Find out what`s going on with
various ESCC projects

ESCC E-Update

                      Nov. 4, 2013
Greetings ESCC Followers.

We have two events this month that you may be interested in attending. Executive directors and board members from ESCC member organizations are invited to participate in a session on Recruiting Leaders for Your Board on Nov. 22 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. (location TBA). The session will be facilitated by Tony Spencer, a provincially certified volunteer board development trainer. It will be particularly valuable for members of board nominations committees. For more information, go here. To RSVP, email Katie at or call 780-423-5635.

The ESCC Seasonal Gathering will be held on Nov. 29. A seasonal lunch will be served at noon at Santa Maria Goretti Community Centre. From 9:30 a.m. until noon, however, members of the Age Friendly Edmonton initiative will host a Conversation Café on the International Conference of Age-Friendly Cities. Members are welcome to attend the café and/or the seasonal lunch. To RSVP, email Katie at or call 780-423-5635.

Enhanced Telephone Line; Outreach; Door-Through-Door Seniors Transportation;
Snow Removal
Enhanced Telephone Line

The idea of having current resource information available to Edmonton seniors via a telephone line surfaced as far back as the Seniors 2000 and Beyond-Moving Research into Action Report (Nov. 24, 2000). This report also acknowledged the need to provide information in different languages.

Thirteen years later we are on the verge of providing an enhanced seniors telephone line for information and referral by building on the existing central 211 phone line managed by the Support Network. ESCC member agencies prioritized work on a central phone line in 2013 and a committee has been meeting regularly to identify how to “connect seniors to meaningful information and provide appropriate referrals to the wide range of resources and services available in Edmonton.”

By May 15, the committee had outlined what the function of the enhanced line would be: ease of access and use of the telephone line as a means to gain senior-specific information and referral; seniors get the help they need with the least number of steps possible.

The committee proposed a project to Age Friendly Edmonton for the Support Network to design and implement the enhanced telephone line as part of 211. The Support Network would undertake to enhance their 211 phone and database system to be more responsive to seniors. Additional funds were requested to allow Anne Smith to continue to provide facilitation at meetings of the advisory group as enhancements were planned. There was also a budget requested for promotion once the enhancements were ready on the 211 line. This proposal was approved by Age Friendly Edmonton.

The advisory group met on Oct. 2 to review a set of questions that were designed to determine the senior's needs and help the operator know what information to provide or what referral to make. The advisory group felt the questions were good and they identified some issues for discussion that require further work.


Outreach Project
FCSS manager Judy Smith spoke at the Oct. 17 Outreach Project meeting facilitated by Anne Smith with the executive directors of agencies that receive FCSS funds to provide outreach in the senior sector. She affirmed the project direction and commended the group on collaborating to make system improvements for Edmonton’s isolated and at-risk seniors population.
Following Judy’s talk, the group discussed project structure. An ED/Designate group was a new structure being proposed by the steering committee and their role would be to review recommendations by the steering committee and make decisions. There was support for creating this structure within the project. All executive directors of organizations with paid staff providing outreach services to seniors could be part of the ED/Designate Group.
There was discussion on the question of who would be allowed to vote when the ED/Designate Group is making decisions and consensus cannot be reached. In the end it was decided (by majority vote) that all organizations providing some level of outreach services to seniors are welcome to be part of the group, however only organizations that provide the full range of outreach services, as defined in Helping Seniors Age in Place-A Strategic Framework to Improve Outreach to Edmonton’s Isolated and/or At-Risk Seniors, would have a vote (one vote per organization). The full range of outreach services include case finding, assessment services, information and referral, case management, service development/system advocacy and community engagement/community building.
At the scheduled project meeting with outreach workers in June, Beth Whalley, the Case Manager Practice Lead with AHS Home Care Services, shared the services offered through Home Care, changes in their program and how outreach workers and Home Care case managers can work better together in supporting seniors. In the fall the outreach workers have been shown how to utilize the subsidy pool for the Door-Thru-Door seniors assisted transportation service, providing assessment and referral for those who currently do not access their services because of low income or social and cultural barriers. Work continues on the creation of a manual that would support outreach service provision, as well as development of standardized forms and tools.
The work of this project is to wrap up by June 30, 2014.. 

