News for Agency Staff 

Items on this page are generally not time specific, but rather point to information and resources beneficial to those working in the senior-serving sector.

Info contained in this section

The ESCC Executive Director and Board Chair Meeting on September 19 focused on role clarification for the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council and the City of Edmonton Seniors Team. Links to the ESCC presentation, City of Edmonton presentation and City of Edmonton Seniors Team Roles are included here. At the meeting both organizations committed to answering questions that were submitted and sharing the information. Review the questions and answer document for more information. Note that at the end of the Q & A document is a list of verbatim comments that were collected from table discussions. The comments have not been analyzed yet but the ESCC and City of Edmonton plan to review the comments to see how they inform the work of both organizations.
Sector Issues and Concerns
Alberta Seniors is now accepting proposals from seniors organizations and communities interested in co-hosting the Seniors’ Week Provincial Launch on June 1, 2015. Refer to the Co-Host Request for Proposals on the Seniors’ Week web page for details and application information. The deadline for applications is January 30, 2015.
211 Edmonton produces a number of Resource Lists outlining community resources on topics such as seniors, family violence and newcomers to Canada. The lists have been updated as of November and 211 Edmonton encourages you to download them from their website and share with clients.
The National Seniors Council has released a Report on the Social Isolation of Seniors. The Council consulted with seniors and stakeholders about how social isolation impacts seniors and identified risk factors. The report shares these findings and suggests four measures that could help to prevent and reduce social isolation of seniors in Canada.
If your organization is closing during the holiday season remember to update your holiday hours with 211 Edmonton so the most current information can be provided to individuals who phone the Seniors Information Phone Line. Call the 211 Edmonton Community Resource Department at 780-392-8722 or email at
The Alberta Association of Senior Centres (AASC) has released three valuable resources for the seniors sector:
Examining Seniors' Centres in Alberta as Centres of Excellence: Identifying their Needs and Capacities – A research report outlining the current state of Alberta senior centres in areas such as member demographics, facilities, staffing, boards, finances, programs and services, and plans to address challenges.
An Annotated Bibliography which lists many relevant resources for the sector.
Alberta Senior Centres Needs & Capacities Companion Report 2014 – A report supplementing the existing research by defining systemic strategies that would support and enhance the role of senior centres across the province.
The Self Help Guide for Economic Development and Non-Profit Organizations contains practical tips to help organizations become non-profit societies and it’s also a useful guide for any organization. The guide includes information on board governance and management, strategic and operational plans, incorporation, meetings and staffing.
Jeff Johnson has been appointed Minister of Seniors. Premier Prentice outlines specific areas of focus for the new ministry in a mandate letter to Minister Johnson. Work on an elder abuse strategy, provincial housing strategy and addressing fire code and safety issues in seniors accommodation are key elements of this mandate.
Volunteer Alberta reports that no decision has been made with respect to processes or implementation schedules for mandatory fingerprinting for vulnerable sector checks. Consultations within the law enforcement community are currently underway and will be followed by consultations with other stakeholders including major volunteer agencies. Volunteer Alberta continues to work on this issue at the provincial level and will provide updates as they arise. Read the latest update including a letter from the RCMP.
The Income Security Advocacy Centre is highlighting a potential change to Old Age Security that could negatively impact immigrant seniors. Bill C-31, the Federal Government’s Budget implementation bill, proposes changes to Old Age Security so that seniors who were sponsored to come to Canada by their family members will have to wait up to 10 years more than other Canadian residents to get benefits they’re currently eligible to receive. For more information on the Income Security Advocacy Centre’s response, review their backgrounder on the issue. Organizations across Canada are concerned about how this bill potentially affects immigrant seniors. Stay tuned.
With the launch of the Seniors Information Phone Line, it’s important for seniors organizations to update the 211 Community Resource Department about changes to their organization’s programs and services. There is a new email address to send updates to — Updates can also be provided by phone at 780-392-8722.
