Report of Chair May 22, 2014

REPORT OF CHAIR MAY 22, 2014

North Fraser Chapter CARP is now four years since inception in 2010. We have gained experience and learned much more about the issues our members are interested in. CARP National Office has provided much improved tools to help us achieve our goals along with a high level of professional help. All these developments enabled us to be more active in member education and advocacy.

Member Meetings

The A B C’s of CARP are Advocacy . . . Benefits . . . and Community. Through our 58 chapters across Canada CARP actively participates in community development. Member education meetings play a significant role in offering value to local communities. The North Fraser Chapter Board set a goal to have at least three member meetings a year. We achieved our goal.

On October 19th we held an overflow meeting for members and guests at the Burnaby Village Museum. Servier Canada, a non-profit pharmaceutical research organization kindly covered all the costs of the meeting including the speaker’s fee and contributed an additional $500.00 to our chapter funds. Dr. Larry Dian, a renowned Vancouver Geriatric Specialist, made a sparkling presentation on Successful Aging. People attending were pleased with the practical information and his humour.

December 11th in this room a Coquitlam author and dementia specialist added the mental part to Successfull Aging . Karen Tyrell, author ot Cracking the Dementia Code, enthralled her audience talking about How to Maintain a Healthy Brain. Her book is available at this meeting and I highly recommend it.

March 20th at the Scandinavian Centre in Burnaby saw a repeat of the oversubscribed ICBC presentation on senior drivers last May in this room. It was again well attended. Out of these meetings came a province-wide CARP advocacy effort to humanize BC’s harsh rules for senior driver examination.

Advocacy

All 10 BC CARP chapters are launching an advocacy effort to change BC’s driver examination rules for seniors. North Fraser chapter has had articles on the subject published in the Tri-City News and the Burnaby Now. We have also been interviewed by CBC Radio and Joy TV. We are urging everyone to send an email or a letter to their local MLA with a copy to Susanne Anton, BC Minister of Justice, who is responsible for the Motor Vehicle branch. We have suggestions on our website at www.carp.ca/northfraser. On the CARP website www.carp.ca you will find under EVoice the names, addresses and emails of all the MLA’s and Cabinet Ministers. You can send your email directly from EVoice. Finally, BC Carp Representative April Lewis is trying to arrange for she and I to meet with Susanne Anton. We are committed to getting BC’s senior driving rules changed and will be relentless in our pursuit of change. You can find more information about this issue on our website.

Pension Reform is a big issue with CARP Nationally. In our chapter we have had a letter to the editor on this issue published in the Vancouver Sun. We also had an hour-long interview with David Berner on Shaw Cable TV.

Ageism is another big CARP issue. Both the Vancouver Sun and the TriCity News published our opinion piece on ageism: Boomers and Seniors Not a Burden on Society, talking about the Zoomer image of older Canadians which dispels the aging stereotype. These articles are available on our website.

Other issues we’re concerned about is the takeover by BC Housing of seniors housing run by non-profits, and the withdrawal of United Way grants to organizations providing services to seniors.

Chapter Promotion

In October we had a booth at the New Westminster Seniors’ Festival where we were able to introduce many people to CARP and the North Fraser Chapter.

At the Vancouver Zoomer Show in February each chapter in the Lower Mainland had a separate booth, where we were able to let CARP members in our area know about our chapter. We were also able to promote our March 20th meeting on seniors’ driving.

Community Involvement

We have been actively involved in the Tri-Cities Seniors Planning Network since its inception. The Network’s Mission Statement is: Our Mission is to stimulate action by seniors and other stakeholders to dramatically improve the lifestyle of Tri-Cities seniors by becoming age-friendly communities. All seniors are welcome to attend the monthly meetings of the Network and to participate in its activities. The next meeting is at 1:00 p.m. June 17th at the Port Moody Atrs Centre.

The Network identified transportation as a major issue affecting Tr-Cities seniors and is holding a Transportation Forum June 26th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship, 1160 Lansdowne Avenue, Coquitlam. Attendance is free. Your chapter will be active participants in this event.

Member Survey

With the help of Brian Boyle and Dignity Memorial, we sent out a survey to find out which issues and activities members would most like us to pursue. Thank you to all who completed the survey, particularly those who volunteered to help with activities. Interests were varied but a few were predominant. Popular meeting topics included food and diet, medical issues and seniors’ housing and care. Advocacy issues were wide ranging but followed closely on major CARP National issues such as pension reform, ageism, care giving and the right to die. Popular social activities were bowling, a dance or social, a golf tournament and a bridge/card night.

We hope to hold at least one social event in the Fall. They require much time to organize.

Contributions to the Chapter

Holding member meetings presents many challenges, including lining up speakers, finding and paying for meeting rooms, promoting the event and providing refreshments.

The Tri-City News has been very supportive by publishing an article promoting the meeting whenever we meet in the Tri-Cities. CARP affinity partners, particularly Home Instead Care, have donated door prizes and rented tables at meetings. But two affinity partners stand out.

CARP affinity partner Sun Life Financial contributed $500.00 to our chapter which we will use to pay for tables at community events where we can promote CARP.

Brian Boyle of Dignity Memorial, our speaker today, has made numerous contributions to our success. As a Director serving on the chapter Board, he has been creative and supportive. He has also provided refreshments for our meetings, paid room rental fees, helped with publicity and paid for mailing Newsletters. His contributions have been outstanding. And now he has made a remarkable offer which I will describe later.

CARP National pays the chapter a royalty on all new and renewal memberships but only if the application has a chapter number 12 on it. These royalties are our main source of income. Please make sure when you renew to include chapter number 12 on your application.

CARP Membership

For those who are not yet members of CARP, please join us in our march to a million. CARP has about 300,000 members across Canada. That number along with our professional advocacy staff have made CARP the most consulted advocacy group in Canada. But consultation does not necessarily mean results. We have won many battles; with a million members we can win many more because politicians listen to numbers. CARP membership along with nine issues of Zoomer magazine, the number one magazine in Canada, is $34.95. Today at this meeting you can sign up for only $24.95. That’s a terrific deal. But it gets even better. Brian Boyle of Dignity Memorial will pay for new or renewal membership for the first 25 people to sign up today.

Volunteering

Studies show that volunteering is beneficial in many ways, including improved health and longevity. You can gain much personal satisfaction from helping to improve the lifestyle of people as they age. We are holding elections today for Directors to serve on our Board and we have some openings. We also have positions available on committees of the Board and for helping in other capacities. Please let us know if you want to help with our mission.

Directors

We are fortunate to have outstanding people on our Board. Unfortunately we are losing two of our founding Directors at this meeting. Gail Hnatiuk and Peter Skinder have made tremendous contributions to our Board and we will miss their inspiration and dedication. Three founding Directors remain, Ann McBride, Dave Mannings and Bruce Bird. Ann and Dave continue to make valuable contributions to our chapter and are just as enthusiastic about CARP as they were in the beginning. Lennox Akow who joined our Board two years ago continues to make a worthwhile contribution.

While we’re unfortunate to lose two of our stalwarts, we are very fortunate to have Brian Boyle, Karen Tyrell and Jill Totton as new Directors. Their thoughts are stimulating and their dedication to CARP admirable. Renewal in any organization is essential to remaining dynamic and these people have helped us remain vibrant. Two new people are standing for election to our Board, Gail Murray and Tom Saunders. Both have strong skills and experience that will add to the Board’s strength.

Thank you for kind attention.

Bruce Bird