Note: This brief is based largely on a media release from the Columbia Basin Trust.
Seniors and Indigenous Elders will have more opportunity to connect with each other, and the buildings they actively use will be more sustainable, safer, accessible and energy-efficient—thanks to 25 projects in 18 Columbia Basin communities. The projects are being supported by Columbia Basin Trust.
“Seniors and elders will have better access to sustainable community spaces, activities and resources that are tailored to their needs and interests” said Columbia Basin Trust Manager of Delivery of Benefits Nicole MacLellan.
“These community-led projects are making the Basin more liveable for seniors and elders through a range of activities and improved spaces that enhance their sense of belonging and independence, create community connections and support seniors to obtain assistance.”
The Trust is providing over $1 million to create or expand services and activities that foster social inclusion and keep seniors active, and also make sustainability enhancements to the buildings where seniors and elders gather, including upgrades that improve energy efficiency, safety, accessibility.
Here are a few of the recipients:
Kaslo Upgrades a Century-old Building
The Kaslo Senior Citizens Association is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022. When they meet, the focus of this vibrant group of elders is socialization, sharing information and learning new technical skills. Due to support from the Trust, the seniors hall will soon be more energy-efficient and accessible, thanks to upgrades like better insulation, a new exterior door and new siding.
“This project will ensure that our hall will be more comfortable and not so costly to heat,” said association President Louise De Pape. “We look forward to an entrance that is brighter and easier to navigate, and we feel that everyone will feel safer when they attend activities in our hall.”
Métis elders relive and share their memories
Based in Cranbrook, the Rocky Mountain Métis Association is giving Elders opportunities to relive their pasts and share them with younger generations, creating connections between people of all ages. This will happen through outings for Elders, their children and their grandchildren, including a fishing trip at Kootenay Lake Trout Hatchery and a gathering where they will cook Bannock over a fire at Wycliffe Regional Park.
“Elders have attained a high degree of understanding of Métis history, traditional teachings, ceremonies and healing practices,” said Chelsey Magee, Community Navigator. “Elders will pass this knowledge on to others—especially younger generations whom we strive to inspire and empower to proudly own their important cultural heritage—while creating connections with people of various ages.”
Valemount seniors to connect and keep busy
Seniors will get active, exchange skills and stories with youth, and learn how to use Zoom. These are just a few of the vast range of activities that Robson Valley Community Services is planning for seniors in Valemount and area. Goals include increasing socialization, creating ties between generations and helping seniors stay engaged in their health and well-being.
“Providing opportunities for physical activity and social and emotional connection will improve overall health, well-being and quality of life, and help seniors prolong their independence,” said Lina Thompson, Executive Director. “This project will allow us to adapt activities to provide the opportunity for everyone to participate, regardless of age, ability or other factors.”
Wynndel ramps up its hall
Built in 1951, the hall in Wynndel, frequently used by seniors, needed several upgrades to make it sustainable, safer, more accessible and more energy-efficient. Therefore, the Wynndel Community Centre is receiving enhancements like new LED lighting, occupancy sensors and solar panels to generate electricity. It will also gain a roof over the ramp that leads into the hall, which is often covered in ice or snow.
“Now that they won’t have to face shovelling off the ramp in winter, we expect that even more seniors will use the hall for different activities,” said Margaret Durnin, Board member of the Wynndel Community Centre. “The energy efficiency opportunities will pay themselves off over time in saved electricity and natural gas costs, and it’s great that we can cut fossil fuels.”
(Find this news release in its entirety here.)