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Celebrating 15 years of Resource Team

Celebrating 15 years of Resource Team

by BONNIE MITCHELSON

I was proud to play a role in establishing the first Seniors Health & Wellness Resource Team in Manitoba in May of 1999.

Our community of northeast Winnipeg showed leadership once again when we came together to provide improved access to health services for seniors. The Seniors Health & Wellness Resource Team was a partnership between Winnipeg Community and Long Term Care Authority, Edison Rentals, and Good Neighbours Active Living Centre. It was a model of preventative care, co-ordination of services and building capacity to create a healthier community.

Sonja Lundstrom, a nurse from St. Boniface Hospital and Eleanor Stelmack, an occupational therapist, were hired. They worked with seniors, agencies, schools, churches, and businesses in northeast Winnipeg. The goal was to bring services to where seniors lived, worked and played to promote healthy opportunities.

As Sonja and Eleanor began to meet seniors it became apparent that there were gaps in services and a lack of knowledge of what services were available. They quickly realized that many seniors could benefit from Home Care services and other health and community supports.

They knew the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle was to keep people mobile and engaged. They initiated walking groups, community gardens, support groups, health education, community celebrations and the award-winning Millennium Gardens.

Age and Opportunity counselling and grief supports became available closer to home. Martin Bergen and Edison Rentals developed the Congregate Meal Programs located at 1100 and 1630 Henderson Hwy. to provide healthy, nutritious meals on a regular basis.

The Health Team, known as “Clinic on Wheels,” could be found everywhere. Support groups dealing with diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, impaired vision, recent loss of a spouse, mental health issues, care giving, and osteoporosis developed throughout the community with a ‘people helping people’ approach. Families knew the team was there to assist in addressing issues in a timely manner.

Many University of Manitoba and Red River College students have had the opportunity to develop their skills with the health team throughout the years.

Fifteen years ago the Seniors Health & Wellness Resource Team began empowering seniors to enjoy healthy aging by creating a community network of support. The name has been changed to the Healthy Aging Resource Team, but the vision and mandate have remained as they continue to expand and support seniors in northeast Winnipeg.

I would like to acknowledge and congratulate the leadership of the Healthy Aging Resource Team, for being the HART of our community. Happy 15th anniversary!

Reprinted with permission from The Winnipeg Free Press.


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