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AHS programs aim to meet diverse needs of local seniors

June 3, 2015

LETHBRIDGE – June 1-6 is Seniors Week, and Alberta Health Services (AHS) offers a number of specialized programs year-round for seniors in partnership with the Lethbridge YMCA and Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization (LSCO).

Senior Sneakers is an hour-long program Thursday afternoons at the Lethbridge YMCA. The group focuses on proper ways to lift, stretch and move throughout the day, improving mood and reducing stress by being in motion. Participants learn new ways to increase their endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.

“Senior Sneakers is a group devoted to helping seniors in our community to get out and interact with others, do some walking and get moving,” says Tara Taylor, a rehabilitation practitioner with the AHS Seniors Mental Health Outreach team. “We even provide transportation to help people who might be stuck at home to get out and improve their health and well-being.”

Residents interested in the program can phone the Seniors Mental Health Outreach team at 403-388-6551.

“The YMCA has been serving the recreation and community development needs of the city since 1905,” says Jennifer Petracek-Kolb, CEO of the YMCA in Lethbridge. “We have a wide array of recreational, fitness and community development program for individuals and families of all ages which include preventative and rehabilitative programming for populations with specific needs, including seniors.”

AHS presents other seniors programs at LSCO, 500 11 St. S. They include:

Out and About, which runs Wednesdays and Thursdays. Its mandate is to help people see and do things in the community they might not otherwise be able to because of financial or transportation limitations. Activities are determined each week by the wants and needs of participants. Transportation is available and there are minimal weekly costs. Call 403-388-6000 ext. 1450 to learn more.

Difficulties in Life, Coffee and Conversation, runs Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. It is an ongoing, drop-in support group that helps people cope with various types of loss. Participants are welcome to drop-in whenever they wish to share their concerns or worries in a supportive and encouraging setting.

Practicing Happiness teaches how mindfulness can help free participants from stress, anxiousness and depression. The group looks into finding purpose and direction in life, but also how to achieve inner peace of mind through life’s ups and downs. For more information, including schedules, call 403-320-2222 or stop by the administration desk at LSCO.

“We’re excited to get the word out about these groups, and we’re also in the process of organizing a new men’s group for seniors to make connections in the community,” Taylor says. “We’re especially interested in reaching out to seniors in our community who don’t have a lot of family or social supports and might be isolated in their homes.”

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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