FOCUS ON SENIORS: Living life as trailblazers

Opinion Oct 22, 2015 by Gary Chalk Brant News

Lyle and Lorna Marchewka are proof that marriage takes two. It is a team effort.   

The Marchewkas married in Toronto in 1985 after university and enjoyed successful careers in management – Lyle in information technology, Lorna in information systems.    

They raised their three sons in London before seeing them off to university.

Together they designed and oversaw construction of two specially designed homes, the most recent in Paris.

And together Lyle and Lorna have spent a lifetime advocating.

“I had come from Edmonton to attend the University of Waterloo,” Lyle said. “In my first semester I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“I wondered how I would function with my handicap. I (decided it would be) as normal as possible.”  

Now, 30 years later, Lyle and Lorna are living their lives. They have successfully tackled their challenges.  

“After you accept your health matters there are three challenges, Lyle said.

“You have to identify any financial matters, have family support and address mobility issues,” he said. “Settle these issues and you’ll be able to move forward.”  

When Lyle and Lorna and their boys moved to London, they designed a large, totally accessible home – complete with an indoor pool.

“We found a builder who appreciated our challenges and we worked as a team and came up with solutions,” Lorna said.  

“The world was a naive place 25 years ago when it came to accessibility matters,” Lorna said.   

Lyle and Lorna were so happy with their home – and the experience they gained – that they wrote a handbook based on the experience of building their accessible home to assist others. Today the book is available at libraries.   

Baby boomers are aging and downsizing. The Marchewkas are no different so they pulled out the book they wrote.

“Two years ago we moved into our new home here in Paris,” Lorna said. “We purchased a lot, then built our second fully accessible house. We are fortunate to have the financial resources, but many do not.” 

Lyle and Lorna have seen the awareness of facing disabilities increase over the years. However, they state the time has come for action.   

“Canada needs a national building code; One that properly addresses the handicap issues – like what exists in some other countries,” Lorna said. “Everyone involved must have a good understanding of reasonable expectations and fulfilment.

“Unfortunately, differences exist between provinces, even cities, in public building designs and transportation – even private homes.”  

Appropriate housing and social participation are two of the eight domains identified by the World Health Organization that the Grand River Council on Aging is promoting in Brantford-Brant. MPP Dave Levac and the Grand River Council on Aging have formed a partnership to conduct a series of eight age-friendly community gatherings to solicit input from local residents.  

“Lorna and I have attended the three community gatherings held to date,” Lyle said. “I kind of live it.”  

When all the community gatherings have been completed an extensive report will be distributed to all levels of government that will provide short-term and long-term recommendations about outdoor spaces, public buildings, communication, information, community support, health services and many more matters Canadians face as they age.    

“We expect it will be extensive and quite honestly pioneering,” said Lucy Marco, president of the Grand River Council on Aging.  

“Similar to how Lyle and Lorna have been trailblazers, we expect the report will highlight efforts to ensure that seniors can age in place – regardless of their issues,” Lucy said.  

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

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Living life as trailblazers

Marchewkas help lead the way on accessibility issues

Opinion Oct 22, 2015 by Gary Chalk Brant News

Lyle and Lorna Marchewka are proof that marriage takes two. It is a team effort.   

The Marchewkas married in Toronto in 1985 after university and enjoyed successful careers in management – Lyle in information technology, Lorna in information systems.    

They raised their three sons in London before seeing them off to university.

Together they designed and oversaw construction of two specially designed homes, the most recent in Paris.

And together Lyle and Lorna have spent a lifetime advocating.

“I had come from Edmonton to attend the University of Waterloo,” Lyle said. “In my first semester I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“I wondered how I would function with my handicap. I (decided it would be) as normal as possible.”  

Now, 30 years later, Lyle and Lorna are living their lives. They have successfully tackled their challenges.  

“After you accept your health matters there are three challenges, Lyle said.

“You have to identify any financial matters, have family support and address mobility issues,” he said. “Settle these issues and you’ll be able to move forward.”  

When Lyle and Lorna and their boys moved to London, they designed a large, totally accessible home – complete with an indoor pool.

“We found a builder who appreciated our challenges and we worked as a team and came up with solutions,” Lorna said.  

“The world was a naive place 25 years ago when it came to accessibility matters,” Lorna said.   

Lyle and Lorna were so happy with their home – and the experience they gained – that they wrote a handbook based on the experience of building their accessible home to assist others. Today the book is available at libraries.   

