s now become a tradition.”

Keith is intent on sharing more of the family Christmas traditions with his grandchildren, and searches for ways for them to be meaningful.

“We still gather for breakfast at our house, and during the day Eleanor roasts the turkey which we take over to our daughter's (house) where we enjoy dinner,” Keith said. “Whoever can make it from out of town will come. And of course we realize that our children have another side of their family – and that is good. It just means that each year some of them won’t be able to attend. So the tradition continues, but perhaps in a different manner.”

The Glosters recognize that people in their generation need to adapt.

“We used to sit down with our kids and watch an old reel-to-reel tape of the Christmas Carol,” Keith said. “These days we watch it with our grandchildren. But instead we watch on one of their mobile devices.”

Seniors can actually use ever-changing technology to their advantage to continue Christmas traditions.

“I have a tape of the Christmas Carol with Lionel Barrymore and some old black and white images of Christmas,” Keith said. “The trick is to utilize today’s technology and share them with your grandkids – with their iPad, their smart phone, their tablet.”

Seniors hold the keys for continuing Christmas traditions. It takes some ingenuity and a willingness to adapt.

“We make time during the holiday period to repeat the Christmas activities of the past, express the importance of the time, revisit the locales, keep the symbols and share the tokens,” Keith said. “We find it works for us.”

Toward an age-friendly community

Aging successfully depends on the behaviours of individual seniors and the quality of the communities where they reside. At Christmastime social participation can challenge everyone – particularly seniors.

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) promotes the voices of seniors and believes "if it is good for seniors, it is good for everyone."

For more information visit the Grand River Council on Aging website www.grcoa.ca or call 519-754-0777.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Finding silver lining at Christmas time

Local retirees sew thread for future Christmas traditions

Opinion Dec 02, 2014 by Gary Chalk Brant News

Ferudigan was a big old St. Bernard. He belonged to Sam Wyatt, a friend of Keith and Eleanor Gloster.

“When our 3 children were young we would bundle them up and head out into the woods to chop down a Christmas tree,” said Keith Gloster, now 75-years old. “We would take Ferudigan along to help drag the tree home.”

Christmas Day was hectic.

“On Christmas Eve, we would attend the service at St. Andrew’s Church,” Eleanor, 71, said. “Then on Christmas Day my parents would come to our home for breakfast and open presents before everyone climbed into the car to visit Keith’s family in London – for more presents and a turkey dinner. That night we would pack the car and drive home to Brantford.”

That was a Gloster family Christmas tradition.

These days the Glosters' children are grown adults with children of their own. And they live separate lives between Brantford, Toronto and Collingwood.

Keith and Eleanor believe in the importance of Christmas traditions, but realize things change.

“I believe Christmas traditions, beliefs and activities give solidarity – a connection – for families. As we age we need to recognize that change isn’t necessarily for the worse; rather it is an opportunity to find silver linings,” Keith said.

The Glosters recognize times are changing. These days it is more of a feeling of "now, not then," of "instant gratification."

“It used to be fun to go and cut the tree down with our children and Ferudigan," Keith said. “But nowadays it is difficult to get everyone together. So instead we purchase an artificial tree. The silver lining is that it is decidedly cleaner, neater, safer and easier. It’s now become a tradition.”

Keith is intent on sharing more of the family Christmas traditions with his grandchildren, and searches for ways for them to be meaningful.

“We still gather for breakfast at our house, and during the day Eleanor roasts the turkey which we take over to our daughter's (house) where we enjoy dinner,” Keith said. “Whoever can make it from out of town will come. And of course we realize that our children have another side of their family – and that is good. It just means that each year some of them won’t be able to attend. So the tradition continues, but perhaps in a different manner.”

The Glosters recognize that people in their generation need to adapt.

“We used to sit down with our kids and watch an old reel-to-reel tape of the Christmas Carol,” Keith said. “These days we watch it with our grandchildren. But instead we watch on one of their mobile devices.”

Seniors can actually use ever-changing technology to their advantage to continue Christmas traditions.

“I have a tape of the Christmas Carol with Lionel Barrymore and some old black and white images of Christmas,” Keith said. “The trick is to utilize today’s technology and share them with your grandkids – with their iPad, their smart phone, their tablet.”

Seniors hold the keys for continuing Christmas traditions. It takes some ingenuity and a willingness to adapt.

“We make time during the holiday period to repeat the Christmas activities of the past, express the importance of the time, revisit the locales, keep the symbols and share the tokens,” Keith said. “We find it works for us.”

Toward an age-friendly community

Aging successfully depends on the behaviours of individual seniors and the quality of the communities where they reside. At Christmastime social participation can challenge everyone – particularly seniors.

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) promotes the voices of seniors and believes "if it is good for seniors, it is good for everyone."

For more information visit the Grand River Council on Aging website www.grcoa.ca or call 519-754-0777.