Seniors are an important part of Canada’s social fabric —and now, thanks to a new initiative from Dal’s College of Continuing Education (CCE), seniors are going to be given even more opportunities to contribute to Canada’s future.
Monday (February 10), the Honourable Deb Schulte, the federal Minister of Seniors, announced an investment of more than $3.4 million in funding through the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) for a project led by CCE that will help increase social inclusion of seniors in New Glasgow, Truro and Kentville.
In collaboration with its partners, CCE is working to implement a mentoring program called “Mentoring Plus” that will encourage intergenerational connections. Through this initiative, seniors will be able to share their skills and knowledge about their careers and life experiences with youth and young adults, with special emphasis on those that are unemployed and underemployed. Acting as mentors, seniors will help Nova Scotia youth explore possible career paths while becoming more connected to and engaged in their communities.
“The Government of Canada is empowering seniors by investing in opportunities where they can benefit from and contribute to their communities,” said Minister Schulte in a release.
“This project will allow seniors to share their knowledge and connect with younger generations. It is important to recognize and value the contribution and experience of seniors in our society. Projects like this one will not only increase seniors’ social inclusion and well-being, and also allow them to make a meaningful impact in their communities.”
Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic group in Canada. By 2037, the number of seniors will reach 9.6 million, representing close to one quarter of Canada’s population.
In Nova Scotia, seniors currently represent 20 per cent of the population, but in rural towns like New Glasgow, Truro and Kentville, that number is in the rage of 35-40%. And when seniors become more socially isolated, they are at greater risk of health concerns and often enter residential care sooner.
Mentoring Plus combats senior social isolation by providing an opportunity for seniors to become involved in meaningful activities within their community — sharing their skills and knowledge about their careers and life experiences with youth of a variety of age groups and backgrounds.
The program was initially piloted in New Glasgow, Truro and Kentville and now, with federal funding, will expand its operations in those communities for full implementation over a four-year period.
“The Mentoring Plus initiative utilizes the vast knowledge and expertise of Nova Scotia’s large senior population to help young adults explore and connect to career paths,” said Dal President Deep Saini in a release. “With the support of the New Horizons for Seniors Program, we can implement this program in three communities and help support young people at a critical point in their career while also facilitating meaningful and robust social interactions for seniors.”
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