“What am I doing here with all these seniors?”
The thought flashed through my mind the first time I walked into the Central Lions Seniors Association (CLSA). I admit it: I was still in denial that I, too, was a senior.
That was five years ago. Today, like many people over 55, I embrace all things senior at CLSA. If I want it, I can have it: fitness, workshops, courses, crafts, clubs, and special events.
I am also making new acquaintances, having new conversations, receiving new smiles.
The association’s mission statement is as true today as it was 51 years ago at its launch. Director Susan Mann has only been on staff for 10 months, but she knows it by heart: “At CLSA, we provide a welcoming and supportive environment for everyone 55 and older to participate in recreational, education, social programs and events that enrich body, mind, and spirit.”
It’s well-known that seniors may experience feelings of isolation and loneliness. Days can go by without speaking to someone else. A senior centre, such as CLSA, provides a non-critical place to visit and interact with others.
The association has done a lot for me. Every Tuesday morning, I drop in to visit my friend Diane Trithardt, who volunteers in the office. The Cuppa Corner program on Tuesdays provides free coffee and cookies and a chance to relax and socialize. If I take the bus, the #125 drops me at the door. If I drive, parking is free.
The armchairs in the spacious seating area are comfy. I talk to others without loud background music. The cafeteria is handy for lunch or snacks. Did I mention there are many, many clean washrooms?
Mann observed, “Seniors gain a sense of belonging here. It truly becomes their home. Their interests vary tremendously, from computer courses to a drama club. We have ukulele lessons, Arabic calligraphy classes, and card players. Five senior bands practice and perform here.”
An annual membership of $35 for seniors starts members off. Memberships for people 35-54 are also available. Some activities are free; for others, a reduced fee is charged to members. Non-members pay slightly more. The association has 1,600 members; around 900 do fitness activities.
On self-motivated days, I walk an indoor circuit. Six times around is a kilometre and I can walk without fear of falling on an icy sidewalk. This fall, I’m trying gentle yoga. Next, I might try a pilates standing core workshop or learn to play pickleball. The choices are many.
Trithardt first introduced me to the centre. Mann explained volunteers like Trithardt play an important role. “Volunteers keep us going. If we had to hire people to fill their roles, we couldn’t afford all the programs we offer. Volunteers gain a sense of belonging and contributing to a cause close to their hearts.”
CENTRAL LIONS SENIORS ASSOCIATION
11113 113 St
Open weekdays (except statutory holidays) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
For activity information, pick up a program guide onsite or visit www.centrallions.org
MEDICAL MARIJUANA FORUM
Nov. 20, 1-4 pm
At CLSA: 11113 113 St
Marijuana will be legal in Canada on July 1, 2018.
For many, the issue of marijuana usage raises questions.
Some seniors may already use medical marijuana. Others may wonder how it could benefit them. Overall, how will legal marijuana use affect our daily lives?
The association tackles these questions with a forum on Nov. 20.
Speakers will include physicians, medical marijuana users, law enforcement officers, licensed marijuana producers, and others.
Register for this free senior-oriented event by calling 780.496.7369.
Featured Image: Bill Tsui and Alex Kwok play a game of table tennis. | Rebecca Lippiat