By GAGANDEEP GHUMAN
Published:Aug 28, 2016
Published:Aug 28, 2016
THE President of Squamish Seniors Centre Society, Mike Sherlock, recently asked his son to drop him off at the Squamish Seniors Centre. To his surprise, his son wasn’t sure where the seniors centre was.
A recent survey conducted by the Squamish Seniors Centre Society to gauge the level of interest by public over the age of 55 in the centre and the various activities brought more such surprises. Of those surveyed, as many as 14 per cent said they were not even aware that there was a seniors centre in town and about 23 per cent were aware of the seniors centre but had never visited it. Only about 28 per cent were aware of the free or low-cost social service programs available at the centre.
The survey also indicated a need for evening and weekend openings, a bus for the centre and the need for a general liquor licence which would increase participation in the events at the centre. “We are trying to get the activities up and get more people coming and expand the use of the centre for people over 55. The idea is to bring some vitality into the seniors centre and the programs available,” says Sherlock. He says it’s clear a lot of senior are unaware that there is a seniors centre in town that also provides free and discounted social service programs in the community. Getting the centre to be a valuable hub for seven days a week, attracting the 50-plus crowd with new exciting programs and getting more volunteers to help are some of the challenges facing the seniors centre, he says. To increase membership, he says, the seniors society plans to introduce new programs such as BBQs, English-style pub sing-along, pool contests, art-anddance classes, and card games.
“We want to keep our seniors young,” Sherlock says. “Studies have shown that if you have active seniors, they will live longer, there will be less work for families and a reduced health-care burden on the community.” The seniors centre is also looking for sponsors who can get them a bus for trips to attractions in the region and the Lower Mainland. District of Squamish recently invited community members to be a part of a Squamish Seniors Centre Revitalization Project Team, which finds new ways to spur visits to the seniors centre.
The district is also sending out a survey to get the community’s input on the centre. Sherlock, meanwhile, is urging more seniors to come to the centre. “Being a senior is a wonderful experience for many people. Getting older does not mean that you want to sit around all day doing nothing. And yes, If anyone has the ability to provide a lovely comfortable bus, call me,” he says.