“Seniors Seeking More Active Programs”; Saint-Thomas, Ont. investigate 55+ for service gaps

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London, Ont. –

Elgin County partners with the City of St. Thomas, Ontario. ask seniors for their opinion on local services.

All you need to do is walk to Pinafore Park to see that seniors are more active than ever. With reports that 33 percent of St. Thomas’ population is over 55, it was time for the city to step up and reassess how it delivers services.

“The pandemic gives us this opportunity to really think about the way we do things,” said Gary Clarke, St. Thomas city councilor.

“A lot of people have been alone, and it shows us that there are gaps in how to get people out and get them active. We’re just trying to look at it and hear from people what they’re doing. want. “

Led by Fanshawe College Corporate Training Services a investigation intended for adults 55-105 is now available. It is online and will also be delivered in hard copy.

“Our seniors were looking for more active programs,” says Angela Ostojic, program coordinator at St. Thomas Seniors Center.

“Over the past couple of years, this has mostly come from their doctors telling them it’s never too late to start exercising, it’s never too late to start exercising. , over the past two years our exercise programs have increased dramatically.From light Tai Chi fitness class to yoga, we have senior karate here, we have weight adjustment exercise drum that keeps their minds healthy. ”

Seniors play tennis at Pinafore Park in St. Thomas, Ontario. Wednesday 23 June 2021 (Brent Lale / CTV London)

At the Center for the Elderly, the pandemic crushed social activity, but Ostojic kept them engaged through virtual programming.

“Some people found out that maybe they liked to stay home and go out,” says Ostojic.

“I think we’re going to find, we’re going to do more virtual, and we’ll have different ideas across the city map.”

The city contacted the Art Gallery, Valleyview Retirement Home Day Program, bowling alleys and golf courses for ideas. Ultimately, they want to hear from individuals.

We stopped a few seniors who were enjoying the walking trail around Margaret Lake.

“We don’t have enough hot pools in town at 85-88 degrees because we have a lot of people with arthritis and joint prostheses, and they have such a range of motion in a hot pool,” says Sandy Hammond .

“I would love to see exercise equipment added to the trails where you can walk a beam, do pull-ups or push-ups,” said Doris Bettin, who loved this type of equipment in her old home in Mississauga, Ont. .

I would love to see the interconnectedness of communities around St. Thomas so people don’t have to cycle on the roads, but can just use the trails, ”says Christopher Postings.

The returns are coming and the city already has ideas.

One thing we hear missing is that we haven’t done a good job with the closures, ”Clarke said.

“People that if they don’t join because they don’t have transportation or there is, there are barriers with fees. How can we make things easier for people? Can the city offer programs and partnerships with other organizations to reduce costs for people? ”

Cyclists use the Margaret Lake Trail in St. Thomas, Ontario. Wednesday 23 June 2021 (Brent Lale / CTV London)

The goal is to have a review that aligns with age-friendly programming strategies and new grant opportunities across the country as well as St. Thomas’s new strategic plan.

This would allow both St. Thomas and Elgin County to offer the right mix of programs and services for current residents and be attractive to new residents and businesses.

“People want to be more active, they don’t want to just sit still,” says Clarke.

“We find that even in old age people want to be active. Pickleball is just going crazy and different activities like this are so popular. So we want to see how we can offer more programs. “


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