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Opportunities - Services for Seniors and Disabled


Last week we saw development of our sport fishery as a significant and sustainable tourism benefit for the District of St. Mary's, providing jobs and reversing our population decline.


Here's another opportunity for our rural community - services for seniors and the disabled. Our baby boomers are becoming seniors, and the percentage of seniors in our communities is rising.


Long waiting lists tell us that that there is a shortage of nursing home and senior's apartment facilities in our community, and people are shuffled among nursing homes in eastern Nova Scotia as scarce beds become available.


We also see a growing need for assisted care facilities that provide an option other than a nursing home. These facilities let residents continue enjoying their chosen lifestyle longer, saving nursing home facilities for those needing more care.


Development of new or enlarged facilities and services for seniors and disabled residents will not only shorten waiting lists but also slow our population decline and provide some badly needed employment in the region. Checking Monday's list of job postings in the News, a Pictou County daily newspaper, showed the 16 of the 27 job postings involved health care.


Obviously we'll need other opportunities to attract more tourism and generate jobs that retain or bring in the young families, professional and skilled trades people needed to maintain and grow our community.


This is a development opportunity that can provide social, health and economic benefits to our community, slowing our population decline while keeping our important hospital and health care services.


I've experienced life as a senior for a few years, discovering recently that folks my age are now referred to as "junior seniors", able to help "senior seniors". When I was a child we called the elderly "old-timers", which I still prefer because to me it means we have fond memories of good old times. That is, times that either were better or seemed better. I have plenty of those memories, many involving fishing salmon on the beautiful St. Mary's River and the remarkable folks I encountered there.


One of my recollections is the Stillwater Bridge pool, fondly known as the old timers pool because most evenings saw several crusty old timers gather there to spin yarns, swat flies and take turns fishing the pool from the bank. It was wonderful for seniors, a colourful example of the rich fishing culture we have unfortunately lost in recent years. If we could still do that today I’d be one of them!


Here's hoping we all can continue to enjoy the quality of life and services we have in our community today, and maybe even have additional benefits in future.


As with other opportunities, I'd suggest it as a good topic to discuss with our government representatives and candidates.


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