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Council Column: Celebrating and supporting older adults

Seniors’ Week celebrations saw over 200 participants joining in Town of Cochrane programs. This was a considerable success given all the COVID barriers we are experiencing.
Susan Flowers Headshot
Coun. Susan Flowers.

Seniors’ Week celebrations saw over 200 participants joining in Town of Cochrane programs. This was a considerable success given all the COVID barriers we are experiencing.   

I particularly enjoyed the workshop, These Mountains Are Our Sacred Places: The Story of The Stoney People, where we learned about the history of the Stoney people. If you missed the presentation, the book of the same name, written by the late Rev. Dr. Chief John Snow, is available at the library or can be purchased from book sellers. 

I am privileged to serve on the Cochrane Seniors’ Advisory Committee, and am honoured to be joined by individuals, who either as employees or volunteers, are dedicated to improving the lives of seniors. At the committee meetings, successes, challenges and ideas are shared, while the group works collaboratively to fill gaps in services. The committee recently determined the three top priorities for seniors are: 1. Physician shortage— Attracting and retaining physicians. 2. Isolation— Addressing isolation and mental health. 3.  Financial—Addressing financial barriers. These are complicated areas to impact, but this group is determined to make a difference. 

Other big projects that are gaining momentum in the community are plans for a new Big Hill Seniors’ Lodge (operated by the Rocky View Foundation) and development of a new non-profit Seniors’ Centre in downtown Cochrane.  Hopefully, we can move these projects forward over the next few years with new funding opportunities and community support.  

There are three key projects getting underway in Cochrane this year that will positively impact seniors. Cochrane’s new Protective Services building, construction of the Transit Hub and Innovation Centre and making improvements to the 1A Highway.  

Another group I am proud to be part of is the Elder Abuse Awareness Committee. Tuesday (June 15) is the official United Nations’ Elder Abuse Awareness Day which acknowledges the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. This is the fifth year Elder Abuse Awareness Day has been recognized in Cochrane. This is a complex issue and is being addressed continually by local seniors’ organizations. Each year a lilac tree is planted in the community to increase awareness.  If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, please call 911 or the Family Violence Info line at 310-1818. 

Ensuring older adults are aware of the wide array of services that are available can be a challenge.  If seniors aren’t aware of what is available, they may miss out on opportunities.   For example, the Town of Cochrane has a Seniors Property Tax rebate of $500 per year for those who own their own home and qualify financially at age 60 or over.   The program is described in a pamphlet available from the Town and is called, Understanding Your 2021 Property Taxes. 

To learn more about resources available to older adults, please contact Cochrane Family & Community Support Services (FCSS).  They provide many programs to seniors and have a dedicated Community Liaison & Programmer for Older Adults who can be reached at 403- 851-2250. 

If you would like to discuss any of the programs and services I mentioned in this article please send me an email at susan.flowers@cochrane.ca    

Have a great summer all!