Working with Socially Isolated Older Adults: A Self-Directed Study Module

Welcome to this self-directed learning module created for “Nanaimo Seniors Connect”.

The module is designed to meet the learning needs of individuals working in the fields of nursing, social work and gerontology and for students studying in health care and the social sciences.*

In it, we share what we have learned from our research and community action, including practical strategies that are not costly but make a big difference to quality of life for isolated older adults.

We hope you will find this learning opportunity enjoyable. Also, we hope it will encourage you to explore questions about social isolation when working with older adults in the future and that you will be able to integrate some new ideas into seniors’ programming within your own community.

Champion Training

Nanaimo Seniors Connect developed a Champion program that trains citizens and service providers to identify and support seniors who are socially isolated or at risk of being so. It includes:

 Key signs of social isolation in seniors
 Health risks of social isolation
 Interactive discussion
 How to identify community members who may be at risk
 What to do and who to call if you know someone who is socially isolated or at risk

A certificate is provided at the end of the course.

Workshop components: Champion Workshop Poster, Program Overview, Champion Training Power Point, Certificate, Champion Evaluation. All of these may be adapted for other communities.

COSCO Seniors’ Health and Wellness Institute has added the Champion program to the menu of workshops they offer in BC. To book a workshop, contact:

Better Together Champions: Joining together to reduce social isolation among seniors

This eLearning module is intended to provide training to volunteers willing to become Champions to help reduce social isolation among seniors.

By completing this education, volunteers will become aware of the dangers of social isolation, the signs and risks, as well as protective factors. They will also learn how to respond when a concern arises.

Go through the eLearning module using the arrows at the top right corner of each slide.

Photovoice Project: "Visual Expressions of Connection: A Seniors' Creative Show and Tell"

Researchers at Vancouver Island University's Department of Media Studies partnered with Seniors Connect on a collaborative research project. The project, "Visual Expressions of Connection: A Seniors' Creative Show and Tell" employed the concept of Photovoice to explore issues around social isolation and integration in the elder community.

Project Details:

. Participants took part in a 6-week long Photovoice activity, producing photographic works based on a series of questions about social isolation and integration.
. Prior to the Photovoice activity, participants were invited to attend a basic camera skills and photography technique workshop delivered by student researchers, in addition to a workshop focused on ethics and photography.
. Each week of the Photovoice activity, participants met to take part in photograph sharing and group reflection sessions.
. A Photography Exhibit featuring photographs from the research project was held, participants, friends and family members, along with members of the public were invited to attend.

For more information on this project, please contact:

Debra Pentecost, Ph.D.
Faculty, Department of Media Studies
Vancouver Island University

Project materials:

To break free of social isolation, it’s up to each of us!

More than 15% of older people in Québec are socially isolated.
We all have a role to play.

For more information on the activities of Collectif aînés isolement social - ville de Quebec (*in french) :
Facebook :
Site Internet :

Volunteer Impact: A Training Program

Extracted from -

Volunteer Impact is an Allies in Aging initiative. Partners work together to reduce isolation in seniors 75+ by increasing volunteer and service provider capacity through training events and volunteer training resources.

Volunteer Impact partners share expertise related to seniors’ isolation to develop an on-line training curriculum, deliver training to volunteers and service providers, and create evidence-based resources. Better training and resources will ensure volunteers and service providers can better identify seniors who are isolated, understand their needs, and connect them with appropriate services and resources.

The Volunteer Training Modules include the following modules: Exploring Risk Factors, Diversity and Inclusion, Understanding Dementia, Exploring Depression and Delirium, Communication, Grief and Loss, Information, Referral and Income Benefits and Preparing for End of Life. For full Training Curriculum click here:

Volunteer Impact partners developed Seniors’ Isolation Fact Sheets including: Caregivers, Linguistic and Cultural Barriers, Low Income, Mental Health, Physical Health and Life Transitions. To access Fact Sheets click here: