Government grants $2.7 million to reduce social isolation for vulnerable English-speaking seniors

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QUÉBEC CITY, QC, June 21, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - The Gouvernement du Québec is providing $2.7 million in financial assistance over a three-year period to the Community Health and Social Services Network to implement a program that will reduce social isolation for vulnerable English-speaking seniors. The funding was announced today by Christopher Skeete, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers.

This investment will strengthen the program's funding in the 43 existing centres in the province and support its implementation in 32 new centres in Québec regions where access to services is limited—Gaspésie, Côte-Nord, and certain parts of Estrie and Outaouais.

More than one-quarter of all English-speaking Quebecers are age 55 or older, and many of them are especially isolated and vulnerable. As a result, they have major needs for health and social services.

Modelled on Québec's existing day centres for seniors, Senior Wellness Centres offer a variety of activities, services and educational programming to promote physical and psychological health and prevent health problems among seniors whose housing needs are already seen to. The centres' offerings include physical activities, nutrition workshops, and educational sessions on legal issues and access to care.

This government funding will help to achieve four main objectives: keeping the Senior Wellness Centres program sustainable, extending its coverage to areas of Québec that are less well served, increasing these centres' capacity so that they can serve more seniors, and ensuring the deployment and coordination of new and existing centres. This assistance will help to overcome a lack of resources in the agencies serving the community of English-speaking seniors in Québec.

"Today our government is very happy to announce a $2.7 million grant to 75 community agencies throughout the province. This support is intended both to help vulnerable people and to help our hospitals and health system carry out their duty to maintain, improve and restore the health and wellness of English-speaking Quebecers. At a time when the population is aging and the pandemic is making everyone's lives harder, we are especially happy about this financial assistance, which meets the needs of seniors."

Marguerite Blais, Minister Responsible for Seniors and Informal Caregivers

"With a much lower rate of bilingualism than other age groups, English-speaking seniors are among the most vulnerable people in Québec society, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made them only more vulnerable. With its varied offering focused on prevention, the Senior Wellness Centres program will enable English-speaking Quebecers to receive suitable care and services and thus alleviate their needs in this regard."

Christopher Skeete, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers

"The Community Health and Social Services Network is delighted that the Gouvernement du Québec has announced its financial support to ensure the sustainability of the existing Wellness Centres for English-speaking seniors and to establish new centres of this kind throughout the province. This initiative, with its innovative, cost-effective, community-based approach to breaking down isolation among seniors, builds on the rich history of volunteerism in Québec's English-speaking community. The Network is ready to take this initiative under its wing and to contribute all its expertise to ensure that these investments succeed."

Jennifer Johnson, Executive Director, Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN)

About the Community Health and Social Services Network
The Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN) was formed in 2000 to support English-speaking communities in Québec in their efforts to redress health status inequalities, promote their vitality and improve their access to services. Visit the network's website for more details.

SOURCE Cabinet du premier ministre


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