Tay seniors symposium a ‘great opportunity’ and social success

The Seniors Advisory Committee of Tay Township hosted a symposium this week at the Oakwood Community Centre in Victoria Harbour.

Roughly 100 attendees were treated to various information booths surrounding the seating tables while live music from Tyler French played, followed by lunch by the Lions Club and various presentations.

Most presentations took about 20 minutes to convey information through discussion and overhead slides that were of relevance to the audience.

The most engaging was from Kim Oxley, Public Access Defibrillator program coordinator for Simcoe County Paramedic Services, who gave her presentation from memory with the assistance of two essential props: a training dummy and a modern defibrillator which vocally provided instructions on its safety and use during an emergency situation.

“Defibrillators only work if people know where they are, if they’re in good working order, and if people aren’t scared to take them off the shelves,” said Oxley to the crowd. What followed was a real-time usage of the system for all to see with Oxley receiving a large round of applause upon conclusion.

Other presentations weren’t as intense, but remained quite interesting.

Judy Contin, executive director of the Askennonia Senior Centre, entertained the audience with the many ways that becoming a member of the Midland-based organization could benefit those aged 55 and above.

“The World Health Organization has deemed social connection and being part of some sort of group to be the most important contributor to longevity. Of course,” Contin quipped, “if you don’t choose carefully, you might not live longer… it might just feel like you’re living longer.”

Community Reach was on hand to give a presentation of their assisted transportation services through executive director Cathy Greer.

“We’re the only organization that takes people shopping and to hair appointments, things like that,” said Greer. “It’s a necessary service, and we are rather envied from other communities in Ontario.”

Also presenting was Sherry Teeter of Community Connection/211, who was the project lead for Reducing Senior Social Isolation. She referred to the program as “the best kept secret” for communities.

“As much as organizations try very hard to get the information out there, we’re still seeing a lot of folks who don’t know what’s available to keep them engaged in the community,” said Teeter with reference to the virtual volunteer centre available through 211 by internet or phone.

Chair Michele Gouett of the Seniors Advisory Committee played master of ceremonies between speakers, as well as providing the winning raffle ticket prizes at the conclusion of the event.

Coun. Mary Warnock, who will be completing her role as council representative for the committee following next week’s municipal election, stated that it was the second event to be held since COVID-19 pandemic restrictions had been lifted.

“This was a great opportunity to get seniors out again, to give them some companionship and conversation,” said Warnock.

“What I’m most proud about for our Senior Advisory Committee – I’ve been a part of it for six years,” she added, “we completed our age-friendly plan this year. That was what I really wanted to achieve during my term.”

The next Seniors Talk will take place at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 316, 26 Willow St. in Waubaushene, on November 15 at 2 p.m.

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