MEDICINE HAT, AB — The city says it has been a year of learning since the new Veiner Centre reopened last summer, but add they’re proud of the facility and its ability to help seniors.
In July 2018, the newly renovated and expanded Veiner Centre reopened after suffering significant damage during the 2013 floods.
Carrie Wall, the acting manager of community connections and support with the city, says it’s been a year of change and adaptation for the facility.
“One go the biggest things we’re learning as we’re going on, is there seems to be a shift in the demographics of the seniors that are coming,” she said. “We are now getting a lot of what we would deem the young seniors, so in order to make sure everybody is getting good fun here, we have to adapt our programs accordingly.”
Wall says previously, the average age of users with the centre has been 75 years old. She says the partnership with the nearby Strathcona Centre, which offers fitness programming, has been prompting the age decrease.
As a result, it has prompted the city to revamp programming for the members.
“We’re looking a little more mind-body wellness, more activities that are a little more active and aggressive, as well as more craft room type activities, and people are making recommendations for different programs, and we’re trying things out,” she said.
Wall says they average around 1,000 members, which has remained steady through the year, but is down from 2013.
“What we are finding, however, is that the individuals are here more, or using the activities more,” she said. “Even though it still counts as one member, the utilization is up.”
She acknowledges a price increase for a yearly membership ($100 a year for the Veiner Centre itself, $300 for both the Strathcona Centre and Veiner Centre), but says they’ve started introducing options to help manage membership costs.
“If price has been a hard sell for some folks, we’re offering one month, or three month or six months so they don’t get hit with that big yearly amount.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Scrabble was a popular activity, with several games ongoing.
One of the players, Pearl Hambley, has been a member of the Veiner Centre for 16 years
“I think it’s wonderful for the seniors,” she said.
Lorna Rankin, who was also playing Scrabble, has been a member of the Veiner Centre for seven years, and goes to the centre six days a week.
She says she enjoys the social aspect of the centre.
“I moved here seven years ago and I knew nobody,” she said. “When I got in here, I got to play cards, I got to know people and life got much better than sitting at home alone.”
Wall says they plan to highlight the Veiner Centre during Seniors Week next week.
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