Sundre town councillor Myron Thompson says he believes a public information meeting held last week to gauge seniors' needs in town was a good step towards meeting those needs, both in the short- and long-term.
“It was a great meeting,” said Thompson. “Seniors are anxious to be involved in finding solutions and seeing if we can't make things happen in answering some of the needs we have in town.
“We don't have all the answers but we need to seek out the answers. We need to find out what we need in town and then find the solutions.”
About 40 local seniors and others attended the meeting at the West County Centre, with guests discussing the need for more health-care services, housing and other issues.
Several guests expressed concern that there is not enough low-income housing in town for seniors wanting to downsize and move into smaller places.
Others expressed concerns that there aren't sufficient health and other care facilities in town to meet current and future demand.
Thompson said finding out what the needs are in town is the first step in meeting them.
“It's not necessarily just housing,” he said. “Where do we have our shortfalls? Maybe we don't have enough long-term care so we need to look at that. And there are the middle-of-the-road people like the Wild Rose Court people who have housing but they also have assisted living. We need more of that so people don't have to leave town to get that sort of help.
“Then there are others who would like to downsize and move into low rental areas. So when you start adding up all the needs you would need a complex that would do a lot more of those kinds of things.”
In following up on last week's meeting, Thompson says he plans to report back to town council.
“I think what we will do now is I will discuss it with council and see if there are things that we can do to maybe speed up the process and find people to help us plan for the future,” said Thompson.
“It's going to take a lot more conversation and a lot more thoughts and a lot more planning. We are on the road to starting it and I think last week's meeting was a great start.”
Greenwood Neighbourhood Place officials attended last week's meeting. GNP says its senior supports include information on programs and benefits offered to seniors by federal, provincial and municipal governments, community services, fraud awareness, Old Age Security, the Canada Pension Plan, Alberta Seniors Benefits, and Special Needs Assistance.
Following last week's meeting, Mayor Clews announced plans to hold a multi-stakeholder meeting to gather further input on Sundre's seniors' needs.
The meeting, which could be held in July or August, will include representatives from Alberta Health, Mountain View Seniors' Housing, Bethany, GNP, the Sundre Hospital and Care Centre and others.
During the May 24 town meeting, councillors passed a motion instructing administration to set up the meeting.