Over the last year and half, seniors’ centres and non-profit organizations have made an amazing effort to provide vital connections for the most vulnerable seniors in our city. Relying on donations and volunteers for things like organizing drop-offs of essential supplies, or even just arranging to phone seniors to check in on them during the first wave and beyond., approximately 30% of seniors experienced social isolation pre-pandemic, and that risk increases with BIPoC, 2SLGBTQIA, seniors with language barriers, and those living in poverty (“Approach to Supporting Seniors' Centres”, City of Edmonton, 2019). While the future is uncertain, we know there is an opportunity to connect these extraordinary efforts to meeting the challenges of marginalized and isolated seniors today.
Our plan would explore partnerships with nonprofits and businesses to ensure seniors can develop and maintain these connections – including more options for transportation to reach community programs and services.
Much of this important work was carried out by seniors’ centres; however, these spaces aren’t accessible to everyone across our city, especially neighbourhoods outside the core. Our plan would support new centres to meet the growth in Edmonton’s four corners, and would partner with community leagues for programming that is local, accessible, and embedded within neighbourhoods.
This also means helping seniors to stay in the communities where they have relationships and memories. We need to ensure that the City’s plans for housing include more “age in place” options for seniors and those approaching their elder years. By partnering with the non-profit and private sectors on supports, we can create communities where seniors can maintain their independence and rely on interdependence - connection, not isolation.
We know that much of this work is already being done. The key is making sure those pieces are connected. Small investments that link together produce a big community impact.
We also will keep property taxes frozen for the next several years, to help seniors stay in their homes.
Michael Oshry Quote:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us how important it is for seniors to be connected to their communities, to be able to access the programs and resources they need. While we are building for the future, we need to support the present and appreciate the past.”