How to Combat the Vicious Cycle of Loneliness

This month, The Atlantic features a great interview with loneliness researcher John Cacioppo. In the interview, he reminds us of the need to distinguish social isolation from loneliness, and how programs designed to alleviate isolation do not necessarily alleviate loneliness. A good read, with particular relevance to those working to combat both problems among older adults.

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Seniors’ Multicultural Festival

South Granville Seniors’ Centre is hosting its annual Multicultural Festival on May 4th. Come out and enjoy a fun afternoon of great food and entertainment.

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LGBTQ+ Seniors’ Social, April 21

Are you an older adult 55+ who identifies as LGBTQ/2S? Attend Qmunity’s Spring Fling celebration, April 21, at Haro Park Centre.

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Provincial All-Candidates’ Debate on Seniors’ Issues

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New Report from National Seniors Council on Social Isolation

The National Seniors Council of Canada has just released a new report outlining the current scientific literature about social isolation among specific groups of seniors. This is a comprehensive review and we encourage everyone interested in seniors’ issues to have a look. This review has helped inform our own review of best practices for social isolation and loneliness among older adults.

From the executive summary:

“Canada’s population is aging rapidly as a growing proportion of baby boomers transition into their senior years. In this context, the issue of social isolation – which has profound impacts on the health and well-being of seniors from all walks of life – has come to occupy an increasingly important place in discussions on seniors and aging in Canada. It is estimated that up to 16% of seniors experience social isolation (Statistics Canada, 2010). Who’s at Risk and What Can Be Done About It builds on earlier work undertaken by the National Seniors Council (NSC) on the issue of the social isolation of seniors. Specifically, the current review looks at what the literature says about how different groups of vulnerable seniors are affected by social isolation and identifies promising interventions to tackle social isolation and reconnect seniors to their communities.

“Nine groups of seniors are examined: Aboriginal seniors, seniors who are caregivers, immigrant seniors, LGBT seniors, seniors living alone, seniors living in remote or rural areas, low-income seniors and those living in poverty, seniors with mental health issues (including Alzheimer’s and other dementias), and seniors with health challenges or disabilities. The review begins with an examination of the literature on each group before exploring the literature on promising interventions, most of which focuses on seniors as a whole. It concludes with four main findings.”

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Biggest Threat Facing Middle-Aged Men is Loneliness

This month’s Boston Globe magazine features an excellent article about the risk for loneliness among middle-aged men. In particular, it discusses the tendency for middle-aged men to let their friendships lapse as they age. It is well worth the read.

If you cannot load the page, you can find a PDF version here.

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Brain Health and Dementia: Free Cantonese Health Forum, April 8

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SAC Begins New Term

The Seniors Advisory Committee is beginning its new term this month. We are very happy to have five new members join us: Monica Camporese, Clemencia Gómez, Ashok Puri, Elaine Wass, and Honghao Xu.

We hope to continue work on several important goals this term, including our pursuit of the “Global Age-Friendly City” designation from the World Health Organization; our social isolation & loneliness project; improvements to street safety & infrastructure; accessible public transit; and our checklist of essential features for accessible seniors’ housing.

If there are any issues you feel our committee should address, or if you would like to attend a meeting, please contact us.

For new members, the following documents may be useful:

  • Procedure Bylaw, which regulates the procedures of Council and its committees and other bodies
  • Guidelines for Civic Agencies, which provides general guidance on day-to-day operation of civic agencies
  • Code of Conduct Policy, which sets minimum expectations for the behaviour of Council officials, staff, and advisory body members in carrying out their functions
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Review of City’s Snow and Ice Removal Procedures

We are pleased that Council has passed a motion today asking staff to provide a report on the City’s handling of snow and ice removal during December. The Park Board has commissioned a similar report. As street safety and accessibility are key priorities for our committee, we look forward to reading these reports and providing feedback.

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Snow and Ice Removal

Please remember that sidewalks can become very slippery during the winter. Please help prevent accidents by keeping the sidewalks around your home/business clear of ice and snow.

While the City is responsible for clearing major thoroughfares, including bus routes, bridges, and bike lanes, residents and businesses are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the full width of sidewalks that surround their residence or business by 10:00am on the morning following a snowfall. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

Snow and ice on the sidewalk can be a barrier for many people, particularly seniors and people with disabilities. A single portion of a sidewalk that is not cleared can negate the clearing efforts of the rest of the residents on the whole block.

