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Acting it up for safety

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The local Senior Safety Coalition may have temporarily disbanded, but those dedicated to the promotion of safe living for the older residents of Rainy River District know the show must go on.

The “Sunset Seniors” acting group is taking their mini-plays on senior safety across the district this spring, including a stop at the 11th International and 5th National Conference on Safe Communities here May 7-9.

“We’re all having fun and the message is getting across,” play director Jean Boileau said after a performance in Emo in mid-April.

Sponsored by the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition and Rainy River District Substance Abuse Program, the troupe’s three-act set this year is called “Please help me, I’m falling.”

It deals with three major themes—financial safety, exercise and the handling of medication, and general home safety.

Over a string of a week, the troupe has performed in Emo, Rainy River, Atikokan, and Fort Frances.

The performers include Monica Hanzuk, Diane Revus, Carol Ewacha, Gord McTaggart, Walter Horban, June Keddie, and Ruth Caldwell, and the writers pride themselves on staging a good show over the course of its four years in existence.

“We try to put a bit of humour into it, to not make it so serious,” said Boileau. “The audiences have all been very good and receptive.”

The Senior Safety Coalition, established in 1997 as a way to guide and inform seniors on safe living, has been inactive since February after the job description of the Northwestern Health Unit head nurse—who had been co-ordinating the program—changed.

“Sunset Seniors” was one of four forms of “interventions” the coalition followed (the other three being senior resource guides, participation in seniors’ fairs, and a regular newsletter).

Ewacha, a retired nurse, said the program will look to make a comeback soon.

“The only thing standing in the way is finding a co-ordinator to help manage things,” said Ewacha, who also performs with the troupe. “I think we’ll get things back up.”

She added information or pamphlets on senior safety are available at the health unit.

For now, senior citizens across the district are being treated to regular performances.

“Every performance brings something different to the table and it’s been a pleasure so far,” enthused Boileau.

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