Marianne Wilkinson

Councillor, Kanata North

Ottawa Public Health launches the Community Connect training program

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) launched the Community Connect training program at Billings Bridge Shopping Centre. Mayor Jim Watson, Board of Health members Councillor Chernushenko and Gisèle Richer, and Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health announced the official start of a new program to assist Ottawa’s older adult population stay connected to essential support services.

“It is very encouraging to see the keen interest in the Community Connect training program,” said Mayor Watson. “Through better community support programs, we are taking action to build an age-friendly city to give older adults what they need to continue contributing to their community.”

There are currently over 10,000 older adults in Ottawa who are isolated and have little support from family or friends to act on their behalf. Older adults often want to remain in their own homes for as long as they can.

“I am proud to support any business or community organization that appreciates the value of healthy patrons and understands the changing face of our population,” said Councillor Chernushenko. “By 2031, the number of seniors living in Ottawa will more than double to make up 20 per cent of the population. Furthermore, a large number of seniors – approximately one quarter – live alone.”

“Community Connect training is about identifying vulnerable seniors who need help and getting the right services involved to help them stay safe and independent, at home,” said Serge Falardeau, Shared Services Co-ordinator at the Ottawa Community Support Coalition. “Through Community Connect referrals, service providers throughout the city will be better able to share their resources and expertise with seniors and older adults.”

In October 2011, Mayor Watson hosted the Seniors Summit at City Hall to re-affirm the City’s commitment to the well-being of the older adult population. It was through participation and suggestions from residents that the Ottawa Older Adult Plan was shaped, and programs like Community Connect were created. This new program is funded by a grant obtained through the City of Ottawa Older Adult Plan.

Billings Bridge Shopping Centre is one of the first Ottawa businesses to encourage tenants and employees to take the training.

To request a Community Connect training session or for more information, please visit ottawa.ca or call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with OPH on Facebook, Twitter (@ottawahealth), blog and now on Pinterest.

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