Volunteers needed to help Ste. Anne’s become a senior-friendly municipality
By John Jantak
THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/CARMEN MARIE FABIO
As the Ste. Anne’s Veterans Hospital slowly transitions into a provincial geriatric centre and future plans call for the development of a seniors’ community adjacent to the hospital, the city is hosting a steering committee to determine the needs of its senior residents.
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue is looking for volunteer candidates to participate in a steering committee to determine the needs of seniors who live in the city and make recommendations on how best to improve their quality of life. The request was made during the monthly council meeting on Monday, January 18.
The aim is to enable the city to be officially certified as a Muncipalité amie des aînés (MADA) – a senior-friendly municipality.
“We want to get the certification,” Mayor Paola Hawa told The Journal. “In order to do that we need to put together a committee to come up with recommendations to the council. We’re asking for volunteers to submit their names who want to be a part of this committee.”
Large segment of the population
The committee will look at how the city will be able to adapt its services and infrastructure to meet the needs of its seniors which represent 30 per cent of the city’s population of about 5,000 residents. “All cities have the tendency to hold events for their citizens that are geared towards families and children. Sometimes we forget seniors represent a large segment of our residents,” said Hawa.
The Coronavirus pandemic that began in March, 2020 exemplified just some of the many needs faced by the elderly. “We had to figure out how to get masks to them, how to figure out who was living alone or help those who might need some assistance,” said Hawa. “Very few cities were ready for that because we don’t have that list. We don’t know what their needs are or who’s living alone.”
The city had to get provincial government approval to be able to use the electoral list where people’s names could be sorted by age. “This helped us to identify citizens who are aged 65 or older. This allowed us to contact them and ask if they needed any help but it took several months for the province to allow us to use that list. All municipalities had to deal with this challenge.”
Geriatric care hub
The city’s stature as being a hub for geriatric care and place for seniors to retire is also growing as the Ste. Anne’s Veterans Hospital slowly transitions into a provincial geriatric centre and future plans call for the development of a seniors’ community adjacent to the hospital.
“The two of them absolutely go hand-in-hand,” said Hawa. “It doesn’t make sense to have a seniors’ village and yet not address the needs of people who still live in old Ste. Anne’s or in the north part of the city. We want the residents who live throughout the city to be part of a global village that is welcoming and respectful towards 30 per cent of our population. We have more seniors than we have children.”