Author Info

Pat Fream

Pat Fream is a wife, mother and 30-year writer with extensive experience in the human services industry. In all avenues of life, Pat seeks opportunities to hear and tell stories and finds joy in the magic of connecting people with shared experiences. An impassioned fan of seniors, Pat draws wisdom and inspiration from her aging parents and their friends, many of whom are living well in vibrant senior communities.

Author Blog Posts

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82-Year-Old Grandma Reveals Her Secret To A Long Life

Mabel Sparling has a bus pass and she uses it several times a week to visit the mall near her retirement community.   At the mall, Mabel gets her daily dose of exercise, meets her granddaughter Jenny for coffee, and visits the greeting card aisle of her favourite gift shop – specifically – she spends copious amounts of time reading the humorous cards.   “That’s the ticket to a good day,” says Mabel, “you’ve got to get your laughter in.”   At 82, Mabel is well-known to everyone in her seniors' community, along with several city transit drivers who find themselves buoyed by her sunny disposition. By all accounts, Mabel is perpetually cheerful.   “It’s contagious - her sense of humour – I always take her jokes back home to my wife and kids. It cracks them up,” says Jerome,  Read More...

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Excelling in Retirement: The Practices Helping 3 Seniors Flourish

This week a colleague has gone off to Vancouver Island to celebrate her mom’s 98th birthday.   Her mom is healthy and robust and living comfortably in a senior’s residence in Victoria.   When I asked my friend (Leanne) what she believes is the key to her mom’s astounding resilience, she relayed her belief that there are several keys …   Most importantly she credits her mom’s wholeheartedness and specifically, her attitude of gratitude. She said her mom has had a life-long habit of seeing the world through wondrous eyes and giving perpetual thanks for all things big and small.   After our discussion, Leanne sent me this YouTube video on Gratitude - a family favourite by Louie Schwartzberg.   That led me on an investigation of other key factors contributing to a long life, all equally interesting and inspiring.   Of  Read More...

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5 Tips for Better Brain Awareness in Seniors

There’s this buzz word out there that's not exactly new, but still has a sparkling effect; that sensation that makes us all want to sit up and take note.   Positive Aging. Sounds good right?   The idea is, to truly age well, we need to tend to our physical, emotional and mental well-being. There are infinite studies on how to do this, but credible ones are the only ones worth any attention.   A Canadian initiative called the Fountain of Health has some interesting information. It was founded by a professor of geriatric psychiatry at Dalhousie University, and endorsed by the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation. It explores current science on healthy aging and offers tools for seniors to improve health and delay or prevent dementia.   Other suggestions to help seniors improve cognitive health include simple  Read More...

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Holiday Stories from the 30s & 40s ~ Elizabeth’s Story

Christmas in Belleville, New Brunswick One of my favourite Christmas memories surrounds mom’s wonderful Christmas fruitcake. My mouth waters just thinking of it now!   The memory of mom baking that cake is just so special … I think because it represented the beginning of the much anticipated and very exciting Christmas season. My mom put so much time and so much love into this cake and of course, it was rich with spices, raisins, mixed fruit, and our very own strawberry preserves.   Once the cake was baked it needed time to mellow, so mom would carefully and lovingly place it in this round metal tin and she then stored it in the coolest room of our house, one of the upstairs bedrooms that we closed off to save heat during the winter months. This was a very safe  Read More...

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Holiday Stories from the 30s & 40s ~ Marie’s Story

Christmas in Ashern, Manitoba Christmas in our home growing up was a very exciting time for us kids for many reasons, not the least of which was that there was baking in the house! This was rare because Mom had very little time to bake and there were sugar rations because we were in a time of war.   Dad would cut down an evergreen and often it went right to the ceiling. Then we kids would make paper decorations and strings of popcorn for the tree and for the whole house – though it was only maybe a few hundred square feet.   On our dinner table, there would be a perfectly formed wheat sheaf – hand picked by Dad in the fall, to represent ‘Father Time’. Under our dinner table Dad scattered fresh straw, to represent the manger,  Read More...

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Holiday Stories from the 30s & 40s ~ Alice’s Story

Christmas in Yellow Creek, Saskatchewan Growing up on the prairies during war and depression was challenging. But Christmas was always a wonderful celebration in our home.   We decorated the tree with popcorn strings and paper streamers - the whole atmosphere in our tiny home was remarkably joyful.   Our most important tradition, being Ukrainian, was our Christmas Eve dinner when mom would serve a 12-course meatless meal. One course for each of Christ’s apostles and the absence of meat to mark Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey on the eve of Christ’s birth. As my father explained – they had to really struggle so we were meant to experience a sacrifice – a lesson in gratitude was the theme of this holy evening for us.   The table looked so beautiful to me, set with a linen tablecloth and candles. Dad  Read More...

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Staying Active During the Cold Winter Months

It’s cold and icy outside. A stroll around the block or even the few steps to a waiting car is now hazardous for seniors. A sunny park bench across the street might look tempting, but a fall between here and there would be catastrophic. So what other options are there to keep your aging loved one moving and stimulated this winter? If they live in a senior’s residence: Endless activities and/or exercise programs available in-house (See AgeCare Seton's latest activities calendar for example) A daily walk in the halls – once up and down the stairs too if they are able. A daily visit to any of the main gathering areas - for movement and much needed social connection. A simple seated or standing stretching regime daily – under the direction of a family member or care team. Other options, and  Read More...

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Meet Our Resident ~ Sophie (AgeCare Valleyview)

When you meet Sophie, it’s hard to believe she is about to reach her century milestone! Sophie was born in 1918 in a farmhouse on a homestead near Bitter Lake School, Saskatchewan. She is one of nine children born to parents who emigrated from Yugoslavia. When she was in grade 7, Sophie was pulled out of school to help out on the family farm. Because of her excellent work ethic, she was promoted to ‘header box’ driver – driving a team of horses pulling the ‘header box’ full of cut wheat to be thrashed.   Tragically, when Sophie was just 19, a car crashed claimed the life her mother, and to this day, she can recall the heartache and turmoil of this devastating loss.   But struggle and adversity was a part of everyone’s life back then, and Sophie had  Read More...

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Meet Our Resident ~ Alberta (AgeCare Valleyview)

While Alberta tends to be quiet, she loves to be around people. Just a simple kind word or a smile makes her day.   Alberta was born in Medicine Hat and spent the first few years of her life on a farm in Whitla, Alberta. When her father got a job with the CRP the family moved back to Medicine Hat and attended Alexander High School before going on to work at Redcliff Glass Factory and the Medicine Hat Greenhouse. It was there, tending the roses in the greenhouse, that sparked Alberta’s lifelong passion for gardening. She loved her flowers and her garden was always beautiful.   Alberta met the love of her life at a dance in Medicine Hat. John (Jack) was stationed in Medicine Hat as a member of the number 34 Service Flying Training School which was  Read More...

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Meet Our Resident ~ Mary (AgeCare Valleyview)

If you’re in the mood to get beat at crib, stop and see Mary at AgeCare Valleyview! Mary will soon be 100 and she may have a few creaky bones, but she’s still got her wit, she keeps a close watch on bank statements, occasionally uses her iPad and her crib game is spot on!   Mary initially came to Valleyview 15 years ago after an unfortunate accident left her with a broken shoulder.  Staying in respite brought a great degree of comfort to Mary so after 15 years later she moved into AgeCare Valleyview to stay.   “I am very happy I decided to move here, the staff are very kind to me and I have a very close friend named Catherine,” she said. Mary rarely misses Bingo at Valleyview and she also enjoys the music events and the  Read More...

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