Toolkit to support older immigrants


The Sheridan Centre for Elder Research recently launched the Building Connected Communities: Social Isolation and Loneliness toolkit to assist caregivers, healthcare workers, faith leaders and community organizations that interact or work with older adults.

It includes a checklist to determine if an older adult might be at risk of social isolation and a list of research-informed tips for older adults to get connected within their communities.

“Older immigrants are at an increased risk for social isolation and loneliness because they have complex lived realities, which can multiply barriers and the potential for discrimination and elder abuse,” said Sirena Liladrie, a professor in the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies at Sheridan and the project’s principal SSHRC building connected communities investigator.

From the research that informed the toolkit’s development, professor Liladrie found that 78 per cent of participants experienced language barriers when accessing services and supports.

To address this issue, several of the toolkit’s resources have been translated into 12 languages including Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog and Urdu.

Community partners on the project include Community Development Halton, Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre, Indus Community Services, Peel Senior Link and Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care.

They’ve piloted several of the resources in the toolkit and are encouraged with how they can support older members of their communities in their role as key service providers.

“The Sheridan Centre for Elder Research is thrilled to support work that brought together academics, community partners, faith leaders, an interdisciplinary student team and the older adult population at large to address this growing issue,” said its director, Dr. Lia Tsotsos.

“The strategies and resources that emerged from this project will undoubtedly have an impact on our local regions and beyond, hopefully sparking change at a provincial and national level.”

The toolkit is available for down-load on SOURCE – Sheridan’s Scholarly Output Research Creative Excellence website.


 Expanding midwifery services

 With more than 140,000 babies being welcomed to the world each year in Ontario, families are looking for more options when it comes to choosing their care.

Many immigrants come from cultures where midwives play an important role in childbirth.

MPP Kaleed Rasheed announced the government is providing an additional $294,407 this year to support midwives in Mississauga East-Cooksville.

This is part of Ontario’s investment of an additional $28 million to expand midwifery services across Ontario, which will help up to 3,400 more families access additional choice in primary care during a pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Ontario is also working to expand the scope of practice for midwives to allow them to prescribe more medications to clients.

This change will provide greater choice and convenience for families and reduce time that patients wait for medications and therapies.

“This means more families will be able to access quality care from a midwife during pregnancy, labour and birth, as well as six weeks of support once their baby is born,” said Rasheed.

Midwives offer a choice in birth settings, including home, hospital or midwifery-led birth centres in Toronto and Ottawa.

Midwifery care results in fewer medical and surgical interventions, higher breastfeeding rates and shorter hospital stays. 

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