The provincial government is hoping to change age stereotypes which continue to be felt by senior citizens across Ontario.
On Friday, the government announced a new seniors campaign in Durham with an investment of more than $77,000.
The campaign hopes to help seniors stay active and socially connected.
The funding is split into two parts, with $25,000 going to the region as a part of the Seniors Community Grant Program. Over $52,000 will go to the Whitby Seniors’ Activity Centre to help expand programs offered to seniors, including fitness, computers, arts and music.
Valerie James comes to the Whitby Seniors’ Activity Centre every Monday to play scrabble with her close friends.
While James appears to feel comfortable at the facility, she says it hasn’t always been that way, especially when she was employed.
“Sometimes at work, you feel you’re not part of the crowd because you’re older than the younger people,” she said.
“They’re more tech-savvy, and personally, you may feel that way, it may not be how they think about you, but it’s how you think about yourself.”
The province hopes to reduce stigmas associated with aging with the new investment.
“We’re excited about the news,” Durham regional chair John Henry said. “The more active we can keep seniors, the less burden on the health-care system.”
Henry says staff in the region haven’t yet come up with a plan on exactly how the funds will be spent.
As for the Whitby Seniors’ Activity Centre, the facility will be able to offer programs to an additional 200 people as a result of the investment.
“These programs are really important for recreation to get seniors out, really impacts positively on their physical, social and emotional well-being,” Kim Evans, who is a supervisor with the centre’s seniors services department, said.
James says the investment will give members much-needed space.
“It could afford us more space, as you can see we’re kind of crunched for space in this little corner, it’s a cozy corner, we love each other but we need to have more space,” she said.