December 31, 2011

Unleash Your Dreams for 2012

New Year’s resolutions can be frustrating and in my experience the inability to keep those resolutions is often the source of frustration and negative energy.  So instead I bypass resolutions and choose to think in terms of dreams and vision where I want to be in life.

As boomers or busy moms many of us seem to be trying to find our personal balance (work, family, fitness, fun....) and we often forget about ourselves in this equation! Some have this figured out but for me, I admit that balance is still a work in progress (sometimes feeling guilty to put myself first before my family).  Just like a good compass, when we get lost we need to know where we are going!  I remind myself that before you can even think of taking good care of others (family or aging parents), you need to take care of yourself and the question we need to ask ourselves is “what are we becoming?
Setting dreams allows us to create a vision of where we want to go and structure our steps so we will get there. We can dream at any age without discrimination and they might be the fix we need to get out of a slump or to lead one outside their boundaries or comfort zone perhaps to a new job or to follow their passions through volunteering.
I am a dreamer and I push the boundaries and reach for the stars in life and proudly I encourage family and friends to do the same.  I want to continue to have a young playful mind as I go into my 50's.  Having the ability to dream and act on our dreams is one of the most amazing abilities we have and the greatest gift we can give ourselves.   We are in control of creating happiness and success in our own life and I know firsthand that the journey to make this happen is as exciting as achieving an individual dream itself.  The personal change will affect your family, your work and help you to discover your passions or unleash your real character traits! Most people have forgotten how to dream, given up or think their dreams will never become a reality.

My dreams are in pictures and I have used vision boarding to help as my reminders.  Simple words can act as reminders to me.

Vision boarding is like a storyboard to map out or keep your goals top of mind.  Your vision board reinforces your positive images and a process that helps identify areas in your life that are important to you.  It’s like replacing negative self talk with positive self talk or highlighting the positive.
So, as the new year unfolds why not unleash those dreams and whether you consider them resolutions or not, make a list using pictures and figure out the steps you need to get there. 

I want to be the support and the strength to help others as they embark on this journey or at least help others see the possibilities!  Thank you to those who have allowed me to help them become more as they prepare to re-enter the work force and create their own businesses encompassing their own dreams.

Check out or pick up The Vision Board – Joyce Schwarz.  Our team at Unleashdreams share a vision of helping others see their possibilities and to help them shape their future.

December 22, 2011

Cutting the Kelly Christmas Tree

Traditions in our family are incredibly important and something we treasure as a family with everything we have.  As a mom of two grown teens, for me these special rituals were shared with my own family growing up, incorporated later with those from my husband's family resulting in new traditions we created as our own family. 

Cutting down our own christmas tree is but one of those traditions.

Christmas for the Kelly's is not complete without a trek to Langley's Dogwood Christmas Tree Farm - a tradition that we have been enjoying for 14 years.  Thank you to our friends who shared this idea with us. 
Year after year, it varied as to what weekend in December we would be able to go. Despite juggling kids' soccer and hockey games, it was our kids who reminded and encouraged us to set the date. The first year Briana went off to university and wasn't able to be with us was hard; I actually felt a hole, but soon learned what being there in spirit really meant.  You see, they too in their own way adopt a sense of tradition, and this year she appreciated the decorations we sent for her own university house (a stuffed santa similar to the one we have, couple of homemade decorations she made and The Night Before Christmas were well received and displayed on her mantle proudly alongside the homemade advent calendar my mom made for her:)

I remember one year we waited so late in the month that we arrived to a "Trees Sold Out" sign. 
I remember one year they stopped allowing dogs in the farm.
I remember one year it was so muddy that the car stunk like a pig pen on the way home.
My favorite year was when it snowed.

Every year we would arrive and wander the fields looking for the perfect tree. It was my husband and son who are meticulous about which is the perfect specimen.  They share this sense of righteousness and we would analyze all prospects until it stood out to us all like a bright star.  The real test then was who got to cut it down - who had earned the right of passage to handle the saw that year?

The day wouldn't be complete without lunch at the Elvis Diner.

