This and that for seniors: There are many services in Quesnel – Quesnel Cariboo Observer

This and that for seniors: There are many services in Quesnel – Quesnel Cariboo Observer

Ginnie Dunn Webb

Observer Contributor

I noticed in the pamphlet put out recently by the new North Cariboo Seniors’ Council that 20 per cent of the city’s population is seniors over 65 years of age. It was not so long ago that Quesnel didn’t attract seniors or retain them, as it does today. For example, in my early real estate years, 25 years ago, I remember the office selling so many homes to out-of-town Seniors that a meeting between realtors and the City of Quesnel resulted in the sign being placed on Highway 97 saying “Retire in Quesnel.” Some people back then thought it was a joke.

It was during the years when Hong Kong was returning to rule by China, and many Hong Kong people were coming to Canada, many to B.C. As the prices of homes in the Lower Mainland were being forced upwards, many locals were deciding to move. Mostly, Quesnel was attracting young, fit seniors who still could enjoy the outdoors. But once people move to Quesnel, they often stay, and now, they are older.

Also, maybe people are running from the exploding pandemic numbers in the bigger centres now. And also B.C. may get another influx from Hong Kong again as a result of that political situation.

So it’s not a surprise that Quesnel is becoming more and more popular with seniors. Our real estate prices are reasonable, we have space to move around, and the traffic is easy. There continues to be more to offer seniors as the needs grow.

I know there are seniors in our midst unaware of some of the programs available here, so I have gathered some information. I hope some people find it helpful.

We have two locations where seniors can join social groups or drop in for visiting. One is the Golden Centre located in the basement of Fraser Village on Front Street, run by the Old Age Pensioners Organization. Normally, they offer great lunches, but not during COVID-19. Also, they have card games, pool and seasonal dinners. They sell memberships.

The other is the large Seniors’ Centre on Carson Avenue, which hosts many sports like pool and line dancing and is a place for music groups to practise, pancake breakfasts, as well as hosting large community events like the bluegrass festival and visiting entertainers and seasonal dinners too. They also sell memberships. Both places are available for rental for some events.

Then, we have several groups that support seniors’ needs, beyond social needs. Often, these are about seniors being able to remain in their own homes.

The Seniors Advocacy, which began about 15 years ago, operates out of rented space in West Park Mall. They are particularly well-known for providing parking passes for the disabled. They have volunteers who drive seniors to medical appointments, most often Prince George. They hold scheduled workshops on many subjects related to seniors. And they have met financial needs of many seniors who have found themselves in desperate financial situations. To be eligible for their help, a person must have been turned down at least once by another organization. People should check out their Life After 60 program. This group does most of its own fundraising. Examples of such groups might be the Lions, Kinsmen, Rotary and many more which are not specifically for seniors.

The new group, North Cariboo Seniors’ Council, is set up like a city council and currently has funding to provide 900 meals delivered by volunteers to seniors, as well as to provide free yard work to seniors. They have an office in the city’s Spirit Centre downtown. They recently received grant funding for taxi vouchers, more meals and snow removal. This group sells memberships.

Quesnel also has a Better At Home office on Reid Street, with volunteers who offer friendly visits, transport to medical appointments, again usually Prince George, home repairs, light housekeeping, grocery shopping and more. Some of their services are free, and some services have a fee based on the senior’s income.

Quesnel has Voice for Seniors group that holds meetings at the Royal Canadian Legion the third Thursday of each month. For years, they had a space at Fraser Village, where they stored food to be ready for their monthly event of donating groceries. Also Peter Nielsen would take money donated monthly and buy fresh produce to add to the groceries. They would set up at Fraser Village, and seniors could bring their bags and take what they needed. Unfortunately, since B.C. Hosing took over Fraser Village, they have ordered Voice for Seniors to remove their products. They have not found another suitable location.

This group organizes speakers regularly in relation to seniors’ interests. Recently, they have had Darrell Petsul from the hospital. Darrell invites seniors to come to this event and bring their complaints forward. Peter Nielsen has found seniors’ needs wanting, and he is willing to take issue with powers that be. They had a speaker from Mental Health to help seniors with stress related to COVID-19. They expect their next speaker will be somebody to talk about income taxes as they relate to seniors. Some of these speakers come regularly, at least annually, to keep seniors up to date. They advertise their speakers in the Bargain Hunter, sometimes in the newspaper and with posters around town. There is always free coffee available at these events.

READ MORE: New projects in the new year for North Cariboo Seniors’ Council
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Published at Mon, 28 Dec 2020 21:50:00 +0000

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