Pro Bono Law Alberta is encouraging charitable and non-profit organizations that require legal assistance to apply to its Volunteer Lawyer Services program. “In most cases, the legal assistance covers issues such as staffing and employment contracts, legal advice on liability issues, drafting policies and procedures, negotiating a purchase or lease of property, and other matters including board governance disputes and reviewing bylaws and waivers.” For more information, go here.
The ESCC and a committee of agency representatives worked with the Support Network to create a central telephone service providing information and referral for seniors. The Seniors Information Phone Line (211) will connect seniors and their caregivers to programs, services and resources for seniors in the Edmonton area. The ESCC has developed a variety of resources you can use to promote the Seniors Information Phone Line including posters, fridge magnets, articles that can be included in newsletters and images that can be shared via social media. Contact Janelle at 780-423-5635 or to get these resources. Review the backgrounder to learn more about this initiative.
 For board meetings to be effective and productive they need to be well managed. Learn more with these resources from Vantage Point: information on how consent agendas can make meetings more effective, Board of Directors Meeting assessment package, Making Board Meetings Effective webinar.
ESCC’s EDs and Board Chairs meeting in February, 2014, included a session led by Russ Dahms, Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations’ executive director, on What You Likely Weren’t Told When You Joined the Board. To read the notes for his presentation, go here. For an Employee or Non-Employee questionnaire, related to the presentation, go here. For an Employee or Contractor: Know the Difference resource, go here. For an Employment Standards Tool Kit for Employers, go here. We are compiling input from Tuesday’s evaluations and will schedule another session based on feedback.
Take Stock is an online tool developed by the Community Foundations of Canada to help organizations better understand and assess their performance as it relates to governance, financial management and sustainability, information and technology management, human resource management, programs and services, community relations and engagement, and fund development. The tool enables them to work through checklists, access detailed information to improve their understanding of each core function, and assign individuals or teams to the work. To access it, go here.

Promotion and Relationship Building
There's a useful post on the Volunteer Alberta blog about the value of storytelling for non-profit organizations. The post identifies five elements of great stories and provides a link to a gem of resource – Storytelling for Nonprofits by Network for Good.
The Building Corporate Relationships – A Toolkit for Nonprofits outlines a five-step process that can help non-profit organizations build effective relationships with the corporate sector and other community partners. The toolkit was created by Alberta Culture with input from non-profit stakeholders, community investment managers and fund development professionals.
The ability to show the direct impact of donations on your organization is important to attract new donors and keep your old ones. shares five creative ways non-profit organizations can show the impact of donations.
Imagine Canada has released the first elements of its Narrative Tool Kit, which is intended to “help charities and non-profits explain to Canadians who we are, what we do and how we're making a difference. The Tool Kit is very much a work in progress -- new elements will be added throughout the year.” For more information, go here.
CauseVox and ListenIn Pictures have produced a free Starter Guide to Non-Profit Video Storytelling. It’s intended to help you “think strategically about video, figure out what kind of video you need, find the best plot and story to tell, structure a story, use video for campaigns and fundraising, and understand the basics of the production process.” For more information and to download the resource, go here.
Non-profit organizations have to become better storytellers. So says Andy Goodman, speaker, author and consultant in the field of public interest communications. Stories must be designed to “engage, surprise, move, and create an emotional response at the end that makes people want to join or give or do or change”. To find out more about How to Create Non-profit Stories That Inspire, go here.
Volunteers, Boards and Staffing
A new tool from Volunteer Canada will help you develop personalized recognition plans for your volunteers. The Volunteer Recognition Tool asks volunteers to describe what types of actions or rewards make them feel appreciated. You can use the results to provide recognition that is meaningful for each volunteer.
A recent blog post from Social Velocity encourages non-profit leaders to rethink their strategy for recruiting board members. Read How to Recruit the Nonprofit Board You Really Need.
