Resource Centres and Services for Seniors
Staying social and feeling part of a community is important as we age, particularly in retirement when many of our social interactions have changed. There are many services and programs out there to help seniors stay active and socialize in their community. A little research is sure to reveal something in your neighbourhood worth giving a try!
One such organization is Sunshine for Seniors in Toronto. Sunshine for Seniors supports isolated or frail seniors, those with fewer family and economic resources and those who are newcomers to the community, connect and participate in various programs throughout the city.
They run drop-in programs in four locations varying from fitness classes to group meals and social gatherings. Additionally they run a “summer camp” on Ward’s Island, which offers seniors a way to enjoy a “summer holiday in the city” through nature activities, fresh air and companionship. It is a great way to get the benefit of getting away, without having to even leave the city – a great bonus for those with mobility concerns.
Many of Sunshine for Seniors’ volunteers are active seniors themselves who get the benefit of the programs while helping others experience them. Some have also transitioned from volunteers to service users over time.
A recent Toronto Star article featured Sunshine for Seniors and told the stories of some of their long time volunteers and participants. You can read the full article here:
You can find out more about getting involved in this great program on their website:
Perhaps not every community will have a program as in depth as Sunshine for Seniors, but each one will certainly have something to offer that will be of interest. From book clubs to knitting and walking groups, whatever your interest, with a little research you should be able to find a program that suits your lifestyle and helps you stay active. If you are unsure or nervous about signing up for a program, see if drop-in classes are available so you can test the course out and see if you like it.
While some programs are offered for free, if there is a fee charged, often there will be discounts and subsidies available for seniors – even at recreation facilities that are not entirely senior focused. In the province of British Columbia, the LIFE program (Leisure Involvement for Everyone) offers financial subsidies to seniors who are participating in leisure programs and activities. Check with your local recreation centre to find out how to apply.
Here are some links to directories for seniors’ clubs, recreation centres and other resources across Canada. As there wasn’t a directory available for every province, try your local municipality, public library, community centre or the YM-YWCA to see what’s available in your area. Many services also offer assistance with transportation, so do not allow your mobility or access to public transit be a barrier to your participating.
Staying active, getting fit and making new friends in your area – all while participating in an activity you enjoy or learning a new skill? What are you waiting for!