Success Stories: Seniors

The lives of Canadians are touched on a daily basis by ESDC and its portfolio partners. These success stories are about Canadians who have changed their own lives, or those of others.

Retired seniors become mentors

Through the federal grants and contributions program New Horizons for Seniors, retired seniors with a background in finance volunteer as mentors. During one-on-one meetings, workshops and small group discussions, they give advice to help other seniors avoid and detect financial abuse and fraud.

Read this story : Retired seniors become mentors

Scarborough, Ontario - Seniors in Scarborough, Ontario, now have greater awareness about how to protect themselves from fraud and financial abuse thanks to the Debt-Free Management Education (Seniors for Seniors) project, developed by the Canadian Centre for Women’s Education and Development (CCWED).

With support from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP), the project engaged retired seniors with backgrounds in finance to volunteer as mentors. The senior mentors planned and participated in role-playing scenarios with participants to provide them with first-hand experience on how to avoid financial abuse. They also helped educate a large number of seniors on ways to detect and prevent financial abuse or fraud through one-on-one advice, workshops and small group discussions, while providing other tips to use while investing.

“By asking retired seniors to become part of the leadership team and including them in the educational series of financial fraud discussions, we hoped to pass on their expertise and reach a greater number of seniors who may be vulnerable to financial abuse,” said Bibi Zaman, Executive Director of the CCWED. “Seniors who were involved in the project found the experience to be exciting and appreciated the opportunity to learn new skills.”

Through workshops, seniors were also able to share stories, socialize and learn safe investing. Seniors expressed their gratitude for the chance to work with new people and make new friends. “The financial abuse experienced by older adults can be hidden or go undetected. It is important that seniors who are being abused have access to information, so that they can make informed decisions and be aware of the help available to them,” said Bibi.

Talking about elder abuse is one of the first steps towards prevention, and Debt-Free Management Education (Seniors for Seniors) enabled seniors to create their own space to talk about elder abuse and help prevent it.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objective of encouraging the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities.

Working together to prevent elder abuse

The Fédération des aînées et aînés francophones du Canada has helped address financial abuse in Francophone communities by raising awareness of elder abuse and fraud, and developing the necessary tools to help seniors protect themselves.

Read this story:Working together to prevent elder abuse

A project developed by the Fédération des aînées et aînés francophones du Canada (FAAFC) has helped address financial abuse in Francophone communities by raising awareness of elder abuse and fraud, and developing the necessary tools to help seniors protect themselves.

FAAFC is a non-profit organization that works to defend the rights and interests of Canadian Francophone seniors. The organization seeks to address the needs of these seniors and help them strengthen their self-confidence so they can develop linguistically and culturally.

With a membership that includes approximately 295 000 seniors, the FAAFC includes 12 associations across Canada that together represent over two million Francophone seniors.

The project, entitled Working Together to Prevent Elder Abuse, Violence and Fraud, is aimed at seniors who are members of seniors’ clubs and centres, or those living in seniors’ residences; it is also aimed at younger Francophone retirees in minority language communities.

With support from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP), the FAAFC was able to develop workshops adapted to the specific needs of Francophones in minority communities and also create awareness-building tools for Francophone seniors that could be used across the country. Tools include an information kit and three videos addressing elder financial abuse, and the harassment and neglect of seniors. These tools are used to train volunteer seniors who led workshops and other activities in Francophone communities. The FAAFC also conducted a national awareness campaign on elder abuse and fraud prevention.

The project would not have been possible without the help of many employees and volunteers. “Over 50 volunteers worked together to implement these awareness activities and workshops. Some of them are still involved and continue to offer workshops to groups of seniors,” said Jean Luc Racine, Director General of the FAAFC.

Thanks to the volunteers, 72 workshops were offered across Canada. In total, 2,000 people attended the awareness workshops, and about 50 partnerships were established. Jean-Luc reported that, “the training given to volunteers delivering the awareness workshops, and the preparation of video vignettes by the seniors’ community were excellent opportunities to bring seniors together across Canada, enabling them to work within the framework of a national strategy.”

Tools produced through the Working Together project were shared with the organization’s 12 member associations, so they, in turn, can raise awareness of abuse and fraud prevention among Francophone seniors in their own province or territory.

The Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program helps ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

Protecting our seniors

The Senior–Aware project, developed by the Réseau Fédération de l’Âge d’Or du Québec (FADOQ), has helped increase seniors’ awareness of elder abuse and fraud through various tools and resources.

Read this story:Protecting our seniors

The Réseau FADOQ is made up of a number of affiliated organizations active in Quebec and includes 16 regional groups and 840 local clubs. Its mission is to defend the rights of seniors and represent their interests before provincial, federal and international socio political authorities. The Réseau FADOQ’s mandate also includes developing a range of recreational and sporting activities, as well as services that promote active aging and reduce isolation among seniors. The Réseauhas over 265 000 members in Quebec and 15 000 volunteers, and is the largest association of Quebecers 50 years or older.

The Senior–Aware project is an initiative led by the Réseau FADOQ, which began in , with participation from the Sûreté du Québec and the Centre de santé et de services sociaux Cavendish (CSSS). The objective of Senior–Aware is to inform seniors, professionals and the general public of the abuse and fraud that many seniors face.

In , the Réseau FADOQ applied for New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) funding after learning about the program through research and word of mouth. “We wanted to start a new program, but with no funding available, we did some online research and found the New Horizons for Seniors Program website. As the Program’s objectives and expectations were in line with what we wanted to do, we applied for a grant and received $300,000 over three years,” explained Karine Corbeil, Provincial Coordinator for the project.

With NHSP funding, the Réseau FADOQ was able to develop a resource guide, a brochure with information and elder abuse prevention tips, posters and a DVD featuring five videos related to elder abuse and fraud. The Réseau FADOQ, Sûreté du Québec and CSSS Cavendish were also able to establish a Provincial Advisory Committee composed of experts against fraud and abuse to complement and enrich the content of the various tools of the project.

A main component of the project was a series of information sessions led by police officers, professionals and senior volunteers who provided a complete portrait of the kinds of abuse and fraud that affect seniors in particular, as well as advice to help prevent them from occurring. In each session, a police officer shared his or her expertise and examples of abuse and fraud experienced in the region. The volunteer encouraged discussion. The Réseau FADOQ information sessions are now offered free of charge throughout Quebec.

A total of almost 200 seniors volunteered to lead the information sessions. Several were retirees from various professions related to intervention or facilitation, including psychologists, social workers, teachers, trainers and nurses.

Throughout the sessions, seniors were advised to protect themselves against abuse and fraud and to find out how to obtain more information or assistance so they can feel safe and be independent for a longer period of time.

The five video clips included in the DVD are also played at each session. The videos depict various situations of abuse or fraud and the signs that help detect it.

As result of the program, the tools have been translated into different languages. They are now available in both official languages and are offered to seniors in different ethnic and Aboriginal communities.

“We were greatly inspired by the expertise of our partners and collaborators throughout the development of the Senior–Aware program, which is a unique, one-of-a-kind project,” said Karine. “Without volunteers, this program would not have happened. This initiative enables seniors to integrate and to strengthen their self-esteem, while contributing to the program’s success. The Senior–Aware program is created by seniors, for seniors.”

This awareness raising initiative makes it easier to report on, and significantly reduce, the number of instances of abuse and fraud. Through the 400 sessions held in and , the Réseau FADOQ was able to reach over 16 000 Quebec seniors.

“We know we cannot reach all seniors. But, by providing participants with this knowledge, we hope that seniors who are more vulnerable or isolated will benefit from our advice,” Karine said.

The Senior–Aware program has had a positive impact on both participants and volunteers. As many of them worked in fields involving intervention before retiring, this experience helped them rediscover their passion.

The Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program helps ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

A provincial network helps prevents elder abuse

A provincial network provides information and support to individuals, and community and government organizations working to prevent elder abuse, as well as services to those affected by this issue.

Read this story:A provincial network helps prevents elder abuse

The Senior–Aware project, developed by the Réseau Fédération de l’Âge d’Or du Québec (FADOQ), has helped increase seniors’ awareness of elder abuse and fraud through various tools and resources.

A network developed by the Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador is providing information and support to individuals, and community and government organizations working to prevent elder abuse, as well as services to those affected by this issue.

The Seniors Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the independence and well-being of older adults.

In , the Seniors Resource Centre brought together community and government representatives to form a committee. The committee’s efforts were so successful that more than 30 partners signed on for monthly meetings to share information. However, the committee’s size quickly became self-limiting as there was literally no more room around the table for partners to meet, and the committee had to start a waiting list for new members.

With support from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador developed the Raising Elder Abuse Awareness – The Network Approach project, which enabled the committee to expand and become a full-fledged provincial network called the Newfoundland and Labrador Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NLNPEA).

During the course of the project, the committee developed a mission and mandate for the Network, as well as a governance system, a website, a brochure and other public awareness materials about elder abuse. The project carried on for two years, and concluded with a provincial symposium on elder abuse to formally launch the new Network.

“In order to allow all interested parties the opportunity to work together to fight elder abuse, it was decided that the committee needed to develop into a provincial Network and to have meetings that were accessible by teleconference and Web conference to all,” said Elizabeth Siegel, a provincial coordinator for the Network. “But to do this, there needed to be a detailed planning stage to ensure a strong foundation to the network. The New Horizons for Seniors Program funding enabled the Network to have this planning period and to develop a structure that would meet all its members’ needs,” she added.

The Network shares information and resources through monthly public meetings accessible provincially through teleconference and webinar, educational events, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day activities, presentations to seniors groups, quarterly newsletters, brochures and its website.

Constable Kevin Foley is a Community Services Officer for St. John’s East Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) has been involved with the committee since it began in . “Constable Foley was able to provide valuable information on the police side of preventing and addressing elder abuse,” said Elizabeth. “By providing us with feedback throughout our Network development process, we were better able to support police officers to support victims of elder abuse,” she added.

“As a policing organization, our contact with community groups, such as the Newfoundland and Labrador Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse strengthens our ties to our community. We need to seek advice and input from those we serve,” said Constable Foley. “The creation of NLNPEA affords any organization that deals with seniors a contact to help them keep abreast of the concerns of the community.”

Although the project was specific to Newfoundland and Labrador, it also helped seniors across Canada. The Network made national connections to organizations such as the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. The Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador also shared their network, building best practices with the Northwest Seniors Society as they too developed into a Network, as well as with the Canadian Network to Prevent Elder Abuse.

“Our project is officially over now, but our Network is alive and well and will continue to grow,” said Elizabeth.

The Raising Elder Abuse Awareness – The Network Approach project enabled the Elder Abuse Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador to grow from a committee with limited membership to a full-fledged Network that could support hundreds of individuals and organizations to work together to help prevent elder abuse across Newfoundland and Labrador.

For more information on the Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NLNPEA), visit the NLNPEA website.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program’s objective of encouraging the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program’s objective of encouraging the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities..

Spreading wisdom

Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program and in partnership with the Wellington Senior Services Network and Trellis Mental Health and Development, Project Wisdom helps reach out to isolated seniors who may otherwise feel reluctant to speak out on issues as serious as elder abuse.

Read this story: Spreading wisdom

Elder abuse is a serious issue faced by many seniors across Canada. Recent newcomers to Canada face additional cultural and language barriers that will often prevent them from speaking out or seeking help.

In , Immigrant Services Guelph–Wellington Inc. (IS–GW), an immigrant settlement and adaptation program in operation since , initiated Project Wisdom, with the goal of preventing elder abuse by helping seniors in ethnic communities access social services. The project was funded by the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program, in partnership with the Wellington Senior Services Network and Trellis Mental Health and Development.