Baby boomers are aging and downsizing. The Marchewkas are no different so they pulled out the book they wrote.

“Two years ago we moved into our new home here in Paris,” Lorna said. “We purchased a lot, then built our second fully accessible house. We are fortunate to have the financial resources, but many do not.” 

Lyle and Lorna have seen the awareness of facing disabilities increase over the years. However, they state the time has come for action.   

“Canada needs a national building code; One that properly addresses the handicap issues – like what exists in some other countries,” Lorna said. “Everyone involved must have a good understanding of reasonable expectations and fulfilment.

“Unfortunately, differences exist between provinces, even cities, in public building designs and transportation – even private homes.”  

Appropriate housing and social participation are two of the eight domains identified by the World Health Organization that the Grand River Council on Aging is promoting in Brantford-Brant. MPP Dave Levac and the Grand River Council on Aging have formed a partnership to conduct a series of eight age-friendly community gatherings to solicit input from local residents.  

“Lorna and I have attended the three community gatherings held to date,” Lyle said. “I kind of live it.”  

When all the community gatherings have been completed an extensive report will be distributed to all levels of government that will provide short-term and long-term recommendations about outdoor spaces, public buildings, communication, information, community support, health services and many more matters Canadians face as they age.    

“We expect it will be extensive and quite honestly pioneering,” said Lucy Marco, president of the Grand River Council on Aging.  

“Similar to how Lyle and Lorna have been trailblazers, we expect the report will highlight efforts to ensure that seniors can age in place – regardless of their issues,” Lucy said.  

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

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Living life as trailblazers

Marchewkas help lead the way on accessibility issues

Opinion Oct 22, 2015 by Gary Chalk Brant News

Lyle and Lorna Marchewka are proof that marriage takes two. It is a team effort.   

The Marchewkas married in Toronto in 1985 after university and enjoyed successful careers in management – Lyle in information technology, Lorna in information systems.    

They raised their three sons in London before seeing them off to university.

Together they designed and oversaw construction of two specially designed homes, the most recent in Paris.

And together Lyle and Lorna have spent a lifetime advocating.

“I had come from Edmonton to attend the University of Waterloo,” Lyle said. “In my first semester I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“I wondered how I would function with my handicap. I (decided it would be) as normal as possible.”  

Now, 30 years later, Lyle and Lorna are living their lives. They have successfully tackled their challenges.  

“After you accept your health matters there are three challenges, Lyle said.

“You have to identify any financial matters, have family support and address mobility issues,” he said. “Settle these issues and you’ll be able to move forward.”  

When Lyle and Lorna and their boys moved to London, they designed a large, totally accessible home – complete with an indoor pool.

“We found a builder who appreciated our challenges and we worked as a team and came up with solutions,” Lorna said.  

“The world was a naive place 25 years ago when it came to accessibility matters,” Lorna said.   

Lyle and Lorna were so happy with their home – and the experience they gained – that they wrote a handbook based on the experience of building their accessible home to assist others. Today the book is available at libraries.   

Baby boomers are aging and downsizing. The Marchewkas are no different so they pulled out the book they wrote.

“Two years ago we moved into our new home here in Paris,” Lorna said. “We purchased a lot, then built our second fully accessible house. We are fortunate to have the financial resources, but many do not.” 

Lyle and Lorna have seen the awareness of facing disabilities increase over the years. However, they state the time has come for action.   

“Canada needs a national building code; One that properly addresses the handicap issues – like what exists in some other countries,” Lorna said. “Everyone involved must have a good understanding of reasonable expectations and fulfilment.

“Unfortunately, differences exist between provinces, even cities, in public building designs and transportation – even private homes.”  

Appropriate housing and social participation are two of the eight domains identified by the World Health Organization that the Grand River Council on Aging is promoting in Brantford-Brant. MPP Dave Levac and the Grand River Council on Aging have formed a partnership to conduct a series of eight age-friendly community gatherings to solicit input from local residents.  

“Lorna and I have attended the three community gatherings held to date,” Lyle said. “I kind of live it.”  

When all the community gatherings have been completed an extensive report will be distributed to all levels of government that will provide short-term and long-term recommendations about outdoor spaces, public buildings, communication, information, community support, health services and many more matters Canadians face as they age.    

“We expect it will be extensive and quite honestly pioneering,” said Lucy Marco, president of the Grand River Council on Aging.  

“Similar to how Lyle and Lorna have been trailblazers, we expect the report will highlight efforts to ensure that seniors can age in place – regardless of their issues,” Lucy said.  

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