Special to the Beaver
In September, L&A Seniors Outreach Services (SOS) launched its Seniors Centre Without Walls (SCWW) program for its members and the organization is now opening the program to all seniors in Lennox & Addington County. SCWW is a nation-wide program that is available in many communities, including L&A.
“It can be difficult for many people to be alone at home for extended periods of time, especially during this pandemic, and this program is an innovative way to participate in activities to connect with others from the comfort and safety of their home by simply using the phone,” said Sabrina Charlton, the SCWW program co-ordinator. “Research has shown that when seniors are isolated there is a higher risk of mental and physical health issues. By connecting with the SCWW those risks are reduced as seniors are more socially and physically engaged.”
The SOS received funding for this program from the KFLA United Way so there is no charge for participants. You can contact Sabrina by email, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 613-309-3912.
Programs include educational seminars, interactive games such as bingo, “family feud”, sports chats, recipe exchanges, discussions on community issues, and easy chair yoga/meditation sessions. Activities are offered every day from Monday to Thursday and some days there may be two or even three different programs offered. The schedule is available on the SOS website, www.lasos.ca. There will be a special four-week speaker series geared to caregivers in January, and there will also be a special presentation about the COVID vaccine.
“There is something for everyone, and the program promotes connecting with others in the community to form friendships, having fun, and it removes any barriers or stigmas to being isolated,” Charlton said. “Each session averages 10 to 12 participants and at times the discussions can become quite lively but at all times everyone is expected to be polite.” Privacy is assured as only first names or even nicknames are used to identify the participants.
Once someone has registered for the SCWW program, instructions are provided on how to access the dedicated phone line and they will be sent a package of information with more details about the upcoming sessions. Any phone will work, so no special equipment is required but a hands-free or speakerphone system makes participating easier.
The SOS is partnering with other organizations for the presentations and has two of its fitness instructors leading the yoga/meditation sessions. The educational sessions are presented by professionals in the legal, financial, and health care fields and cover wide-ranging topics of interest and benefit to seniors.
“We are really pleased with how the SCWW program has grown since it was launched as a pilot four months ago and we are very excited to now offer the programs to all seniors in the County,” Charlton said. “We really encourage all seniors and their family members or caregivers to join our community.”