Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Letter: Lambton Seniors Association closing

On October 31, 2019, the Lambton Seniors Association (LSA) will be closing its doors. It is with heartfelt regret that the Board of Directors announces its
dissolution. LSA appreciates the 12 years of funding that they received but are extremely disappointed that the United Way changed its funding policy which disqualified LSA from further funding. Continued funding was contingent upon the implementation of a ‘Means Test’ for clients of the Handyman/Handywoman (HM/HW) program. This was not in compliance with the LSA mandate which stated that they serve retired seniors 55 years and over and those with disabilities.

LSA has been the longest serving seniors organization in Lambton County. In 2018, over 50 HM/HW served 2,200 clients and did over 10,000 jobs. Losing these services will leave a void in the community. Clients, who have become firm friends over time, are now feeling deserted and isolated. Many will be able to continue with their present HM/HW as independent contractors. However, new clients will not be able to access the LSA Program.

As people age, their abilities change and they often live alone. Simple everyday tasks become daunting and sometimes impossible. Imagine simple tasks such as changing a light bulb, opening a stiff drawer to try and get cutlery, trying to open a stuck window, having a leaking faucet, which many take for granted and some seniors cannot accomplish. For 29 years clients have always known who to call – LSA – who connect them with a HM/HW depending on the specific need.

With the loss of the United Way funding, an aggressive fundraising campaign was carried out which targeted industry, businesses, foundations, labour unions, government grants and clients. The lack of the required amount of financial support resulted in LSA’s inability to continue. Over the past nearly 21 years, this unique HM/HW program has provided a great resource, helping seniors remain safely in their homes. LSA thanks their volunteer Board of Directors for their dedicated service, and the Handymen and Handywomen who so selflessly assisted seniors to remain, independently, in their own homes.

For 29 years, LSA has also hosted the annual Information Fair which availed seniors and their families of available resources in the community. The annual Seniors Picnic in Petrolia was another social event that participants enjoyed. LSA were also instrumental in the establishment of the West-Lambton Community Health Centre and the Rapids Family Health Team. LSA is grateful to those individuals, clients, health partners and agencies who have supported them, and whose programs and achievements are a reflection on those who had the vision to initiate LSA nearly 30 years ago.

Lambton Seniors Association’ Board of Directors

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