Volunteer Edmonton is compiling a list of seasonal volunteer opportunities. If you need volunteers for your event or project, email with your organization name, website address, phone number and email for volunteer services, title of volunteer positions and date needed.
Volunteer Edmonton has created a Facebook group called the Volunteer Edmonton Forum to facilitate online discussion for people who work with or manage volunteers. Members can ask questions, share ideas, problem solve, brainstorm and share resources.  As this is a closed group, you will have to contact Volunteer Edmonton so they can invite you to join. E-mail
The Federal Government is now accepting applications for Canada Summer Jobs 2015. The Canada Summer Jobs program provides funding to help employers create summer job opportunities for students. Not-for-profit employers are eligible to receive funding for up to 100 per cent of the provincial adult minimum hourly wage. Refer to the Canada Summer Jobs website for eligibility requirements and application details. January 30, 2015 is the deadline to apply.
Grants and Awards
“Grants from foundations, government and the corporate sector are a significant contributor to the quality programs and services provided by seniors-serving organizations. The City of Edmonton Grants and Funding Information Sheet 2014 is intended to provide basic information on the variety of grants available for programming, special projects and capital costs. Please note that each grant has a different application process and being familiar with the detailed information provided through the website links is critical.” To access the sheet, go here.
Imagine Canada's Grant Connect is a “searchable database with detailed information on all Canadian grant-making foundations, hundreds of corporate community investment programs, government funding programs as well as American foundations that fund Canadian charities.” This is not a free service. To find out more, go here.
The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) is accepting applications for community-based funding projects that will help Canadian seniors use their leadership abilities, skills and experience to make a difference in their communities. Organizations may receive up to $25,000 in grant funding. Projects must address one or more of the program’s five objectives: volunteering, mentoring, expanding awareness of elder abuse, social participation and capital assistance. Applications are closed for this year but more information is available at Details are included in this announcement.
The Age Friendly Edmonton Healthy Aging Working Group has updated their roster of sessions offered as part of the Healthy Aging Information Series. New topics include Gamblers Anonymous, oral health, moving and downsizing, sleep problems, falls prevention, medication management and heart health. There are now over 40 presentations offered. Contact speakers directly to book a presentation, and remember to contact Mary or Aleem when the presentation is booked to complete a Memorandum of Understanding and get evaluation surveys for participants.
This flu season the H3N2 virus is the most common strain circulating in North America. Seniors aged 65 and older are usually the most affected by this strain. The Public Health Agency of Canada has developed print material to emphasize the protection of seniors this flu season which you can download for use at your organizations. The materials include a poster aimed at family members and caregivers of adults 65+ and a fact sheet for adults 65+. The website also has other helpful resources.
The Active Living Coalition for Older Adults (ALCOA) has released Active Living tip sheets on Preventing Falls in Older Adults and Healthy Eating and Regular Physical Activity: A Winning Combination for Older Adults. These two newly revised resources are available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Punjabi, Traditional and Simplified Chinese. The newly revised tip sheets, as well as four others, can be ordered via the ALCOA website. Downloadable versions are also available.
The Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital has initiated programs focused on increasing the mobility of hospitalized older adults as a means to shorten their hospital stay and support their return home. The newly developed Functional Mobility Guideline and programs such as “moveEZ” lay the foundation for people to maintain their level of mobility upon returning to the community through regular walking, leisure and recreational programs. For more information, please contact Grace Maier at or by phone at 780-735-8834 .
People with dementia and their care partners have a new way to learn about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and connect with others. The ASANT Café is developed by the Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories. This online community has discussion forums, educational programs and resources such as videos and frequently asked questions.
Beginning April 1, Alberta Health Services will use goals of care designations rather than “do not resuscitate” orders to communicate the focus of care for a patient. For more information, go here
Non-clinical community leaders can now order the Canadian Active Living Coalition for Older Adults CD toolkit providing a step-by-step guide to offering a six-week healthy living workshop for older adults. The CD contains information on Getting Started, Motivating Change, Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, Mental and Emotional Health, and Healthy Lifestyle – Impact on Chronic Disease. For more information and to order the resource, go here.
