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My Elderly Space

A look at the remarkable lives of the elderly


95 year old Canadian goes skydiving

George Lyall Gow, 95, went skydiving early Saturday evening, the first ever jump for the Second World War veteran.

His philosophy -- "You only live once."

According to the Guinness World Records website, a 100-year-old American woman made a tandem jump in 2004.


Gay-Rights Pioneers Wed

Last week, California became the second state in the US to allow same sex marriages. Amongst the first to be wed were Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 83. The two have been a couple and a symbol of gay-rights movement for over 50 years.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who challenged the state's restriction on same-sex marriages for many years, invited the couple to be officially married at City Hall. After marrying in a small ceremony in Newsom's office, the elderly women emerged to an adoring crowd.

Lyon recalls when they first met. "When we first got together, we weren't really thinking about getting married, we were just thinking about getting together." The couple cut their three-tiered wedding cake before heading out to a reception with friends and family.

Photo: Del Martin places a wedding ring on her partner Phyllis Lyon during their wedding ceremony, with Mayor Newsom watching at the back.



Ageism: Centenarian's application refused

Cao Zuozheng, a 103-year-old Beijing woman was one of 21,880 Olympic torchbearer hopefuls. She is petite, has no teeth and walks with a stick. She came up with the idea in 2004 when she had a photo taken of her with a Chinese torchbearer for the Athens Games. She waited three hours in her wheelchair on the roadside to watch the relay in Beijing.

To get physically fit, Cao started exercising in 2004, walking about 300 meters twice a day with a stick. She also insists on washing her hair with cold water, which she believes keeps her healthy.

Unfortuntely, her application to be a torchbearer for this year's Summer Olympics was turned down. Ageism?

The torchbearers will carry the Olympic flame on its journey around the world and through China before the opening of the Beijing games on Aug. 8, 2008

Read more about this remarkable, spunky centenarian here.



Canada's Centenarians

The term "Blue Zone" was coined by a Belgian demographer, Dan Buettner, who studied long-lived people. He has visited four groups of them in Sardinia, Okinawa, Costa Rica's Nicoya region and Loma Linda, California.

Canada may have it's own "Blue Zone" on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, with pockets of extreme longevity and more centenarians than elsewhere in the country. Across Canada, centenarians average 14.6 per 100,000; in Nova Scotia it's 21 per 100,000.

William Walker, 101, shown in the photo, is just one of several centenarians featured in a recent article in The Toronto Star.