Funding to help Tofino’s seniors ‘age in place’

Funding to help Tofino’s seniors ‘age in place’

“Seniors are a vibrant and important part of our community.”

ERIN LINN MCMULLAN

Special to the Westerly

Social connectedness is essential for happiness, emphasizes Tofino’s Recreation Programmer Kaela Tompkins, who hopes a new ‘Seniors Lunchbox Program’ kicking off on April 26 will empower local seniors and provide something to look forward to.

Running weekly on Fridays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Tofino Community Centre, it will offer a wide range of senior-centric programming. A transportation component is being worked on to include Opitsaht and Ty-Histansis.

Tofino Recreation has received a $20,677 grant under the federal New Horizons for Seniors program. It will fund seniors-driven programming and a monthly lunch over the next year, with the possibility of renewal in future.

While a coordinator will be hired to facilitate its launch, seniors will helm a steering committee to determine program needs and deliver programming, where possible.

Tompkins says the idea was sparked by a 2017 Try-It Fair, which invited locals 55 and older to come discover potential activity options, from dance-fit to pickleball, and fill out a survey with their wish list for future programs. Inspired by growing up attending seniors’ functions with her grandparents in the Kootenays, Tompkins is enthusiastic about the friendships she’s already formed with seniors attending existing classes.

“Seniors are a vibrant and important part of our community,” says Tompkins, who added Tofino has over 450 seniors aged 55 to 99, and Sister Margaret Baumann is due to celebrate her 100th birthday this summer.

Tompkins highlights the importance of key partnerships from Pacific Rim Hospice to the District of Tofino, who are donating the community room and gymnasium for the program’s use.

“The number of seniors in our communities is on the rise,” says Mayor Josie Osborne.

“And, it’s important they have access to a diverse range of activities and programs just as residents of other ages do. With both Tofino and Ucluelet now having ‘age friendly’ community plans, we’ve got a far better understanding of what the region’s seniors need and want, and I’m grateful that we’ve got partnerships between local organizations and different levels of government to bring these programs to life.”

While Tofino’s mild climate and oceanfront setting appear ideal for active retirement, it can be challenging to access key services available in larger centres.

There is no local Meals on Wheels program, assisted living facility or transportation assistance for doctor’s appointments or physio. Many health services from specialists to cancer treatment require out-of-town travel bridged, in part, by the volunteer-run Wheels for Wellness program.

To provide volunteer help, from gardening to recycling and dog walking, Tompkins plans to work with Wickaninnish Community School to match students with seniors.

Pacific Rim Hospice Society’s Executive Director Tarni Jacobsen points out that people want to stay in the community they’ve lived in all their lives.

She hopes these programs and others might enable seniors to age in place.

If you would like to receive weekly program information via email, contact Kaela Tompkins: 250-725-3229 ext. 704 or ktompkins@tofino.ca.

READ MORE: Seniors boom in Tofino and Ucluelet

READ MORE: Home care declines as B.C. senior population grows, advocate says

READ MORE: Vancouver Island seniors to receive funding for day programs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Gord John stands during question period in Ottawa in Sept. 2020. (PHOTO COURTESY CHRISTIAN DIOTTE, HOUSE OF COMMONS PHOTO SERVICES)
2020: A Year in Review with Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns

NDP MP wants to ‘build back better’ in 2021

Tofino expects to elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March 6. (Westerly file photo)
Nomination period begins for Tofino byelection

Tofino is set to replace former mayor Josie Osborne, who is now the Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Quebec’s BEI completes investigation into Chantel Moore’s fatal shooting by Edmundston police officer

New Brunswick’s public prosecutions services and chief coroner to conduct public hearing

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is reminding visitors that all dogs must be leashed at all times. (Westerly file photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve urges dog owners to show respect by leashing their pets

“As Coastal Stewards, we appreciate seeing you with your pets on leashes.”

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head prison inmates in receive first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

A water taxi at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested after stolen water taxi raced up Victoria’s Gorge Waterway

Man is facing recommended charges of theft over $5,000 after leading police on marine chase

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

Most Read