It is these types of treasures that we hold onto as a family. I learn more and more each year that the spirit of Christmas isn't in the gift, but in the memories, the warmth, and the love that a family can share together regardless of distance.  It is my wish for every family to share this same special bond that I treasure every day of my life.
Ho Ho Ho!

December 03, 2011

I first had the honour of meeting this inspiring woman of 80+ years when I was doing research for a healthy aging event looking for a motivational speaker, who like me, had a passion for living. Since that meeting a couple of years ago when I first spoke with BJ McHugh I believe that our meeting has affected my life and influenced many decisions that I have made on this journey into my next 50 years. She is an outstanding healthy living ambassador and I am proud to call her my friend.

BJ McHugh and Denise 2010

 BJ McHugh, an octogenarian and according to her facebook page is the fastest senior marathoner on earth.  For almost a quarter century she has set  dozens of world age based world records and I often see her out running near my home or enjoying a post run coffee with her running mates at our local village coffee shop.  

BJ always finds time to say hello and to chat and during our last visit she was bubbling with joy about her new book.  You see she has just co- authored a book with Bob Nixon CBC Producer called My Road To Rome which tells her incredible story of life. 
"My Road to Rome tells the story of my life, of how I made the transition from housewife, mother and smoker to world champion. I might be a force of nature, but I do not think I am a freak of nature. Most people over 50 can also enjoy amazing health, fitness and happiness. I tell you how I did it and how other women and men can do it too" states BJ in her book. 

Thank you BJ for making this journey of aging look so manageable and for showing us that age is no barrier.  You see I was involved in gathering some local community Mom's age 45+ to start a female hockey team called the Stanley Cupcakes and continue to empower other Boomers to become more. By sharing your story, I hope to inspire others to lead a more healthy aging lifestyle and to feel encouraged that the new road is worth taking.

A final quote from BJ's book... 
"Everybody is getting older at the same time and everybody always has a new potential.  If you missed being your best when you were young, then remember that every fleeting moment in the future provides you with another opportunity."
Learn more about Betty Jean McHugh's inspiring story at or follow her on facebook at Fans Of Betty Jean McHugh.
Your fan, Denise

November 20, 2011

What to be when and if we grow up!

Seems that as we age there are some who evidently have a fire in their belly that starts to grow and a passion to be something before it is too late.  As a boomer myself, I am frequently approached by others who openly acknowledge that they want their work to have meaning and are reinventing themselves and redesigning their work.   Others are choosing to delay retirement for reasons that are unclear but we know our aging workforce is strong.
Boomers and seniors are the fastest growing group and we know that more and more individuals are choosing not to retire for financial and personal reasons and continue to contribute to our society.   Some believe that there are several potential factors at play; the rising levels of personal debt, greater opportunities, shrinking nest eggs, financial fear or maybe simply because they love what they are doing and working gives meaning? 
We know this aging labour force, and those working longer, also carries an implication that more jobs will need to be created to absorb newcomers into the labour force reducing unemployment.  Can we learn from this?  Should we be encouraging our youth to search for more meaningful careers that are in alignment with their personal passions and to believe in the do what you love and the money will follow philosophy?    

At any stage, while many boomers and seniors continue to work and contribute to society, some are indeed finding creative ways to bring financial wealth and recreate and reinvent themselves so that their work is more in line with that fire within.  We see new small businesses popping up and seniors who are consulting.
 If one can’t find this personal alignment and gratification in their work and are looking for more meaningful ways to contribute to society, why not get involved in a community group like a book club, bridge club, wine club, hockey team or with the numerous opportunities to volunteer.  Who knows, maybe involvement in such small support groups might also foster personal growth, build confidence and be the support system we need to help us manage these changes as we age.  We know that positive social connections are important to aging well.
Let’s keep feeding the fire in the belly and encourage and celebrate those who are courageous enough to take responsibility to redesign their next 50 years.

