The 4th annual Seniors Resource Fair will take place on Thursday, June 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the South Cariboo Recreation Centre (SCRC) in 100 Mile House. Admission is by donation, and includes a light lunch of soup and a bun.
Ralph Fossum is the chair of the Board of Directors for the Age Friendly Society of the South Cariboo. He says that this year’s fair will provide “a tremendous number of resources” to local seniors.
“Seniors are all individuals,” explained Fossum. “Each senior has a different set of needs. Even though seniors are all 55 plus, their needs are unique and different.”
With over 50 booths featured, the event has something unique to offer every senior citizen. Fossum said that some folks who attend the fair one year may find that their needs have changed entirely by the time the next fair rolls around. A year later they may need advice about eyeglasses, hearing aids, housing options, he said.
“Housing is a big one,” said Fossum. “A lot of people don’t even think about [it] until somebody gets sick.”
He explained that there are many variables with respect to senior’s housing concerns, and each life stage is accompanied by different challenges to address. Some seniors are fit and healthy, while others are struggling with serious health concerns. Fossum is confident that the Seniors Resource Fair includes representation from all types of areas and will help serve as many individuals as possible.
The Age Friendly Society hopes to help get more people out of the house and in attendance for 2019.
“It’s on a Thursday,” said Fossum. “This year we’ll have better signage; we’ll have signage on the highway at both ends of town.”
For those who don’t use email or a computer, Fossum says that the society has created a phone list which includes roughly 400 people. Periodically, a member of the society reaches out to those on the phone list and informs them of upcoming events and available resources in the South Cariboo.
Fossum emphasized that everyone is welcome to attend the event, not just seniors.
“We have heard from several people that there is a continuing need to share information and resources of interest to seniors,” said Lea Smirfitt, executive director of the Age Friendly Society. “An important element of the fair is the opportunity for participants at all levels to get to know each other a little better through learning more about activities and services.”
The Age Friendly Society of the South Cariboo is a registered B.C. society with the purpose of supporting individuals to age safely, enjoy wellness, and continue to live and participate in their communities. The society holds regular gatherings with guest presenters, as well as forums to focus on issues of importance to local residents aged 55 and over.
The upcoming fair will feature over 54 booths or exhibitors, said Smirfitt. This year, organizers hope to create a diverse representation of resources for seniors who attend. Last year’s event welcomed over 500 people and received a wonderful response, she said. Guests went home with a cloth bag that Smirfitt hopes they will use upon returning to the fair.
Smirfitt also advised that a B.C. Wildfire Firesmart presentation will be held around 1 p.m. on Thursday afternoon in the Lion’s Den meeting room of the SCRC. The presentation will be quite lengthy and includes video footage.
Additionally, first responders and the RCMP will be on site, along with fire rescue. Smirfitt also hopes to hold a pickleball court demonstration inside.
Last year, she said guests were surprised at how many resources were available at the fair. This year, the building will be full again, she promises.
More than anything, Smirfitt said folks who have attended in the past have enjoyed visiting the Seniors Resource Fair for the chance to see friends and acquaintances they haven’t encountered recently. The fair has become somewhat of a gathering place in that regard.
Some of the booths that will be featured at this year’s fair include the 100 Mile Hearing Clinic, Vision Care Centre, and Parkinson Support Group. There will also be booths from Wells Gray Tours, Lifecycle Financial, Four Cedars Massage and Wellness, and MLA Donna Barnett.
From the Canadian Council of the Blind to the Caregivers Support Group, there are many exhibitors for seniors to peruse at the fair, so be sure to stop by the SCRC on June 20 to access the full scale of resources provided therein.