Good Neighbor Active Living Center (GNALC) hosts an open house to encourage seniors to stay active, socialize and connect to the community.
GNALC is Manitoba’s largest seniors center and the organization has come to realize that the pandemic has affected everyone, but seniors have been impacted in ways that other groups of people age may not have known.
“Social isolation is already a problem for older people as they get older, their health changes or their families move,” says Susan Sader, GNALC’s chief executive. “It’s time for people to start going out a bit and having fun. We know that social isolation affects people with their mental health, but also their physical health. They can become depressed, anxious and maybe not not look after themselves like they normally have, so we know that’s a big deal and Good Neighbors is definitely about bringing people together and making friends.”
GNALC offers more than 60 programs per month and they are all taught by qualified and competent instructors. From today until August 19, this Friday, the center is hosting an open house for anyone 55 and older.
“It’s just a good week for people to come and check out the different programs we offer. They’re all free for the week…you can try as many as you want during that week.”
Some programs offered by GNALC include fitness classes, art programs, campfire guitar, bells, recorder, and choir. Visitors can also show up for a free tour of the building, get a quick overview of programs, and receive a newsletter.
Membership fees are $35 per year, and if anyone is in financial difficulty, GNALC offers alternative options.
“If someone is in a financial situation where they can’t afford it, they can come and talk to one of the staff and we would waive the fee so they can still attend. We have a week off. registration that starts August 22nd and programs wear what they cost Our walk-in programs are usually only a dollar so it’s like our card groups we do mahjong we have pickleball three times a week, then the other classes.
Sader also mentions that programs with more specialized instructors would cost between $48 and $70 for an eight-week session.
An elderly woman named Edith took part in Monday’s campfire guitar program.
“I wanted to try learning the guitar now that I’m retired. I have the time and the energy, so I wanted to try something new. I love being able to play Christmas and Happy Birthday carols, and when I saw a “campfire” in the title, I thought of Pierre, Paul and Marie [an American folk group]those kind of songs sitting around a campfire.”
Sader encourages the public to take care of the elderly. By 2036, seniors are expected to represent between 23 and 35% of the total Canadian population according to the Canadian government statistics.
“Certainly places like Good Neighbors are one of them [ways of caring for seniors]. Encourage your parents or grandparents to go out and try some of those sorts of things where they can’t keep in touch with people, definitely checking in with their parent or grandparent regularly just to make sure they have what they need.
For more information, visit the GNALC website.