Guelph-based podcast shares stories of seniors across Ontario

A new podcast talks about the wisdom of elders and features the stories of seniors in Ontario. Guelph's Lloyd Heatherington is the co-host of the new podcast #ElderWisdom, Stories from the Green Bench.

Topics range from ageism, dating, marriage and coping with illness

Lloyd Heatherington sits at the Green Bench at Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph. (Submitted by Schlegal Villages)

As a young boy, Lloyd Heatherington remembers sitting on the front porch of his home, listening to stories from the elders in his family.

"We would visit my grandparents often, we'd sit on the porch and have a chat after the chores were done on an evening," he said. "And we took up some of the values there. The old-fashioned values of hard work, total dependency upon yourself. Those values became entrenched and they just seeped into our being."

Heatherington is still listening, but the venue has changed from the front porch to a portable studio set up at his new home at the Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph.

Lloyd Heatherington at his mobile studio at Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph. "Once a month they come in, set up a folding chair, bring in a very specialized mic," said Heatherington. "My room becomes a studio for two or three hours." (Submitted by Ted Hudson at Schlegal Village)

He is the co-host of a podcast called #ElderWisdom: Stories from the Green Bench where seniors from across Ontario talk about a variety of topics from ageism, dating, marriage, their careers and coping with illness in their senior years. He co-hosts the show with former broadcaster Erin Davis who connects from British Columbia. 

Inspiring stories

Heatherington said he has learned a lot listening to the stories of his peers.

"I certainly valued the one story of a woman's fight with Parkinson's. I have my aches and pains, but when I talk to her, they fade into insignificance," he said. "I recognize that, hey, I've got to get over it. I've got to live with these things and make the most of it rather than it controlling me. I have to be in control of the situation."

The idea for the feature came from Ron Schlegel of Schlegel Village who manages long-term care and retirement villages across the province.

"[Ron] set up a green bench and every one of the residents that are part of the Schlegel organization were invited to sit on those green benches and be interviewed," explains Heatherington, noting there was also an audience. 

"It has expanded since then [to a podcast] because the COVID-19 crisis," he said.

Heatherington said interest in the bi-weekly show is growing and they've had listeners in Japan and Australia.