The goal of the first phase of the project was to examine and understand elder abuse from a cultural perspective by engaging ethnic communities. To accomplish this, an Advisory Committee and senior-only "Wisdom" committee were established.

"Service providers are struggling to work with certain groups of clients," said Roya Rabbani, Executive Director of IS–GW. "We felt that a different approach would make it easier for them to connect with these groups, which for various reasons and through no fault of their own are not accessing services. Peer support has been successful in accessing this population," she added.

Kripal Bhagra immigrated to Canada in and is Project Wisdom's oldest participant. Heart surgery in forced him to retire from operating his family business.

"After my retirement, I came across a lot of my peers and older adults in my community who were unhappy due to circumstances at home," said Kripal. "I sincerely wanted to help them but soon realized that most of them did not want to talk about their situations with an outsider."

As part of the second phase of the project, IS–GW developed a six-week training course in community development and group facilitation skills using a mutual-aid approach. In this phase, volunteer seniors like Kripal who belonged to ethnic communities in Guelph and Wellington learned how to form groups within their communities to increase awareness of resources and promote friendship-building activities.

"The training helped me gain more confidence; I was able to learn from the different points of view of other participants from other cultural backgrounds. I became more knowledgeable about the resources available for seniors that I am able to share with some of my peers," said Kripal. "It also taught me to approach my peers who were in difficult situations in a way that is not threatening to them."

In addition to the six-week workshop, a seniors-only committee and community resource booklet were created. The resource booklet was recommended as a result of a focus group held with older adults. It was translated into seven different languages and developed to increase awareness of elder abuse by providing information to seniors, their families and caregivers.

The incredible enthusiasm and support demonstrated by older adults in ethno-cultural communities has resulted in the third phase of Project Wisdom, which began in . In this phase, IS–GW will develop a framework to help service providers across Canada mobilize their communities and increase awareness of elder abuse with the goal of overcoming language and cultural barriers to connect older adults to the broader community.

Project Wisdom and its mutual-aid approach helps reach out to isolated seniors who may otherwise feel reluctant to speak out on issues as serious as elder abuse. "It creates a positive environment for these seniors to share their feelings, develop understanding, but most of all, support each other," said Kripal.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objective of encouraging the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities.

Dialogue helps shed light on elder financial abuse

Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of British Columbia (ANHBC) initiated the Elders Financial Abuse Dialogue project. This multicultural dialogue site was developed for seniors to raise awareness of elder abuse, determine the root causes of elder financial abuse and reduce its incidence in ethnic communities across British Columbia.

Read this story: Dialogue helps shed light on elder financial abuse

Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse in Canada. Isolation, language barriers and varying cultural perceptions of what constitutes abuse and mistreatment can make seniors from ethnic communities particularly vulnerable. These seniors may also be less aware of where to go for help.

In , the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of British Columbia (ANHBC) initiated the Elders Financial Abuse Dialogue project, based on the Finding Home Dialogue program. This project, funded by the New Horizons for Seniors Program, featured innovative and culturally adapted approaches to raising awareness of elder abuse and reducing its incidence in ethnic communities across British Columbia.

The ANHBC held a series of dialogue sessions to allow seniors from diverse ethnic communities to share stories, generate new ideas, insights and strategies, expand their social networks and learn about community resources.

"What was coming out of the seniors' dialogue was the issue of elder abuse and an urgent need to address it, especially in ethnic communities," said Jessie Sutherland, Director of the Finding Home Dialogue Program. "A lot of seniors were talking about experiences with financial issues," she added.

Three dialogue sites were identified across Vancouver; one site targeted to South Asian Punjabi seniors, another targeted to Afghan seniors and one multicultural site. Each site invited a team of volunteers composed of seniors to determine the root causes of elder financial abuse in their community. They then received training in prevention, to be put to use in their own communities across the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

"Now they are carrying out their own projects to address the problem," said Jessie. "The 12 Afghan seniors who went through the dialogue project have been doing work with 2000 Afghan seniors in the lower Mainland, and they've found it's the same with each group."

Glenys Mcmillan is one of the multicultural dialogue site participants. To teach others about elder financial abuse, her group developed a speaker's bureau. "We designed a presentation based on telling stories of financial abuse just to get the audience thinking in that way," said Glenys. "Then the idea was to throw it out to the audience and get them to tell their stories and get people to understand that it didn't have to be hidden in the closet; there was support out there to protect people who were feeling fearful and ashamed of sharing what was going on in their lives."

After seeing one of Glenys' presentations, a group of students at Emily Carr University produced How to Spot a Wolf, a video on financial abuse featuring Glenys and her team. The video was produced in Farsi and English, and included resources and warning signs for identifying and preventing financial abuse. The video has been given to organizations across Canada.

Seniors of the South Asian Punjabi dialogue site discovered that the root cause of elder financial abuse was discrimination in their own community. Because there were no commemorative ceremonies for women and girls in the South Asian Punjabi community, they decided to start a new event called Sisters and Daughters day. The purpose of the ceremony is to foster kindness and generosity between the sexes.

In the third year of the project, groups from all three dialogue sites were brought together. "We got to see the projects of the various immigrant groups that had gone down different paths," said Glenys. "For some of these women, this was the first time they were able to get out in a larger group and feel accepted as individuals. By the time we had finished all of the sharing at the end of that program, there were tears and hugs. It was not an ending but a beginning of more interaction between cultures."

A culturally appropriate resource kit for each community was also developed and distributed to participants. Along with fact sheets and pamphlets on how to prevent elder financial abuse, the kit included cultural awareness resources as well as information on volunteer opportunities to encourage seniors to become more engaged with the community and decrease their vulnerability to abuse.

"This program gave them confidence to find and use their skills in the community. Before the Dialogue project, they were not involved in the community, and now they are definitely leaders," said Jessie. "People stay in touch and talk about it being such a significant turning point in their lives. Some said they felt it was the first time they truly felt welcome or that they belonged in Canada."

"Bringing us together helped us have a sense of power which is so important for seniors. You have to give them an opportunity to be needed in the community. We don't want other people telling us what we want or what we need, or how to live our lives—we would much rather discover that for ourselves," she added.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objective of encouraging the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities.

An intergenerational experience

Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Curling 50+ Club developed the Building Bridges project to connect seniors with youth in Newfoundland. Through this project, new friendships were made when students learned new skills, experiences and wisdom from their local seniors.

Read this story: An intergenerational experience

The Curling 50+ Club in Cow Head, Newfoundland and Labrador, is a social club for members and other seniors from the surrounding area.

Club member Bernice Buckle recognized that many of the seniors she knows enjoy spending time with children, but she felt there are not enough opportunities in her community for this type of interaction. Thanks to funding from the New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Curling 50+ Club developed the Building Bridges project to connect seniors with youth.

Partnering with the local Seniors Wellness Committee, members of the Curling 50+ Club were able to participate in different Building Bridges projects across the western region of Newfoundland. A total of 10 elementary schools were connected with other seniors clubs, and up to 20 seniors were able to help run projects at each of the various sites.

These activities included making crafts, baking traditional Newfoundland recipes, sing-a-longs, old-fashioned games, learning folk dancing and making "Ugly Sticks," a traditional Newfoundland musical instrument made from tool-shed items.

Ninety-year-old Neil Hounsell and his wife are members of the Curling 50+ Club and are also members of a local square dancing group. Together, they led a dance workshop for the students and taught them simple routines. "The children enjoyed this activity and showed admiration and respect towards their senior teachers," said Bernice.

Not only did this project benefit the students, it also provided Neil with a second chance. Even though he did not complete grade five as a young boy, the opportunity to go back into the classroom made him feel as though he had. "Neil was proud to say that he completed grade five and was looking forward to attending grade six next year," Bernice joked.

The seniors who participated in the classroom activities also took on a leadership role in planning an event called Old Fashioned Time. This included a meal, dancing and old-fashioned games. The Town of Cow Head opened the event to the entire community, welcoming participants from two neighbouring villages and others from outside the province.

Because the Building Bridges project was well received, many similar projects are now being developed by the organization. "The Curling 50+ Club feels rejuvenated and motivated by this project. The success we've seen has shown us the value of seniors in our community," said Bernice. "The objectives were fully met, beyond expectations. Now, respect towards elders and openness for future interaction exists, where before there was ignorance and avoidance," Bernice added.

Through this project, students were introduced to local seniors, new skills were learned and new friendships were made that might not have otherwise existed. The New Horizons for Seniors Program's objective in funding the project was to meet the needs of the Curling 50+ Club in encouraging seniors to contribute their skills, experience and wisdom in support of social well-being.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities.

Passing on cultural knowledge

Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Eskasoni Elder Society created the Ekina'mujik Knijannaq Ta'n Wetapek Sulti'tij, a camp project to bring Elders and youth together to pass on cultural knowledge. Since then, the number of people participating in social events, trips and community workshops has increased in Eskasoni, Nova Scotia.

Read this story: Passing on cultural knowledge

In Eskasoni, Nova Scotia, community members noticed that the First Nations culture was not being passed down to the next generation. The Eskasoni Elder Society, which focuses on the well-being of Elders by promoting social networking and development and minimizing social isolation, had similar concerns and decided that it was time to take action.

The organization heard about New Horizons for Seniors Program funding through the "What's New" section of the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website. The Society applied and shortly after received a grant to start its project.

The goal was to bring two generations together to pass on cultural knowledge. The Ekina'mujik Knijannaq Ta'n Wetapek Sulti'tij was a camp project created to help to bridge the generation gap. It involved 53 seniors and 83 youth.

Squanto Oakley, the project coordinator, knew that the social isolation of seniors was limiting the knowledge and culture transfer to younger generations. The Ekina'mujik Knijannaq Ta'n Wetapek Sulti'tij project broke the boundaries. The camps allowed Elders to pass on their knowledge, and they also helped to re-establish a strong bond between Elders and youth."

The Eskasoni Elders were able to bring their skills to the project and teach youth about traditional Mi'kmaq culture. Tenas Sylliboy, a youth who participated in the project, said that he learned a lot and gained respect for the land and the animals. "Bonding with other people was really fun. It opened my eyes to see that every living thing is important."

Marie-Bridgette Paul, an Elder, said that her motivation was to help young people. "I try to keep them out of trouble. You need to help yourself too and talk to them, teach them what is right and what is wrong." She also appreciated the fact that the Elders in the community were honoured and respected. "We have a lot of knowledge, especially when it comes to traditional dancing, arts and crafts, fishing and cooking."

The project was also documented, which was a first for the Eskasoni Elder Society. "Everyone who was involved in the program thoroughly enjoyed it, not only because of the outcome, but because it will be easily passed on to the next generation," said Squanto. The youth and Elder participants also developed a digital presentation of the Ekina'mujik Knijannaq Ta'n Wetapek Sulti'tij camp project to display at Treaty Day for all other Mi'kmaq communities to enjoy.

The organization has noticed an increase in the number of people participating in social events, trips and community workshops. This is no surprise to Squanto, who says that the project has helped the Elders build more self-confidence and self-worth. "Elders do not see participating in these activities as a job or as an obligation, but as their duty to preserve the First Nations culture, and that's why they keep coming out to the activities," said Squanto.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and their communities. This project meets the program's objective of engaging seniors in the community through mentoring of others.

