FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard in observance of National Seniors Day and the International Day of Older Persons on Saturday, Oct. 1:

As the minister responsible for seniors and healthy aging, I am pleased to recognize the International Day of Older Persons and National Seniors Day.

We have all faced several challenges in the past few years, and many seniors played a pivotal role in ensuring we could get through. Some retired nurses helped give us the vaccines we needed, while others returned to work in our hospitals or stepped up to provide other supports. Many seniors returned to or continued to be part of the workforce, while others volunteered their time to keep important community organizations running.

This day promotes the independence, social participation and dignity of seniors, but it is also an important time to highlight the contributions seniors have made to society. Too often we think of seniors as frail individuals who rely on our care. This is the case for the most vulnerable, but not all seniors. Many are still living independent, vibrant lives and continue to stay engaged in their community.

The best way to show appreciation for older New Brunswickers is by ensuring our province is a great place to be as they go through the aging journey. With the number of seniors 75 and over projected to increase by 82 percent by 2035, there is no better time to start than the present. We are constantly looking to enhance our programs and services so that seniors’ needs will be met as they age.

We should also continue to promote age-friendly communities, which have accessible transportation and spaces where seniors can remain physically active and socially engaged.

I encourage everyone to take a moment and think about the impact a special senior has had on your life and thank them for it.