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JONESIE: What happens when Kamloops seniors escape the old folks home

May 29, 2015 - 11:32 AM

I’m keeping a close eye on a group of uppity seniors in Kamloops who seem to have escaped the seniors home. You should keep an eye on them too.

They’re possessed with a crazy idea that they needn't be behind walled cities or huddled together at the pudding station of the modern old folks home. So far they haven’t been scooped up by men in white uniforms packing wheelchairs and medicine so maybe we can peak in on them like an Attenborough nature special.

“If you look closely, you can see that they’re not entirely helpless. They’ve been in a kitchen for a full 30 minutes and so far no one has fallen and can’t get up. This is amazing.”

Pardon my hyperbole, but that is kind of the extent of my relationship with all seniors who have never bought be a Christmas present. That is, I have none. Chances are you don’t either. I’m not sure my kids, at ages 16 and 15 know anyone outside of our family — or working the tills at Wal-Mart — with wrinkled skin and grey hair.

How did we get here?

In so many cultures, seniors are revered, including our own local First Nations. We bring you all kinds of stories about well organized bands working hard to connect elders with children to pass on history, stories, culture, language and food.

Now I know this isn’t usually cool to say, but our seniors themselves may be partly to blame. On the rare occasion I do have a chance to eavesdrop on a conversation, they often seem terrifically frightened by the world outside the seniors centre, like hoodlums in leather jackets, dungarees and skateboards are just waiting to pounce should they poke their heads up like gophers.

That’s the real challenge: How and where do we find a place that’s safe and comfortable to connect, to show young people — heck, my generation as well — immediate value from our elders and in turn to give our elders a glimpse of the goodness they helped create?

The answer comes from, yes, seniors (surprise!) and it’s so simple: The kitchen. The dinner table.

The Centre for Seniors Information in Kamloops has been talking for five years about creating a community kitchen and they just got some cash from the provincial government to get it going. Sure, it’s about making food for seniors and about sharing skills among the demographic, but they want to take it to another level and invite others in to work with them.

“We want to link the older generation to the younger generation in order to make sure the younger generation has knowledge,” centre director Brenda Prevost says. 

They want to pass on their knowledge of cooking and canning and food preparation. But that would just be the start. Who knows what else may be transferred. Knowledge. History. Trust. Respect. Love?

The older I get, the more I think our society is kidding itself in how far it has progressed. We jet headlong into a digital future, but it’s worth understanding what we are leaving behind.

I invite you to join me in keeping an eye on them and their project because this is one idea worth sharing, perhaps in a kitchen over a tray of freshly baked muffins.

— Marshall Jones is the editor of

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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