50+ Festival - Aging is Changing: Monday, June 1 through Thursday, June 4, 2015


This year’s 50+ Festival offers inspiring sessions that promote conversations about creative aging, reinvention, the business of aging and so much more. Join us as we celebrate new perspectives and approaches that will challenge your notions of living longer.





The Honourable Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs
10:00 a.m.–10:15 a.m.
Library Building, LIB72, 350 Victoria Street

Aging is Changing – Finding Purpose, Passion, and Perspective

Dr. Harry (Rick) Moody
10:15 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Recharge with this evocative, innovative presentation by Dr. Harry (Rick) Moody, who will challenge you to consider what aging means today. Finding meaning and purpose becomes even more important as we age, and Dr. Moody will help you reach deep inside yourself to find answers through challenging images, individual stories, and personal reflections in this interactive and participative session.

How to Succeed as a Seniorpreneur

Rick Spence
1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.

Hold the rocking chair! More and more seniors are sitting in high-end swivel chairs and running their own businesses. Whether they start businesses to make money, help others, express themselves creatively, or just stay active and social, today’s seniors are finding that running a business is easier than ever. But running a business is also hard work. Entrepreneurship expert Rick Spence will explore the opportunities and challenges of running your own business.

RIPE: Rich, Rewarding Work after 50

Julia Moulden
2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Something unprecedented is happening to people over 50. We’re beginning to understand that work (not retirement) is good for us! And we’re looking for rich, rewarding work that we can approach with the confidence of mature professionals and the zest of beginners. Learn from noted speaker and author, Julia Moulden, what others are doing and how to make your own successful transition to the next, best phase of your career.

Unfinished Business: Work at Midlife

Jennifer Wells
3:15 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

Here’s an idea: celebrate your 56th birthday by trekking through the rebel-ruled jungle of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ignore the recommendation of authorities to travel only in the company of armed security. What could possibly go wrong? Journalist Jennifer Wells takes a close-up look at keeping the creative spark alive in what she prefers to think of as mid-career, surrounded by journalists less than half her age.

FORWARD: Fashion’s Next Generation

5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Interior Design Building, 2nd Floor, 302 Church Street

This unique fashion show will feature clothing for the mature figure, designed by newly graduated students from the Ryerson School of Fashion. Wine and cheese will be served.


Sponsored by Del Manor

The Five Habits of the Aging Mind

Deirdre Walsh
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

This talk will walk you through the five habits of positive aging – the framework of a healthy, satisfying life at any age. You’ll learn about mindfulness and how it supports these habits, including some hands-on practice. And you’ll peek into the cutting-edge science that allows us to see the benefits of this age-old wisdom. Part storytelling, part science, part practice – by the end of this talk you’ll understand what mindfulness is and how it could look in your life.

Volunteering – The Power of Purpose

Dr. Nicole Anderson, Adele Robertson, and Deborah Gibson
11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

Volunteering provides individuals with better health, greater longevity, higher functional ability, and lower rates of depression. Finding the right place to achieve personal satisfaction and utilize the wisdom and experience you have gained in your life and career is often a challenge. Many people struggle to locate their best community service fit and are discouraged when a volunteer job disappoints them. Hear from a panel of experts and researchers, how volunteering can be more and do more for you than you’ve ever imagined.

Giving Back: Our Life in Africa

Dr. Philip and Dr. Nancy Wood
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.

The Drs. Philip and Nancy have annually tried to help a small town in the Congo, Africa deliver medical help to its communities since they were newlyweds. Their experience included personal involvement in war, the rise and fall of governments, presidents and powerful men. Despite deep security concerns they have just come back yet again.

Theatre Out of the Box and
Stella Award Presentation

1:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Rogers Communications Centre, Eaton Theatre,
RCC204, 80 Gould Street

Theatre Out of the Box presents new plays written, directed, and performed by our members:


David and Sarah and I written by Neil Naft
Urban Forestry written by Karen Cantello
Night Shift written by Pat Cochrane
Pre-Apocalyptic Tale written by Michel Crete

Alz Live: The Rolling Stone of Dementia

Dave Kelso and David Macfarlane
2:15 p.m.–3:15 p.m.

