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Healthy Canadians Grant: Les Sorteux

A community group in Quebec is using their Healthy Canadians Grant to help local seniors participate in in a wide variety of activities and in the process learn a valuable life skill.

Parrainage Civique de Vaudreuil-Soulanges is a non-profit community organization that aims to assist adults with intellectual disabilities and seniors with reduced autonomy, as well as provide respite for caregivers. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the CMA Foundation, Parrainage Civique started their Les Sorteux program this past fall, to provide more recreational activities adapted to the needs of seniors. Activities range from art classes, to museum outings, to agritourism tours and are available to seniors and caregivers, giving both groups a chanceto get out, have fun and meet new people.

Besides providing an opportunity for seniors to participate in fun activities, the program uses public transportation whenever possible, providing participants an opportunity to get familiar with the system. Many of the seniors are unable to drive and have never used public transportation. By helping them feel comfortable using the bus, participants gain new freedom. As one senior remarked, “now that I’ve used public transit, I want to come back to Montreal.I wasn’t going anymore unless I had a medical appointment because it’s no longer doable by car. It had become too complicated.”

Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. The seniors involved especially enjoy the opportunity to travel outside the Vaudreuil-Soulanges area to experience cultural outings in nearby Montreal — something most were unable to do before. The outings offered are chosen with dual goals in mind: meeting the interests of seniors and getting them moving. Activities take into account the varying physical abilities of the participants, making them accessible to all.

Les Sorteux gives seniors an opportunity to get out, take part in a wide variety of experiences, make new friends and perhaps most importantly become more independent. The benefits of the program will have an impact on the lives of the seniors involved long after the outings are over.

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