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JOURNAL LE HAUT-SAINT-FRANÇOIS / Actualité
Jeudi, 10 octobre 2013

AGE-FRIENDLY



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Lyne Maisonneuve is a madame with a mission! She's on the road these days, trying to contact everybody aged 55 and older in the municipality of Newport. That's 274 persons, about 36% of the population.

Her mission is to find out the needs and interests of seniors and seniors-to-be in Newport. To do that, she has a short one-page questionnaire, and she's asking for responses either by phone or in person. The questionnaire is in both English and French. That's because the Newport municipality has bilingual status. About 30% of its population have English as a first language.

Lyne is doing this because she's Newport's new MADA coordinator. MADA stands for Municipalité Amie Des Aînés, In English, that's Age-Friendly Municipality, and that's what Newport aspires to be. The survey will be the basis of an age-friendly policy and action plan that aim to please seniors.

MADA is a Quebec-wide program, supported mostly by the Quebec government and partly by participating municipalities. All told, some 600 municipalities participate in the MADA program.

In the Haut-Saint-François, we've got a few age-friendly municipalities. Lambton, Martinville, Piopolis, Sainte-Edwidge-de-Clifton, Saint-Ludger and Saint-Malo already have duly approved policies and action plans. Developing their own are Dudswell, Lac Drolet, Lac Mégantic, Lingwick and Weedon, along with Newport. You can see the entire list at www.aines.gouv.qc.ca, the website of Quebec's Secrétariat aux aînés, or secretariat of seniors.

The website defines a MADA community as one that puts an end to ageism. It "develops a culture of social inclusion of seniors." That means that policies, services and structures are adapted to benefit seniors. They are encouraged to participate in community life. Physical and social environments are created that support seniors and help them stay active.
Money is often a great motivator. And so it is for MADA. Helping seniors stay at home, happy, healthy and safe, prevents hospitalizations and saves the health care system a bunch of money.

Make that a whole bunch of money, because a whole bunch of people are getting old these days. Look at these figures for Quebec: Between 2006 and 2056, the proportion of people aged 65 and older will double, from 14% to 28%. And the proportion of people aged 80 years or more will triple, from 3.6% to 10.9%.

The figures come from the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
"They say that 44% of the health care expenditures in Canada are for seniors, aged 65 and older. And seniors represent only 13% of the population," said Lyne.

Oh, the blessings and curses of the baby boom.
Back to Lyne of Newport and her little survey. The questionnaire asks what services people use now, and what else they might need. Then it touches on community life. "We'll talk about getting to know neighbours better, to exchange services with each other," she said.

The survey asks about handicaps and equipment such as wheelchairs. This is useful information for the fire department, said Lyne. "In case of emergency, it's primordial to get there even faster than fast."

It also asks about people's interests, what they'd like to do in their leisure time. "The survey will help paint a portrait of the municipality," she said.

Lyne worked with a committee of seven citizens and one consultant to develop the questionnaire. It takes into account Newport's particular lay of the land. Its territory is a rural area of 270 square kilometres between Cookshire and La Patrie. The municipal hall is in Island Brook, but Newport doesn't have a population centre. Four hamlets comprise the municipality: Island Brook, Randboro, Lawrence Road and St-Mathias-de-Bonneterre.

"And in the middle is woods," Lyne said. "We're the only municipality like that. That's a problem."

And then there's the culture. People are pretty bilingual, she says, but English and French speakers don't tend to do things together. Newport's new MADA policy and action plan will have to take into account its special character.

Lyne aims to finish the project before October 2014 so the next municipal budget can incorporate recommendations coming out of the MADA report.

For more information, visit www.municipalitenewport.com or call Lyne Maisonneuve at 819-889-1340.

MILITARY WHIST
All are welcome to come play military whist at the St. Paul's Church Hall in Bury. It's Friday, October 25, at 1:30 p.m. The fee of $5/person also gives you refreshments. Proceeds are to support the St. Paul's Guild/ A.C.W. To reserve a table, please call Serena Wintle at 819-875-5210. Deadline for reservations: October 21.

CARD PARTIES
The 500 Card Parties are at the Bulwer Community Centre, Jordan Hill Road, on Thursdays, October 17 and 24 at 2 p.m. Admission: $5. Cards, lunch, distribution of prizes. All are welcome! Info: leave message and phone number at 819-875-3452.

CHURCH SERVICE
United: Sunday services and Sunday school are at 9:30 a.m. in Cookshire, and at 11 a.m. in Sawyerville (for details, listen to message at 819-889-2838, and for more info, leave a message and phone number).
Anglican: Sunday services are at 9:30 a.m. in Bury (with Sunday school for children) and 11 a.m. in Cookshire (819-239-6902).
Baptist: In Sawyerville, the worship service is at 9 a.m. in French, and 11 a.m. in English. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. in English and French (819-239-8818).

Do you have news to share? Call 819-300-2374 or email ra.writes@gmail.com by October 15 for publication October 23 and by October 28 for November 6.


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