ALICE Wong, federal Minister of State (Seniors), on Tuesday announced the first in a series of New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) pan-Canadian project clusters, that aim to address social isolation among seniors in targeted populations across Canada. This group of six interconnected projects is being funded through the 2015–2016 NHSP Call for Proposals for Pan-Canadian Projects, which opened May 29 and closed July 10.
The NHSP call for proposals invited organizations applying for project funding to submit an impact plan describing the respective roles they and their project partners would play in addressing the important issue of social isolation among seniors. NHSP pan-Canadian funding of close to a combined $3.7 million is being provided over a three-year period to support the six projects that were proposed as an integral part of the Toronto Engagement to Reduce Isolation of Caregivers at Home and Enhancing Seniors (ENRICHES) Collective Impact Plan.
The Toronto ENRICHES plan targets isolated seniors who are caregivers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)—a highly populated and culturally diverse area. Partners in the plan’s six socially innovative projects will work collaboratively to deliver measurable results to reduce social isolation in this population. The overall impact of their concerted effort will have far-reaching benefits for metro seniors who are caregivers and for the existing network of GTA seniors-serving organizations.
The Toronto ENRICHES project partners include the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation of Toronto, the Sinai Health System – The Reitman Centre, WoodGreen Community Services, the Alzheimer Society Toronto, the Canadian Mental Health Association and North York Community House. Each has a vested interest in addressing the needs of seniors and in supporting isolated seniors who are caregivers facing the complex challenges and effects of loneliness and isolation.
Wong made this announcement in Toronto, at the MaRS Discovery District. She said: “These pan-Canadian projects will focus on reducing social isolation among seniors. They will have a tangible impact on older Canadians through creating social connections, strengthening social bonds and building a sense of community. We have seniors’ best interests at heart. Through both collaboration and social innovation, our Government is taking action to enable all Canadian seniors to enjoy a high quality of life.”
Kevin Goldthorp, CEO of Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation of Toronto and Executive Vice-President, Advancement and Marketing, Sinai Health System, said: “We are very grateful that the Government of Canada recognizes the opportunity it has to support an entire generation of senior caregivers who are looking after their loved ones, often alone, in isolation and with limited support. The ENRICHES partners, led by the Cyril & Dorothy, Joel & Jill Reitman Centre for Alzheimer’s Support and Training, are honored that our collaborative partnership is recognized and supported with funding to reach isolated senior caregivers, making their lives, and those of the loved ones they care for, better.”
Aaron Good, Managing Director for SiG@McConnell, said: “The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation’s Innoweave Initiative congratulates the Toronto ENRICHES partners. We look forward to working with ENRICHES and other successful collaboratives as they implement innovative approaches to reduce the rate of seniors social isolation in communities across Canada.”