Snug Cove House Society has spent more than 20 years working toward the dream of supportive seniors’ housing here on Bowen. That dream will become a reality before long but in the meantime, our island’s seniors need assistance and support in other important areas including healthcare, transportation, and gathering places to combat isolation.
In 2018, the Bowen Island Community Foundation provided a grant to Snug Cove House to identify the needs of Bowen’s seniors and how best to support them throughout the community.
Carol MacKinnon, working with the society, conducted focus groups with seniors, health care providers, caregivers, and volunteers and asked them about the benefits and the challenges of aging in place on the island. These conversations made it clear that while there is lots of information online and in brochures available on seniors’ issues, there is still a need for ongoing education and advocacy, as well as help with demystifying the various levels of support available. While some of this information can be made available online, MacKinnon determined that seniors, family members and caregivers need a navigator––a person who can provide ongoing support to find the relevant and necessary information.
April Struthers was a project consultant. Through her research, Struthers identified how communities similar to Bowen have responded to the diverse needs of seniors. Some communities have created referral and navigation centres where people can learn the most effective ways to access resources and support. These centres also build collaborative health services and relationships among care providers such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, and homecare support workers. Then there are anti-isolation initiatives such as outings and cultural opportunities and a “seniors’ planning table,” which pulls community members together to research, collaborate and advocate for necessary services for seniors.
Services navigation support on Bowen is already provided for seniors and their caregivers through the outstanding work of the Caring Circle. However, the society’s research pointed to a greater need than what currently exists. To that end, Snug Cove House Society is currently focused on developing a formal partnership with the Caring Circle. This partnership will result in an effective use of combined resources––financial and human––and leverages the Caring Circle’s already significant role in providing seniors with access to more information and support.
In the future, with the existence of both a health centre and a seniors’ residence, we might also envision a physical hub in one of those facilities, where seniors can gather for social as well as educational purposes.
Snug Cove House will also be working to implement a seniors’ planning table for Bowen. This will be a group of individuals, advocates and representatives from government, non-profit organizations and businesses concerned with the inclusion and wellbeing of older adults living on Bowen. This group will meet regularly to discuss the issues that are relevant to our older population, share information, link with other such organizations to advocate and take action.
Your Bowen Island Community Foundation, through the contributions of our generous donors, is proud to support such projects that impact the quality of life for Bowen Islanders.
If you have a great idea to help make Bowen better, the 2020 Community Impact Grant cycle is now open. Please see bowenfoundation.com for details––applications (500-word ideas) are due Feb. 15.
The Bowen Island Community Foundation is a registered charity engaging the community and inspiring generosity that will benefit Bowen Island for generations.