Unlike last year, autumn made its appearance pretty much on schedule after a true summer season of hot — and often very humid — weather. The Canada Day weekend was one for the record books.
While approaching various people about roles and positions on MURA Council committees earlier this year, MURA was presented with a new opportunity. Anne Plessl, recently retired from the Library, offered to organize a “New Retirees Luncheon”. This is something that used to happen in a different format but hasn’t taken place for a few years. MURA Council approved going ahead with the idea. The inaugural event took place on September 25 with an excellent turnout. New members were able to see who else had also recently retired and find out what others have planned for this new stage in life’s journey. Helen Barton and I were able to share with the group what MURA is about, introduce MURA Council members and advise retirees about the perks and benefits available to retirees. Our Human Resources liaisons Kathy Petrunti and Helen Dickman were also on hand to answer questions.
If you have additional ideas that would be of interest or value to MURA members, please get in touch with someone on Council so we can explore the possibilities.
One of MURA’s key events, the Christmas Lunch, will be held on December 5. This popular event is always well attended, with some groups organizing tables of colleagues from their department. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you there.
Heather Grigg, MURA President
MURA Christmas Lunch
Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 12:00 Noon
CIBC Hall — McMaster Student Centre
RSVP by Friday, November 16, 2018
There will be a cash bar with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices for your pre- and post-lunch enjoyment, while you chat with fellow retirees in this festive season. We will also have draw prizes for you to win.
This is a good opportunity to renew friendships with your former working colleagues. Arrange to arrive a little early to choose and share a table. Each table seats nine people.
The price is $17.50 per person. Please be advised that you must pre-book and pay for the Christmas Lunch by Friday, November 16, 2018 and should make your booking as soon as possible. We will try to accommodate everybody who wants to attend, but seating is limited to 200. You will not be able to pay for your meal on the day of the event.
MURA thanks Parking Services for their generous support
Retirees who do not have a McMaster parking permit and transponder will have access to Parking Lots B, C and D close to the Student Centre, and to the underground Stadium lot. Come on campus via the Sterling Street entrance.
Park in any of these lots showing “Visitors - Open”. Take an entry ticket from the machine at the lot entrance and exchange it for a complimentary “Exit Ticket” at the luncheon registration table. Your Exit Ticket will be used at the exit gate to “pay” for your parking when you leave your parking lot.
If none of these lots show “Visitors - Open”, use the Help button at a lot entrance that indicates “Full to Visitors” to gain access or be directed to an available lot.
Retirees with valid transponders may park in any lot that shows “Transponders - Open”.
PARKING SPACES ARE AT A PREMIUM. WHY NOT TRY CAR POOLING?
For the mobility impaired: If you have an Ontario Accessible Parking Permit and require reserved accessible parking, please be sure to tell Beth in your RSVP. Reserved parking will be provided in Lot C close to the Student Centre. Press the Help button at the entrance to gain access to the lot. Parking staff will be on duty to assist with accessible parking in Lot C. Please have an Ontario Accessible Parking Permit on display in your vehicle.
What's Happening at Mac
Department Retirees Keep in Touch via Their Own Facebook Page
by John Horsman
Ah, modern “social media” … Facebook, Twitter, and the rest. Love ‘em or loathe ‘em, they are remarkable phenomena. Instantaneous, informative, invasive, real or fake news, all just a few keystrokes away. Most of us have email accounts and many I’m sure have personal Facebook pages.
One enterprising group of Mac retirees has developed a group Facebook page as a way of keeping abreast with their former departmental colleagues and friends. The Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CE&B), now known as The Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI), has a rich history in academics and research, as well as socially. Faculty, staff and students organized and participated in annual events like golf tournaments, Christmas parties, retreats, curling bonspiels, summer picnics, and the Random Errors intramural baseball team.
Many retirees from CE&B spent most of their adult working careers in the department (including yours truly). The Department grew rapidly from its start in the mid 1970s and quickly became a tour de force for health research and teaching for students and researchers around the world. The first Chair of the Department was the eminent Dr. David Sackett. When he passed away in 2016, an event was planned to celebrate his life and memory as well as the accomplishments of the Department he helped found, guide and mentor for over 40 years. In 2017, the 50th Anniversary of the Department, colleagues old and new came back to McMaster to help celebrate.
