January 7, 2021
SENIOR SECTOR NEWS
NEW YEAR, NEW NEWSLETTER
Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council
We are glad to have you back for our first Link Letter of 2021!  

In the fall, you may have noticed the new “look” for the ESCC’s Link Letter. Thanks to everyone who commented on the change – we have received positive feedback about the format and content.  

This spurred us to further explore how to improve our newsletters (in addition to Link Letter, we also distribute another newsletter called ESCC Updates). We want to ensure we continue to provide you with relevant information that is easy-to-understand and in a format that is easy-to-use.  

So, in 2021, we will be making further changes to Link Letter and ESCC Updates. We are working on a new newsletter that combines the best of elements of both.  

And, we want to hear from you. There will be opportunities to share your feedback and help guide us in crafting this new newsletter.  

Keep watching over the next few Link Letters for more details. 
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES NEW SUPPORTS FOR OLDER CANADIANS
Government of Canada
In a recent economic statement issued Fall 2020, the Government of Canada has announced additional supports for Canadian seniors. Highlights include: 
  • A new $1B Safe Long-term Care Fund to protect seniors living in long-term care 
  • Supports for training up to 4,000 personal support workers to address for labour shortages in personal care (both long-term care and home care) 
  • Support for personal support workers, home care workers and essential workers involved in senior care 
  • Funding for research to better understand practices that protect seniors in long-term care  
  • New funding for the Canadian Red Cross to protect seniors and vulnerable populations 
  • Funding to expand the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement’s LTC+ initiative, which helps address gaps in long-term care and seniors' residences  

In addition to the above developments, the report includes other proposals to assist older Canadians. Please access the complete report for additional details. 


More seniors sector news
(links to the ESCC News for Seniors Organizations web page)
GRANTS & AWARDS
APPLY NOW: CANADA EMERGENCY RENT SUBSIDY (CERS)
Government of Canada
The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides direct commercial rent or property expense support to tenants and property owners of qualifying organizations (businesses, charities, and non-profits) affected by COVID-19. The subsidy provides support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses. Qualifying organizations that are under a lockdown or have significantly limited activities due to a public health order will have access to Lockdown Support, a top-up subsidy of 25 per cent.  

APPLY NOW: SNOW REMOVAL GRANT
City of Edmonton 
Application Deadline: Feb. 1
The City of Edmonton is providing grant funding to interested community leagues who wish to develop snow removal programming that supports seniors and persons with disabilities. The funding can be used to contract out snow removal for target citizens, purchase shared use equipment or to fund honorariums. One time Community League Snow Removal Grants of $1,000 are available each year while funding remains. Citizens will be directed to contact their local Community League to see if there is support available. For more information, email the City of Edmonton: capitalcitycleanup@edmonton.ca
INFO SESSION: COMMUNITY BETTER CHALLENGE GRANT
ParticipACTION 
Application deadline: Feb. 26
Now more than ever, physical activity and sport participation needs to be promoted and prioritized to help Canadians stay healthy in mind, body, and community spirit. That’s why ParticipACTION is excited to announce the launch of the ‘2021 ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge’, which will take place from June 1-30, 2021. Organizations can apply for grants between Jan. 25 and Feb. 26 to help put on great physical activity events (either in-person or virtually) during the challenge. Grant guidelines and specifications will be coming soon. In the meantime, you can register for an informative webinar on Jan. 21, 1-2 p.m. (Eastern) to learn more about the grant process and how to create a great application.  

More awards and funding news (links to the ESCC News for Seniors Organizations and Funding Options web pages)
RESOURCES
FACILITY-BASED CONTINUING CARE SURVEYS
Government of Alberta and MNP LLP 
Alberta’s Ministry of Health, with assistance from MNP LLP, is conducting a review of long-term care and designated supportive living. Your input will help improve access and afford seniors and people with disabilities the highest quality of care and services available. The survey is open to members of the public, residents in long-term care facilities, caregivers, staff members working in long-term care, leadership members of long-term care facilities, and organizations affiliated with facility-based care, including seniors sector organizations. Questions? contact Sophie Olsen at Sophie.olsen@gov.ab.ca or 780-644-7567. 


More resources for sector staff
(links to the ESCC Resources web page)
LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN REDUCE SOCIAL ISOLATION
Toronto Council on Aging 
Jan. 12, 4:30–6 p.m. (Mountain) 
Free 
Join leading experts in a discussion about how we can maximize the potential of technology to reduce isolation during the pandemic—and beyond! 

