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2007 Art of Aging Gracefully

The 2007 Art of Aging Gracefully calendar is a classy, limited-edition publication tastefully photographed by Ruth Bonneville, with proceeds going to the Victoria General Hospital's Mature Women's Centre. It is a study in 12 photographs and 12 stories about how women look at and deal with aging. It is a celebration of time and how we move through it.

The idea for the calendar originated with Winnipeg Free Press columnist Gordon Sinclair. He put out the call, looking for women aged 50 and over who were willing to bare their bodies, minds and souls by posing nude in the calendar. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

The calendar was completed in the fall of 2006 and sold at various locations throughout Winnipeg including the Victoria General Hospital Gift Shop.

At the grand opening of the Mature Women's Centre on March 14, 2007, Gordon and Ruth presented a cheque for $15,440 to the Mature Women's Centre. The proceeds will help support the Centre's long-term projects and initiatives.

Many of the beautiful women who participated in the calendar joined us at the Vic that day to celebrate this important milestone.

Each woman had her own reasons for participating and a unique story to tell. Today, their beautifully framed portraits grace the halls of the Mature Women's Centre.

Mature Women’s Clinic Helps Women Live Fuller Lives
Written by Julie DeVoin for Aspire! February, 2007

According to Health Canada, the number of Canadians aged 65 and over is expected to reach 6.7 million by 2021. Fifty-six percent of those will be women, who will need health and wellness services tailored by their unique needs.

The new Mature Women’s Centre at the Victoria General Hospital swill provide just that, offering information and treatment to women in their pre menopause, menopause and post menopause years.

Formally located at the Health Sciences Centre, the Centre addresses issues such as uterine bleeding, menopause symptom management and urogynecology. Utilizing a multidisciplinary team approach to care, nurses work with physicians to provide patient assessment, education and treatment, with a focus on health promotion and disease prevention.

The program relocated last December, with the Province contributing over $1 million towards the move, hiring of additional staff and purchase of new equipment. The new space enables the program to expand diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis to reduce fracture risks.

“One in eight women with osteoporosis sustains a fragility fracture,” says Teri Ibbott, nurse coordinator for the Centre. “Fractures due to osteoporosis are major risks for postmenopausal women.”

Ibbott says the Centre’s proactive approach is in keeping with changing attitudes towards health and wellness.

“Health care used to be physician-based,” she says. “But baby boomers have changed all that. They’re more informed and proactive-they have questions and they want answers. Our staff is here to provide them-we see ourselves as partners with the client.”

A key element of the Centre is the Hysterectomy Alternative Program (Halt), led by gynecologist Dr. Richard Boroditsky. The new Centre’s fully equipped procedure and exam rooms make less invasive surgical or medical options possible.

“Hysterectomy is a major surgery,” says nurse clinician Lois Glover. “We help women explore and understand their choices. They may be able to have a day surgery procedure, which decreases their recovery time and length of stay.”

Ibbott and Glover have been a team since shortly after the program was established in 1994. Ibbott says it’s no accident the program has been so successful.

“We’re passionate about looking after women,” she says. “Women know they can find the support and encouragement they need here to take ownership of their own health and wellbeing.”

Glover says part of their commitment is related to the role of mature women as caregivers.

“Women usually assume the role of caregiver for their parents or children, but often don’t take care of their own health,” she says. “We try to empower them with knowledge and support to help them make better choices for their health. The result is a stronger community for everyone.