Find out what`s going on with
various ESCC projects

ESCC Updates                     May 2016

In this issue:
Addressing social isolation among Edmonton seniors
Age of Wisdom gathers info from community leaders
Calls to the Seniors Information Phone Line increase
AGM Highlights
2015 Year in Review 
LIFT Drive Happiness update
Support for Fort McMurray seniors

Addressing social isolation among Edmonton seniors.

In 2015 ESCC facilitated a coordinated application by Edmonton senior-serving organizations for a Government of Canada New Horizons for Seniors Program grant to address social isolation of seniors. We’re excited to announce that funding has been confirmed for the collaborative Pan-Edmonton Group Addressing Social Isolation of Seniors (PEGASIS).
The application required a collective impact approach and ESCC will serve as a backbone for this three-year collaboration by engaging community stakeholders and providing coordination and evaluation support to the initiative.
Six projects will address isolation among Edmonton seniors:
  • Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers: The project will connect immigrant seniors to community resources and provide English as an Additional Language classes to help seniors become engaged and informed.
  • Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network: The Seniors' Centre Without Walls project will enable seniors to participate in information sessions from their homes using teleconferencing and/or web-based technology.
  • Greater Edmonton Foundation Seniors Housing: Support will be provided to help seniors navigate and connect to community programs/services, and workshops addressing topics related to social isolation will be delivered.
  • Lifestyle Helping Hands Seniors Association: On-demand transportation services to seniors will be provided by multi-lingual volunteer drivers.
  • Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton: The project will reach out to isolated seniors and connect them to events, resources, supports and services.   
  • Westend Seniors Activity Centre: The project will raise awareness of community programs and services for seniors who may be socially isolated.
A recent Age Friendly Edmonton report sheds some light on the scope of social isolation of Edmonton seniors. 9% of older adults visit with only 1-2 people in a week and 3% visit with no one (800 Edmonton seniors surveyed). The Edmonton PEGASIS work will increase community participation among seniors while connecting them to essential social services and support.

Age of Wisdom gathers info from community leaders.

ESCC provided support on May 14 to a gathering of natural leaders from cultural communities to identify and document existing supports/programs for immigrant and refugees seniors. This gathering was a follow-up to the Age of Wisdom Project—an Age Friendly Edmonton supported needs assessment ESCC coordinated in 2015. 

Facilitated discussions focused on what could be done collectively to address issues relating to supports/programs for immigrant and refugee seniors. Facilitators included colleagues from the Age of Wisdom Advisory Group: the Centre for Race and Culture, Multicultural Women and Senior Services Association, the Edmonton Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative, and City representatives from the Multicultural Relations and Community Inclusion and Investment. 

The Age of Wisdom Advisory Group intended the event to be the first step in organizing a collective/networking group which would continue to look for ways to move forward on many of the recommendations from the 2015 Age of Wisdom project. 

Information collected from the natural leaders of cultural communities on May 14 will be added to preliminary information that was gathered in the Age of Wisdom report. There is potential to create a clearinghouse of information about available programs and services and to promote this more widely to help connect immigrant and refugee seniors with established resources.
cultural community leaders share information at Age of Wisdom event

Calls to the Seniors Information Phone Line increase.

More Edmonton seniors than ever before are being helped through the Seniors Information Phone Line (a program of 211 Alberta-Edmonton and Area). 

Since the launch of the Seniors Information Phone Line the number of seniors-related inquiries to 211 has increased significantly. Prior to the launch in June 2014, 211 received 789 calls related to seniors. After the launch, call volume more than doubled to 1,989 calls (June-December) for a total of 2,778 for 2014. From 2014 to 2015 call volume continued to grow. In 2015, 4,072 calls were received which is almost 1,300 more calls than the previous year.
About 68% of callers in 2015 were seniors which was an increase of 11.5% from 2014. Non-senior adults accounted for approximately 32% of calls, likely in efforts to help aging relatives, friends or neighbours.

The growing number of calls means that more seniors and those who care for them are receiving information and referrals about appropriate community programs and services that can meet seniors’ needs. 

