Targeting Isolation asked Stacey Miller, Manager, Community Services, A & O: Support Services for Older Adults about what A & O does and what information she has to share about how older adults can get involved within their communities. Here is what she had to say...
Often people become disconnected as we lose touch with friends, family may move away, sometimes people may have physical changes that make it harder to get out of the house. A & O helps with these by offering ways to stay connected despite these challenges.
TIMA: Please introduce yourself and tell me about your organization and your role within the organization.
Stacey Miller, A & O: A & O: Support Services for Older Adults is a not-for-profit organization that provides specialized services for older Manitobans across the province. The goal of these programs is to empower and support older adults in the community. As the Manager of Community Services, I supervise and work in the programs within the Community Services portfolio.
TIMA: If someone were to chat with you over a coffee, what would you want them to know about A & O?
Stacey Miller, A & O: I would want them to know about the variety and range of programs and services A & O provides. By reaching out to the agency, clients are able to access a basket of services. All the programs and services provided are free of charge, and our staff will work to eliminate any barriers that may be in the way of accessing programs. We offer a variety of programs and services including elder abuse prevention support and counselling. We also run the Senior Centre Without Walls which provides educational and recreational programming over the telephone at no cost and from your own home!
All the programs and services provided are free of charge, and our staff will work to eliminate any barriers that may be in the way of accessing programs.
TIMA: What do you believe are the unique contributions of A & O in Winnipeg/Manitoba?
Stacey Miller, A & O: Several of the programs A & O is proud to offer are the first of their kind in Canada. This includes the innovative Senior Centre Without Walls program and the This Full House Program. This Full House is the first of its kind in Canada and is designed to assist older adults whose “stuff” fills their homes and limits their lives. A & O aims to be proactive in responding to the needs of older adults.
TIMA: What do you think are the Top 3 ways that older adults can become more socially connected?
Stacey Miller, A & O:
1) Expand their social network through participation in wonderful programs such as A & O’s Connect and Senior Centre Without Walls programs.
2) Learn about technology to help maintain connections through online communities.
A & O has partnered with Cyber Seniors to offer free ways to do this.
3) Join your local Senior Centre for in person engagement.
TIMA: What are some common reasons that people become disconnected and how does A & O help?
Stacey Miller, A & O: Often people become disconnected as we lose touch with friends,
family may move away, sometimes people may have physical changes that make it harder to get out of the house. A & O helps with these by offering ways to stay connected despite these challenges. Our Connect program is able to provide a volunteer visitor either in person or over the phone. Senior Centre without Walls provides daily sessions which allows older adults to connect with others while learning about some great and interesting programs - for the fall guide this will include The Leaf at Assiniboine Park, Celebrity Bingo, a book club and more! This is all done from the comfort of your own home.
TIMA: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Stacey Miller, A & O: I would encourage anyone interested in learning about the opportunities and programs at A & O or other programs available for older adults to visit the A & O website at: www.aosupportservices.ca or call our intake line at (204) 956-6440.