Two generations, one culinary culture

Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Bureau de la communauté haïtienne de Montréal initiated an intergenerational culinary project in which seniors give young people cooking lessons. This project allowed seniors to pass down their culinary knowledge from one generation to the next and share what they knew on Haitian cuisine.

Read this story: Two generations, one culinary culture

The Bureau de la communauté haïtienne de Montréal (BCHM) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help families in need overcome poverty, isolation and social marginalisation.

The BCHM offers many extracurricular activities to young people, as well as activities that encourage the participation of seniors. Thanks to a subsidy from the New Horizons for Seniors Program, the BCHM has initiated an intergenerational culinary project in which seniors give young people cooking lessons.

The BCHM believes that culinary knowledge must be transferred from one generation to the next and young people are best placed to receive the knowledge seniors have to share. This principle is the basis for the cooking lessons that were offered. First of all, the seniors selected the dishes that would be the subject of their lessons and then made sure they had them mastered in terms of preparation. They then met once a week to teach young people how to prepare them.

This project has drawn media attention from the likes of Radio-Canada, as well as the community itself. BCHM management found their experience with the New Horizons Seniors Program to be a very pleasant one. The organization has also published a collection of culinary recipes in which some twenty seniors participated.

Teaching and passing down what they know is a stimulating exercise and a fun experience for seniors. Although the project was mostly focussed on Haitian cuisine, all cultures enjoyed it.

According to the BCHM Director, Ms. Ruth Pierre-Paul, the project achieved its objectives: "Anything that is not passed down from one generation to the next is lost forever. And it would be really unfortunate if others could not get to know and enjoy Haitian cuisine."

Seniors certainly have a great deal to teach younger people. This project enabled them to share what they know as well as remain active. The success of the BCHM project has encouraged these seniors to undertake other projects in the hopes of achieving the same level of success.

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program ensures that seniors can enjoy quality of life in their community and contribute to it by participating in activities and leading an active lifestyle. This BCHM project met the program's objective of encouraging seniors to participate in community life by involving other people.

Helping women speak out on elder abuse

Through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, the Newcomer Women's Services Toronto launched Sister 2 Sister: A Catalyst for Community-Led Elder Abuse Awareness. This leadership training program helps to teach women how to lead sharing circles and provide information about elder abuse to other seniors in the community.

Read this story: Helping women speak out on elder abuse

For many seniors, elder abuse is a difficult topic to discuss. Because most seniors who are affected by abuse often know and trust the person mistreating them, they may feel ashamed or embarrassed to tell anyone about it. In order to provide women with a safe and open environment in which to talk about elder abuse, Newcomer Women's Services Toronto launched Sister 2 Sister: A Catalyst for Community-Led Elder Abuse Awareness with support from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

After receiving numerous disclosures of elder abuse and noticing more cases being reported on the local news, Newcomer Women's Services Toronto created this leadership training program to teach women how to lead sharing circles and provide information about elder abuse to other seniors in the community.

Maya Roy, a project coordinator for Sister 2 Sister, said, "The leadership training was very much about creating an environment that made it safe to actually discuss power imbalances for newcomer seniors, and to even name elder abuse as an issue. It's a very painful topic for many of our members, so to even have that discussion as a community was the first step in breaking the taboo and silence around the issue."

Althea Prince has been involved with Newcomer Women's Services Toronto as a volunteer, sharing circle facilitator and participant in Sister 2 Sister. "I wanted to find out more about the services for seniors in our community. I had read in the media about the abuse of some elders in our community, and was concerned and upset about it. I wanted to hear about the methods of prevention that were going to be discussed," said Althea.

The leadership training was popular, and Maya said that the demand for training among Mandarin-speaking seniors was even greater than expected. "We had 50 women at the first training and had so many Mandarin-speaking seniors who registered that we actually scheduled a second training in St. Jamestown and had almost 100 Mandarin-speaking seniors who came out."

"I liked that there was laughter and sharing. It was not morbid or gloomy, and the methods used were carefully thought out. I believe that we all became educated and we certainly came away with a lot of knowledge and confidence," added Althea.

Shortly after the project started, a group of leaders from Sister 2 Sister received media attention for a policy conference they organized at Ryerson University. "We had community organizations and over 150 people learning and hearing seniors' voices around the issue of elder abuse. The conference was even covered by CBC and Citytv," said Maya.

The abuse experienced by older adults can be hidden or go undetected. It is important that seniors who are being abused have access to information, so that they can make informed decisions and be aware of the help available to them. Talking about elder abuse is one of the first steps towards prevention, and Sister 2 Sister provided seniors with the opportunity to create their own space to talk about, deal with and prevent elder abuse.

The Government of Canada is taking action to increase awareness of this issue through its elder abuse awareness campaign.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. The elder abuse awareness objective of the program helps not-for-profit organizations develop national or regional education and awareness activities to reduce elder abuse.

Raising elder abuse awareness through intergenerational art

The Lighthouse Festival Theatre worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grand Erie, pairing senior artists with younger artists, called "Little Brothers" and "Little Sisters," to create original works of art. The art was then sold at a silent auction at the theatre to support the Seniors Safety Line.

Read this story: Raising elder abuse awareness through intergenerational art

The Lighthouse Festival Theatre is a professional theatre company in Port Dover, Ontario. It hosts an all-Canadian playbill, community fundraisers, concerts, high school classes, youth programs, meetings and other special events. In addition to these events, Operation Peacock: a Celebration of Elder Vibrancy was also featured at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre. The theatre received funding for Operation Peacock through the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

The main goals of the project were to build relationships between generations, provide young people with mentors and educate the public about elder abuse and the isolation facing many seniors.

The Lighthouse Festival Theatre worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grand Erie, pairing senior artists with younger artists, called "Little Brothers" and "Little Sisters," to create original works of art. The art was then sold at a silent auction at the theatre, which raised $2,000 to support the Seniors Safety Line. The Seniors Safety Line is a toll-free, confidential resource for seniors in Ontario suffering from abuse, including financial, physical, sexual or mental abuse and neglect.

Helen Wagenaar, Administrative Director at the Lighthouse Festival Theatre, said that the theatre has a strong tie to seniors. "Lighthouse is dedicated to improving the quality of life for seniors in our community, especially when it comes to raising awareness of elder abuse," said Helen.

Kit Julian is a former Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society of Haldimand Norfolk, an advocate for not-for-profit agencies and the artistic community and project coordinator for Operation Peacock. She said that "creating an interaction between young people and older adults, whether vulnerable or not, is a joyful, uplifting, and edifying message for the future."

Both Helen and Kit thought the project was a tremendous success. "This project heightened awareness of the seniors' hotline. Most people we encountered did not know the hotline existed," said Kit. "Younger people who had never interacted with seniors gained new friends and will continue to see older adults in a very different light. We could write a novel about the jokes, laughs, coincidences, kindnesses, optimism and success of this relatively small project," she added.

"This project helped seniors connect with younger people and find common ground through art," said Helen. "It also helped raise important issues, including the prevention of elder abuse, reducing isolation and recognizing vibrant seniors for their skills and ability to mentor younger people."

In order to share and build upon the project's success, the creative process was filmed, compiled and a series of video clips have been posted on YouTube to be used as a template for other communities interested in undertaking a similar project. You can watch Operation Peacock on Youtube. (Note that by clicking on this link you are leaving the Government of Canada's website and are entering a site not subject to the Official Languages Act. The videos are available in English only.)

The Seniors Safety Line can be reached at 1-866-299-1011 and is operated in association with the Assaulted Women's Help Line.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objectives of encouraging seniors to share their knowledge, skills, and experience with others to enhance seniors' well-being and reduce social isolation.

Seniors speak out and are heard

Distress Centre Peel initiated a Peel Elder Abuse Support Program to provide supports and services to older adults who are experiencing abuse. The project consisted of the production of a short film called Our Voices, Our Lives, featuring seniors, volunteers and caregivers sharing their stories.

Read this story: Seniors speak out and are heard

In Peel Region, Ontario, Distress Centre Peel has offered support via a 24-hour telephone support line, receiving thousands of calls and providing a listening ear, emotional support and referrals to other agencies.

In partnership with Family Services of Peel, Distress Centre Peel has also recently initiated a Peel Elder Abuse Support Program to provide supports and services to older adults who are experiencing abuse. In order to raise awareness of this issue, Distress Centre Peel developed the Seniors Speak Out for Seniors project. This project was developed with support from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

The project consisted of the production of a short film called Our Voices, Our Lives, featuring seniors, volunteers and caregivers sharing their stories. The film covers a range of topics including volunteering, dealing with Alzheimer's and tracing genealogy. One scene follows a senior on her trip to the Mississauga Library, where she learns how to trace her genealogy and finds a copy of her birth certificate with the help of the librarian.

"We've learned over the years that video is a really powerful medium, especially now. A lot of seniors have computers or have access to computers, and we really feel it's a powerful way to reach a lot of people," said Linda Gerger, the executive director of Distress Centre Peel.

LeeAnne Chowen, a coordinator of the elder abuse support line at the Distress Centre, said, "It was something that they could really get engaged in, and a fun project to get involved in. I don't think many of them had a lot of experience with being on camera, so it was something fun that they could do and I think it felt good for them to raise awareness about some of the issues that they face on a daily basis."

About 30 participants were directly involved in the planning and filming of Our Voices, Our Lives, and LeeAnne says hundreds of people have seen the video.

Ken Stern wrote and directed Our Voices, Our Lives. Before filming, he worked closely with seniors to ensure their concerns would be heard through the film. "I recruited seniors to get involved, and began by organizing meetings. I had a group of seniors who met regularly and raised issues, and these issues became the basis of the video," Ken said.

One of the issues included in the film is elder abuse. "I think we can say that it really has an impact on making people aware of our program and the issue of elder abuse, and we hope that we'll continue to have an impact and far-reaching effect," said Linda.

"Elder abuse is a problem that goes beyond class and income, and it's really something we really need to be aware of," added Ken.

The Seniors Speak Out for Seniors project has given seniors the opportunity to become more involved in addressing the issues that are important to them. In addition, Distress Centre Peel has made Our Voices, Our Lives available online to ensure that even more people are made aware of these issues.

To read the full New Horizons for Seniors Program interview, to watch the Our Voices, Our Lives video and other videos, visit the Distress Centre Peel website. (Note that by clicking on this link you are leaving the Government of Canada's website and are entering a site not subject to the Official Languages Act. The videos are available in English only.)

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objective of encouraging the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities.

On the air with seniors

Seniors in Haliburton County, Ontario, have listened to, learned from and enjoyed a series of radio programs called Aging Outside the Box. The programs were designed to entertain and educate seniors on a wide range of topics, from nutrition and elder abuse awareness, to home renovations and fashion.

Read this story: On the air with seniors

Seniors in Haliburton County, Ontario, have listened to, learned from and enjoyed a series of radio programs called Aging Outside the Box. The programs were designed to entertain and educate seniors on a wide range of topics, from nutrition and elder abuse awareness, to home renovations and fashion. These radio programs were part of a project called the Seniors Hour on Canoe FM, developed by the Haliburton County Community Radio Association. The project was developed with support from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Roxanne Casey, the station manager, wanted to create radio programs that catered specifically to seniors. "Our listening audience is mostly seniors. You want to keep them up-to-date and aware of what is going on. So, we thought about how we could create a radio program that would be focused on seniors, and how we could include seniors as the on-air hosts," said Roxanne.

The project coordinator, Shelley King, said she was excited to be part of the project. "I was enticed by the fact that it was a radio show format. I love trying new things and I welcomed the opportunity to learn about community radio in such a creative and inclusive way," said Shelley.

