One day per year doesn’t say enough

The federal government and the UN picked Oct. 1 to celebrate the world's senior citizens, but one day isn't enough.

National Seniors Day (Oct. 1) has come and gone, but it seems a shame to waste such an important occasion on just one day of the year.

It’s easy for us who live in small towns to interact with our elders and to see, first hand, all of the good work that many of them do in our community. Many things, including our senior citizens, are hidden away in the busy bustle of the big city.

It isn’t something that all elders do, but in our little communities, many of them give us the benefit of their long years of experience and  volunteer to plan and help out at special events; run programs like the Seniors’ Centres; who never stop living life to the fullest by participating in local sports and in the provincial Seniors Games; and who give their time to support other members of the community. We are indeed lucky.

Those of us who are fast approaching the “retirement age” begin to have thoughts about what will happen in our Golden Years. What will we do when we can’t drive, when we lose our spouse, will we have enough income to take care of ourselves…? The list becomes endless, and perhaps overwhelming.

Our seniors are a community resource. A wealth of information and inspiration.

I could name several seniors in Ashcroft, Cache Creek and Clinton who I constantly see working at events, at activities – it really puts our younger generations to shame – but I know that I would be leaving out dozens of deserving names that either work behind the scenes or whom I’ve forgotten… Because, although I’m not quite of that age, my memory has raced ahead of me and spends much of its time wallowing in blissful oblivion.

For years we’ve been told that our western culture worships “youth” while minimalizing old age. And that has been the case for centuries, at least as far back as the Roman Empire. While elders were revered, the young were worshipped.

But, as the “Gray Tsunami” touches down on the shore, it seems the tide is about to turn. Working with provincial Age Friendly grants, our towns are trying to provide more of what seniors want and need to enjoy their lives. And what makes life better for them, makes it better for the rest of the community.

As residents of small towns, we don’t need to be reminded that sometimes our senior neighbours and friends can use a hand every once in a while, such as with physical labour such as shovelling snow, or needing a ride somewhere.

You can also support the local Seniors Centre, which can be a great hub of social activities and information. Support the Centre by attending the events held there, even if you aren’t old enough to be a member.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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