A premiere in Quebec: Cogir, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal, is launching a pairing program for seniors in retirement homes, suffering from loneliness

    QUEBEC, Feb. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - In presence of Mrs. Marguerite Blais,
Minister responsible for Seniors, Mr. Mathieu Duguay, Senior Executive Vice
President of Société de gestion Cogir S.E.N.C. and Mrs. Ginette Sauvé,
Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal (BBBSGM)
have launched Par-Aîné, an exclusive and innovative pairing program aimed at
seniors living in retirement homes and suffering from loneliness. This project
has been studied long and hard by executives at Cogir, chief project
instigator. "We have been providing financial support to the BBBSGM
Association since 2001 through the clothing collection bins installed within
the premises of our various commercial malls and, since 2006, through an
annual fund raising event. Our total contribution so far exceeds one million
dollars. Some of these funds are now directly allocated to the Par-Aîné
project which we hope will contribute significantly to the wellbeing of our
residents," declared Mr. Duguay.

    An inspiring program

    "The Par-Aîné program meets a very genuine need of seniors. The fight
against the isolation of elderly people is one of my priorities. It is then
with great pleasure that I announce today that Big Brothers Big Sisters of
Greater Montreal has been granted a $30,000 subsidy towards its Par-Aîné
pairing program that comes under our Du coeur à l'action pour les aînés du
Québec program. I sincerely hope that this initiative becomes a true source of
inspiration to other organizations. We will closely monitor its development as
it reflect perfectly our vision regarding the wellbeing of seniors", added
Minister Blais.

    The Par-Aîné project

    Recognized for its expertise, the BBBSGM team participated actively in
developing Par-Aîné, a formal pairing program aimed at seniors living in
retirement homes and suffering from loneliness. The objective of this planned
and structured pairing strategy is to fight and prevent isolation. The target
clientele include men and women aged 65 and up, identified by the residence
program manager as alone. "Since September 2008, a one-year pilot project is
being conducted in two Cogir residences, targeting 20 senior residents
rigorously paired by BBBSGM. Subsequently, the project is to be extended to
all Cogir retirement homes across Quebec", said Mr. Duguay. "In terms of
population ageing, Montreal is different from the rest of Quebec (and Canada)
because of a higher percentage of elderly people within its population.
Therefore, it is relevant that the project is being applied in priority in the
Greater Montreal area", explained Mrs. Sauvé.

    Eloquent testimonials

    "I am 83 years old. I am taking part in the Par-Aîné pairing program
since October 2008. Meeting with Francine, who I affectionately nicknamed "My
angel", completely changed my life. I will even go as far as saying that it
gave me a new incentive to live. I sincerely hope that more elderly people can
benefit from such a support", said Mrs. Thérèse Pellerin. "Personally, I am a
retired nurse and have always been actively seeking ways to help others. This
social commitment is for me a real source of fulfillment. When I first met
Mrs. Pellerin, also a retired nurse, I felt an instant connection between us.
A friendly and trusting relationship quickly set up between us. Mrs. Pellerin
reconciles me with the idea of growing old and makes me realize how important
it is to live the present moment", concluded Mrs. Pellerin's mentor Francine

    About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal

    For more than 100 years, the Big Brothers Big Sisters movement has
developed a unique expertise in volunteer recruitment, psychosocial
assessment, training, pairing follow-up and evaluation of programs aimed at
children, parents and volunteers. These past few years, Big Brothers Big
Sisters of Greater Montreal designed new and transferable programs. Our
association is considered as the most dynamic in Canada in terms of

    About Cogir

    Cogir Management Corporation administers more than 250 real-estate
projects. The commercial, industrial and office-property divisions account for
over 11 million square feet. Its residential division comprises over 20,000
apartments and condos in Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and, more recently,
Europe. In Quebec, Cogir manages 30 retirement homes and seniors residences
representing some 6,070 residential units. Cogir excels in the real-estate
field, marrying the dynamic and entrepreneurial spirit of a smaller company
with the experience of the largest property management organizations in
Canada, with a veteran team of more than 1,900 people.

For further information:

For further information: Hélène Hains, Enigma Communications, (514)
982-0308, ext. 221, C (514) 776-9577, h.hains@enigma.ca

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