Operation Growing Strong Together | MEKTU | NB-IRDT | UNB

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Operation Growing Strong Together

Lead organization: The Governing Council of the Salvation Army in Canada for Fredericton

Principle investigator(s): Susan Strickland and Corinne Hersey

About the project:

The issue

There are often many barriers that hinder older adults' ability to engage in activities that increase their physical, social, spiritual, occupational, environmental, and emotional wellness.

Some of the barriers are related to the absence of physical fitness, vision and hearing loss, chronic diseases, isolation, depression, and cognitive decline.

As well, some older adults face decreased food security. Huffpost reported that in 2015, there was a 35% jump in seniors using food banks. Food banks are no longer emergency alternatives but have become a relied-upon source for food.

The importance

Increasing seniors’ physical, social, spiritual, emotional, and mental wellness may reduce loneliness and their need to utilize other services. It is well documented that active and passive participation in gardens increases whole wellbeing. The garden is to feed seniors who often go without, and to allow them to meet new friends while being active.

What makes this project different

This project will create accessible gardens/programs specifically designed for seniors by seniors. Food will be produced to respond to the needs of the aging population with different levels of cognitive and physical ability. As well as participating in the garden we are offering seniors intergenerational friendships and multicultural learning.

Anticipated impacts

We anticipate reports of increased social interactions, better health and sleep, change in medication use, learning new skills, increased self-esteem and feeling useful.

From this work we will be able to create a template for the development of age friendly garden development for sharing with other communities.

Overall, we hope to see a reduction in seniors food expenditures; Seniors satisfied with the program; Increase in seniors' social activity and communication; Reduction in loneliness; and Increase in nutritious food consumption.

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