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This article was published 18/1/2019 (308 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Before seniors get settled in the multipurpose room at Corydon Community Centre for a lunch and learn program, Martin Landy greets them at the entrance from his "pop up office."
Landy is the resource co-ordinator with the South Winnipeg Seniors Resource Council, a non-profit organization that connects seniors with social, recreational, and wellness opportunities in the community.
"My job is to get out to the community and find out what it is they need help with," Landy explained. "We go into seniors’ homes and do presentations on fall prevention, health care, and we also run a congregate meal program so seniors have a chance to get healthy meals at a low price and be with other people."
The SWSRC is one of a dozen councils in the city funded by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority with a mandate to help seniors live a full, independent, healthy life outside of care. The South Winnipeg branch serves over 35,000 people in the 55-plus age range in River Heights, Crescentwood, Tuxedo, Fort Rouge and Charleswood.
The needs of SWSRC’s clients have changed dramatically in the past 10 years, Landy said, and the council is undertaking a series of consultations and surveys to find out how they can best serve the community.
"What’s happening now is that the seniors communities, or older adults, are changing," he said. "You have the elderly, the 75- and 80-year-old plus… and then you have the younger ones, the Baby Boomers in their 60s and 70s, and they’re very different in terms of what they need.
"My challenge is to connect with these seniors and be relevant."
Landy said past communication initiatives — through printed handouts and meetings — are not reaching as many clients as they used to as more older adults access information electronically. The Baby Boomer generation is also living more independently, is tech-savvy, and living longer, Landy added.
"We’re going to end up digitizing a lot of our information," Landy predicts. "We have to then develop our resources to be more technological, but still meeting the needs of those who haven’t quite got on that bump. It’s a transition period."
Landy also hopes to find out what challenges the seniors in the community are encountering in order to provide relevant programming and services.
"We want to be a bottom up organization," Landy said. "Lawn bowling, and canasta, and bridge is not what people want. They want yoga, mindfulness, so we’re looking at adaptation of our programming."
A few folks in attendance at the lunch and learn program said the SWSRC has helped them connect with resources they were unaware of previously.
Louise, who preferred not to provide her last name, said she hopes to see a more robust speaking series for seniors that features medical experts and professionals, in the future.
"When you attend meetings, there are some subjects that just open your eyes," Louise said. "I’m glad that some of the issues are presented here.
"It opens your eyes to the programs and services available around your own neighbourhood," she added.
Landy is encouraging seniors and caregivers to participate in the survey and consultation and get involved with the resource council and surrounding community.
"Social isolation is the biggest worry that I have," he said. "There are those seniors who aren’t connected electronically and don’t go out… it’s really important they know there are things out in the community for them and they’re not alone."
Community consultations will begin in April, following the survey.
Danielle Da Silva
Community journalist — The Sou'wester
Danielle Da Silva is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org