Community Solutions to Seniors Isolation, Feb 28, 2017
A Community-centered approach to tackling Seniors Isolation
CDLI’s February Meet-up focused on the issue of Seniors Isolation through a community development lens. The meet-up was very well attended with over 40 participants from many different communities, organizations and populations. Interest and lively discussion demonstrated a high level of engagement around this issue. Below are some points shared from the discussions.
Learnings or best practices that reduce seniors isolation discussed:
· Among some immigrant communities or newcomers to Calgary, English was seen as key for wives to connect with others
· Use of ethnic media for seniors - it was noted that many seniors in immigrant communities depend on television and radio and television for news, entertainment and to say engaged.
· Have fixed times for regular events that attract seniors – e.g. at the Genesis Center, Mosaic Center, etc.
· Facilitate or gather around topics of interest – have open conversation
· Volunteer initiatives should integrate both senior and youth partnerships
· Promote and facilitate people to explore hobbies
· Free programs and drop-ins are attractive to seniors
· Interactive free space in both public and private facilities that seniors use
Many reasons for isolation – Who should we be considering (that we sometimes miss)?
· Newly single – financial challenges exacerbates isolation
· People with no kids, families and a large network
· LGTB community
· Geriatric, persons with mental health issues, addictions, etc.
What are community solutions? What is our role?
· Become a Block Ambassador - take on the role in your neighborhood to know or connect as many people on your neighborhood block
· Know the isolated seniors – invite them out to activities and events in the community
· Extend your friendship freely
· Promote or encourage recreation centers to be as community hubs
· Take advantage of Community Associations and their role in the neighborhood
· Connection around similar interests – invitation (i.e. community gardens, dog walking, walking, running, etc.)
· Organise or help organise block parties
· Get connected with a Seniors groups – e.g. Calgary Heart Club
· Introduce seniors to other service providers and community engagement initiatives – e.g. Carya
· Get involve politically