Program to ease loneliness for Richmond County seniors wraps up
One man, 94, now uses FaceTime from his nursing home to keep in touch with his son who lives away
A yearlong project to ease loneliness and depression for Nova Scotia seniors in Richmond County wraps up this fall.
The Mind Body Spirit project set up pilot programs to bring seniors out of isolation and included a volunteer visitor program, dinners, music and technology initiatives.
"This is for seniors at risk of social isolation and therefore at risk of decreased mental health," said Dawn Ostrem, project co-ordinator.
"Richmond County is the canary in the coal mine for global aging population," she said. "It's got the second highest demographic for the number of seniors in Nova Scotia, and Nova Scotia has the highest in Canada."
The population of Richmond County is approximately 8,900, and close to 30 per cent of its residents are over the age of 65.
iPads for seniors
Millie Hatt, Richmond County Literacy Network co-ordinator, was responsible for developing and implementing the Connecting Seniors Through Technology project, which included 31 seniors who were given iPads and connectivity for a year.
They received instruction in their homes several times during the year so they could become familiar with the technology.
Location, finances and mobility can contribute to the isolation of retirees on fixed incomes.
"Some of these seniors have physical disabilities, so they are not able to be out in the community," said Hatt.
She said one man, who is 94 and lives in a nursing home, now uses FaceTime to talk to his son who lives away and travels frequently.
Grant for $140k
About 50 representatives from the various health, adult education and community groups involved will get together in Louisdale in October to put a plan in place to make sure the work done over the last year continues.
It was provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness and the Municipality of the County of Richmond and administered by the Dr. Kingston Memorial Community Health Centre in L'Ardoise.