Social isolation results from many circumstances and is influenced by personal, social and environmental factors.
Some issues which limit seniors’ access to services, citizenship and activities are systemic (e.g., such as poverty, deprivation, racism, ageism, discrimination, lack of services due to geographic location, inaccessible information about resources, inadequate transportation and high crime neighbourhoods) and beyond the control of individuals.
Mitigating these barriers requires multi-pronged concerted approaches by citizens, community organizations, different levels of government and businesses.
Age-friendly is a promising method for framing systems approaches to addressing seniors’ social isolation at the community level. Age-friendly communities (AFC) is a model to enable active, healthy aging by focussing on eight domains of community living: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing, respect and social inclusion; social participation; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community support and health services. The eight domains interact and overlap with each other making their combined influence greater than that of any single domain. The cornerstone of the AFC model is the development of a community plan which brings together traditional and non-traditional partners to identify community assets and strengths that facilitate social inclusion of seniors and factors that hinder it.
Read More: Global Age Friendly Cities Guide
Read More: AFRRCAF Rural and Remote Guide
Read More: WHO Ageism Strategy 2017
Nanaimo’s Community Capacity Building Model
The overall aim of Nanaimo Seniors Connect impact plan was to build community capacity to address seniors’ social isolation and to promote seniors’ inclusion. The work in this project was informed by a number of theories and conceptual frameworks but broadly fit within current community development and health promotion approaches. An ecological perspective was taken to understand and influence various aspects of the situation, placing primacy on context for the individual, the group and/or the broader city.
Read More: Nanaimo’s Community Capacity Building Model