Senior Community Outreach November 2017
James Bay New Horizons and Silver Threads Service
Connecting with Seniors in Greater Victoria
Silver Threads Service and James Bay New Horizons have been working in partnership on a project first piloted in the Fall of 2015 involving seniors. The concept is simple. An Outreach Worker meets with seniors where they live to make connections, listens to concerns and informs seniors of available services to help them remain independent.
The results of the initial three-month pilot funded by a City of Victoria Strategic Planning Grant surpassed our expectations with coffee parties being held in 24 locations and connections made with 110 seniors. Some of the issues identified included cost of living, housing, food, utilities, health and wellness and transportation. A significant concern is loneliness and lack of social connections. Thanks to continued funding from the City of Victoria and a grant from the Provincial Government, the project continued for a second year (2016-17) in Victoria and expanded into Saanich for a second round July 2016 to March 2017. The results were equally impressive, with 64 coffee parties held and connections made with over 300 more seniors. This has brought the totals of this initiative so far to 88 events and 410 seniors contacted.
Jo-Anne Silverman coordinated the pilot project and is continuing to lead the renewed initiative. Jo-Anne’s professional experience includes fund development over many years, both across Canada and locally with Camosun College Foundation and United Way of Greater Victoria. She is currently working with elders through Serenity Home Care. Her knowledge of the issues facing seniors, her listening skills and her genuine concern for others as well as her knowledge of community resources will encourage seniors to build the connections they need to resolve their challenges.
According to recent census data 18% of Victorians are 65 years and older. We also know that 47% of this age group live alone. The Canadian Community Health Survey reports that 14% of seniors living on southern Vancouver Island have no one to turn to for help. Social isolation affects the psychological and cognitive health of seniors. It is associated with higher levels of depression and suicide.
We thank the City of Victoria for funding the project for a third year and are pleased to be able to expand with funding from the United Way Greater Victoria beginning in November 2017. See http://uwgv.ca/funding-isolated-seniors-announced-oct-1/
Kristy Brugman has been employed as a 2nd Outreach Worker to support this expanding project. Kristy has 15 years of experience in the field of recreation and service provision for seniors and individuals with special needs. Her background includes a degree in Art Therapy, and experience in recreation management, program development and facilitation, personal support work and volunteer coordination.
Jo-Anne and Kristy will be hosting sessions in apartment buildings and other gathering places to meet with new folks. For those we have already met, we will be conducting check in calls to see how things are going and if we can help connect you to any resources you might need.
For more information on this initiative please contact:
Jo-Anne Silverman, Outreach Worker
Phone: (250) 385-2614
James Bay New Horizon
Phone: (250) 386-3035
Kristy Brugman, Outreach Worker
Phone: (250) 889-5501
Silver Threads Service
Phone: (250) 382-3151
For after hour emergencies (evenings/weekends) please call bc211