Not enough need for services for seniors in the west end of the M.D. of Lesser Slave River

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

When it comes to services for seniors, it appears there just isn’t enough need in west end communities in the M.D. of Lesser Slave River. That’s the conclusion Peggy Laing came to after researching whether a ‘Gentle Ben’ sort of program for the South Shore and Poplar Lane would be in order.
It had been pointed out at an M.D. council meeting several months ago that helping to keep seniors in their residences by offering house work and yard work services might be appropriate for the above communities. They have been offered for quite some time in Smith and Flatbush, with funding support from the M.D.’s FCSS budget. Why not in Widewater, etc., was the question.
So Laing started asking. She advertised for input. She urged councillors to talk to their people. What sort of demand would there be?
At the same time, Laing told council, she found that no local organization was willing to take on the administration of such a program in the west end. So she asked the Gentle Ben Care Society of Smith if it could handle such an additional task. It could, and the idea would be to hire a person in the area to provide the services.
Laing had earlier provided updates on how her research was going. ‘Not much response so far,’ pretty much sums it up. On Dec. 13 was her final report.
“I just don’t see that we’ve identified a need yet,” she said.
Eight seniors had come forward in response to the advertising efforts. The most they’d keep a worker busy would be 12 hours a week, Laing said, and that only in the summer.
“You’ve got to have enough work to keep a person working,” she said.
Councillors agreed that the need as researched is not enough to proceed. Unless that changes, no program will be established.
Councillor Jeff Commins commented that part of the reason for the poor response is likely that so many older residents of the south shore area have sold out and moved on. There used to be quite an active seniors’ group, he said, but not anymore.
“I noticed that last fall when I was out campaigning,” said reeve Murray Kerik. “Very few seniors.”

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