Jan. 18, 2019
by Colin Smith
Helping seniors to age well in the community is the goal of the Morinville Aging Well in Place 2019 program.
The proposed three-year program would see Family and Community Social Services (FCSS) provide increased services to Morinville seniors – who make up 30 per cent of the community’s population.
FCSS/Community Program Coordinator Melonie Dziwenka made a presentation on the program to the January 15 meeting of Town Council.
The multi-level program will consider seniors of varying ages, genders, education levels, languages, culture, abilities, location, family status and financial abilities. It is intended to address issues including social isolation, staying healthy, food security and transportation mobility, as well as responding to the varying levels of need of seniors.
“We took a conscious look at program service levels for seniors, said Dziwenka in an e-mail message. “Existing programs currently meeting the needs of our seniors will continue such as snow removal, lawn care, and safe money handling. Additional programs will be created to meet other levels of concern like the companionship program or transportation access program.”
FCSS has applied for funding through the Province of Alberta’s Aging Well in Community Grant Program of $33,000 per year to assist with additional costs of this program from 2019-2021.
The 2019 FCSS budget, which is $378,395, funds current senior programming, with some cost recovery.
The additional funding would provide for the costs of contract staffing, senior subsidies, advertising and promotion.
Mayor Barry Turner noted that seniors’ programming and support is an important function of Morinville’s Community Services department and FCSS program.
“The presentation was well received by Council as it is important to offer support services to all residents of the community from all demographic groups,” he said. “It is encouraging to see the program continue to develop, and Council is particularly interested in the work with our regional partners in the area of enabling transportation mobility for seniors who need it most.”
Turner said support for the program’s development would continue while the decision on the provincial grant is awaited.
Promotion of aging with dignity and retention of decision-making opportunities are core aims of the program.
Among the services provided through it would be in-home supports, such as connecting seniors with volunteer companions, approved senior friendly contractors, a safe money exchange program, and volunteer and regional transportation programs, along with education and workshops.
The launch of the program is proposed for the fall.