Bob Stinson, a senior volunteer for the project, helped prepare shows and interviewed guests on the air. "All the volunteers would participate and get involved in the planning process before the show went live," said Bob.

Word spread quickly around Haliburton County and the radio show became popular among local seniors.

The project was a success for everyone involved. "I met so many wonderful, creative and energetic seniors who brought their years of experience and wisdom to the project through involvement on the Advisory Board as hosts, interviewers or interviewees. Despite their age, they were willing to jump in and try something new. They were an inspiring group of people to work with," said Shelley.

"We got some good feedback; it was a good project for seniors. It was quite entertaining and everybody that I talked to seemed to enjoy it," added Bob.

The Seniors Hour on Canoe FM project provided seniors with entertainment, education and new experiences. The radio programs are now available at eight different libraries in Haliburton County so that seniors can continue to listen to and enjoy them.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objectives of encouraging seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experience with others to enhance seniors' well-being and reduce social isolation.

Elders share their stories and their language

Elders in Fort Liard, Northwest Territories, brought together community members and youth to pass down valuable ancestral knowledge, while bridging generational gaps. Elders and youth involved in the project created family trees and recorded the historical information in a book.

Read this story: Elders share their stories and their language

Elders in Fort Liard, Northwest Territories, brought together community members and youth to pass down valuable ancestral knowledge, while bridging generational gaps. This opportunity was made possible by the Acho Dene Koe (ADK) Elders Community Connection project, developed by the Hamlet of Fort Liard with support from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Roslyn Gardner Firth, a project coordinator for the Hamlet of Fort Liard, thought the community could benefit from this project after noticing a lack of ancestral knowledge throughout the community. "Young people in Fort Liard are generally unaware of how families are connected," said Roslyn.

Elders and youth involved in the project created family trees and recorded the historical information in a book. The youth also filmed the Elders while they told stories of past events and learned about the incredible heritage of the Fort Liard people.

"The Elders had many, many stories to share and were very appreciative of the filmmakers. They said that this project was good for the community. The Elders possess a tremendous amount of historical information and were grateful for the opportunity to share it," said Roslyn.

Translators were often needed throughout the project because many of the Elders only speak Slavey, a local language. One of the translators, Adilene Marcellais, was happy to reconnect with her roots. "The most rewarding part was communicating with Elders. It motivated me to speak my first language with other people,"she said. By helping to remove the communication barriers for others, Adilene felt personally rewarded. "The project affected my life by making me realize that I don't want to lose my language, and it is important to me that Elders have a chance to pass on stories and language to youth," she added.

"The project was a great opportunity for Elders and youth to connect and communicate," said Roslyn. "Elders here are quite isolated from the community because of the language barrier, so the film with subtitles and the family tree information have helped to bridge that generation gap."

After the project was completed, a community feast was held to show appreciation for the Elders. Dozens of community members attended the event and watched the film.

A total of 22 Elders and 14 youth were involved with the ADK Elders Community Connection project. Thanks to their participation alongside the Hamlet of Fort Liard, the entire town can now benefit from the family trees, which are documented in book form, on a wall chart and on film.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objective of encouraging the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities.

Elders and seniors across Nunavut share one voice

HelpAge Canada, a non-profit charity, is working with local volunteers, Elders and seniors to develop a Nunavut-wide seniors society. The purpose of the project is to create an organization run by seniors and Elders in Nunavut that represents their individual and collective interests.

Read this story: Elders and seniors across Nunavut share one voice

HelpAge Canada is a non-profit charity established in 1975 and dedicated to helping older adults in Canada and around the world. Currently, HelpAge Canada is working with local volunteers, Elders and seniors to develop a Nunavut-wide seniors society.

The purpose of the Nunavut Seniors Society project is to create an organization run by seniors and Elders in Nunavut that represents their individual and collective interests. This project was developed with support from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Before Nunavut became an official territory in , seniors in Nunavut belonged to the Northwest Territories Seniors Society. After Nunavut was created, it became the only province or territory in Canada without a seniors society. However, with the hard work and dedication of HelpAge Canada and all of the seniors and volunteers involved with this project, this will soon change.

Marjorie Milloy is a Project Officer for HelpAge Canada. "We did an environment scan of the 25 communities in Nunavut to determine what programs and services were currently provided for the older population, what needs were not being met and where the gaps were," said Marjorie. "From what we were seeing, seniors needed to have one voice moving forward. Seniors helping seniors," she added.

Esther Braden was a charter member of the Northwest Territories Seniors Society who now volunteers for the Nunavut Seniors Society project. "It is a great project and I am watching to see what is happening. I am in touch with some of the seniors and encouraging them to show their keenness in getting the organization going," said Esther.

The development of the Nunavut Seniors Society has consisted of a series of community meetings and workshops, with anywhere from 10 to 35 Elders and seniors attending every gathering. During these workshops, they have discussed various topics including how this society will work to reduce social isolation, promote greater cross-generational interaction and address elder abuse. The main goal of the meetings is to encourage seniors to participate in the development and implementation of the Nunavut Seniors Society.

"The seniors are very cognitive of what needs to happen and are also very supportive of it. With these meetings, you can tell that they felt honoured that somebody was listening to them and somebody actually wanted to do something with the feedback. It was empowering for them," added Marjorie.

While the society is still in development, it has already successfully motivated seniors to become more actively involved in their communities and has ensured that their voices are being heard. "HelpAge Canada is committed and dedicated to seeing this through, and we continue to raise funds to ensure that this society is formed," said Marjorie.

"It certainly will be helping seniors and governments to see where the need is. Seniors will have a voice. It was a good experience and I would do it again," said Esther.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objective of encouraging the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities.

Staying active together!

Fort Garry is known for its large and growing seniors population. With no organized activities to enhance seniors' lives in the area, Pembina Active Living (55+), more affectionately known as PAL, was created to help fill that void.

Read this story: Staying active together!

Fort Garry, a district in the heart of Manitoba, is known for its large and growing seniors population. Most of the seniors are retired, some are living alone and many have family who reside outside of Canada. With no organized activities to enhance seniors' lives in the area, Pembina Active Living (55+), which is more affectionately known as PAL, was created to help fill that void.

"Lynn Arnott and Lois Abraham, PAL participants and active members, realized that Fort Garry seniors needed an avenue to help seniors interact with one another and stay active," said PAL president Olive Nimblett.

Thanks to funding through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, PAL was able to offer classes such as line dancing, yoga, water colouring and gardening for seniors.

Bernadette McCann, a participant and active PAL volunteer, said the classes were very popular and the news spread quickly. "The classes provided seniors with opportunities to learn new skills and experience things they had never done before, such as water colour art. Participants who had never painted before found the classes interesting and enjoyable," said Bernadette.

By volunteering at PAL, Bernadette is happy to give back and keep busy. "It challenges me since I also chair one of the standing committees. It allows me to keep track of chores that need to be done. A few hours every day I get out there and relax with new friends, and I would think and hope that it is helping my health too."

PAL participant and member Lois Abraham was impressed by those who stepped outside of their comfort zone. "The classes allowed those with physical disabilities to participate in age-friendly line dancing and yoga. They were a huge success."

Lois also hopes that more seniors join the classes and reap the benefits. "I can't even begin to say how I enjoy PAL and how happy I am to see the number of people who are involved and contributing to the group. When people see how much fun we have and the satisfaction we receive, they want to be involved."

PAL advertises its activities to ensure that local seniors are aware of the classes and the social possibilities. "There are currently more than 250 members in PAL and the number continues to grow," said Olive. "Participants are very satisfied with the programs offered and look forward to seeing new faces at each event."

Bernadette and Lois have both said that they would definitely participate in this project again and are very happy with the reaction and involvement of the community.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objective of supporting social participation and inclusion of seniors.

A seven-point plan to prevent elder abuse and bullying

In Cold Lake, Alberta, the Bully Free for All Generations project has brought the city one step closer to becoming bully free.

Read this story: A seven-point plan to prevent elder abuse and bullying

In Cold Lake, Alberta, the Bully Free for All Generations project has brought the city one step closer to becoming bully free. The project was developed by the City of Cold Lake and the Cold Lake Bully Free Committee, with support from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

The key component of the project was the development of the Home Reno Plan, which is a seven-point plan designed to reduce bullying and elder abuse. The plan empowers and encourages seniors to become more involved in their communities, consider their well-being and support others. By following the plan, seniors are less likely to become victims of bullying and abuse.

A series of events was organized in order to help seniors follow the Home Reno Plan. For example, exercise classes were offered to help seniors remain resilient to illness and crisis by considering their well-being.

Other events included a flu clinic, a presentation regarding housing and care options, a pancake breakfast, a bingo and a luncheon during Seniors Week. The events were well attended, and feedback was extremely positive.

Nicole Usher is a Bully Free Coordinator and also leads the Cold Lake Bully Free Committee. "This committee is dedicated to creating awareness of what bullying is and that it is unacceptable in our community. We work to ensure that resources are available to enable Cold Lake residents to create their own bully-free environments," said Nicole.

"The Bully Free program was presented as a positive approach someone could take to make changes in their lives, boost their self-confidence by speaking up for what they want, seek new experiences through knowledge and new skills and become aware of the supports available to them," said Gail Wolfe, a committee member and participant in the Bully Free project.

One of the most popular events initiated by the Cold Lake Bully Free Committee was the Super Seniors Appreciation Afternoon. The committee felt that, after such a successful year, all of the seniors who had made such a great impact on the community should be honoured.

"Taking the time to recognize seniors who make a difference lets them know that their contributions impact the people around them in positive ways and that people can make a difference in someone's life, no matter what age they are," said Nicole.

The Home Reno Plan and events were just some of the ways the committee spread awareness of elder abuse and bullying. It also shared its message through radio spots, interviews and monthly full-colour newspaper ads.

"As a senior, this project has given me new confidence, new hope and new skills, as well as a new sense of belonging. It was rewarding in so many ways, and not only did it make us better people but it also makes Cold Lake a better community to live in," said Gail.

Visit the Cold Lake's website to see Cold Lake's Home Reno Plan. (Note that by clicking on this link you are leaving the Government of Canada's website and are entering a site not subject to the Official Languages Act. The Home Reno Plan is available in English only.)

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objective of encouraging the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities.

Seniors overcome feelings of isolation

The New Horizons for Seniors Program supports projects led by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project encourages seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experience to reduce social isolation.

Read this story: Seniors overcome feelings of isolation

The Mayo region of Yukon has a small population of approximately 500 residents and, of that, there are just over 100 seniors. Because of their small number, there is a high risk of isolation among seniors in the Mayo region. Fortunately, they are socializing, learning and sharing their experiences with other generations through the Mayo Seniors Activity Project, with support from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

The Mayo Seniors Activity Project consisted of monthly communal suppers that were organized and attended by seniors and persons with disabilities to promote social activity and inclusion. The project was developed by the Mayo Seniors Advisory Association, which was founded to create a better quality of life for seniors and persons with disabilities and to reduce their feelings of isolation.

Dennis Heasley, the project coordinator, believed that the Mayo Seniors Activity project would be beneficial for the health and well-being of seniors. "I knew that the latest research has shown that those seniors that were active generally lived healthier and more enjoyable lives," said Dennis.

