Healthy Living Initiatives in Manitoba

Healthy living initiatives target children, adults, families with low incomes, and vulnerable people and groups at risk. In Manitoba, different non-for-profits and societies organize and support healthy living initiatives with a focus on active lifestyle and nutritious food.

Northern Healthy Foods Initiative

This initiative is organized in cooperation with several regional partners, among which the Four Arrows Regional Health Authority, Food Matters Manitoba, and Frontier School Division. The goal of the initiative is to encourage local food production, improve food security in local communities, and ensure that remote and northern communities have access to affordable food. The program has formed successful partnerships with many non-governmental organizations, examples being the Harvest Moon Society, Via Rail, and Health in Common.

Healthy Living Program

Run by the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development, the Healthy Living Program encourages Aboriginal students to make better lifestyle and health choices. The three pillars of the program are Lifestyles for Healthy Living, Aboriginal Bakers Co-Op, and The Learning Garden. The Aboriginal Bakers Co-Op encourages participants to use healthy ingredients to reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions. The main focus is on sugar-free baking. The Learning Garden features exhibits to encourage learning and is a project of the University of Manitoba and Neeginan College of Applied Technology. The garden also features additional sections, including the Three Sisters Garden, Farmers Market, Sacred Seed Bank, and Urban Garden, which are self-irrigated vertical areas. Lifestyles for Healthy Living encourages healthy lifestyle choices and offers learning opportunities with a focus on nutrition and exercise.

Healthy Buddies

This pilot project was implemented in 20 elementary schools in cooperation between Manitoba Education, Healthy Child Manitoba, Youth and Seniors, and Manitoba Healthy Living. Older students were offered the chance to teach younger students more about positive self-image, exercise, and nutrition. Participating classrooms were equipped with music, videos, and games to facilitate learning. Students benefitted from fitness loop and classroom bins, including posters, card games, children’s yoga video, and music CDs.

The Winnipeg Foundation

The Winnipeg Foundation works to ensure that adolescents and children have access to nutrition education and balanced food and promotes cultural activities, recreation, and education. The foundation offers Nourishing Potential Grants in collaboration with the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation, Province of Manitoba, City of Winnipeg, Assiniboine Credit Union, and other entities. The goal is to ensure that kids learn more about meal budgeting and planning and food preparation and to have access to fresh vegetables and fruits. Registered charitable organizations are eligible to apply for grants. The money can be used to purchase equipment and food or toward food training and education. Grants of up to $10,000 are available. Growing Active Kids is another initiative that mainly targets children is social housing.

Healthy Schools

This is an initiative by Healthy Schools Manitoba, Education and Training, and Health, Seniors, and Active Living. The main goal of the initiative is to improve health and learning outcomes by focusing on priorities such as physical activity, healthy eating, and mental health. Other themes that are identified as priorities include substance abuse and addictions, sexual health, and safety and injury prevention. Grants are offered to schools in Manitoba that implement projects with a focus on healthy living and improved educational outcomes.

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Retiring in Manitoba

Manitoba is a good retirement destination because of the availability of programs for seniors and retirement communities such as long-term care and assisted living communities.

Seniors in Manitoba are entitled to receive benefits and provincial tax credits, including Seniors 55 Plus, Rent Assist, Provincial Tax Credits, and Pharmacare. Rent Assist helps retirees to cover expenses such as water, electricity, and heat costs, mortgage payments, and rent costs. Not everyone is entitled to receive assistance, including people living in residential care facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes and residents living on First Nations Reserves. Seniors 55 Plus is a form of income supplement offered to people with low incomes. Applicants are asked to provide information such as residency status, employment, income tax return, and financial assistance. Under the Manitoba Pharmacare Program, seniors are eligible to receive assistance to cover prescription drug costs. Eligibility is based on income. Provincial Tax Credits are also offered, including the Primary Caregiver Tax Credit and Senior’s School Tax Rebate. Individuals who provide care to persons with behavioral, health, and cognitive problems may apply for the Primary Caregiver Tax Credit. Eligible applicants include friends, neighbors, family members, and spouses who provide care for more than 90 days.

Retirement communities offer a number of amenities to seniors, among which internet, telephone and cable TV, SPA, onsite movie theatres, and transportation services. Other amenities available to seniors include exercise facilities, pharmacies, onsite medical services, and 24/7 bell call service. The Senior Housing Report prepared by CMHC shows that close to 15 percent of retirement communities have registered nurses and 23.5 percent offer onsite medical services. More than 47 percent of communities offer 3 meals daily. Residence costs vary widely based on length of stay and type of community. Seniors can choose from different types of communities such as long-term care, assisted living, independent living, and active adult communities. Long-term care communities offer care to seniors who are dependent. This is one option for retirees who require specialized services, nursing supervision, monitoring, and support services. Assisted living communities offer assistance with medication intake, mobility, and personal care. Independent living facilities are also available to cater to autonomous seniors. They offer a range of services such as transportation, laundry, and daily meals. Active adult communities are available as well, varying in home style and price. Communities feature different home styles, including ranch style, detached home, mid-rise condo, condominium, and bungalow. Rental costs typically vary between $2,700 and $3,700 a month.

Non-for-profits also offer support, care, and educational opportunities to seniors in Manitoba. Creative Retirement Manitoba, for example, offers learning opportunities to residents over 55, including lectures, tours, special interest events, and more. Other organizations that offer support to senior citizens are the Transportation Options Network for Seniors and Active Living Coalition for Older Adults in Manitoba.

Winnipeg is one of the top retirement destinations in Canada, and this does not come as a surprise. There is plenty to do there, from visiting museums, performing arts venues, and galleries to opera performances, ballets, and orchestras. The city offers lifelong learning opportunities, workshops, and classes, including workshops on technology, painting, and computers, lecture series, and continuing education programs. Outdoor activities and opportunities also abound, from cross country skiing and fishing to snowshoeing and golfing. Educational, recreational, and environmental centres are also available. A number of retirement homes and communities are found in and around Manitoba, including the Garden Manor Care Home, Brightwater Senior Living of Linden Ridge, and The Boulton River Heights Retirement Community.

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