Sultan arrives with gifts

Age-friendly grant for 100 Mile House senior programs

100 Mile House Councillor Ralph Fossum

100 Mile House Councillor Ralph Fossum

Minister of State for Seniors Ralph Sultan visited Creekside Seniors Activity Centre on Jan. 8 to present an Age-Friendly Communities Grant to the District of 100 Mile House.

When he handed over the pseudo-cheque for $19,967, Sultan joked that the huge cardboard cut-out was “good for photos, but might not be acceptable at the bank.”

However, he also spoke seriously about the importance of looking after the needs of all seniors at a community level.

Sultan explained one of the primary issues highlighted to him by communities has led him to realize the problem of elder abuse is much more serious than some might have guessed some years ago, himself included.

This can be physical, emotional or financial abuse, he noted.

“It’s much more prevalent in our society than I ever imagined…. This is not so rare, and I think it’s time we shone a spotlight on it.”

Sultan added one of the purposes of the age-friendly grant is to encourage at least some communities to address the issue of elder abuse and come forward with a program.

A senior himself approaching his 80th birthday, the minister explained there will be a focus on a wide-range of projects that “will make life easier for us seniors.”

He also emphasized the impact Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett had in lobbying for the grant, as well as the “very excellent” application submitted by Mayor Mitch Campsall to successfully obtain the grant in competition with about 75 other communities.

“The projects around the province reflect a vision of seniors for age-friendly British Columbia, as it will hopefully evolve to where older people are living active, socially engaged and independent lives.”