October 30, 2011

There are no limits to learning

Having recently attended a conference at a local university I noticed it was filled with individuals who were passionate about finding ways to engage their communities to learn. 
The conference was a collection of individuals and educators that came together to promote the benefits of learning and to present a variety of interesting topics lead by highly respected educators from across Canada. The seats were filled with people who were currently enrolled in educational programs, many of them 55+ who had a passion for learning. Some were studying a second language confident that this might keep their brains stimulated and strong.
It became evident that there are many people who clearly believed that learning starts at birth and never stops.  
How do we activate lifelong learners?  Imagine if there were more people who could accept that there was a microcosm of information out there that they didn’t know?  What if more people were open to the possibilities of learning new things or new ways to do something? According to a leader in the field at this university we must first “unlearn to learn”. 
To kickstart learning we must unlearn our fear.
Sometimes we joke that what we learned at an early age has stuck with us and is the foundation for our actions. We have old habits and some of us are very set in our ways. However, as our society changes and we are faced with problems in our families, communities and in our world, we might need to look at learning new approaches.  Maybe what we normally have been doing isn’t working anymore and so we must find a way to work more collaboratively with the willingness to adapt and learn new ways of thinking and perhaps more creatively look at our problems.  We might have to approach a new situation with an open mind so that we can discover new ways to look at problems and to hopefully generate new more effective solutions.
 We all have hidden potential and with support we have the ability and confidence to realize it. Check out TED Talks or local TEDx events which cover a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder.  They are designed to provoke conversations and learning.
Denise Kelly is a North Vancouver Boomer proudly living with her two children, husband and dog Mel.  She looks forward to sharing stories to motivate others.   Follow her on Twitter @TheBoomerVine or check out

September 29, 2011

The Buzz of the Life

Who makes the rules anyway about how we age and move through our next 50 years?  Personally “I want to be all used up before I die” a George Bernard Shaw quote I interpret as “let’s give it our best”.   
It warms my heart to read about aging seniors who are living a full life and getting involved in their community. A social person myself, I also enjoy being around others of like mind, learning and it appears there are lots of us out there who also prefer this buzz of activity.  That might be at the local senior’s center or perhaps the local coffee shop, but any morning both are bustling.
The atmosphere of a local senior centre any morning is enough inspiration to want to start a new hobby or take a class.  Recent stories in the media showcase the “New Age-ing” who work out in seniors exercise parks, enjoy fitness every day, or are taking classes at local universities.  While there is a large bulge of aging seniors enjoying what their community has to offer we must be cognisant that there are others who are not. Recognizing that some people are content to simply enjoy family and close friends and choose not to participate in such buzz, we do however know that there are many others who might be nervous, home bound, financially restricted or challenged by heath issues and have no choice.  Let’s not forget them. 
Community projects are being developed and sponsored by the local health authorities to help increase access, social participation and inclusion of these isolated seniors through volunteer based outreach programs.  Referrals can also be made to community services for additional support.  Some programs begin by building trust with the peer support worker in the clients home through conversation.  This might lead to visiting the buzz of the local senior center or coffee shop eventually wanting to get involved in a community program with others.  
As children of aging parents we too could have these conversations with our parents and see how we might help them engage in their community or explore their wishes.
At any age there are opportunities to get connected to your community but sometimes circumstances merely get in the way. 
Published BC Black Press September 2011

September 20, 2011

All my life I wanted to be a rock star

All my life I have wanted to be a rock star or the chance to pretend.

The only music I remember in our house growing up was opera, Christmas and the Bee Gee’s. My Dad’s record player sat on a shelf behind the den door where he would stack 10 albums that would play one after the other all Sunday and quite loud whether you liked it or not!

After the arrival of our two kids, one with a solid ear for music and the other a solid leg to sports the music really began.  We always had music playing in the back ground and not just the likes of Raffi but a solid variety of rock and roll, country and mainstream. The kids to this day laugh at the fact that when we have parties the music is so loud they can hear it over at their friends house a block away.  In fact for my 40th birthday my husband crowned me Edgemont Idol and everyone was encouraged to come in costume and to sing or act out their favourite song – best gift ever!

