Join Saanich Recreation’s free walking programs through local parks and trails – a great way to get out and socialize safely while also enjoying a little exercise!

Saanich seniors eye return to recreation and community

Older adults missing the connections enjoyed pre-COVID

Whether your pre-COVID routine involved regular morning Waterfit sessions or afternoon Bridge, there’s no doubt that the pandemic has hit the older population especially hard.

Not only are extra precautions required for everyday tasks like shopping or going for a walk, but many of the social activities that kept Saanich’s older adults connected with friends and community were suddenly halted.

Throughout the shut-down, Saanich Recreation staff have worked to stay in touch with patrons who could no longer visit in person – sharing via email and newsletter various activity tips or ways to stay virtually connected, for example.

Still, nothing replaces those in-person connections.

One thing you CAN do right now as the weather shines warmer and brighter is join Saanich Recreation’s free walking programs through local parks and trails – a great way to get out and socialize safely while also enjoying a little exercise!

Charting a safe path forward

Like the rest of the Saanich recreation team, those working with older adult programming have been busy exploring how they can safelybegin offering programs again, recognizing that for the time being, not all things will be possible.

“We’ve heard a lot from our community recreation centre patrons, like the Cedar Hill Social Club, and they’re eager to come back,” says Saanich recreation programmer Julie Wallace.

“Everything has to go through a variety of steps, but what we’ve tried to focus on is what we can do.”

Options under consideration include activities like table tennis and croquet that can be enjoyed outside, using minimal equipment that can be easily disinfected between users.

Other options include off-site offerings – working with seniors communities through initiatives like the NEAT program – Neighbours Enjoying Activities Together – to bring some of those activities outside in a physically distanced way.

With summer camps starting this week, it’s hoped that more of the recreation facilities will continue to open gradually, although things will likely look a little different, including:

  • Regulated entry into buildings with social distance markings
  • Directional traffic flow and exiting signage
  • Cafés will be closed, and there will be no socializing in lobbies
  • Smaller class sizes and selection of programs
  • Hand sanitizing requirements
  • Pre-registration required
  • No one exhibiting signs of illness will be permitted in buildings

In the meantime, Julie offers a variety of tips and activities – and yes, even some yummy recipes! – on Saanich’s Older Adults recreation page.

Tackle the latest Brain Buster sheet online, or download it for a friend or parent who might not have access to a computer, Julie suggests, adding that if you’d like them mailed to you or have some brain teasers that you’d like to share, call 250-475-5408.

And be sure to watch for more news and updates about the status of activities opening in the coming weeks.


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