Gilbert Van Poucke, also known as Barry, is a volunteer with the Mayo Seniors Advisory Association and operates the drop-in centre for seniors where suppers are often held. Barry runs this centre five days a week to provide seniors with the opportunity to sit and talk with one another. Barry says the Mayo Seniors Advisory Association is a "good thing for our seniors and elders" and that he likes "getting together with other seniors and talking over which events and activities seniors would like to see happen." For Barry, simply getting together with other seniors is rewarding.

An open house was organized around Christmas time. "The seniors organized this and prepared all the food. It was a wonderful success and almost the entire town turned out to this event," said Dennis.

Seniors across the Mayo region are taking the initiative to organize activities and to make use of available resources in order to make life more pleasant for themselves. "This has given the seniors new feelings of respect from the rest of the community and their peers," said Barry.

"This project helped seniors, elders and our community show that we have the ability to solve our major problems by our own hard work, with some funding assistance from the government. The sense of accomplishment found by our seniors and elders will be with us always," said Dennis.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal Grants and Contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objectives of encouraging seniors to share their knowledge, skills and experience with others to enhance seniors' social well-being; and to reduce social isolation.

Seniors gain computer skills through mobile computer lab

The Saskatoon Public Library took its mission to connect people with information a step further by creating a mobile computer lab to teach seniors in the community the basics about computers.

Read this story: Seniors gain computer skills through mobile computer lab

The library had heard about the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) through another organization and decided to apply for a grant to help fund this project.

In addition to Government of Canada support it received through the NHSP, the project also received support from the community, including the Community University Institute for Social Research at the University of Saskatchewan; READ Saskatoon; and the Saskatoon Community Clinic, which has some active seniors' groups that did not want to miss out on this opportunity to help with the progress of their community.

The Saskatoon Public Library decided to take on this project because they recognized that seniors who lack basic computer skills are not able to have access to the information and the social benefits the Internet has to offer.

The Saskatoon Public Library built a mobile computer lab composed of six laptops, a projector and wireless Internet that were transported around in two suitcases. The teachers hired to help with the project were seniors. The senior participants learned the basics, including how to use a mouse and desktop. They also had the opportunity to attend different courses on how to use Microsoft Word, Facebook, Skype and the Internet.

The library received a lot of compliments and positive feedback in the course evaluations. There was no age limit for this course; one of the students was rumoured to have been 100 years old. One student said, "The workshop helped to remove some of the mystery about computers. I need lots of practice and experience."

According to Outreach Service Coordinator, Gwen Schmidt, the project was a huge success; approximately 457 seniors were taught in 70 classes.

Due to Canada's sometimes severe winter conditions, as well as mobility and financial issues, a lot of seniors try to minimize their outings. Having the course come closer to them meant that they did not have to travel very far to attend the classes. Seniors of all abilities and ages were able to participate in the classes; they became known for their eagerness to learn and overall positive attitude, which made the teaching process a lot easier for the trainers.

Before the mobile lab existed, only those who could attend the classes at the library were able to learn how to use a computer. Now, all seniors can have access to basic information found on the Internet and can communicate with their loved ones. This project meets two of the NHSP's objectives: to reduce isolation and to encourage seniors to be leaders.

The Saskatoon Public Library has shown that it is never too late to learn and that the most important thing is to have the right tools, the right people, a creative approach and a strong sense of community.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal Grants and Contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities.

Seniors broaden their knowledge of computing

The Computing for Seniors project has enabled seniors in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to increase their knowledge of computers while meeting new people.

Read this story: Seniors broaden their knowledge of computing

Some seniors find computing and the use of new technology to be challenging. Fortunately, the Computing for Seniors project has enabled seniors in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to increase their knowledge of computers while meeting new people. The project was developed by the PEI Senior Citizens' Federation with support from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Linda Jean Nicholson, a coordinator for Computing for Seniors, felt that local seniors would greatly benefit from gaining new computer skills. "We spoke with contacts across the Island and determined there was a need for this type of project," she said.

The project featured course sessions in 10 different locations. The popularity of the project was greater than expected and over 200 seniors participated.

Linda Smith attended a session after hearing about the project from a friend and through the PEI Senior Citizens' Federation. She wanted to broaden her knowledge of computing in order to communicate with her relatives. "Before I took it, I never even knew how to turn on a computer, but they covered everything and they showed me how, step-by-step. Without this project, I would never have been able to operate a computer," said Linda.

The PEI Senior Citizens' Federation offers programs like Computing for Seniors to provide seniors with a better quality of life. "We had never offered open classes in computing and we will definitely do it again after this positive experience," said Linda Jean.

Linda Smith believes the Computing for Seniors project has been very important for seniors. "I think it's the most wonderful thing that has ever been offered and I think it should be offered to more seniors."

With technology becoming more and more prevalent in today's society, the Computing for Seniors project has given many seniors the opportunity to develop relevant and useful skills that they can use everyday.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal Grants and Contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. This project meets the program's objective of encouraging the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities.

Lights! Camera! Injury prevention!

Seniors in Mississauga, Ontario, now have a deeper understanding and a greater awareness of how to protect themselves thanks to the Seniors Safety Education and Empowerment Program, developed by the Adult Injury Prevention Network (AIPN).

Read this story: Lights! Camera! Injury prevention!

With support from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP), this project educated a large number of seniors, their families and caregivers on steps they can take to reduce risks through workshops and an educational DVD.

Nearly 100 seniors were involved with the planning, production and distribution of the DVD so that it would be a relevant, meaningful and useful tool for other seniors.

The DVD features scenarios acted out by seniors and experts. It includes information for preventing financial abuse, falls, fires, burns, first aid information and tips for moving in with family. "During the filming of the DVD, the seniors were the 'stars' that acted out each of the scenarios," said Dianne Rende. the AIPN project coordinator.

Cecilia Peters, one of the project participants, said that she had often heard of people who had been injured by accidents and wanted to help get the message out there. Seniors like Cecilia assisted the AIPN with the distribution of the DVD by networking within their communities.

"By engaging seniors to become part of the leadership team for this project and by having them star in the educational DVD, we hoped to reach larger numbers of seniors who may have mobility issues and would not be able to attend seminars or workshops", said Diane. She also added, "Seniors who were involved in creating the DVD found the experience to be exciting and some commented that they appreciated the opportunity to stretch their comfort zone and learn something new."

Through workshops, seniors were able to share, to socialize and to learn how to be safe and healthy. The project provided seniors with the opportunity to work with new people and make new friends, which many appreciated.

"I loved the people—very amiable and really helpful, very patient about everything. And, I liked the message. When speaking to people, I discovered the DVD would be very valuable," said Cecilia.

Thanks to the project and the seniors involved, over 900 copies of the DVD have been distributed to seniors groups and agencies. This project meets the NHSP objectives of encouraging seniors to contribute their skills, experience and wisdom in support of social well-being in their communities; and of promoting the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities to reduce their risk of social isolation.

Shortly after her interview for this story, Cecilia Peters passed away. Cecilia's family indicated that her participation in this project brought her a lot of joy.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal Grants and Contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities.

Connecting local and immigrant seniors

In Moncton, New Brunswick, the Bringing Seniors Together project brought immigrant seniors together with local seniors, while introducing them to new experiences that would help them adjust to their new communities.

Read this story: Connecting local and immigrant seniors

The Africamani Community Garden, where immigrant and local area seniors worked together to cultivate diverse crops not normally grown in Moncton

Immigrating can be very difficult for seniors, as they often face language, cultural and social barriers. In Moncton, New Brunswick, the Bringing Seniors Together project brought immigrant seniors together with local seniors, while introducing them to new experiences that would help them adjust to their new communities. The Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (MAGMA) was able to develop this project thanks to support from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP).

The project featured a number of indoor and outdoor activities in which immigrants and local seniors were given the opportunity to share stories and common experiences and to build friendships in order to help alleviate the feelings of alienation and isolation that often come as a result of immigration.

Lode Roels, a project coordinator with MAGMA, said, "The whole idea was connecting immigrant seniors to the community and connecting them with local seniors".

Sima Roohani, a senior who emigrated from Iran in , participated in almost all of the activities, sometimes as a participant and other times as a
volunteer. Sima thought the project was very important for seniors. "Seniors are often isolated and these activities were very good for them. They need it and deserve it," she said.

"The activities allowed immigrant seniors to learn a lot of things about their new province and their new country," said Lode. One of the most popular activities was a trip to Saint John, which included a visit to a museum and a walk around the city. "For many of the seniors, that was their first time there," said Sima.

To help seniors further adjust to their new community, a variety of workshops were held to educate them on how to manage their medicine safely and to provide financial management information. They also received information on how to stay safe in the home and around the community.

One of the activities was cooking in a communal kitchen. "We invited local seniors and immigrant seniors to a potluck. Local seniors were very interested in learning recipes and in getting to know immigrant seniors," said Lode. Seniors also tended a community garden, called the Africamani Community Garden, which exposed local seniors to diverse crops that are not normally found in Moncton. Through the communal kitchen and community garden, local and immigrant seniors were given the opportunity to learn about various cultures.

The number of participants varied depending on the event; some events involved as many as 40 seniors.

The activities and volunteers provided the participants with newfound confidence. "They were a bit nervous, but thought, 'if she can do it, I can do it'. Then, their children see this confidence in their parents," said Sima. "They are always excited for the next event and are always asking, 'what is the new event?'" she added.

By helping immigrant seniors adjust to their new communities, by reducing feelings of isolation, by teaching seniors valuable skills, by introducing local and immigrant seniors to different cultures and by enabling seniors to connect with one another, the Bringing Seniors Together project meets the NHSP objectives of participation and inclusion of seniors; and of strengthening networks and partnerships.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal Grants and Contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities.

Seniors celebrate life through music

Through the Life is a Celebration: Marimba Music for Seniors project, seniors participated in the construction of seven marimbas, attended classes to learn to play the instrument and took part in a performance group.

Read this story: Seniors celebrate life through music

Instructor Fahlon Smith plays shakers to keep the rhythm for Barbara O'Brien (standing) on baritone marimba and Ollie Quail on the soprano during a seniors' class at the Bradley Centre

Members of the Arrowsmith community of Coombs, British Columbia, have encouraged seniors to get involved with their community and interact with local youth through the Life is a Celebration: Marimba Music for Seniors project.

A marimba is a large wooden musical instrument originating from Africa that consists of a set of graduated wooden bars with resonators beneath them. The bars are struck with mallets to create a resonating sound, similar to a xylophone.

Through this project, seniors participated in the construction of seven marimbas, attended classes to learn to play the instrument and took part in a performance group.

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) provided funding to the Arrowsmith Community Enhancement Society (ACES) for this project. ACES worked in partnership with the Arrowsmith community, the Bradley Centre, a facility that provides programs for seniors, and the Qualicum Beach Middle School. This partnership allowed the community to bring together people of all ages to make this an intergenerational project.

Marimba building was introduced as part of Qualicum Beach Middle School's woodworking class. Seniors were invited to take part in the class along with the students to help build a set of seven marimbas for the seniors' debut performance.

The most amazing moment, according to David Haynes, the woodworking teacher at the school, was when the students and seniors struck the very first marimba they built. "The noise was unlike any instrument I have ever heard. It was an electrifying moment," said David.

In addition to the woodworking classes, marimba-playing classes for seniors were taught at the Bradley Centre by Fahlon Smith, a local youth and passionate marimbist.

The Life is a Celebration: Marimba Music for Seniors project has truly excelled in encouraging seniors to get involved in their community, especially with youth. "We live in a community where the average age is around 58," said David. "This type of activity really does break down age barriers."

