A new facility that aims to reduce social isolation among senior citizens is set to open in Nanaimo later this year.
Once opened, the Seniors Connect Wellness Centre will become the hub for Seniors Connect, a three-year project that is intended to reduce social isolation among seniors. The project received $2.07 million from the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.
Jane Vinet, project manager for the wellness centre and Seniors Connect project, said programs will be designed by seniors for seniors with the goal of improving their quality of life and creating more social opportunities for them.
“The purpose behind the program is to actually have the seniors themselves develop the program,” Vinet said.
The wellness centre will be located at 150 Wallace St., and will have programs available Monday through Friday. Vinet said the new centre will provide seniors with a place to hang out and meet other seniors as well as learn about other valuable programs within the community.
“There will be a drop in time so people can come in for coffee, so if you are socially isolated and you just need to get out and be around other people, this gives you that opportunity,” Vinet said.
The Seniors Connect project and the wellness centre will be a joint-collaboration between five local organizations including the Nanaimo Family Life Association and the Nanaimo Women’s Centre, which will play a vital role in ensuring the project’s goals are reached over a three-year period.
Aside from health issues, many seniors often face issues related to social isolation, according to Vinet, who said that older seniors often have a harder time making friends.
“When people lose their connection to their family and friends … they find themselves alone,” she said. “Going out and making friends in your elder years is a little more difficult and more challenging. You may have issues.”
If the Seniors Connect project is successful after the three-year period, Vinet said the centre will look for other community partners and stakeholders so that it can continue to operate and provide services.
The centre is expected to open in late September.