A message from Kahir Lalji, Provincial Director – United Way Healthy Aging
June 6th to 12th is Seniors Week in BC – a time to celebrate seniors in all their diversity! What is the picture that comes to mind when you think about “seniors”? For me, there is no single image because seniors are a lot of different things. Many are actively engaged in the world around them, making valuable contributions to their communities as they grow older. Some are outgoing, others are a bit more laid back in how they go about things. There are seniors who are much-loved members of their families – mothers, aunties, grandfathers, brothers. Many are recent immigrants to Canada; some are Indigenous to this land. Some recently celebrated Ramadan, while others observed Easter. There are those who participated in Black History Month earlier this year, and some will enjoy Pride activities this summer. The point is – seniors are a mixed bag. They’re a lot like everyone else, just older.
Still, there are challenges that are unique to aging. As our bodies and minds grow older, our strength and acuity will naturally begin to fade – but this doesn’t happen to everyone in the same way or at the same rate. Lots of people remain healthy, strong and vibrant as they grow older, while others become increasingly frail over time. There are a lot of reasons for this, both genetic and environmental, with a lot of socio-economic factors in the mix. It’s this set of circumstances we focus on when we develop resources and supports for people as they age. United Way Healthy Aging’s programs provide important non-medical services to older British Columbians, which help them live at home longer, remain physically active, stay connected to friends and engaged in their communities. Active, Connected and Engaged, that’s our mantra. These programs are delivered locally by community-based service agencies, and there are currently 127 volunteer-driven, non-profit agencies delivering 195 Healthy Aging programs in communities across B.C. Their work enhances the lives of seniors – so this week is also a great time to acknowledge the important work of the Community-Based Seniors’ Service sector.
Seniors are our neighbours, our friends and our coworkers – reach out during Seniors Week and let them know you care.