Transportation for seniors in Sylvan Lake an ongoing concern

It’s a sunny morning. The birds are chirping and the sky is blue. You’re driving to work in downtown Sylvan Lake.

It’s a sunny morning. The birds are chirping and the sky is blue. You’re driving to work in downtown Sylvan Lake.

Just as you go to turn the corner, an elderly woman begins to cross in front of you. She stops in front of your car, waving frantically. As she approaches your car window, you roll it down and immediately see the look of sheer panic on her face.

She appears to be over the age of 70, holding a copy of the Calgary Sun in one hand and bag of purchased goods in the other. Although it doesn’t appear to be a particularly heavy bag, you can see she is struggling with the weight.

She explains to you how lost she was, appearing extremely frustrated with herself. She asks for directions to her residence at a nearby senior living facility. She asks how far it is away. From the end ofCentennial Street where you saw her, to the location of her residence it is exactly one kilometre and up one very ominous hill.

You insist on giving her a ride, opening the door for her to hop in and you begin to drive.

“Boy, I really was far from home,” she said as you drive around the block and continue up Centennial Street. Indeed she was far away you think to yourself and you begin to quiz her on how she came to be so lost.

She explained she needed to pick up a few things. Upon asking what her options were for transportation, she was informed it was either a family member or a taxi cab.

These are the options to residents at the Sylvan Lake Lodge with residents at Bethany Care Sylvan Lake having the same options with the addition of a service that will drive them to medical appointments.

Transportation for seniors is an ongoing issue facing Sylvan Lake, with transportation for youth and public transit also ranking among the top transportation challenges the community faces.

While Sylvan Lake’s population may be an overwhelmingly young one, as the overall population increases so to do the number of seniors we have in our community. According to the 2015 Social NeedsAssessment conducted by the Town of Sylvan Lake, the percentage of the population between the ages of 55 and 64 is growing at a rate of 1% every five years. This in turns means the age of residents over the age of 64 will begin to rise immensely in the years ahead.

This same study details the top priorities of Laker’s as being: urgent care, affordable public transportation, availability to low income housing, provision of local income and employment services. In addition, increased access to mental health and addiction supports, family counselling and early childhood development supports, as well as programs that reduces social isolation were also listed as priorities.

The Social Needs Assessment was the Town’s precursor to their Social Master Plan. Conversations are currently being held between the research group who conducted the Social Needs Assessment, theTown of Sylvan Lake as well as Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) and other groups with invested interest to provide solutions for the social challenges facing the community.

In the coming weeks, transportation for seniors will likely see a welcomed spotlight as the topic is set to hit Town Council in the near future.

***What has your experience with transportation for seniors been like in Sylvan Lake? How has the lack of these social services affected you personally?

Please email your response, story or letter to editor@sylvanlakenews.com or mail to 5020 50a St., Sylvan Lake, AB T4S 1R2***

Just Posted

Red Deer RCMP investigate Fairview home invasion

RCMP believe it was a targeted home invasion, targeting wrong residence

Solar program denied in Sylvan Lake

Town Council defeated a motion to joining the Alberta Municipal Solar Program

Tyler Steenbergen looking to centre a line for Team Canada

Sylvan Lake’s Steenbergen invited to try out for Canada’s National Junior Team

Country star Brett Kissel releases new album

Kissel excited to make a stop in Red Deer

White Christmas expected for Central Alberta

The Weather Network is predicting a white Christmas for much of Western Canada

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

5-year anniversary of Sandy Hook shooting

When just saying ‘I’m from Newtown’ can be a cross to bear

Disney buying part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4B deal

Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Woman charged after altercation injured baby in Toronto

Charges have been laid after a four-month-old baby girl was critically injured in Toronto

Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil announces retirement

Veteran Ottawa Senators forward Chris Neil spent 15 seasons with the NHL team

Trudeau’s office confirms staffer being probed over allegations

PMO confirms staffer being probed over allegations of reported “inappropriate behaviour.”

Police kill gunman north of Toronto

Police shot and killed a gunman during a hostage situation at a bank north of Toronto

Most Read