Pat D.

Although I have exercised off and on for many years, I am very impressed with the program. With single repetition motions we gain balance and mobility without strain and fatigue. The many hints to keep us safe are also very helpful. The instructors are excellent and hopefully many seniors will use the program. Thanks.

Mavis G.

To whom it may concern: Re: The "Stand Up!" Program
I fully recommend this very important program for seniors. With the wonderful and capable qualified instructors that we have teaching us the importance of the exercises we need to do on a daily basis. They teach us how to improve our flexibility and balance with the exercises and also strengthen our joints and muscles. All seniors everywhere should be encouraged to take this program.

Catherine R.

To whom it may concern:
I wish to express my appreciation for the Stand Up! program offered at the ParkSide Centre. I have significant balance issues which only increase with age. I never before understood that they can be improved by specific exercise. My balance, I think, has improved as well as my awareness of how to move and what to do to minimize my risk of falls. A compatible group with supportive instruction surely helps! I hope you will continue this and a follow-up group.

Marcia F.

To whom it may concern:
I have just completed the "Stand Up!" and also the Maintenance Program held in Sudbury at the ParkSide Centre. It has helped me tremendously! I was in a tragic car accident in December of 1987… with a severe closed head injury… which resulted in many handicaps for me, one being limited mobility! The above sessions have helped me move "more smoothly" and have enabled me to do things that I could not do before. For example, I am able to get up and down from a chair with less stiffness and better balance which gives me more confidence moving in crowds. Thank you for offering the programs! I hope these programs will be continued so that many more people can experience the positive gains that I have made!

Gayle M.

To whom it may concern:
I am a member of ParkSide and for several years I have attended the "Stand Up! Maintenance" Program, enjoying both Peggy and Janet as our instructors. I found myself improving in all aspects of this course: improving my balance, strength in my legs, ankles and joints. I also enjoy the fellowship with the other seniors that attend these classes, having advanced Osteo Arthritis. I'm thankful these sessions are free as I would not be able to attend all the sessions given during the year. These sessions have made a great difference in my well being.


To whom it may concern:
I really like the Stand Up! It helps me with my arms and legs. We also have some fun with the music too. I can't afford it my pension is too low. The instructors are very nice, they always help others in the group when they have letters or other exercises they explain what it is. I have been going for a long time, I really love it. I am diabetic and my doctor told me to go there. I hope there is some more.

Frances M.

Dear girls: Just a note to thank you for the weeks we shared with you. You know my age and I needed to strengthen my legs, I feel great and I do think you girls do great work. I enjoyed coming every week, learning new things and the nice people we met. I will tell my friends about the things we learned, that the course is worth taking and I hope we meet again.

Vera R.

Dear Janet and Peggy,

I am sure that Stand Up! has done me a lot of good. I feel steadier on my feet and can now walk more than a meter or so without wobbling from side to side and looking like a drunken sailor when I try to negotiate any length. As soon as I am on the green light again I shall start doing the exercises at home, even if I only spend 10 minutes at a time. Perhaps I can do the maintenance course later, or return to Stand Up! if that is too rigorous. Thank you both for your kindness and consideration and for the interesting lessons. I particularly appreciate the fact that you took the time to tell us what each exercise was to achieve as we progressed, and I appreciate the humour you injected.

Joan B.

Benefits I receive from Tai Chi

I first started to take lessons in Tai Chi at the beginning of the Older Adult Centre.

  1. A great stress reliever – when you have a stressful day, do a session of Tai Chi and the stress is gone.
  2. Exercises every part of your body without any pain.
  3. Increases your balance – went to a dance, my heel was hit and I was able to right myself without falling – stepped out on my deck in the Fall, my foot slipped on the icy deck and I was able to fall properly without hurting myself. – stepped on a pebble, my ankle turned and I was able to straighten myself without falling.
  4. Strengthen your legs and knees.
  5. Tai Chi makes me feel great, makes me feel at peace, a definite health improver.

Tom R.

Tai Chi and Me

I began taking classes in Tai Chi in 2010, and over the past three years I have found it beneficial in many ways. Firstly, the slow nature of the movements has allowed me to exercise without needing too much aerobic capacity, which is good because I have reduced lung functioning. Also, the exercises have significantly improved my muscle strength and tone. I also have better balance. In addition, Tai Chi works the entire body, so I am in better overall physical condition than I was before starting the classes. Perhaps the major benefit comes from feelings of achievement and an ability to relax and release stress.


