St. James Town has a substantial population of seniors who require care and support. Creating Caring Communities (CCC) is a program for isolated seniors, facilitated by Hospice Toronto. The goal of CCC is for isolated seniors to gain and cultivate meaningful connections with others. The program assists and aids vulnerable and marginalized seniors who may have limited access to resources and support systems and feel social isolation.
Vulnerable seniors may experience loneliness or grief due to their social isolation and thus CCC works to combat the alienation they experience in their community. The program not only improves seniors’ quality of life, but also helps them create new friends and acquaintances within the community. In the program, volunteers are paired with vulnerable seniors who assist and engage them by spending time with them throughout the week. Supports include accompaniment to appointments, health checks, help at home, shopping assistance, social supports, interpreting, community integration and more.
The approach taken by CCC seeks to create genuine friendships and connections between caregivers and seniors. By pairing up seniors with volunteers in their local area, the seniors and volunteers are able to become integrated into their community, strengthening the levels of unity, belonging and solidarity within the community as a whole.
CCC also conducts various group sessions and meetings with pairs of volunteers and seniors. These group activities help create bonds between volunteers and the seniors and help them find common interests. The program also contributes in a major way to address the issue of intergenerational gap between seniors and youth. With the necessary care and support provided, seniors are able to become active community members who are able to engage and contribute to the community in meaningful ways.