The marimbas are now being used by a group of students at Qualicum Beach Middle School for their own performance group and seniors are continuing to take marimba lessons at the Bradley Centre.

This project meets the NHSP objectives of encouraging seniors to contribute their skills, experience and wisdom in support of social well-being in their communities; and of promoting the ongoing involvement of seniors in their communities to reduce their risk of social isolation.

The New Horizons for Seniors Program is a federal Grants and Contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities.

Tending to My Wheel of Life

To tackle isolation and loneliness, a committee made up of six Francophone seniors from Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Manitoba, began meeting regularly to organize activities in which seniors, local students and the community could participate.

Read this story: Tending to My Wheel of Life

Several members of the Club des pionniers, a seniors' club in the small village of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Manitoba, were feeling isolated and lonely. As a result, a committee made up of six members, all seniors and all Francophones, began meeting regularly to organize activities in which the seniors of the club, the students of the local school and the community could participate.

Paulette Vermette, the project's organizer and a member of the committee, said that the motivation for the project was to create activities that allowed seniors and youth to interact.

The Club des pionniers, which is affiliated with the Fédération des aînés du Manitoba, geared Tending to My Wheel of Life towards the Franco-Manitoban community.

"Even if bingo is the most popular activity for many of our members, we don't want to just play bingo; we want to be mentors for younger generations. This project has allowed us to share our experiences with young people, to be actively involved in the community and to show leadership," she said. "Through it, we've gotten involved in volunteer work and created partnerships with the younger generation."

"I'm 62 years old and I don't just want to sit on the sidelines. We developed this project because we wanted to stay active and give back to the community," said Ms. Vermette.

The Club received funding for its project, Tending to My Wheel of Life under the Program's Community Participation and Leadership component of the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program, which encourages seniors to play an important role in their communities by helping those in need, providing leadership, and sharing their knowledge and skills with others.

Through the project, the Club des pionniers hosted children from the local school once a month. At each of these meetings, a class of children and their teacher joined the seniors at the club and the entire group made lunch together. The activities, which varied from month to month, included the seniors teaching the children some of the games they had played as youngsters, such as "casino voleur" and "7-up", as well as various arts and crafts.

The committee asked 80-year-old local artist Berthe Goertzen to come as a special guest to help grade three and four students with their school art project at the club. All the seniors got involved in helping the children create scenes from the far North, including inukshuks.

Ms. Vermette said that traditions are very important for the members of the club and that learning more about them with the young people was a remarkable experience. "We played grandmother with them, helping them to cut things out and make crafts…. Everyone enjoyed it," she added.

"It was impressive to see our talents unfold while teaching young people cooking, leadership and organizational skills. It was really touching to see young people and seniors talking together and the interest young people showed in our life experiences. The project allowed us to share our values with them," said a committee member.

The students of École régionale Saint-Jean-Baptiste invited the seniors to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony featuring a prominent alumnus of the school—General Raymond Hénault, retired former chief of Canada's defence staff.

On another occasion, the seniors participated in learning sessions about Aboriginal culture with the students at the school, taking part in a discussion on residential schools and learning about the traditional smudging ceremony.

The seniors invited guests from various cultural backgrounds, including the Mennonite, Ukrainian and German cultures, to speak to them and a group of students at the club about their crafts and traditions.

An aspect of the project that the seniors found helpful was a partnership with the Montcalm library. Librarian Françoise Sabourin showed the seniors how to scan their old photos, how to use email and how to do Internet searches.

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

Literacy Program for Seniors: Preserving the French Language

Many of Yellowknife's Francophone residents are retiring and returning south. To prevent the erosion of the French language, culture and heritage, the Fédération franco-ténoise undertook steps to restore the sense of community among Yellowknife's Francophones.

Read this story: Literacy Program for Seniors: Preserving the French Language

Many of Yellowknife's Francophone residents are retiring and returning south, taking with them their stories and experiences. To prevent this erosion of language, culture and heritage, the Fédération franco-ténoise undertook steps to restore the sense of community among Yellowknife's Francophones.

The Federation applied to the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program and received funding for its project, Literacy Program for Seniors: Preserving the French Language, which encourages seniors to play an important role in their communities by helping those in need, providing leadership, and sharing their knowledge and skills with others.

The Fédération is a network whose objective is to provide services to the Francophone community in the areas of health, literacy, activities for youth, linguistic rights, post secondary education and immigration. However, it was lacking a component to address the needs of seniors.

"There is a lot of mobility here; we had to find a way to preserve our history because these are the people who have stories to tell, who know how French Canadians used to live 50 years ago. They are the time keepers," explained Dorice Pinet, the project organizer.

The Fédération decided to target Francophone seniors with a multi-faceted literacy program to meet their needs. The project's raison d'être was to bring together the remaining Francophone seniors in Yellowknife by offering them activities in French and a cultural "family".

A number of reading and writing activities focused on preserving the seniors' memories of days gone by in the Northwest Territories and on keeping the French language alive.

An evening dinner theatre was organized with Manitoba storyteller and musician Gérald Laroche. This initial meeting allowed seniors to get acquainted and share their experiences and needs. Opening this activity to the public brought the seniors closer to other members of the community.

"These activities made me realize that, even at an advanced age, we can still do interesting and rewarding things. Sharing with others, having a sense of humour and our health allow us to enjoy life more. The warmth of the people in the North is contagious. Thanks to the activities organized by the Fédération, I feel less isolated and have made many friends in this lovely part of the country," said participant Pierrette Lévesque.

In partnership with Radio-Taïga, Yellowknife's French-language radio station, the Fédération produced radio spots on Francophone traditions, culture and community engagement, and on the lives of Francophones in the Territories. An article in the northern French-language weekly newspaper L'Aquilon informed the Francophone public about the project.

Classes on writing newspaper stories and introduction to computers and the Internet allowed Francophone seniors to enter the world of information technology.

Mrs. Pinet had the idea of organizing Sunday teas, with a different theme every week. The seniors all had something special to recount at the teas.

"What particularly drew my attention was the story of the Lemays, a couple in their eighties," said Mrs. Lévesque. "Using photos, they told us about the beginnings of Yellowknife and what life was like when they arrived in 1951. I spent a memorable afternoon; it was a fine exchange of life experiences that taught me more about this city I love so much."

Mrs. Pinet continued: "I got so much out of this project! When the Sunday teas started, it was so nice to be able to get together in French and feel part of a community; I told myself that we must not just let these stories disappear with time."

"There were organizations for seniors previously, but everything was conducted in English. At the end of this project, there were seniors who were interested in continuing to do activities in French. For me, that's a true sign of success," said Mrs. Pinet.

Participant Johanne Denault says the project has been hugely successful in reaching the Francophone seniors of Yellowknife. "Having begun the Francophone movement myself and continued as a volunteer for the past 30 years, I can say that in spite of all the different activities we've offered to our members, we never before managed to reach these seniors."

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

Building Bridges: Easing the Passage

Cultural and language barriers make many immigrant seniors feel isolated in their communities. In St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, some fellow seniors recognized their situation and took action to help them.

Read this story: Building Bridges: Easing the Passage

Cultural and language barriers make many immigrant seniors feel isolated in their communities. They cannot make friends, take part in social activities or understand information that will help them in their day-to-day activities. In St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, some fellow seniors recognized their situation and took action to help them by creating the Building Bridges: Easing the Passage project.

The organization received funding for its project, Building Bridges: Easing the Passage under the Community Participation and Leadership component of the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program, which encourages seniors to play an important role in their communities by helping those in need, providing leadership, and sharing their knowledge and skills with others.

Building Bridges, a committee made up of seniors and other community leaders, identified a number of barriers contributing to the isolation of immigrant seniors, and established strategies to overcome them. The project was delivered by the Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador and included various activities connecting older immigrants to resources they need to better integrate into society.

One activity is the LINK Volunteer program. LINK volunteers, many of whom are local seniors, act as interpreters for those who contact the Seniors Resource Centre for information and services. Veeresh Gadag, Chair of the Seniors Bridging Cultures committee, and a senior himself, says the newly arrived seniors have found the support of the volunteer interpreters invaluable. "They can talk to immigrant seniors in their own language. Establishing that rapport has enabled some of the newcomers to learn a little more English, too."

The volunteers come from various cultural backgrounds and speak a variety of languages. They can help seniors who have difficulty with English in a number of ways. "Seniors have many different forms they need to fill out when they retire or for day-to-day needs, such as banking or income tax," said Clarice LeGrow, Project Coordinator. "They told us what forms they needed help with, and we trained the LINK volunteers to assist them."

LINK volunteer Rebecca Law, who speaks Chinese, helped a senior who had moved into a nursing home. "There was a language barrier between the family and the medical staff, so I went to the nursing home to provide interpretation between a dietitian, a physiotherapist and the senior…. This allowed them to create a meal plan and activity plan for her."

Another aspect of the project is a multicultural sharing forum that takes place every Thursday at the Seniors Resource Centre. At the forum, new and settled immigrant seniors share their skills, knowledge and talents with one another. Past activities have included Nordic walking, belly dancing, Indian cookery classes and Chinese and Arabic script writing lessons.

"The seniors enjoy one another's company, even though they cannot talk together," observed Mr. Gadag.

"One of my favourite stories is about a new lady from Kosovo who was brought to the group by one of the members of her community," said Ms. LeGrow. "Although she did not speak any English, she was instantly welcomed. Now, not only does she come every week, but she also brings in new members and shares her experience with them."

The project also launched a welcome wagon support committee, made up of members from the Association of New Canadians, the Refugee and Immigrants Council and others in the community who work with new residents.

"The committee has been helpful because one of our problems is that we don't know when new residents arrive in our community," said Ms. LeGrow. "With this committee, we are getting that information more frequently."

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

This Full House–A Pilot Intervention to Assist Elderly Compulsive Hoarders

Seniors in Edmonton are helping to raise awareness in their community by participating in one of just two programs in the country that formally address issues of hoarding in individuals aged 55 and over.

Read this story: This Full House–A Pilot Intervention to Assist Elderly Compulsive Hoarders

Hoarding is defined as the acquisition of and inability to discard worthless items even though they appear to others to have no value. The behaviour causes hoarders significant distress and impairs their functioning. Although hoarding has been studied in adults, little is known about it in older adults.

Led by the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton, seniors in Edmonton are helping to raise awareness in their community by participating in This Full House–A Pilot Intervention to Assist Elderly Compulsive Hoarders one of just two programs in the country that formally address issues of hoarding in individuals aged 55 and over. The program helps sufferers in Edmonton receive emotional support and treatment services and connects them to others in the community who can help.

The Association received funding for the program under the Community Participation and Leadership component of the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.

Many people are unaware of compulsive hoarding disorder. Researchers and medical professionals are still in the early stages of understanding the behaviour, and the subject is often too sensitive for sufferers and families of sufferers.

A key objective of the program is to help elderly hoarders improve their overall well-being and thereby contribute to healthy neighbourhoods. Through sitting on the advisory committee and volunteering their time, local seniors are helping their peers and tackling the problem of hoarding in their community.

"The seniors on our advisory committee bring ideas and insights to the table," said Doneka Simmons, Program Coordinator. "They also keep the program abreast of new research or programming for seniors related to hoarding."

Volunteer seniors provide information to people interested in the program and mentor their peers who come to the program for intervention and support.

Participants also motivate one another to talk about their experiences. "A major component of our program is our support group," said Ms. Simmons. "The participants talk openly about their experiences in an environment that upholds their dignity and respect. They really support one another."

