Best Practices

Seniors will represent 24% of the total population in 2036 (10.4 million people)

Some Canadian examples

  1. The Alzheimer Societies of Canada delivers the First Link program which is an early intervention service designed to connect individuals and families with services and support as soon as possible after diagnosis. Formal referral from physicians and health professionals allows for proactive contact with individuals and families. First Link ensures that individuals and families are connected early for support throughout their journey. (National)
  1. REACH (Regina Education and Action on Child Hunger) and Street Culture Youth have a partnership to provide delivery service and a REACH food security program for seniors. Street Culture Youth are paid to deliver frozen meals and other staples to seniors. Seniors receive meals and have a short conversation with youth couriers. The initiative is receiving good feedback from seniors and the couriers are encouraged to call REACH if one of the seniors where they delivered a meal seems unwell. (Saskatchewan)
  1. 211 is Canada’s source of information on government and community-based health and social services; its telephone help line (2-1-1) and website help connect people to relevant information and services. (National) (211 is not yet available in Manitoba, Newfoundland/Labrador, PEI, Yukon, NWT)
  1. The is a central resource for seniors, their families, caregivers and supporting service organizations. The site provides information for seniors on federal, provincial, territorial and some municipal government benefits and services, including information on finances, housing, health and wellness. The website also provides links to other portals such as the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal, created to share evidence-based knowledge with professionals and the general public. (National)
  1. HouseCalls, a unique not-for-profit primary health care program provides frail and homebound seniors with physician-led, interdisciplinary care at home by a highly integrated interprofessional team. HouseCalls provides ongoing comprehensive home-based primary medical care, as well as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, social work and connections to community support services for seniors living at home with physical, cognitive and social frailties. (Ontario)
  1. The Niagara Gatekeepers program has two key tools: a referral phone line and public education. Gatekeepers are members of the community including neighbors, friends, family and front line service workers who can identify signs of potential isolation or danger. Anyone in the community can call to help connect “at risk” seniors with programs and services. Referrals to the Niagara Gatekeeper phone line are forwarded to one of the partner agencies which contacts the senior and helps get services in place to help seniors remain safe and independent at home for as long as possible. (Ontario)
  1. The Camp Sunshine Program, by Sunshine Centres for Seniors, provides social, recreational and health promotion activities for both frail and active seniors, as well as people with disabilities on Ward’s Island. In the community, there are almost no affordable opportunities for seniors to partake in an outdoor program in a natural environment. Seniors in long-term care facilities also do not have access to outdoor recreational options in the summer. (Ontario)
  1. The title of “Age-Friendly City” (AFC) is given to a city that ensures the well-being of seniors in collaboration with other resources in the community. In 2009, the city of Sherbrooke, Quebec and six other municipalities were the very first to be recognized as Age-Friendly Cities in Quebec. To develop a culture of civic-mindedness and caring toward seniors, Sherbrooke’s AFC committee has developed a training kit for the staff of businesses in the city to help them adopt a respectful and caring attitude toward seniors.
  1. Teslin, a rural community in Yukon, is going to have its own Elders’ complex with smaller apartments and a big common room to encourage socialisation. The Teslin Tlingit Council is involved in all aspects of the development of the Elders’ complex from the development to final approval of the design. (Yukon)
  1. Partnership with GaiÉcoute, FondationÉmergenceoffers an information and awareness program focusing on the realities faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-identity (LGBT) seniors. Pour que vieillirsoitgaiseeks to empower those who work or deal with seniors to ensure homophobia-free and transphobia-free environments. (Quebec)
  1. L.I.N.K.S. (Live Independently and Keep Social) is a volunteer group that supports older isolated adults and helps them stay involved in their community. Volunteers are matched with seniors and help them with recreation and social activities, registration and transportation options until they gain confidence to participate independently. Referrals come from individuals, family, friends and the medical community, creating a community safety net for isolated seniors or for those at risk of social isolation. (British Columbia) (click on Seniors Activity Centre
  1. The Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab (TAGlab) of the University of Toronto, founded in 2008, designs aides, software, systems, and experiences that support aging through the life course with the goal of fostering a sense of community, identity and autonomy for users. The TAGteam believes that carefully designed technology can help improve the quality of life of seniors while, at the same time, addressing common social and psychological issues faced by older adults. (Ontario)
  1. The Good Companions Seniors’ Centre in Ottawa  Seniors’ Centre Without Walls is a free telephone program that offers recreation activities, health and wellness seminars and general conversation to individuals who find it difficult to access regular community centres in person.  The goal is to remove barriers, create connections, friendships and a new sense of community for isolated seniors and adults with physical disabilities (Ottawa)

International Examples

  1. The Campaign to End Loneliness is a network of over 600 national, regional and local organizations, and people working together through community action, good practice, research and policy to create the right conditions to reduce loneliness in later life in the United Kingdom. (United Kingdom)
  1. Contact the Elderly: supported by a network of volunteers, Contact the Elderly organises monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people aged 75+ who live alone, offering a regular and vital friendship link every month. (UK):
  1. Rotherham Less Lonely Campaign: local organisations across all sectors are encouraged to work in partnership to address the issue of loneliness. The Campaign also encourages people of all ages in local communities to work at an individual and group level to address this issue in their own locality and beyond. (UK):