How about 'neighbourhood watch' for seniors?

News Sep 22, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

Ideas to raise the social participation of seniors drew on a pair of programs known for their work with children and youth.

Seniors editions of Neighbourhood Watch and Big Brothers Big Sisters were suggested at Friday’s age-friendly summit on social participation as means to bridge the isolation, loneliness and boredom some older people experience as they age.

“We’ve got Neighbourhood Watch for kids, how come we don’t have ‘neighbourhood watch’ for seniors?” said Paris senior Sara Staysa.

It would encourage people to keep an eye on seniors in their neighbourhoods and perhaps lend a hand with something as simple as helping get a blue box to the curb. Neighbourhoods should be “family” looking out for one another, she said.

“Culturally, we have become warehousing,” Staysa said.

The third of eight local summits around creating an age-friendly community attracted 53 people to Six Nations Tourism.

The Grand River Council on Aging and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding the summits to address the challenges of an aging population and making Brantford, County of Brant, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community. The eight summits mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization.

By 2030, 35 per cent of the local population will be seniors.

Following the format of the previous meetings, participants gathered in groups of six or seven to brainstorm ideas, identify concerns and share experiences. A facilitator presented each group’s findings.

“Social participation is going to be completely dependent on being accessible and affordable,” said Martina Esbaugh, noting many seniors live on fixed incomes.

Lyle Marchewka said he attended to make sure a handicapped person’s perspective is given.

“I kind of live it,” said the Paris man, who has multiple sclerosis and uses an electric scooter to get around.

Jim Harder said loneliness, isolation, relevance and boredom were feelings expressed at his table. The loss of a spouse or having a spouse move into a nursing home is a great adjustment to overcome for someone who is used to living with family for decades.

“Aging is a process that tends to equal retreating,” Staysa said. “People get a little fearful of going out in that world.”

Education was identified as another key factor. A complaint from seniors is not knowing what programs, services, activities and volunteer opportunities are available to them.

Having one number to call for information was suggested. Making information available in print to non-computer users was another. For example, it could be included in monthly water and tax bills.

“Everything comes online now and as you know many seniors are not connected; they don’t have a will to be connected and obviously a lot of information that’s out there isn’t getting to them and that’s a problem,” Harder said.

“Phone trees” would be one way for seniors who aren’t or aren’t comfortable online to be kept in the loop.

“Being part of a phone tree would be social inclusion because they’re automatically talking to someone,” Esbaugh said.

A Six Nations Health Services plan to visit every senior in the reserve to assess needs such as transportation and nutrition met with applause.

The next summit on civic participation and employment is scheduled for Nov. 4 at the Brant Sports Complex in Paris at 8:30 a.m.

Other ideas:

• Opening events at private retirement communities to neighbourhood seniors.

• Making more college and university courses available to seniors.

• Holding interest courses at public libraries.

• When holding events, unlocking building doors closest to parking lots and handicapped parking to improve accessibility to venues.

• Bulletin boards and community rooms in apartment buildings.

• Offering seniors programming in evenings instead of largely during the daytime to help ease emptiness of evenings alone.

• Encouraging high school students to work with seniors to gain their 40 volunteer hours for graduation.

• Having seniors and university students share residences.

• Opportunities for accessible tourism activities.

How about 'neighbourhood watch' for seniors?

News Sep 22, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

Ideas to raise the social participation of seniors drew on a pair of programs known for their work with children and youth.

Seniors editions of Neighbourhood Watch and Big Brothers Big Sisters were suggested at Friday’s age-friendly summit on social participation as means to bridge the isolation, loneliness and boredom some older people experience as they age.

“We’ve got Neighbourhood Watch for kids, how come we don’t have ‘neighbourhood watch’ for seniors?” said Paris senior Sara Staysa.

It would encourage people to keep an eye on seniors in their neighbourhoods and perhaps lend a hand with something as simple as helping get a blue box to the curb. Neighbourhoods should be “family” looking out for one another, she said.

“Culturally, we have become warehousing,” Staysa said.

The third of eight local summits around creating an age-friendly community attracted 53 people to Six Nations Tourism.

The Grand River Council on Aging and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding the summits to address the challenges of an aging population and making Brantford, County of Brant, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community. The eight summits mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization.

By 2030, 35 per cent of the local population will be seniors.

Following the format of the previous meetings, participants gathered in groups of six or seven to brainstorm ideas, identify concerns and share experiences. A facilitator presented each group’s findings.

“Social participation is going to be completely dependent on being accessible and affordable,” said Martina Esbaugh, noting many seniors live on fixed incomes.

Lyle Marchewka said he attended to make sure a handicapped person’s perspective is given.

“I kind of live it,” said the Paris man, who has multiple sclerosis and uses an electric scooter to get around.

Jim Harder said loneliness, isolation, relevance and boredom were feelings expressed at his table. The loss of a spouse or having a spouse move into a nursing home is a great adjustment to overcome for someone who is used to living with family for decades.