Population Stats
The 2014 Municipal Census confirms that Edmonton’s senior population is growing. Seniors age 65+ make up 12.4 per cent of the Edmonton population in 2014 compared with 10.7 per cent in 2012. When seniors 55-65 years are taken into account the percentage rises to 24.4 per cent in 2014. Learn more about the 2014 results and the comparison to previous years.
“The over-60s have to be seen less as receivers – of welfare, of help – or targeted consumers, and more as participants, both in our economy and our society. This shift towards a participatory approach will eventually redefine the concept of sustainable business. In the years to come, our understanding of sustainability will be enriched by embracing our most precious and the only growing natural resource: our older population.” To read more of the World Economic Forum commentary Ageing population is a blessing not a burden, go here.
“The median age of Alberta’s population in 2041 is projected to climb to 40.7 years, up from 36.1 in 2012. In 2012, those aged 65 and older were about 11 per cent of the population, but by 2041, almost 20 per cent of Albertans are expected to be in this age group.” For the highlights of the latest Alberta Population Projection 2013-2041, go here.
According to Statistics Canada’s preliminary estimates, “5,379,600 Canadians, or 15.3 per cent of the country's population, were aged 65 and over on July 1, 2013. In 1960, the proportion of Canadians aged 65 and over was 7.6 per cent. Among the provinces, Alberta posted the lowest median age (36.0 years) and the smallest proportion of seniors (11.2 per cent).” For more information, go here.
“First Nations, Metis and Inuit of advancing years often have poorer health than their non-aboriginal counterparts but don't receive the same level of health-care services as other Canadian seniors.” A Health Council of Canada report says “the health of aboriginal seniors can be compromised by poverty, inadequate housing and poor diet, especially for those living in remote areas where nutritious foods may be prohibitively expensive.” To read more of the CBC News story Aboriginal seniors have a harder time staying healthy, go here.
“In recent years there has been much focus on the reality that our population is aging, but little attention to the experiences of older women. This is true even though we know women live longer, poverty rates among older women remain high and women continue to experience discrimination and barriers to equality throughout their lives.” The Canadian Centre for Elder Law’s Older Women’s Dialogue Project is an attempt to start paying more attention. To read its report, go here.
Financial abuse constitutes up to 50 per cent of all reported cases of abuse perpetrated against older Canadians, and can have significant impacts not only on the financial security of seniors, but also on their emotional well-being. It is the most difficult kind of abuse for service providers, police services and judicial systems to provide an adequate response, as most financial abuse is hidden and many victims are unaware of the abuse.” To read a summary report of a high level meeting hosted by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development and the International Federation on Ageing earlier this year, go here.
“Things in Canada may not be perfect, but Canadian seniors are among the best taken care of in the world. Canada is No. 5 in the first United Nations-sponsored ranking by Global AgeWatch. Leading the list are Sweden, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands. But when it comes to health status alone, Canada is second behind Switzerland.” To read more of the Windsor Star article Canada’s not perfect, but our seniors are among the best looked after in the world, go here.
“Through housing, transportation, recreational services, social engagement, physical infrastructure, and community health, municipalities are the front-line providers of many services required to support older Canadians.” To read the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ report on Canada’s Aging Population: The Municipal Role in Canada’s Demographic Shift, go here.
Benefits of Participation in the Arts
Bringing visual, performance and participatory arts into hospitals has resulted in clinical and other benefits to patients, staff and families. Outcomes have included “decreased stress levels, decreases in anxiety and depression, improvements in clinical indicators such as blood pressure, decreased perception of pain, reduced drug consumption and reduced length of stay. In particular, music interventions are showing increasingly strong evidence of beneficial effect on physical and psychological patient outcomes.” To read more of a report on Arts, Health and Wellbeing in the UK, go here.
