By Ken Hirter

With being of the now aging babyboomer generation I had the pleasure to take in the Annual Karl Kinanen Public Lecture.

“Finding a new voice: Writing through health adversity”. The speaker was Dr. Ellen Ryan, Professor Emeritus of McMaster University. The Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging is showing that AGE is just a number.

Journaling and writing is both beneficial to get to know your needs and to gain a deeper understanding of ones’ self. A few powerful stories of hope were told throughout this wonderful lecture. A few stood out with a poignant message.

A woman diagnosed with Dementia starting writing poetry. What started out was recalling a simple cherished memory of her husband buying her roses. The writing gave a voice and with memory and with pen to parchment she wrote and published a book of poetry based on that single rose. She found her voice through Dementia with writing. A very touching heartfelt tug on the heartstrings moment for sure.

The other story she recalled was a beloved Professor also with McMaster University who when stricken by ALS subsequently used Computer Technology as a speaking & teaching tool. When the body failed and loss of voice he found his voice through ALS with computer technology. Sadly this professor has now past away but he did continue teaching after his diagnosis.

Plus there are many more tales of COURGAGE AND HOPE throughout and many ways of finding your voice from art, computer technology, poetry and writing of many different ways to find your Own voice.

For more information please note the following websites:

The Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging  in partnership with the Aging in Community and the Department of Health, Aging & Society

Plus if photography or taking photographs is your passion a test pilot was implemented in 2010, Humans of New York as a project on the streets. Quotes or short stories from their lives alongside their portraits provided a glimpse into the lives of everyday people through social media. Following this example, the Seniors of Canada: Hamilton project aims to photograph Seniors “as they are” to combat ageism, and overcome age stereotypes through social media.

Interested in their project? Contact information,  (905-525-9140 ext. 2449 or email

So get writing and taking those photographs and REMEMBER FOREMOST THAT AGE IS JUST A NUMBER. You’re as young as you feel so go ahead and express yourself through Health Adversity and Health Wellness. Find your voice within.