Men wanted

Community-Based Mobility Project needs the help of older men from Clearwater, Vavenby, Birch Island and Blackpool

Does anyone remember when they first started to squint to read labels or to look up a number in the phonebook? For a while it feels ‘normal’ to hold a book at arms length; the struggle to read just becomes something to cope with. That is, until the realization that glasses might just solve the problem!

This seems to happen often in life. A slow change occurs leaving us to adapt, to adjust and to ‘cope’ — it isn’t until we address the issue that we ‘find our glasses’ and get clarity on solutions that can improve and enhance daily life.

Seniors mobility is an issue that needs clarity and attention, and one that is being addressed in a study called Front Door to Grocery Store: Getting Seniors Where They Want To Be.  This is a community-based research and planning process that explores seniors mobility needs, challenges and the supports available in the community.  This collaborative project is made up of many community groups, the District of Clearwater, and the Community Development Institute (UNBC). These topics are explored through the eyes of local seniors and older adults via participation in a plethora of research and planning activities. So far, participants have spent time recording their movements and observations in journals, and answering questions about what’s working in the community and what needs a second look.

To date participation in the project has been excellent, with over 17 participants involved. The participants are enthusiastic and interested in the project and topic, and many have proven to be quite passionate about the issues. The only problem is that 13 of the 17 participants are women, and a goal of the project is to also learn about the specific mobility challenges facing men as they age. According to the Community Development Project manager Jessica Blewett, “In order to have a broad base of input, it would be great to have more men participate in the study. We need the perspectives of men in order to gain ‘clarity’ on mobility issues.”

If you or someone you know is over 55 and uses an assistive device (e.g. cane, walker, wheelchair, crutches, or scooter), please contact either Shelley Sim or Jessica Blewett (contact information below). According to Shelley Sim, community outreach coordinator for UNBC, “Participating in this project is a great way to provide feedback to the community. The participants are enjoying themselves and it ensures that you get your say in how our community can really become “Age-Friendly”. The commitment for participants isn’t huge, but the potential to make a difference in the lives of people who are struggling with mobility all over the province is immense.”

 

Interested in this project, but not a senior? No problem! Beginning in January of 2014, there will be a series of workshops to discuss what we’re learning about seniors’ mobility and how to plan for a future that’s Age-Friendly. Business owners, services providers, club members and any interested members of the general public are encouraged to attend these workshops. For more information about this opportunity, feel free to contact Shelley at 674-3296 or shelleysim@telus.net, or Jessica at 674-1946 or blewettj@unbc.ca.