Researchers to evaluate programs that help reduce social isolation in seniors
October 17, 2016
University of Regina researchers are collaborating with provincial agencies to evaluate the effectiveness of programs to reduce social isolation experienced by urban and rural seniors in central and southern Saskatchewan.
The initiative is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program and will benefit from $504,241 over the next three years.
“The Government of Canada is proud to support the University of Regina through the New Horizons for Seniors Program. With the rising senior population in Canada, our government understands the importance of supporting seniors who are or who may be at risk of becoming socially isolated. By joining forces with the University of Regina, we can help raise awareness about important services in place to reduce and prevent seniors’ social isolation.”
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Through evaluation of existing programs, Enhancing Information Access for Rural and Urban Seniors will result in communities becoming more aware of the needs of seniors and prepared to address those needs. The evaluation will also determine how to strengthen seniors’ connections with others, and how to create services so seniors will be seen as valuable, contributing members of society.
The evaluation is being conducted by the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU) at the University of Regina. Project lead Dr. Bonnie Jeffery, along with Dr. Tom McIntosh and Dr. Nuelle Novik, will form the Evaluation Oversight Committee, along with Dr. Chad Nilson of Living Skies Centre for Social Inquiry. The researchers will be partnering with three agencies who each have received funding for their projects:
- Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism: is fighting ageism by creating a culture of inclusion with rural, small urban and Francophone communities to help them become age-friendly; reducing ageism by changing the way older adults are portrayed in Saskatchewan media.
- Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan: is working with individuals, and urban and rural communities, to become dementia friendly; raising awareness about the warning signs of dementia and the importance of diagnosis.
- Canadian Red Cross – Saskatchewan: is providing friendly visiting for isolated older adults.
Upon completion of the evaluation, SPHERU will present its findings and results at a one-day policy summit where policy and community representatives from Central and Southern Saskatchewan will be in attendance.
SPHERU is a bi-university health research unit based at the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan, which focuses on intervention research; population, rural, northern health research; and history of health inequities.
Contact info: Dr. Bonnie Jeffery at email@example.com