The work of David Coon’s Seniors Round Table
In 2014, shortly after beginning his first term as the Representative of Fredericton South, David Coon gathered together a number of seniors living in his riding and established a Seniors Round Table to advise him on issues concerning seniors. In turn, David keeps them informed about changes proposed in the Legislature on issues of particular concern to seniors, such as pensions, extramural health care, and nursing homes. Since its inception, the Seniors Round Table has advised David and taken an active role in the community. Whether it is advocating for low income seniors living in Evelyn Grove Manor, or letting David know about an overlooked detail regarding senior care, the members of the Seniors Round Table have enabled David to see issues through their eyes.
Some of the members of the round table also sit on the city’s Age Friendly Committee, whose mandate is to help ensure Fredericton becomes an age-friendly city. To that end they published a Fredericton Directory of Services for Seniors, and held a symposium on how to make Fredericton an age-friendly city.
Another group specifically related to aging was assembled by the Provincial government in March 2016. The Council on Aging has a mandate to guide the development of an aging strategy, and to develop a vision of aging in New Brunswick. They held an interactive session in April 2016 to explore what stakeholders felt was working or not working in New Brunswick. If you would like to submit an idea, you can e-mail them. They also invited the public to submit their stories on what Healthy Aging means to them, stories that will guide them as they prepare their strategy and vision of Healthy Aging in New Brunswick. They are currently reviewing submissions.
As we await the recommendations from the Council on Aging, we already have the report from the Fredericton Age Friendly Committee that lists three priorities. Among these is an item that has also arisen in David Coon’s Community Gatherings: A Vulnerable Person’s Registry. In the wake of Hurricane Arthur’s devastation, participants of several Community Gatherings identified this as a need. They were concerned about the many seniors who had struggled alone without power for days, particularly isolated seniors who might be overlooked and have no way to contact others for help.
David’s Constituency Office recently applied for STU Social Work Interns to do a Social Action Internship with the goal of establishing a Vulnerable Person’s Registry. In collaboration with David’s Seniors Round Table, Fredericton’s Age-Friendly Committee, and other key community partners, these social work students will work to implement this recommendation and others that came from the Age-Friendly Fredericton Report and David’s Community Gatherings.