These two momentous events spurred a group of retirees to form a Facebook Group. Led by Debbie Billings, its vision was to share stories and pictures, reach out to and keep in touch with former colleagues and friends, and provide an opportunity to reminisce and share their memories of the “good old days” as well as keep current with who is doing what and where. Debbie and co-administrator Mary Gauld manage this closed group, and prospective members must ask to join. The current enrollment is over 50. The Group name is CE&B Retirees, Oldtimers and Others, showing just how inclusive the Department was and how the retirees want it to continue. Group members continue to organize outings and social gatherings. A trip to see the Blue Jays in Toronto has become an annual event. Lunches, dinners, and theatre outings have been enjoyed by groups large and small.
If you want more information about setting up a Facebook Group for your former department or are a former CE&Ber and want to join the CE&B group, contact Debbie at email@example.com or Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for McMaster Faculty from 1965-69
The Class of ’69 will host their 50th anniversary celebrations on Saturday, June 1, 2019, and would enjoy seeing their former faculty at this gathering.
The McMaster Alumni Association is looking for faculty from a variety of areas of study to attend this celebration as special guests. There will be activities throughout the day and a 50th anniversary dinner in the evening. Retired faculty members from this era are welcome to participate as they are able. Please contact Laura Escalante at email@example.com or 905-525-9140 ext. 21314 for more information.
Parking Permit Expiry Renewal Reminder
Retiree parking permits are issued on a 12-month basis and must be renewed annually. Renew prior to your expiry date, online at McMaster Parking Services " Retiree Parking" web page, or in person at the Parking Office (E.T. Clarke or Campus Store). Your transponder number is on the back of your transponder (see picture).
Parking Services will send email reminders each month to those who have a permit expiring within the next 30 days. To receive an email reminder, ensure that Parking Services has your current email address on file.
If you have questions or have not made note of your expiry date, please contact McMaster Parking Services by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (905) 525-9140 ext. 24232.
Your Money / Your Health
Have You Heard about the New Shingles Vaccine?
By Mary Johnston
MURA members and their friends should be aware that a new vaccine, called Shingrix, is available for the prevention of shingles. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has made a strong recommendation that Shingrix should be offered to individuals 50 years of age or older.
Shingles is caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. More than 90% of those over 50 years old have had chickenpox and are at risk for shingles. A person's risk for shingles increases with age and an estimated 30% of Canadians will develop shingles in their lifetime. It is possible to get shingles a second time.
Shingrix has been shown in clinical trials to be more effective than the older shingles vaccine Zostavax. If you received Zostavax in the past, you may be eligible to receive Shingrix.
Shingrix is given as two injections, with the second administered two to six months after the first. It is an expensive medication, costing approximately $300 for the course of two injections. Some MURA members may be covered by their post-retirement benefits. If your Sun Life group benefits booklet lists vaccines under Prescription Drugs, you should be able to claim reimbursement of the cost of Shingrix through Sun Life. You will not be able to pay for Shingrix at your pharmacy using your Sun Life drug card. You will need to pay the cost of the vaccine and then submit a paper or electronic claim to Sun Life for reimbursement. Pharmacies and some physicians will charge a fee to administer the vaccine, typically $15 to $25; this additional fee will not be covered by Sun Life.
If you or a loved one has suffered from shingles, you know how awful the experience can be. Visit your physician to ask if you are a candidate for vaccination against shingles. For questions about coverage by your post-retirement benefits package, call Sun Life Financial at 1-800-361-6212 or Human Resources at 905-525-9140 ext. 22247. You should have your member ID (your former employee ID number) available when making the call.
Please let MURA know of any problems that you encounter in obtaining reimbursement from Sun Life. You can contact MURA by email at email@example.com or you may leave a voice message at 905-525-9140, ext. 23171.
Who pays for your eye examinations after you retire?
OHIP provides coverage for eye exams once a person reaches age 65. But if you are a retiree under age 65, who pays? OHIP does not cover eye exams for age 20 to 64, except for "specific" medical conditions. See:
If you did not pay for eye exams before you retired from Mac, your 'active employee' benefit plan was likely providing this coverage.
For McMaster retirees under age 65, some retiree benefit plans cover eye examinations, others do not. If you have checked the retiree benefit booklet that applies to you and it doesn't have a phrase that covers eye exams then you most likely do not have coverage. Even for some groups that do have coverage only the retiree is covered, not a spouse. For example, one booklet says "Eye Exams (Retiree Only): We will cover the cost for the services of an ophthalmologist or licensed optometrist, up to a maximum of $100 per member every 2 benefit years if not covered by your provincial health care plan".
