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A ditty on the fiddle

To see Olive Dauphinee of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, walking on the treadmill every morning and every afternoon, you’d never guess that the 90-year-old had broken her hip just over a year ago. It happened in her own kitchen at home, when her hip, weakened from osteoporosis, simply collapsed beneath her.

Until then, the Dauphinees had no intention of ever leaving their beloved two-storey home, but when Olive left the hospital with a walker seven weeks later, stairs had suddenly become out of the question. The couple had to move.

“It was a little rough leaving the nice home we’d lived in for 55 years,” acknowledges her husband, Edgil, 89. “But there comes a time when you have to make the move.” They didn’t know the first thing about retirement homes, but a neighbour recommended Parkland at the Lakes. When the Dauphinees visited the recently constructed facility, they realized that all they would really be giving up was the bother of daily chores. They could still maintain their active lifestyles, coming and going as they pleased. Edgil, who’s in excellent health and still drives, was delighted that he could keep his car, which he takes to appointments and church. And Olive was reassured by the daily presence of nursing staff, along with monthly blood pressure checks and weigh-ins. As she says, “The food is so good here that we have to be careful we don’t eat too much.”

Having lived at Parkland just over a year, the Dauphinees are now fixtures in the community. The monthly wine-and-cheese parties feature Edgil and his old-time fiddle band, as he and some of his musician buddies serve up toe-tapping waltzes. During the winter, Edgil goes out early to clear the snow off fellow residents’ cars. “I’ve always liked to keep busy,” shrugs the former bush pilot. “I can’t stand to sit around too long—I have to get up and go!” Regardless of the weather, he walks two or three kilometres every morning and often takes part in Parkland’s exercise class.

Olive loves the social life at Parkland. “Everybody’s your friend,” she says. “We’re just one big family here.”

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