So you’re not a Senior? Don’t be impatient. It doesn’t take as long as you might think – or hope – to reach that blessed state. Take me for example. September was beautiful. Golden leaves were set against the azure sky day after long and glorious day. I was building my house and having a wonderful time assembling the pieces according to the plans. We’ve been living in that house for about 35 years. How time flies!
So, if you’re not a Senior, just wait a while. It will happen in the normal flow of time.
But while you wait, consider this: Seniors have challenges that the generations coming behind should anticipate with wisdom and careful planning. I am not saying that my generation of Seniors has not planned wisely and carefully. Many of us have. But time has a way of assaulting us such that even the best of plans cannot always accommodate the changes that come to our bodies and minds.
Let’s listen to the composite voices of a few Seniors and then make some observations.
On economic disadvantage: “Prices are generally a bit higher in Chetwynd due in part to the population base served. Chetwynd cannot support the same level of retail outlets that are available in larger communities.”
On mobility: “Winter brings additional hardship to those whose mobility is compromised and when the snow piles up between the street and the sidewalk we have real difficulty getting into the businesses.”
On social issues: “Think old and you are old no matter the years you have been on the planet. Opportunities for social contact are available for those who can get out to swim or to practice for the annual Seniors Games competitions.”
On population migration: “Some will stay in Chetwynd; others will go; frequently family is the deciding factor.”
On housing: “Affordable housing is a problem for many seniors whose only income is the government pension.”
On health care – the big issue: “In the good old days we had 32 beds in our hospital, babies were born here, and many types of surgeries were performed. Now, with doctors and nurses being overworked, we are lucky to have a hospital. It is sad to see so many Seniors having to leave Chetwynd and home to live with strangers.”
What can we do as individuals and as a community to ensure that there is adequate and suitable care for Seniors and that they get to live out their days in a friendly and familiar environment? There are several things we need to examine and all of them sport a price tag.
As individuals you can participate in any one of the volunteer organizations established to support the aging processes of our Seniors. This might be one of the most effective means of helping Seniors age in place. As a community, we need to use the little political leverage we have to encourage Government to listen to Seniors before making policy decisions that affect Seniors.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor