Taking action to reduce social isolation among seniors in Hamilton

Government of Canada supports seniors

HAMILTON, ON, June 11, 2016 /CNW/ - A new collaborative initiative is being launched in Hamilton to help prevent and reduce social isolation among seniors. The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, along with Filomena Tassi, Member of Parliament for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas, and Bob Bratina, Member of Parliament for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, made the announcement while visiting AbleLiving today. 

Seven organizations are collaborating through their individual projects to attain measurable results under the Hamilton Seniors Isolation Population Impact Plan. Their goal is initially to target neighbourhoods where the risk of social isolation among seniors is greatest. Most at-risk seniors are those who live alone, have disabilities or poor health, have low income, have language barriers or have reduced access to services. More than $2 million in federal funding is being invested in these projects through the New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Focus groups and interviews with local seniors and service providers will lead to the creation of a city-wide plan to address the issue. A one-day conference will start work on raising awareness and changing the public's attitude towards seniors facing social isolation in Hamilton. As well, an interactive referral system will be created to link all 110 Hamilton community support service agencies; training will also be available for volunteers and service providers using this system.

Specifically for the benefit of seniors, a Care Connector program available through Hamilton hospitals will assist seniors transitioning from hospital to home and their community. Connectors will follow up with patients and link them to available resources until they are anchored into community services. Similar projects will recruit volunteer Connectors to identify isolated seniors and engage them in physical and social activities in their communities. Connectors will complete needs assessments and develop action plans for each senior who needs help, and will provide support.

The Hamilton Impact Plan includes the following partners: AbleLiving, St. Joseph's Home Care, Hamilton YWCA, Thrive Group Support Services, Wesley Urban Ministries, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging at McMaster University, and Hamilton Council on Aging.

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

"With the rising population of seniors in Canada, our government understands the importance of creating awareness and supporting seniors who are, or who may be, at-risk of becoming socially isolated. By joining forces with organizations and partners, we can put systems and services in place to reduce and prevent seniors' social isolation. I believe that these new projects will have a positive impact in the lives of those who need it most."    
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

"As the Member of Parliament for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas, I know that our province has a diverse ethnic population. Seniors living here require support and resources that are tailored to meet their individual needs. Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, I am proud to know that these projects are being developed with local seniors in mind. Socially isolated seniors will now have additional services at their fingertips that will bring hope during difficult times."
Filomena Tassi, Member of Parliament for Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas

"After many years representing Hamilton on both the municipal and federal levels, I know how important it is to keep our seniors active and involved in the community. It's wonderful to see some of our best organizations join together to help lower the risks to seniors who are facing social isolation."
Bob Bratina, Member of Parliament for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek

"As community organizations, we know how crucial the need is to support our rising population of seniors.  Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program we will be able reduce seniors' social isolation in the City of Hamilton. This impact plan truly is a combined effort by many community leaders and organizations, and we are all excited to be able to come together to work on our objectives to build Hamilton's capacity to identify, reach and connect isolated seniors and prevent isolation in future."
Steve Sherrer, Chief Executive Officer, ThriveGroup and AbleLiving

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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 addressing the important issue of social isolation among seniors by using collaborative approaches that emphasize 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 organizations identified in the Hamilton Seniors Isolation Population 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 who are facing the complex challenges and effects of loneliness and isolation.

 

ORGANIZATION NAME

PROJECT SUMMARY

FUNDING

AMOUNT

AbleLiving

Hamilton Hospital-Based Community Connectors will reduce social isolation by supporting seniors being discharged from Hamilton Health Sciences hospitals. Initially focusing on low-income neighbourhoods where risk factors for isolation are greatest, the project will enable seniors to connect in a sustained way with community services and meaningful activities.

$417,718

St. Joseph's Home Care

Hamilton Hospital-Based Community Connectors will reduce social isolation by supporting seniors being discharged from St. Joseph's Health System hospitals. Initially focusing on low-income neighbourhoods where risk factors for isolation are greatest, the project will enable seniors to connect in a sustained way with community services and meaningful activities.

$211,519

Hamilton Young Women's Christian Organization (YWCA)

The Peer Connectors for Isolated Seniors project will recruit and train local Peer Connectors to help isolated, low-income seniors develop and sustain connections with the community. The project will target one urban and one rural neighbourhood, before expanding to other communities.

$390,317

Thrive Group Support Services

The CareDove - Interactive Community Access and Referral System's web-based tool will link all community support sector agencies in Hamilton, to facilitate and increase referrals for seniors to needed local support services.

$151,943

Wesley Urban Ministries

The Seniors Community Connections project will reduce the rate of social isolation among vulnerable seniors in Hamilton through needs assessments, individualized action plans, home visits, social activities, and referrals to community partners. In doing so, the project fosters the social participation of seniors and sustained connections to services and activities.

$367,480

Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging (McMaster University)

The Reducing Seniors' Social Isolation: Linking Community in a Participatory Research Initiative will engage and work closely with project partners to improve city-wide supports for seniors and raise public awareness about social isolation aided by a laboratory approach to understand the most effective interventions to decrease the social isolation of seniors.

$267,338

Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA)

The Connecting Hamilton's Initiative to Reduce Social isolation Among Seniors project will provide support to six collaborating partner organizations. The project will collect, use and share data to promote accountability and learning, and help partners to engage the broader community to address social isolation and improve supports throughout Hamilton.

$283,568

TOTAL

$2,089,883

 

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 early summer 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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