Community Dining Program an exciting service from the Golden Circle

Program tackles issue of social isolation

Staff and volunteers at the Golden Circle continue to develop and expand programming to reach more folks across the region.

An exciting key way they are making yet more inroads into the community is via the Community Dining Program.

“The Community Dining Program was designed to work in the apartment buildings of the Piper Creek Foundation,” explained Monica Morrison, the Golden Circle’s executive director.

“We have that partnership with Piper Creek, so we go into three of their buildings and have a dining program. The whole idea is to bring people together for an activity, a learning opportunity and some interaction to address social isolation as well as providing a hot meal.

“We are also having the program here at the Golden Circle on Mondays and then we are expanding to Davenport Church with another community partnership this September – it will run the first and third Thursdays of the month,” she said.

Morrison said anyone is welcome to sign up especially for the dinners at the Golden Circle and those planned for Davenport Church.

“Community Dining Programs also work well for caregivers who want to bring the person they are looking after to get out of the house and get involved in some group activities. It can give them a little bit of free time as well because it’s staff-led, and there are volunteers involved too.”

Ultimately, it really does go back to tackling the issue of social isolation.

“We are reading more and more about the issue of social isolation, and that it’s really toxic to people’s health. There is so much research now.

“It’s always been an issue,” she said, adding that it was being discussed several decades ago. But the demographics have changed significantly since then, and so has the scope of the problem.

“It’s becoming a forefront issue because that whole demographic is expanding,” she said. “There are more people over the age of 65 now than those that are under the age of 14.

“That means the 85-plus age group is also getting bigger as well.

“So Community Dining Programs, the way I see it, are some of the first opportunities for our caregivers to connect with an out-of-home program.

“The next step could be, for a longer period of time, into an adult day program.”

Meanwhile, with the Community Dining Program, Morrison said organizers also bring in speakers on an array of topics from heart and stroke, the Alzheimer’s Society and The Lending Cupboard among others.

“It’s an opportunity for information and referral to other services that are available in the community as well.”

There is a cost for the lunch of $8, and the food comes directly from the Golden Circle kitchen.

“Transportation is also available for the clients who are either going to the Golden Circle dinner, or the ones coming up in Davenport.”

Meanwhile, Morrison said other new services at the Golden Circle include escorted grocery shopping, telephone reassurance and security checks, telephone friendly visiting and program buddies.

And overall, there continues to be much for folks to explore at the Golden Circle from fitness programs, musical concerts, Thursday evening dances, various support groups to all kinds of opportunities to learning brand new skills, she added.

In terms of bolstering one’s fitness, there is the Sit and Be Fit program, the Zumba Gold Fitness Class, the Stretch, Flex & Strengthen program, the Move & Groove 50+ Fitness – just to name a few.

A number of clubs are also held at the Golden Circle, including the Photography Club, Horseshoes Club, the Socrates Cafe (a philosophical discussion group) and the Red Deer Art Club.

Looking ahead, on June 8th Shalom Counselling is coming in to do a workshop on downsizing, said Morrison. Also, on June 15th, which is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, there will be a presentation by Family Services on ‘No is an Answer.’ It’s open to the public as well.

For more information, check out www.goldencircle.ca or call 403-343-6074.

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