Staying Active

Many seniors figure out how to remain as active as ever after moving into a retirement home.

Appleby Place in Burlington: a 'great solution' in retirement homes

Ray Lockwood first became interested in figure skating in Southgate, north of London, England, around the age of 12. As he told a boyhood friend at the time, "there are a lot of girls in short skirts."

Of course, Appleby Place in Burlington never promised him women in short skirts when he decided to move in recently, but the women-to-men ratio is similar to that old ice club. Ray's lithe agile figure and sunny disposition don't go unnoticed.

Now 77, the former British Olympic skater competed in the 1952 Olympics in Oslo in ice dance, then went professional and started a lifelong coaching career in England and Canada.

"Oh, I still love skating. Laced up in February," says Ray, though he hung up his coaching skates in 2005.

When it came to giving up driving, knowing his family was away a lot, Ray found moving into the retirement home from his Oakville home a great solution.

"The food here is exceptional and staying on top of diet is important," says Ray, a diabetic, just as an attentive waitress suggests he might prefer the less-sweetened ice cream to the rainbow sherbet he first eyed for dessert.

"Will you be coming out for our choral group?" asks a female resident as Ray pushes back from the dinner table.

"We'll see, we'll see," he winks.

'I expected far more women than men'

Must be something in the air at Delmanor Glen Abbey in Oakville: There are men just about everywhere you turn.

Anyone familiar with retirement residences knows that, because women usually live longer than men, women generally make up the majority of residents. Men are often - let's admit it - barely visible.

Perhaps it's this retirement home's proximity to the famous Glen Abbey championship golf course, but the men are hard to miss at the two-year-old residence.

"I expected far more women than men," says Robin Mallory, 85, a retired army major who moved here six months ago. "I've no idea why there are so many men." In the dining room, he shares a table with three other men-almost unheard of in the senior ranks.

Women are still in the majority-72 to 36 by recent count-but Delmanor still has enough men to give it a masculine tone. In the games room, for instance, where there is a bar and daily happy hour, Robin noticed a first-class billiard table, like the one he used to have at home. Soon he started up the Billiard Buddies, an initially male group that plays regularly.

The group has held several tournaments, Robin is giving lessons and-wouldn't you know it-now as many women play as men. Robin is now looking to start shuffleboard at Delmanor, as well as horseshoes-a game in which he twice took part in the world championships.

Take a closer look at Delmanor Glen Abbey.

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