Sunday, October 2, 2022

'You have to take care of your own health': Yukon seniors encouraged to stay active at Whitehorse event CBC News

Watercolor painting, pilates and pickleball were some of the activities offered to senior citizens in Whitehorse on Saturday to mark the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons.

David Jennings, Program Coordinator for ElderActive, said Resilience in a Changing World is the theme for this year’s day and also the focus of drop-in sessions organized by the City of Whitehorse and the ElderActive Recreation Association of Yukon.

“Coming out of a pandemic, people have lost that activity, they haven’t lost the drive, it’s just resuming activity,” Jennings said.

Seniors also had the chance to attend nutrition and e-bike sessions or play shuffleboard and take drumming lessons.

“It gives opportunities for seniors who have never tried [an activity] To try it to see if they like it,” Jennings said.

three women playing shuffleboard
All drop-in activities at Canada Games Center Whitehorse were conducted in a ‘see it, try it’ format, allowing people to try out new activities such as shuffleboard in a non-competitive environment. (CC de Flavis/CBC)

Jennings says that staying physically and socially active is extremely important as people age. So the day’s goal was to foster community and show Whitehorse residents a variety of resources to keep going and connected.

Yukon’s growing population

Over the past decade, Yukon has experienced a huge increase in the population area that is 60 and over.

A ‘Yukon Statistics Bureau’ report good Comparing March 2012 with the same month in 2022, there was an increase of 91.4 percent (973 people) in the age group of 75 years and above. There was an increase of 64.9 percent (2,913 people) in the 60- to 74-year-old group.

In comparison, there was a 17.3 percent increase in the number of children up to the age of 14 and a three percent increase in the 15- to 29-year age group.

“We need more active seniors in the community,” said Sandra Lansfield, who attended Saturday’s event.

Sandra Lansfield smiles at the camera
Sandra Lansfield said she is ‘very active’, and stays connected with the community by taking daily walks, playing cards and playing games. (CC de Flavis/CBC)

“I think the way we have health care right now, where it’s hard for people to find doctors, you have to look after your health and be proactive,” she said.

Although Lansfield said she has not personally struggled to find a family doctor in the Yukon, she does know people who have either lost their doctor or waited for years.

He said that one way to stay healthy is to be active.

“Even if it hurts a little bit, keep going,” she said.

To mark the day, Tai Chi Yukon offered a free Tai Chi session for seniors at Takhini Elementary School.

yellow balls and shuffleboard in the back
All activities to celebrate International Day of Older Persons in Whitehorse were free for people aged 55 and over. (CC de Flavis/CBC)

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