Seniors in Cochrane make a big difference every day. They’re highly engaged and involved in our community, whether they are spending time volunteering, supporting their families and friends, or being a great resource for our community.

This week – Alberta Seniors’ Week – is an occasion to say thank you and recognize and celebrate the contributions, achievements and diversity of our seniors.

Meet a few of our local seniors and older adult volunteers who contribute to the community:

Golden Life Village resident Sheila Stilling heard an appeal in the media for donations to local food banks at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and felt compelled to help.

“I started that very morning, knocking on doors with my hat held out and the results were so gratifying,” said Sheila.

Together with residents Jim Arnett, Helga Rasmussen and Betty Brilz, the group collected over $2,000 for the Cochrane Activettes Food Bank.

When asked what inspired them, Sheila explained that local seniors are aware of needs in the community and want respond with compassion and a helping hand.

Chairra Nicole from Helping Hands is grateful every day for the support older adults provide to the community. Many of the organization’s volunteers are seniors.

“Helping Hands provided grocery pick up for vulnerable clients during the peak of the pandemic,” explained Chiarra.

“We also wrote chalk messages outside isolated seniors’ homes,” she said. “Many of them called to say thank you and quite a few were in tears. It meant so much to them.”

“Our older adult volunteers make a tremendous difference in our community, and we deeply appreciate everything they do,” she added.

Another local volunteer organization, Seniors for Kids Society, shares how their incredible older adult volunteers are staying connected while giving back in this new environment.

“Our volunteers have been sending COVID-19 pen pal letters and emails to students in Cochrane and Western Rocky View,” said a spokesperson for the Seniors for Kids Society.

“We received so many notes from the students’ parents telling us how much their child loved email note from their volunteer grandparents. The kids and parents adore this program!”

Many Seniors for Kids volunteers have come up with creative ways to stay connected and contribute support. A Game of Phones friendship line has been started to give isolated individuals a way to hear a reassuring voice and have someone to talk to. Another volunteer has started a positivity newsletter to stay connected, share ideas and promote positivity. Yet others are participating in sewing teams to make masks for frontline workers.

The Seniors for Kids sewing team lead said, “I have 20 amazing sewers on my team and their products are wonderful. Providing for their needs keeps me on my toes. We distributed 66 masks last week with more coming this week!”

For Alberta Seniors’ Week, June 1-7, the Town of Cochrane is recognizing seniors and the valuable contributions they have made, and continue to make, in our communities, workplaces and families.

The special week to celebrate our elders started with a drive-by parade June 1 and continues with online and virtual events and activities that can be enjoyed from home. The week concludes with a special virtual branding bingo event hosted by the Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation and Cochrane Family and Community Support Services.

Take some time this week to celebrate seniors and show your appreciation for everything they do. However you choose to express your gratitude – a simple thank you note or an invitation for a (physically distant) coffee – the message that we value older Cochranites will be heard and appreciated.

For more information about Cochrane’s Seniors’ Week events, activities that can be enjoyed from home, support groups and resources visit cochrane.ca/SeniorsWeek

#CochraneSaysThanks to our seniors!

Cinnamon Bear says thank you to seniors at the Seniors’ Week parade.