Did You Know...
The 2011 Census reported Edmonton’s population to be 817,498. If you break it down by age, about 13 per cent, or 106,000 people, is age 65+. If you include the soon-to-be seniors age 55+ the numbers rise to about 25 per cent of the population, or about 204,375 people.

The fastest growing segment of our seniors population is the 55-64 year old demographic, which shows a 29 per cent growth between 2006 and 2011. The age group of 85+ is also growing quickly—this group grew by 25 per cent in that same period (10,620 in 2006 to 13,320 people in 2011). These are good things to know if you are a service provider.

About one-third of seniors qualify for guaranteed income supplement in Alberta. Here are some other interesting facts:
  • In 2012 1,366 seniors applied to the City of Edmonton for the leisure access pass (up from 751 in 2008)
  • The Christmas Bureau provided services to about 3,383 people age 60+ in 2012. They noted that when there was a financial crisis in the stock market in 2008, they experienced a service increase of 500 older-adult clients. The numbers of older adults utilizing the services has not decreased since the crisis.
  • The number of homeless people age 55+ has increased from 306 in 2008 to 363 in 2012.
 We invite you to share some trends you are noticing at your organization. For example, perhaps your membership has grown steadily in past few years. We can make this a regular part of our e-newsletter and would welcome your suggestions for trends we could track.

Door-Through-Door Seniors Transportation
Three volunteer-driving organizations (Seniors Assisted Transportation Society, Lifestyle Helping Hands Seniors Association and Society of Seniors Caring About Seniors) send one staff and board member to bi-weekly coordinating committee meetings facilitated by Rosalie Gelderman (ESCC) and Ingrid Hoogenboom (City-Seniors Team).
At a recent Board Roundtable, all three boards celebrated the successes of the past year, set the strategic direction for year two and identified how they will continue to work together. A firm has been hired to identify a common brand for the collaborative and develop a communication strategy to recruit new volunteers, increase awareness of volunteer driving and design marketing tools. A fund developer has just joined the team to develop and implement fund raising strategies to secure sustainable funding.

A Market Research firm is researching the need and demand for volunteer driving, the barriers and challenges seniors face in getting where they need to go, and the experience of current members in the value of the service. Evaluators are assisting with the development of a framework and tools to further demonstrate the impact of both the service to seniors and the collaborative process to the three organizations.

RideScheduler, a web based software designed for volunteer driving programs, will provide the technology for the project through a monthly subscription to their service. The organizations are beginning to use RideScheduler in their daily operations. The program will assist in not only scheduling rides but also in collecting data, creating statistical reports, and allowing drivers to select rides at their convenience.

A subsidy pool has been rolled out, using outreach workers and other senior support workers as support for assessment and referral for those who cannot afford the current fees or face other social and cultural barriers.
The three boards arrived at a consensus at the Roundtable to re-sign the Memorandum’s of Understanding and mandate the Coordinating Committee to continue their work. Strategic priorities were agreed upon and all present hoped to meet again in half a year. 
Snow Removal

With the help of Anne Smith’s facilitation and Marilyn Wacko’s flowcharting talents, the snow removal collaborative has been putting more flesh on a potential model to coordinate snow removal services. The model uses a blend of district community engagement and volunteer service with central coordination of some fee-for-service referrals, when it is more like a market-rate business transaction.

This would have about five districts (yet to be determined) that would work to mobilize local shovelling resources—identifying a range of service providers from low-cost shovelling options for seniors who have few resources, up to some fee-for-service shovelling for seniors who can afford to pay less-than market rates.

The model also incorporates the use of the 211 enhanced telephone line for seniors as an added way for seniors to find out about snow removal services and to be put through to the appropriate district or central registry contacts quickly. The group acknowledges that this coordinated service will be for the fall of 2014 in order to allow time to fully develop the model and ensure there are resources in place to help seniors all across Edmonton.

The meetings continue and there is still lots of work to be done. The hope is that a year from now seniors will be able to access snow removal services easily.
Edmonton Seniors Council
Edmonton Seniors Council
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