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FCSS walking challenge for seniors hits the sidewalks in Taber and area

Posted on May 20, 2020 by Taber Times

Submitted by FCSS

A plethora of services for seniors are offered through Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). In the Taber area, a brand new program is up and walking, as seniors are encouraged to get active during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are starting a walking challenge for seniors,” said Cindy Lauwen, FCSS volunteer services co-ordinator.

According to Lauwen, the “Silver Sneakers Walking Challenge” is for all seniors in Taber and surrounding area to join and increase their physical activity level.

“Every week they are to do their walking, get outside, go for a walk, and then they call and report their distance, steps, or their time. We’re just kind of keeping it general, so it’s easy for people to track,” she noted.

When seniors register, Lauwen explained, FCSS staff will take their information and participants will receive a welcome package with all the pertinent details about the challenge. Latecomers are welcome too.

“Every week we’ll either doorstop drop or, depending on their preference, e-mail them the next week’s information. Every week they get some information on healthy living relevant to seniors.”

Topics will include getting good sleep, staying hydrated, and keeping brains active.

“Our program runs for six weeks. At the end, we’re going to total and see how far we’ve walked. Whether that is across Alberta or we get into a different province. We’ll just wait and see how far we get,” she added.

The challenge began May 13.

FCSS staff, Lauwen said, brainstormed ways to still reach seniors during the pandemic.

“Now that it’s nice outside, hoping they would want to get outside. Walking is so beneficial in so many ways. We just thought that might be a good place to start,” she said.

Lauwen says FCSS seniors’ services is available in Taber and surrounding area communities to help and support seniors.

“If you have a question or if you need something, we hope they would reach out to us. If we don’t have the answer, we can connect them to someone that does,” she said.

Visit fcss.ca for more information. To register, seniors can call, text, or leave a message for Renee White, an FCSS seniors’ services outreach worker, at 587-370-8518 or e-mail Renee.White@fcss.ca.

White said she is pretty excited about the walking challenge for seniors through FCSS.

“There are so many benefits from walking. Improving heart health and, especially during this time, it helps with mental health. It’s important to reduce anxiety during the pandemic. A lot of people end up just watching the news and it’s good to get out a little bit and take a break,” White said.

White noted seniors don’t have to be registered before the start date.

“If they want to join us afterwards, they can. We are trying to get different programs up and running right now. And we’re always here. If anybody needs help with anything, we can connect them with services they might be needing. We’re here, we’re operating, and we’re available to help seniors out,” said White.

White said the hope is for seniors to experience the benefits of walking.

“And have fun participating in this program. Eventually, when restrictions get lifted, seniors can hopefully have a healthy habit that has started and then maybe seniors can start up walking groups. It’s a good way to meet each other and get to know people.”

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