Symposium Strongly Supported by seniors, Caregivers and Community

Date: October 27, 2016 Author: ocsco@ocsco.ca Categories: OCSCO News
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Symposium Strongly Supported by Seniors, Caregivers and Community
Susan McDougall
Education Program Assistant

October 20th approximately 130 attendees came to a Symposium called Overcoming Loneliness and Social Isolation: Celebrating Best Practices. The goal was for seniors to learn what social isolation is, how it affects them and what they can do to reduce this risk. OSSCO brought together 11 speakers from across Ontario, knowledge experts in their field, to share their best community practices. 

The Symposium was opened by the Honourable Dipika Damerla, Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs and Mr. Josh Matlow, Toronto City Councilor.

Keynote Speakers were– Roslyn Harris and Mary Allen Armiento - whose lives have been rich with experiences.  They shared how they are staying active and engaged, and dealt with both the challenges of loneliness and risk of social isolation.

Attendees heard from the First Nations Community in Parry Sound, a Canadian English language experience pilot program for immigrant seniors, and from someone who works closely with LGBTQ seniors in the Ottawa area. 

We learned about a program that is specifically aimed at reducing isolation in informal caregivers (an often under recognized and unsupported group of individuals), a Home Share program in Halton Region, an innovative approach to in-home health care, and what Toronto is doing over the next decade to make this a more age friendly city.
H.A.T.S. (Health Action Theatre by Seniors) both entertained us and had us thinking with their 3 skits about the impact of loneliness and social isolation. We learned through several discussions as to what we can do as individuals - neighbours, friends and family - to include seniors in society.

The Symposium was filmed. Enough material was gathered to create 3 “seniors conversations,” thoughts worth sharing, as online videos as well as an edited version of the Symposium.  The purpose of these conversations is to help seniors, family and caregivers be aware of best practices and raise awareness of how to reduce the risk of loneliness and social isolation. 

If you missed this Symposium there will be a follow-up discussion to raise awareness of this important topic in March 2017.

Visit www.ocsco.ca for more information.

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Raj Sethi and Honourable Dipika Damerla, Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs  Roslyn Harris and Mary Allen Armiento  OSSCO Board Member Sam Ashroff