Judy Pardy has been involved in the community for a long time as the former Executive Director with the Southeastern Aurora Development Corporation and is currently involved with the Sandwich Bay 50+ Club and as a peer volunteer with SeniorsNL.
Pardy said she’s really excited about the opportunity and is sure it will provide some challenges.
“You have to be committed; it’s going to take a fair bit of energy,” she said. “I think it’s going to be worth it, it’s a good group and it’s the first time to my knowledge they’re had more than one person from Labrador. This time there’s three of us.”
In addition to Pardy, the other two from Labrador are Noreen Careen from Labrador City and Shirley Letto, L'Anse au Clair. According to government, the council ‘advises government in preparing for an aging population by ensuring that a seniors' perspective is reflected in policy development and in planning for future service delivery.’
The council can advise government on issues relating to seniors, which government can then decide whether to implement or not. Pardy said she will be a strong advocate for Labrador seniors and the challenges they face.
One of the biggest issues seniors in Labrador face is service delivery.
“The rural areas are where we’re having the biggest issues to be dealt with,” Pardy said. “I know there’s a lot of good programs out there but getting them to the seniors is an issue. In rural areas, there are no resources for seniors to tap into so they have to rely up on their family members and volunteers to bring it to them. I don’t know how you fix something like that.”
Not all seniors have family still in the area, due to outmigration, she said and that can also lead into another big issue she sees facing seniors: loneliness.
“There’s a lot of seniors alone today that don’t have the support that other generations had,” she said. “People don’t visit like they used to, that social part of our lifestyle isn’t there like it was even 20 years ago. People seem to be so busy and active these days.”
Pardy said she remembers before televisions were common there used to be outdoor hockey games in Cartwright and every man, woman and child in the community would turn out. Then when TV came along is started to slack off and just went from there.
Another big issue Pardy hopes to tackle is senior’s benefits. Seniors in this province get the lowest amount of live on in the country, which Pardy said makes life difficult.
“To me that’s a priority, especially in Labrador with the cost of living being so high. We have to at least be on par with the rest of the country, we should get more to cover the cost of living.”
Despite all the challenges, Pardy said she’s really looking forward to the next three years on the council. She hopes to get feedback from as many seniors as she can and, hopefully, effect some positive change.