We’re living longer! That’s great news, isn’t it? British Columbians have the longest average lifespan among our fellow Canadians; however, many of us are facing our latter years feeling isolated and alone. While there are no concrete predictors of longevity, many studies dedicated to understanding the overall health benefits of engagement and social connection conclude that participation in group activities enriches our lives and keeps us healthier longer.
At the Roundhouse, we have many programs dedicated to patrons ages 55+. Participants needn’t worry about affordability because many of these activities are free. In addition, qualified staff are able to accommodate everyone regardless of language differences or levels of ability.
It’s not how old you are; it’s how you are old
– Jules Renard
Sixty-seven-year-old, Express your Voice Choir singer, writer, editor and yoga instructor Judith Penner says, “The classes at the Roundhouse feel inclusive, rather than competitive, and the instructors are sensitive to the needs and abilities of each member.” Penner joined the choir after watching a performance at the Modulus Festival in 2012. “DB Boyko is a very patient and inventive teacher. She manages to help us all produce better sounds than sometimes seems possible.” Penner also agrees that while singing has obvious physical benefits, “It’s good for the heart and lungs, for getting oxygen to the brain and alleviating depression ,” she adds, “Singing in a choir is one of the best ways to feel the exhilaration of being alive.”
Another Roundhouse participant, who prefers not to reveal her name, began to explore her lifelong passion for dance when she was 50 years old and joined Roundhouse Ageless Dancers: A Community Dance Project just a few years ago. Now in her early seventies she says, “Sharing the creative experience in a medium you love creates joy.”
Another personal benefit of dancing with this group she adds is, “A sense of quiet satisfaction, not only from mastering a challenging step, but also from working collaboratively with others.” She says, “Building camaraderie grows a tolerance for our differences; we learn to accept and celebrate them. I have learned as much about living as I have about dancing.”
And much like Penner who remarks, “I will continue these activities for as long as I live because being mentally and physically active is what makes life enjoyable,” our dancer agrees, “I will most likely dance until I cannot.”
Community Centres, like the Roundhouse, are rich with opportunities that encourage connection, engagement and healthful living. So go ahead, express yourself. It’s never too late to rekindle old passions or discover new ones.
Take a closer look at these and other arts and recreation programs for participants 55+ at the Roundhouse.
What do you do to stay active and engaged with others in your community? We would love you to share your stories with our readers.
By Jacqueline Steuart, Roundhouse Blog Team. Jacqueline is a graduate of the Print Futures: Professional Writing program at Douglas College, New Westminster. She is pleased to write about the dynamic and diverse culture of the Roundhouse.