Osprey helps fill the gap for seniors in Nelson area

The Osprey Community Foundation believes Nelson could be that community.

Imagine a community that is truly friendly to seniors. A community that is a model of what can be achieved when all sectors of the community work together to meet the challenges of an aging population.

The Osprey Community Foundation believes Nelson could be that community.

Two years ago Osprey launched a community consultation process that identified some of the gaps in services and needs for Nelson-area seniors. Now, it is contracting Nelson CARES Society to work to address these needs.

Nelson CARES was chosen for its existing infrastructure, its community development experience, and because its proposed plan is a good fit with Osprey’s vision.

“We hope to move the community from ‘what is’ to ‘what could be’,” says Nelson Ames, Osprey board member who is leading the Foundation’s work in this area. “How can the community support seniors to live full, rewarding lives? What kind of community do we want to live in? This is a discussion that should involve all of us because we’ll all be seniors one day.”

The first step of the project will be to bring together members of the community interested in this issue. An advisory steering committee will be formed and charged with hiring a project manager. This key person will work with the broader community to shape a made-in-Nelson plan to make this a place where all seniors can live well and age with dignity. There are good models used elsewhere that can be adapted to our local situation. We will also see some innovative, home-grown ideas.

“There’s always going to be tension between current and future needs,” says Osprey’s chair Tom Murray. “But Osprey wants to build future capacity. We often find ourselves spreading limited resources among an increasing number of people. It’s as if more and more folks are tumbling over a waterfall and we’re down below trying to pull them from the river one by one. What if we could prevent vulnerable people from being swept over the falls in the first place? We want to look at the bigger picture. If we can act as a catalyst to create a community that really cares about and supports its older citizens, our funding will have a much bigger impact over time.”

The Columbia Basin Trust is providing $100,000 to this three-year, $270,000 project and will sit on the project management committee.