Yes I'm admitting it....finally; I'm a Senior citizen!!
What brought me around to this revelation?
I've been working as a backer upper on a paper for the City of Edmonton on Social and Recreation Participation. It is part of the much bigger Age Friendly Edmonton initiative being led by the City & Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council.
I have visited Seniors Centres and Recreation Centres and reviewed more friggin web sites than I thought humanly possible.
I've learned a great deal about Seniors and recreation programs.
I've learned that about 11% of the total seniors popoulation of Edmonton goes to Seniors Centres.
That means that 89% of Seniors are going where?
Let me back up a step and borrow a few words from John McKnight, noted community developer...focus on your assets not your needs. Ok Edmonton is generally, to put it mildly, ASSET RICH...from a recreation perspective.
Edmonton has 70+ golf courses in the capital region, 15ish Senior Centres, Recreation Complexes, swimming pools(indoor and outdoor), more green space per capita than any other city in North America, museums, theatres, libraries, playgrounds, curling rinks, hockey rinks, two mini downhill ski hills in the city, Xcountry ski trails, tennis courts, bowling greens, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, walking and bike paths.......the holy grail of recreation!
So Seniors should be ecstatic?
Well first of all we aren't all Zoomers (Boomers: healthy, well educated, well off & not wanting to be identified as Seniors)
Seniors can be placed (I was going to say plotted but...) on a continuum or series of continuums.
1. Health from frail to setting records at the masters Games
2. Financial from living in poverty to well travelled+
3. Housing from homeless to independant (own house or condo or rent own place)
4. Personalities non joiners to join everythingers
Ah so what I'm saying is that not everyone can participate on the same level!!
So we have to look at assets in a`different light.
How do we get those who are healthy to participate?
How do we get opportunities to the Seniors who can't jump in a car and pop over to the Rec Centre or whatever hmmmm.
The answer isn't simple. It has to be a combination of improving transportation, decentralizing opportunities to neighbourhoods (where realistic) and heaven forbid use the latest computer/smartphone technologies to bring programs to Seniors where ever they are. More on that another time.
So what were the factors in discovering I am truly a Senior citizen?
1. No prostate
2. My attention span is like a grade oner
3. Can't shovel all the snow in one day
4. Politicians ignore me! Except when they want money.
4. Cinnamon buns! Yup I can get fabulous cinnamon buns at the Seniors Centre for a VERY reasonable price.
I will do some follow-ups on this but my focus just shifted to Mike Ditka....sorry