Edmonton Chapter: A Seniors’ Champion Among Us

Click here to read ‘A Seniors’ Champion Among Us‘ by Dominique Vrolyk- Pipestone Flyer, November 27, 2014.

Many seniors in the City of Leduc – and former colleagues- remember this vivacious and caring lady who was the city’s Seniors Outreach Coordinator for many years; a vital position in a caring metropolis where the seniors’ numbers grow each year as they enjoy the various programs offered here and have no desire to move away.

Bernice Rempel was the City of Leduc’s Seniors Outreach coordinator from 1989 to 2001. She then moved on to being the director of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Board for another four years before semi-retiring. She has come into the city’s spotlight recently as her tireless dedication to the cause of Seniors has been recognized, this time on the regional level of a national organization.

Bernice recently became the proud recipient of the Carol Libman Award presented to her by CARP, the national seniors’ advocacy group. After her semi-retirement, Bernice decided to continue to dedicate her efforts to the challenges and needs of seniors. She joined CARP, and became the Chair of the Edmonton Chapter in 2009. Carole Libman is a lively and articulate, 85-year-young champion of Seniors, who recently retired after twenty-five years of service to CARP. In honor of this dedicated service, a CARP award was created bearing her name. She presented the award to ‘our’ Bernice Rempel.

CARP was formerly dubbed “the Canadian Association for Retired Persons”, but is now simply called CARP. It boasts 300,000 members throughout Canada, and an amazing 14,000 members in Alberta. It is now considered the largest, most powerful seniors’ advocacy group in the land. Jeff Johnson is the new Seniors Minister for Alberta, and will bring his compassion and energy to this critical portfolio. CARP promotes “a New Vision of Aging in Canada”. CARP publishes an online E-newsletter twice a month with updates on policy and interactive polls. (www.carp.ca)

Among CARP’s top ten advocacy issues, here are some that have attracted mass media attention in the past few years. They will require, admittedly, political commitment and long-term investment from governments.

Support for Caregivers: With more than 8 million informal caregivers in Canada, CARP successfully advocated for the Federal Caregiver Tax credit in 2011. It continues to advocate for financial support for informal caregivers, workplace leave protection and respite care for heavy care providers.

Retirement Income Security: Twelve million Canadians do not have pension plans and sadly, 300,000 Canadians over the age of 65 live in poverty. CARP continues to advocate for a Universal Pension Plan for all Canadians.

National Dementia Care Strategy: As 750,000 Canadians live with this debilitating illness (2011 stat) and millions more provide informal care. CARP believes that Canadians need a comprehensive care approach that would include grater caregiver support and more funding for specialized home care and long-term care.

Other critical topics in the CARP focus are patient-centered health care, homecare, older workers who choose to remain engaged and employed, end-of-life care, investor protection, universal Pharmacare that would offer aging Canadians more affordable, accessible drugs, Age-friendly cities, a CARP vision that includes full participation for all citizens in civic and social life, and independent movement throughout their home cities.

CARP publishes a rich in data, well-written and colorful magazine called ZOOMER. Nine times a year, it publishes a myriad of fascinating articles on medical news and miracles, beauty, sex, golden age celebrities, food, travel and small business ideas for seniors. We are proud of Bernice Rempel, the first Carole Libman Award recipient, who reminds us that the wisdom, passion and energy of one senior can support and tirelessly help the cause of thousands.