Find out what`s going on with
various ESCC projects

ESCC Updates                November 2015

In this issue:
New program connects seniors to home supports
Giving voice to Edmonton’s immigrant seniors
ESCC celebrates 10 years of collaboration in the seniors sector
You’re invited to ESCC’s Seasonal Gathering and Conversation Café
Learnings from ESCC’s Attracting Younger Seniors Conversation Café
Connecting seniors to home supports
Six large senior centres are now administering the Seniors Home Supports Program in their district to help Edmonton seniors to age in place safely. The program works by connecting seniors with vetted service providers offering snow removal, yard help, housekeeping and minor home repair services.
The six district organizations are working together to provide this coordinated referral service that covers all parts of Edmonton. The organizations recruit and screen businesses, community groups and individuals to ensure they are reputable and will follow up with seniors to check satisfaction with referrals. Seniors are not charged for referrals but they will pay a fee to the service provider for completing the work. To get referrals, seniors contact the organization that coordinates the program in their area of the city.
For more information on the program visit or download an information sheet which outlines the services included in the program, referral process and a map which shows the geographical boundaries and a list of postal codes for each district.

The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council helped the senior-serving organizations develop and launch this program which is the first to use a city-wide district model to coordinate home supports for seniors. The organizations collaborated to develop policies and tools and share best practices. They will work together to track statistics and trends in service delivery and examine unmet needs. Since this is the first time a model such as this has been used, ESCC will monitor how the model is working, facilitate continued collaboration, facilitate meetings to resolve issues and evaluate effectiveness.
It’s encouraging to see what can be accomplished when organizations work together. The Seniors Home Supports Program will make it easier for seniors to access home supports by providing a streamlined referral system and connecting seniors to reliable and trustworthy service providers. By working together, seniors organizations are responding to the needs of Edmonton’s seniors.
Members of the Home Supports Implementation Committee

Giving voice to Edmonton's immigrant seniors

For the past year, the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council has been managing a needs assessment in the Edmonton community of immigrant and refugee seniors called the “Age of Wisdom Project.” On October 27, ESCC facilitated a workshop to share the results from the needs assessment with stakeholders who work with immigrant and refugee seniors.
The Age of Wisdom Project confirmed that the needs of immigrant and refugee seniors are complex, with multiple needs that often compound one another. The Age of Wisdom Summary Report cites three main challenges that these seniors deal with in their daily lives, as identified by immigrant and refugee seniors and service provider participants:
  • Language: Without capacity in English, immigrant and refugee seniors expressed a diminished ability to fully participate in society, including a limited ability to access services and programs that would enhance their well-being, such as health and recreational programs.
  • Housing: Like many seniors, immigrant and refugee seniors face a myriad of housing issues. Safe, affordable housing is essential to a sense of security and overall well-being. Three factors make housing a key concern: inappropriate housing, a lack of affordable housing, and precarious housing. These three elements are often present at the same time, each compounding the negative effects of the others.
  • Income: Income insecurity that results in low or unpredictable income is at the root of many issues faced by immigrant and refugee seniors. Seniors spoke a lot about income related issues (benefits, income supplements, wages etc.) including financial concerns related to the cost of living, and the cost of accessing programs services that would be helpful to them
The report identifies promising practices, guidelines for provision of programs and services, and policy changes that respond to the needs and challenges identified as a result of this project. All seniors organizations can benefit from considering these recommendations.
Learnings from the Age of Wisdom project were also shared with immigrant and refugee seniors who participated in the project. On November 12, participants gathered to talk about the report and review the actions stakeholders identified as priorities at the October 27 event. The advisory committee will now look for some key areas where both stakeholders and immigrant and refugee seniors see immediate potential to have some influence. Next steps will be planned at that time.
Project background
This project was overseen by an advisory committee consisting of representatives from the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council, Multicultural Women and Senior Services Association, the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative, the City of Edmonton Multicultural Relations Office and the Community Services Communities of Interest section. The project was funded by Age Friendly Edmonton. Zenev and Associates were engaged to conduct the needs assessment.

ESCC celebrates 10 years

On October 14, 2015 ESCC celebrated a milestone. For 10 years we’ve been bringing stakeholders together to improve coordination of services for seniors in Edmonton.

