REGINA, SK, Nov. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of
State (Seniors), and members of the National Seniors Council (NSC) met
today in Regina with seniors' organizations, service and health
providers, and researchers and practitioners to assess how social
isolation affects seniors and how best to tackle the issue in Canada.
"Social isolation affects the overall well-being of seniors. It can be
harmful to their health and their participation in family life, and
affect their place in workplaces and communities," said Minister of
State Wong, who oversees the day-to-day work of the Council. "Our
government is working hard to tackle issues like social isolation by
listening to seniors and consulting with key players from the
non-profit, public and private sectors."
The NSC met with individuals and organizations from across Saskatchewan
as part of a series of cross-country round tables. Social isolation
touches many aspects of seniors' lives, including active participation,
healthy ageing, income security, caregiving, elder abuse and
transportation. For example, social isolation can lead to depression
and increased vulnerability to elder abuse, among other concerns.
Statistics Canada's Canadian Community Health Survey 2008-2009 found
that 19 percent of seniors aged 65 or over felt a lack of
companionship, left out or isolated from others.
"We are confident that the National Seniors Council's findings will help
the Government of Canada better understand and address the needs of
seniors," said Dr. Andrew Wister, member of the NSC. "Keeping seniors
active and socially engaged benefits not just the senior, but their
communities as a whole."
Since 2007, the NSC has undertaken work on elder abuse and low income
among seniors, volunteerism, positive and active ageing, and most
recently explored approaches to retaining and attracting older workers
in the labour force.
On October 1, 2013, National Seniors Day, the Government of Canada
announced a Call for Proposals to fund approximately 20 pilot
projects—an investment of $2,000,000—aimed at addressing seniors'
For more information on the NSC, visit www.seniorscouncil.gc.ca.
The National Seniors Council (NSC)
The NSC advises on matters related to the well-being and quality of life
of seniors, including the opportunities and challenges arising from a
rapidly growing and increasingly diverse seniors population.
The Council reports to the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of
Employment and Social Development, and to the Honourable Rona Ambrose,
Minister of Health. The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State
(Seniors), is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Council.
NSC members include seniors, representatives of organizations that serve
seniors and/or experts on seniors and ageing.
The Government of Canada established the NSC in 2007 to provide advice
on the overall well-being of seniors, both now and in the future.
The Government of Canada is working hard to help improve the lives of
seniors on many fronts. These efforts include:
redeveloping seniors.gc.ca as a central resource for seniors including a new Information for Seniors section that brings together a variety of federal,
provincial/territorial and municipal resources about relevant programs
providing Canadians with close to $76 billion this year through Canada's
public pension system;
a top-up to the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) in 2011 to help
Canada's most vulnerable seniors. This was the largest increase in 25
years to the GIS for the lowest-income seniors. This measure further
improves the financial security and well-being of more than 680 000
seniors across Canada;
providing $2.7 billion in 2013 in tax relief to seniors and pensioners
through measures such as pension income splitting and increasing the
providing $400 million over two years under Canada's Economic Action
Plan for the construction of housing units for low-income seniors;
making a strong investment in the New Horizons for Seniors Program
(NHSP) through an annual budget of $45 million. Since 2006, the NHSP
has funded more than 11 200 projects in hundreds of communities across
investing up to $2 million for approximately 20 pilot projects that will
address the isolation of seniors and intergenerational learning through
the New Horizons for Seniors Program;
actions to address elder abuse, including awareness campaigns, projects
funded by the New Horizons for Seniors Program to raise awareness of
elder abuse and legislation to help ensure consistently tough penalties
for offences involving the abuse of elderly people; and
supporting positive and active aging through the collaborative
Age-Friendly Communities Initiative, Physical Activity Tips for Older
Adults and falls-prevention initiatives.
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information:
This news release is available in alternative formats on request.
Director of Communications
Office of Minister of State (Seniors), Alice Wong
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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