BY: Natalie Miller
DATE: Friday, June 10, 2005

A senior in a straw hat relaxes on a garden swing, while others gather under the shade of an umbrella.

Indoors, a small group of women sit around a kitchen table after making rhubarb pie and tapioca pudding. For these 14 seniors who have an intellectual disability, activities in which younger people partake, can be too stimulating, says Beth Michel.

Beth, an outcome support facilitator at Community Living Campbellford-Brighton, runs Club 55, a drop-in for seniors. The association’s consultant identified a need for different programming for older people. The drop-in was started as a result.

“The need was for a quiet, peaceful environment for our aging individuals,” says Beth.

Club 55 provides a variety of social, leisure and recreational options for all aging community members, including those who receive support through Community Living Campbellford-Brighton.

About 14 seniors, ranging in age from 55 to 92, gather on a rotating basis from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Campbellford building. Activities include baking, craft classes, trips outside of the community and family visits. “We’re always on the move,” says Beth. She notes they join community groups for activities and partake in seniors’ bus trips to the zoo or Cullen Gardens in Whitby. Beth and her husband own three race horses and the men enjoy visiting with them. They’ve also gone to the slot machines and overnight trips to Toronto for theatre.

One participant says she particularly enjoys boat trips.

“It feels good to be on the water,” she says.

Pam Seedhouse is particularly fond of baking and the group made Pam’s Jam and Pam’s Preserves as Christmas presents one year, Beth notes. Pam also helps cater meals for board meetings.

The club creates opportunities for seniors to connect with their community, form friendships, experience new things and add meaning to their days, literature from Club 55 states.