COQUITLAM, B.C., March 23, 2021 – For a few hours a week, life almost feels normal again for a half-dozen seniors who exercise together – safely and at a distance – in the leisure pool at City Centre Aquatic Centre (CCAC).
The Swimming Group, as they dub themselves, are among the thousands of seniors making use of the services and supports Coquitlam has been providing people age 50+ throughout the pandemic.
“This is the only socialization some of us get right now, so it’s very important,” said Swimming Group member Sandra Johnston, who befriended the others while attending Gentle Fit classes after hip surgery pre-COVID. These days, the women book concurrent drop-in timeslots to enjoy some physically-distanced social time while doing their exercises.
“It’s been therapy for us, mentally and physically,” Johnston said, adding, “I feel safe there.”
50+ Supports Appreciated
For the past year, Coquitlam has continued to seek new ways to support seniors both physically and mentally, with services ranging from meal deliveries and virtual programming to the safe reintroduction of in-person activities when permitted by provincial health orders.
Meals for Seniors, a frozen meal delivery and pickup program launched in spring 2020, has provided more than 20,000 meals to isolated older residents who are unable to shop or cook, and who have lost the ability to enjoy meals at the City’s 50+ Pavilions due to the pandemic. The program runs hand-in-hand with the City’s Letters of Kindness program, which solicits letters, art and other submissions from the community to include in the meals.
“Your meals are delicious and varied,” one regular customer recently wrote to the City. “At Christmas, and for Valentines, at Chinese New Year, at Halloween etc., there were letters, cards, presents which meant a lot to me… you are all so thoughtful. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.”
A letter from another Meals for Seniors customer told of how the treats included at Christmas helped take away the sadness of celebrating the holidays alone. “Knowing that we have a caring community helps ease the loneliness.”
Safe Options Available for Seniors
Coquitlam’s online registration site www.coquitlam.ca/registration lists a range of activities suitable for the 50+ crowd, including physically-distanced fitness classes at the City’s pavilions and community centres, and virtual programs such as fitness, yoga, activity groups, talks and workshops, dance, music and art. Free timeslots can also be booked to drop off income tax paperwork at Glen Pine and Dogwood Pavilions.
Many seniors – like those in The Swimming Group – are also booking drop-in timeslots to safely swim, skate and work out at City recreation facilities. Seniors only pay $1 per visit, thanks to the temporarily reduced drop-in fees subsidized through Coquitlam’s Community Support and Recovery Plan.
As well, with warmer weather coming and recent relaxing of outdoor restrictions, the City’s many parks are expected to be a popular destination once again for seniors to meet friends and family from a safe distance. Johnston noted the Swimming Group is planning to resume its post-swim social time in physically-distanced chairs near the Percy Perry track at Town Centre Park. Information about park locations and amenities can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/parkfinder.
Finding 50+ Offerings Online
Registered programs and drop-in activities suitable for those 50+ are listed in the Adult section at www.coquitlam.ca/registration. Results can be filtered by age, location, service (activity) and day of week. To view only online activities, search for the keyword “virtual.”
The CoquitlamSPIRIT online library at www.coquitlam.ca/spirit also includes a range of free virtual activities, including fitness, outdoor pursuits and a 50 Plus section.
Although 50+ programs and services are offered at various Coquitlam facilities, the hub is the Dogwood and Glen Pine Pavilions, which both offer activities, clubs and support services. For now in-person activities are primarily limited to fitness, but will expand as health protocols permit.
Registration will take place through www.coquitlam.ca/registration. For Pavilion information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call Glen Pine at 604-927-6940 or Dogwood at 604-927-6098, or visit www.coquitlam.ca/glenpine and www.coquitlam.ca/dogwood.
Register and Stay Informed
To sign up for activities and to keep up-to-date on program offerings and updates:
Stay informed about City news and service changes by:
Community Recreation Manager
City of Coquitlam