Coordinator, Tamil Seniors Health Program
Caregiver Wellness Team
Our goal was to help seniors stay mentally stimulated while reducing stress and loneliness. The Seniors’ Month Package included adult coloring pages, brain teasers (such as word searches, word scramble, mazes, numerical puzzles etc.), breathwork, and a craft activity. According to research:
- Brain teasers can help certain thinking skills that tend to decline with age – for example: processing speed, planning skills, reaction time, decision making, and short-term memory loss
- Breathwork can reduce or help manage stress and anxiety; increase energy; boost immunity; improve quality of sleep; develop or increase self-awareness; help reduce pain; and improve digestion
- Adult Coloring Pages can reduce stress and anxiety; improve fine motor skills and vision; improve focus; increase dopamine levels in the brain; give brain an opportunity to problem solve without the stress of timeliness; and improve sleep
- Crafts can reduce feeling of isolation; provide confidence and a sense of purpose; help organize thoughts and feelings; promote personal space; improve fine motor skills; provide a source of pleasure and creative self-expression; control stress and enhance relaxation; and provide feeling of connectivity.
We created the craft activity in partnership with Community Arts Guild; their artists produced an activity that can be done with minimal instructions so that it is also accessible to those who face language barriers.
To further support our clients with accessibility, we hosted two support sessions in English and Tamil languages; both workshops were accessible by telephone and Zoom where clients can get additional support to completing their worksheets as well have an opportunity to practice breathwork with the Program Coordinator.
Originally we had aimed to have 60 packages delivered to current clients who had no access to technology. As soon as the word got out to the community and our partners, this initiative soon became a huge hit requiring us to increase the number of packages to 75, 90, 100, and eventually we capped at 150 mail-outs. We also provided electronic version of the package to some of our partners resulting in supporting nearly 200 seniors throughout the month of June. We were overwhelmed by the response from the community and partners as we realize this is a rare initiative taken on by SCHC to address accessibility and inclusion in service delivery. The positive response wasn’t just demonstrated in numbers but also through direct feedback from clients. Below is one of SCHC’s Tamil seniors showcasing one of her finished activity sheets from the Seniors’ Month Package.
Linga Kulasegaram: “I really enjoy it! Keeps me busy! Also helps with my English and keeps my brain active.”
Another client, Ravi Kandasamy, said: “Thank you for the June Seniors Package. It kept me occupied and forget my loneliness. I really enjoyed the numerical games.”
Through this initiative, we supported our clients as well as our community partners – including multiple Fred Victor locations, Tesoc Multicultural Settlement Services, and Toronto Community Housing buildings.
When it comes to programs and services, SCHC is highly adaptive in meeting the changing needs of its community, and thrives to produce innovative approaches that overcome barriers so that our clients are best served.
If you have ideas on how we can best support you during this pandemic, reach us at: email@example.com with the subject line Seniors Idea.
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2019, Oct 1). The thinking on brain games. Retrieved May 19, 2020 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/the-thinking-on-brain-games
- Hoyt, J. (2018, January 24). Crafts for Seniors: Easy Arts & Crafts Activities for Senior Citizens. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://www.seniorliving.org/life/activities/crafting/
- Huotilainen, M., Rankanen, M., Groth, C., Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, P., & Mäkelä, M.
(2018). Why our brains love arts and crafts. FORMakademisk, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.7577/formakademisk.1908
- Brown, S. (2016, February 4). Adult Coloring Catching On as Stress Reliever. Washington Informer.
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