On March 17, 2020, Ontario entered a "State of Emergency". Due to the rapidly spreading COVID-19, social isolation is currently being encouraged by governmental bodies. This does not mean we should forget our fellow farmers and seniors!
Results from the National Survey of Farmer Mental Health, conducted by Dr. Andrea Jones-Bitton at the University of Guelph, suggest that 35% of Canadian producers meet the criteria for depression, 45% are under high stress, 58% meet the criteria for an anxiety classification. Despite these staggering statistics, 40% of Canadian producers feel uneasy about seeking professional help due to what others may think. So take the time to call, text or email fellow farmers to encourage them in this difficult time. As many seniors find texting and emailing difficult, carve out some time to chat with them over the phone.
Lets protect against loneliness call a farmer and senior today!
On March 8, 2020, Gateway hosted it's first speaker series event at the Huron County Museum in Goderich. At this event, period pieces by the Dames Rocket played as community members bid on silent auction items and visited local Women's Not-for-Profit booths. Once everyone had a chance to bid Bonnie Sitter took center stage and regaled a number of Ontario Farmerette stories. The event was a successful start to our speaker series fundraiser.
We would like to thank the following organizations and individuals for their help in making the event possible:
Mary Lapaine was nominated for this years "Inspiring Women of Huron County". Mary is a fantastic role model to so many of us. Her dedication to her family, devotion to many friends, her successful career and her extensive volunteer work makes her an outstanding nominee. We are so delighted to have her on our Board of Directors. She has provided invaluable insights into the healthcare field and has a passion for improving rural health. Congratulations Mary!
On January 24, 2020 Gateway welcomed a new board member, Mohamed Gazarin! Mohamed is the current Chief Research Officer at Winchester District Memorial Hospital. In this position he provides research vision for the institution and builds collaborative relationships with external and internal partners. In addition to this position, Muhamed is a Lecturer at the University of Ottawa in the Family Medicine Department. We are excited to have him on board with us and look forward to working with him.
A huge thank you goes out to Rotary Club of Goderich for supporting our Lonely No More program. We greatly appreciate the interest and support we have received from local organizations such as yourselves in partnering with us to combat loneliness among our senior citizens. If you know of someone who might be interested in participating or volunteering in the program please give us a call at 519 612 1053.
The Remarkable Citizens Awards were held this past Wednesday and was hosted by Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson. Gateway's President, Gwen Devereaux was among the nominees. We would like to congratulate all the individuals who were nominated for this honor.
Gateway will be hosting a speaker series this year. Our first event will be held at the Huron County Museum on March 8th. At this event there will be a silent auction, food, beverages, local entertainment, and booths by local Women's NFP organizations. Tickets for this event are $25 and can be purchased at Gateway, Fincher's (The Square, Goderich) and Eventbrite. We hope to see you there.
What is the Lonely No More Program?
The Lonely No More Program consists of weekly Elder Circles, a teleconference call between isolated seniors, facilitated by trained community members (volunteers). Our program hopes to reach rural seniors across 5 target counties: Lambton, Huron, Perth, Bruce and Grey. Elder circles are a great place for seniors to develop social networks without having to face the weather or lack of transportation. Elder circles also empower community members to become peer advocates for isolated and at-risk seniors. We also offer one to one support by trained volunteers.
Currently, we have one Elder Circle that is running on Monday nights at 6:30 pm. The last call for this Elder Circle is scheduled for March but we are open to extending the program if enough interest is gained. There are 2 social opportunities offered during the programs 8 week duration: a Tea & Coffee social in February and a trip to a Museum in March. There is also a guest speaker that will be sharing some history on Northern Ontario's unique railcar school system at one of the weekly calls!
How do I become apart of the program?
If you are interested, we do have room in Monday's Elder Circle for more seniors to join in. We can also create Elder Circles if we need. If you are interested give us a call at 519 612 1053. We look forward to chatting with you.