Awareness walk sheds light on seniors isolation
Sept. 7 walk first of its kind in St. Albert
Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 06:00 am
Seniors in Isolation Walk
For more information call the Citadel Village recreation department at 780-458-2431.
Getting socially isolated seniors out and about is the goal of an awareness walk on Sept. 7.
The Seniors in Isolation Walk will be held at 10 a.m. at Kingswood Park on Grandparents Day. Participants have the option of walking a one-kilometre or three-kilometre route around the day-use area.
Many seniors are still living in the community but are very socially isolated, said Lori Kary, recreation therapist at Citadel Village and recreation manager of Christenson Communities, the company sponsoring the event.
Typically seniors become more isolated when they lose their driver’s licence to age or illness, noted Kary. With the aging baby boomer population, the problem of isolation will only get worse.
The last population projections released by Statistics Canada estimated that between the years of 2015 and 2021, the number of people aged 65 years or over would surpass the number of children 14 years and under. This shift in age structure would be the first in Canadian history.
“That means there will be fewer children and grandchildren to visit, let alone take care of aging loved ones,” said Kary.
“What I hope to do with the walk is to promote connections, activities and to show seniors there are supports in their community for them.”
Christenson Communities has partnered with the St. Albert 50+ Club to offer a yoga warmup before the walk, a brief cardio class and some entertainment – a Macarena dance led by instructors.
There will also be sign-up sheets for several free classes – art, ceramics and exercise – for first time visitors to the 50+ club starting in September.
“We want to get new people to come out and try different classes and hopefully they will keep coming,” said Heike Hatcher, seniors’ services coordinator with the 50+ club.
“We have a big problem with people living in isolation, not just in St. Albert but everywhere. We are definitely trying to do something about it, so there’s action … not just words.”