Variety of programs and services available to senior citizens of Dawson Creek

The Senior Citizens’ Hall located at 1101 McKellar Avenue has been providing a venue for seniors to gather and take part in social activities since 1982. Regularly-scheduled events include pool, exercises, cards and more.

“There are not too many (week)days where there isn’t something going on here, and most weekends there is something happening too,” said Bud Armstrong, president of the South Peace Senior Citizens Association, which looks after the hall.

“It’s really important for seniors. They have a place to come with a roof over their heads, and it’s warm – we are still able to pay the heat bills!” added Jack Lowe, first vice president of the association.

The association boasts around 300 current members, but Armstrong said they are always looking for more new faces. He the membership fee is only $15 a year and entitles a person to participate in all of the functions held at the hall.

“Just like any organization, we do need new ideas and new people to get us going,” he said.

He said a great way to learn more about the association will be to attend their annual general meeting that is upcoming on Nov. 15. More information can also be obtained by phoning Bud Armstrong at 250-782-8291 or Jack Lowe at 250-782-1771.

Dawson Creek is one of five communities taking part in the Community Action for Seniors Independence (CASI) pilot project funded by the provincial government and the United Way of the Lower Mainland. The project seeks to help seniors continue living independently in their homes by providing them with volunteer services – anything from housework to a friendly visit.

The public is welcomed to come to the CASI office inside the Co-op Mall beside the Sears on Tuesday between 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. to help celebrate the one-year anniversary of the project in Dawson Creek with some birthday cake and other refreshments. More about the CASI project will be included tomorrow on mile0city.ca.

The project is jointly administered by the South Peace Community Resources Society and the South Peace Seniors’ Access Services Society (SPSASS). The Seniors’ Access Centre, located in the same office as the CASI project, provides resources and advocates for seniors on a whole host of issues.

For example, on Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m., the centre will host a workshop on a program that provides financial assistance to seniors who receive caregiver services in their homes. On Oct. 19, the centre will host another workshop on strategies to cope with grief. The centre just recently hosted a very successful workshop on self-advocacy for seniors, said Sharon Miller, chair of SPSASS.

Miller added they will also be looking to host workshops on technological literacy and legal matters in the future.

The society is currently seeking a federal grant to allow them to make their resources available to the rural residents outside of Dawson Creek.

“We have a lot of people who have been farmers all of their lives and they don’t want to move into town, they want to continue living in the country, and so what kind of supports might they need that are different than what we are already providing for city people,” said Miller.

The society has also applied to the City of Dawson Creek for a grant to start new project in conjunction with the CASI program. She said the new project would seek to have youth in the community interview and chronicle some of the history of the senior citizens in the region to be compiled into a book.

“First of all, it’s that crossing over between generations, which is so important, and it would get young people into being a part of a volunteer situation, and it would also help their writing and oral communication skills.”

Miller said the outcome of those two grant proposals won’t be known until early next year.

More information on the resources and services the Seniors’ Access Centre has to offer can be found by visiting the office Monday through Friday between 1 and 3 p.m.  

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