By Kiran Malik-Khan, Connect Contributor
It was a mini tradeshow for seniors, and it was a hit!
The inaugural Seniors’ Wellness Expo was held at the Golden Years’ Society on October 21 and saw an estimated 24 local agencies ranging from Alberta Health Services to the RCMP to the Wood Buffalo Regional Library, city transit, and many more at the venue ready to share information.
The event was organized by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s (RMWB) Senior Resource Committee’s subcommittee for the region’s estimated 1,400 seniors (according to the last Census) 65 years and over. The event’s purpose was to showcase various senior related community services.
Pam Burns runs the Seniors’ Advocate Program for the St. Aidan’s Society, one of the organizers for the event. She said seniors programming is part of a sustainable population.
“There is belief in the community that we don’t have a lot of seniors, but we in fact, do have an aging population. There is not a ton of services for them, if we want our community to be sustainable where people can live throughout their lives, we need to start looking at our seniors. There’s a need and importance for getting information out to seniors, family members and caregivers,” explained Burns.
“The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Senior Resource Committee is made up of Alberta Health Services, RMWB, St. Aidan’s Society, Golden Years Society, Alzheimer’s Society, Wood Buffalo Regional Public Library, McMan, and Wood Buffalo Housing and Development, all of whom came together to make this expo happen.”
Constable Kandice Perry with the RCMP said the Expo was a good way for seniors to “become involved in your community and getting to know your local police, which enhances a sense of safety,” she explained.
“Education and awareness of prevention techniques can help someone recognize a potential crime situation, and get to know or reduce risks. RCMP is committed to reducing risks to seniors, so it’s important for us to be at these events so seniors have the opportunity to see what programs are available to them.”
Jonathan Willcott, registered physical therapist with Alberta Health Services Allied Health booth helped show seniors walking aids, and provided tips on making everyday tasks easier. The booth was hosted along with representatives from physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech representatives.
“We have six physical therapy clinics in town, which is great. The event is a positive way of sharing all the information. Seniors are having a good time; lots of smiles. This is the goal – for seniors to be involved in the community,” said Willcott.
Golden Years’ Society President, Joan Furber, appreciated the event.
“We are happy to provide the space, and appreciate the organizers. We have a coffee program every Friday, so the organizers wanted to pair the events. Seniors need to know what services are there,” said Furber, who has been in Fort McMurray for 50 years this year.
“Many have mobility issues; others want to know how to get around on the bus, because they don’t drive anymore. This helps them be independent.”
– Connect Weekly –