Sudbury

Social network for older adults sets sights for northeastern Ontario expansion

A new social network aimed at adults ages 50 and over is expanding to northeastern Ontario.

Amintro helps adults ages 50 and up meet people in their communities

A woman in a red blouse stands in a bright room.
Charlene Nadalin says she started Amintro after she noticed her mom getting lonelier as she aged. The social network connects older adults in the same area. (Submitted by Charlene Nadalin )

A new social network aimed at adults ages 50 and over is expanding to northeastern Ontario.

Charlene Nadalin, who grew up in Sudbury, created Amintro to help her mother expand her social circle.

"I was just noticing that my mom's social circles were getting smaller as the years were progressing," she said. "My mom unfortunately was widowed in her mid-50s."

As her mother got older, Nadalin said she would hear the same stories from her because there wasn't much new happening in her life.

"And that was alarming for me," she said.

So Nadalin turned to technology to combat loneliness in older adults.

She said Amintro is different from social networks like Facebook as it helps users connect with new people in their community.

When someone signs up with the social network, they set their location and can then choose a radius from that point. The network will only connect them with people within that radius.

As you get older and you retire, you just don't branch out as much. And I think fear is a big part of that. You know, the big unknown.- Helen-Anne Bilodeau, advisor for Amnitro expansion 

"Our objective is to really support our seniors and aging well and healthily and thriving and enjoying life," Nadalin said.

The website also has a blog with articles on gardening, travel, health and many other issues and interests for people ages 50 and up.

But Nadalin said Amintro doesn't yet have a presence in northeastern Ontario. 

Expanding to the northeast

To expand in the region, the federal government's New Horizons for Seniors program granted Amintro $25,000 to build a northeastern Ontario advisory committee to help it expand in the region, and also cater to French speakers. 

Helen-Anne Bilodeau of Iron Bridge, Ont., joined that committee.

Bilodeau said she knew someone who used the social network and was asked to join the advisory committee for northeastern Ontario.

"I know when you put the heads together, there'll be a lot of suggestions going around," she said. "So that's great. Really making life easier for older adults in the region."

Bilodeau said, for example, she would like to see more information on Amintro which can educate older adults about different scams, which she said are a big issue. 

She said more travel advice, even if it's just to help people travel in their own region, would also be welcome.

"As you get older and you retire, you just don't branch out as much. And I think fear is a big part of that. You know, the big unknown," Bilodeau said.

"And I think that if we just keep the lines of communication open and share, I think this is a huge thing."

With files from Kate Rutherford

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