When faced with his mother suffering from Alzheimer’s, Dave Kelso realized how difficult it was to know what to do and where to turn for help. “The truth is I wasn’t a great caregiver. If I’d known as much about the disease as I know now, I would have acted differently,” he says. And so, along with David Macfarlane, he has created a dynamic web resource for the unpaid family caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s/dementia.

Film Night: Hell’s Grannies and Sybil & Betts: Requiem for a Friendship

5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Library Building, LIB72, 350 Victoria Street

These two poignant documentaries, produced by David Bajurney, highlight the friendship of 80 year old artists, Sybil and Betts. Following the films, Sybil Rampen, a key figure in both movies, will join David in an open discussion, moderated by Dr. Harry (Rick) Moody, on sharing a meaningful friendship with someone slipping deeper and deeper into dementia.

Theatre Out of the Box

7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Rogers Communications Centre, Eaton Theatre,
RCC204, 80 Gould Street


Authorized Novels written by Kay Randewich
Life’s a Bitch written by Cathy Shilton
The New 80 by Richard Ellen
A Matter of Safety by Mairy Beam


Engaging with Aging and Psychology

9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Doors open at 9:00 a.m.
Library Building, LIB72, 350 Victoria Street

Join us for three research talks presented in partnership with the Ryerson Senior Participant Pool (RSPP).

The Strength of Aging: The Perspective of Positive Psychology: Dr. Marilyn Hadad

All too often we concentrate on the problems and obstacles of growing older and we overlook the enrichment the years can bring. Positive psychology’s perspective focuses on our character strengths and how they become even stronger as we gain experience and maturity. How can we enhance and use these very real virtues to make our lives even more fulfilling?

Compassion, Humor and Healthy Aging: Lesson Learned from Clowns: Dr. Maureen Reed

Research shows that how satisfied one is with their life depends on life circumstance, including health, family support, and self-efficacy (belief in oneself). As we age, we are faced with new challenges, and meeting these challenges often takes multiple approaches. In this session, we will talk about the benefits to individuals of utilizing compassion and humour as a way of coping. We will examine research from a study of seniors who clown, to emphasize the value to oneself and others in having a compassionate attitude and refocusing challenges through humour.

Neuro-degenerative Disease and Art-based Therapies: Dr. Frank Russo

Age-related hearing loss may be inescapable but it seems to affect some more than others. This talk will consider typical losses in hearing that occur with age, what we know about their origins, and easy steps that individuals can take to improve their hearing.

Get Psyched! Conversation Sessions

Library Building, POD370 / POD372 / POD366
350 Victoria Street

Please Note: Some sessions run simultaneously, please check dates and times of your selections.

Share your thoughts on aging with psychology researchers.

12:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Thinking about the past and the future: Aging and mental time travel: Dr. Julia Spaniol, POD370

The ability to think about the past and the future is uniquely human. In this workshop, we will a) learn how psychologists study “mental time travel,” b) discuss key findings from research on aging and mental time travel, and c) draw on personal perspectives to understand the importance of mental time travel as we age. All are welcome to attend.

12:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Music May Keep You Out of Treble: The Positive Effects of Music on Stress and Memory: Katlyn Peck, POD372

Listening to music engages the whole brain and has been shown to have positive effects on its listeners. This interactive discussion will focus on the wide range of health benefits associated with listening to music and how it can enhance memory and influence how we react to stress. Individuals who are interested in the effectiveness of music as a therapeutic intervention and its relation to stress and memory will be encouraged to attend. Audience members will be encouraged to share their own experiences and contribute to the discussion.

12:30 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
Stressing out! Can stress impact my mental functioning?: Leonithas Meridis & Linda Truong, POD366

Stress has been directly linked to poorer mental functioning in younger adults. However, this research area has been understudied in older adult populations. This session will examine the unique manner in which stress may affect mental functioning in older adults. We will discuss how we study “stress” in our laboratory experiments. The real world implications of these findings will also be discussed.

2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Exercising the aging brain: Dr. Lixia Yang, POD370

Research shows that both physical (i.e., fitness training) and mental exercise (i.e., cognitive training) are effective to enhance mental and brain functions, even in older adults. This interactive workshop will contrast the effects of two exercise programs on the aging brain functions. Tips and information will be provided on each exercise program and the associated benefits in mental functioning.