What puts a man’s health at risk as he gets older? The top risk factors are common and often preventable. However, research suggests that men tend to put less focus on their own health and well-being than women. They see the doctor less frequently and are less engaged in preventive health behaviours. From health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer and chronic respiratory disease, to mental health issues such as loneliness — healthy aging threats can be significantly reduced through lifestyle changes such as healthy diet, regular exercise and social engagement.
Take an active role in your health, both body and mind:
Screening for prostate cancer: What you should know about the PSA test
Prostate Cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men. The PSA blood test can be used as a screening tool, but men are advised to talk to their doctor about the pros and cons. Read more.
The men’s sheds: A safe and inclusive space for older men
'Men's sheds' are spaces dedicated to older men that have beneficial effects on mental health and social well-being by allowing men to work, break social isolation and give back to their community. Read more.
Build strength to age well! The benefits of progressive resistance training
Building strength can help you avoid falls and reduce the risk of loss of mobility, independence and quality of life. Read more.
Exercise plays an active role in treating depression
Exercises that engage both the body and mind, such as Tai Chi, help reduce depression and are safe and gentle options for older adults and people who aren’t able to take part in more rigorous activities. Read more.
Erectile dysfunction treatment options
Common drug treatments for erectile dysfunction are effective, but also have side effects. Losing weight, improving your diet, and getting regular exercise may also boost sexual function, and avoid the side effects. Read more.
Are we equal in the face of aging? Challenges faced by LGBTQ2 older adults
Although attitudes are changing, better training for health and social-service professionals and the implementation of programs specifically designed for LGBTQ2 older adults may help them to remain healthy, active and engaged as long as possible. Read more.
Do you value credible health information? McMaster University has developed the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal to give you access to research-based information to help you age well and manage your health conditions. Visit their website (www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org) for more evidence-based information to support healthy aging.
A Reminder about Submitting Sun Life Benefit Claims
When submitting paper claim forms to Sun Life, be sure to use the most recent version of the form. Out-of-date forms may contain inaccurate information. A recent claim by a retiree to the address on the back of an older claim form was returned by Canada Post with the annotation “Post Office Box CLOSED”.
Here are three ways to obtain the most recent Dental or Extended Health claim form:
If you are set up to submit electronic claims, login to your My Sun Life account at:
Click on ‘Submit a claim’ and then on ‘claim form’. The Dental and Extended Health forms available for download will have some of your personal information already filled in for your convenience.
A second place to get the forms is at http://www.workingatmcmaster.ca/retirees/. Click on ‘How to Make a Benefits Claim’ in the right hand column, and then on ‘Extended Health Care Claim Form’ or ‘Dental Claim Form’ mid-way down the Benefits Claims Procedures screen. These forms will not have personal information on them.
If you do not have a computer, internet access, and a printer, you can obtain the claim forms on campus in the Human Resources reception area on the third floor of Gilmour Hall. Or you can call Human Resources at 905-525-9140 ext. 22247, and request the forms be mailed to you.
An additional recommendation: When submitting a paper claim form to Sun Life, keep a copy of the completed claim form and supporting documents in case your claim is lost in the mail or at Sun Life. When making an electronic claim, keep the supporting documents in the event Sun Life conducts an audit on your claim, which they reserve the right to do.
Wanda Biatosik, Building Operations, Dec. 27/17
Ruby Burton, Physical Plant, Sept. 1/18
John Cameron, Physics & Astronomy, Sept. 26/18
Gerald Cohen, Family Medicine, Nov. 16/17
Sophia Everatt, Medicine, June 3/18
Sophia Lecki, Building Operations, Sept. 15/17
Bryan Mangrum, Art & Art History, Jan. 10/18
Adam Marianski, Elec & Comp Engineering, June 21/18
Roy Newcombe, Mechanical Engineering, Oct. 5/18
Angela Paolozza, University Libraries, Aug. 2/18
Gerald Rosenblum, Sociology, Feb. 23/17
Edemariam Tsea, Medicine, Jan. 1/18
Welcome New Retirees
Min Hao, Biochemistry
Susan Jaskula, Surgery
Kathleen Johnson, Pediatrics
Wendy Milburn, Family Medicine
Karen Neumann, Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Sharon Reniewick, Surgery
Wiktor Rzeczkowski, Learning Technologies
William Shaffir, Sociology
Lynn Sorowka, Library Services & Facilities
Dale Stevens, Nursing
Isik Zeytinoglu, Human Resources & Management
CURAC (College and University Retirees Associations of Canada) has provided the following announcement about travel and extended health insurance available to its members. MURA is a member of CURAC and thus all MURA members are automatically members of CURAC. MURA does not evaluate or endorse specific insurance providers, but believes many Mac retirees will benefit from these carefully selected plans.
