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Being a senior means an active summer

By: By Lucy Haines

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 06:00 am

ALBERTA'S OWN – On a lovely summer day, make a day of it at the Alberta Legislature, where free tours are offered daily, all year round.
ALBERTA'S OWN – On a lovely summer day, make a day of it at the Alberta Legislature, where free tours are offered daily, all year round.
TIM ROSENFELDT/Supplied photo

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Seniors looking for recreation ideas during the warm weather months have many options, whether close to home or further afield.

The St. Albert Public Library (SAPL) holds a Scrabble for 50+ every second and fourth Friday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m. While other seniors’ programming takes a break through the summer, the casual, drop-in Scrabble afternoons continue year-round, giving seniors a chance for informal socializing and a fun round of the classic board game.

SAPL special services coordinator Janice Cheung said whether 5, 8 or 10 people show up, the games go ahead. “It’s not competitive – it’s just a nice time to visit and have fun,” she said.

A special event marking seniors week, Polishing the Silver: Memoir and Remembering runs today at the SAPL. Using prompts and visual stimuli, the two-hour workshop encourages seniors to preserve thoughts and memories of their early days on paper. The library’s 2014 writer-in-residence Margaret Macpherson leads the workshop of tea, talk and writing time. “It has been well attended in past years,” Cheung said, noting that adult children and grandchildren, as well as the seniors themselves, see this as a treasured exercise.

On a lovely summer day, make a day of it at the Alberta Legislature, where free tours are offered daily, all year round. With notice, the Visitors Services branch of the Legislative Assembly Office provides a guide for a senior-specific, one-hour tour of the Legislature, its history, public galleries and manicured grounds. When the Legislature is in session, there’s also the chance to watch MLAs during question period. Visitor Services Interpretive Program Coordinator Katie Hasenbank describes the tour as fun and exciting, where seniors can go at their own pace in a fully wheel-chair accessible environment.

Seniors often spend summers with family – for unscheduled getaways, tending to a home garden or visiting with grandchildren. Nestor Romanuck, president of the St. Albert-based Promotion Tours, said business at his bus tour company is slowest in the summer, while spring and fall tours to spots like Victoria and Las Vegas draw over 90 per cent seniors.

“On our spring nine-day tour to Victoria, the average age on the bus was 72,” Romanuck said. “The younger crowd doesn’t have time to sit on a bus – they want to be there now – but seniors usually like to sit back and watch the world go by outside the window.”

Romanuck, who runs the company with wife Brenda, said a monthly four-day trip to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – a spa and casino – is their most popular, filling up well in advance. “We’re now doing our 136th trip there. It’s a quick getaway, and we stay at a hotel spa with a mineral pool. It’s affordable and fun, and the casino is there for those who want it. We get families, groups and solo travellers too,” he said.

With a driver and tour guide, plenty of stops and entertainment on the bus – bingo, videos and more – Romanuck said the business does well because of the personal touch. “My wife always said, ‘we treat our customers how we would’ve wanted our parents to be treated.’”


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