Welland kicks off Senior Citizens’ Month

Brad Boland provided the music Friday as Welland kicked of Senior Citizens Month. – Steve Henschel/Metroland

While the advent of summer may have many celebrating in June, the real reason to applaud is for seniors.

The City of Welland kicked off June as Senior Citizens’ Month at the Welland Community Wellness Complex on Friday, welcoming over 60 seniors for live entertainment from Brad Boland, lunch, door prizes and a flag raising marking the month.

“Seniors contribute tremendously to our community,” said Welland senior citizens advisory committee vice-chair Carol Sernasie, noting there is nary an effort in the city that the volunteer efforts of senior citizens don’t contribute to.

MPP Cindy Forster underscored that observation, noting at regional seniors’ homes alone, seniors put in more than 9,000 man hours annually volunteering their time, and that’s not including the plethora of other volunteer efforts from work with hospitals, to fundraising, to running community halls, to cooking at community kitchens.

“They want to give,” she said.

“Whereever I go, whatever committee I’m on … there are seniors volunteering,” said Sernasie, explaining Welland has long been at the forefront of celebrating and including seniors. The city’s advisory committee spearheaded earning the city a World Health Organization designation as an age-friendly community — a first in Niagara in 2009 — and has since lead the charge for developing a regional age-friendly strategy for all of Niagara.

The city was recently recognized as one of 40 communities with an Ontario Age-Friendly Community Recognition Award this year at the Ontario Age-Friendly Communities Symposium: Aging with Confidence, in Toronto.

With this year’s theme for the month of “now’s the time to start something new,” Sernasie outlined some new developments the committee is pushing for, including iPod music programs at four nursing homes for dementia patients; hospice advocacy; and partnering with Brock University for lifespan learning.

Sernasie was quick to note seniors also provide an important link to the community’s history, providing the wisdom that comes with it.

“You’re interacting with a whole history of 60, 70 years,” she said.

Vice-mayor David McLeod echoed that sentiment.

“Seniors built our city … without seniors there is no beginning,” he said, adding, “they keep us grounded in the past.”

Source: Niagara This Week