The Somali Canadian Seniors Project
Seniors of the community members are provided services aimed at improving the quality of their life so that the seniors can feel a sense of belonging and admiration. The services are meant to keep the seniors vibrant and contribute to their community. Staff members and volunteers of the SCCSE address the seniors’ issues and organize events for them. This program is aimed at coordinating the needs of support and minimizing loneliness and isolation as well as drop in program once a week at the Centre. Seniors meet bi weekly to participate in information sessions relevant to seniors. Services also include an intergenerational program for youth and seniors. The program provides : information education videos, supportive sharing With other seniors, supportive counseling with referrals, socializing and Mutual support.
- Provide essential services to help reduce isolation
- Provide information sessions regarding different health issues
- Weekly exercise program at three different locations
- Provide information about diet and healthy eating
- Provide telephone call assurances
- Settlement and integration for new seniors
Current Seniors Program
The Somali Canadian Seniors Project is a partnership between the Centre for Race and Culture and the Somali-Canadian Cultural Society. The project is funded by New Horizons for Seniors (Canada), Alberta Human Rights and Multiculturalism Education Fund and City of Edmonton, Emerging Communities Partnership Grant.
This project aims to rekindle the traditional role of Somali elders (seniors) of teaching their history, culture, and traditional crafts to Somali-Canadian youth and other community members. Somali-Canadian seniors are tremendously isolated here in Edmonton, unlike in their homeland where they would be in constant communication with other community members acting as teachers, advisors, and mediators. Seniors are still highly valued but people no longer live in proximity to each other; the pace of life is so fast here especially with immigrants who are often working several jobs to make ends meet, and the weather often keeps them confined to their homes.
The Somali seniors are meeting once a week and finding out about the different resources that are available to them in Edmonton, and discussing issues of relevance and concern to them. They are finding ways to revive their traditional role as mentors by working with Somali youths and children. They are also coming up with solutions to address their isolation, and have visited/will be visiting different senior centres, City of Edmonton facilities, government agencies and non-profit organizations to learn about the programs and resources for seniors.
Abukar Nur – Project Coordinator