Free pass for folks 90-plus helps with health

Three days every week, you might be able to spot Norm Fearn in the weight room at Panorama Recreation Centre.

Norm Fearn hits the gym two or three times each week at Panorama Recreation Centre. At 92

Three days every week, you might be able to spot Norm Fearn in the weight room at Panorama Recreation Centre.

He says he’s on a program to keep up his physical activity and overall health. At age 92, Fearn said it’s more important than ever — both for physical and social reasons.

Making it easier for him and other Saanich Peninsula residents 90 years old and older, is Panorama’s new lifetime pass program. On Feb. 27, the Saanich Peninsula Recreation Commission approved the free passes for residents age 90 and up. They did so after Fredrick Reece, a facility user, suggested it.

Panorama Manager Ian Hennigar said it’s one way they can help people remain in good health later in life.

“We want our older seniors to stay healthy,” Hennigar said. “And we want them to remain part of the community.”

Fearn said he got his lifetime pass, which allows for free access to Panorama facilities, three weeks ago. He said he already had a pass as he has been going to the gym there for years. Fearn said he has been working out since he was 13, growing up in England. He has tried to stay fit all of his life and sees a great value in the lifetime 90-plus pass program.

“It’s a big issue,” he said, “when some people might not be getting out. With (the pass) they can join in with other and keep fit.”

Pass holder Len Chapple, who is also in his early 90s, said staying in good health is important for seniors with mobility issues.

‘It’s great for me and I’m far more likely to work out if I get up in the morning and have a place to go. Having that destination is good because you can put it off if you’re at home.”

Exercise, Chapple continued, keeps people young and when he works out, he said he feels stronger.

“At any age, your muscles can atrophy, they lose their elasticity and the older you get, the quicker that happens.”

Both Fearn and Chapple have positive outlooks of their personal health. They said with help from the free lifetime pass, they will each make it to 100.

Hennigar said Panorama already offers free admission to children age five or younger. The new 90-plus lifetime pass helps encourage good health throughout a lifetime.

To qualify for the pass, all residents of the Saanich Peninsula have to do is prove they are 90 and over.