Providing Support for Seniors in BC | Photo © Courtesy of Seniors Services Society of BC
“The fact that I didn’t feel isolated and that somebody was able to offer me support and help when I desperately needed it was and is still so appreciated,” shared a past client of the SHINE program, an innovative program designed to address the needs of older adults.
When Seniors Services Society of BC (SSSBC) started the Seniors Housing Information and Navigation Ease (SHINE) program in 2019, they responded to an overwhelming demand for services vital to vulnerable older adults in British Columbia.
- Canadian Census data (2019) shows that 24.6 percent of seniors aged 65 and above now live alone with little or no family or friend contacts.
- The most common gaps identified are isolation, access to mental health services, and connection to housing supports.
- Experiences such as retirement, loss of loved ones, isolation, physical or mental health problems, ageism, and inadequate income can contribute to seniors facing discrimination and marginalization.
SSSBC is a community based non-profit charity located in New Westminster, B.C., with over 40 years of experience in the seniors service sector. A core element of SSSBC is supporting the most vulnerable seniors across the province, including those at risk or homeless. Stable and affordable housing is essential for social equity and inclusivity. The SHINE program is one of a kind in B.C., addressing the many and varied housing concerns of diverse seniors who may otherwise fall through the cracks.
Using a collaborative approach with partner organizations in New Westminster, Nanaimo, Kelowna, Vancouver, Prince George, Langley and Surrey, SHINE connects older adults and caregivers to housing and support services in their regions. Since its inception, SHINE has provided:
- Housing Navigation and Information Referral (identify housing options and barriers to maintaining stable housing)
- Connection to other support services (friendly calling, grocery shopping, mental health, etc.) and
- Knowledge Mobilization (training for families keen to learn how to navigate supports for older adults)
The SHINE program is jointly funded by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. “We are incredibly grateful for the funding from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, as it couldn’t have come at a more urgent time,” said Alison Silgardo, SSSBC’s CEO.
SHINE has been nationally recognized by CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) as an innovative contribution to affordable housing in Canada. “In following a network-based model, [SSSBC is] able to scale the impact of their platform with place-based and context-specific service provision across regions in B.C.,…With success in scaling across British Columbia already, SHINE has built a system that, with the appropriate place-based research partners and service providers, could help protect ageing in place across the country.” (Spotlight: Housing Innovation e-Booklet)
Recently, SHINE has received positive feedback from nationally renowned Palliative Care Physician and Health and Human Rights Activist Dr. Naheed Dosani who praised the SHINE program and acknowledged it as best practice. “The SHINE program is an important intervention that addresses health disparity gaps for elders,” said Dr. Dosani. “It is an inspiring example of what’s possible when key stakeholders come together to create person-centred care models. Simply incredible work!”
Without the services provided by SHINE, many seniors throughout the province can be at risk of poverty, homelessness, and discrimination. To assist us in continuing our work with vulnerable seniors, please consider contributing to our services or as a legacy gift. If you would like to support SHINE with a success story or a donation, please visit our website and social media for more information.
Visit our website to donate: seniorsservicessociety.ca/donate
Providing Support for Seniors
The Seniors Services Society of BC has over forty years of experience in providing programs and services for vulnerable older adults.