My husband also loves “good music” and he has taught our family to respect the record album.  200 albums hide alphabetically on the top shelf of our coat cupboard in our little tiny rancher (oh and when we have parties the guests get to choose which album they wish to hear – this is called the “record game”).

 Thanks to a friend we found the local School of Rock where my son began piano lessons but quickly got the bug for electric then acoustic guitar and vocals and is now part of a performance band.  The founders name is ironically S. Melody!  She and her passionate teachers teach way more than just musical notes for they encourage and inspire these kids to live their dreams among like minded friends.  Life a family, they are safe to move out of their comfort zone to grow.

Watching our son on stage playing in his band singing vocals to songs from artists he loves is as good for me as being that rock star.  He has gained the love of music and he treasures his collection of concert tickets from some of those favourite artists that he and his Dad have enjoyed from the likes of Neil Young, The Who, ACDC, John Fogerty, Eric Clapton with many more planned. 

Living vicariously  through my son I am that rock star.
Denise Kelly is a North Vancouver Boomer proudly living with her two children, husband and dog Mel.  She looks forward to sharing stories to motivate others.

Originally published Black Press 2010

My Pill Box is Too Small

OK, I am laughing out loud because I am trying to jam all my daily vitamins into a pill box because I go away tomorrow but they don’t fit!  How did I get here in a place having to manage my pills and do I really need to be taking all of these magic gems?   My kids gave me the pill box for a joke Christmas present one year and I honestly thought I would never use it - little did I know I would actually need it!
My Mom and Dad both have pill boxes full of colourful pills in a variety of sizes and shapes. My Mom apparently considers this like a part-time job preparing their pill boxes for the week. Their other option would be blister packs where ones pharmacy will bundle pills into a preformed plastic pack so each day you pop out just what you need.  I can only imagine how many of our aging parents are forgetting to take their pills and worse yet, are taking so many different kinds that they actually cause harm.  Many seniors are living longer because we have learned to manage disease which is great but the cost of prescription medications to seniors is astronomical.  The other day when I took my Mom to the specialist she had written down on an index card all her medications she takes and in fact told me she keeps this card with her everywhere she goes.  She says it’s like insurance and apparently information seniors need to self manage. I reluctantly myself look at her list and wonder if one day I may be taking some of the same medications because the disease may be hereditary.  
My goal is to learn to manage my own health proactively, using vitamins so that I can try to ward off disease as long as possible.  I just got home from my local Health Works vitamin store and my monthly chat with the lovely gal who works there.  She is around my age and we often laugh out loud as we discuss similar challenges we are facing, reassuring each other we are not alone! Today I came away with Vitamin D and a new natural multivitamin and this is the reason my pill box is overflowing!
No blister packs for this gal, I will jam the vitamins into my pill box as best as I can. I refuse to buy another ugly pill box with bigger compartments because I am just not mentally ready to accept it.  Instead, I am going to design a fun ~bright container that Boomers can use when they travel and it won’t look anything like the sterile medical looking ones on the market today.
Let’s face it, I need no daily reminder that I am indeed aging.
Denise Kelly is a North Vancouver Boomer proudly living with her two children, husband and dog Mel.  She looks forward to sharing stories to motivate others.

Originally published in BC Black Press 2011

Today I am On Strike!

