The Seniors Resource Fair at the 100 Mile Community Hall on Nov. 15 was a huge success.
The turnout was absolutely amazing and it was a high-water mark for the AGE-FRIENDLY Society of the South Cariboo.
In a short two years, society members have been able to attract seniors from throughout the South Cariboo to come together to meet other seniors in both educational and social settings.
When the society started, its goal was to determine the status of the area seniors and what the needs and expectancies were for the growing demographic.
There were a couple of main reasons for getting this information for the District of 100 Mile House, which is the service centre for our seniors.
The community economy was starting to shift with the imminent changes in the resource extraction industry and the tax base was starting to shrink with people moving away and seniors moving into fixed incomes.
The other significant driver for information is the number of people living in the surrounding rural communities needing to come into 100 Mile House for medical and therapeutic appointments.
Some folks were looking to move to the 100 Mile House area, but there is limited opportunities for housing – whether it is for independent or assisted living.
In fact, lack of housing opportunity is the hot topic for seniors in, and around, our community.
This is definitely a problem that has to be resolved, as it is quickly becoming the number 1 issue for those in the graying population.
Eventually, there are going to have to be incentives or tax breaks for developers to construct seniors housing in, or close to, 100 Mile House.
An equally troubling problem is the lack of adequate transportation.
It is very difficult for elderly seniors to get around 100 Mile House because there is limited public transportation, and we haven’t had a taxi service for years.
It is also an issue for seniors living in the rural areas who have to come into 100 Mile House to receive a variety of necessary services.
That will likely have to be solved by some form of car pooling program, and that solution will involve a lot of good will and communication.
This is an area that the AGE-FRIENDLY Society of the South Cariboo plays a really important role.
The volunteers have done a marvelous job of helping seniors learn to talk to each other and discuss their concerns and problems.
The society has provided opportunities for group road trips on buses and several educational meetings on important health and financial topics – all of which are important for our seniors.
And the resource fair is brilliant because it brings all of the experts and various help groups together under one roof, so seniors can go booth to booth to pick up information.
Hats off to the AGE-FRIENDLY Society of the South Cariboo and all of the volunteers.