Comments on Depression Article



Phil Hindmarch: 31 March 2014

I'm probably luckier than most, but I've discovered a minor aptitude in myself that I didn't know I had: writing light verse (doggerel?). I have found it a challenging way to express my thoughts on everything, including politics, religion, art, sex -- you name it. All I need is a word processor (in my case an Apple lap top) and an idea.

The facts that I'm deaf and have crippling arthritis don't seem to be impediments. I'm rarely depressed -- and if I feel that Black Dog creeping up on me, I can fight it off by turning to my computer.


Have I degenerated
To the status of a hack?
Are my verses only fit
For filler or as flack?

I know I’m no Shelley,
But I’m a cut above the mob.
My verse is often good;
I’m just glad it’s not a job…

In which case I would starve.
Readers buy verse no more.
Still, I scribble on;
It’s my hobby, not a chore.

In the distant future,
Someone scanning a shelf
May find a volume of my work,
And there untold wealth…

Of wit from the past,
In rhyme and rhythm caught,
A worthwhile legacy,
From an ancestor long forgot.

Bill Badger: 31 March 2014

Thanks for this. I have a daughter thinking of moving to Victoria. This may save her from worrying about adding an in-law suite.

(If your daughter plans to purchase real estate in Victoria, tell her to bring lots of money....Ed)


Peter Kirkham: 30 March 2014

1. I thank you for (the article).

2. I belong to tai chi as you know; I have been asked to join the "medical" committee, the purpose of which is to try to reach out to all groups within the medical community, conveying the "health benefits" of tai chi.

3. One benefit is "socialization"; we have a lot of old people, many widowed, who use the association, and its classes, as a means of getting out, and interacting with others (as noted in the article).

4. When a member is missing for a few sessions, someone calls the person to enquire about their circumstance, and see if someone can help.

5. The physical activity strives to counter the mobility, and other health ailments, that we all experience as our bodies age.

6. When someone dies, we always hold a celebration of life for them, even independent of their family arrangements; it is just a way of saying that that person was important. Those attending know that they will also get the same treatment. It helps to foster community.

7. A friend of mine has just lost his wife and gone through several operations for new knees and hips. His mobility is limited. He is in a house by himself. He tells me he is lonely. I try to call him every week, go out to lunch, or just spend time with him. I am trying to encourage him to join a seniors group to get more human contact. If he doesn't I could see him willing himself to death.

8. another acquaintance just went into a deep depression, because he is worried about having enough money to last for the lives of both he and his wife (34 years expected). Through another person who I have been helping with their investments, and finances, this acquaintance was advised to contact me. I have now taken a preliminary look at his financial situation, and told him that I think we can structure a financial plan that will go a long way to assuring their solvency for the required period of time. Prior to contacting me he was taking anti-depressant drugs prescribed by his doctor to alleviate his stress. Since our contact, he tells me he has stopped taking the drugs, is starting to feel better, and is anxious for us to finish structuring his financial survival plan. His depression is turning to optimism, he tells me.

Your article highlights so many of these issues that are all around us. I am trying to help others when they are brought to my attention. In so doing, I am helping myself I am sure.

At BMO we always ran a retirement program for those about to leave the workforce. Part of the message was that in order to have a successful retirement one needed 3 things: mental activity; social a activity; and physical activity. All of our participants were essentially "financially provided for" through bank pensions, so this latter factor was not an issue.

These 3 elements for a successful retirement are " enduring through life", even as the details within each element shift as we age. The article touches on all of them.

Thanks for the reminder.


WIH: 30 March 2014

Eleanor and I now reside in what is called Independent Living in a retirement residence in Nanaimo. We rent an ~800 sq. ft. apartment with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living area and a balcony with a lake view. All meals, TV & WIFI connections, washing of towels and bedding are provided. Our suite is cleaned and disinfected once per week. A bus and a Batmobile (Berwick About Town, actually a Prius V) provide excursions to medical appointments, shopping, lunches or dinners at pubs and restaurants without charge for transportation. On a space available basis, we may also stay at other Berwicks (there are a total of 5 with another under construction, all on the Island or in the Interior) for up to 10 days per year without charge.

Here we are witness to all stages of aging, from hale, hearty and highly mobile, to limited mobility, loss of hearing, vision impairment and mental deterioration. The ratio of men to women is about 3 to 1, unusually low for this age group. It may reflect the need for a man's pension to support this kind of living. (Our monthly fee is ~$4500.) Contrary to an opinion in another thread, I don't think we'll age any faster in this environment, anymore than we would age more slowly if we stayed at the YMCA, or regain our youth if we stayed at the YWCA.

21Feb14: View of Long Lake from our balcony

Despite the number of people here (~140) many women complain of loneliness. I suspect it may also apply to men but their egos don't permit talking about it. Several widows have told Eleanor how lucky she is to still have a husband. Oddly, when widows describe their late husbands, they're invariably the greatest men who even lived. I wonder if they ever told their husbands?

Also, as the article says, family connections in our more advanced civilization are more tenuous than in third-world countries where three generations often live under one roof. And our generation is generally better off financially than those who follow. It seems more common for our generation to support our children and grandchildren than the reverse. Often we're separated by geography. Our 3 surviving children live in New Zealand, Markham and Nanaimo.

I stay active physically by walking, and average ~10 km/day. About 1/2 of that walking has been done in Berwick's long corridors with 50 minutes early every morning where I usually meet no one but a cleaner. I play bridge several times per week and an occasional game of cribbage. There are also 3 web sites to monitor and update; the largest is this one. And there are my cameras!


19 Feb 14: 4th floor corridor, the longest of 3 such 4th floor corridors




03 Jan 14: Start of a race

My 71-year-old brother lives in Port Alberni but comes to Long Lake with fellow club members to sail 1-meter RC sailboats.