Is that the little voice of reason making a visit today? Ok, I know that I should be doing laundry, going for a walk, answering emails as my black berry buzzes and even getting to those crusty dirty muffin pans that have been soaking in the sink since yesterday but I am not.  Today I am On Strike!
You see this is the first day off I feel like I have had in weeks and I need to focus on clearing the clutter in my mind first before I can move forward and be productive.  (Apparently clutter in the house could be a cause for clutter in the mind and brain fitness could be a solution).   I call these lazy days being  On Strike and my family has learned to accept them but they do dread the outcome as that usually means they have to help catch up on chores on the weekends. Don’t get me wrong I am liberated and they have chores too, but the reality is that they too sometimes ignore them just like me!
Luckily both my kids and my husband are raving fans of being On Strike themselves. My husband has the On Strike thing down pat and like many other husbands could easily amuse himself by watching sports all day.  I believe it is healthy to listen to your body and slow down when we need it and to never criticize others for doing it.  I fully recognize that I need these lazy days every once in a while as my life becomes even busier with opportunities around work, writing,  managing a family, schedules, aging parents and trying to fit in person fun. 
My sister seems to have a different approach and would ideally take an hour each day for something called “toes up” where she sits down, regroups over tea and clears the mind clutter with her eyes shut.  I am not ready for that nor do I have time each day for this but it is encouraging to know that we all in our own way find a solution that works. 
Today, maybe I will just throw the dirty old muffin tins out instead of washing them and close my eyes and try that “toes up” thing my sister does.  Maybe I’ll have a nap on this glorious rainy day after all I did have to take the dog to the vet at 7:45am and was up early.  No, maybe I will catch a little of Oprah because my Dad said that this is her last season. 
Better yet, a quote in the morning paper referring to clutter says, “when you don’t have time to manage your home, perhaps it’s time to trim down your list of activities”. 
Perfect, today I will do just that.  I agree to ditch the activity of doing the laundry and washing those dirty muffin tins.

Denise Kelly is a North Vancouver Boomer proudly living with her two children, husband and dog Mel.  She looks forward to sharing stories to motivate others.

Originally published BC Black Press 2011

My Journey Into Facebook

At 46 years young I was involved with starting a female hockey team called the Stanley Cupcakes and now I proudly take another step to break this generation gap, into the unknown world of social media.
You see, my passion is to empower seniors to live the best life they can and I thought that the use of Facebook as a tool for seniors to stay connected with their grandchildren and children might also help them to bridge the generation gap and in turn, create stronger families.  With that, I give it a try!
I must be the only one of my friends not on Facebook. Twitter sounds like a bird and YouTube makes me laugh but my kids and my dad, a senior himself, know all about the benefits.
Psyched up, I find the Facebook site. Should I use my real name or a sexy one like “Hot Hips”?
I decide that if I was using this social media tool for connecting to others, then I better use my real name so people can find me. Apparently it will allow me to connect to my past schoolmates and my world before children.
Name created but I laugh out loud... password! I create one but write it down because guaranteed I will have forgotten it by tomorrow.
Not bad, I’m in. Now I can simply search for friends. I type in my sister’s name, confident she will be my friend. Within minutes, up pops a picture of her, granted it looks like it was taken through the bottom of a pop bottle. Again I laugh out loud. There she is, I click on her name and presto, I can send her a note, in real time. I see that she is friends with her daughters and my daughter.
So I search my husband, my kids and my work. Amazingly, I find that I can connect back to my world before kids.
I find a global site called Camp Tawingo where I went every summer starting at nine years old. I can see the names of some of the members, which I recognize from when I was there and pictures and stories (called blogs) which tell about it as it is today.
This warms my heart and makes me smile.
Lunch is over I have to log out and get back to reality but it’s been worth the adventure. I can’t wait to search for old boyfriends and high school friends so we can reminisce about old times. I might even ask my kids and my 79-year-old dad to be Facebook friends.
Denise Kelly is a North Vancouver Boomer proudly living with her two children, husband and dog Mel.  She looks forward to sharing stories to motivate others.

