At a January Steering Committee meeting the purpose of outreach was simplified to state: improve the accessibility of services to seniors.
In further review of the intake and assessment tools and the key that accompanied the forms, it was decided to integrate the documents. This will allow for the creation of key information about the issue, suggested questions and resources.
Issues covered will be activities of daily living, food security, housing, physical health, transportation, financial and legal, caregiving, grief and loss, mental health, addictions, elder abuse, support system, cultural diversity, and social recreation pursuits. Underlying this work continues to be Edmontonâ€™s vision of a community that values, respects and actively supports the safety, diversity and well-being of seniors and the recognition that services to isolated and at risk seniors needs to be enhanced.
Sadly, in January the Outreach Steering Committee and Edmonton lost a champion for social justice. Sherry McKibben passed away while vacationing in Mexico. She will be missed; she brought a voice for seniors that she encountered in her work at Home Care and other communities. She was a caring woman who worked to make this world a more inclusive and loving place.
LIFT: Drive Happiness
As mentioned last time, a market research firm researched 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. Leger reported that due to a lack of volunteer drivers, a third of those current users were not able to access the service when they needed it. For those who did receive rides, they value the service and were pleased with the nice and helpful drivers who made the service more enjoyable.
In the identification of future demand for assisted transportation, 500 seniors in the general population were surveyed. In the past year, one in seven seniors has been unable to access transportation when they needed to, mostly due to unavailability of friends or family to take them around or public transportation being too inconvenient. This is particularly true of seniors aged 80 and older. The research also indicated a need to increase the awareness of this service: 41% of seniors who are 80 or older were not aware of assisted driving services.
The collaboration now has a communication strategy to recruit new volunteers and increase awareness of volunteer driving. A marketing firm assisted the group in a branding exercise to identify shared values and core outcomes of the service. The coordinated and collaborative service that each organization continues to provide will now be known as LIFT: Drive Happiness.
It is more than a ride! Volunteer drivers give seniors a â€˜Liftâ€™ in getting from place to place as well as raising spirits. The tone of the brand is that of an uplifting voice that drives and motivates people to volunteer. Keep your eyes and ears open for the spring launch!