By Medicine Hat News Opinon on November 29, 2019.
It appears the courtesies of a civil society do not currently extend to seniors.
There was a particularly abrasive “Tickled Pink” entry in the News this week.
“Glad the whining old seniors can go back to Veiner Centre! Do not let the door of Crestwood Pool hit you on the way out.”
The individual who said this does not seem to know that it is more than a year since seniors returned to the Veiner Centre but there is no swimming pool there.
It was the general tone of the comment that was not only abrasive but targeted at a particular demographic that most people afford some degree of respect.
Perhaps we should not be surprised.
A lot has changed for seniors in this community in the last few months. The city is currently contemplating the possibility ending funding for the seniors centre.
Before the flood in 2013, the Veiner Centre had a seniors manager and a small staff, city employees, who had their offices in the Veiner Centre. They knew most of the regular members by name and if someone did not come as they normally did someone checked on them to ensure they were okay.
There were seniors in their 90s who said they felt safe taking the bus from their home to the Veiner Centre to have a cooked lunch every day. They liked that the staff would know them and ask about them.
There was exercise equipment that seniors had raised money for.
This could be used without any additional fee beyond a regular Veiner Centre membership.
It was so popular local physicians suggested older patients make a point of getting a membership.
Medicine Hat used to be called the a retirement centre and council at the time were proud of that.
There was a different agenda immediately after the 2013 flood and damage to the Veiner Centre.
The seniors who had been involved continued to advocate, show up at meetings, and plead for a seniors centre that Medicine Hat could be proud of.
The Veiner Centre is a beautiful building after the renovations, but it has none of the atmosphere and supports for seniors that used to be there.
There is now also a hefty surcharge if you want to use the exercise equipment that seniors bought.
Those who used to advocate for seniors have grown older and many have simply given up.
This is not only happening on the home front but provincially too.
Recently the seniors advocate’s post was not renewed.
There had been rumours that this may happen, but what was surprising in the end was how it was done – without even a press release to announce the decision.
That always make you wonder if they felt uncomfortable about the decision and hoped seniors and the media would not notice.
Younger people in the community have long complained about the money the city spends on seniors pointing out they are a small segment of the population. The city also spends a lot of money of children’s playgrounds and sports fields that you probably drive past regularly and hardly ever see anyone making use of them.
There is also the fact that seniors have contributed significantly on a financial level to the city over the years.
As retired people with a reduced income they may not be contributing as much on that level anymore.
They are still by far the majority of volunteers who work tirelessly for the city though and they are worth of respect.
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