Originally published BC Black Press 2009

August 27, 2011

Letting Go

This is about embracing the change of a loved one as they embark into a new journey.
While we all try to bring our families closer we rarely talk about the transition or letting go nearly as much.  Boomers are living this transition phase caring for their aging parents and/or preparing for the launch of their university bound child.  Is their similarity in both?
 One friend is currently faced with moving his Dad from home into a facility and another has a Mom living with Alzheimer’s. The relationship sometimes can be difficult for both as we reach for words to comfort a parent who might be losing their independence, needing help with personal care and many who are losing the ability to communicate with the disease of Alzheimer’s.  It feels a little like having to let go of the norm to enter the unknown. Personally not faced with such challenges with my own parents yet I am however in a similar transition phase with my own daughter as she prepares for a journey to university across the country. I too am learning to let go of what was the norm and to recognize that the special foundation we create as families will keep us strong.  It is likely our relationship and how we communicate that will change.
Let’s stay connected to our loved ones in a meaningful way so that they don’t feel alone. We can learn to modify our relationships to meet this change. With a parent that has Alzheimer’s we might need to accept that their memory is failing and learn new ways to communicate with touch.  With a child going off to university, we might need to learn how to Skype!
The Launching Years (L. Kastner and J. Wyatt) is a resource book about the strategies for parenting in the university years and  provides tools to help support a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Let’s reach out to others in our community to share these real stories so together we might feel more confident and better prepared to embrace this new phase.  Let’s further develop these relationships and to keep the family close. For me, I know it won’t be easy  (and yes, it’s ok to cry) but I am confident that if I continue to make decisions from the heart that we will all enjoy this phase of letting go of what was and embrace the new with open arms.  I also encourage my friends with aging parents to do the same.
Originally published BC Black Press August 2011

August 09, 2011

My Childhood Memories/ Summer Traditions

One of my fondest childhood memories was going to our cottage in Ontario for the entire summer as soon as school was out.  My parents would pack us all up into the station wagon with our summer belongings and my Dad would drop us off with Mom, only to return on weekends. I fondly remember my family playing a card game that might best be described as competitive group solitaire at the old kitchen table until late into the night and well past our bedtime. I think it was most special because both my Mom and Dad would play with us which brought much laughter.  As a family of 6 along with the odd cousin, those solitaire games were pretty lively and loud! I can still remember clutching my hand of cards while kneeling on the hard kitchen chair watching the Aces appear in the centre of the table.  I couldn’t really reach but that didn’t stop me from playing with the grownups.
 Rituals and family traditions at any age can be special and something that the entire family can hold onto, including grandparents.  Similar experiences can occur with special friends or relatives in your community.  Having that special bond with a group doing something you look forward to is all part of healthy living and socialization, which is also an important aspect of aging.  Sometimes just having something to hold onto and look forward to when we are faced with challenges along the way can make a difference. 
Maintaining these rituals is as important as the experience itself.  In our family, I feel that these intergenerational traditions like playing cards helped to encourage bonding with my own parents which we both benefit from today. Perhaps if we all tried to create and maintain more simple traditions with our extended family such as sharing dinners or afternoon tea,  that this might help bridge the gap between the generations and help maintain strength in families. Why not pick up the phone and reach out to a friend or a family member and start a new tradition because after all, it is never too late. 
Oh and playing card games like group solitaire with our own kids is priceless, especially when their grandparents or friends can join in.  This year as we head off on our annual summer retreat, one of our family rituals, the kids will pack their cards.
Denise Kelly is a North Vancouver Boomer proudly living with her two children, husband and dog Mel.  She looks forward to sharing stories to motivate others.  Follow her on twitter at TheBoomerVine or she can be reached at

Originally Published BC Black Press Aug 2011



today i rode my new bike through Stanley Park, granted the weather a tad grey but peaceful just the same

what amazed me was the activity so early both on and off the water

observed a photo shoot, fisherman, remnants of a beach fire, joggers, and 


Tranquility shows up for me here.
The lapping of the water and the calmness without voices only birds.
Appreciation of the simple things in life, the things that matter.

A great day to be alive.  Can't wait for tomorrow :)

Denise A Kelly

July 02, 2011

My Blog - Boomer with Zip

Procrastination is a terribly enemy for me but I have finally pushed it to the side, stand strong and trust in the process as I move to take steps to jump from the pond into the ocean.

My first entry into my new blog called The Boomer Vine is a way for me to share and hopefully empower others as we jump the hump over 40 and take the journey beyond.  I prefer to share this road with others because I love being with people, meeting new people and figure we might just share a laugh along the way.  The Boomer Vine is my vision of a place you can come for information and support as you take this journey.
Open, Honest and Real. 

