The grounds at the Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre were filled with people sporting bright red bandanas Monday to celebrate the Western-themed first day of Senior’s Week.
“This is a very important week,” said Golden Circle’s executive director Monica Morrison at the province-wide event’s official launch in Red Deer.
“Seniors are the wise ones of the community. They have built our province to what it is today. They have fought in our wars. They have paved the way for younger generations to live a good life and so we thank you all today.”
Dignitaries at the launch included the Minister of Health Fred Horne, Associate Minister of Seniors George VanderBurg and Alana DeLong, chair of the Seniors Advisory Council for Alberta.
Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling and councillors Buck Buchanan and Tara Veer as well as Red Deer South MLA Cal Dallas and Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski were also present.
A special proclamation from the province was given during the ceremony to the Didsbury and District Seniors Support Services in recognition of their commitment to improving the lives of seniors.
“Since 2000, Didsbury and District Seniors Support Services has offered a variety of programs and supports from exercise programs and nutrition information to simply helping people fill out forms and offering them a welcoming place for coffee and a chat . . .
“They’ve made a huge difference and continue to in the lives of seniors and the community,” said Horne, handing a plaque of acknowledgment over to Chris Elliott, DDSSS’s president; Jean Freeman, vice president; and Seigred Grieve on the society’s board.
“We are very honoured and will be hanging this plaque up right away,” said Elliott.
“My first thought when I hear the word seniors is that these are my parents and grandparents, my neighbours, volunteers, and one day I will be one of them.
“These are the people on whose shoulders the rest of us stand. On behalf of our premier and all of the government caucus, we honour you today,” said Horne.
According to VanderBurg, the number of seniors will more than double in the next 20 years, with the baby boomers beginning their transition into their senior years.
In fact, 65 Albertans turn 65 every day.
Gertie Madlung, 91, and Vi Clarkson, 83, were at Golden Circle with a group from Outtewell Place Senior Citizens’ Lodge in Edmonton.
Seniors’ Week is great because it brings everyone together, said Madlung, and for Clarkson, she said the many activities make her feel young again.
The launch also featured a presentation of artwork from the Wichinahin Kohopikiwan Society Helping Me Grow Aboriginal Playschool in Red Deer.
The artwork will be later displayed at Golden Circle.
For more information on the week’s activities throughout Red Deer and the province, visit www.seniors.alberta.ca/seniorsweek.