North Rocky View Community Links is offering some free senior-specific virtual programming in the coming weeks and months.
“We know virtual presentations are not always ideal for seniors,” said Laurie Jacob-Toews, community engagement manager for the Airdrie-based charity. “However, we also don't want to miss the opportunity to connect with such an important part of our community, so we decided to offer a couple of sessions and see how they go.”
Kicking off the collection on April 7, Community Links is facilitating an information session on senior-related finances. Hosted by Outreach Officer Bonnie McIntyre from the Canada Revenue Agency, Jacob-Toews said the presentation will delve into common types of income and credits available for seniors, including pension income splitting, Registered Retirement Savings Plans, Old Age Security repayment and the Climate Action Incentive, among others.
“In perfect timing with tax season, [McIntyre] will be talking about benefits and credits,” Jacob-Toews said. “We know there are some people in our community who maybe just turned 64 and are looking at applying for pensions in the next year. Income is very different once you're 65, so she'll be talking about those different programs that are available and she'll be able to answer questions and provide an overview.”
According to Jacob-Toews, McIntyre will also facilitate a virtual info session for Community Links on May 5, when she’ll be educating local seniors on potential scams that target their demographic. Jacob-Toews added such scams have unfortunately emerged and proliferated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are some new COVID-19 scams, which break my heart that those are happening, [so we want to] let seniors know how to protect themselves, and let them recognize if something might be a scam and help them understand when to be extra cautious,” she said.
Another exciting development, according to Jacob-Toews, is the return of Community Links’ monthly Caregivers Support Group this spring. The monthly meet-ups provide social support for individuals who are caring for a senior.
While the support group went on hiatus in March 2020 due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacob-Toews said it will start up again in April, with the first session taking place via Zoom on April 20 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
“We're excited to bring that group back because it has been on hold for a while,” she said. “We're hoping some of our caregivers will join us and maybe some new people in the community who have never been part of that group, we'd love to welcome them to that group, as well.”
She added Karen Cuthbertson from Caregivers Alberta will be on hand to educate participants on certain resources available to caregivers, as well as provide a space for local caregivers to share their challenges and successes with other participants.
“It's for anyone caring for a senior loved one,” Jacob-Toews said. “We know there are a lot of senior couples in our community where one spouse may need a little extra support, and [this group] is really for the person who is a caregiver in that family, to let them know what supports are available and to also give them the opportunity to chat with other caregivers, connect, network and talk about some of the things they're all going through together.”
To register for any of the programs or presentations, Jacob-Toews said interested participants should call Community Links at 403-945-3900 or toll-free at 1-866-945-3905. They can also register directly from the charity’s website – nrvcl.ab.ca
“If you have a family member who is a senior and maybe you could attend a Zoom call to get some information to pass onto them, that's another great opportunity,” Jacob-Toews added.