Much To Be Thankful For

Dave Price
 
Since the inception of the Seniors’ Needs Task Force nearly four years ago, there have been many changes to the town that make it a community where we can “age in place”. 
 
We have developed a Seniors’ Corner where one can drop in for information and assistance or just enjoy a cup of coffee and a social experience. We have seen the implementation of programs like Meals on Wheels, Snow Angels, and Firewood for seniors or others who are no longer able to take care of these things themselves. We have seen businesses renovate to make their premises more “seniors’ friendly” and the addition of many handicapped accessible washrooms. 
 
Streets and sidewalks have been improved and handicapped parking increased and better located. Accessibility has improved with the addition of automatic doors and level entries. Bylaws have been changed to allow for home improvements related to mobility issues and “visitability”. We have seniors’ accessible housing and a fitness park designed with seniors in mind but available to all who wish to remain fit and healthy. It is always helpful to compare one’s situation to other locales. Lloyd Frank, the President of the Forever Young Society, had the opportunity to do just that recently when attending the COSCO conference in Vancouver.  These events provide a venue where you can network, learning from other communities and comparing and sharing progressive ideas.  What Lloyd found was that, not only was Tumbler Ridge competitive with other communities, many of much greater size, but we were, in fact, the envy of almost everyone else there. Representatives from across the province (and the country) were amazed at the amount of positive changes and programs that have been developed here and, even more, at the fact that almost all of the advantages come at minimal, or no, cost to the seniors. Even our ability to acquire grants (i.e. New Horizons) for meal programs, etc., were issues that impressed and awed the listeners…and things as simple as the newly developed rest stops on the highways out of here were points of jealousy. The work isn’t over. There are services to be enhanced, seniors’ housing to be increased and activities to be developed; but we all owe a huge amount of gratitude to the individuals, mostly volunteers, who have made this happen. 
Three successive mayors and councils have strongly supported this work.  The Seniors’ Needs Task Force continues to meet every two weeks to present ideas, assess progress, and to provide the momentum for these changes. We are blessed to be in a community with dedicated people who care so much for the well–being of those with issues of aging or other disabilities. Tumbler Ridge is a great place to live – be thankful.