“Travel and extended health insurance at attractive rates is available to all members of retiree groups, such as ours, that are affiliated with CURAC/ARUCC (College and University Retiree Associations of Canada). Two excellent insurance plans are available.
MEDOC insurance provides stand-alone travel insurance to cover out-of-province and out-of-country emergencies. This annual policy covers an unlimited number of trips up to 17 or 35 days per trip, depending on the option you choose (with supplemental insurance available for longer trips) and includes trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Premiums are based on an individual’s age and pre-existing medical conditions. (There is a 90-day stability clause for pre-existing conditions.) However, no CURAC member would be denied coverage based on age or health status. This insurance will be of particular interest to individuals who feel they already have adequate extended health insurance and wish to benefit from the lower travel insurance premiums for relatively younger retirees (e.g., below the age of 76) who are in good health.
RTO/ERO insurance provides extended health insurance for in-province and includes travel insurance at no extra cost. It offers broad coverage with no annual deductible. An unlimited number of trips up to 93 days per trip are covered (with supplemental insurance available for longer trips), and it includes trip cancellation and interruption insurance. This insurance will be of particular interest to individuals who seek additional extended health insurance, as well as travel insurance whose premiums are not dependent upon age.
To ensure you get the correct information, identify yourself as a member of your retirees’ association and CURAC when asking questions or applying for insurance."
Hiking and biking in the Hamilton area
by John Horsman
Hiking trails abound in the Hamilton area, and what better time to venture out but the autumn when the region is awash with colour. From the top of the escarpment to the shores of Cootes and Lake Ontario, trails range from short, simple loops for easy-moderate strolls to moderate-hard trails for the more fit or adventurous. There are trails along the waterfront, trails to many of Hamilton’s 170+ waterfalls, trails for history enthusiasts, trails for the nature lover, scenic loop trails that bring you back to where you started. Similarly, there are biking routes in and around Hamilton that suit the Sunday easy-rider and the off-road warrior.
Top of the list through Hamilton is the Bruce Trail. This iconic trail wends its way from near Niagara-on-the-Lake and follows the Niagara Escarpment (more or less) north through southern Ontario, up the Bruce Peninsula and ends in Tobermory. The main trail is nearly 900km long and there are over 400km of side trails, many in the Hamilton region.
The Bruce Trail is only one of hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails in the Hamilton area. The Dundas Valley is criss-crossed with many kilometers of trails largely in wooded conservation areas. There are urban pathways through Hamilton and trails in, around and through Ancaster, Stoney Creek, and the entire Hamilton region. Hiking trails in this area include: Dundas Valley, Dundas Peak, Tiffany-Sherman Falls, Chedoke Radial, Borer’s Falls, Bull’s Point, Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail, Dundas Valley Heritage Trail, Spencer Creek Trail, Waterdown to Smokey Hollow, Cherry Hill Loop, Royal Botanical Trails, Red Hill Valley, Pier 4 Park, Grindstone Creek via Waterdown, Dundurn Stairs, and the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area on Upper Mount Albion Road, just to name a few.
Don’t want to volunteer alone? Sign up with a friend.
The McMaster NeuroFit Lab, directed by Dr. Jennifer Heisz, is recruiting older adults for a study on physical fitness and brain health.
The rapid increase in the aging population and the consequent surge in the incidence of neurodegenerative diseases underlie the urgent need to identify interventions that will help older adults maintain their cognitive, visual and mental health.
The research aims to investigate the benefits provided by physical fitness on cognition, vision and mood and to understand the mechanisms responsible for these relationships.
The study needs people 65 years of age or older who are free from cognitive impairment, auto-immune disease, type II diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, obesity (BMI>30) and are not currently taking hormone replacement therapy or beta-blockers. Participants will be compensated for participating in the three required on-campus sessions.
If you fit the criteria and are interested in participating in this study, please contact Alexis via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 905-525-9140 ext. 23616.
VON Hamilton has a role for YOU… VON Hamilton values and appreciates the caring volunteers who are the heart of our organization. We care that our volunteers have a positive and rewarding volunteer experience. VON provides orientation, training and ongoing support to our volunteers.
The following opportunities are available:
Meals on Wheels- Deliver hot and/or frozen meals at lunchtime to home-bound individuals in Hamilton and Stoney Creek. Both drivers and servers are needed one or more days per week, Monday to Friday. Mileage is reimbursed for drivers.
