In one of Canada‘s most affluent communities, social isolation is an issue for seniors of all ages. It’s especially common for those living in long-term care facilities.
West Vancouver Seniors Activity Centre has addressed this issue head-on with a range of programs to help older adults stay active and connected. This includes exercise classes, meals and transportation.
The District of West Vancouver Seniors Activity Centre is a vibrant community centre, offering a wide range of programs and services geared towards the 55+ adult. Whether it’s learning, fitness, arts, computer programs or social and creative activities, there is something for everyone!
The centre also offers a variety of special events. These are often free to members, and can include a day out at the beach or an afternoon enjoying a meal.
A program called Feed the Need is another initiative that has been making a difference for seniors in West Vancouver. It provides nutritious meals to vulnerable residents living in subsidized housing.
This program was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and since it started in March 2020, it has helped hundreds of low-income seniors who are unable to cook for themselves or afford the food.
According to Jill Lawlor, the Community Recreation Manager at the Seniors Activity Centre, it’s a program that is helping vulnerable seniors get what they need to stay healthy and feel well. The volunteers that run the program have been doing a great job.
In an effort to get the word out, the staff at the Seniors Activity Centre put up flyers in five low-income apartment buildings that had high populations of seniors. The flyers included a thrice-weekly delivery of home cooked entrees for just $6. The residents in those apartments signed up and received the meals through their front doors.
As a result, more than 60 per cent of those seniors are now receiving home-cooked meals every week. They’re reporting a positive impact on their health and energy levels, and it’s making a big difference for them.
Aside from feeding the seniors, the program also helps them maintain their independence and keep active. They can take advantage of the physiotherapy, mobility and aquatics programs available at the centre.
The Feed the Need program has received an award from BC Recreation and Parks Association, which recognizes this creative and innovative program that may serve as a model for other recreation agencies. The awards are based on the program’s effectiveness and impact on the community.
Having a delicious meal is essential to the health and wellbeing of every age group, but it’s especially important for older adults. A healthy diet can help fight disease, boost energy and reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and other conditions that can lead to premature death.
Fortunately, the District of West Vancouver has a robust program to deliver fresh, affordable meals three times a week to vulnerable seniors. Known as Feed the Need, the program is largely thanks to a matching grant from the Ian and Rosemary Mottershead Fund, administered by the West Vancouver Foundation.
The program has delivered more than 22,000 nutritious entrees to hundreds of at-risk seniors since it was introduced in January. It’s a win-win for both the centre and the vulnerable seniors it serves, says Jill Lawlor, the district’s senior’s services and community wellness manager.
As a bonus, the meal delivery service also helps prevent seniors from becoming vulnerable to malnutrition by helping them eat more of the foods they already enjoy. In addition to delivering meals, the program has provided seniors with coupons that can be exchanged at grocery stores for milk, eggs and toilet paper.
There are plenty of options for dining in West Vancouver. C-Lovers Fish & Chips, Feast – The Neighbourhood Table and Five Guys are a few of the many popular local spots that are sure to please any palate.
Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patios, Heirloom Ambleside, Ginger & Soy Chinese Cuisine and Ki Isu Japanese are other great choices for quality food in West Vancouver. You can also savour some of the city’s best coffee at the nearby Starbucks.
Amica Lion’s Gate is a premium retirement residence located in West Vancouver that offers all of the benefits of a high-end lifestyle including a dedicated Memory Care floor, luxurious indoor and outdoor dining and activity areas, a home theatre, salon and fitness centre. The community is conveniently located near Park Royal Mall, upscale restaurants and all of the delights of downtown Vancouver.
West Vancouver Seniors Activity Centre is a vibrant facility offering a wide range of activities and services to seniors in the region. From fitness classes and learning to social and creative programs, it has something for everyone.
With the fastest growing age demographic in British Columbia, it is important for residents to remain active as they age and stay connected to their community. The District of West Vancouver has developed an innovative Keeping Connected family of programs that encourages elders to get out and enjoy their leisure time.
Keeping Connected offers 17 weekly programs that cater to vulnerable seniors. These programs are made possible through a variety of funding sources including community support, Vancouver Coastal Health, the Friends of the Centre (grade 12 students who fundraise and donate $2000), grants and foundations.
The Food Security Program started during the coronavirus pandemic when many of the area’s most vulnerable seniors lacked access to regular meals. This initiative has provided more than 300 meals per week to those in need, improving their lives.
It costs $120,000 to operate the meal program, and your donation will help ensure that it continues serving these seniors until the end of 2023. Your contribution will enable the program to continue providing nutritious meals that will keep them healthy and strong, and enable them to continue residing in their own homes.
In addition to meals, the West Vancouver Seniors Activity Centre offers a range of other programs and services for seniors in the area. These include recreation and leisure programs, intergenerational activities, bus trips, and information and referral.
Located at the corner of 21st Street and Haywood Avenue, Kiwanis Manor was built in 1998 as part of a $44.8 million project to create 300 below-market priced housing units for seniors in West Vancouver. Today, it houses more than 500 seniors and offers a full range of programs, activities, and services.
Silver Harbour provides a welcoming gathering place and more than 70 programs and services for North Vancouver’s seniors. The centre offers physical fitness, martial arts, indoor sports, games, visual and performing arts, computer programs, cultural groups, special events, outings, informative seminars and more.
With the world’s fastest growing demographic over the age of 65, it’s more important than ever for seniors to stay active and connected. And the District of West Vancouver’s innovative Keeping Connected family of programs is here to help.
As well as providing many recreational opportunities, Keeping Connected is also a key way to support elders who may be isolated or living with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes. The centre partners with a number of community agencies to provide support and transportation to its 17 weekly programs, which cater to vulnerable seniors.
A key component of the program is its free shuttle bus service that picks up and drops off seniors who have booked the bus at designated stops around the city, including some senior residences, recreation centres and local businesses. The shuttle has several seats, can accommodate walkers, wheelchairs and scooters and is available Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8:45 am to 3:45 pm.
The Keeping Connected shuttle is not just for West Vancouver residents; it also serves seniors in neighbouring communities, such as Renfrew-Collingwood and South Vancouver. A volunteer driver with a Class 4 unrestricted or Class 3 license, clean driving abstract and two doses of covid vaccination is needed to drive the shuttle on a regular basis.
Another key aspect of the Keeping Connected program is its meal-service options. The centre’s award-winning chef provides nutritious meals for residents based on their specific diet and needs.
In addition, the center’s kitchen staff prepares a variety of healthy snacks and treats that keep residents engaged and nourished. Some of the most popular options include frozen fruit bars, granola bars and hot dogs.
Besides its main event meal program, the Keeping Connected center also has a large number of specialized programs that serve the health, wellness and social needs of residents. These include a range of fitness and exercise, arts and crafts, computer programs, and more.
The Keeping Connected center also offers a plethora of resources for residents who have questions about their health and safety, such as an accessible bathroom and an on-site dentist. These are available at no charge to all centre members, as part of the facility’s Enhanced Wellness services.
Among many other things, David A. Grantham is a contributing author to UmassExtension West Vancouver Blo. He is a renowned expert on real estate in BC.
Born in North Vancouver, Louisiana, Dr. Grantham grew up in Lower Lonsdale. He then went on to complete his business degree at the University British Columbia. As of this writing, Grantham has completed over 100 projects, including the development of a high rise building in Vancouver.
He is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was a dedicated outdoorsman and enjoyed sports such as hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing. His wife, Alison Grantham, and their two daughters survived him. He is survived by his wife Alison Martin Grantham and two daughters.