A very brief history of Bowmont Seniors Assistance Association
Back as far as 1974 – almost 45 years ago – the community identified a multitude of issues that were affecting the lives of many seniors living throughout the Bowness/Montgomery area of northwest Calgary. A few years late, Greenwood Village was added to the area of concern.
The issues were: isolation in the community, health problems, social withdrawal, lack of transportation and lack of knowledge of information on services. Fast-forward to today, and sadly, the problems remain the same.
Backed by the Bowness Senior Citizens Club, the Royal Canadian Legion, the Montgomery Community Association and others, The Bowmont Senior Citizens Advisory Committee was formed and registered under the Societies Act of Alberta, and began operating out of our office at 5000 Bowness Road, where we are still located. The group received funding for one senior citizens worker and one stenographer.
The tasks tackled by the group were formidable: crisis response and emergency services, referral and information services, medical referrals, home visitation by volunteers and coordination of services for such as Meals on Wheels, public health nurses and home help and a myriad of other tasks and connections. All were needed so seniors could live in health and dignity in their homes and community for as long as possible.
From the beginning, there was a vast need for help – often volunteer seniors in the community came forward to assist who had education, time and a desire to see disenfranchised seniors get the help they needed. They blended with another group, working out of the same offices — Seniors Helping Seniors — a name that has informally stuck around to this day. It remains a key part of our mission at the 2018 version of Bowmont Seniors Assistance Association.
Over the years, the association hired social workers (or outreach workers, as they are now called), to deal with the many complicated issues that can beset people as they age. The volunteer board was responsible for hiring these workers, applying for grants and raising funds so they could pay them. Often, quilts were raffled off and draws were held to pay salaries. Obviously, this was a huge weight on all concerned, but the job needed to be done. In 2007, the board entered a partnership with Calgary Family Services (CFS). That partnership, with the agreement of staff, meant that staff moved under the CFS (now carya) umbrella. This move took the weight of finding salary money and personnel supervision from the board.
Moving forward, the board now focuses on advocacy for seniors. In partnership with carya and still working on our original mission to help seniors live in health and dignity in their own homes and community, the board is blending new and old projects. (See other parts of this website for details.)
We are busy. We are strong. We are well-connected. We are seniors helping seniors.