Incorporated in 1995 as a non-profit, the Mature Action Committee (MAC) has worked more than 17 years building a future for seniors by conducting needs surveys, partnering with organizations and creating policies to assist Whistler seniors to age in place.
I had the opportunity to meet with Sue Lawther, MAC president to discuss the committee’s current initiatives.
What is MAC today?
MAC is passionate about providing leadership in the creation of a safe, secure and sustainable environment for seniors to age in place in Whistler. We do that by setting the groundwork to build the infrastructure of programs, services, and activities that will enable Whistler residents to stay in the community.
Who is MAC for?
Our membership is open to any senior 55 years plus.
What initiatives is MAC working on today?
The MAC board continues to work on housing opportunities at the Rainbow and Holborn sites.
The MAC focus group has been working on two big initiatives for this year. The first is developing intergenerational programming with Whistler Secondary School.
The second is bringing transportation solutions to the community by partnering with Mount Currie, Pemberton and Squamish under the auspices of Vancouver Coastal Health. We identified an opportunity to keep people in Whistler by getting them back and forth to their services providers and specialists, and we are forming social enterprise partnerships that will provide transportation solutions.
Any other interesting initiatives?
Like the Lifestyle Guide, we are developing a Downsizing Guide for 2013. We are also generating a flyer to distribute throughout the community on who MAC is and what we are doing.
Why join MAC?
Someone would want to join MAC to lend their support to the work we are doing. We need to build up the membership to give us critical mass numbers so we can go to the agencies such as the provincial government, RMOW and United Way in a position of lobbying strength. To say we're speaking for a thousand seniors has much more impact than, say, 200 seniors.
Can you explain more about critical mass?
When we lobby with the United Way or talk to the Ministry of Health in Victoria, we need to be speaking for critical mass. We need help with those numbers.
A membership is only $15 a year. Although we welcome active participation, the primary benefit is to have your voice heard on the important issues to you as you age. A supporting donation, so to speak, that will help us build membership numbers and place us in a position of strength to lobby for services and programs for seniors in the community.
What do you want everyone in the Sea to Sky corridor to know about MAC?
That we are working really hard, not just on housing. That we have come “out of the house and into the community.” We are working to advocate and lobby for programs, services and infrastructure that will allow all current residents of Whistler to age in place, to stay in the community they call home.
We'd love for anyone who wants to help to come and participate; but we would also ask Whistler’s 55 plus demographic to join MAC to simply show support for the work we are doing. Finally, we'd like people to know MAC as the “go to” resource for anything senior in Whistler.
Did You Know?
B.C. 211: By dialling 211, one has free quick confidential access to the community, social and government services available anywhere in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Squamish-Lillooet Regional Districts. The service is available by phone 24/7 or online at http://www.bc211.ca
Maria Schwarz (MS, BsN) is a freelance writer with a focus on seniors and aging well. Currently she is a contributing writer to Silver Linings for the Mature Action Committee.