FOCUS ON SENIORS: Fun at Brantford’s seniors fair

Opinion May 21, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Brantford Seniors Resource Fair is getting bigger and bigger each year.

Presented by the city’s CARP chapter, in conjunction with Investment Planning Council and Your Neighbourhood Credit Union, the ninth annual fair took place on May 6.

The Brantford and District Civic Centre, with its large arena, good parking, easily accessible doors, accessible washrooms and central location, is popular with both seniors and vendors.   

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) was at the fair for its third year and this time rented two booths. Volunteers from the board of directors and the communication committee were on hand to meet and greet fairgoers. For a small non-profit organization with a correspondingly small staff team, volunteers are key to the success of any event. The results are in and GRCOA is proud to acknowledge another great day at the fair.

For GRCOA, the fair is a chance to talk about its work. It’s an opportunity to engage people in conversation to find out what’s on their minds. It’s also a time for fun and fellowship. The volunteers can connect with friends and colleagues and make connections with new people. As well, the volunteers all take advantage of the time to visit the other vendors to inquire about their programs and services. Finally, everyone truly enjoys the golden opportunities to work together “to create an age-friendly community for a lifetime.”

Each year, GRCOA conducts a “bingo dabber” survey to engage people in discussion and dialogue about a particular idea.   

This year, participants were asked, “Do you read the Brant News … yes or no?” and, if so, “Do you read the Focus on Seniors articles … yes or no?”

Seniors were given a bingo dabber to mark their responses in the appropriate column and the results were later tabulated, counting the dabs, one by one.

Why ask this question? For the past year,  GRCOA has been in partnership with Brant News with a weekly column, entitled Focus on Seniors, which is dedicated to items of interest or concern for older adults. After speaking engagements, in the office, or by email, people have reported how much they enjoy the new section or a particular story. After posing the question at the fair and counting the dabs, GRCOA has a better sense of how many people are reading the paper.

Of the 477 people that voted, 92 per cent stated they read the Brant News and 83 per cent read the Focus on Seniors articles. This is great news! The predominant reason given for not reading the paper was simple. Those people didn’t receive it.

At the second booth, GRCOA coaches were standing by to talk about COMPASS and to encourage people to share their stories. The coaches are all older adults with lived experience of aging and are adept at listening, researching and reporting. At the fair, they wanted to connect with people on a personal basis, one-on-one, to find out what issues or concerns or questions they may be experiencing as they too grow older.   

The lived experience of aging can serve to educate everyone: older adults and their families, youth and young adults and, ultimately, the greater community. The stories gathered through the COMPASS project will be captured into reportable trends. Working to promote the voice of seniors,  GRCOA can first use the information to educate and inform. Next will be the comparison to the Master Aging Plan (MAP), to determine what has changed. As a planning body, the trends with the data contained in the MAP can be used to influence and guide decision-making in our community.   

GRCOA is keen to provide support and encouragement to others in our community. Following each Seniors Resource Fair, the volunteers gather to discuss the day.   

The GRCOA board sent a letter of congratulations and appreciation to the president of the CARP Brantford chapter. This letter also contained some observations that might assist planning for future fairs. As an example this year, GRCOA commended the planners for establishing three “rest areas” for visitors to the fair. What an excellent idea. We know from past experience how exhausting the event can be. Perhaps next year they could use umbrellas or signage to make the rest areas more attractive and easier to locate.

The volunteers make this event. Volunteers work to plan the Seniors Resource Fair. Volunteers work at the individual booths. To all those behind the scenes and up front, thank you for a job well done!

See you next year.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Fun at Brantford’s seniors fair

GRCOA checks in with Seniors Resource Fair survey results

Opinion May 21, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Brantford Seniors Resource Fair is getting bigger and bigger each year.

Presented by the city’s CARP chapter, in conjunction with Investment Planning Council and Your Neighbourhood Credit Union, the ninth annual fair took place on May 6.

The Brantford and District Civic Centre, with its large arena, good parking, easily accessible doors, accessible washrooms and central location, is popular with both seniors and vendors.   

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) was at the fair for its third year and this time rented two booths. Volunteers from the board of directors and the communication committee were on hand to meet and greet fairgoers. For a small non-profit organization with a correspondingly small staff team, volunteers are key to the success of any event. The results are in and GRCOA is proud to acknowledge another great day at the fair.

For GRCOA, the fair is a chance to talk about its work. It’s an opportunity to engage people in conversation to find out what’s on their minds. It’s also a time for fun and fellowship. The volunteers can connect with friends and colleagues and make connections with new people. As well, the volunteers all take advantage of the time to visit the other vendors to inquire about their programs and services. Finally, everyone truly enjoys the golden opportunities to work together “to create an age-friendly community for a lifetime.”

Each year, GRCOA conducts a “bingo dabber” survey to engage people in discussion and dialogue about a particular idea.   

This year, participants were asked, “Do you read the Brant News … yes or no?” and, if so, “Do you read the Focus on Seniors articles … yes or no?”

Seniors were given a bingo dabber to mark their responses in the appropriate column and the results were later tabulated, counting the dabs, one by one.

Why ask this question? For the past year,  GRCOA has been in partnership with Brant News with a weekly column, entitled Focus on Seniors, which is dedicated to items of interest or concern for older adults. After speaking engagements, in the office, or by email, people have reported how much they enjoy the new section or a particular story. After posing the question at the fair and counting the dabs, GRCOA has a better sense of how many people are reading the paper.

