Shawville March 24, 2023
A senior’s fair was held at Pontiac High School last Friday, hosted by the Table des aînés et retraités du Pontiac. The event offered an opportunity for seniors to socialize, attend various workshops, see what services are available to community members, buy from various vendors and more.
The event was packed, with buses bringing in seniors from all over the Pontiac.
Michel Vallières, director general of the CDC Pontiac, gave the opening speech welcoming the seniors of the region to the fair. He described the event as a chance for people to come out and socialize after the pandemic. He also mentioned it was a great opportunity for seniors to familiarize themselves with all the services and community organizations available in the area.
Kiosks representing a wide range of organizers devoted to supporting the community were at the event, including:
Vivactive, a group that meets across the region to give elders a chance to participate in group exercises, and the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, which was providing information to seniors on the importance of nutrition and preventing falls.
“Elderly people are more prone to develop certain types of chronic illness and by way of nutrition and by living a, healthy lifestyle, it’s a great way to prevent the onset of these illnesses,” said Catherine Baril, of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec.
The Centre D’Aide Aux Victimes and Sûreté du Québec were present to explain how seniors could prevent themselves from falling victim to certain crimes, like fraud and elder abuse.
“Since the pandemic, people are more and more isolated and pushed online,” said Janie Landry of the Centre D’Aide Aux Victimes in Campbell’s Bay. “Fraud is becoming more specialized and hard to direct, and elders are the ones who get targeted.”
“There’s more fraud online than before the pandemic,” said Marc-Olivier Chabot of the SQ. “If there’s a doubt, elders should call the police station, or call their kids. Elders are more vulnerable because they are often alone, so they need to be in touch with their own families and have good communication.”
Another group represented was L’EntourElle, a shelter for women and children who are victims of violence.
Awareness of and protection from domestic violence is “particularly important in elderly women, because in that generation, they were more so made to believe that it was normal to be living that way,” said Cassie Bérubé. “We want to make a point that you can endure violence from any member of your family, not just a partner or a spouse”
There were two services that offered homecare to seniors present at the fair, Mont d’Or and the homecare service offered by the CLSC. Mont d’Or offers services like homecare, meal prep, help with hygiene, respite care and other help with errands. The CLSC offers similar work, however they have the ability to offer social workers or send healthcare practitioners to people’s homes.
Another group present at the fair was the Access Squad, a group that promotes meaningful action for people who are grieving or live with physical disabilities. The Access Squad’s work was showcased by Jim Harvey from Quyon, who showed off his simple devices made from home depot buckets that can help people in wheelchairs or who other disabilities roll their socks on.
TransporAction Pontiac, the not-for-profit public transit service in the Pontiac, was present at the event. TransporActions makes appointments to drive people who do not have the ability to drive. Typically, that involves driving people to medical appointments. Organizers at the TransporAction Pontiac emphasized their need for more volunteer drivers for the service.
Other services present at the fair included Bouffe Pontiac, Connexions Resource Centre, Carrefour Jeunesse, the Western Quebec Literacy Council, West Pontiac Connects, Art Pontiac and more.
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