Ms. Simmons noted that the support group has allowed seniors to learn more about their condition and discover that they are not alone. The forum empowers them to use their experiences to benefit and motivate others.

"One woman said that she gained a renewed sense of hope for the possibility of ongoing change. She said that because someone believed in her, she felt empowered to make the right decisions for herself," shared a nurse who worked with the program.

In addition to sharing their experiences with each other, the program is engaging the larger community to help elderly compulsive hoarders improve their quality of life, and the lives of those around them. As a result, the community is becoming better informed about the behaviour and is better able to support sufferers.

"After we first enter a senior's home and assess their living conditions, the senior will work with us to develop an action plan that outlines, step by step, how they will work through the process of de-cluttering," said Ms. Simmons. "We also work together to identify others in the community who can help, such as housekeeping services, health services, meal delivery, moving companies and/or financial services."

To contribute to this community approach, regional and local organizations also sit on the program advisory committee to share knowledge and expertise. Some of the organizations on the committee include Alberta Health Services, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, Helping Hands Personal Assistance and the United Way of Alberta Capital Region.

"I certainly couldn't have done this myself," said a senior. "I still have a ways to go, but now it is at a manageable level."

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

Breadalbane Community History Project

Joan Sutton and Kim MacLeod feared that the history of their tiny central P.E.I. village could be lost forever. They spearheaded the Breadalbane Community History Project to ensure that generations to come can know about the community’s history.

Read this story: Breadalbane Community History Project

Joan Sutton and Kim MacLeod spearheaded the Breadalbane Community History Project because they fear that the history of their tiny central P.E.I. village could be lost forever.

"It all came about when Kim said, 'Our seniors are passing away—we should get things written down before they are gone," said Ms. Sutton, a local senior and a member of the Friends of the Breadalbane Library, a committee of local seniors.

The idea built momentum as it spread through the community of less than 200 people. Shortly after, the Friends of the Breadalbane Library learned of the New Horizons for Seniors Program and decided to submit a proposal to produce a history book on Breadalbane.

The project began slowly, with the committee taking a trip to the provincial archives only to discover that there was virtually nothing historical written about Breadalbane. The women realized that the key to making the project a success was to engage fellow seniors to contribute their experiences and stories.

To do this, the committee developed a five-phase approach: first, a series of storytelling workshops with local seniors; second, a mapping session of Breadalbane in ; third, a photography session; fourth, a scrapbooking workshop; and finally, one-on-one interviews with local seniors.

To encourage seniors in the community to attend the storytelling workshops, the committee called them by phone, advertised in the local paper and put up posters around town. The purpose of the workshops was to have local seniors share their stories and memories of Breadalbane. To help facilitate the process, the committee hired local theatre actress Laurel Smythe to carry out various exercises with the participants.

"Laurel was asking them questions, getting them talking," said Ms. Sutton. "Well, they didn't want to go home! It was supposed to be a two-hour meeting, and three-and-a-half hours later, they were still there! They just loved it."

After the workshops, seniors participated in a session during which they drew a large map of Breadalbane in 1939, which is now displayed at the library.

"There was a great fire in Breadalbane in 1939, so it was a defining year," said Ms. Sutton. "Seniors talked about the fire; they talked about the buildings that were there, what the town looked like and who lived where."

Next, the seniors brought in old photographs or documents that could be included in the book. A professional photographer took pictures of the photos, the documents and the seniors.

"Then we had another woman run a scrapbooking session where we made pages using the photos," said Ms. Sutton. "Mostly what all the sessions did was bring the seniors together. There were lots of laughs, lots of fun and lots of information—it was like four big parties!"

For the final part of the project, the committee hired an editor to interview seniors who were unable to attend the sessions, so that their stories could also be included in the book. The committee pulled all the pieces together, and the rest, as Ms. Sutton says, is history.

"We transcribed all the notes from the meetings and workshops, completed the editing and enhanced the photographs," said Ms. Sutton. "Then we put it all together and we had our book published."

The book, entitled Memorable Musings: an Anecdotal History of Breadalbane, was a resounding success. The committee held a book launch at the library, which was attended by over 70 residents. The committee also gave every household in Breadalbane a free copy, helping to ensure the community's legacy will live on for generations to come.

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

Pacific Elders Drum Project

Aboriginal seniors demonstrate that you’re never too old to learn new skills.

Read this story: Pacific Elders Drum Project

Seniors were the driving force behind a project in British Columbia that raised local awareness of First Nations culture, strengthened ties between Aboriginal elders and others in the community, and demonstrated that one is never too old to learn new skills.

The seeds for the Pacific Elders Drum Project were planted when the New Vista Society in Burnaby invited the Golden Eagle Drummers to perform at its 236-bed intermediate care facility. Affiliated with the Pacific Association of First Nations Women in Vancouver, the Golden Eagle Drummers are a group of Aboriginal women aged 55 and over.

The organization received funding for its Pacific Elders Drum Project under the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program's Community Participation and Leadership component, which encourages seniors to play an important role in their communities by helping those in need, providing leadership, and sharing their knowledge and skills with others.

"We invited the Golden Eagle Drummers to come and play for us and tell us about their culture," said project coordinator, Kristine Theurer. "They sang, played the drums and shared their stories—they immediately established a wonderful rapport with the seniors at New Vista."

The connection between the Aboriginal elders and the resident seniors was so great that when the Golden Eagle Drummers came back a second time, they invited the seniors to play with them, but soon realized they did not have enough drums for all the interested seniors. "The seniors also wanted to know how to make the drums," said Ms. Theurer.

That's when the New Vista Society decided to apply for funding for the project through the New Horizons for Seniors Program. The purpose of the project was to enable seniors at the New Vista Society Care Home to actively participate with the Golden Eagle Drummers and learn about their culture and skills through music.

"They came here, and we spent a number of sessions learning how to build the drums and the mallets," said Ms. Theurer.

"It was harder than we thought because we had to start from scratch," said Terry Monteforte, a senior at the New Vista Society Care Home. "First, we had to take the hides and soak them. Then we stretched the hide out over a circular wooden frame and then by hand, we used special hide laces to bind the hide to the frame."

The seniors made 40 drums and mallets under the guidance of the Aboriginal elders. The Golden Eagle Drummers taught the seniors about their culture, and the seniors joined the group in performing monthly drumming circles. The combined group held a final drumming celebration at Christmas. The New Vista Care Home continues to hold drumming circles every month.

In addition to teaching the residents to make drums, the Golden Eagle Drummers also shared their culture and wisdom through storytelling.

"At every stage of the drum-making process, the elders talked about how it tied into their culture," said Ms. Theurer. "They taught us to treat the drums as sacred instruments, rather than as arts and crafts projects."

"For me, it was an awesome opportunity to learn about their traditions through the drum making,"said Mr. Monteforte. "The elders were willing to share, and we had open minds and hearts and just enjoyed it so very much."

The New Vista Society invited local newspapers to view the making of the drums and a "blessing of the drums" ceremony to raise awareness of First Nations culture and profile the seniors' leadership in the community.

Ms. Theurer noted that the project disproves the typical stereotypes and myths about aging. Every stage of the project demonstrated that older adults are capable of learning new skills and that their knowledge and energy can benefit communities in countless ways.

"Typically, people wouldn't associate seniors in a care facility with drumming, but the residents loved making drums and participating in the drumming circles," said Ms. Theurer. "The process was complicated and required a lot of effort, but there was such a sense of achievement and ownership—it was an empowering experience."

"I was never exposed to this type of tradition," said Mr. Monteforte. "I felt spiritually lifted by the drumming. It just was a thrill of a lifetime for me; we were all left in awe."

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

Let's Talk About Abuse

A Quebec seniors’ group is playing their part to raise awareness on elder abuse in their community.

Read this story: Let's Talk About Abuse

In Trois-Rivières, Quebec, a group of 12 seniors put on a play to show the reality of elder abuse. The main objective of the project was to educate seniors living in residences and those attending day centres about elder abuse and to inform them of their rights.

The play members are part of the Steering Committee on Elder Abuse from the Mauricie region and wanted to raise awareness among seniors about the issue of elder abuse by putting on a play that told the story of Madeleine, who was physically and financially abused by her son.

"Playing the role of Madeleine was a very rewarding experience," said Madeleine Prévost, one of the senior participants. "Judging by people's reactions, comments and questions, we certainly reached our goal of raising awareness. I feel a real sense of having contributed to the well-being of seniors," she added.

"This project has changed lives. It's a true success story," said Denise Proulx, project coordinator.

To put on the play, the group applied for a New Horizons for Seniors Program grant from the Government of Canada.

Thanks to this project and to the dedication of the seniors involved, nearly 600 people have gained a better understanding of the issue of elder abuse and know about the resources available to victims and witnesses.

According to Ms. Proulx, it is important to talk about the various forms of abuse—harassment, neglect and psychological, physical and financial abuse. Otherwise, seniors may not recognize and identify the signs if they become victims.

To help seniors clearly identify and understand abuse and be aware of the measures that a witness or victim should take, the project included role-playing between the actors and spectators.

Representatives of the Commission on Human Rights and Youth Rights, as well as a number of social workers and police officers were available after the play to answer questions and to talk about the services they offer and the steps involved in filing a report. They helped ensure that participants received adequate support and follow-up.

According to Ms. Proulx, the presence of these stakeholders is absolutely necessary because they foster an environment of trust for people who want more information on the topic and for those who want to report an instance of elder abuse.

René Proulx, co-author and stage director, believes in the saying that we do not need to look far to find happiness. "Carrying out this project was an experience of real joy for me and an opportunity to develop deep friendships with the other participants. It really wasn't work. It was fun. Each time we put on the play we met new people who were very welcoming, attentive and interested. The results were very rewarding."

Project participants contributed to community wellness by reducing seniors' vulnerability to abuse. Regular participation in the group also reduced the risk of social isolation.

Denise Proulx says that the loved ones of seniors who are victims of abuse are more likely to attend the play than the seniors themselves. Victims are often too embarrassed or too afraid to face reality, which makes it difficult to reach them.

"To successfully reach this group of seniors, we produced a film that was aired on the community television channel. We did manage to reach a group of more isolated individuals, which was essential," added Ms. Proulx.

Workers who deal with the issue of elder abuse confirmed that the number of reported cases and calls for help increased after the project began.

The project created partnerships with the Association féminine d'éducation et d'action sociale, the Health and Social Service Centres and the Office municipal d'habitation de Shawinigan.

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

Planting Seeds for Community Growth

Seniors are growing lasting relationships through gardening at Outlook Manor in St. Clair.

Read this story: Planting Seeds for Community Growth

Two years ago, the rooftop patio at Outlook Manor was a sea of worn bricks and straggly weeds, empty except for the garbage tossed onto it from windows above. Now it's full of leafy green plants in large brown pots, between which stroll the seniors who have planted, nurtured and cultivated the plants.

The transformation at Outlook Manor came about when St. Clair West Services for Seniors received funding for its Planting Seeds for Community Growth project from the New Horizons for Seniors Program. The organization's goal was to increase supportive networks among the residents by helping seniors to create garden spaces in three Toronto community housing projects.

"We never had a garden before. There was just this concrete space, with no incentive to look around," said senior Bernetta Rhule, volunteer leader of the project. "But now that the garden's here, the residents come down to spend time in it, or enjoy it from their balcony. They tell us when anything is wrong, and I think they look forward to having a share of the produce."

"It was to build community within the buildings through gardening, to help bring residents together who wouldn't normally come out and socialize together, and to promote fitness," explained Janitha Joseph, community development worker with St. Clair West Services for Seniors.

