No matter your age staying informed, being engaged and keeping active in your community is vital for one’s general well being. It also makes the community itself a healthy and vibrant one, such as we are blessed with here in the Okanagan.
Earlier this month I had the honour of hosting my colleague, the Honourable Alice Wong Minister of State for Seniors, in the riding. We toured some local senior centres and met with folks of all ages, who are dedicated to working daily with our seniors, many on a volunteer basis. We were not only impressed with the quality of volunteers but also the excellent leadership within the organizations. It reinforced why the Okanagan is such a wonderful place for seniors to live.
Thanks to the hospitality and great work of the Kelowna Community Resources (KCR), Minister Wong and I had a chance to sit down and chat with representatives of various organizations who work hard every day to make our community safe, fun and liveable for people of all ages.
The topics of discussion focused on seniors in isolation, helping groups work with local and provincial governments to provide better transportation systems and the challenges/best practices for keeping seniors, active, engaged, and informed.
Minister Wong and I drew attention to the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) and that it has a stream that is focused on preventing the isolation of seniors. All communities are different and have different needs. That is why the NHSP program is so well received, it lets communities design programs and projects that are tailor made to fit their unique needs.
We also mentioned the National Seniors Council’s ongoing study of seniors in isolation through roundtables and research, as well as the need for local city council to be involved with community programs.
The benefit of roundtables like this one should not be underestimated as it provides for the opportunity to network and leverage partnerships to establish best practices and create working relationships between organizations.
Minister Wong told the group how she has been to over 150 ridings and has been listening to folks from all over the country and one common issue is that there is a strong correlation between health and getting out into your community and keeping active.
Minister Wong and I encouraged those present to use the information that has been aggregated on www.seniors.gc.ca to find resources from all levels of government. Knowing what benefits you are entitled to as well as being aware of elder and financial abuse is important to the well being of seniors.
For those who do not have an internet connection available to them, there is still hard copy material available for free from Service Canada which can be reached at 1-800-O-CANADA.
Or you can always contact my Capri Mall Constituency office at 250-470-5075 and we will do our best to help you find what you need.
As Ernest Myers the poet and author stated, “Don't just count your years, make your years count.” I think that is sage advice to everyone, no matter your age.
The Honourable Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country and welcomes your feedback at [email protected]. Information on local announcements and federal government programs can be found at www.cannan.ca.