Statistics indicate that more than six million Canadians are officially considered “senior citizens,” being 65 years of age or older. If you include those in the 55 to 64 age group, it adds about another five million Canadians to the “senior” category.
But if you think members of this group have retired to the sidelines, content to sit in their rocking chairs and watch the world go by, think again. Many Canadians in this age group not only remain extremely active, but a lot of them are probably more active than their grandkids.
For proof, you need look no farther than Lethbridge’s two senior citizen centres — the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization and the Nord-Bridge Seniors Centre. Here you’ll find people who are still living and enjoying life to the fullest and, in the process, setting an admirable example for the generations behind them.
These busy centres serve as a place for seniors in the community to gather and socialize, learn new things, enjoy their hobbies or stay fit.
The LSCO website notes that its concept of a “service to seniors by seniors” was introduced to Lethbridge in 1974. Since then the organization has grown to become one of the largest seniors organizations in Canada.
Established as a society in July 1975 with a multipurpose 56,200-square-foot senior centre located in the heart of the city (at 500 11 St. S.), LSCO “is designed to be the community focal point on aging where older persons as individuals or in groups can come together for services, activities and sociability.”
There’s a wide assortment of programs available at LSCO that provide opportunities to learn something new, keep fit or just have fun and socialize with others, and not just for seniors. There’s also an adult membership available for those in the 35-54 age group.
One LSCO program, called 3 C’s: Cooking, Conversation and Companionship, offers a six-week cooking class for individuals who live alone. The program provides instruction by LSCO chef Brenda Fettig in preparing simple, healthy meals that participants can take home. It runs Thursdays, Feb. 20 to March 26, from 2:30-4 p.m. at McKillop United Church, 2329 15 Ave. S. The fee is $60 per person and sign-up deadline is Feb. 10.
LSCO also offers a lengthy list of classes covering everything from fitness to sports, and arts to technology. A number of clubs also make use of the LSCO facilities, and a glance at the weekly program schedule shows opportunities to participate in woodworking, wood carving, quilting, knitting/needlework, Scottish country dance, karaoke, genealogy, paper tole or digital photography; play billiards, badminton, basketball, table tennis, bingo, crib or Scrabble; or be involved with the lapidary group, Computer Club, Tai Chi Club or the Amateur Radio Club.
In addition, LSCO provides services, or connections to services, in an assortment of areas including peer support programs, an Adult Day Program, health programs, home support services, legal advice, income tax return assistance and senior housing assistance.
For more information about the LSCO and its programs, call 403-320-2222 or visit the website lethseniors.com.
Nord-Bridge Seniors Centre, known as “The Friendly Centre,” is located at 1904 13 Ave. N. Its website notes that its mission “is to provide educational, social, and support service programs for senior sitizens, and to foster independence, self worth, and a sense of community pride amongst the senior citizen population of Lethbridge and surrounding communities.”
The Nord-Bridge Centre offers a number of drop-in activities such as carpet bowling, darts, floor curling, pool, shuffleboard, table tennis and bocce. Members also gather regularly to play cards or board games.
Like LSCO, Nord-Bridge features an assortment of educational and life skills programs as well as fitness and socialization programs. There’s also a Keep-in-Touch Program and a Monthly Outreach Program to connect with people confined at home or otherwise isolated in the community.
Members can take part in a range of arts and crafts programs such as acrylic painting or wood carving; education programs such as the Mind Joggers Writing Group or Cooking For One (offered in co-operation with the Interfaith Food Bank), or a variety of fitness programs such as line dancing, zumba, yoga, fitball and aerobics.
There’s also a list of Seniors Assistance Programs available to help provide help in areas such as legal matters, foot care and hearing issues.
In addition, Nord-Bridge organizes out-of-town excursions, to attend performances, visit tourist attractions or casinos, and more.
For more about the Nord-Bridge Centre, call 403-329-3222 or visit the website nordbridgeseniors.com.