“Aging is a process that tends to equal retreating,” Staysa said. “People get a little fearful of going out in that world.”

Education was identified as another key factor. A complaint from seniors is not knowing what programs, services, activities and volunteer opportunities are available to them.

Having one number to call for information was suggested. Making information available in print to non-computer users was another. For example, it could be included in monthly water and tax bills.

“Everything comes online now and as you know many seniors are not connected; they don’t have a will to be connected and obviously a lot of information that’s out there isn’t getting to them and that’s a problem,” Harder said.

“Phone trees” would be one way for seniors who aren’t or aren’t comfortable online to be kept in the loop.

“Being part of a phone tree would be social inclusion because they’re automatically talking to someone,” Esbaugh said.

A Six Nations Health Services plan to visit every senior in the reserve to assess needs such as transportation and nutrition met with applause.

The next summit on civic participation and employment is scheduled for Nov. 4 at the Brant Sports Complex in Paris at 8:30 a.m.

Other ideas:

• Opening events at private retirement communities to neighbourhood seniors.

• Making more college and university courses available to seniors.

• Holding interest courses at public libraries.

• When holding events, unlocking building doors closest to parking lots and handicapped parking to improve accessibility to venues.

• Bulletin boards and community rooms in apartment buildings.

• Offering seniors programming in evenings instead of largely during the daytime to help ease emptiness of evenings alone.

• Encouraging high school students to work with seniors to gain their 40 volunteer hours for graduation.

• Having seniors and university students share residences.

• Opportunities for accessible tourism activities.

How about 'neighbourhood watch' for seniors?

News Sep 22, 2015 by Brian Shypula Brant News

Ideas to raise the social participation of seniors drew on a pair of programs known for their work with children and youth.

Seniors editions of Neighbourhood Watch and Big Brothers Big Sisters were suggested at Friday’s age-friendly summit on social participation as means to bridge the isolation, loneliness and boredom some older people experience as they age.

“We’ve got Neighbourhood Watch for kids, how come we don’t have ‘neighbourhood watch’ for seniors?” said Paris senior Sara Staysa.

It would encourage people to keep an eye on seniors in their neighbourhoods and perhaps lend a hand with something as simple as helping get a blue box to the curb. Neighbourhoods should be “family” looking out for one another, she said.

“Culturally, we have become warehousing,” Staysa said.

The third of eight local summits around creating an age-friendly community attracted 53 people to Six Nations Tourism.

The Grand River Council on Aging and Brant MPP Dave Levac are holding the summits to address the challenges of an aging population and making Brantford, County of Brant, Six Nations and New Credit an age-friendly community. The eight summits mirror the eight pillars of an age-friendly community developed by the World Health Organization.

By 2030, 35 per cent of the local population will be seniors.

Following the format of the previous meetings, participants gathered in groups of six or seven to brainstorm ideas, identify concerns and share experiences. A facilitator presented each group’s findings.

“Social participation is going to be completely dependent on being accessible and affordable,” said Martina Esbaugh, noting many seniors live on fixed incomes.

Lyle Marchewka said he attended to make sure a handicapped person’s perspective is given.

“I kind of live it,” said the Paris man, who has multiple sclerosis and uses an electric scooter to get around.

Jim Harder said loneliness, isolation, relevance and boredom were feelings expressed at his table. The loss of a spouse or having a spouse move into a nursing home is a great adjustment to overcome for someone who is used to living with family for decades.

“Aging is a process that tends to equal retreating,” Staysa said. “People get a little fearful of going out in that world.”

Education was identified as another key factor. A complaint from seniors is not knowing what programs, services, activities and volunteer opportunities are available to them.

Having one number to call for information was suggested. Making information available in print to non-computer users was another. For example, it could be included in monthly water and tax bills.

“Everything comes online now and as you know many seniors are not connected; they don’t have a will to be connected and obviously a lot of information that’s out there isn’t getting to them and that’s a problem,” Harder said.

“Phone trees” would be one way for seniors who aren’t or aren’t comfortable online to be kept in the loop.

“Being part of a phone tree would be social inclusion because they’re automatically talking to someone,” Esbaugh said.

A Six Nations Health Services plan to visit every senior in the reserve to assess needs such as transportation and nutrition met with applause.

The next summit on civic participation and employment is scheduled for Nov. 4 at the Brant Sports Complex in Paris at 8:30 a.m.

Other ideas:

• Opening events at private retirement communities to neighbourhood seniors.

• Making more college and university courses available to seniors.

• Holding interest courses at public libraries.

• When holding events, unlocking building doors closest to parking lots and handicapped parking to improve accessibility to venues.

• Bulletin boards and community rooms in apartment buildings.

• Offering seniors programming in evenings instead of largely during the daytime to help ease emptiness of evenings alone.

• Encouraging high school students to work with seniors to gain their 40 volunteer hours for graduation.

• Having seniors and university students share residences.

• Opportunities for accessible tourism activities.