Taking action to reduce social isolation among seniors in Edmonton - Government of Canada supports seniors

EDMONTON, April 20, 2016 /CNW/ - A new plan to address social isolation among Edmonton seniors is being implemented through a collaborative set of projects. Randy Boissonnault, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, made the announcement today.

Seven projects that make up the Pan-Edmonton Group Addressing Social Isolation (PEGASIS) Impact Plan will increase community participation among seniors while connecting them to essential social services and support. Seniors in Edmonton, including immigrant seniors and seniors with mental and physical disabilities, will directly benefit from services that include assisted transportation, community resource guides, nutritional assessments, door-to-door visits and community-based English as an alternate language classes. The overall impact of this concerted effort will have far-reaching benefits for Edmonton-area seniors affected by isolation and for the collaborating network of Edmonton seniors-serving organizations.

The PEGASIS project partners include: Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers; Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council; Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network; Greater Edmonton Foundation Seniors Housing; Lifestyle Helping Hands Seniors Association; Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton; and Westend Seniors Activity Centre. Each has a vested interest in addressing the needs of seniors and in supporting isolated seniors who are facing the complex challenges and effects of loneliness and isolation.

The plan aims to increase the number of socially isolated seniors who receive support and help when needed, who participate regularly in activities and who feel connected to their communities. To achieve success, each organization will also bring together a mix of community partners to help execute activities, measure results, leverage resources and implement improvements throughout the duration of the projects.

The Government of Canada partnered with Innoweave (an initiative of the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation) to join forces with these organizations to reduce social isolation among seniors by investing over $3.7 million in these projects through its New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Quick Facts

  • Employment and Social Development Canada received over 200 project proposals through the 2015–2016 NHSP Call for Proposals for Pan-Canadian Projects, which was open from May 29 to July 10, 2015.
  • Since 2004, the NHSP has funded close to 17,800 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada, with a total Government of Canada investment of more than $360 million.

Quotes

"These PEGASIS projects will collectively reach out to isolated seniors on various fronts and help them better access the network of community support services they need to experience a good quality of life. Innovative clusters of New Horizons for Seniors Program projects like this are fundamental to promoting the well-being of Canadian seniors and to developing strong and vibrant communities."
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

"Today I am proud to highlight the efforts of these organizations to bring support and relief to seniors who are facing social isolation. Through New Horizons for Seniors Program funding, these projects will have a significant impact in improving the well-being of socially isolated seniors across Edmonton."
Randy Boissonnault, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre

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Backgrounder

For the 2015–2016 New Horizons for Seniors Program Call for Proposals for Pan-Canadian Projects, the Government of Canada invited organizations seeking project funding to submit an impact plan describing the respective roles they and their project partners would play in collectively addressing the important issue of social isolation among seniors by using collaborative approaches towards attaining measurable results.

For this call for proposals, the Government partnered with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and its Innoweave initiative to support the development, implementation and scaling of these collaborative approaches to reduce social isolation among seniors.

The following seven Edmonton organizations identified in the PEGASIS Impact Plan are receiving project funding as a result of the NHSP call for proposals. These organizations have a vested interest in addressing the needs of seniors and in supporting isolated seniors who are facing the complex challenges and effects of loneliness and isolation.

 

ORGANIZATION NAME

PROJECT SUMMARY

FUNDING

AMOUNT

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers

The Community Connections through English as an Additional Language (EAL) for Immigrant Seniors project will provide volunteer-supported EAL sessions that help newcomer seniors with low resources to become more engaged and informed, and participate in recreational and intercultural activities. Volunteer community connectors will work with partners to identify isolated seniors in various ethno-cultural communities.

$712,757

Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council

The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council will engage the general public and community groups to identify, explore and respond to issues related to socially isolated seniors. It will also provide coordination and evaluation support to the Pan-Edmonton Group Addressing Social Isolation of Seniors impact plan.

