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Raising the Profile Project logo

In B.C. our population is aging, and at the forefront of providing services to this population are municipal and non-profit Community-Based Seniors’ Services (CBSS). CBSS provide a range of low-barrier programs and services to seniors in the core areas of nutritional supports; health and wellness; physical activity; educational, cultural and recreational programs; information, referral, and advocacy; transportation; and affordable housing.

The idea for the Raising the Profile Project (RPP) came from a workshop on senior centres at a conference with the Seniors Advocate in the spring of 2015.

At this workshop, attendees highlighted the important services provided by senior centres, but also expressed concern over recent funding cuts and the lack of recognition of these services by broader community and government. A consensus emerged of the need for non-profit and municipal seniors services  to have a higher profile and more support if B.C. is to effectively meet the challenges of its aging population.  This discussion was the catalyst for the creation of the RPP.

The RPP (http://www.seniorsraisingtheprofile.ca/) is an independent project led by seniors and an Advisory Committee representing non-profits and municipalities across the province. The project’s goals are to raise the profile of CBSS, identify the funding and service gaps, build the case for investing in these services, and make recommendations about how to build the long-term capacity of the sector to meet the rising needs of seniors in B.C. The main funders for the project are the United Way and the Ministry of Health.

RPP has undertaken a number of research activities in order to support and learn more about the CBSS sector, including:

  • Publishing a literature review Raising the Profile of the Community-Based Seniors’ Services Sector in B.C.: A Review of the Literature which links nutrition, physical activity and social support to positive health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs for seniors
  • Profiling examples of innovative programs being offered by CBSS across the province
  • Profiling broad sector initiatives and collaborations which support the work of the CBSS sector. 

  • In addition, RPP has been engaging in outreach activities across the province, and recently held regional community consultation meetings in seven locations across the province (Victoria, Nanaimo, Kelowna, Nelson, Prince George, Vancouver, Surrey). The consultation meetings were attended by a variety of stakeholders from the CBSS and government sectors (e.g., non-profit organizations, municipal recreation facilities, local government representatives, health authority representatives, seniors advocating for change in their communities, etc.). The consultation meetings provided valuable insight into the CBSS sector in each region and feedback on the work being done by RPP. RPP is currently developing a report and series of recommendations for the sector based on these meetings.

    The main research and outreach activities of the RPP have now been completed, and the next step will be holding a Provincial Summit on Aging on November 2 and 3, 2017. This summit will be hosted by the City of Surrey, in partnership with the RPP, Active Aging Research Team at Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, United Way’s Better at Home Program, BC Recreation and Parks Association, and the BC Ministry of Health.

    The purpose of the summit will be to highlight the findings and recommendations from the regional consultation meetings and develop a declaration for the sector, signed by key stakeholders and decision makers. The declaration will recognize the importance of CBSS for the health and well-being of seniors. The declaration framework will include a statement of guiding principles that articulate the value of the CBSS sector and will incorporate concrete commitments to move this work forward. The actions coming out of the summit will lay the groundwork for a united CBSS sector that will be well-positioned to support B.C.’s aging population to “age in place’ in their own homes and communities and maintain their independence, resilience and social connectedness.  


    About the author

    Laura Kadowaki is a PhD Student in the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests include: the health care system, home and community care services, community-based seniors’ services, integrated care systems, and gerontology education. Currently she is working as a researcher for the Raising the Profile Project.

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