A five-session series called Taking Care will help District 69 seniors navigate the home and community care system.
The program started in Port Alberni in 2009 and spread first to Nanaimo and will now be offered in Parksville/Qualicum, Courtenay/Comox and Campbell River.
It was started by the Alberni-Clayoquot Continuing Care Society (ACCCS) as an education project that continues to spread as the positive feedback mounts.
Barbara Stevenson, executive director of the two care homes run by the non-profit ACCCS, said they have a history of advocating for better access to health care and social support services, though they are not funded for it.
The project is supported by the Vancouver Foundation as a provincial pilot for adult health education and is being planned and delivered with partners in each area to ensure local resources and challenges are included.
Open to people of all ages, each of the weekly two and a half hour sessions combine instruction with group discussion and small group exercises.
The idea is to develop skills and strategies to help people navigate the system, engage with health professionals, advocate for improvement and support each other.
The overall goal of the project is to educate and network seniors, particularly in more isolated communities where there are gaps in care.
The course includes a screening of the 30 minute documentary The Remaining Light, which explores the care system in B.C.
It was the result of a five year social sciences and humanities research project conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), and Marcy Cohen, who headed the research, is also working on this project.
Participants will receive a binder with local and provincial information.
Along with the Vancouver Foundation grant and many partners including the Arrowsmith Lodge, Vancouver Island Health Authority and CCPA, it is also supported by the Mid-Island Co-op with facilities donated by the Society of Organized Services and Parksville Seniors Drop-in Centre.
People are asked to pre-register if possible for the sessions which start next Wednesday, April 25.
There are two times for people to choose from, running on five consecutive Wednesdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Drop-in Centre, or 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Socioety of Organized Services in Parksville.
Register at those locations or call Christine at 250-248-2093 ext. 239 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.