The annual Community Care Concepts Seniors Information and Active Living Fair is heading to Breslau on Mar. 1 to provide supports, answer questions and share community programs with local seniors to help them maintain their independence.
Cathy Harrington, the executive director of Community Care Concepts in Woolwich, Wellesley and Wilmot, says the event is all about getting seniors and their families informed.
“The whole focus of the day is to ensure that people have the information that they need, they know what that next step is. They may not need it now, but in the future, if they are in a situation, they know.
“They can prevent situations from happening, or in cases of their health, having that information early can help people to function much better in the community,” she said ahead of the event. “We have a variety of groups that will be setting up informative displays. We have about 25 displays on topics that we have selected based on what we are hearing from the residents.”
Some of those questions and concerns coming from the community’s seniors include concerns about fraud, legitimate businesses, and navigating the health care system in a modern world, and putting a face to the agencies that will be appearing at the fair.
“So much of this is about relationships and feeling comfortable calling or connecting with an agency,” said Joy Finney, health promoter with the Woolwich Community Health Centre in St. Jacobs. “It is about making that connection. The relationship piece is so important.”
Along with the displays from community agencies, such as the Canadian Mental Health Association and the region’s hoarding specialist, the event includes live panel discussions from the Waterloo Regional Police Service regarding the seniors community’s vulnerability to fraud, along with discussions about how to make seniors more comfortable with independent living.
“We’re hearing examples of people who have been approached through door-to-door sales and they are quite aggressive in their approach and really trying to raise some examples that might have someone question how healthy it is to live in their home,” said Harrington. “Whether it is related to air quality with their duct systems, or whether it is the need for a new furnace or an air conditioning unit. It is things that people might traditionally come door-to-door for. It is a way to help people trying to figure out is it a legitimate need they have and getting them more information and people feeling vulnerable that way.”
The panel will also address the mental health challenges that can come with aging, and how seniors and families can access the resources out there to help.
“We have such a significant number of physicians that are working with family members that have depression or anxiety, and during the panel, there will be a discussion about the services that are available through the Canadian Mental Health Association,” said Finney. “I was just meeting with some people where they have a family member dealing with this and wanting to learn how to support that family member that is coping with depression and anxiety. A lot of the reasons that families are going to see their family physicians, is related to depression or anxiety. They are not alone.”
The day-long event is being hosted by Community Care Concepts, in partnership with the Township of Woolwich, the Woolwich Community Health Centre, the Woolwich Seniors Association, the Older Adult Centres’ Association and the Ontario Seniors Secretariat at the Breslau Community Centre. To attend, those interested are asked to register by Feb. 29 by calling 1-855-664-1900. There will be lunch, snacks and door prizes awarded.