Fort Nelson is a remote community in northeastern British Columbia. We are a community of approximately 5,000 people and the nearest main centre is 400km south down the Alaska Highway. Since its inception in 2008, the Northern Rockies Seniors Society has been dedicated to enriching the lives of its seniors. As there is no public transportation in our community, we found many seniors were not getting out and socializing. In 2008 we bought a small school bus with wheelchair capabilities from the School Board for $1 and with the help of the local businesses we had transport for seniors and people with mobility issues. In 2010, our bus had lots of mechanical issues and we were having trouble keeping it on the road. A local family business stepped up and bout us a new 14 passenger bus with 5 wheelchair capabilities. Our seniors were now getting out and socializing, maintaining their independence by doing their own banking etc. without having to rely on family and friends. One of our passengers was so happy, he stated that the bus had changed his life.
The next project we have to address is supported living for seniors. In our community we have independent living or a bed at the hospital, there is nothing in between. Many of our seniors have had to move 400km to Fort St John due to lack of facilities. Some people have opted to live at the hospital, the long term care has only 7 beds available. We have found that many of the seniors, in order to stay in their community will choose the long term care at the hospital, even though they are not yet ready for that level of care. Once there in a medical environment, we have found that they actually deteriorate at a faster rate. So our society has taken on the biggest project ever, an 8 unit supported living facility which we have named Heritage Place. For the past 5 years we have fundraised within the community and have raised enough money to put up the building and reach the lock up phase. We have just over $900,000 put into getting the building this far but now we need help to finish it off. This community has put it's heart and soul into getting the building to where it is now, we have seniors waiting to move in and we would like to give them some hope of when they can do this, but right now things have come to a stand still. If we could get some assistance finishing off this project we would be eternally grateful.
What People Are Saying
"If we all had a choice no one would choose to get old however, the choice isn't ours to make. Our choice is to allow people to age with dignity, respect and a helping hand. What is your choice?"
— Joan Kinzett