Help those unable to shovel

The City encourages you to lend a hand to those who are unable to shovel their own sidewalks.

Adopt the sidewalk of a senior neighbour or person with a mobility issue, and keep it clear of snow and ice all winter long.

To report problems on City property, call 3-1-1, or 604-873-7000.

Happy holidays from the Seniors Advisory Committee!

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Character Home Zoning Review

2919_east_29th_avenueThe City is conducting an Character Home Zoning Review to look at options for the retention of heritage and character homes in single-family (RS) zoning districts.

Geographic and zoning options are being explored that could result in changes to regulations for both pre-1940 character homes and new home development in older single-family neighbourhoods.

Share your thoughts at an open house on December 5th or 6th, or complete an online survey. For information: http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/character-home-zoning-review.aspx

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Accessible Path of Travel Policy Review, December 7

accessible-paths-to-housingCity of Vancouver Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability staff are conducting a policy review to explore opportunities for accessible paths of travel to low-density housing types.  The goal is to improve and streamline policies to make these homes more accessible for people of all ages and abilities.

Draft policy recommendations are being proposed, which aim to better align the Zoning and Development By-law and Vancouver Building By-law with respect to adaptability and accessibility.

Come to the open house to learn more and provide input:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 4 – 7 pm
Vancouver City Hall – Media Centre (outside of Town Hall)
453 West 12th Ave

Comments can be provided at the Open House or on our website starting December 7, 2016. For more information, please e-mail or call Alena Straka at alena.straka@vancouver.ca or (604) 871-6659

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Open Houses on Proposed Changes to West 10th Avenue

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City staff are holding four open houses on the proposed changes to the West 10th Avenue Corridor (VGH Medical Precint):

• Nov. 22, 4-7 p.m., Blusson Spinal Cord Centre

• Nov. 23, 4-7 p.m., Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral

• Nov. 26, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Blusson Spinal Cord Centre

• Nov. 29, 4-7 p.m., Croatian Cultural Centre

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Council of Councils Meeting

We are looking forward to next week’s Council of Councils meeting at City Hall, when all civic advisory committees meet to discuss our accomplishments over the last term and our goals for next term.

Below are the slides we prepared outlining our priorities, achievements, and goals (click image for full-size PDF).

seniors_council_of_councils_2016_slides_preview

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Accessible Public Bathrooms Motion Passes

public-toilet-vancouverWe are very pleased that Vancouver City Council has unanimously passed our motion calling for the consideration of accessible public toilets—a key element of an age-friendly city—in all planning projects.

For some people, the uncertainty of access to public toilets can limit where they go or whether they can even leave home. This is especially true for people with medical conditions. Additional public toilets can help them feel more comfortable participating in city life, thereby reducing social isolation.

A video of the proceedings can be found here (please ensure pop-up blockers are turned off and Flash is turned on in order to view the video in your browser).

Media coverage:

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Accessible Bathrooms, Arbutus Greenway, and West 10th Avenue Corridor Motions

washroomOn November 2, Councillor Elizabeth Ball will be presenting three of our motions to Council:

Our Chair, Colleen McGuinness, will be speaking to these three motions. If you are interested in these motions, we urge you to speak at this Council meeting or to send your thoughts to Council in writing.

Many thanks to SAC members Gudrun Langolf, Eva Wadolna, and Dellie Lidyard for drafting the original version of these motions at the Committee level.

Media coverage:

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Reach Isolated Seniors Everywhere

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104-year-old woman a shining example of municipal programs’ success

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A new report by the Columbia Institute says municipalities play a critical role in providing services to seniors:

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/104-year-old-municipal-programs-1.3810594

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Seniors, Socialization, and Health in Metro Vancouver

fb_img_1477692591083The Columbia Institute has released a new report: “Our Future: Seniors, Socialization and Health.” The report, with input from eight seniors centres in Metro Vancouver, spotlights how municipalities are the frontline step in seniors’ health by offering a wide variety of programs that help keep seniors healthy and independent and delay/prevent seniors from requiring more costly health care services. This report is of great interest to the Seniors’ Advisory Committee, which is launching a larger, city-wide project to address social isolation and loneliness among older adults.

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Public Workshop About Future of Granville Island

Register for workshop about future of Granville Island, October 15, Roundhouse Community Centre

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