The seniors took on strong leadership roles from the beginning, directing the St. Clair West staff on the type of gardening they wanted to do and choosing the plants.

What came out of the project—still running strong two years later—surprised even the community workers, said St. Clair West community animator Nico Cassidy. "This year, we had a plan to have a community clean-up day. One of our staff was working with the group, and was going to come back the next week to plan a day to do it. She came back and the group had already organized themselves and cleaned up the whole garden space."

The project has been a resounding success with the seniors—even those who do not know much about gardening. It has led to other partnerships, as seniors have found ways to work around disabilities. A woman with gardening expertise who uses a scooter teamed up with another resident—she gave directions and he did the physical tasks while learning more about the plants he tended. In another case, a resident who was involved in the gardening had a stroke. Fortunately, he is recovering, but the stroke has left him with some permanent disabilities. He still wanted to be involved in the gardening as part of his therapy, so another senior partnered with him to maintain his gardening area.

Besides the benefits of exercise, fresh air and home-grown produce, the project has also created new friendships among the residents, who include immigrants from Central and South America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. Residents have come together to share traditional gardening customs and learn new ones.

Ms. Joseph has observed the long-lasting effects of the gardening project on the seniors. "Some of the residents came back and talked about being able to wake up in the morning looking forward to watering their plants and talking to them…. It does a lot."

She admitted that it's not always smooth sailing when it comes to the gardens. "Conflict arises, but then they find a way to solve it. The important thing," she said, "is that the project has allowed residents to develop confidence and leadership skills that will allow them to be more involved in the community, as well as within their building."

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

Kiwanis Club of Cape Breton Golden K Ambassador Program

As Ambassadors, local seniors in Cape Breton keep active and productive in their community by greeting passengers off cruise ships, visiting trade shows and supplying tourist information to many organizations.

Read this story: Kiwanis Club of Cape Breton Golden K Ambassador Program

As chair of major projects for the Kiwanis Club of Cape Breton Golden K, Clarence Seaward was the driving force behind the Ambassador program for seniors in Cape Breton Island. As Ambassadors, local seniors can keep active and productive in their community by greeting passengers off cruise ships, visiting trade shows and supplying tourist information to many organizations.

To assist Mr. Seaward in carrying out this project, seven club members were appointed to sit on a committee. As capital was needed to finance this project, the committee applied for a grant under the Community Participation and Leadership component of the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program. This program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

To prepare the participants to be ambassadors, the Kiwanis Club of Cape Breton Golden K provided a number of supports. First, the Senior College at the Cape Breton University created a program to teach seniors how to find information and present it to the public. Part of the training focused on information about the heritage of Cape Breton Island. During the winter term, 60 seniors enrolled in the program and all graduated.

"Thanks to two members of our club who are well versed in Cape Breton history and willing to give their time, along with a researcher and members of the university, an 85-page fact book on Cape Breton Island was produced," said Mr. Seaward. Besides facts on the Island's history, the fact book provides interesting information on each route and trail covering Cape Breton.

The books were distributed to tourism information sites, hotels, motels and bed and breakfast sites across the island. The response from the tourism industry and the public went beyond expectations. The tourism department of the Province of Nova Scotia initially ordered 500 books and had to order 200 more. Although the club printed 3,000 first edition books, the club needed to purchase an additional 2,000 copies to meet the demand.

"Now that our club members are trained as Ambassadors, we get requests to attend events such as the centennial celebrations of the flight of the Silver Dart in Baddeck, the tall ships that come to Cape Breton, and the recreation of the Battle at the Fortress of Louisburg," said Mr. Seaward.

"As trained ambassadors, we are thankful to have been able to create and participate in this wonderful project," said Mr. Seaward.

Day Hospice Outreach Program

The Day Hospice Outreach Program was a major milestone in educating the local community about how a hospice can benefit caregivers and allow people who are terminally ill to enjoy the best quality of life possible.

Read this story: Day Hospice Outreach Program

For Marilyn Craft, a retired teacher with 47 years of experience, putting people at ease is second nature and goes hand in hand with asking questions and taking the time to listen to others.

It was those principles that Mrs. Craft, and several other volunteer seniors, put into practice when they helped lead the "Day Hospice Outreach Program" in Saint John, New Brunswick. The pilot program was a major milestone in educating the local community about how a hospice can benefit caregivers and allow people who are terminally ill to enjoy the best quality of life possible.

The organization received funding for the Day Hospice Outreach Program under the Community Participation and Leadership component of the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program, which encourages seniors to play an important role in their communities by helping those in need, providing leadership, and sharing their knowledge and skills with others.

Seniors on the committee led the development and marketing of the program and gave their time and expertise as volunteers once it was running. Other seniors offered their feedback after entering the program as patients.

The program,headed by the Hospice of Greater Saint John Inc., was the first of its kind in New Brunswick and was modelled after successful programs in other parts of Canada.

The goal of the program was to provide patients with a home-like setting where they could go for a day of relaxation, support and companionship. At the same time, their families and/or caregivers would have the day to do activities or errands, or get some rest, knowing that their loved one was in a safe, comfortable environment.

The incentive for the program was to provide much needed support to the terminally ill and their caregivers within the community. The committee recognized that hospice care was not well understood or developed in New Brunswick.

"We have an older population base that is very tied to their church groups and their community, so our hospice palliative care is not as well developed in this region as it is in other regions," said Sandy Johnson, registered nurse and executive director of the Hospice of Greater Saint John.

The committee, spearheaded by seniors, did a considerable amount of research with hospice programs operating across the country, and with local family physicians, nurses and other health care providers. Seniors on the committee also assisted with the program's enormous marketing efforts to raise awareness within the community.

Volunteers, families of patients and the patients themselves also helped to dispel the stigma and impression that a hospice is depressing. "Those who came realized that hospice is about supporting the best quality of life possible," said Ms. Johnson. "The spouses of patients have told us very clearly how valuable it was, and some came on board with us as volunteers because they were so appreciative and wanted to contribute back to the community."

Arguably, the seniors who volunteered were the heart of the program. Mrs. Craft was a volunteer and the chair of the board of directors of the program. She noted that her years as a teacher and her outgoing nature served her well as a volunteer. She also acknowledged that she learned a great deal from the patients of the program.

"I just found it to be the most rewarding experience; I looked forward to going there every day," said Mrs. Craft. "You know, people like to tell you their life experiences; they like to tell you about their interests, and I was happy to be there and listen to that."

Mrs. Craft also shared some wisdom she gained through the program: "What I realized is that people live until they die…. Treat them as living individuals; talk to them about everyday things. They're living and they are interested."

"We had sessions where you would have those frank conversations and the patients clearly felt they had a safe place to talk honestly about what was happening to them and be supported," said Ms. Johnson. "But we also went beyond that—it was like, now let's do what's important to you. Let's do a scrapbook or let's just have a conversation. Tell me about your life; what kind of jobs did you have? Share your memories with us."

In addition to encouraging patients to speak freely and openly about their condition, senior volunteers helped patients gain access to emotional and spiritual support, educational services and therapy for pain and symptom management.

The benefits of the program to the larger community and the province have been countless.

"Certainly it's a huge caregiver support program, so providing them some relief is very important because then the whole family is better able to cope," said Ms. Johnson. "If you can help support the caregiver and the patient with programs like this in the community, you help to reduce the number of hospital admissions, which of course in our community then helps to keep acute care beds for acute care services."

The pilot program was a success, and the Hospice of Greater Saint John Inc. is now establishing Atlantic Canada's first residential hospice, expected to open next spring.

"What we're hoping is that when this is up and running, we can bring back the day hospice program for people in the community not yet ready for residential hospice," said Ms. Johnson.

"I would encourage health care professionals and the community at large to embrace hospice programming because hospice is so much about quality of life," said Ms. Johnson. "It's so much about supporting and helping people to live their best life ever, and it just enriches your life beyond your expectations. Every single person who has ever been at our service says, 'Had I only known what you could provide and what you could do for my family, I would have come to you sooner."

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.

A Walk on the Wild Side

The Sherbrooke Community Centre residents led a project entitled A Walk on the Wild Side, through which they created community eco-trails and an insect/butterfly garden for the benefit of Saskatonians and visitors, young and old.

Read this story: A Walk on the Wild Side

Seniors living at the Sherbrooke Community Centre in Saskatoon have garnered community praise and international attention for a project providing the Centre's volunteers with an opportunity to educate the community about the environment.

The Sherbrooke Community Centre residents led a project entitled A Walk on the Wild Side, through which they created community eco-trails and an insect/butterfly garden for the benefit of Saskatonians and visitors, young and old.

The idea for the project was spurred by the recognition that seniors have a great deal of accumulated environmental knowledge that is beneficial to the community.

"Older Saskatchewan seniors who homesteaded land have the pioneer experience of the native environment," said Ramsay King, master gardener at the Sherbrooke Community Centre."Their body of knowledge will disappear if they don't pass it on by word of mouth."

The Centre received funding for the project under the Community Partnership and Leadership component of the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program, which encourages seniors to play an important role in their communities.

The project also addressed the local need for easier access to Saskatchewan's natural environment and wildlife.

"In Saskatchewan, you often have to go out of the cities to see some of these things," said Colleen Grieman, Manager of Volunteers and Community Events at the Centre. "Schools, day care centres and seniors have to go out into rural settings to see the prairie or up north for the boreal forest. It's wonderful to have these opportunities right here in the community."

A major feature and achievement of A Walk on the Wild Side was the high degree of intergenerational collaboration throughout the project.

Seniors visited Greystone Heights Elementary School to teach grade five and six students about the project, and worked with them to research plants native to prairie and boreal regions of Saskatchewan. They then worked together to design, plant and grow eco-trails and build the butterfly garden.

"They also worked together to create collages that are displayed in the lobby," said Mr. King. "The seniors have taught the kids to slow down, listen, reflect and appreciate the natural environment."

"This project has also given opportunities for senior guest speakers from the horticultural society and retired entomologists to speak with young people," said Patricia Roe, communications and public relations lead for the Sherbrooke Community Centre. "It was really important that these experts share their knowledge with kids in particular."

While the program has done wonders for youth, it has also attracted a tremendous number of adult volunteers, who were taught by the seniors how to build the butterfly pavilion. "It was huge for the volunteers who came here to help build the pavilion and then see a butterfly release, because they didn't know anything about it and how the butterflies got here," said Ms. Roe.

The project also initiated partnerships and assistance from environmental organizations, academia and government and non-government organizations.

"The seniors have done an extremely good job of strengthening our ties with the community and building a knowledge base," said Ms. Roe.

"Our institutional partners are serious educational institutions. This isn't a short-term project—we are really trying to do ethical science, which is important to everyone who watches us," said Mr. King. "There are the corporate donors, our board of directors and our community leaders—they want to make sure that we're doing it right."

"As a result, I think we're a model for other centres," said Ms. Roe. "We get a lot of provincial, national and international visitors saying, 'Maybe we can do this, too.'"

For the Sherbrooke Community Centre, the future is wide open.

"There is so much potential in this project, and the opportunities are endless," said Ms. Grieman. "We hope to add an Aboriginal component in the near future."

"This project has really inspired our staff to think of new ideas and ways they can engage and involve seniors in the work that they do," said Ms. Roe. "Seniors can have a huge impact in their community if we take the time to listen."

The Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program helps to ensure that seniors can benefit from and contribute to the quality of life in their communities through active living and participation in social activities.