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Betty and her husband kayaking on Kakawa Lake

These Shoes Are Made for Walking

Independent and Living in Retirement
What’s the key to staying healthy and happy?

For Betty Chapman, who lives at Fleetwood Villa, you could say it’s all in the shoes.

“I’ve always loved walking; it keeps my legs moving, and it’s great for clearing the mind,” says Chapman. “I’m 94, but I still walk at least a mile a day.”
“I plan my own time, just as I’ve always done.”
Originally from Regina, Betty came to British Columbia around the time of the Second World War, where she and her husband raised four boys, spending their summers on Kakawa Lake, at their family-owned cabin. “I was there four times this year, and am heading back in a few weeks,” says Betty.

It wasn’t until her eyesight started to worsen that Betty could no longer look after the cabin on her own, which brought her to Fleetwood Villa, in Surrey, B.C. The independent living suites in this Revera retirement community appealed to Betty. Here, she can get the helping hand she needs, while still doing the things that she enjoys.

“How I spend my time, that’s up to me,” says Betty. “I plan my own day, just as I’ve always done. Sometimes I don’t have enough time to do everything I want, because there’s so much to do here.” A favourite is Toonie Tuesdays, where residents play a dice game and enjoy $2 drinks. “A glass of wine for two bucks – that’s a good deal,” she says with a laugh.

Of course, it wasn’t always easy for her. Like many people, she believed a move into a retirement community would mean the end of her independence. “My first week was not easy,” she admits. “Then I got a piece of advice from one of the residents; he said, ‘Try everything and see what suits you, but don’t just sit back in your room.’ So I joined in, found what I liked, and never looked back.”

Today, doing what she likes includes everything from morning exercises and games, to weekends spent up Whistler mountain visiting her two sons and their families. “I was just there with my granddaughter and her 15-month-old son,” says Betty. “We went up the mountain on a new gondola, and walked back and forth across the suspension bridge a few times. I think I walked the entire town.”