Event connects seniors to needed services

·2 min read

MP Glen Motz and representatives from the offices of local MLAs Michaela Frey and Drew Barnes were at the Veiner Centre on Wednesday for the Community Connections Fair; a meet-and-greet event and kickoff to the centre’s newest collaborative program, which aims to provide seniors with information about government services and offer support in accessing them.

The program was started by Shawn Glasgo, a second-year nursing student at Medicine Hat College who is currently one of seven students completing a practicum study at the Veiner Centre.

“Our goal for the semester is to assess the needs of the community and implement (services to meet those needs),” Glasgo told the News. She and other nursing students found most centre members maintain independence and are able to meet their own needs, but noticed some struggle with obtaining information about programs and services, especially when the information is located online.

“They don’t know where to access it, or how to access it, so this is something that we’re hoping we can make available.” she said.

“We often had people coming in looking for support in filling out forms and had questions of where to go,” Veiner Centre director Cori Fischer told the News. “We get calls of, ‘How do I get support for my parents? How do I make arrangement for home care?’ so it’s definitely a need … We want to be able to accommodate that need and provide information and potentially support.”

Fischer says the shift to online applications creates another barrier for Medicine Hat’s senior population when accessing programs and services.

“So many of the forms are online now and we have a lot of our members that are not necessarily comfortable being online and don’t know how that process works. So simple things like applying for seniors benefits or their old age pension, that can be very overwhelming,” Fischer said.

Representatives from MLAs Frey and Barnes will also frequently visit the centre and provide assistance to those in need.

“We deal with seniors and many of them are somewhat confused of navigating through the federal programs and supports that are available to them,” Medicine Hat- Cardston- Warner MP Motz told the News. “They might encounter some challenges … so then as an MP office, we provide support to them to connect with the (necessary) departments (to) resolve their issues.

“If we can get seniors who are applying for these programs and supports to have the resources they need at the front end, so they know exactly what they are entitled to and how to complete their forms – it makes things less stressful for them.”

While the program is still in its early stages, organizers are hopeful it will reduce seniors’ anxiety around accessing services and also allow them to feel more connected to support systems.

KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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