Aging in Place Community Demonstration Projects
Edmonton's commitment to being an age-friendly city
In June 2010, the City of Edmonton, in collaboration with over 100 key community stakeholders, launched two Aging in Place Community Demonstration Projects. “Aging in Place” is defined as supporting seniors to remain in their homes for as long as they wish and are safely able to do so. Funding for the project was provided until March 2012 by Alberta Health and Wellness as part of the Continuing Care Strategy "Aging in the Right Place". Pilot projects are completed and the final report is available, and project summaries are highlighted.
Project Goal and Location of Demonstration Sites
The goal of the project was to develop sustainable community-based solutions which addressed aging in place risk factors including:
- Social isolation
- Home supports
- Access to information
The experience and lessons learned through the project will serve as a resource and model for communities across the city to become more age-friendly.
There were two demonstration sites in Edmonton:
- In southeast Edmonton the City worked with the community to research and address the needs of seniors 75 years and older who were living in their own homes in Holyrood, Ottewell, Terrace/ Forest Heights, Capilano, Fulton Place and Gold Bar neighbourhoods.
- In Mill Woods the City worked with the community to research and address the needs of immigrant seniors, over 65 years of age, living on their own or with family, and who were isolated and facing language/cultural barriers.
Community Based Initiatives
The project brought together community partners, senior citizens and agency representatives, resulting in the development of initiatives, projects, workshops and classes that will leave a rich legacy.
- In partnership with the AMA, transportation forums helped seniors plan for their retirement from driving. This led to the development of a workshop “Driving and Beyond” to be used province wide.
- Public transportation needs were assessed at both sites. In Southeast, the need for modifications to Edmonton Transit Services (ETS) routes was evident and in Mill Woods, a proposal for a new route received solid support. Two new ETS public bus routes commence in September 2012.
- An “Assisted Transportation Pilot Project” addressed the barriers faced by immigrant seniors.
- The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council will continue to work with the Alberta Health Services Lamplighter Program, which trains community partners on how to identify senior neighbours who may be at risk - those who may have had a change in routine or behaviour, or who may not have been seen or heard from in days.
- The Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) endorsed the need for a “Liaison for Seniors” board position, a point of contact for seniors and senior related issues in each of the 155 communities across Edmonton.
- The Southeast Project encouraged seniors to participate in The Wisdom Crew – an initiative of the Edmonton Neighbourhood Watch Program Society.
- • In partnership with Mill Woods Senior’s Activity Centre, activities were organized to create a welcoming and inclusive place for all seniors. Food and Friendship potlucks, inter-cultural experiences and an art project helped meet that aim.
- A snow shovelling pilot was launched with the South East Edmonton Seniors Association. The pilot included a volunteer matching program for low income seniors, assistance with the completion of funding applications forms for home support services, a summary of snow shovelling services and enhancement of the Snow Buster program.
- Service providers became more culturally responsive and age-friendly. For example, the Edmonton Meals on Wheels kitchen has welcomed on site Halal meal preparation and grocery stores were encouraged to be age friendly.
- Edmonton Meals on Wheels held taste testings and made Halal meals available through the Multicultural Women and Seniors Services Association.Two freezers at multicultural centres and one at Mill Woods Seniors Activity Centre - have been supplied by Meals on Wheels to further help seniors access ready made frozen meals.
- Edmonton Meals on Wheels, a southeast community league and seniors organized a community information and taste testing event – “Tickle Your Taste Buds”. As a direct result a community freezer was established in the nearby Alberta Caregiver’s Association office. The community league is recruiting for a volunteer “Liaison for Seniors”.
Information and Referral
- Immigrant seniors were surveyed to gain an understanding of how they currently receive information. The results revealed a better understanding of how to effectively reach them. The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council will determine next steps.
- Two seniors resource fairs were held at Capilano Mall. The fair in June 2011 brought 300 senior citizens in direct contact with 40 exhibitors and a smaller fair in November 2011 focused on home support services needed for the winter months. A third fair in is being organized for June 2012 independent of the project. There will be just over 50 exhibitors, computer classes and free refreshments.
- Multigenerational kits comprised of intergenerational and multi ethnic games are now available for free rental.
- A seniors summer computer training camp was held to help increase seniors' ability to access resource information. The camp also provided an opportunity for socializing and relationship-building.
- A free cultural competency training workshop was provided to staff of senior serving agencies and community leaders to increase their cultural awareness, knowledge and skills. Listening to the stories of immigrant seniors and their advocates was a key component to the workshop.
- Senior-friendly English as Another Language (EAL) classes were offered on a weekly basis through a partnership between the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton (Sage) and the Multicultural Women and Seniors Services Association.
Supporting the Edmonton Seniors Declaration
The Aging in Place project supported the vision of an inclusive, sustainable and vibrant city where seniors are connected to their communities and are valued for their experience and wisdom as set out in the Edmonton Seniors Declaration. Released in June 2010, it is the first of its kind in Canada.
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