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Drop-in centre targets qathet seniors needing support

Space allows older adults a place to connect with community
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CONNECTION CENTRE: Better at Home manager Lyle Harrison [left] and Seniors Outreach Activity Program (SOAR) manager Stacy Mogan await visitors at Gerry Gray Place, a new seniors drop-in centre, which they hope will open by the middle of September.

inclusion Powell River is gearing up to open its brand new seniors drop-in centre at 106-7075 Alberni Street, to add to services already offered through the Better at Home program. The centre is named after local philanthropist Gerry Gray.

“We do have some ongoing programming for older adults to help them in the community, but we were really driven to develop this program and this space because during the pandemic there was a massive shift to virtual service delivery for a lot of industries; we felt with our current program participants that they were really getting left behind,” said Better at Home manager Lyle Harrison. “That is what drove us to develop this program. Finding other ways to empower older adults who may not be very comfortable navigating those kinds of things, and having a drop-in centre where we can provide training, support and referral services to older adults and a spot where they can be connected and empowered to their community and the resources they need.”

Harrison hopes to have the centre open in the middle of September after all the necessary permits for wheelchair accessibility are acquired. The centre will have three full-time staff, some part-time staff and volunteers who will offer exercise, chair exercise, yoga, crafts, some meals and educational information about nutrition or medications from local nutritionists and pharmacists.

“We have also spoken to a community paramedic who would like to set up regular check-ins for blood pressure and diabetes sugar counts,” said Seniors Outreach Activity Program (SOAR) manager Stacy Mogan.

Programming will most likely evolve over time as the needs of the community become more evident, according to Harrison.

“We really want older adults to be a stewardship for the program and advocate for their needs,” said Harrison. “There is a very sizable gap in people who have been unable to access the resources they need to stay safe from the onset of the pandemic.”

SOAR was initially set up as an online program when the pandemic hit. The drop-in centre will now be able to provide face to face interaction many isolated seniors have been without for the past year.

“One of the seniors we met during our intakes at the beginning of this program when we were setting up the electronic program expressed to us that she had not been hugged or had human contact in over a year,” said Mogan. “Those are the people we would like to reach. It’s a place where they can come in and feel welcome and have a space of their own where they can meet with their peers and volunteers and staff and have that human contact again.”

inclusion is always interested in community partnerships and hearing from other community organizations about what they could be doing to make a bigger impact.

For more information about the new drop-in centre, contact Harrison or Mogan at 604.413.0762 or by email at lharrison@inclusionpr.ca or smogan@inclusionpr.ca.