Ottawa Golden Oldies Seniors Social Club promotes physical and mental well-being
by Olivia Barrett, Editorial Associate
Saturday 2 December 2023
Despite the first snow of the month, members of the Golden Oldies Seniors’ Club still came out for the club’s first meeting at the Sandy Hill Community Centre on December 2.
The club runs with the support of the African Canadian Association of Ottawa (ACAO) for seniors of the African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) community. ACAO President John Adeyefa spoke to the club’s importance as a social club run by seniors for seniors, adding that “the time has come to have this in our community”.
Golden Oldies welcomes all seniors from the ACB community, regardless of their religion and language among other things. Godwin Ifedi, the initiator and Volunteer Program Coordinator of the Golden Oldies Seniors’ Club, explained that the club aims to create programs tailored for ACB seniors and to help connect members with other programs and services available to them.
Additionally, the social club aims to enhance the lives of ACB seniors in the capital region through their programs and services. Golden Oldies plans to promote externally-driven educational training class likes digital literacy and languages to help seniors develop these skills.
“The more the merrier, in my view,” Ifedi said, explaining that membership to other seniors’ clubs does not mean they cannot be a part of the Golden Oldies.
During the inaugural meeting, members voted on the activities they would want to do, and the floor opened up to suggestions from members for other activities and programs that would benefit seniors.
From dancing to volunteering to community outings and more, the seniors and honorary seniors, members who are at least 60 but not yet 65, shared the activities they currently participate in and pitched ideas for activities the group can do, like travelling and educational training.
Members at the meeting expressed their enthusiasm for the social club during the meet and greet portion of the meeting. The prospects of making lasting friendships and trying new activities excited members.
In addition to introducing themselves and sharing what they are excited for, members discussed issues seniors face as a result of social isolation. From this discussion, the importance of wellness checks and calls arose. These calls and check-ins help seniors who may be living alone or dealing with a sickness because they may not be able to reach out for help.
Ifedi stressed the importance of this social club. “It’s good for our physical health, it’s good for our mental health,” Ifedi said, explaining how social isolation is a serious problem, especially for seniors. Mindful of the various barriers to social and recreational activities, such as accessibility, limited finances and inability to use public transportation,, members shared ideas for helping other seniors access programs and activities, such as “wellness checks” and having other members or seniors donate to offset the cost for those who may be struggling financially.
As the meeting came to a close, Hector Addison, co-founder of ACAO, echoed Ifedi’s sentiments about the club being run by seniors for seniors. “This is a club for us, by us. … We know what we want,” Addison said.
When asked where he sees the club in five years, Addison said “I want it to be as big as it can be.”
The following persons volunteered to join Godwin Ifedi as members of the club’s Executive Committee, tasked with planning and managing the activities of the club: Clarissa Sherman, Jocelyn Constant and Aba Tsiagbey.
For more information on the Ottawa Golden Oldies Seniors’ Social Club, contact: [email protected]