Senior standing on bridge in forest

Maedith Radlein

“Stay active, connected and safe” is the theme for seniors' month across Ontario this June. Kitchener celebrates older adults who embody this theme and have made a positive impact on their communities.

Over the past few years, COVID-19 restrictions made it difficult for older adults to participate in activities and stay connected with others. Heike Sixtus, a fitness instructor in Kitchener, introduced virtual fitness classes to ensure older adults kept up their regular fitness routines regardless of their limitations. Having been a trainer for more than 20 years, Sixtus knows the importance of maintaining a routine and remaining active as we age. Each day, Sixtus gets up at 4:30 a.m. to prepare for her first training session of the day. Sixtus feels like she is the healthiest she’s been in her life.

“I strongly believe that you have to be a part of the change you want to see,” Sixtus said. “I’m in my eighties and my goal is to inspire and motivate older adults to remain active and continue exercising, so they can feel great at any age too.”

Staying engaged and healthy as we age goes beyond eating nutritious meals and staying physically active—it also involves spending quality time with loved ones, nurturing the soul, and stimulating the mind through enjoyable activities.

A crafter for 40 years, Gloria Doherty loves working with her hands and gets giddy when she makes something new. She is constantly changing her techniques and incorporating new elements into her work. She is exceptionally skilled at creating one-of-a-kind angels.

“I get excited about each day because I'm constantly learning new techniques and trying something new,” said Doherty. “It is never too late to start a new hobby or learn a new skill and I hope my work inspires others to do the same.”

Senior sitting at table with crafts
Senior doing yoga

Gloria Doherty

Chandrika Anjaria

Lloyd Fridenburg, a martial arts instructor, is constantly pushing the limits of what older adults are capable of in his karate classes. In addition to teaching older adults martial arts and self-defense, Fredenburg hopes to impart values of integrity, self-confidence, concentration, and respect to others. Winnie and Ann Welch, a mother-daughter duo, attend Fridenburg's classes and feel more empowered and confident as each class passes. Fridenburg wants to change perceptions about older adults in our community and believes residents have a lot to offer after retirement.

For retirees Chandrika Anjaria and Maedith Radlein, volunteering has made their golden years incredibly fulfilling. Anjaria is active in her community and serves on the board of many organizations, including the India Canada Association of Waterloo Region (ICA).

“I am proud of my role as a volunteer and participant in my community,”, Anajaria said. “I’m sometimes the oldest person on the committee but can always hold my own against the younger members.”

Through her professional career and now in retirement, Radlein has continued to promote inclusion in the community when it comes to age, gender, and race. Radlein plays an active role in equity work and is currently the chair of the Region of Waterloo Anti-Racism Advisory Working Group.

“Through all my roles, most of what I do is to make others aware of different perspectives,” said Radlein. “The reality is that perspective shapes reality, and we can often lose sight of how our view of the world is different from others.”

Our community benefits from the leadership and experience of older adults and their inspiring qualities are a key to our past, present, and future. Thank you to all the older adults in our community for all they do for others and for creating a well-rounded community for everyone. You deserve to be celebrated!

For information about activities and programs for older adults, as well as other free programs at home and other support, visit

Photo Gallery: Senior Month will appear here on the public site.