PAL speaks to Manitoba Government

September 27, 2015

Thanks to the PAL (55+) members who attended the Manitoba Budget meeting on Monday September 28. Read on for more information and a photo of some attendees…

We were  a very noticeable group and were able to make an informal presentation to Finance Minister Dewar and MLA Nancy Allen about the need for additional and stable funding for PAL.

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PAL speaks!

If you were unable to attend, you can still make your voice heard.

As you may know, Pembina Active Living (55+) has a vision of one day having a home of our own.  A home away from home for all our PAL’s; a place to drop in and have coffee with friends and to participate in programs and activities that engage the mind, body and spirit of older adults. One of the barriers to realizing that dream is financial; both the funds to acquire a space as well as a source of on-going, reliable operating funds. There is a study, carried out by the Centre on Aging and commissioned by the Manitoba Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat, which outlines the “benefits of social participation on the health and well-being of older adults, as well as the role senior centres might play in promoting the health and well-being of older adults who use them”. Some of the findings of this provincially funded study point to significant potential savings in health spending for increased social activity, for example: The risk of developing a disability in activities of daily living decreased by 43% over an average of 5 years for each additional social activity engaged in; the risk of mobility disability decreased by 31% (James et al., 2011) The rate of cognitive decline was reduced by an average of 70% in older adults who were frequently socially active compared to those who were infrequently socially active over an average of 5 years. (James, Wilson, Barnes, & Bennet, 2011)  Older adults who participated on a daily or weekly basis in social activity had a 40% reduced risk of developing dementia compared those who were not socially engaged (Wang, Karp, Winblad, & Fratiglioni, 2002)  

The Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Government of Manitoba, is inviting us to participate in preparing the 2016 Provincial Budget.  Individuals, corporations, community groups and associations may share their priorities by: Mail or Email: Make a submission or write to the minister: c/o “Pre-Budget Consultations” Room 103, Legislative Building Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0V8  Email the minister c/o minfin@leg.gov.mb.ca

Completing an Online Survey Manitoba’s 2016 Pre-Budget Consultation Survey will be made available on September 25, 2015. Please visit http://www.gov.mb.ca/finance/budgets/consultations.html for access to the web-link.

Participating in the telephone town hall meetings There we will be two telephone town hall meetings where you can share your views on this year’s budget priorities and ask the minister questions. The telephone town hall meetings will take place between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on the following dates: . October 22, 2015 – Winnipeg area focus – please register by October 19, 2015 October 23, 2015 – Rural Manitoba focus – please register by October 20, 2015 To register for these meetings, please visit telephone town hall registration.

Attending public consultations across the province  At several of the public consultations, the minister will deliver a presentation to provide an overview of Manitoba’s economy, finances, and priorities.

PAL invites you to let your voice be heard in this process in as many of the ways available as you are able. Please call in, send a letter and/or attend an event. Let us all speak up to say that senior centres play a vital role in the health and well-being of the individual and of the community.  PAL invites you to recognize the value that your senior centre plays in your life and to share that with the Government of Manitoba through this process as a request for senior centre funding.

Also – What do you think about starting a petition that could be submitted through this process, with the following recommendations?  We could do an online petition and possibly coordinate with the other senior centres to have it signed. Recommendations:

  1. That the Government of Manitoba commit to further explore, by way of designated funding for a long-range study, the cost savings associated with Senior Centre participation; social involvement and active living.
  2. That the Government of Manitoba commit to fund the current and future senior centres working on the front-line of health promotion for older adults through active living and social involvement programs and activities. There are currently 45 senior centres operating in Manitoba who desperately require on-going operating funds.  We implore the Government of Manitoba to develop a funding formula to provide these current and future senior centres a source of on-going, reliable funds to fulfill their missions.
  3. That the Government of Manitoba work with the Manitoba Association of Senior Centres and the leadership of the current senior centres operating in Manitoba, in the determination of this funding formula.
  4. That the Government of Manitoba fund a position to administer this program through the Seniors and Healthy Aging Secretariat.

I think we have a real opportunity here.  Can we all work together to make the most of it right now?

Best,

Alanna Jones

Executive Director

Pembina Active Living (55+)

204-930-6931

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