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 developed a program that reduced isolation in this target group by implementing four approaches.

  1. Based on local knowledge and building on the success of existing programs, increasing capacity to provide welcoming and inclusive spaces/programs that are focused on the needs of the target group.
  2. Collaborating with partners, sharing resources and best practices.
  3. Training seniors as outreach volunteers to help reach isolated seniors in local neighbourhoods
  4. Collaborating with our seniors (volunteers and clients) to help shape the seniors’ programs which help us to gather quantitative and qualitative data.

These approaches support all service providers in creating senior-friendly communities and increase the proportion of seniors who feel connected to family and friends.

After the completion of the project, there have been some tremendous accomplishments at all of the sites, including:

  • 420 Seniors were trained as Outreach Volunteers in 6 communities. These volunteers received training in topics such as outreach strategies, reasons for Seniors’ isolation, how to access community resources, etc;
  • Local committees of Outreach Volunteers developed strategies to reach isolated seniors
  • 12,235 Seniors were reached by staff and outreach volunteers and connected to programs and services that met their needs; These seniors received resource information, participated in programs and made intentional social connections
  • In the formal evaluation of the Allies in Aging project, seniors reported a 66% increase of feeling valued by family and friends and 45% increase of someone to offer assistance when needed.

Welcoming Seniors’ Spaces and the Seniors Hub are working on an Outreach Training Toolkit to support service providers in developing outreach training in their own communities. (The Toolkit will be available for download in late November, 2019.)

For more information about Welcoming Seniors’ Spaces, please contact Kimberly at kimberlyb@burnabyhn.ca or 604-431-0400.

Want to get involved in your community? Contact the partner agency in your area to train as a volunteer or join their programs:

East Vancouver:
Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House 604-251-1225

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House 604-254-5401

Burnaby:
Burnaby Community Services 604-299-5778

Burnaby Neighbourhood House 604-431-0400

Tri-Cities: SHARE Family and Community Services 604-936-3900

North Shore: North Shore Neighbourhood House 604-987-8138