Re-Emerge: Engaging Seniors Suffering from Pandemic Social Isolation
Research shows that social isolation is a common issue for seniors that results in negative health outcomes. We know that the pandemic has exacerbated this issue because individuals and organizations have had to eliminate social gatherings in order to keep each other safe. Our idea is to run a series of social programming in 2022 to help seniors Re-Emerge from this state of isolation back into a community of positive relationships with their peers and the broader community.
LASA is well positioned to accomplish this in our area of operations. We are an ambitious, visionary group whose aim is to make being a senior something to look forward to and enjoy with your peers and community members. As such, we have existing relationships with many of the seniors in the area through our membership base and are connected to many more through community relationships. Although there has been much disappointment as a result of cancelled programs throughout the pandemic, our Board has remained active and continued to provide services within the community. We have adapted some programming to reach individuals within their homes and are eager to re-engage in person when it’s safe to do so. We also have many positive relationships with local businesses and partners that we will leverage and support with our Re-Emerge project.
The Re-Emerge Project will host four major events throughout the course of 2022 to generate excitement and give our seniors something to look forward to. The four events that have been selected are ones that seniors from the club’s membership expressed interested in through a survey. We are asking for funding for these events so that they can be subsidized making them accessible to anyone in our community. Without funding, the ticket prices for these more exciting events will be out of reach for many, particularly those on low or fixed incomes. These individuals are already at a higher risk of isolation and loneliness due to the costs associated with getting to and participating in various clubs and memberships. We believe that by subsidizing this programming, we can improve the well-being of our whole community and help members to build and revitalize relationships within the community that they can take beyond a single event. We will provide information on all of the services available through the association at each of the four events. These services include meals on wheels, the community bus, and social events.
Who Will it Benefit?
Seniors living in Longview and the surrounding area will benefit from this programming. These folks are at an increased risk of social isolation and loneliness both as a result of the pandemic and because they live in a rural area making it more difficult to access events, programs, and other services that are typically available in larger centers.
Stats Canada shows that 23% of the population aged 65+ in our community are considered low income (most recent data available was taken from the 2016 census for 2015 data; it’s unclear at this time how these numbers have been impacted by the pandemic). These are the individuals who will benefit most from subsidized events and are unlikely to be able to participate without them.
We expect to be able to directly reach 80-100 seniors through these events.