Edmonton

Province promises $71K for senior centre research

The province is pledging $71,000 for research to improve facilities for Alberta's growing senior population.

The province is pledging $71,000 for research to improve facilities for Alberta’s growing senior population.

"Health policy is seniors’ policy in Alberta," said Health Minister Fred Horne during the announcement in Edmonton.

The grant will be split among three organizations  — the University of Alberta, the Alberta Association of Senior Centres and the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton — to look at ways for the province’s 400 senior centres to better recruit staff, keep down rising costs and keep seniors healthy.

"It’s the opportunity to look at the untapped potential of these facilities."

Alberta Association of Senior Centres president Roger Laing says the research is sorely needed to deal with the province’s "rapidly growing" senior population.

"In every town, village and hamlet in … Alberta, you’ll find a seniors centre," he said.

"These centres have and will continue to play a vital part in the social, mental and physical health needs of seniors."

Laing says research shows that people are healthier when they have access to a seniors’ centre, especially for social interactions.

He says the facilities need to know more about the challenges facing seniors and what they will need from seniors centres.