Music may help treat Alzheimer's disease.” A new U.S. study found that “participating in regular singing sessions can help improve brain function of people affected with the disorder”. To read more, go here.
To view a “powerful video about art, depression and seniors” in Ontario, go here.
Benefits of Physical Activity
Physical Activity Promotion for Older Adults: A Step by Step Guide provides an overview of physical activity promotion for older adults, as well as direction, practical tips, and resources to support health promotion efforts focused on promoting awareness, informing policy, and developing programs. The guide developed by the Physical Activity Resource Centre can be downloaded for free as a PDF.
“Essential to staying strong and vital during older adulthood is participation in regular strengthening exercises, which help to prevent osteoporosis and frailty by stimulating the growth of muscle and bone. Feeling physically strong also promotes mental and emotional health.” To read more of Growing Stronger: Strength Training for Older Adults, put out by Tufts University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, go here.
“Many aging adults avoid exercise because they are afraid of being injured. Little do they realize that the actual danger lies in becoming too sedentary. The only way to combat the aging process is by exercising, which encourages the body to produce new cells and increase muscle and bone density.” To read more of the Inside Elder Care article Misconceptions about Seniors and Exercise, go here.
Technological Innovation
Check out this excellent resource for all things technology in the non-profit sector. TechSoup Canada offers valuable insights and tips through their newsletter, blogs, articles and discussions. Recent topics include free ways to send large files electronically, tips for creating low cost videos, selecting a crowdfunding platform, social media campaigns and project management tools for non-profits. The website also lists a variety of free/low cost events and webinars on technology topics. TechSoup Canada also connects non-profits with discounts on technologies through their Technology Donation Program.
Use of Facebook by people aged 55+ has grown by 80% over the last 3 years, says a recent Edmonton Journal article. Has your organization considered developing a Facebook page as a way to reach the people you serve?
Toronto sisters Kascha and Macaulee Cassaday are spearheading a campaign that invites youth to mentor seniors on using the Internet. They’ve created a Cyber-Seniors training manual; recruited friends to visit retirement homes twice a week to help 80- to 90-year-olds learn how to use Facebook, Skype, YouTube, email and online banking; and conducted a contest on YouTube for youth mentors to film clips about the seniors and their specialties or interests. For an article on the project, go here. To check out some of the video clips, go here. For details about a similar initiative run by Revera in B.C. and Ontario, go here.
Another indication of how technology will increasingly address the needs of seniors? Los Angeles-based HomeHero went public in January. It provides an online marketplace that “enables users to look at hundreds of listed caregivers who have been rigorously vetted: a process that includes an in-person interview, entrance exam, and background check.” The company also includes features for managing caregivers. They “must clock in and out from a land line phone, give daily summaries via voice recording, and may send emergency alerts.” To read more, go here. To find out more about HomeHero, go here.
U.S.-based GreatCall is marketing “easy-to-use mobile apps” that enable seniors and their families to “stay connected, safe and healthy using your iPhone or Android phone”. The apps connect with “real people”, protect personal information, and include features such as a medical library and medical symptom checker, step-by-step descriptions of common procedures and treatments, reminders for taking medications, and connections to pharmacies to refill prescriptions. To read more, go here.
“Google is on a shopping spree, buying start-up after start-up to push its business into the future. The web’s most powerful company is filling its shopping cart with artificial intelligence algorithms, robots, and smart gadgets for the home. It’s on a mission to build an enormous digital brain that operates as much like the human mind as possible — and, in many ways, even better.” To read more of Google’s Grant Plan to Make Your Brain Irrelevant, go here.
“A B.C. lawyer and privacy advocate is raising questions about the ways CCTV cameras and other technologies are being used to keep track of seniors.” Micheal Vonn is “concerned about the use of physical surveillance that extends to in-room video monitoring, the monitoring of vital signs, and the installation of these technologies in private homes. Vonn says there's very little hard research to show that surveillance techniques actually make seniors safer.” To read more of the CBC News article Surveillance of B.C. seniors raising privacy concerns, go here.