LIVING WELL: ENHANCING SENIORS' CARE & SERVICES SPEAKER SERIES
Alberta Association on Gerontology 
7 session available beginning Jan. 14, 12:30-1 p.m. (Mountain) 
Free 
Join the Alberta Association on Gerontology (AAG) and featured speakers for the online “Living Well: Enhancing Seniors’ Care & Services” Speaker Series. These sessions will offer an overview of the core areas of the AAG’s 2020 policy report, “Older Albertans Living Well”, and is an opportunity to hear from Seniors’ wellness thought leaders from across the province. 


COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT 2021
Tamarack Institute 
Choose between two sessions: Jan 19 or Feb 19; 1–4:30 p.m. (Eastern) 
Free 
This virtual workshop will delve into what community engagement looks like in 2021, and consider how the landscape is changing and evolving. Tamarack invites you to explore the movement towards community-led approaches to change, to challenge traditional mindsets, to integrate authentic engagement processes into all facets of your work, to understand the role communications needs to play, and how to adapt your engagement strategies for a changing world. 

COVID-19 FOCUS GROUP: UNDERSTANDING OUR COMMUNITY'S CHALLENGES
Home Instead 
Feb. 15 (tentative); 12–1 p.m. (Mountain) 
Free 
The needs of vulnerable older adults present unique challenges to our community’s acute and post-acute providers. To expand our collective understanding of current community challenges, protocols, best practices, and lessons learned in keeping seniors physically isolated and safe, yet socially engaged, the Home Instead team is hosting a focus group. The focus group will bring together health care providers from different areas, including skilled facilities, home health care agencies, hospice agencies, assisted living communities, and hospitals.

If you’re part of an organization with direct frontline experience and would like to take part in this discussion, contact Morgan at morgan.fernie@homeinstead.com or 780-439-9990. This focus group will take place on Microsoft Teams, and you will be provided with the join information following your registration.  
WORKING STRONGER CONFERENCE
Canadian Mental Health Association, Alberta Division 
Mar. 9-10, 2021 
$250 (early bird registration – until Jan. 15) 
Working Stronger is a virtual conference that brings together employers, leaders, employees, union leaders, consultants, human resource professionals, occupational health, and safety personnel and health professionals from across the province to learn about mental health and best practices in workplace mental health. 

More learning opportunities for staff/volunteers in the seniors sector (links to the ESCC Learning Opportunities web page)
NEWS FOR SENIORS
REGISTER FOR WINTER PROGRAMS AT EDMONTON SENIORS CENTRES
Various organizations 
As the COVID-19 pandemic endures, Edmonton’s seniors organizations continue to offer a great selection of online programming. Registration deadlines are coming up soon for many Winter 2021 sessions. Inquire with your local seniors centre by selecting one of the links below for more information about current program offerings. Throughout the winter months and beyond, course offerings are subject to change due to the effects of the pandemic.  

TRANSPORTATION AVAILABLE FOR SENIORS SEEKING COVID-19 VACCINE
Drive Happiness
Local assisted transportation provider, Drive Happiness, is currently offering door-through-door transportation for seniors seeking a COVID-19 vaccine. This program is ideal for lower income seniors with mobility challenges or limited access to transportation. For more information, contact Drive Happiness at 780-424-5438 or info@drivehappiness.ca.  
HEAR A STORY
Storytelling Alberta Edmonton
Various dates
Free
Sharing stories with one another is a human tradition dating back to the dawn of civilization. During these times of social distancing, listening to stories shared by skilled storytellers can be an excellent way to feel connected to the wider community. Storytelling Alberta Edmonton is currently offering storytelling sessions for Edmontonians 65+. Due to COVID-19, storytelling sessions will take place online. Contact Caroline for more information at 780-424-9678 or carolinel.stuart@gmail.com

BECOME A LIFELONG LEARNER
Edmonton Lifelong Learners Association (ELLA) 
Courses run Jan.–Apr. 2021 
$25 membership required; course costs variable 
ELLA’s winter 2021 schedule offers a comprehensive range of online learning opportunities for the intrepid senior seeking new knowledge. Artsy folks will enjoy classes such as abstract painting and drawing, while the left-brained analytical crowd can take part in maths and sciences courses, such as physics and paleontology. Membership is required to register in courses. As a bonus, ELLA members get access to free Friday Hour Noon Presentations.  

