A Forum on Retirement that will be of interest to those living in London, ON and area — Wed., June 14th

My friend Catherine just alerted me to this forum for those retiring in northeast London. I post it here for those who might be able to make it.

Northeast Residents In Action (NERIA) is an off-shoot of Northeast Community Conversations Group (NECC).  It provides an important way for NECC members, who live in Northeast London, to donate their time, energy and love  of their NE neighbourhoods, by helping build up and strengthen the Northeast London resident community through outreach, engagement; and by providing a welcomed, informal way for residents who love to volunteer, to do so in their surrounding neighbourhoods, as a way to give back to the wider community.

Even though this particular community forum will focus specifically on retirement, senior and elderly living matters and issues in Wards 3 and 4 such as:

1) Supporting Independence: Public Transportation, Mobility and Accessibility

2) Ageing In Place/Retirement Living/Affordable Housing

3) Affordable Food/Food Security

4) Indoor/Outdoor Intergenerational Community Spaces, Equipment & Buildings

5) Safety in the Community and at Home

6) Government Assistance: Benefits, Tax Credits & Entitlements

7) Body+Mind+Spirit Health and Wellness-Community Supports and Services

8) Recreation & Educational Activities: Participation, Inclusion and Cultural Diversity

please know you DON’T HAVE TO LIVE IN THE NORTHEAST, to attend our FREE public event!

The Forum will feature “21st Century Senior Living in Northeast London” presentations by each Councillor, and an “Ask The Community Experts” Panel, comprising both Councillors, and a mix of community leaders and representatives from community organizations/service agencies, who will answer audience questions and concerns.

Seating is limited to 60 spaces so please REGISTER YOUR ATTENDANCE ASAP!!


Join Councillors Mo Salih (Ward 3) and Jesse Helmer (Ward 4) at the


organized by Northeast Residents In Action [NERIA]


Wednesday, June 14, 2017 

Doors Open: 2:30pm ~ Forum Begins: 3:00pm ~ Forum Ends: 5:30pm

North London Optimist Community Centre ~ 1345 Cheapside Street, London

ALL Are Welcome, even if you do not live in Wards 3/4

FREE Admission ~ FREE but LIMITED On-Site Parking ~ Coffee, Tea and Nibbles Provided



Online:  https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/northeast-seniors-community-forum-tickets-34815321564

Email: neriagroup@gmail.com   or Phone: 519-453-3198

In friendship,

Northeast Residents In Action [NERIA] Group

Email: neriagroup@gmail.com

Tel: 519-453-3198


“Church Next” Launches New Course: “Is My Loved One Addicted?”

Today CHURCH NEXT launched  a new course that will be of interest to many of us. Is My Loved One Addicted? with Jonathan Benz For Individuals and For Groups. Given the increase in drug, alcohol and gambling addictions among older adults, including Boomers, this course is very timely.

According to the description, this course is designed to help family members and churches combat North “America’s most neglected disease.”

At our Grand-parenting workshop earlier this month, several members talked about the addictive behaviours of their adult children and the impact these have had on their family life. A few even talked about their own addictions to “perfectionism” and “workaholism” and how they overcame these addictions.

“In this course, Jonathan Benz, a certified substance abuse counselor, author, and speaker discusses ways to recognize the signs of addiction — and what to do once you realize that a loved on is struggling with addiction. Check it out. Here’s a video preview.”

Little Mention of Boomers at Recent Homiletics Festival, but lots to ponder from our Grand-parenting sessions at Siloam!

I have just returned from another exciting week-long Homiletics Festival, this time in lovely San Antonio, Texas. There I heard some amazing sermons and brilliant lectures. There I was also privileged to meet some interesting people, a great many of them Boomers. Alas, I only heard the term Baby Boomer mentioned once, and then only in passing. It would have been good to have been given some guidelines on how better to reach this important demographic through this equally important medium we call preaching.  Even the book room had little to nothing to offer on the subject of Boomers and what the Good News might sound like from their perspective.

My guess is that it would touch on some of the discussions and echo many of the  themes that came up at our last Grand-parenting workshop a week ago. Because this was just before I flew out to San Antonio, I did not get a chance to reflect on our wonderful time together, which was led by our excellent facilitator, Parent and Family Educator Susan McKane.

After the session, Susan observed that some of the most profound sharing came from the grandfathers. One man commented, for example, that “his grandchild had changed his thinking from hoping that he was pleasing his father (looking backward) to doing what he is doing for the benefit of his grandchildren (looking forward).” Several couples also shared stories of real courage as they talked about their family struggles with addictions and how they have worked to make those difficult situations and relationships whole and healthy again. One couple talked about how this time of life had given them a fresh opportunity to build a new and better relationship with their adult children. Another man said he prayed that his son and daughter might learn from his mistakes and, as a consequence, take more time for family and self-care, especially time to develop a healthy spirituality.

