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Sunday, March 29, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Staying active is key for seniors

Provincial grant helps fun Region of Waterloo Library program aimed at older township residents

Such trips are definitely on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but four different groups of seniors got to take a journey back in time recently courtesy of a provincially-funded program offered by the Region of Waterloo Library.

Four groups of senior residents were bussed to the Schneider Haus museum in Kitchener thanks to Ontario’s Seniors Community Grant Program.

The expeditions left from different locations of the Waterloo Regional Public Library: Elmira, Wellesley, New Hamburg and Ayr. The trips were offered free of charge to those over the age of 55.

Once the groups reached their local branch of the library, they were then filed onto a shuttle bus along with other senior citizens from their community onward to Schneider Haus in Kitchener. When they arrived at the museum, they toured through the pioneer house and had the opportunity to experience what life would have been like in the early 19th century.

During each group’s hour visit, the experience prompted smiles and laughs as they learned things like how to churn butter or weave. The groups witnessed the clothes people would dress in and the games they would play to occupy their time as well. The tour groups were also able to make their own teabags and sample some old-time recipes. One such sample was a loaf bread with a jelly and coconut spread.

The grant consisted of $5,086 from the grant program. The Senior Community Grant Program accepted applications for 2019-2020 season near the end of last summer. When the program was originally introduced it was to combat and prevent elder abuse. With a population of seniors projected to double from 2.3 million to 4.6 million, the plan was put into place in 2014.

There are two streams of grants when placing in an application; stream 1 is a grant with the range of $1,000-4,000. The stream is geared towards smaller organizations and must be submitted by a representative of a senior’s group whether it is an organization or not. The second stream is a larger grant bracket ranging from $4,000-25,000. This stream is intended for not-for-profit incorporated organizations solely. The stream that funded the initiative between Schneider Haus and The Region of Waterloo Library would fall under stream 1.

 The initiative between Schneider Haus and the Region of Waterloo  was announced in December, formalizing the partnership. The goal of the trip was to better the health and well being of senior citizens in our community.

A lack of socialization and stimulation in old age can lead to the development of Alzheimer’s and other diseases, health officials say.  Reducing isolation levels and promoting physical and mental health in elderly communities can help reduce risk of developing such a disease.

The goal of the ‘Making Connections’ program is to offer outreach programming for seniors living in the region’s four rural townships in an “effort to reduce their social isolation by facilitating their active participation within the community,” said Antoinette Duplessis, historic sites supervisor for Schneider Haus National Historic Site.

Keeping active is a great way to combat issues seniors face, she noted.

To find out more about the Seniors Community Grant Program and when applications are open visit the government of Ontario’s website, ontario.ca.

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