Friday, July 19, 2024
Highlights 2News

Seniors’ meet-and-greet fosters Connexions

Camilla Faragalli
Shawville Oct.19, 2023
The Connexions Resource Centre held its first meet-and-greet of the season for the 55+ community on Thursday morning in Shawville.
Seated in a semicircle at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church hall, the group shared personal stories over coffee, tea and snacks.
It was the first part of a two-hour gathering facilitated by Dianne Wheatley, an activity coordinator for the organization.
“The closeness in this community, the engagement… They are so dedicated to their wellbeing, to being inclusive, it’s wonderful to see,” said Wheatley. “Everybody made everyone feel so welcome.”
Introductions were followed by an animated game of Bingo which taught participants more about each other, and even managed to evoke an impromptu rendition of the national anthem. A simple card-prompt game, with questions and answers ranging from silly to sincere.
Gordon Cave of Shawville said his daughter, who lives in Columbus, Ohio, heard about the event online and encouraged him to attend.
“This is my first time here,” Cave said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but it was very pleasant and fun.”
Socialization is important at any age, and a plethora of Canadian research exists to demonstrate how social isolation and exclusion is related to serious negative health effects and reduced quality of life for seniors, specifically.
“Seniors need to make connections with people, too,” said Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for the MRC Pontiac, Shelley Heaphy. “And it can be difficult in the Pontiac to meet people, because we have such a large, vast territory.”
“For anyone who is isolated or alone or has no one to talk to, something like this can be a really great part of their week and keep their mind active,” Heaphy said.
According to the Connexions website, the non-profit exists to promote the health, social wellbeing and vitality of the English-speaking community in the Outaouais through empowerment, participation and collaboration.
“I don’t know anybody that works there [Connexions] that doesn’t love what they do,” Wheatley said.
“You have to love the community, you have to be in touch, you have to believe in inclusivenes . . . and that’s what makes it work.”
The next Connexions 55+ meet-and-greet will be held in Buckingham on October 30.


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