2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
The benefits of dance for older adults: Rachel Bar, POD372

Dance is a universal form of expression, and evidence is beginning to suggest that it may also have specific physical and psychological benefits for older adults. This interactive workshop will discuss my own cutting edge research in this area, as well as the general state of the literature. You will also receive a fun taste of a dance class designed specifically for older adults. This workshop may appeal most to those who are interested in getting out of their chair and dancing!

2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.
Emotion and Well-being: the role of emotion regulation on physical, mental, and social wellbeing: Vivian Huang, POD366

Contrary to popular belief, we experience positive emotions throughout our lives. In fact, we become better at controlling our emotions as we age. This interactive workshop will focus on why these age-related changes in emotions occur, and how these changes are beneficial to the physical, mental, and social aspects of aging. This general topic is based on the broad research in this area and may be most helpful to those who are curious about how emotions change with age.

Theatre Out of the Box

2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Rogers Communications Centre, Eaton Theatre,
RCC204, 80 Gould Street

Repeat performance. POINTS IN TIME
See Tuesday, June 2, for details.

Introducing The SmartLab Singers!

3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Library Building, POD368, 350 Victoria Street

There is something unique about the members of this choir: all are seniors living with hearing loss. All of the members are enrolled in a research study that aims to track the benefits of singing. This session will include a choir performance, a report on the research results and a panel discussion including an audiologist, the researcher and several of our choir participants.

The Thaw: A Play about Sexual Awakening in Later Life

Written and Performed by Laurie Williams
6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.
Ryerson Theatre School, Abrams Studio Theatre, 44 Gerrard St. E.

Theatre Out of the Box

7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Rogers Communications Centre, Eaton Theatre,
RCC204, 80 Gould Street

Repeat performance. INSIGHTS
See Tuesday, June 2, for details.


The Woman Who Changed Her Brain

Barbara Arrowsmith-Young
10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

Barbara will talk about her journey of discovery over her 35 years as an educator, researcher, and a person diagnosed with learning disabilities. She will describe a number of learning disorders, from those that impact the learner in school to those that affect us in life. She will discuss “cognitive glitches” – those areas of weakness that we are all familiar with, and “cognitive mismatches” – situations where the demand of the task is incompatible with our cognitive functioning. Dr. Norman Doidge has described Barbara’s story as “truly heroic, on par with the achievements of Helen Keller.”

Alan Kay

The Last +/-10,000 Days of Your Life
11:15 a.m.–12:15 p.m.

The great question before us is: “What do I do with the rest of my life?” Many can expect another 10,000 days of life on the planet, so what’s your plan on how you’re going to spend them? Up until now, a meaningful life was determined by our professional skills, paying off our mortgage, and so on. As it comes time to draw down on the wealth we’ve accumulated (sufficient or not), it appears that the timeframe will be longer than we imagined. Join your peers in a group dialogue and workshop that will draw on the insights of a panel and the audience’s collective wisdom.

Theatre Out of the Box

2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Rogers Communications Centre, Eaton Theatre,
RCC204, 80 Gould Street

Repeat performance. INSIGHTS 
See Tuesday, June 2, for details.

Our Voices, Our Selves

Mixed Company Theatre
2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
Victoria Building, VIC608, 285 Victoria Street

Mixed Company Theatre, in partnership with Aiding Dramatic Change in Development and Scadding Court Community Centre, will present “Our Voices, Our Selves.” A wonderful group of diverse older adults will showcase stories, realities, and insights of being a senior in such a vast and sometimes isolating city. This curated presentation will offer a space for you to engage in an interactive dialogue to share insights and discover how we can better connect with our communities.

Theatre Out of the Box

7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
Rogers Communications Centre, Eaton Theatre,
RCC204, 80 Gould Street

Repeat performance. POINTS IN TIME
See Tuesday, June 2, for details.

The Chang School is committed to accessibility for persons with disabilities. Please contact us two to three weeks in advance of the event if you have any particular accommodation requirements at the 50+ Festival: 416.979.5000, ext. 4569.