TAKING CARE OF SENIORS IN RICHMOND COUNTY
Defining social isolation can be difficult because, on one hand, there are real physical barriers that prevent people from building social connections in communities (eg: remote living, disability, financial constraints). But, there are also many things that contribute to social isolation that are not easily seen. Social loneliness can have a real impact on the relationships we have, which in turn, impact our mental and emotional well-being. Here in Richmond County we have seniors that are both physically isolated as well as living under conditions that contribute to loneliness with age, such as disconnecting from family, friends and co-workers.
Developed countries are working to provide health care services that can keep up with an aging global population. Right now, in Richmond County we have a very high number of seniors, and may not have the same kinds of formal resources that we have had in the past to keep up to the effects of increased social isolation. Therefore, we need to make sure our seniors are as connected, and as happy as possible. Emotional and mental health has a direct impact on our physical health.
More than anything else, these New Horizons for Seniors projects offer participants a voice that leads to feelings of empowerment. When people are truly heard, their emotional, mental and physical health improves. Seniors have lifetimes of experience and learning that also contribute to the well-being of societies. Seniors' stories and perspectives offer insight into how to make our communities better places to live. At the same time, these arts-based social groups create environments for true bonding.
The workshops were funded by a New Horizon's for Seniors community-based projects grant. They were coordinated and facilitated through the Dr. Kingston Memorial Community Health Centre in L'Ardoise, N.S. For more information, please see the 2016 Federal Government's publication from the National Seniors Council: Report on the Social Isolation of Seniors.