The Eldercare Foundation, in partnership with B.C. Healthy Communities, has developed a tool for an ageing community that will help connect them with the resources, tools and connections they need to improve their lives in the community.
It’s called ElderConnect and it’s designed to provide a one-stop hub for all the connections and services that a senior in the community could possibly need.
“All of these resources are out there, but for many people, especially senior citizens who may not feel comfortable with computers and computer searches, trying to find the information can be a bit like trying to drink from a fire hose,” said Lori McLeod, Executive Director of the Eldercare Foundation.
“There is this flood of information available, but finding it can be difficult. We are providing a central hub for that information and the help that people may need to access what’s available.”
It’s a first of its kind initiative and Sooke is the location chosen for the pilot roll-out of the program.
“We’re really hoping that it becomes a part of a national initiative so that, lets’s say, your mother is in Calgary and you’re here, you can go online with her and find the service that she’s looking for,” said McLeod.
In the initial roll-out, the information hub will include institutional and service contacts as well as connections for social engagements within the community.
Initially, all the services and resources on the web site will be specific to Sooke.
“We’re have also assembled a group of about a dozen volunteers, who we call Way Finders, that will be available to meet with seniors and introduce them to the site as well as giving them some basic instruction on how to use it in the future,” explained McLeod.
“The volunteers will set up a meeting with the senior at a mutually acceptable public space (they will not go to people’s homes) like the library ot a coffee shop, and spend as much time as it takes to make the client comfortable with searching the ElderConnect site.”
The introduction of Elderconnect will take place at the Sooke Baptist Church (7110 West Coast Road) on March 8 between 1:30 and 3 p.m.
It will be a chance to meet the Sooke Region volunteers who will lead an interactive demonstration of ElderConnect.
There will also be a keynote presentation by Dr. Denise Cloutier, Professor at the University of Victoria Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health.
“This event is about living a full life and finding out how to embrace ageing gracefully,” said Cloutier.
“This project aligns perfectly with that concept and it’s appropriate that it’s being launched during March, Embrace Ageing Month.”