ESCC was established to support shared planning, coordination and collaboration among service providers for seniors – a need identified by the Task Force on Community Services for Seniors in 2003.
ESCC has guided sector collaboration on many issues over the years and significant successes have been achieved:
  • Funding now exists to help seniors centres operate and undertake upgrading to their facilities.
  • The Seniors Information Phone Line (part of 211 Edmonton) has improved access to information about seniors programs and services in the Edmonton area.
  • Outreach services to isolated and at-risk seniors have been enhanced through the creation of forms, templates and resource lists (Edmonton Senior Sector Outreach Worker Toolkit) to aid workers in service delivery.
  • The Seniors Home Supports Program (featured in this issue of ESCC Updates) provides a coordinated model for helping seniors access snow removal, yard help, housekeeping and minor home repair by connecting them to vetted service providers in all areas of the city.
  • ESCC has facilitated stronger ties among organizations that offer seniors assisted transportation including the development of a model for collaborative service delivery. LIFT Drive Happiness was created to enable shared work functions such as joint volunteer recruitment and training, consistent practices, common forms and coordinated communications.
  • ESCC initiated the development of a broad strategic plan for meeting the needs of Edmonton seniors which led to the creation of the Age Friendly Edmonton initiative. ESCC co-leads Age Friendly Edmonton (AFE) with the City of Edmonton. Many projects are being done under the AFE banner.
  • We’ve brought stakeholders together to learn and brainstorm on many issues via the quarterly Executive Director and Board Chair meetings.
  • The Recreation and Wellness Directory, published annually, highlights courses, programs, and events available to older adults in Edmonton. 54 organizations contributed to this publication in 2015 and more than 1200 activities were included.
  • In 2015 ESCC facilitated a sector response to the federal government’s call for proposals to address social isolation. Seven Edmonton projects were submitted with assistance from ESCC with the aim of collective impact. Even though funding decisions have not been announced ESCC is proud to have been able to help facilitate this grant submission.
Thank you to our members, stakeholders and supporters who have been on this journey with us. ESCC was established in response to sector needs and we’re proud to have accomplished things that benefit the sector. We’re not just looking back though. ESCC continues to identify sector needs and determine how we can best support the seniors sector. We look forward to much more collaboration in the coming years.
Looking ahead: ESCC Futures Committee meets on ESCC’s 10th anniversary

Seasonal gathering and conversation café

Please join us for our annual seasonal gathering and conversation café.
Thursday, December 3
Chateau Louis Conference Centre (11727 Kingsway Avenue)

8:30 a.m. -  A conversation with MLA Richard Feehan
9:30 a.m. - Conversation Café: What does our sector see as the most important issue facing seniors and how can it be addressed?
10:45 a.m. - Network with colleagues
11:45 a.m. - Lunch
Provincial Government MLA Richard Feehan will speak about the need for government to find ways to address the most pressing issues facing seniors. Our sector can show leadership by identifying important issues facing seniors, what’s needed to address the issues, and evidence-based research that can support these approaches. The conversation café will focus on these questions.
We know that people place great value on being able to connect with colleagues so we’ve built in time for people who hold similar positions (e.g. board chairs, treasurers, executive directors) to get into groups and discuss issues of importance.
Please RSVP online or by phone (780-428-3660) by noon on November 26.

Attracting younger seniors to your organization

Getting younger seniors through the doors is an increasingly important focus for many seniors organizations. ESCC members voiced their interest in learning more about this younger demographic to help their agencies build capacity to connect, stay relevant, be sustainable and ultimately serve seniors of the future.
Ideas about how organizations can enhance programs, operations, volunteer management and marketing to match the values and interests of younger seniors were presented and discussed at ESCC’s September conversation café.
Linda Ensley of Strathcona Place 55+ Centre spoke about what her organization is doing to attract younger seniors including changing the name of the centre and shifting focus in programming and marketing. Linda shared many insights into perceptions and marketing and highlighted characteristics of Canadian baby boomers which set the stage for the round table discussions. Participants discussed how to incorporate these new ideas in their work with seniors. All agreed that this work need not take away from addressing the needs of the seniors who have built relationships with their agencies and continue to rely on them as hubs in the community providing healthy aging programs and services.
We’re happy to share the presentation, resources and notes from the event so you too can work on a plan to respond and engage younger seniors:
ESCC website
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