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Elk Point area seniors celebrated in their special week

ELK POINT - Seniors Week in Elk Point had both Town of Elk Point council and County of St. Paul Division 1 Coun.

ELK POINT - Seniors Week in Elk Point had both Town of Elk Point council and County of St. Paul Division 1 Coun. Kevin Wirsta up bright and early on Sunday, June 2, as they cooked up a pancake breakfast with all the trimmings at the Elk Point Seniors Recreation Centre for a small but appreciative crowd.

That same location saw a larger crowd on Thursday, when the St. Paul Regional FCSS and Family Resource Network hosted one of five Seniors Week events across the county, with St. Paul, Heinsburg and Mallaig’s gatherings earlier in the week and the week wrapping up in Ashmont.

Elk Point’s event started with everyone getting some exercise with lively chair yoga, which director Lynn Smid telling the seniors, “Simple stretches are the key to keeping your mind and body healthy.” Then it was time for lunch, with the FCSS staff and three F. G. Miller High School students teaming up to serve hot dogs, baked beans and coleslaw, before everyone sat back to enjoy some entertainment.

Elaine Ziomek and Diane Dewan brought Elk Point Elementary School’s Grade Three/Four class to visit the seniors, telling some great stories, including advice on “How to not dry the dishes” and winding up with an action song on one of their favourite summer pastimes, swimming.

After the seniors enjoyed ice cream with their choice of toppings, they heard some important advise from a series of speakers. Paralegal Tanya Dechaine offered information on wills, personal directives and estate planning, noting that “Everyone should have these documents in place, so it’s you who decides what will happen.” 

Director Smid spoke on the importance of gatherings like this, saying that community engagement is valuable, “and you need social connection.” She also spoke on Camp Sunshine, a grief group for youngsters where they can build resiliency skills after a loss, those skills “so essential.”

Karen from the Lakeland Primary Care Network also spoke on workshops for dementia, Alzheimer’s and grief, noting that grief “is different for everybody, and the loss doesn’t necessary have to be a death.” 

Smid answered questions regarding some of the grants that had previously been in place and that allowed FCSS to help seniors with everything from home maintenance and yard care to paying utility bills, as well as a former grant that funded travel to various locations.  With that funding no longer in place and four FCSS staff covering a population of 12,000 people, “it’s difficult to get the message out about what we can do. Please share it like wildfire, you are the best ambassadors for us.” FCSS can still submit seniors housing grant applications and still does income tax for seniors and low-income individuals, she assured the crowd.

And yes, there will be another Seniors Festival this year in St. Paul in mid-November, with the date and details to be announced at the end of October.

Those in attendance were urged to visit the displays lining the south side of the hall, and to check out the interagency newsletter on the FCSS website, which will also be posted in the Seniors Recreation Centre and at the library for those who do not use social media. 

The event wrapped up with the results of a vehicle identification game, a game to see who remembered what items were on the table centerpieces and one of the seniors’ favourites, a single round of bingo.

About the Author: Vicki Brooker

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