Seniors in need of a little inspiration in their lives will want to catch an upcoming event in New Westminster.
Inspiration Day returns to Century House on Saturday Feb. 9 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets are $8 (a limited number are still available) and can be purchased at 604-519-1066.
The day’s fun includes presentations by Dr. Davidicus Wong, inspirational activities, nutritious snacks and entertainment by Laughter Zone 101 comics. A former psychiatric nurse, New West resident Janice Bannister’s current roles include being is a stand-up comic, motivational speaker, show producer and lead instructor at Laughter Zone 101, which offers stand-up comedy classes.
The Record recently checked in with Bannister about Inspiration Day and her thoughts on aging.
What’s your role at Inspiration Day?
I will be MCing and presenting four of the Laughter Zone 101 Boomer, Zoomer, Senior comedy troupe, as part of the Inspiration Day event. All of these comics have taken stand-up comedy through the Laughter Zone 101 programs at Century House, SFU continuing studies, or through my regular local classes. New comics and not so new.
What inspires you?
I love sharing my personal funny stories and comedy material, and I love watching others work on their own authentic material and then get a chance to share it on the stage in front of a live audience. The senior comics have their own unique stories that are relatable to our age group.
You’ve talked about something called the Wrinkle Revolution – what’s that about?
The Wrinkle Revolution is a keynote I presented at the last Seniors Festival, and recently for a group of new retirees. It addresses the way the age 55+ population is being depicted in media, advertising and programming in our communities. As a baby boomer, I want us to be shown as a vibrant, fun loving, and an active exciting group of individuals. Not just a set of wrinkly hands – often that image is used to market to us.
Given your various roles as a psychiatric nurse, stand-up comedian, inspirational speaker, among others, do you have any words of wisdom regarding aging?
My "words of wisdom" to all of us as we age is, connect with people. Get out of the house and try new things especially in the arts. Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and don't think because you have never sang, or played an instrument or can't memorize lines, that you don't fit. The biggest laughs and connections I have enjoyed with my seniors' programs is when someone "just does it" and we all get to share the fun. I have seen so many new friendships start in programs. And if you don't think the group is what you want find another one. There is something out there for everyone.
I have seen people play an instrument for the first time. Last Tuesday at my Arts for Brain Fitness class at SFU, it was music week, and everyone was told to bring an instrument. We had spoons, maracas, a pill bottle with beans in it... and a woman showed up with a beautiful ukulele in a case, but she had never played it. She said, "I'm afraid I won't do it right" but she played it that day along with everyone else playing their variety of instruments, and at the end of the class, she said, "I think I am ready to join a group". Some have written their first poem, did a dance (last session of classes a man danced for the first time...the twist!!). Oh I have stories. ... A lot of people sign up for the Brain Fitness part and they end up loving the arts participation part as many of them have not experienced so many different arts activities.
Anything else you’d like to share with Record readers?
There are a lot of Boomers, Zoomers and seniors in New West and there are a lot of age-friendly initiatives, but if you are not seeing what you want, or you have a great idea, make it known. Also if you see marketing or depictions where you are poorly represented also let that company know. We have a lot of "buying power" so we want to support good age-friendly programs and businesses.