ESSENTIALS FOR MOBILE DEVICES
GLUU 
Beginning Jan. 11 
Free 
Gluu Essentials are free online courses that teach the digital skills you need to turn your smartphone and tablet into a must-have tool. Online materials make it easy to walk through each class at your own pace and repeat lessons when needed. By learning the essentials, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to do more with your mobile device. 


BETTER CHOICES, BETTER HEALTH® PROGRAM 
Alberta Health Services
This workshop series can help you learn about chronic pain to enjoy a better quality of life. Topics discussed include: controlling pain, eating healthy and staying active, tips for talking to your health care team, dealing with difficult emotions, and making everyday tasks easier. Each series is six weeks long. Individual sessions are 2.5 hours long. Due to COVID-19, this program is offered online. Upcoming workshops are:
  • Jan. 12, 19, 26, Feb 2, 9, 16; Tuesdays, 6-8:30 p.m.  
  • Jan. 21, 28, Feb 4, 11, 18, 25; Thursdays, 1:30-4 p.m.  

View the poster for more information. You can also email selfmanagement@ahs.ca or call 780-735-1080. 


CAREGIVER SUPPORTS: THE DISABILITY TAX CREDIT
Caregivers Alberta and Canada Revenue Agency 
Jan. 12; 1–2 p.m. (Mountain) 
Free 
In this online education session about the Disability Tax Credit, Sandra Paul from the Canada Revenue Agency will share information regarding: 
  • Eligibility 
  • How to apply 
  • How to claim the disability tax credit 
  • Gateway to other government programs 


STAYING WELL & THRIVING DURING UNCERTAIN TIMES: MEANING-MAKING AND CONNECTION WORKSHOP SERIES
Sage Seniors Association  
Jan 20, 27, Feb 3, 10; Wednesdays; 1–3 p.m. (Mountain) 
Free 
The ongoing challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic can make us feel frustrated, anxious, isolated, fearful and lonely. And on top of that, it’s winter! More than ever, we need meaningful ways to be together, ways to “be okay” within the uncertainty, ways that are healthy and nourishing for our personal and community wellbeing. All in all, this group series offers a host of opportunities you to find meaning and connection in these uncertain times.

This four-part webinar is the third of its kind since the pandemic began, and is back by popular demand. Make sure to register soon—pre-registration is required. Following registration, you will receive a confirmation email with additional information about how to join the meeting. Contact Rachel at 780-701-9016 or email rtassone@mysage.ca to register. 

WORKSHOPS RELATED TO HEALTH, SAFETY, AND FINANCES
ACES (Association of a Community Engaged in Sharing) 
Jan.–Mar., various dates; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.  
Free 
ACES is offering a variety of community-based online workshops on the topics of Health & Safety, Mental Health & Nutrition, Financial Empowerment, Fraud prevention (Elder abuse). All workshops will be offered to any and all interested individuals, especially seniors, and will provide information and skills enhancement required to navigate daily tasks and challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

LIVING STRONG PROGRAM
Alberta Council on Aging 
Ongoing 
Free 
The online Living Strong Program for older adults encourages participants to explore various components of wellbeing: physical, mental, environmental, spiritual, and getting your paperwork in order. People can do the program on their own, with peer support or within a group. Organizations may use and offer the program as a way of bringing new experiences to their community. 

More news and events for seniors
(links to the ESCC News and Events for Seniors web page)
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES
STUDY PARTICIPANTS NEEDED: SERIOUS GAMES FOR POSITIVE ENGAGEMENT AND POSITIVE EMOTIONS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
University of Alberta and AGE-WELL
This study is seeking participants aged 65 and above across Canada who have their own device (tablet or computer) and an internet connection and who want to play computer games. U of A researchers want to assess if these computer games help older adults feel they are involved in enjoyable, meaningful activities. For more information, email Melika Torabgar at torabgar@ualberta.ca.  

(links to the Volunteer and Work Opportunities web page)
MORE INFORMATION
Link Letter includes new items biweekly. If you're looking for content that was included in a previous issue of Link Letter, refer to the ESCC website:



Link Letter submissions can be sent to memberservices@seniorscouncil.net
Review our submission guidelines for more information.