Tai Chi is my moving meditation. Your full attention is focused on executing each move skillfully and accurately to the best of your ability. This mindfulness brings calm and peacefulness throughout the day and provides an improved and restful sleep each night.

Tai Chi augmented my physiotherapy with the gentle repetitive movements that strengthen and stretch every muscle. Tai Chi is not a quick fix but rather an opportunity to slow down and be patient while you learn, improve and heal.

Tai Chi is a beneficial habit and magical in how it strengthens your body, improves your balance and soothes your mind, year after year.


I am a ParkSide Centre member and VALE retiree. I was told by doctors over 30 years ago that because of Multiple Sclerosis, I would be confined to a wheel chair in less than a year. I was determined that I would never use a wheel chair and took up swimming in an effort to combat this affliction. My swimming became so proficient that I decided to compete in the Senior Summer Games. This is an important program that provides the opportunity for older adults of different abilities to exercise, stay active and come together in a social environment. Games range from seated activity to sport oriented competitions. I continue to compete to this day and have won several awards at the local, provincial and national levels. While my primary motivation was to have the use of my legs and prove the doctors wrong, I found additional incentive in competing in the Senior Games. The VALE sponsorship has been an integral part of this success. It has enabled the ParkSide Centre to start the Winter Games and continue to host the Summer Games on an annual basis. 


When I retired from work 2 years ago with a knee injury, the “exercise” I had engaged in for most of my life consisted mainly of moderate walks. I knew that I needed to find a way to strengthen my leg muscles and improve my stamina if I wanted to remain active. I tried a gym but both the classes and the trainers assumed a higher level of fitness and an intensity that was too much for me. Most members were younger, and the classes were not designed to accommodate anyone who had an injury or was not able to keep up. The instructors were kind, but the best they could do was to tell me “just do what you can”. Then, I found out that the ParkSide Centre was offering a program, sponsored by VALE, called ‘Get Fit for Active Living’ for people who had not exercised regularly and needed both the physical exercise and education about the benefits of physical fitness. The class included exercises designed to improve functional fitness, balance and flexibility and muscle strength and endurance. I enjoyed getting to know the group and exercising with them and did not feel embarrassed by needing to modify an exercise, as others in the class needed these modifications as well. After ‘Get Fit for Active Living’ I joined ‘Keep Fit for Active Living’. The instructors were helpful and friendly and the group members were fun to be with, which helped motivate me to return to the class every week. Taking part in the classes has made it easier for me to carry groceries, go for longer walks with my (energetic!) dog, and because my balance has improved, we can now use trails instead of only the sidewalk. I have just registered for my third session of ‘Keep Fit for Active Living’.


I first heard of the ‘Get Fit for Active Living’ program when it was being developed.  I had worked at the Sudbury and District Health Unit for 22 years and was involved in all preventative programs dealing with chronic diseases.  I had thyroid cancer in 1993, a life threatening botched surgery in 2005, kidney disease, and a breast cancer diagnosis in 2006.  I began to gain weight from lack of exercise and the many medications prescribed.  At times, I was becoming a couch potato.  I became very conscious of the relationship between exercise and my medical problems.  I enrolled in the first “Get Fit” program at the ParkSide Centre.  The instructors have been excellent and very supportive, making it fun.  All exercises are do-able.  The most positive support came when my neighbour joined me.  We then agreed to follow up by walking in the Laurentian University gym on alternate days.  We support each other.  We feel more motivated and it has become a ritual.  We enjoy each other’s company and the ParkSide Centre.  For me, this has been an extremely positive step.  I now lead a more physically active and healthier lifestyle.  I would highly recommend these programs to others and all health professionals should be made aware that they are offered at the ParkSide Centre.


