Media Release: New Toolkit From Edmonton Social Planning Council and Age Friendly Edmonton Seeks to Build More Inclusive Spaces for Seniors in Edmonton
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EDMONTON – Senior-serving organizations looking to create more welcoming and inclusive spaces for diverse populations now have a new toolkit to guide them in their journey, which has just been released by the Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) in partnership with Age Friendly Edmonton (AFE).
A Toolkit for Fostering Inclusion in Senior Serving Organizations was created in consultation with seniors from equity seeking groups such as racialized, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ+, low-income, and other older adults.
While senior-serving organizations within Edmonton provide valuable programming to the wider community, there is room for improvement in creating welcoming spaces that make everyone from all walks of life feel welcomed, valued, and safe participating in these programs.
“Building a welcome and inclusive space is a journey and an ongoing process,” says Sydney Sheloff, Strategic Research Coordinator with ESPC. “Studies have shown that organizations that actively integrate diversity and inclusion into their policies perform better than those that are not. This toolkit seeks to help organizations take stock of how inclusive their space in and provides practical tips for how to improve their programs. We hope this toolkit encourages more robust conversations in this area.”
The toolkit features a practical checklist that any organization can run through and do an assessment to measure how inclusive their organization is and identify any potential gaps to fill. The checklist is divided into 11 different categories that touch upon the physical space itself (e.g. is the space well-maintained and free from clutter?), its accessibility (e.g. are there wheelchair ramps?), opportunities for cultural connections (e.g. are there halal, kosher, and/or vegetarian options when serving food?), life-long learning (e.g. is there a large and diverse range of activities?), relationship-building (e.g. do seniors have opportunities to form deep relationships with one another?), staff competency (e.g. do staff know the seniors by name?), policies (e.g. do you have an anti-discrimination and anti-bullying policies?), and addressing barriers that might limit a client’s ability to participate in programs (e.g. are there no-cost options to programs for seniors who need it?).
“I know that organizations are sincere in their desire to be inclusive, but can be frustrated by not knowing what to do next,” says Eric Storey from Age Friendly Edmonton’s Diversity Hub. “This ‘self-audit’ tool should be a great help to them, as it also includes helpful explanations on the importance of the elements. An organization can prioritize their ‘no’ answers and develop a work plan and timeline that fits their needs and their resources.”
The full report can be accessed on our website here: https://edmontonsocialplanning.ca/2023/01/10/a-toolkit-for-fostering-inclusion-in-senior-serving-organizations/
There will also be a virtual Lunch and Learn event on Monday, March 20, 2023 at 12:00 PM via Zoom. More information here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0tc-Cupz8vHtSTLx389DIh6LjuZ_bvIq9A
For media inquiries, please contact:
Megan Lala, Communications Specialist
Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council
Phone: (780) 993-4026