Started in 2019, Age Friendly Cold Lake began as a society with the goal of changing the conversation around aging and challenging the harmful narrative that “getting old sucks.” Two years ago, AFCL started with one employee and a board – today, we’ve grown to four employees, a board of seven members, many volunteers, and over 20 programs and services to offer seniors in our community.
The AFCL crew in 2021 – we have since grown!
As our community’s needs change, so does our focus. What started as a mission to educate and inform has turned into a collaborative partnership with multiple local agencies to offer one-on-one services to help seniors age healthily in their place of choice. We also offer support to their caregivers and family members. Our partnerships have grown to include Nav-CARE, the Cold Lake Palliative Care Society, Alberta Health Services, Caregivers Alberta, and the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories.
We work in a small, busy office located directly behind the Husky gas station that we share with the Cold Lake Men’s Shed. Our office is our home base. From the office we offer grief support groups, hold our volunteer trainings, and coordinate all our services.
We offer trained Volunteer Navigators, outreach, accompanied appointment visits and transportation to appointments, meal support, light housekeeping and home maintenance, medical equipment loans, short-term caregiver respite, caregiver support groups, grief recovery groups and private grief counselling, a dementia day program, Cycling Without Age trishaw rides, Feast to Friendship luncheons, and the Cold Lake Men’s Shed. Our list of programs and services is always evolving to meet community need.
Without our volunteers, many of our programs and services would not exist. Our Volunteer Navigators are one of our most valued offerings to our community. Specially trained to address the needs of seniors living with declining health, Volunteer Navigators are matched to a client and visit them in their homes, help them with their day-to-day life, help reduce feelings of loneliness and anxiety, and most importantly, build a friendship.
Many of our other services are accomplished with the help of volunteers, such as Cycling Without Age, Minds in Motion (our dementia day program), and our luncheons. We truly cannot thank our volunteers enough for their dedication.
Our newest offering, in collaboration with Bonnyville FCSS and funded by the United Way, is our In-Home Support program. This program offers seniors light housekeeping at a price tailored to their personal financial situation, meal support, and transportation to medical appointments. We’ve had many requests for a transportation and housekeeping service, so we are overjoyed to be able to launch this new program for seniors in Cold Lake and the MD of Bonnyville.
We are so grateful for all our partnerships, the support of the City of Cold Lake, our wonderful funders, our clients and their families, and our volunteers. It is only because of them that we can continue to grow our services and supports for the seniors of Cold Lake.