Age Friendly Thunder Bay Award Winner: Bill Heibein
by Scott A. Sumner
The Age Friendly Thunder Bay organizationrecently providedtheir first Age Friendly Award to Bill Heibein. “ We have been in existence as Age Friendly Thunder Bay for 9 years now and we felt it was time to start looking at recognizing some of the work that seniors do in our community. We chose Bill Heibein who has done work locally and nationally which is very significant. The first award winner is at a
high level.”said Rebecca Johnson of Age Friendly Thunder Bay.“Seniors are a growing demographic in our city so 9 years ago we put into place Age Friendly Thunder Bay which is recognized nationally. Now
we have transit recognizing seniors special needs and more equipment in our parks. We advocate for seniors locally and provincially. We are going to incorporate this fall, which is progress. We are looking at
how to approach the health sector with some seniors issues.”
In Thunder Bay 20% of the population are over 65 and one of the largest per capita in Canada.
“ I am very proud that we will be a stand alone organization that will be incorporated, that is part of the city, recognized by them,”said Rebecca “
The senior of 2018 is not the person that would just sit in a rocking chair. Today they are active, mobile and want to be involved on committees etc. We need to recognize those seniors.”
Bill Heibein, award winner.
“This came out of nowhere, I didn’t know I was even nominated. I was always involved locally say at Magnus. When I got the diagnosis of dementia I got involved with the Almtimers Society. The doctor said get your affairs in order and will up to date,you have maybe 5 good years.”
“ What I thinks works is when I was diagnosed as a weekend farmer, I took early retirement and overnight I became a full time farmer, 7 days a week no matter what the weather. Interacting with horses is unbelievable.”
“ I am 77 years now and have been diagnosed since I was 59. I am still on medication but the biggest thing I have going is routine. When you have a farm you know what you are going to do each day. From the time I wake up the dogs are programmed like me to head to the barn.We heat with wood on the 150 acre farm so the takes take quite a bit of work. I virtually never think about dementia unless at meetings about