Seniors Outreach Program breaks up long winters for rural residents

lismore luncheon one

Lismore, NS – Cold winter days in Lismore, Pictou County are getting a little warmer with the help of an eight-week seniors outreach program.  

About 40 people attended the first session on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at the Lismore Hall that started at 11 a.m. with activities such as knitting and rug hooking as well as 15-minute walk inside the hall.   At noon, participants gathered together for a free soup luncheon prepared by Faye and Ralph Kinney of Bailey’s Brook.

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On the menu Tuesday was hamburger soup and biscuits as well as squares and cookies for dessert.   This was followed by an interactive talk on Alzheimer Disease by Beth Jackson who is a community care coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia.

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District One Coun. Don Butler, who helped organize the 8th annual Senior’s Lunch and Learn, said some people choose to come for the entire two hours while others come for certain activities whether it is lunch or to hear theluncheon 4 guest speaker.

“It is an opportunity to get people together at a time of the year when you are isolated in rural communities,” he said. “You come out and you socialize. You make a day of it.  They can knit, talk, play cards, eat and get educated on a topic that is of interest to them.  It really helps to break up the winter.”  

The program is funded by the Aberdeen Hospital Foundation, but it is the community that makes it work.  Coun. Butler arranges the guest speakers and the soup, biscuits and sweets are provided by participants and community members.  

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“It is totally free to the participants,” he said, adding people don’t have to commit to the entire eight weeks. “We advertise in our district newsletter who the speakers are so in some cases people will come to hear a particular speaker.”

Frances MacDonald, who admits she is not quite senior age, said she attends the sessions to socialize with others in her community, but also share her knowledge of rug hooking.

“I am finishing a rug I started four years ago,” she said, adding it was at the senior’s outreach program where she first learned to rug hook.

Betty MacDonald said she looks forward to the yearly program because it is a weekly outing with friends in her community while Anne MacDonald also enjoys being with others while picking at her own knitting during the session.

The program is open to men and women in District One and has participants of all ages. The oldest person in attendance Tuesday was 100 years old who also happened to be the winner of one of the door prizes.

If a session is cancelled on a Tuesday because of poor weather conditions, its make up date will the Thursday of the same week.

Guest speakers in January include:

Jan. 15: EMO.

Jan. 22: Dealing with scams.

Jan. 29: Dealing with mental health.

For more information on the Seniors Outreach Program, contact Don Butler at 902-926-2589 or by emailing