A still life painted by a member of the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors.

A still life painted by a member of the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors.

Tips from TAPS: Creston program helps seniors remain independent

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“Youth is a gift of nature; age is a work of art.” — Stanislaw Jerzy Lec (1906-1966), Polish writer, poet and satirist

 

“I feel like I’m part of a family here.”

We all know for ourselves that a satisfying life includes many experiences, as well as meeting basic needs. One reality in our older years is that not everyone has family nearby, and what used to be natural gatherings or regular interactions of diverse ages are non-existent or infrequently a part of many older seniors’ lives.

This understanding is key to the kind of program that the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors (TAPS) is, as we address those basic needs of seniors who want or need some support to maintain their independence and contribute to the community.

For example, cultivating intergenerational connections has been both an unspoken theme and part of the vision for TAPS programming since its inception. Since programming at TAPS is a living process, everyone has input, and individual and group ideas reflect what is important to them. Whenever the topic of youth involvement comes up, there is general agreement and anticipation, especially now that they have had so many successful experiences.

The programs are always designed for the benefit of the youth and the seniors in sharing information, learning from each other, building life skills, work experience, contributing to the community, volunteering and developing relationships. And, oh yes, did I mention fun?

Some of the programs in the past year have been work experience for Prince Charles Secondary School (PCSS) students, skills development and preparation for employment through New Horizons for Seniors and College of the Rockies for students from the special needs program at PCSS, students from Wildflower School interacting with and helping the seniors with projects for Gleaners, and summer students through a federal program assisting with summer programming and special projects. Everyone’s looking forward to welcoming this year’s summer student on Monday.

TAPS offers services and resources for transportation, meals and diverse educational, social, health and safety and arts and culture programs at the centre, and we enjoy and anticipate collaborating with the community for youth involvement into the future. Those gifts of nature and works of art go well together when given a chance.

As usual and with no less authenticity for repeating it, we thank everyone who contributes to TAPS. We are amongst many organizations in our community caring for those in need of services. The staff and volunteers do the heavy lifting to make them happen, and your financial support in many forms is the other vital part of the equation.

Pretty soon we’ll run out of wall space at the centre as the art group with artist Pat Bredt is producing new watercolour paintings every week. Exploring new techniques and subject matter, members of the group of seniors and two students from the high school have been completely absorbed in their own creations, and they are lovely and unique.

And here’s an opportunity to help us out: We want to thank Marie Therese Martinez and the gas bar at the Cook Street location at Extra Foods for choosing TAPS as the charity to benefit from product sales from May 16-31. Roughly 50 per cent of sales during a Two for Toonie promotion of Wif-Fix car air fresheners will be donated to TAPS.

Maureen Cameron is the community liaison development co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors.