Mills Community Support’s 6th annual North Lanark Seniors’ Expo was a resounding success.
For the last 40 years Mills Community Support has helped to build a better world for seniors in North Lanark communities. For the last six, Mills Community Support has hosted a Seniors’ Expo to provide seniors with a “one-stop shop” of valuable information about the many supports and services available to them, including recreational opportunities, ways to stay socially active, health and wellness programs, and volunteer opportunities. This year’s Expo took place September 8th , and was a resounding success, with 620 visitors visiting 77 exhibitor booths.
These visitor and exhibitor counts are the highest yet, and demonstrate the value of this Expo to seniors in the communities of North Lanark. And not only in this area – the North Lanark Seniors’ Expo is best in class, according to Shelley Westland of the Older Adult Centres Association of Ontario, a funding agency of Mills Community Support’s Seniors’ Expo. Shelley said the Expo in Almonte is “the best in the province of the 65 Seniors Expos held in towns across Ontario, with many more exhibitors and visitors than any other.” This might sound like bragging but when it comes from one who knows, as Yogi Berra so aptly put it, “It ain’t bragging when it’s true.”
Visitors to the Expo came from all over North Lanark – our exit survey told us that many local seniors were among the visitors, as well as regional seniors from nearby towns. Many participants are new seniors who have moved to Mississippi Mills from the Ottawa area, and even from other cities as far off as Thunder Bay.
Hosting the best Seniors’ Expo in the province is the result of a tremendous amount of volunteer effort. Each year a core group of volunteers, many who are seniors themselves, come together with sponsors and partners to plan and run the Expo. Twenty two volunteers, many of them repeat volunteers who have helped at one or many of the six Expos, helped on the day with the many tasks needed to make the Expo a success, such as assisting exhibitors to set up, greeting visitors at each door, taking surveys, etc. Mississippi Mills arena staff were on hand and were a great help throughout the day.
In addition to our dedicated volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to present the Expo without support from our many sponsors. We were very happy to have Orchard View by the Mississippi as a Gold Level Sponsor. Other sponsors included the Older Adult Centres Association of Ontario, Bean Chevrolet Buick GMC in Carleton Place, Connect Hearing, and Carleton Place Terrace. Our partners this year included CARP Lanark, The Westwood Retirement Living, Alzheimer Society Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, and Orchard View.
In the morning before the expo Mills Community Support partnered with the Lanark Chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) on a Navigating the Health Care System Workshop. Seniors from across the region discussed services available to them with staff from 211 Ontario, Community Care Access Centre, Mills Community Support Assisted Living and Home Support programs, Almonte General Hospital, Community and Primary Health Care, and the Hub Hospice.
So what does all this mean?
Simply put the Mills Community Support mission is, “We help create welcoming communities through capacity building, partnerships and person centered services.” Here’s a passage from the Public Health Agency of Canada about the UN Age-Friendly Communities program; a welcoming community for seniors.
“What does an age-friendly community look like?
In an age-friendly community:
- outdoor areas and public buildings are pleasant, safe and accessible
- housing is affordable, safe and well designed for seniors;
- roads and walkways are accessible and kept in good shape;
- public transportation is affordable and accessible;
- neighbourhoods are safe;
- relationships are respectful;
- health and community support services are available;
- opportunities for seniors to be socially active exist;
- seniors can take part in volunteer, political and employment positions; and
- information is easy to find and easy to understand.
Our participant and exhibitor surveys tell us that the North Lanark Seniors’ Expo covers many of the aforementioned bullet points of an age-friendly, welcoming community.
We look forward to seeing you next September for our 7th annual North Lanark Seniors’ Expo. In the meantime, call Mills Community Support’s Home Support office at (613) 256-4700 to hear all the latest news about programs and services available to you all year long. Ask about and consider one of our great volunteer opportunities!