Saint Andrews — For several years now, seniors from around Charlotte County have been migrating to Saint John for its improved assisted-living facilities. Mayor Stan Choptiany says that he hopes a new retirement complex will bring in more senior citizens to Saint Andrews, just in time for the 2016-17 Elder Games.
“Nobody really knows how the Elder Games started in the area,” said Choptiany. “I believe it came from a discussion all the mayors were having about how we needed to brace ourselves for having a large influx of senior ‘boomers’ over the next few years… Then somehow the conversation turned to ‘say, how many seniors can we fit into a phone-booth?’”
Quispamsis decided to find out, and stuffed 7 senior citizens into a single booth, which prompted Saint John to see how many old people they could fit into a phone-booth (12). Soon, all townships in the Greater Saint John area and Charlotte County began attempting odd feats with their resident elderly, and the games only grew from there.
The mini-competitions soon resulted in the annual Senior Draft, when all of the towns in the in Greater Saint John area and Charlotte County meet to trade and sign eligible seniors. Saint John itself has an obvious advantage, due to its larger size as well as its sizable Irving sponsorship, and consequently, they are the last to select their players.
“We, the smaller villages in the area get first pick,” said Choptiany. “Though it doesn’t matter how talented the seniors are if we cannot properly train them.”
Choptiany explained that St. George and St. Stephen have had an advantage these past few years, since they already have senior complexes where they can whip their competitors into shape.
“I’m hoping that Saint Andrews can have a retirement complex of our own finished by this September, before the draft for next year’s games,” he said, crossing his fingers and biting his lower lip.
Choptiany is rushing headlong into the project, having already demolished the town’s pediatric hospital to make way for the new senior living-space and training facility.
“Well, I guess it’s out with the new,” he said, smiling wryly, “and in with the old.”
He paused for a moment before nervously asking, “Did…did you see what I was doing there? I reversed it… see, it’s supposed to be ‘out with the old, in with the… uh, the… Can you do me a favour? Just make sure you put in that I was smiling wryly when I said it, so they’ll know that I was joking. In truth, the complex is going to be an entirely new building. And really, really expensive.”