Of the 477 people that voted, 92 per cent stated they read the Brant News and 83 per cent read the Focus on Seniors articles. This is great news! The predominant reason given for not reading the paper was simple. Those people didn’t receive it.

At the second booth, GRCOA coaches were standing by to talk about COMPASS and to encourage people to share their stories. The coaches are all older adults with lived experience of aging and are adept at listening, researching and reporting. At the fair, they wanted to connect with people on a personal basis, one-on-one, to find out what issues or concerns or questions they may be experiencing as they too grow older.   

The lived experience of aging can serve to educate everyone: older adults and their families, youth and young adults and, ultimately, the greater community. The stories gathered through the COMPASS project will be captured into reportable trends. Working to promote the voice of seniors,  GRCOA can first use the information to educate and inform. Next will be the comparison to the Master Aging Plan (MAP), to determine what has changed. As a planning body, the trends with the data contained in the MAP can be used to influence and guide decision-making in our community.   

GRCOA is keen to provide support and encouragement to others in our community. Following each Seniors Resource Fair, the volunteers gather to discuss the day.   

The GRCOA board sent a letter of congratulations and appreciation to the president of the CARP Brantford chapter. This letter also contained some observations that might assist planning for future fairs. As an example this year, GRCOA commended the planners for establishing three “rest areas” for visitors to the fair. What an excellent idea. We know from past experience how exhausting the event can be. Perhaps next year they could use umbrellas or signage to make the rest areas more attractive and easier to locate.

The volunteers make this event. Volunteers work to plan the Seniors Resource Fair. Volunteers work at the individual booths. To all those behind the scenes and up front, thank you for a job well done!

See you next year.

FOCUS ON SENIORS: Fun at Brantford’s seniors fair

GRCOA checks in with Seniors Resource Fair survey results

Opinion May 21, 2015 by Kathryn Poirier Brant News

The Brantford Seniors Resource Fair is getting bigger and bigger each year.

Presented by the city’s CARP chapter, in conjunction with Investment Planning Council and Your Neighbourhood Credit Union, the ninth annual fair took place on May 6.

The Brantford and District Civic Centre, with its large arena, good parking, easily accessible doors, accessible washrooms and central location, is popular with both seniors and vendors.   

The Grand River Council on Aging (GRCOA) was at the fair for its third year and this time rented two booths. Volunteers from the board of directors and the communication committee were on hand to meet and greet fairgoers. For a small non-profit organization with a correspondingly small staff team, volunteers are key to the success of any event. The results are in and GRCOA is proud to acknowledge another great day at the fair.

For GRCOA, the fair is a chance to talk about its work. It’s an opportunity to engage people in conversation to find out what’s on their minds. It’s also a time for fun and fellowship. The volunteers can connect with friends and colleagues and make connections with new people. As well, the volunteers all take advantage of the time to visit the other vendors to inquire about their programs and services. Finally, everyone truly enjoys the golden opportunities to work together “to create an age-friendly community for a lifetime.”

Each year, GRCOA conducts a “bingo dabber” survey to engage people in discussion and dialogue about a particular idea.   

This year, participants were asked, “Do you read the Brant News … yes or no?” and, if so, “Do you read the Focus on Seniors articles … yes or no?”

Seniors were given a bingo dabber to mark their responses in the appropriate column and the results were later tabulated, counting the dabs, one by one.

Why ask this question? For the past year,  GRCOA has been in partnership with Brant News with a weekly column, entitled Focus on Seniors, which is dedicated to items of interest or concern for older adults. After speaking engagements, in the office, or by email, people have reported how much they enjoy the new section or a particular story. After posing the question at the fair and counting the dabs, GRCOA has a better sense of how many people are reading the paper.

Of the 477 people that voted, 92 per cent stated they read the Brant News and 83 per cent read the Focus on Seniors articles. This is great news! The predominant reason given for not reading the paper was simple. Those people didn’t receive it.

At the second booth, GRCOA coaches were standing by to talk about COMPASS and to encourage people to share their stories. The coaches are all older adults with lived experience of aging and are adept at listening, researching and reporting. At the fair, they wanted to connect with people on a personal basis, one-on-one, to find out what issues or concerns or questions they may be experiencing as they too grow older.   

The lived experience of aging can serve to educate everyone: older adults and their families, youth and young adults and, ultimately, the greater community. The stories gathered through the COMPASS project will be captured into reportable trends. Working to promote the voice of seniors,  GRCOA can first use the information to educate and inform. Next will be the comparison to the Master Aging Plan (MAP), to determine what has changed. As a planning body, the trends with the data contained in the MAP can be used to influence and guide decision-making in our community.   

GRCOA is keen to provide support and encouragement to others in our community. Following each Seniors Resource Fair, the volunteers gather to discuss the day.   

The GRCOA board sent a letter of congratulations and appreciation to the president of the CARP Brantford chapter. This letter also contained some observations that might assist planning for future fairs. As an example this year, GRCOA commended the planners for establishing three “rest areas” for visitors to the fair. What an excellent idea. We know from past experience how exhausting the event can be. Perhaps next year they could use umbrellas or signage to make the rest areas more attractive and easier to locate.

The volunteers make this event. Volunteers work to plan the Seniors Resource Fair. Volunteers work at the individual booths. To all those behind the scenes and up front, thank you for a job well done!

See you next year.