As the number of seniors grows ever larger, one of the most important issues is keeping them well and in their own homes as long as possible.
And the key active in being able to remain in your home is fitness, both physical and emotional. Research has shown that regular exercise is extremely beneficial, just as important is keeping engaged with other people.
One Kimberley program that has been doing an excellent job of both those things is the Seniors Wellness in Motion Swim Program.
The program is celebrating seven years this winter, and coordinator Lori Joe says that although sometimes finding funding to keep it going is difficult, it is more than worth it.
“It has been a struggle to keep going,” she said. “We went from totally funded through the government, to no funding at all. If it wasn’t for the City of Kimberley and the Columbia Basin Trust, it would have ended five years ago.”
The program is not hugely expensive. The majority of the costs go to subsidizing transportation so all seniors can afford to attend the weekly sessions.
Joe does have to re-apply for funding each year, but so far has been successful.
But there is one other key to the success of the program and that’s the community.
“The other piece is how much support we get from the community as a whole,” Joe said.
In addition to monetary support from such groups as the United Church congregation, a dedicated group of volunteers have been with the program since its inception as well.
“If it wasn’t for them a lot of the older seniors couldn’t come because they need someone with them in the water,” Joe sa