Transit, accessibility at top of Sudbury seniors' concerns

The federal Minister of Seniors visited Sudbury yesterday to learn more about how the government can support the city’s aging population.

Filomena Tassi visits to take stock of current challenges seniors face

Seniors Minister Filomena Tassi speaks with people in the craft room at the Parkside Seniors' Centre. (Twitter- @FilomenaTassMP)

The federal Minister of Seniors visited Sudbury yesterday to learn more about how the government can support the city's aging population.

Filomena Tassi visited the N'Swakamok Native Friendship Centre and the Parkside Older Adult Centre, speaking with seniors about their experiences receiving services.

Tassi told CBC News that as she tours the country, she's hearing some common concerns, especially related to income security, affordable housing, and healthcare.  

She added that she's hearing specific issues  emerge as she visits northern Ontario. 

"Transportation is something that's come up here in my local touring," Tassi said. "So that is connected to the isolation piece. They seem to be repeated themes."

Tassi also addressed the changing state of alternate level of care. 

"Really it's coming up with a process or a plan that ensures that seniors are getting the level of care that they need at the appropriate places and not in hospitals where they might not necessarily need to be," she said.

"Its not really to anyone's advantage to have a senior in a hospital  bed if they don't need all those services. This is about getting them the care they need."

Touring the Parkside Older Adult Centre

The Minister also toured the Parkside Older Adult Centre and got to participate in some programming.

Lita Labrosse, a member of the Parkside Centre and a craft teacher, said she's encouraged by the minister's visit.

"I think it's important to see what seniors can do, and need to do," Labrosse said. "Because so many seniors are on their own. Age doesn't define our love of living. And what we can do. These places are really important."

Labrosse said transportation and accessibility issues still crop up for seniors.

"Some of my students need the handi-transit, and the hours of pickup aren't always on time," Labrosse said. "Of course, if they are in a walker or wheelchair or have to wait outside it must be very difficult."

"Too many of us are recluses," Labrosse added. "We need to socialise."

"I mean we can't force that, but if it's easier, maybe more people would. I think it's so important."

Tassi said she's committed to bringing these issues to cabinet.

To hear the full interview, click the audio link below.

Seniors in Sudbury got the chance to speak to the federal minister responsible for their issues. The CBC's Kirthana Sasitharan spoke to Minister Filomena Tassi while she was at the Parkside Older Adults Centre. 6:52

With files from Kirthana Sasitharan