Brantford Chapter: Focus on Seniors – The role of CARP in our community

Click here to read ‘Focus on Seniors – The role of CARP in our community‘ by Kathryn Poirier – Brant News, January 28. 2016

We are accustomed to using acronyms in everyday language. It is estimated that there are more than one million acronyms in use today.

An acronym is formed using the first initial of each of the words in a phrase. For example, FYI means “for your information” and OAS means “old age security,” referring to the pension people in Canada receive after they turn 65.  Sometimes it’s difficult or even impossible to know what an acronym stands for.

At the Grand River Council on Aging, acronyms are avoided. When necessary, the acronym and the explanation are both used. A good example is our own short form name – the GRCOA – for “Grand River Council on Aging.”

CARP is another acronym you may be familiar with. It stands for

“Canadian Associated of Retired Persons.” Moses Znaimer, president of CARP, also writes a regular feature in Zoomer magazine.

CARP promotes a new vision for aging. It is a national, non-profit association committed to promoting social change, financial security, access to health care and freedom from discrimination. It also advocates for change in areas where gaps in law and policy make aging difficult.

As a national leader, CARP works to advance the needs and interests of Canadians as they age. Their efforts focus on all matters relating to an aging society, including pension reform, the importance of caregivers and creating age-friendly communities.

There are more than 60 CARP chapters across Canada, including one in Brantford.

Members have access to a wide range of benefits, including a variety of discounts on certain products and services. Examples are insurance, travel, hearing devices and much more. In addition, membership includes a subscription to Zoomer magazine. The articles and stories in the magazine focus on people over 45.

Lunchtime meetings take place on the third Thursday of every other month beginning in January. They are held at the Brantford and District Civic Centre auditorium and guests are welcome. The meetings are informative, educational, social gatherings that usually feature a guest speaker and include a complimentary lunch.

Volunteers serve in various capacities. A board of directors is elected each year to provide leadership to help serve seniors in the community and support the interests of CARP. There are several committees that work on membership, bylaws, advocacy, lunch for general meetings, affinity programs, event planning, communications and fundraising.

The busy schedule includes raising a flag in celebration of National Seniors Day on Oct. 1 each year. CARP is also participating in gatherings as part of the Age-Friendly Community Summit being led by Brant MPP Dave Levac and the Grand River Council on Aging.

This dedicated group of volunteers also organizes the successful annual Seniors Resource Fair held in May. From humble beginnings, the fair has grown bigger each year, with attendance at more than 2,000 people in 2015. People were lined up and waiting half an hour before the doors opened, with more than 1,800 entering the facility before noon.

The fair is a wonderful opportunity for vendors to showcase their products, programs and services. It’s about communication, information and social participation. People connect with old friends as they wander past the displays. Connections are formed.

The role CARP plays at the national level and right here in our own community is important. The demographics forecast an increasing number of people over 55. The baby boomers will expect and demand adequate and appropriate products and services. And CARP will help to achieve that. It’s one acronym well worth remembering.

To contact the Brantford chapter of CARP, email [email protected] or call 226-920-6248.