Mississauga senior activity centre looks for more members as it celebrates 30 years

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Published October 3, 2022 at 1:38 pm

active adult centre of Mississauga
Photo courtesy of the Active Adult Centre of Mississauga

After a drop in membership during the pandemic, the Active Adult Centre of Mississauga (AACM) looks to bring back members with new program options and a more accessible building.

The centre is celebrating 30 years in the community offering programs including art and creative writing classes and fitness classes such as Tai Chi and Zumba to adults 50 years old and older.

Founded in 1992, the Active Adult Centre of Mississauga, a registered charity, is a recreational, wellness, and social engagement hub at 377 Burnhamthorpe Rd. E., Suite 116. It was formerly known as Square One Older Adult Centre.

The centre is affordable — an annual membership is under $40, and free to those 90 years old and over. There are fees for each program but it is inexpensive. The centre does fundraising and they have a multi-year grant from the City of Mississauga to cover the building lease to keep participant costs low.

“We really want to keep things affordable, and manageable for seniors, some of whom are on fixed incomes, but need the socialization especially now,” says AACM’s executive director Linda Salb.

Before the pandemic, the centre had more than 1,000 members but membership is now around 800.

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“But we’re reaching out to past members, lapsed members just to say we’re here, this is what we’re doing,” says Salb.

active adult centre of mississauga

They hope numbers will return to normal in the next few months. Thanks to grant funding, the centre is offering programs both virtually and over the phone for older adults not comfortable attending in person.

“So by doing a hybrid, allowing people to take it either by phone or through online, making it accessible to people in that way…they got to participate in the social inclusion, the chat before, the chat afterwards, just being part of a group again, which is what some of them were sorely missing for the last couple of years,” says Salb.

The phone in option is popular with people not internet savvy. Participants call in through a portal, similar to Zoom, to listen to the program or class. Salb thinks the virtual and phone in options will continue.

“I think hybrid programming for our organization, it’s probably here to stay.”

New grants

To help the centre offer this hybrid option they received a Community Building Fund grant from Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The $77,800 Community Building Fund will support the AACM’s staffing and operational costs, as well as the purchase of software and equipment to offer the hybrid model of seniors’ programming.

They also received $43,900 to install automatic doors and replace flooring in the studio to make the facility safer and more accessible.

“Staying active and engaged at every age means healthier communities overall,” says Salb. “With the help of this grant, we were able to build the capacity of our grass-roots organization and adapt to
new ways of meeting seniors’ need for responsive programming.”

In addition to the grants, the centre is celebrating 30 years tonight (Oct. 3) as the City of Mississauga lights up the clock tower and town hall for Seniors’ Day and the AACM.

To learn more about about the AACM visit https://www.aacmiss.ca/

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