Wong visits Miramichi Lodge 0
The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), speaks to a gathering of VIPs at Miramichi Lodge Monday morning. She came to present a $23,388 grant to the lodge to help it fund its new Peer Pal Program for seniors, then toured the facility.
Miramichi Lodge had some high powered help in launching its new intergenerational Peer Pal Program.
On Monday, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), spoke to a gathering of VIPs including MP Cheryl Gallant, Renfrew County Warden Bob Sweet and Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards Mayor Janice Visneskie who's the head of the county's health committee, members of the Miramichi Lodge Foundation, and the Pembroke Masonic Lodge.
She informed them the lodge has been successful in obtaining $23,388 in funding from the federal government's New Horizons For Seniors Program.
"Our government recognizes the diversity of skills, knowledge and experience that seniors contribute to our society and economy," said Minister of State Wong. "Through initiatives such as the New Horizons for Seniors Program, we are helping to ensure that seniors, in places such as the County of Renfrew, maintain a high quality of life and continue as active, participating members of their communities."
She said since its creation in 2004, 10,400 projects have been supported by the program, 2,000 this year alone.
"Our government is proud to work with organizations like yours," said Minister of State Wong, addressing both the lodge and its foundation. "We all owe a great debt to seniors," she said, noting they still have a lot to contribute if given the chance and support to do it.
MP Gallant said she finds it amazing how the entire community comes out and pulls together to support Miramichi Lodge, noting the presence of members of the Masonic Lodge, who were partly involved with applying for the grant and will have a role in administrating the program it will fund. She stated this shows how much seniors matter to us in the county.
"Our seniors are very valued members of society," the MP said, and it is programs such as New Horizons which help programs which support them.
Shelley Sheedy, Miramichi Lodge administrator, said the Peer Pal Program is about linking local seniors with lodge residents, as well as children from local schools.
"We know there are seniors in our community who feel isolated and alone," she said, mainly because they lack the means to get around.
"So, if there is a chance to transport them to Miramichi Lodge so they can take advantage of some of the programs we have here," while also connecting them with their residents, it benefits everyone.
The biweekly program will involve serving healthy snacks for seniors and shut-ins, various entertainment programming, and programming. As well, the program will incorporate intergenerational programming by partnering with local schools to have children's participation.
The goal is to facilitate meaningful relationships amongst seniors to reduce isolation/loneliness in the community and enhance the quality of life for our residents as well as perhaps delaying admission to LTC/other services for community clients.
The Miramichi Lodge Foundation, in partnership with Miramichi Lodge, will be delivering this new program, as well as developing connections with local community groups.
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist