Letters from California

Hi, at the moment I am in sunny California where the temperature this week was in the 90s, fahrenheit. Checking the Tumbler Ridge News on the internet I came across By George and read it with concern. I got the feeling that George was getting frustrated. Well, I have submitted my opinions to the consultants from the Northern BC University which completed their report a year ago and the report was addressed to the Seniors? Needs Committee. The recommendations were wonderful; however, I believe, there has been little progress in getting the job done, ie. acting on the recommendations.

Of course, my first concern was that an information coordinator was not hired. This person could provide a one-stop information centre for all residents but, in particular, seniors. Information about government services, activities in town, travelling to other centres for medical reasons. The person could also assist individuals by getting information from the internet and helping persons fill out the forms. Many seniors do not use the internet. If you have difficulty hearing and other ailments like arthritis you need help and you will leave Tumbler Ridge if you don?t get help.

There are a lot of things that could have been done without an information coordinator. A list of persons who would pet sit could have been compiled by putting an ad in the paper or some posters. These persons do not have to be volunteers. My husband?s aunt here in Palm Springs is 89 today and pet sits and enjoys it very much. Because of her limited income she does not have her own dog but loves to have a little dog for company occasionally. An ad and other means of solicitation could have been used to get a list of contractors or volunteers who would be able to make renovations to houses for wheel chair/walker accessibility. As well as building contractors it would be useful to have persons who would do plumbing, roofing, etc. The names could be solicited from Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Grande Prairie, if desired.

The information coordinator would be able to hook up those in need of services with those giving services, i.e. a volunteer system for such things as Meals on Wheels, assistance to appointments, assistance shopping, and much more.

Another service that could have been negotiated (and I don?t think it exists) is having the local businesses provide shopping services and delivery. Many towns/cities have a grocery store that will take the order by phone (and some by internet) and will shop for the items and deliver them. This would benefit many, especially seniors.

The library or the Northern Lights College could be providing computer lessons especially for the seniors. I was in Redding in northern California and my friend was taking lessons in internet use and e-mail use. These courses were brief and very inexpensive. The one course I was really interested in was the one on geneology which would help in searching one?s heritage. I am sure you could get some volunteers to teach these courses.

Another hook up could be for students or volunteers to provide a service to seniors and others that would read their mail/books/ information pamphlets, etc. Furthermore, many have difficulty writing and students/volunteers could help with writing and paying bills. Furthermore, students/volunteers could be involved in recording persons? histories and stories and input them into a computer and provide hard copy and electronic copy. One could even include pictures either taking old pictures or providing some recent pictures.

In addition, many older persons just need some company. Wouldn?t it be nice if some of these connections could be made to make persons feel that the community cares.

Well, I continually see many things that can improve our community and wonder why nothing is happening. I have submitted these ideas to the UNBC consultants, to members of the Seniors? Needs Committee and to the Mayor. What do you think? Do you think that our seniors might be happier with some of these programs? I believe one has been trying for a couple of years to get a handicapped ramp at his house with no success. I submitted a request to council in January to proceed with hiring an information coordinator. Respond to George and make sure that seniors or those in need of services find reasons to stay in beautiful Tumbler Ridge.