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Picnics in park bring together 120 seniors

Events important for well-being of seniors especially after COVID restrictions, says organizer
Sandi Temple from Community Services Senior Services with June Gartley, a senior who attended the picnic. (Myriah McGill/Special to The News)

Two seniors picnics organized by Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Community Services, saw a total of 120 seniors gather for live music, food and conversation, at the Ridge Memorial Peace Park.

The free events were hosted by the Community Services Senior Activity Program, also know as The Seniors Party bus, said Myriah McGill of the community services on July 21 and Aug. 18 this year.

For those seniors who required transportation, transporation was arranged with volunteer drivers to transport seniors to and from the event, at no cost. The most recent event in August saw 65 seniors attending the in-person activity.

“These are the first two in-person group activities that the Seniors Party Bus has been able to organize since the Provincial Health COVID restrictions were lifted on hosting outdoor events,” said McGill. “These events are so critical to the health and well-being of our seniors, as they provide an opportunity for seniors to come out of their homes, where they have been self-isolating for the last couple of years, and participate in a fun activity and share lunch with their peers.”

ALSO READ: New virtual programming for seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

During the COVID restrictions, the Seniors Party Bus hosted virtual group activities, through Uberconference. Uberconference was a way for them to connect with seniors in a group, without the barrier of complicated technology, said McGill.

“All they needed was a phone, and their world opened up to a virtual group activity with their peers, such as Telephone Bingo, and Dairy Queen party,” she added.

In addition, throughout COVID, Community Services staff and volunteers were connecting with seniors through wellness phone calls, grocery shopping and delivery, transportation to needed medical appointments, delivering hot meals, delivering special packages at Christmas, Valentines and Easter, registering them and transporting them for their vaccine appointments, and delivering other needed supplies such as toiletries and PPE, explained McGill.

Being able to finally host the seniors in-person was extremely important though for the community services.

“Seniors were happy to be there and connect with people in the community. We have already received rave reviews from many seniors, and they are already asking for more events, particularly those outside. It was wonderful to see everyone relaxed and enjoying being outside and having fun,” McGill said.

Those seniors who are looking for support and wanting to participate in activities but don’t know how, can connect with the Seniors Navigator, Christine Cavalaris at 604-467-6911, Ext. 218. ­­

ALSO READ: Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows seniors centres back to pre-pandemic operations

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Priyanka Ketkar

About the Author: Priyanka Ketkar

Priyanka Ketkar has been a journalist since 2011 with extensive experience in community-driven news writing, feature writing, and editing.
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