Taking Charge of Your Health
An Age-Friendly Ottawa means that seniors are able to access and navigate an integrated system of community support and health services which are inclusive, responsive and tailored to individual needs.
Our approach is to encourage and empower seniors themselves to take on the challenge of helping other seniors to access and navigate the system of community support and health services in Ottawa. Volunteer peer-learning facilitators guide structured discussions that allow seniors to share their knowledge and experience in a friendly and relaxed environment. See the invitation posters for peer-learning facilitators and group participants.
The Take Charge of Your Health pilot project is designed to train volunteer seniors to help other seniors obtain the information they need to connect to community support and health services and make more informed healthcare decisions. Seniors are trained as peer-learning facilitators (or “Health Ambassadors”) and go on to facilitate a series of health literacy sessions with small groups of seniors on a variety of topics such as Talking to Your Doctor, Dealing with the Unexpected and Choosing to Age at Home.
In September 2014 we trained 16 seniors as peer-learning facilitators. Five of these volunteers went on to facilitate a series of 6 health literacy sessions; a total of 29 facilitators and group participants participated in these sessions. Participant retention was 100% for the six week program. An external program evaluation has been carried out.
In early 2015 we trained 70 seniors as volunteer peer-learning facilitators and we are developing and strengthening community partnerships to help with the rollout of the next series of health literacy sessions. We hope that one or more of our community partners will assume ownership of the program within the next year or two.