MONCTON, NB, Feb. 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Members of the National Seniors Council (NSC) met today in Moncton with seniors organizations, service and health providers, researchers and practitioners to assess how social isolation affects seniors and how best to tackle the issue in Canada.
The Council met with individuals and organizations from across New Brunswick as part of a series of cross-country roundtables. Social isolation touches many aspects of seniors' lives, including active participation, healthy aging, income security, caregiving and transportation. For example, social isolation can lead to depression and increased vulnerability to elder abuse, among other concerns. Statistics Canada's 2008-2009 Canadian Community Health Survey found that 19 percent of seniors aged 65 or over felt left out, isolated from others or that they lacked companionship. Once the roundtables are completed, the Council will prepare a report with key findings and suggestions for government action that it will present to ministers in fall 2014.
- 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 population of seniors.
- Since 2007, the NSC has undertaken work on elder abuse, the effects of low income among seniors, volunteerism and positive and active aging. Most recently, it explored approaches to attracting older workers to the labour force and retaining them.
- 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 million—aimed at addressing seniors' social isolation.
"Social isolation affects the overall well-being of seniors, including their health and their participation in their families, workplaces and communities. 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 Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), who oversees the day-to-day work of the NSC.
"We are confident that the National Seniors Council's findings will help the Government of Canada better understand and address the needs of seniors. Keeping seniors active and socially engaged benefits not just the seniors, but their communities as a whole."
- Dr. Andrew Wister, member of the NSC
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information:
Office of the Minister of State (Seniors)
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada