As people live longer, limited resources and a lack of social supports can put seniors at an increased risk for isolation and depression. But there has been something special happening in Ayr since 2006 to combat this problem. Thanks to generous funding from the United Way and various government and private donors, currently, Green Shield Canada, Friday is a day of food, fun and conversation for the participants of “Young at Heart” . This blog outlines my conversation with Jessica and Brenda, the two big hearts responsible for running this innovative program.
N: What inspired the creation of the group?
J & B: An aging population that needed programs to deal with isolation and overall wellness. An active Board member who lives in the Ayr community and has connections with all of his “senior” friends and colleagues.
N: What does a typical session look like?
J & B: 11:30 – 12:30 we serve lunch and give the seniors a chance to socialize. From 12:30 – 1:30pm people can participate in a host of activities which vary from week to week and have included: bingo, guest speakers, exercise, playing cards and, of course, more opportunities to socialize.
N: What do the participants love the most about this program?
J & B: Getting a break from the work of preparing a meal and the chance to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
N: What has captured your heart about this program?
J & B: We are both very passionate about our work with the Young At Heart Group and feel that all of the group members are very grateful that they have this group to go to every week.
N: Do you have any “success” or “pay it forward” stories?
J & B: In 2010, the seniors helped make our agency’s United Way campaign a huge success with their enthusiastic participation in the turkey draw. Recently, the participants were able to take part for a minimal cost in a beautiful boat cruise around the Grand River thanks to a generous donation from Green Shield Canada. Many of the clients expressed their deep gratitude for this opportunity and said they would never have been able to do this on their own. We feel we conquered the isolation part that day and many other days. Not only did they have a great deal on cost, but they were able to enjoy a fun filled day with friends, which is our mission!
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Nicole Sept 11, 2012