ST. PAUL – Senior citizens from across the Town and County of St. Paul packed the All Saints Ukrainian Cultural Centre on Wednesday at the St. Paul Regional FCSS and Family Resource Network hosted the Santa’s Seniors Festival.
A row of displays offering information on everything from upcoming FCSS sessions and programs to Alzheimer’s advocates, the Primary Care Network and St. Paul Library’s programs welcomed the visitors before they settled into their chairs.
“I’m so pleased to see everyone,” FCSS Director Lynn Smid told the crowd, adding that one of the roles of FCSS is to promote connection and engagement among seniors. “We need face-to-face interaction, and we’re happy to provide you with this event,” which she said resulted from the comments on the Seniors Week luncheon questionnaires, with seniors at the events across the county asking that the festivals return after the three-year hiatus.
County Coun. Dale Hedrick brought greetings from the county to “the best looking bunch of seniors I’ve ever seen,” and added a series of jokes that had everyone laughing.
Smid introduced staffers Brenda Billo, Brenda Bouchard and Gwen Pierce, and thanked the contingent of students from Racette Jr. High who had served beverages and escorted the seniors to their seats, before pointing out cards on the tables and asking that the seniors use them to share a favourite holiday memory.
Following the blessing by Ray Michaud, everyone lined up to fill their plates with turkey and all the trimmings, topped off with delicious desserts before they sat back to listen to the afternoon program.
Smid presented some very timely information on ways to compare the cost of utility bills from various supplies, demonstrating the use of the ucahelps.alberta.ca website, followed by information on the New Horizons Aging in Place grant that can help seniors living in their own homes with the cost of house maintenance, and which is available until the end of March.
Her third presentation dealt with having difficult discussions and making difficult decisions, and included a video entitled ‘Is love enough?’ She spoke on the importance of planning with loved ones, because “50 per cent of us don’t make our own end-of-life decisions.” An in-person session on this topic is planned for today at the FCSS office, she added, with a sign-up sheet available at the FCSS display table.
A demonstration of urban pole walking, which is helpful with weight management, assisting balance and cardio health, as well as enhancing mind-body connection was next on the agenda, with a draw later in the afternoon for a set of poles.
Jessica Dugan, a registered dietitian with the Primary Care Network, passed out candy and explained the concept of Mindful Eating during the holiday season, with sight, sound, taste, smell and touch all playing a factor in satisfaction and portion control
The program wound up with ‘Musical Gifts.’ A huge supply of small gifts were passed back and forth while music played, a variation on musical chairs that sent everyone home with a gift at the end of a pleasant afternoon.