The following article was published on the United Way’s YEG Downtown Collaboration blog on December 14, 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the inescapable reality of social isolation have had an impact on many of us. Now imagine the life of a senior who perhaps felt this social separation even before the current global health crisis.
Enter Sage Seniors Association, a now 50-year-old organization founded by seniors, for seniors. Thanks in part to support from United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, this ever-growing and changing organization provides a holistic range of programs and services to local seniors – all aimed at helping them connect with each other, break down barriers, and thrive.
“I really enjoy getting together with other seniors. This is an opportunity for all of us to share cultures and stories, to learn from each other, to voice our concerns, to break isolation and to make Canada our second home country.”
- Member at Sage
One of Sage’s most sought-after and popular programs is the Life Enrichment program, which aims to provide recreation and enjoyment to seniors from all walks of life. The Life Enrichment program provides physical and creative activities for seniors to do together. Activities range from coffee groups to writing classes, from mental health sessions to singing groups, from yoga classes to ukulele lessons. And because the classes are peer-run, participation can be less intimidating.
Another important United Way-funded Sage program offered to promote diversity and inclusivity is the Multicultural Seniors Outreach Program, which serves isolated, at-risk immigrant and refugee seniors from five communities including Kurdish, Korean, Spanish-speaking, former Yugoslavian, and Eritrean/Ethiopian. The program recently expanded to welcome seniors from Iraq, Somalia, and other Eastern European countries.