Monday, July 28, 2014

Langley Seniors Resource Society provides vital services to community

The average age of Canadians continues to increase. The large Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, will be entering retirement in droves over the coming decade. With this in mind, both the City and Township of Langley have unique challenges to ensure that seniors can maintain an independent, high quality of life.

The City of Langley has a significant population of seniors. 4240 seniors —17% of the population— called the City of Langley home based on the latest census data. About 30% of seniors live in or next to Downtown Langley. 42% of seniors live alone.

In the Township of Langley, the senior’s population continues to rise. 22% of seniors in the Township live alone. Unlike the more walkable and compact Downtown Langley, due to the Township’s large size and more auto-oriented design, many seniors living alone are not close to any community services. These seniors are at a high risk of social isolation.

Building walkable, accessible communities that support all generations is key, and particularly helps seniors. Over 70% of seniors have some form of disability. Besides building accessible communities, it is important that there are community services available for seniors.

Many people in Langley think that seniors are generally well-off both financially and socially. This is not necessarily the case. Seniors living in poverty, without a support network of friends and family, is a real and growing issue.

In Langley, we have the non-profit Langley Seniors Resources Society (LSRS) which provides services to seniors in both the Township and the City. The LSRS has a facility in the City of Langley.

They provide recreational opportunities to seniors including fitness programs, social programs, and educational workshops. The Society also has an outreach department which focuses on getting frail and isolated seniors the support services they need.

The LSRS also hosts an Adult Day Program for all adults living with physical and mental disabilities.

In additional, the LSRS has a food program which provides seniors with access to affordable, healthy food options. Many seniors do not have the skill set or even money to eat health on their own. I’ve seen some seniors in Langley trying to live off a can of soup a day; senior’s poverty is a real concern.

I suggest that you check Langley Seniors Resource Society website for more information about their services.

In 2013, the LSRS had $2 million in revenue. While the City of Langley did recently pay of the Society mortgage for their facility, the City and Township provide $0 in on-going operational financial support.

The LSRS recently requested that the Township of Langley contribute $40,000 to support seniors outreach and recreation services to that community, and support society membership subsidies for Township residents to access LSRS services.

With the amount of services that the Langley Seniors Resource Society provides, and with all the talk about creating age-friendly communities by many politicians, I was a bit surprised to that there appears to be little local government financial support for this organization which plays a vital role in the community.

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