Autumn leaves are turning gold and red and the air has a crisp chill in the morning, but on a sunny afternoon, it still feels warm enough to enjoy the outdoor activities without a jacket. In our coastal communities, the salmon are starting to find their way home for spawning.
Mid-fall for our CRNs was full of educational and social events spotlighting the older and vulnerable people within our communities. Here are a few highlights from around the province.
Provincial Learning Events: On-Demand and Upcoming
The September 19th session, Protect What’s Yours, Prevent Financial Abuse, Fraud & Scams, kicked off the season with a webinar on the top fraud trends that affect seniors and how older adults can protect themselves from being victimized. Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse, and the speakers discussed safety strategies and resources for seniors and caregivers to implement.
The October 17th session, Do I Still Need This Medication? examined the topic of over-prescribing and taught participants why it’s important to ask healthcare providers for an annual medication review. These reviews can sometimes result in discontinuing medications that are no longer beneficial, a term called Deprescribing. Read more about deprescribing for older people.
National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
September 30th was National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, otherwise known as Orange Shirt Day, is an annual commemorative day to remember the children who did not return home from residential schools, honour the survivors and participate in learning about Indigenous culture to further the work towards the 94 Calls to Action.
The British Columbia Community Response Networks has always worked as allies and partners with Indigenous groups who work to keep their communities safe. Read some of our articles on National Truth and Reconciliation Day or National Indigenous Peoples Day.
In recognition of the annual October 1st International Day of the Older Person (IDOP), the South Vancouver Island Community Response Networks joined together for their first collaboration to create “Celebrating a Week for Seniors and Elders,” a series of low-cost and free events honouring older community members. The events ran from September 29 – October 5 throughout Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, Westshore and the Gulf Islands and included a pancake breakfast, bird watching, film screening and presentation, an art class, and a Jazz performance.
The events were organized to help raise awareness about the bias of ageism, educate on the prevention of elder abuse and highlight older people’s value and importance. Cari Taylor, Regional Mentor for the South Vancouver Island CRNs, says: “Combating discrimination based on age and promoting the dignity of older persons is fundamental to ensuring the respect that older persons deserve, and helps ensure they are not vulnerable to experiencing multiple forms of abuse.” Thanks to community partners for making these events happen: The Vic Theatre, BC School of Art Therapy, Esquimalt Recreation Centre, Times Colonist (Black Press), CHEK News, and Arts on View Society. Here are some everyday ideas on how to show appreciation to the elders in your family and community.
Also just in time for IDOP, the Salmo CRN kicked off a series of Seniors Winter Crafting events on October 1st. The events will run bi-weekly through to mid-December. Winter season in the Kootenays can make going out undesirable and challenging for older adults, which leads to loneliness and isolation. These gatherings promise to be a fun and purpose-filled time for seniors to gather, connect and work on projects. A package filled with crafts, recipe ingredients and educational materials will be given out at each session. A monthly newsletter will also be made available. Thanks to community partners Salmo Better at Home, Salmo Food Bank and United Way Food Supports for providing refreshments for these events.
The Tri-Cities CRN, in partnership with Seniors First BC, co-hosted the Healthy Aging Symposium in Coquitlam. Over 200 registrants attended the event and heard from guest speakers about financial abuse, deprescribing, falls and injury prevention, vaccinations, the toxic drug crisis and healing health. Thanks to the many presenters and volunteers that made this event successful.
Supporting Local Community
Kaslo CRN has brought back the S.L.I.D.E. Book Fundraiser. With the help of community and local business donations, they will be purchasing books to go into holiday hampers and have books for sale at their table during the upcoming Holiday Market. Plans to donate more books to the local libraries and community programs in the Kaslo and Kootenay Lake area are also underway. Many thanks to community partners: Kaslo Community Services, Strong Start Program, Youth Center, Kaslo Food Hub, Lardeau Valley Community Centre, Argenta Community Hall, local schools and public libraries.
Kitimat CRN and Tamitik Status of Women hosted a paint night to raise awareness of domestic violence and elder abuse in the greater area of Kitimat and Kitimat Village. The event was opened by a Haisla Elder, who shared her life story and experiences with domestic violence. Attendees painted purple lotus flowers symbolizing strength, resilience and hope for survivors. Lotus flowers are also a reminder of the ability to rise and find healing and renewal despite life’s many challenges. Thanks to community partner Luso Canadian Association for providing the event space.
BC CRN’s Executive Director, Sherry Baker, met via video conference with Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee, in her role of Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors Services and Long-Term Care. The two discussed various seniors’ issues and needs within the province. Afterwards, Ms. Sandhu sent a shout-out to the BC CRN via Facebook. We thank Ms. Sandhu and our tireless Sherry Baker for the vital work they are doing for seniors in British Columbia.