For the past year, the Lonely No More program has been providing an opportunity for isolated and at-risk seniors in rural Huron, Perth, Grey and Bruce counties to create new points of support as well as increase their social connections with other older adults in these communities. This has been done through weekly Elder Circles, which are teleconference calls consisting of an intimate group of seniors as well as trained volunteer facilitators. It is exciting to see the positive impacts this program has had on the senior participants involved. In an interview with CTV News, one of our senior participants, who was a part of the Elder Circles, commented, “I like it because, yeah, at least you talk to people” (https://london.ctvnews.ca/lonely-isolated-seniors-helped-by-weekly-phone-call-1.4325085).
During this past year, which was the pilot phase of the program, there were successes as well as certain challenges. In terms of senior involvement in the project, a total of 257 seniors took part in the project or experienced the activities from across the 4 target counties, in addition to 17 seniors directly involved in carrying out the project and its activities, including the project organizers and volunteers. However, the main challenge faced throughout the pilot phase was the recruitment of isolated senior participants for the Elder Circle calls. In future, new strategies will be implemented to help overcome this challenge, including reaching out to close contacts of seniors in these areas, who would be more likely to come into contact with information regarding this program than the seniors themselves.
We would like to thank all our advisors and volunteers for all their hard work and dedication to making this program run smoothly and successfully. Also special thank you goes to the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility, who provided funding for the pilot phase of the program. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a part of the Lonely No More program, or for more information, please do not hesitate to contact Kia Moazzami, the Lonely No More project coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.