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