The Collectif aînés isolement social ville de Québec aims to create a lasting synergy with local stakeholders that will allow Quebec City to become a model for active and healthy aging. The Collectif’s goal is to establish an inclusive, safe and supportive living environment for seniors, in which all community members collaborate in order to significantly reduce the number of isolated seniors living in socially as well as economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Quebec City, to raise awareness about the social isolation of seniors, and to create lasting partnerships aimed at reducing barriers to social participation for seniors.
Background and Focus
In 2015, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) launched the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Inspired by a framework published by AgeUK (2015), a group of organizations from Québec City mobilized to tackle social isolation among seniors. The newly created Collectif aînés isolement social ville de Québec impact group united scholarly, institutional and non-profit actors working together to address the complex challenges facing isolated seniors in some of the city’s most vulnerable areas.
The AgeUK framework asserts that four main types of promising interventions should be put in place in a collaborative manner in order to effectively reduce social isolation of seniors (Jopling, 2015). Accordingly, the Collectif’s partners offer foundation services that reach, work to understand and accompany isolated seniors in accessing appropriate services; dispense direct interventions that help individuals change the way they think about social connections, while offering opportunities to create new relationships; influence gateway services by facilitating mobility and access to information technologies as well as improve communications with seniors; and work on structural enablers, in order to create physical and social environments that facilitate social participation and therefore reduce isolation, such as activities aimed at reducing ageism, promoting positive aging and creating inclusive neighbourhoods.
The four organizations participating in the Collectif run five projects. Three main committees oversee activities, making sure that the common vision stays in focus. Participants share information, reinforce the partnership and create joint ventures between projects. Several ad hoc committees address specific topics, such as communications and durability of the collective approach. Three public organizations (health and social service agencies as well as local governments) have collaborated closely with the Collectif since its inception. Partners, close collaborators and seniors are all active members of these committees.
Accès transports viables (non-profit) leads the TanGo program which aims to promote the independent mobility of people aged 60 and over in order to enable them to participate actively in their communities. Centre d’action bénévole du Contrefort (non-profit) heads two projects. Aînés-nous à vous aider ! Présent dans votre quartier reaches out, supports and accompanies isolated seniors. L’isolement social des aînés n’est pas une fatalité! endeavours to change the way seniors see themselves and the way society views socially isolated people. It further works to raise awareness about the benefits of social participation (protective effect), reinforcing a sense of belonging. Réseau québécois de Villes et Villages en santé (non-profit) heads Nos aînés au cœur du voisinage, an outreach program that implements the Voisins solidaires (Neighbours Together) approach at the local level, with a specific interest in isolated seniors. This program intends to develop mutual assistance and exchanges of small favours between neighbours, strengthening community ties. Institut sur le vieillissement et la participation sociale des aînés de l’Université Laval (Institute on Aging and the Social Participation of Seniors, Université Laval, IVPSA). Backbone organization, IVPSA manages communications; monitors progress and impact of activities; organizes and ensures follow-ups of partnership evaluations. It also runs a project aimed at enhancing communication opportunities for seniors by assisting them to improve their computing skills.
Theory of change
Strategies: Examples of Partners’ Activities
The combined actions of the members of the Collectif aim to inform, put into action and act to create favourable environments with the supports of community groups and other stakeholders. The partners offer an array of services free of charge, such as: Group activities and meeting opportunities: “Cafés-rencontres”, workshops; One-on-one activities and counselling: Locating at risk or isolated older people; support and accompany them to appropriate resources; eight community workers in selected areas; Workshops, seminars and turnkey activities on various topics: public transit, neighbourhood approaches, loneliness and isolation; Support of local actions: volunteer recruitment and training; support and accompaniment tools to develop neighbourhood approaches; Content distribution: mass media activities, directory of services, information booths; theatre play; travelling exhibition on social participation; Knowledge transfer: on innovative studies and approaches (local, national and international venues); exploratory walks and awareness-building activities; Community development: with local organizations and stakeholders.
Pre and post population survey (random sample 65+) to measure change in social isolation among seniors at the population level, evaluation of the partnership process as well as impact of specific activities are in progress.
André Tourigny: email@example.com