ACS teams with town for seniors roundtable

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A group of nearly a dozen service providers for seniors gathered at the Libro Centre last Wednesday morning to explain what they do.

Representatives from church groups, service clubs, senior-centric businesses and medical professionals gathered for the roundtable as part of a process to start networking and to have the town and Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) get a handle on what is out there.

“We know that in the future that the number of seniors will grow,” said ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo. “We have to start planning now.”

Rick Daly, the town’s manager of recreation services, said the senior population is rapidly growing and that as of 2016, 16.4 per cent of Ontario’s population is 65-and-over. In Amherstburg, 18.1 per cent of the population is in that age group.

“Seniors now are more active than ever,” he said. “The question we want to answer is how do we support our senior population?”

DiBartolomeo said seniors want to be active and they were also trying to find out what barriers may exist that prevent some seniors from being active. She said they are trying to network with others, compile a database of senior services and continue to work together.

“Amherstburg is a jewel,” she said, though many groups continue to “work in silos.”

Service providers outlined concerns about transportation, educating people about what is out there, and accessible housing. There are those seniors who don’t want to be a burden and others that simply don’t know what is out there, it was explained.

ACS and the town held a roundtable with senior service providers. ACS community awareness/fundraising co-ordinator Austin Tyrrell, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo and town manager of recreation services Rick Daly gather input from Heather Vandenham from Seasons Amherstburg.

Daly said grant opportunities are being explored and that the town is pursuing a master aging plan. There is hope of possibly developing the former St. Bernard School into a “hub” for seniors activities.

“There are a lot of opportunities coming Amherstburg’s way,” said Daly. “It’s an exciting time to be a senior because of the opportunities.”

In the short-term, additional racks could be put up around the Libro Centre to house pamphlets with seniors activities.

Service providers and groups that were not able to attend last Wednesday morning’s roundtable can stop by Amherstburg Community Services’ office at 179 Victoria St. S. and let them know what they offer and what they do for seniors.

For more information on Amherstburg Community Services, call 519-736-5471 or visit www.amherstburg-cs.com. DiBartolomeo can be contacted directly at execdirector@amherstburg-cs.com.

 

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