Sun Ping and the other members of the Kanata Chinese Seniors Support Centre (KCSSC) wouldn’t have the opportunity to celebrate and share their culture with others if it weren’t for the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, a United Way partner.
“If we don’t have this activity together, without this platform, we would be very isolated.”
Sun Ping isn’t alone in feeling this way. We know that seniors who do not have strong knowledge of either of Canada’s official languages are more likely to experience social isolation.
Sybil Braganza from the Social Planning Council of Ottawa explains how they are able to help seniors stay connected: “Through funding through United Way of Ottawa the Social Planning Council is able to reach 25 different ethno-cultural grassroots groups. This gives them the chance to meet other seniors from their own cultural background as well as seniors from other cultural backgrounds.”
Groups like the KCSSC can alleviate isolation in two ways: for the members of the group themselves, and for the communities they engage in. Sun Ping and the rest of the members of the Kanata Chinese Seniors Support Centre shared their celebration of Chinese New Year with a local long term care facility.
The KCSSC is just one example of a local ethno-cultural group supported by United Way Ottawa and the Social Planning Council. There are over 35 languages spoken among the 25 distinct groups, meaning that local seniors can find camaraderie in their native language right here in Ottawa.
Programs for seniors in Ottawa will only become more important over time. There are now more people aged 65 or older living in Ottawa than there are children and youth, and between 2011 and 2031, our senior population is expected to more than double.
Without support, these valuable members of our community risk losing their independence, their dignity, and their health. Supports can be simple – the 25 local groups that find connection through the Social Planning Council are built on connecting local seniors in a social setting.
When it comes to our growing senior population, United Way Ottawa wants to ensure we have the best tools possible to keep seniors like Sun Ping healthy and active in their communities for longer