Survey seeks to expose and address barriers for older adults

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A survey will be conducted this summer in order to gauge how services can be improved to address the needs of older adults in Lambton county.

Lambton Public Health recently received a $60,000 grant from the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility as part of the Inclusive Communities Grant Fund.

Health Promoter Kelsey Foster said the goal is to address some of the barriers older adults have been experiencing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ultimately, improving the physical and mental health is really our goal, so we’re hoping to achieve that in the coming months,” she said.

Foster said a large portion of the grant funding has been allocated for a research team through Lambton College.

“They have designed a survey as well as an interview guide for us to launch later this summer,” said Foster. “We’ll be getting data directly from older adults in the community, as well as their caregivers and service providers.”

Foster said the survey will also ask residents for suggestions on ways to improve community services.

Another portion of the grant funding will be used for age-friendly training.

“Based on what we learn from what the older adults are telling us in the surveys and the interviews, we will take their input and we will develop a training [model] to roll out to our local service providers,” said Foster. “Also, with the survey that we are going to be launching, we want to use some of the funds to make sure we’re getting a good representation of our population answering the survey, so we’ll definitely be promoting that later this summer.”

Foster said the survey will likely launch in July and will be open through to the end of September. The survey will be posted and shared online, however, Foster said there will also be an option to do the survey over the phone with members of the Lambton College research team.

Work dedicated to the Older Adult Care Pathway project will have to follow a certain timeframe as the grant funding has to be used by March 31, 2022. In order to meet the deadline, Foster said data should be collected by the fall so that recommendations can go to the public health unit and community service providers.

“Through the winter we can really put together an action plan and by early next year, we’ll have a plan in place, as well as an evaluation plan, and then we’ll start to implement those changes in the spring of 2022.”

Information about age-friendly services in Lambton can be found by clicking here.