The top five topics that callers requested information about in 2015 were:
  • Health and disability issues 
  • Housing/shelter issues (includes requests for affordable, subsidized or low income housing for seniors as well as landlord and tenancy issues)
  • Financial needs (any request for long or short term financial assistance resources)
  • Aging issues (includes requests for information about in-home assistance)
  • Tax services
700 referrals were made in 2015 to nine ESCC members who signed on as Detailed Assessment Providers. The most common referrals were related to:
  • Outreach programs
  • Low income/subsidized rental housing
  • Tax preparation assistance
  • In-home assistance
  • Provincial social assistance
 The Seniors Information Phone Line is providing a valuable service helping seniors and caregivers navigate through supports offered by the seniors sector.
Thank you to 211 Alberta-Edmonton and Area for providing the statistics and summaries used in this article.

AGM highlights.

We were honoured to have the Honourable Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing, join us for our annual general meeting on April 28. Our members were excited to have the opportunity to speak to Minister Sigurdson about important seniors issues.
We’re delighted to welcome new board members to the ESCC Board of Directors and sincerely thank departing board members Peter Faid and Mary-Jane McLaughlin for their expertise and enthusiasm and many years of service. We also thank Shawn Turcotte and Kerri LaBrash for their time on the ESCC Board of Directors.

2016-17 ESCC Board of Directors
ESCC board members include representatives from senior-serving and senior-supporting organizations as well as members at large, and we appreciate the perspectives and wealth of experience this diversity brings to the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council.
Michael Alpern
Jewish Family Services
Rick Brick
Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP)
Liz Massiah
Member at Large
Joan Welch
Member at Large
Sheila Clifford-MacKay
South East Edmonton Seniors Association
Myrna Mauer
North Edmonton Seniors Association
Holly Matthews
Lifestyle Options Riverbend
Debbie Creaser
North West Edmonton Seniors Society
Gary Pool
Alberta Council on Aging
Barb Foxall
Member at Large
Linda Ensley
Strathcona Place 55+ Centre
Shameem Siddiqui
Multicultural Women & Seniors Services Association
Shelley Kwong
Citizen Services, City of  Edmonton
Karen Greenwood
Shepherd’s Care at Home
Alan Vladicka
Westend Seniors Activity Centre
  Bauni Mackay
Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton

2015 year in review.

We’re pleased to share with you the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council 2015 Annual Report.

We invite you to read it to learn more about how we support our members through learning and networking opportunities, communication efforts and representation on sector issues. You’ll also find information on key collaborative initiatives ESCC facilitated and moved forward in 2015.

A digital version (PDF) is available and you can request a print copy by contacting or by phone at 780-428-3660.

LIFT Drive Happiness update.

A lot has been happening with LIFT Drive Happiness since our last update.

A very successful volunteer recruitment marketing campaign resulted in 100 new volunteer drivers. Thank you to The Stollery Charitable Foundation for funding this crucial initiative which will help LIFT have the volunteer capacity to meet the needs of Edmonton seniors.

The boards of directors of the two partner organizations, Lifestyle Helping Hands Seniors Association and Seniors Assisted Transportation Society of Greater Edmonton, explored many options for an operational structure. A super-board comprised of board members from both boards decided that the most expedient and fiscally responsible option was for one of the partners to change their name to LIFT Drive Happiness. Lifestyle Helping Hands Seniors Association is in the process of making this change.

Seniors Assisted Transportation Society of Greater Edmonton is ceasing operations as of May 31, 2016 because of an unsustainable financial position. Current members and volunteer drivers were given the choice of remaining with LIFT Drive Happiness or transferring to Society of Seniors Caring About Seniors (SSCAS). Seniors requiring assisted transportation continue to be served whether that is through SSCAS or LIFT Drive Happiness. LIFT Drive Happiness will continue to serve the entire city.

Funding received as part of the PEGASIS project addressing social isolation of seniors will be used to hire a full-time dispatcher and provide a subsidy pool to ensure seniors with limited financial means can still receive assisted transportation services.

Seniors who need service and people who want to volunteer as drivers can call 780-424-LIFT(5438).

Support for Fort McMurray seniors.

ESCC members stepped up to support seniors displaced by the fires in the Fort McMurray area. 

Member organizations are offering a range of supports to the seniors while they are staying in Edmonton including waiving fees for activities and classes; offering computer access and counselling; helping seniors fill out forms and access community resources; and providing a welcoming environment to relax and chat with other seniors.

ESCC compiled a list of seniors organizations offering supports and services to Fort McMurray seniors and promoted the list widely including sending it to relief organizations, media and seniors sector stakeholders and sharing it via social media channels.

Thank you to all our member organizations for your kindness and generosity in helping Fort McMurray seniors.
Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council
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