Congregate Dining- Provide transportation and assistance to seniors to attend our “lunch bunch” program every other Tuesday during the school year.
Volunteer Visiting- Provide companionship to lonely and/or isolated seniors or adults with disabilities. Visits are 2 hours per week on a flexible basis.
Hospice Volunteer Visiting- Offer emotional and practical support to individuals with a life-threatening or terminal illness through their end of life journey. All volunteers are provided with 30-hours palliative care education.
Volunteer-Assisted Transportation- Provide a drive to medical appointments and friendly support while waiting. As needed, you decide what days you have available. Mileage is reimbursed.
Exam Hospitality Fall 2018 @ McMaster Volunteers are being welcomed to help out for exam drop-in this December. We are looking for individuals who would like to spend time with students dropping in for a coffee break from studying. The shifts are from 5:30pm - 7:15pm or 7:15pm - 9:00pm. Drop-ins are hosted Friday, December 7 until Sunday, December 16 — excluding Saturdays. We also welcome cookie donations (store bought or homemade — peanut free).
Thanks to the support of our donors we have almost reached our target of raising $85,000 for the MURA Endowment Fund. As of this fall $83,215 has been donated.
An additional $1,785 will enable MURA to increase the values of the annual awards to students studying gerontology. The full-time student scholarship will go from $2,000 to $2,500 and the part-time student prize from $550 to $750. Please help us make this happen by donating at http://murascholarship.caor by contacting Meggie MacDougall at email@example.com or at 905 525 9140 ext. 24667.
England, Wales And Ireland: Saxons, Celts And Gaels
Join Graham Roebuck, Professor Emeritus, McMaster University and your fellow McMaster retirees and friends as we experience the amazing cultural riches and scenery of these isles.
Our 23-day journey begins in London on September 24, 2019 and will take us through England, Wales and Ireland, visiting ancient castles, beautiful gardens, stately homes and other sites of historical, literary and cultural significance, all the while enjoying the magnificent scenery for which these areas are celebrated. As we travel from London to the Cotswolds, Welsh Marches, Wales and on to a circle tour of Ireland, we shall explore the remaining and the current aspects of this ancient, hybrid civilization. Through illustrated talks and informal discussions during the tour, Dr. Roebuck will help us to fully appreciate these exceptional countries.
London (3 nights) — Guided tour led by Dr. Roebuck, optional tour to Windsor Castle
Cotswolds (3 nights) — Bath, Clivedon House, Chastleton House
Wales (3 nights) — Monmouth, Tintern Abbey, Ludlow, Powis Castle
Killarney (3 nights) — Cashel, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula
Galway/Mayo (Overnight) — Cliffs of Moher, Sligo
Belfast (3 nights) — Giants Causeway, Titanic Belfast, Mount Stewart House and Gardens
Congratulations to Professor Zdenek Konicek on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Zdenek was born on October 7, 1918 of Czech parents in Bugojno, Bosnia-Herzegovina (then Yugoslavia, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire).
A cellist and co-founder of the famous Prague String Quartet in Czechoslovakia, Zdenek immigrated to Canada in 1968 to escape Russian occupation.
In Canada he was a member of the Czech String Quartet, McMaster artist-in-residence, and then became a regular faculty member in the Department of Music in 1972. Zdenek taught in the Music Education programme as Associate Professor.
Zdenek was a founding member of Trio Canada with pianist Valerie Tryon and the late violinist, Marta Hidy. He and his wife, Lida, returned to Prague to live in 2005.
Let Us Know If We Can Stop Mailing MURAnews to YOU
Please help MURA’s budget by opting out of the postal mailing of MURAnews. Email Helen Barton at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 905-518-5339.
You can print your own MURAnews from the PDF copy we send by email, just click the link in the email, or visit our web site and read online.
Mail: Gilmour Hall B108, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8
Phone: (905) 525-9140, ext. 23171 (voicemail is checked once a week)
Postal Code ___________________ Telephone # ___________________
Name(s) of additional guest(s) ______________________________________
I have an Ontario Accessible parking permit and require reserved accessible parking: Yes__________ No__________
MURAnews is produced by MURA members Helen Barton (News Editor for this issue), Phyllis DeRosa-Koetting (Production Editor), Marju Drynan, John Horsman, Kathy Overholt, Carolyn Rosenthal and Marianne Van der Wel. We welcome submissions from MURA members.
If you do not have access to a computer and would like a copy of any of the items for which we have provided computer links, please leave a message on the MURA phone (905-525-9140, ext. 23171) and we will print a copy and mail it to you.