To age is to live.

To age is to live. At every second, at every hour… at any moment and at any age. Ageing is anything but ceasing to “be”. It’s having the chance to continue, to love, to dream… to live! And there are as many ways to do it as there are individuals on Earth.

Scroll through the words with the arrows to discover how “to age is to live”:

To age is to
liberate.
cultivate.
learn.
reflect.
appreciate.
EXPERT'S POINT OF VIEW...

A team from the Montreal Heart Institute recently demonstrated the positive effects of nature on overall health, including: “A reduction in heart rate and blood pressure; a decrease in sympathetic nervous system activity and cortisol levels (less stress); an increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity (better relaxation); a reduction in anxiety. Studies also suggest that being amongst nature decreases depression and negative emotions, improves mood, reduces fatigue, enhances vitality and improves attention.”

I’ve been a passionate camper, both wild and organized, for over 60 years. I plan my destination, hitch my mini-trailer to my car and hit the road. I travel alone 90% of the time. Sometimes I have friends joining me, but I don’t depend on anyone to set out. I need my freedom, and I’m not afraid of solitude. I enjoy the silence and walking in the forest. It’s in nature that I am happiest. I never get bored! In the winter, I prepare my Mason jars to be ready to go as soon as May rolls around. I love life... and I love living it!

Jacquelin Beaulieu
93 years young

EXPERT'S POINT OF VIEW...

The issue of socialization is indeed a priority for the World Health Organization (WHO), which recently established the Commission on Social Determinants of Health. “Lack of social connection carries an equivalent, or even greater, risk of early death as other better-known risk factors – such as smoking, excessive drinking, physical inactivity, obesity, and air pollution. Social isolation also has a serious impact on physical and mental health; studies show that it has been linked to anxiety and depression and can increase risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%.” stated Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO.

I am increasingly happy as I grow older. By being active, I meet many people, including my new sweetheart! I want people to feel good in my presence. I love people. I’ve been involved in organizing bowling leagues for a long time. But in reality, I do it for the socializing aspect of it. And I don’t just cultivate relationships – I cultivate flowers too! It’s a passion for me. I’ve always had a garden where I planted all types of flowers. I’ve even won awards. The thing is, since I don’t consider myself old, I don’t really know what ageing is about!

Richard Charest
85 years young

EXPERT'S POINT OF VIEW...

A recent study at the University of California conducted by Professor Rachel Wu, showed that learning at an advanced age rejuvenates cognitive abilities. “We discovered that the participants had not only maintained their gains but had improved further: their cognitive abilities after one year were similar to those of adults 50 years younger. (…) Giving seniors a three-course routine – much like an undergraduate student’s schedule – seemed to eventually improve their memory and attention to levels similar to that of a college student.”

I enrolled in university at age 62, after taking care of my three children throughout my young adult life. With my husband having passed away 3 years prior, it was time to focus on myself. So, I began a Bachelor’s degree in French literature, taking two courses per semester, and received my diploma at 70! Since then, I write a lot. I’ve participated in writing workshops, contributed to a collective work and published 3 fiction novels whose stories are inspired by real-life events. For me, ageing is about continuing to dare, to step out of my comfort zone. It’s the best way to keep learning more about oneself!

Madeleine Meloche
89 years young

EXPERT'S POINT OF VIEW...

Serge Cantin, a philosophy professor at the University of Québec in Trois-Rivières and an expert on the work of sociologist Fernand Dumont, suggests that “Cultural transmission serves the essential function of humanizing the child, transforming them into a human being in their own right. What’s more, we can’t have human society without cultural transmission.” For First Nations communities, this concept has long been crucial: “Elders served as the group’s pillars, the gateway to the community’s living memory. (...) They were the literal conveyors of knowledge,” explains Adéline Basile, Director of Housing and Infrastructure at the Council of the Innus of Ekuanitshit.

The joy of writing to put down on paper my memories, my story, has come back to me recently. I’ve always loved languages, translation, crafting short stories, reflection and my inner thoughts. Choosing the right words, adding nuances to the narrative – it’s a passion. I do it without pressure. I have no ambitious desires, no wish to publish... just to remember. I rediscover who I was before the whirlwind of professional responsibilities and family obligations. I have notes about the genealogy and the little story of the family. Revisiting the past sometimes serves as a springboard to continue... to reflect. And it’s through writing that I love to do it.

Nicole Garneau
72 years young (at the end of march)

EXPERT'S POINT OF VIEW...

Rebecca Shankland, lecturer at the University of Grenoble-Chambéry and author of La Psychologie positive, confirms this view: “Individuals who experience gratitude are more likely to notice positive events in life and remember them more than less grateful individuals. They thus have a more positive representation of their social environment and living conditions. Gratitude reduces the tendency toward materialism and social comparison; it actually increases empathy, which leads to better quality relationships.”

Every day, I’m thankful for my health. It’s an immense gift. I’m also filled with gratitude for having had the opportunity to learn five languages and to immigrate to Quebec at the age of 21. I’ve had an incredible career that’s allowed me to experience different cultures, broadening my perspective of the world. I’ve travelled, among other places, to Labrador and the Far North of Quebec. The silence, extreme cold and deep darkness of the night have taught me humility. Realizing that I’m just a small part of this vastness puts things into perspective and makes me realize how lucky we are to be here to experience it all.

Alexandre Gavrilidis
81 years young

To age is to restart.

“After going through a major ordeal, I sold my house and moved into a residence. I started over… at 71! I made good friends and found love! I also got involved in all sorts of volunteer activities. All of this greatly lifted my spirits by keeping me from overthinking things. I even started a knitting group for a few of the girls. My boyfriend comes to sit with us, and we laugh a lot because he enjoys teasing us. My life has found new meaning thanks to being surrounded by all this joy!”

Lisette Verreault

79 years young


To age is to enjoy.

“I’m a very resilient and positive person. I hate negativity. Why focus on the worst side of a situation? There’s also the best side! I believe that if I’ve managed to stay healthy and happy at my age, it’s because I’ve never felt sorry for myself. What’s in our heads reflects on our physical selves. I also love to laugh! With my sister, who is my best friend, it’s always cheerful. We know our phone conversation is over when we start saying too many silly things! I try to live in the present. A positive attitude is the key to facing life.”

Louise Fortier

85 years young

Ageing is a unique journey, personal to each of us. Ageing is living as we always have… and it’s a privilege to be able to do so.

– World Health Organization (WHO) –

“I’ve never stopped wanting to help others. When I see an ambulance, I still have the reflex to offer my assistance. I don’t think it will ever stop: my profession as a doctor will always be a part of me. I’m still curious about the latest medical advances and continue to be asked for medical advice. It’s normal… and it gives me so much pleasure to be able to offer my support. It’s almost selfish, in fact, because when I manage to help someone, it’s me that benefits the most!”

Yvette Bonny

85 years young

To age is to heal.

“By sheer coincidence, a duck with a wounded leg and wing crash-landed in the courtyard of our residence. So, we welcomed her and nursed her back to health. Having been a nurse all my life, it was natural for me to take part in her recovery. I watched over her every morning from the window of my apartment, to the extent that I knew when she was hungry or afraid. Perhaps I helped Vasty (we named her!) heal, but it was mostly she who healed me from the grief of losing my dear friend and my sister, both of whom passed away just before her arrival.”

Lorraine Potvin

89 years young

BEHIND THE SCENES

Committed people

The deep commitment of those involved in this project is a poignant testimony to people’s adherence
to human values and to the sincerity of the cause we defend.

 

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