As the older adult population continues to grow globally, A & O: Support Services for Older Adults is dedicated to providing specialized programs and services to support older adults in aging well. A & O provides innovative social engagement programming for older Manitobans. Research demonstrates that social isolation can be detrimental not only to one’s mental health but also to one’s physical health. Social isolation is linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, dementia, and mortality. Social isolation has been compared to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. While social isolation can occur at any point over the life course, this concern disproportionately affects older adults. The National Seniors Council has estimated that up to 16% of people 65+ experience isolation, or nearly 950,000 senior across the country (Statistics Canada, 2017).
A & O: Support Services for Older Adults has a variety of established programs that provide opportunities for all older Manitobans to either increase their level of social engagement or to take the first steps in becoming more socially engaged than they have been in the past. Social engagement is one of the agency’s primary service delivery pillars due to the important role that social engagement plays in supporting people to age well. The social engagement programs that A & O currently offers include Senior Centre Without Walls, the Connect Program, and Senior Immigrant Settlement Services.
Seniors Centre Without Walls is a unique program that offers educational and interactive programs to older adults from the comfort of their own homes. The free programs are accessed through a toll-free number. The Connect Program sees Registered Social Workers assist socially isolated Winnipeggers 55+ living in the community by connecting them to resources that will facilitate independent living. Clients of the program may be connected to: Volunteer Visitors and Callers, Community Resources, Senior Centre Without Walls, Safety and Security Programs, Counselling and Support Services.
Senior Immigration Settlement Services offers a wide range of settlement services for newcomers 55 years of age or over. The Settlement Orientation for Seniors program is a group orientation where participants learn about important settlement topics such as law, health and safety, housing, transportation, money and banking and community information. Upon completing the orientation, participants are referred to The Winnipeg English Language Assessment and Referral Centre (WELARC) for a language assessment appointment. They may then register for our English Language Program for seniors or are welcome to join one of our English Conversation Circles. A settlement worker is also available to provide additional information about community programs and services, to assist with forms and documents and offer opportunities to connect with other older adults in the community.
The This Full House program is the first of its kind in Canada and is designed to assist older adults whose “stuff” fills their home and limits their lives. Houses full of saved items result in falls and injury, loss of relationships, isolation and emotional distress and can cause fires and evictions.
Over 9,000 older Manitobans have participated in A & O’s innovative social engagement programming. As the number of older Manitobans continues to grow, A & O’s specialized social engagement programming is more important than ever before. A & O: Support Services for Older Adults is committed to support all older Manitobans in aging well! For more information, please visit our website – aosupportservices.ca or call (204)956-6440.
A & O: Support Services for Older Adults is located at 200-280 Smith Street, Winnipeg. Call 204-956-6440, email [email protected], or go online to www.aosupportservices.ca.