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New Westminster celebrating Seniors Week

Century House is heading online to celebrate Seniors Week.

Century House is heading online to celebrate Seniors Week.

The City of New Westminster and Century House Association are hosting a variety of virtual activities to encourage engagement and healthy living during Seniors Week, which runs from June 1 to 8. A variety of online presentations, a photo contest and a birthday party are among the offerings.

“We haven’t in the past celebrated Seniors Week, but I have always wanted to. This is giving us an opportunity,” said Shelly Schnee, program coordinator of seniors’ services at Century House.  “It’s something that we are going to start doing.”

With its regular programming on hold because of COVID-19, Century House is hosting a variety of online offerings for Seniors Week. Folks just have to download Zoom on their computers or phones to take part in the free events.

Isobel Mackenzie, British Columbia’s seniors’ advocate, will kick off the week with a webinar on Monday, June 1 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., where she’ll discuss her office’s latest report: A Billion Reasons to Care. The report was the first provincial review of the $1.4 billion-dollar contracted long-term care sector in British Columbia.

“She is also going to share some insight on living in the COVID-19 age,” Schnee said. “COVID is sort of like the elephant in the room – you can’t not talk about it.”

Following her presentation, Mackenzie will take part in a question and answer session with attendees. To register, go to

Coun. Chinu Das will be the special guest on the Coffee Break with Shelly sessions on Tuesday, June 2 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Schnee started the sessions a couple weeks after Century House closed because of COVID-19.

“It’s an opportunity to connect; it’s an opportunity for seniors to connect with me and to connect to each other. I have questions that we all take turns answering.  Sometimes they are COVID related; sometimes they are just fun, like what is your favourite childhood memory or what’s a mental health tip to get through this time when things are different. It’s a whole bunch of different things.”

When Century House is open, many folks stay and chat and have coffee at the centre after attending fitness classes.

“I kind of promote it like that is what we are doing,” Schnee said.

Register for Coffee Break with Shelly at (for the 11 a.m. session) or (for the 2 p.m. session.)

Century House hosts a monthly birthday party, where it celebrates all the folks having birthdays that month. While the parties are on hiatus, recreation leader Kevin MacKay is hosting a “re-imagined birthday party” on Wednesday, June 3 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., with registered guests being given a recipe for a cupcake they can easily make at home.

The virtual event will include trivia, introductions, a chance to sing Happy Birthday, and more.

“It’s all the months for now – it’s just a birthday party. We will see how popular it is and how it goes. Maybe we will start offering it once a month,” Schnee said. “Usually, when it’s your birthday month you get to come for free and you get recognized. It’s a well-attended celebration for people. It’s been sad that we haven’t been able to offer that.”

Anyone wanting to take part in the birthday party can call 604-519-1066 to register.

Dr. Davidicus Wong caps off the weeklong celebration of seniors with a presentation on Surviving and Thriving in the Age of COVID-19. To register for the sesssion, being held on Friday, June 5 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., go to

“Davidicus Wong is going provide some helpful tips for managing stress, teach key practices for emotional wellbeing,” Schnee said. “We are excited about him as well. He does Inspiration Day for us every year, so he comes and sees us once a year. This is a special appearance at Century House for him.”

On Thursday, June 4, community members are invited to visit Century House’s website to view a virtual art show (featuring photos of Century House members’ arts and crafts) and to find out who won the Stroll and Snap photo contest. You’ll find it at

“We wanted to encourage people to walk, but we also wanted people to make sure they were doing things that they felt safe about doing,” Schnee said. “It’s Stroll and Snap. It could be strolling down to get your mail or just in your apartment, or maybe you do venture out into the park.”

Although Century House members haven’t been able to connect in person because of COVID-19, Zoom and Facebook have enabled them to keep in touch. Technology will be top of mind when Century House reopens its doors.

“The Century House Association just got a New Horizons for Seniors grant – it was called Seniors Embracing Technology. It was going to be a year of projects around technology and seniors. We have had to put it on hold, and New Horizons for Seniors has given us a one-year extension,” Schnee said. “But it’s just so timely. If you don’t have access to technology, then chances are you are pretty isolated. We want to be able to work on that in the next couple of years – making sure that seniors have access to technology and also access to learning technology.”

After registering for Seniors Week events, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar/meeting on Zoom. Community members can also email or call 604-519-1066 for more information or to register.




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