(Photo: Metro Creative Connection)

(Photo: Metro Creative Connection)

Dial-in phone program keeps Surrey-area seniors connected

Seniors’ Centre Without Walls has February calendar filled with events

Seniors’ Centre Without Walls is gaining momentum with Surrey-area seniors looking for new things to enjoy and learn about.

The dial-in program was launched last April as a project of Surrey Intercultural Seniors Social Inclusion Partnership Network, which involves six local organizations.

“It’s definitely taking off,” co-ordinator Edwin Chau said of the initiative, which is considered the first of its kind in B.C.

The free, telephone-based exchange allows seniors to connect with others from the comfort of their own home, for a variety of audio events including radio plays, fitness sessions, group chats, music trivia, gardening, cooking and more.

“The response has been good, and near the end of 2020 I think we had around 55-ish participants at any given time,” Chau said. “We continued with entertainment and education programming, a mix of those topics.”

The January “features” included a “(t)Ed Talks” discussion group focusing on astronauts and how they live in space, a “Reminiscence Kit” gathering that looked as different artifacts of the past, and a “Surrey Roads History” session co-hosted by the City of Surrey’s heritage department. Also, Surrey Libraries co-hosted a “Literature Club for Seniors” event online, as part of its Digital Branch strategy, in which a different literary piece is featured each week.

The program’s February calendar includes feature presentations about Chinese New Year, Black History Month and “Canadian Connections” with Valentine’s Day, along with a seminar about tinnitus, a chat with an end-of-life doula, a closer look at artifacts in the Surrey Heritage department collection, and a talk about local birds with a conservation scientist, among other events.

Also planned is “We’re All Artists: Creative Practices at Home,” a Monday-morning art class held in partnership with Surrey Art Gallery, with instructors April Davis and Claire Moore.

The art program attracts seniors for various reasons. Susan Match was drawn to the art class when she began losing her sight. She calls the class a “life-saver” and says it is helping her brain and her sight. “I’m growing,” she says. “I’m not an artist. I’ve always done management (positions) but I actually see improvements now. It’s working!”

Interested seniors can register by emailing scww@comeshare.ca or phoning Chau at 604-531-9400, extension 205. On the web, look for program details at comeshare.ca.

“Monthly, I try to have at least one or two feature education-type things on top of the recurring programs, so it’s a mix,” Chau explained. “Some run weekly, it’s a variety. Sometimes there are two or three programs a day.”

• RELATED STORY: Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program.

The Seniors’ Centre Without Walls program sounds like something designed for these pandemic, physically-distanced times, but it was actually in the planning stages in the fall of 2019, months before COVID-19 hit this province in a significant way.

“This program was going to happen whether COVID came up or not, it just so happens that launch date lined up with when the (pandemic) happened. It was a crazy coincidence, not actually planned,” Chau told the Now-Leader last June.

Chau, a Fleetwood-area resident who works out of the Seniors Come Share Society office in South Surrey, said Surrey’s SCWW is based on similar programs in Ontario and Manitoba.

The original plan was to launch the program in a much smaller way, with three call-in sessions per week, but it all took off during the early days of the pandemic.

“We want to build it gradually over time,” Chau noted in June. “It is set to be a multi-year project, but then the remote model of this project just fit the bill, it was perfect, and we ended up ramping it all the way up to two or even three programs a day, every single day of the week.”

Surrey’s SISSIP network involves Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS), City of Surrey, Seniors Come Share Society, SOURCES, Semiahmoo House Society and Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association (FRAFCA).



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Seniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP are looking for “an unknown man who wrapped his arms around” a female youth in Clayton Feb. 26. (Black Press file photo)
Youth assaulted by unknown man in Cloverdale

Mounties looking for ‘tall and thin’ Caucasian man in his 40’s with short dark brown hair

Framed photos of Travis Selje and other items fill the top of a dresser in his bedroom. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Crown says defence case epilepsy caused fatal Surrey crash fails on balance of probabilities

‘She very clearly had some form of control over that vehicle,’ Crown argues

Alex Browne photo The felling of two mature Douglas Fir ‘eagle trees’ on Oxford Street, just south of Prospect Avenue, in June of 2019, prompted a review of tree management bylaws and policies now before White Rock council. The trees were felled on instructions from City of White Rock staff, who said the work was necessary because they had become hazardous. (File photo)
City of White Rock mulls ‘tree protection’ bylaw

More stringent measures needed to protect canopy – councillor

teeaser
Surrey TEDx talks move online with ‘fast-paced’ event that’s free to watch March 27

Last year’s TEDxBearCreekPark attracted 900 spectators to Bell theatre

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Passengers aboard Komagata Maru in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, 1914 - Library and Archives Canada image
Abbotsford council is asked to rename street in memory of Komagata Maru victims

Most of 376 the passengers aboard ship were denied entry into Canada in 1914

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

Most Read