Welcoming Seniors’ Spaces
Welcoming Seniors’ Spaces was built and funded on the premise that seniors’ programs, services and gathering spaces already exist. However, previous research revealed that seniors 75+ are often excluded from participation on the basis of barriers such as income, language or culture, physical or mental health challenges. Based on the success of the existing Outreach Ambassador Program at Burnaby Neighbourhood House, we believe that reduction of isolation in this target group is possible by implementing four approaches.
- Build capacity of the existing seniors’ outreach programs, increase our focus on their needs and create opportunities for seniors to make intentional connections
- Collaborate with our partners, share resources and best practices
- Train seniors as outreach volunteers to help us reach isolated seniors
- Collaborate with our seniors (volunteers and clients) to help us shape the seniors’ programs which help us to gather quantitative and qualitative data.
These approaches will support all service providers in creating senior-friendly communities and increase the proportion of seniors who feel connected to family and friends.
We are now in year two of the project and together have served approximately 2,350 seniors to date. We have trained new seniors as outreach volunteers, provided on-going training/leadership session for the volunteers and expanded the existing programs with engaging activities. A brief sample of the activities:
- Neighbourhood Walks which are led by seniors. This activity has both a health benefit and a community because the seniors pick up seniors from the area.
- Free coupons for hair grooming which give seniors the opportunity to learn about the programs and make connections.
- Provide foodbank recipients with workshops and referrals to other agencies. This is led by volunteers
- Seniors created a “supper hour” which is held once per month. This meal is completely senior operated, shopping, meal preparation.
To engage many experiences and expertise we have created Local Neighbourhood Committees which are comprised of agency, health and recreation staff. The members of these committees help with outreach strategies, referrals and program recommendations.
For more information about Welcoming Seniors’ Spaces, please contact Kimberly at email@example.com or 604-431-0400.
Our collaborative partners are in the East Vancouver, Burnaby Tri-cities, and the North Shore. They are:
Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House 604-251-1225
Kiwassa Neighbourhood House 604-254-5401
Burnaby Community Services 604-299-5778
Burnaby Neighbourhood House 604-431-0400
SHARE Family and Community Services 604-936-3900
North Shore Neighbourhood House 604-987-8138
We invite you to call the agency in your area to train as a volunteer or to join one of their programs.