The need for grandparents to set boundaries was a topic that came up again and again. One woman even cited author Brené Brown, who wrote: “the most compassionate people that I’ve ever interviewed…happened to be the most boundaried.” (Daring Greatly, chapter 7) In other words, they were people who had very clear boundaries about what they were willing to do, what they were not willing to do, what they were willing to take on, and what they were not willing to take on.

As I have noted, this is just one of the important topics that came up during our sessions together. Clearly we have much more to discuss. For now, it is good to take some time to reflect on these wonderful mornings of open, honest sharing and invite the Spirit to enter into our pondering and thoughtful meditation.

Many thanks to Susan for starting us on this journey and to everyone who came and shared!

Adopt A Grandparent!

Can’t wait for our final Grand-parenting workshop tomorrow morning, just in time for Mother’s Day! It is wonderful to see so many Grandmas and Grandpas come out to share in our discussion on the joys and challenges of grand-parenting. We are grateful to Parent and Family Educator, Susan McKane, of Merrymount Children’s Centre (London, ON) for her expert leadership in this area.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I am reminded that not everyone is fortunate enough to have a loving Mom or Grandma in their lives. When our children were still very young, my mother passed away. My husband’s mother lived a whole ocean away in St. Andrews, Scotland and thus our children were not able to visit with her that often. So we adopted a Grandma. We called her Grandma Shirley and she was a wonderful, loving grandmother to our four children, even though she already had eight grandchildren of her own and numerous great-grandchildren. But she always maintained that a Grandma’s heart has enough room to love all the grandchildren. When Grandma Shirley Mallalieu died in September of 2014, our children were heartbroken. Today they continue to recount the happy memories they have of a devoted grandma who gave them the best gifts of all — her time and her love.

If you do not have grandchildren, or if your grandchildren live too far away to be able to visit them regularly,  or if, as sometimes happens, relations have become strained, think of someone in your own community that you can help to grand-parent. Children can never have too many loving adults in their lives and grand-parents have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of  young people today. Sharing your faith journey  with a young person will not only introduce them to the riches of our religious heritage, but also enrich your own spirituality in ways both large and small.


The Joys and Challenges of Grand-Parenting Today!

Below is a list of the Joys and Challenges of Grand-parenting that our group came up with at our first Grand-parenting workshop, led by Family Educator Susan McKane on April 29th. Do any of these resonate with you? Which ones and why? Are there topics/issues that you would add to either list? Would love to hear from you — and would love to see you at our second workshop on Saturday, May 13th, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Siloam United Church, London, ON! RSVP: office@siloamunitedchurch.org or 519-455-9201.

Joys of Grand-parenting


Grandchild saying my name

re-experiencing the ordinary; seeing things through a young grandchild’s eyes

new learning


but still a parent

benefit of experience-wisdom

relationship with – a partner

– a child

Listening to instincts


different role

family stories

seeing your child in a new role


seeing yourself in another

extended family


Challenges of Grand-Parenting

favouritism (towards one grandchild)

overly protective parents

blended families

Sandwiched between caring for elderly parents, adult children and young grandchildren!

sandwiched between needs of parents, children and grandchildren

what are the boundaries of the role?

different ideologies/values from the parents

our own energy and health

giving constructive criticism

parent shares too much information -what do I do?

challenges of doing it right

where do I fit – the world of the future

long distance relationships

being fair

anxiety about the future for our grandchildren

Grandparents’ time and finances – how far can/should they stretch?

negotiating with “in-laws” re time/holidays etc

safety of grandchildren – personal/technology





Who Knew that Grand-Parenting Could Be So Much Fun!

This past Saturday we had a wonderful turnout of enthusiastic grandparents for our first ever Grand-Parenting Workshop at Siloam. Our facilitator, Susan McKane, brought many years of experience as a Parent and Family Educator with Merrymount
Children’s Centre in London, Ontario, as well as a great deal of personal experience as a grandmother of four.

About twenty men and women gathered to share in our workshop. And share they did — excitedly, enthusiastically, and joyfully! One woman told of her widowed friend who announced one day that she had fallen in love. “Who is the new man in your life?”, she asked. “My new three-month-old grandson!”

Much of the morning was spent recounting the joys of grand-parenting. We were even encouraged to write a letter to our grandchildren to tell them how much they mean to us and to share with them things that are important to us. A lot like an Ethical Will or Legacy Letter.

The last part of our session invited folks to share some of the challenges that go with grand-parenting: questions around blended families, boundaries, when and how to offer advice; helping children and grandchildren who have physical, mental, and/or financial problems. This is where we will focus our attention the next time we meet.

If you are interested, we would love to welcome you! Please join us from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, May 13th at Siloam United Church, London, Ontario. This workshop is being covered by my grant from the McGeachy Senior Scholarship of the United Church of Canada and so is free to workshop participants. Coffee and muffins provided.