I have enjoyed participating in the ‘Get Fit for Active Living’ program held at the ParkSide Centre.  A neighbour recommended that I get “off the couch” with her and attend the first session.  We did, and have continued to exercise ever since in the Keep Fit program developed by the same instructors.  The benefits of gaining more energy, flexibility and balance have inspired us to walk at the University track on the alternate days of the exercise program.  What I enjoy the most is the friendship, fitness and fun.  The camaraderie while exercising with people my own age in a safe controlled environment led by two top notch instructors is great.  I have noticed a number of improvements in my daily life such as the ability to carry my own groceries in from the car, being able to reach items placed on higher shelves, getting up from a seated position, bending down to tie shoe laces and walking with more confidence on uneven or icy surfaces.  I hope to continue to have a better quality of life in my senior years.  I want the opportunity to keep active whether it is playing with grandchildren, keeping up while walking or climbing on a tour or simply by being as self reliant as long as possible in my own home.  I now understand the meaning of the expression, “use it or lose it” and I have no intention of “losing it”.


When I called in to the ParkSide Seniors Information Line, I was a senior in distress. I was in my mid 60's and I suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. Due to my medical condition, I am incontinent. My husband left me and moved into a high-end retirement home.  When he left, he cleared the bank account, kitchen cupboards, and my supply of Depends. The rent was paid up for the next two months but aside from that I had nothing.  The coordinator was able to secure emergency funding for groceries and medical supplies, find lodging that was geared to income, get me free legal counsel and arrange for home health care.  With one call, all of my immediate problems were solved.  If not for the ParkSide Seniors Information Line and the funding from Xstrata that supported it, there is no telling what might have happened to me.  This is just one example of how the ParkSide Centre’s outreach efforts have enriched the lives of seniors throughout the community.


I had called the ParkSide Centre needing some maintenance done on my home and yard. Unable to perform the tasks on my own, I was faced with a decision to sell my home and move in to a retirement residence.  Luckily, I had heard about the “Helping You At Home” program that the ParkSide offers. I was matched with a handyman/worker who had been screened and who the ParkSide had negotiated low rates with. The yard work done by Ken that included raking, cleaning out the gutters and removal of snow was well done. He also called before he came over. I was very grateful for the help that is so speedily available. It’s so reassuring to know that I don’t have to give up my home.


I came to Sudbury and then the ParkSide Centre as a recent widower, very depressed, very lonely and geographically isolated from my children and friends. As almost a last resort, I joined the ParkSide Centre and began participating in the Xstrata Games Room billiards tournaments regularly. Mentally and physically stimulating activities such as these are an integral part of a healthy active lifestyle in older adults. Soon I overcame the depression I was in and started feeling better about life thanks to the new friends I had made. A couple of years later I met an old flame, rekindled our romance and married a short time ago. Tim is just one example of how the ParkSide Centre helps people in different ways. The Xstrata sponsorship allowed this to happen as it provided much needed funding to repair our billiards tables.


My eighty-six year old father has recently become a member of ParkSide. My Dad enjoys playing cards and shooting a game of pool and he is able to find both those activities on a Sunday afternoon at the Centre.  Over the years, my Father has lost many of his good friends and ParkSide has allowed him to meet new friends with common interests and re-acquaint himself with others he has not seen in years. ParkSide has most definitely widened his social circle. He likes the spaciousness and atmosphere of the Centre and looks forward to his Sunday visits.


I began volunteering at the ParkSide Centre in 2005.  I was just recovering from an acquired brain injury in 1999.  I decided to start volunteering to pass the time away.  Little did I know the effect that the Centre would have on my life.  It changed my outlook on life, the way I see people and the way I look at myself.  I see now how many things I am capable of doing, and how my attitude and actions towards people affect how they react.  I have come to think of many at the ParkSide as family and am learning a great many things daily from them.  I love just sitting and talking with them and listening to their stories.  Sometimes that is all they need that particular day.  The best thing I learned from volunteering at the ParkSide is that I was born to help people. It is something I thoroughly enjoy doing.  One member who really showed me what the Centre was capable of was Joanne Mathieu.  Unfortunately she is not around to tell us what the Centre really did for her, but she was an inspiration not only to me but to many others.  The Centre helped bring both of us out of our shell.  She showed me that you should not let anything get you down - everything happens for a reason.  If I did not have the ParkSide Centre (Staff and Members) I am not sure where I would be.  I am afraid I would be lost.  I am the type of person who likes and needs to feel loved, wanted and needed.  I find some days when going to the ParkSide, whether it is being a sounding board, being someone to vent on, or just to sit and listen to someone because that is what they need, I make a difference.  The ParkSide challenges me to do things daily which keeps my mind active.  Whether it is secretarial, participating in activities or helping someone with a problem, it is like my own personal therapy.