“Motion sensors on the wall and a monitor under the mattress one day might automatically alert you to early signs of trouble well before an elderly loved one gets sick or suffers a fall. Research is growing with high-tech gadgets that promise new safety nets for seniors determined to live on their own for as long as possible.” To read more of the CTV News article Researchers Test High Tech Home Sensors for Aging Seniors, go here.
Fujitsu has developed a Next Generation Cane that monitors health vitals, will immediately know when and where someone falls, will alert paramedics during medical events such as an irregular heartbeat, has an LCD display that can give simple walking directions, contains a built-in vibration system that will alert the user when he or she is headed in the wrong direction, and can send e-mails to concerned relatives or caretakers if it determines that an incident such as a fall or other emergency has occurred. To find out more, go here.
VitAlert is an Edmonton company that links seniors with their doctor and trusted family members and friends through an iPad, iPod or iPhone. Its devices and services enable children to check their parents’ vitals from “across the street or across the country”, enable caregivers to get early warnings that there may be a problem, and provide “consistent professional analysis of (the client’s) blood pressure, activity, heart rate, percentage of body fat, and blood sugar,” the company’s brochure states. For more information, go here.
Robots are already making senior living more efficient and will profoundly impact the senior housing industry. To find out more, go here.
Mobile phones are adapting as the population ages. Bigger screens and keypads, amplified speakers, simplified cameras, and hearing-aid compatibility are senior-friendly features some manufacturers are exploring.” To read more of the Global News story, Cellphones boast senior-friendly features, go here.
The kind of visual sharing that makes platforms such as Instagram so popular is being used to enable health professionals to upload photos of medical conditions, create online discussions and crowdsource a database of reference images. In order to protect patients’ identities, the app uses facial recognition to block out faces. To find out more, go here.
The same brain plasticity that allows you to master simple skills or sports, allows you to train yourself to be more positive. “We can retrain the brain to scan for the good things in life — to help us see more possibility, to feel more energy, and to succeed at higher levels.” To find out more about “four very simple interventions that can, over time, actually rewire your brain to see things more positively,” go here.
A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that untreated hearing loss led to a three times greater likelihood of falls and that this likelihood continued to increase dramatically with greater levels of hearing loss. Untreated hearing loss has also been linked to cognitive difficulties such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as an increased risk for social and emotional problems. To read more, go here.
A study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science found that 40 to 50 per cent of older adults with visually impairing eye disease limit their activities due to a fear of falling. Vision scientists warn that this protective strategy puts seniors at risk for social isolation and disability. To read more, go here.
Falls Prevention
Finding Balance, an annual seniors' falls prevention awareness campaign, runs throughout November across Alberta. Brochures and posters are available and you can download (PDFs) or order printed copies. The Finding Balance website includes many ideas for engaging your community and resources that can be used to educate seniors and their families about falls prevention. The website also has many resources staff in the senior sector will find useful.
The Alberta Centre for Active Living points to a number of resources on falls prevention. For a Seniors Health Knowledge Network recommended reading list, go here. To access the Beyond Falls Prevention webinar slides, go here. For a falls prevention and the build environment reading list, go here.
Information is available on How to Safely Help Someone to Get Up (go here) and How to Get Up From the Floor by Yourself (go here). These are both included in the Take Action: Prevent a Fall Before it Happens book produced by Alberta Health Services and on the Finding Balance Alberta website (go here). When helping someone else get up, no one should be physically helping the fallen person up, either by lifting or pulling them up. Doing so could risk injury to the helper. The instructions are really to guide the fallen person. If that is unsuccessful, then other help must be summoned.
Information on how seniors can get up safely after they have fallen and how staff can assist seniors in getting up without risking injury to themselves is also provided in an Alberta Health Services video. To view it (it’s less than two-and-a-half minutes long), go here and click on the video link (third item on the page).