Whistler's seniors meet to talk issues and priorities 

Mature residents looking for stronger voice

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There's a big bubble of baby boomers closing in on senior citizenship and the Mature Action Community (MAC) is preparing for the group's approach.

MAC doesn't know how many residents are between the ages of 45 and 64, but it does know it needs to prepare for the group as it ages in place.

As part of the preparation MAC hosted a town hall meeting to put four important questions to the seniors of Whistler.

The community gathering attracted 80 people at Our Lady of the Mountains Church on Monday, Jan. 13 to start an action plan aimed at giving seniors a louder voice in Whistler. "It was a really, really good opportunity for people over 50 to come together to get a sense of community," said Sue Lawther, the president of MAC.

Melissa Deller, the Senior Needs Action Planner with Whistler Community Services also attended the meeting.

"We wanted to bring different groups of people together aged 50 and above to start an action plan to see how seniors could have a voice with regards to support, health care, socialization, activities, programming and transportation," said Deller.

"We were open to hearing anything."

The gathering started with a presentation led by Deller and Lawther with the opening presentation outlining previous MAC accomplishments and setting out organizational goals moving forward.

From that opening the attendees were asked to tackle each of the four questions posed to the group. The MAC leadership wanted to know:

• What aging in place meant to the attendees;

• What issues are creating problems regarding those needs;

• How the issues should be resolved and what role MAC and Whistler Community Services should take in helping to resolve them;

• How to get more of Whistler's 50-plus population engaged.

Deller said 10 minutes was spent on each question. Those at the tables wrote down their answers on large pieces of paper, and each table submitted its sheets at the end of the meeting.

"We had ten papers filled with ideas of what people could use to find solutions," said Deller.

The information is now being compiled, and when MAC members get together for the organization's annual general meeting on April 7 the data will be presented so priorities can be set and action plans implemented based on the information coming out of the meeting.

"We're finding more and more there are a lot of people who were second home owners here who are selling their primary residences in whatever city they lived in, and they're retiring to Whistler and making it their full-time primary residence," said Lawther. "With Whistler's growing population of seniors MAC is working to ensure they have what's needed to continue living here through senior citizenship."

Anyone looking for more information on issues relating to seniors is encouraged to contact Deller. She can be reached at 604-932-0113 or via email at snap@mywcss.org.

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