Editor’s Note: What’s Up Yukon asked a number of Whitehorse and Dawson residents in their 60s, 70s and 80s what advice they would give younger people about how to get the most out of their Golden Years. Here are some of their responses:

“Just open that front door and get out. Don’t spend your time being a couch potato. Really.”

– Marlene Sudeyko

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I guess things are changing, because seniors are getting more active, which is really very important—to be on the move and doing something. And if the young people keep up with their activities, I think they’ll have a lot ahead of them.

– Gudrun Sparling (86)

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I guess every generation is different. I look back and think about my grandmother. She would never think about being here [at the Golden Age Society] curling, or playing games, or doing things. And she was a heck of a lot younger than I am. She died in her 70s.

Age is just a number. Don’t let it get to you. So you’ve got another birthday? OK, but it’s just a number. Just go gracefully with it. Do the things you can do, and keep doing things. You can’t quit. Even if you’re ill, you still have ability to do things.

I have a very positive attitude. Enjoy each day, and your family, and do the things you like to do. Don’t let anybody push you around.

I developed that attitude early in life. You’re down? Look around you; there’s a lot worse off. Be thankful for what you have, and be positive.

– Vimy Cooper

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Keep active, have fun, and keep working on a project that you would like to leave behind for those whom you care about.

Enjoy grandkids as much as you can, if you have them. They keep you young, but I think you get a lot of satisfaction out of it, too, if you can help them get a start on this, or get a start on that.”

Just be involved with life, do the things you haven’t been able to do that you wanted to do, but always with consideration of others.

– Dave Brekke (73)

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Just keep active. Volunteer. And enjoy yourself.

– June Raymond

President, Golden Age Society

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To keep healthy I keep a positive attitude, I have three organizations I am involved in: Pioneer Women, Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (IODE) and The Royal Canadian Legion.

I enjoy music and travel, and I read a lot (I think I am Maxmillians’ best customer). I also love to cook.

– Myrna Butterworth (72)

Dawson City

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Keep working. If you retire too early, you’ll probably get bored. I retired when I was 49 from one job, and I found I had nobody to play with, because everybody else was working, so I went back to work.

– Ruben Fendrick

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Well, they don’t listen very well, but I think we taught our daughter to look ahead, not behind. Because it’s negative behind; it’s already done. So look ahead.

– Dora Lucas (80)

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What keeps me healthy and happy? My genes probably have something to do with it… also being content with what I have and who I am.

If I want something different, I strive for what I want, but not to the point where I become frustrated and stressed out about it. If that happens, I step back—perhaps that isn’t what would make me happy after all.

I’m not addicted to smoking, coffee or alcohol, but I sure love playing online Scrabble.

I get enthusiastic about what I do, whether it be hiking, volunteering, taking a tour of Dawson, and I want to share this with others, my friends and newcomers. That’s why I love taking people on hikes and showing them my Dawson.

I find a new appreciation for the sights and attractions when seen through other people’s eyes. Their questions renew my interest in my surroundings and the reasons I live here half the year.

– Karen MacKay (“Keep ’em guessing”)

Dawson City

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Start enjoying life, but still join things. Don’t stay at home. And enjoy the community.

– Dorothy Hobbis (88)

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All you have to do is sort of watch your p’s and q’s and think ahead. Save a little money, and invest it wisely. And don’t wait until you’re 50 to start this craziness, because you’re too old then. You’ve got to start a little earlier, and that’s pretty tough to tell these young fellows they should start earlier.

– Lorne Raymond

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It’s good for elders to participate, to be very active – not in areas of work. I do other things. I’m on respite here, and I come over to curl.

My experience has led me to believe that if you don’t work at it whilst you’re older, those kids will grow up to be immature in their outlook. But without some assistance from the elders, I think it’s important to plug those areas that are basically weakened today.

– Fred Peacock

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You just have to keep active. Don’t sit around. Get involved in different things.

– Rosalie Rogers

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There’s lots of things going on here in Whitehorse. Lots of activities and stuff like that. There’s lots of places where they can land and settle in—and there’s more and more coming every year. It’s changed so much over the years.

The benefits… when I came, we had to pay for all this stuff. And those are people that came here and worked here, and did all that. And now there’s people coming in, and everything’s there for them, and they don’t pay as much, but we need people.

In Whitehorse, it’s a place that’s so homey-like and makes you feel at home, because people are so friendly. They always have been, ever since I came, and that’s in ’53.

– Rose MacPhail (80+)

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I eat at the right time… I eat whatever I want!

I am also a yoga expert—up, down, up, down, up, down!

Best part of my day? I get dressed… yup, meeting visitors is nice too.

– Margaret Sgaga (“20 years younger”)

Dawson City

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Just keep active. Go to workout centres and keep active. Don’t just sit at home, that’s a waste of time.

– Mac Lucas (84)

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But are there really benefits in aging? Here’s some of what we heard when we asked what people considered the best part of getting older:

What’s the best part? Retiring and having fun.

– June Raymond

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I like the fact that I am not tied down to a job. I can pack up and go anywhere at any time. I have travelled to Cook Islands in the South Pacific, Hawaii, and cruised to the Panama Canal and the Caribbean.

But my heart is always in the North, and most of all, Dawson City.

– Myrna Butterworth

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All these extra activities that we can do, and the volunteering that we can do, to help out different events.

– Dorothy Hobbis

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Well, if you have a pension, you don’t have to go to work at 8:00 in the morning, for one thing. That’s an upside. And I guess I have to make some comments on our medical benefits for seniors, which, no doubt, are the best in Canada.

– Ruben Fendrick

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It doesn’t bother me one way or another. We just keep going, do our thing. We still hunt, fish, dowhat we normally do here. You slow down a bit, because you can’t quite keep up to what you used to do, but other than that, you just keep doing.

– Lorne Raymond

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I think there’s more maturity as we grow older. Other than that, I think it’s a welcome area to join.

– Fred Peacock

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As long as you keep well, everything goes fine. Playing games and stuff like we are doing, in our 80s and some up to 90 years old here in Whitehorse.

– Rose McPhail

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Well, you’ve got more freedom than when you’re working, that’s for sure. And you can do things that you couldn’t do while you were working, such as what we’re doing. We wouldn’t be doing curling and all that sort of thing.

– Dora Lucas

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“I think number one, I’d have to say, if you’ve got your good health, then you can do anything you want to.”

– Marlene Sudeyko

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I don’t have to go to work in the morning when it’s snowing and the weather’s cold.

I guess it’s attitude. You just enjoy each day as it comes. I can’t put a definite thing I would say, because it certainly has its downsides, but I just think being relaxed, being able to do what you want.

– Vimy Cooper