This will be the real me - a Boomer with Zip (and lots of it combined with a stream of consciousness that will come alive in these pages).

Look out this is going to be fun!

Denise A Kelly

Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk (originally published BC Black Press Sept, 2010)

Initiating conversations comes easily to some and not to others, but conversations with aging parents are typically the most difficult. While we as children may feel awkward and don’t know how to open up such conversations, I can only imagine how our parents might have similar awkward feelings of vulnerability having to ask for help.  Clarissa Green, teacher and family therapist with a similar passion for encouraging caring connections also believes that opening up with others and building relationships through conversation can reduce anxieties with aging parents during this new journey.
Evidently there does come a time when we need to take on more responsibility to support a parent whether we are ready or not. Issues typically arise around driving, finances, health or loss of independence.  Think about how you might raise questions around these issues and what type of response you might get.  The goal here is to get to know each other better so that you can work creatively and effectively together as a family.  If there are lingering issues, then addressing them now might alleviate certain family dynamics later.  As we prepare for these conversations, make sure your first considerations are of empathy and understanding with a goal to maintain one’s dignity and respect.
Don’t be afraid of turning to others for support as we all know others going through similar challenges.  Knowledge is vital. Free assessments are available for families who want to learn how to navigate the healthcare system. Let your parents teach you how it feels and what fears they have about aging. Remember that it takes emotional courage and skill to talk about hard things, but like a new habit, comfort will develop over time
Asking for help is never easy, and if we speak openly and honestly with our own parents and learn to set aside any issues then we can move through this new journey with compassion. Each of my siblings naturally play a different role depending upon their personality strengths, but together we work as a team to offer support the best we can. In return we hope that our parents too will open up and be honest with us around aging issues.  Take the time to show you care.
Denise Kelly is a North Vancouver Boomer proudly living with her two children, husband and dog Mel.  She looks forward to sharing stories to motivate others.  Follow Denise on Twitter at The Boomer Vine or she can be reached at   

Article originally published BC Black Press September , 2010

Bridging the Generation Gap (originally published BC Black Press July, 2010)

I have lived in the same house for over 14 years and both Mel (our dog) and I have fostered a fondness for one neighbour in particular. 

 When we first moved into our home this special elderly neighbour could be found outside gardening for hours. She would cut the grass, rearrange her many perennials, and water them every night.  She carried her own garbage to the curb and we would smile at each other as I did the same.  I often wished we could progress beyond the smile as I wanted to get to know her better. She would walk her old husky but I never knew who was walking who.  Sadly her dog died several years later and she failed to venture outside as often.

As years went by and I increasingly focused on the task of being a working Mom, a wife and finding personal playtime, I always kept a watchful eye on the house across the street. One day we came home with our own dog who has served as the catalyst for many mutually rewarding friendships. Mel would routinely sit on her favourite perch, our bed, which had a street view, carefully monitoring our neighbour’s actions. Mel barked if she spotted her in the garden or if her front door opened.  If our front door opened Mel would escape as if on a mission and dart across the street to wait. If Mel couldn’t be found at home, we knew where to find her! I happily found myself standing on our neighbour’s driveway much more often, chatting about family, her health needs and the changing community. I found that I too looked forward to our visits and being there to support her as her independence became increasingly challenged.

Nowadays there is a gardener who cuts the grass and tends to the various yard chores but my neighbour still finds the energy to water her perennials.  Mel and I take her garbage out as her arthritis bothers her at times and I am waiting to see if she has been diagnosed with diabetes.  We are looking for a new doctor for her now as hers has retired.  She is a bit weaker, thinner and slower but she still always has that sparkle in her eye when Mel appears.  I know she has her own perch where she too watches for Mel because all too often when our door opens so does hers. 

I thank Mel for helping me to cultivate this friendship and for helping me to bridge this generation gap.

Denise Kelly is a North Vancouver Boomer proudly living with her two children, husband and dog Mel.  She looks forward to sharing stories to motivate others.  Follow Denise on Twitter at The Boomer Vine or she can be reached at   

Article originally published BC Black Press July , 2010