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Age Friendly Cold Lake hosts barbecue celebrating Seniors Week

In celebration of Seniors Week, Age Friendly Cold Lake hosted a barbecue lunch at the Men's Shed, June 4. 

COLD LAKE - In celebration of Seniors Week, Age Friendly Cold Lake hosted a barbecue lunch at the Men's Shed on June 4.  

The event was an opportunity for seniors to connect, socialize, and enjoy some food. But several other events were also planned during the weeklong celebration for Seniors Week. 

“I think it's important... that seniors have the opportunity to experience a lot of different things in the community. Every day this week, there's something special going on at a facility like FCSS and the Senior Society, the Energy Centre, and us with our annual barbecue,” said Cathy Aust, Program Developer at Age Friendly Cold Lake, on Tuesday. 

Aust highlighted the benefits of socializing for mental well-being.  

The events help get seniors out and about, “meeting new people, having new conversations, seeing new opportunities. I think it's just really, really important for mental well-being." 

The barbecue was also a chance for Age Friendly Cold Lake to showcase its services.  

“People are really getting to know who Age Friendly Cold Lake is. We're very blessed for that. But there are still some people who don't know what services we offer, so it's an opportunity for us to share what we do in the community, what seniors can benefit from, from some of our services. And so just creating that awareness of who we are and what we do is also important, which is why we like to have them come into our Men's Shed space.” 

Aust explains that the Men's Shed is unique. “We actually have the largest Men's Shed in Alberta,” she says. 

Despite some weather concerns, the event saw a good turnout. This was the fourth year for the Seniors Week barbecue, and the fifth year that Age Friendly has been operating. 

Balanced meals for seniors 

The importance of providing nutritious food to seniors was also addressed by Aust.  

“If you take a look at food security... a lot of seniors if you ask them what they're eating, ‘oh I'm eating okay’, ‘I'm all right’ and they're eating but they're not eating nutritionally... A lot of seniors, believe it or not, live on tea and toast, desserts, or things that are really quick and easy, so they're not the healthiest. So, we have our frozen food program, which is just launching.” 

Age Friendly Cold Lake's new frozen food program aims to provide balanced meals to seniors. 

“Our frozen food program, we've been using Heart to Home for a while, but this is our new menu for frozen foods. The classic lasagna, Italian meatballs and spaghetti, macaroni and cheese - so, these are nutritionally balanced. And Michelle Michaudfrom the Stepping Stones Crisis Center is cooking for us. And her meals are just delicious. She's lived here her whole life. She's well known throughout the community for the quality of her food, so we're really excited to get that up and going.” 

Honouring seniors 

Aust stressed the significance of honouring seniors and fostering social connections.  

“We need to honour our seniors, they're who built our community... There are people out there that don't know each other, but they're sitting beside each other and talking, so it's an opportunity to make new friends or new connections." 

Aust hopes the Seniors Week events left seniors feeling supported and welcome.  

“I think it would be wonderful if they left with a feeling that Age Friendly Cold Lake is here for them and here to support them. All they have to do is reach out to us and we'll be able to provide whatever we can provide for them.” 

Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Chantel Downes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Chantel Downes is a graduate of The King's University, with a passion for writing and storytelling. Originally from Edmonton, she received her degree in English and has a minor in communications.
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