$422,340

Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network

The Edmonton Southside Seniors' Centre Without Walls project will enable socially isolated seniors who have low resources, are homebound and/or have a physical or mental disability and their caregivers to participate in information sessions from home, using teleconferencing technology and webinars. Presentations extend beyond traditional health topics to support independent living, such as managing grief, family relationships, transitions and change. 

$433,658

Greater Edmonton Foundation Seniors Housing

The Greater Edmonton Foundation Seniors Housing community support coordinator will support 200 senior residents with low resources (including Aboriginal, Chinese, Filipino and Korean seniors) to navigate and connect to community programs and services. Workshops will be delivered to address identified challenges related to social isolation. 

$349,817

Lifestyle Helping Hands Seniors Association

The On-Demand Seniors Assisted Transportation project will provide on-demand, multi-lingual transportation services to low-resource seniors for medical appointments, shopping and recreational outings, as well as referrals to home support services. Volunteer driver recruitment will include youth and part-time workers.

$468,642

Sage (Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton)

The Specialized Outreach and Care Finding project will recruit volunteers to reach out to seniors with low resources, through friendly door-to-door visitor programs and telephone reassurance. Seniors will also be connected to drop-in events, resources, supports and services. 

$659,934

Westend Seniors Activity Centre

The How can we help you? A Marketing Campaign for Low-Resource Socially Isolated Seniors project will raise awareness of the programs and services offered by the other projects within the Impact Plan via marketing campaigns, public awareness events, and volunteer community ambassadors and community gatekeepers that will reach out to isolated seniors.

$669,815

TOTAL

$3,716,963

 

New Horizons for Seniors Program

The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who make a difference in the lives of others and their communities. Through the NHSP, the Government of Canada encourages seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experiences to the benefit of others.

The objectives of the NHSP are:

  • promoting volunteerism among seniors;
  • engaging seniors in the community through mentoring of others;
  • expanding awareness of elder abuse, including financial abuse;
  • supporting social participation and inclusion of seniors; and
  • providing capital assistance for new and existing community projects and/or programs for seniors.

NHSP funding supports pan-Canadian projects and community-based projects.

Pan-Canadian projects

Pan-Canadian projects test and share best practices across the country and replicate interventions that have worked well in addressing seniors' issues.

Projects funded through the NHSP 2015–2016 Call for Proposals for Pan-Canadian included an impact plan describing the roles played by respective project partners in addressing the important issue of social isolation among seniors by using collaborative approaches that place an emphasis on measurable results.

Successful projects are up to three years in duration and will receive funding between $150,000 and $750,000.

More than $24.3 million (more than $8.1 million per year over the next three years) will be made available for pan‑Canadian projects funded through the 2015–2016 NHSP Call for Proposals.

For this call for proposals, the Government of Canada partnered with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and its Innoweave initiative to support community partners in their collaborative approaches to measurably reduce the rate of social isolation among seniors. Innoweave will provide implementation and evaluation support to funded projects.

Established in 1937, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation has a mandate to enhance Canada's ability to address complex social, environmental and economic challenges. It does this by developing, testing and applying innovative approaches and solutions; by strengthening the community sector; and by collaborating with partners from various sectors—community, private and public.

Community-based projects

Community-based project funding supports activities that engage seniors and address one or more of the program's five objectives: volunteering, mentoring, expanding awareness of elder abuse, social participation and capital assistance. These projects are eligible to receive up to $25,000 per year per organization in grant funding.

The NHSP 2015–2016 Call for Proposals for Community-Based Projects closed on July 10, 2015. It invited organizations to apply for funding of up to $25,000 for projects that help empower seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experiences with others and support communities by increasing their capacity to address local issues.

Close to 1,850 projects across Canada were approved through the NHSP 2015–2016 Call for Proposals for Community-Based Projects and are now in progress.

It is anticipated that the NHSP 2016–2017 Call for Proposals for Community-Based Projects will be launched in spring 2016. For more information on the NHSP, visit Canada.ca/Seniors.

 

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca


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