Staying active into the later years

Photo by Sam Odrowski

94-year old Ted Burns is giving Euchre player tickets to play.

Many seniors slow down as they get into their seventies or eighties but a 94-year old man from Port Perry is staying active.

Ted Burns is a Second World War veteran who still lives at home in Port Perry, almost completely independently. He is also active in the community and says he likes to keep moving.

“Stay active. Don’t sit around lying in bed all day,” says Burns.

Burns is part of Canada’s aging population that is quickly approaching the five million mark. The current growth rate for seniors is double the rate of growth for the rest of Canada.

There are more Canadians 65 and older than those who are 15 and younger, according to Statistics Canada, meaning more than one out of six people living in Canada are 65 or older.

His daughter Micheline Hill-Burns says he’s making an effort to stay active and involved.

He has stayed active, he’s made sure he’s kept involved in the church, and his community,” she says.

He still drives his own vehicle and passed a driving test for re-examination in January. Driving is important to Burns, as it gets him to and from his church, Immaculate Conception, four to five days a week.

He helps Father Marco Testa as an altar server during the week and helps with the collections on the weekend. As well, Burns has served as a Eucharistic minister for the past 25 years.

This isn’t his only involvement in the church. He also runs the euchre club, which typically brings in 20 to 30 people.

“He even picks up other seniors on his way to cards,” says Hill-Burns.

The veteran has helped the Knights of Columbus with it’s Remembrance Day ceremony for 20 years now.

“We came up here (to Port Perry) in ‘96 or ’97. I did the first one for the Knights and have done it every year ever since,” says Burns.

According to his daughter, he still gets his own groceries, makes his own meals, and does most of the housework.

“He’s positive and a good role model for everyone, very gentle and kind,” she says.

Up until four or five years ago he was completely independent. These days, he receives help shovelling his driveway and cutting his grass.

Burns remains incredibly healthy and active for someone of his age but he still enjoys a shot of rye and ginger ale every day before dinner.

He said he is going to try to come out to the Remembrance Day service again this year and doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.


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Sam is a second year journalism student at Durham College, who enjoys writing about social issues, business, sports, music, and the community. He enjoys creating broadcast news as well as video stories. In his spare time he enjoys listening to music, going to concerts, and watching the news. Sam hopes to work at for a radio network or newspaper after he graduates.