I refer to Cynthia Donald's letter which you published in your January 22nd issue of The Times, as well as the Publisher's Pen - Solutions needed for Community Housing. Both were so very thought provoking and got me thinking immediately of a huge problem that we Seniors living in the Rainy River District are experiencing.
Right now, Cynthia would be classified as a “young" Senior, but there are so very many of us "older” Seniors who are really in the midst of the most challenging time of our lives. When we were age 60 to 70, I think most of us were comfortable, having retired, still living in our own home and generally enjoying the fruits of our labours, so to speak. Suddenly we turned 75, and health issues are starting to arise, be it eyes, knees, internal problems, and mobility. Many of us are trying to keep healthy by attending yoga, walking, aqua fit, and/or enjoying activities at the Senior's Centre to keep our brains active. However, we are realizing that there is going to come a time when we can't continue to attend to all the chores of a household that used to just come naturally. The yard seems to be getting larger, there are so many trips we are having to take to the clinic for multitudes of different tests, then subsequently we make the hotel reservations to go to either Thunder Bay, Dryden, Kenora or Winnipeg Hospitals for required tests or surgeries. Rainycrest Personal Care Home is certainly a great solution for those of us who require special nursing and daily care. Their staff are caring and beneficial for their dear residents. Having volunteered there, everything is getting better by the day!
For those of us who are still pretty independent and capable, there is surely a huge lack of housing for our age group. I know of several families who have had to move either to Winnipeg or Thunder Bay to access the type of facility which is needed for them, because there is nothing here. Flinders Place has some apartments for seniors, as do the Manors, but nothing like other towns have established for those of us at this stage. I have been to Seniors Apartments and Assisted Living Apartments in Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. Our friends are living a really nice retirement life with people in their own age group. They have social times together which we all need, in house hairdressers and computer access. Depending on what they choose, they can have two or three meals in a lovely dining room with nutritious food and the “lady of the house” can have a respite from cooking the meals that she has done for nigh on to 50 or so years. We are fine now - but tomorrow?
Cynthia's idea of forming a Senior Committee that would work with Senior's concerns in our area and in conjunction with Town Council is an excellent one. I would hope that such a committee could start working quickly so that assistance might be forthcoming soon, rather than just when these “younger” seniors are ready to take advantage of the ideas which she has proposed. With having hired consultants regarding future use of the woodyard property, how great would that be if Senior housing were to be an important and necessary part of the planning process?
Margaret Ann Hudson