Lack of funding forces Nanaimo seniors centre to close

WatchA popular Nanaimo seniors centre is being forced to close its doors after losing its federal funding.

As Val Beaton has aged, the Nanaimo senior has found social isolation is a trap she easily falls into. 

“I would spend half the day, most of the day alone,” said Beaton.

“I tend to just isolate myself and then when I isolate myself, then I start sinking into a depression.”

Then she found Nanaimo Seniors Connect, a free drop-in and scheduled programming centre, designed to reduce seniors isolation in Nanaimo.

“Lots of laughter,” said Seniors Connect client Florence Marshall.

“You know enjoy the food, eat together.’

“It was really great,” said Beaton, who also enjoys the programs.

“I was really happy that I found that place.”

Research has shown isolation is as harmful to seniors’ health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“Which is an incredible impact on someone, especially over time,” said Sacia Burton of the Seniors Connect project, that’s run through the Nanaimo Family Life Association.

Yet now the program’s federal funding has come to an end and the building that houses it has been sold. Nov. 22 will be the seniors last day connecting.

“I really love this place,” said client Luisa Shaw.

“It’s going to close and I don’t know where else to go.”

“Yeah I don’t know what I’ll do,” said Beaton.

“I’ll really miss it.”

The group that runs Seniors Connect, is now trying to secure new funding to save the program that’s served 3700 seniors in its three-year run. But so far none has been locked down.

“Yeah we are definitely in conversation at all levels of government right now to ensure that this is being heard and that this is being taken up,” said Burton.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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