‘Grey matters’ guidance: Friendship, vibrancy and a helping hand

Seniors are just one group backed by Provost and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS)

Big-company bureaucracy. Application forms. Technology, moving faster by the day.

The world can be an intimidating place for seniors.

“Even making a phone call is not a simple proposition anymore. ‘Press 1 for this. Press 2 for that. Press 3 for the other.’ They can get lost pretty easily, and the paperwork can be overwhelming,” says Carrie Olson, director of Provost and District Family and Community Support Services (FCSS).

Since 1973, Provost and District FCSS has helped to strengthen the social fabric of this east-central Alberta region with programs and services that enhance and stabilize family and community life.

Much of that work is tailored to seniors in the community. For 35 hours a week, staff and volunteers from Provost and District FCSS offer general wellness services by appointment—anything from accessing federal and provincial government benefits, to completing income tax forms for non-taxable seniors, to applying for social service rebates, to making doctor’s appointments.

In 2016, more than 500 seniors visited the Provost office for help in one form or another.

“We’ll read their letters for them, make phone calls for them, help them understand bank statements and legal documents,” says Olson. “One time I drove over to a senior’s home and rode the Handi-Van with her, because she was afraid to do it on her own.

“We really end up making a connection with them. It’s very rewarding.”

That said, Provost and District FCSS promotes health and wellness right across the age spectrum, with social programs that include:

  • Home support for the disabled, new mothers, and those with health problems, in addition to seniors;
  • Parent Link for toddlers and their parents;
  • Roots of Empathy, an award-winning, evidence-based classroom program;
  • Summer Sizzler day camps for kids;
  • A walking program for seniors;
  • General counselling services for individuals, families, couples and youths; and
  • A host of other support programs focusing on anxiety and depression, cancer, living with memory loss or dementia, bullying and suicide awareness.

With 13 staff members and 40 volunteers who put in over 200 hours, Provost and District FCSS made direct connections with 8,340 people in the community in 2016.

Enbridge is committed to improving quality of life in the communities near our operations and projects—including the Line 3 Replacement Program across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the largest project in Enbridge history.

In 2016, we invested more than $4 million in community-strengthening initiatives across Alberta, while our various employee-driven United Way campaigns across the province raised more than $3.5 million.

Enbridge’s recent $5,000 donation to Provost and District FCSS will support seniors’ wellness in a variety of ways, including an annual seniors’ fair and the organization’s Meals on Wheels program.

It will also fund attendance at the upcoming 2017 Grey Matters Conference in Hinton, Alberta, for Olson and a colleague. The annual gathering is a networking opportunity for those who provide support for seniors.

“I’ve always wanted to go to the Grey Matters convention, but I’ve been here since 2002 and we’ve just never had the dollars for it,” she says. “So we’re pretty excited.”