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A group of women gather at the Red Leaf Centre in Springdale for a tea 'n' talk.


By Amy Tucker
Special to the Gazette is Memorial's online connecting tool. One of its most significant jobs is to provide a way for people from outside Memorial to ask for research help. With hundreds of community-suggested opportunities to choose from, your next project is just a click away. Here's one . . .

The opportunity:
With a median age of 44, and more than 23 per cent of the population over 60, the Baie Verte Peninsula and Springdale area has an aging population.
Gloria Sheppard, a volunteer with Life Unlimited for Older Adults, a local organization that provides programming for seniors, says that activities for seniors are essential to healthy aging.

"They can help reduce isolation, encourage engagement in community life, promote active living and lifelong learning and provide opportunities for leadership and peer helping."

Despite these benefits, there are many seniors who don't take advantage of local programming. Ms. Sheppard is unsure of why there is sometimes a lack of participation, but one issue may be a lack of awareness about how to access programs.

The project:
There are two elements to Ms. Sheppard's proposed idea.

First, she's looking for a researcher from Memorial to determine the scope of existing programs and activities for seniors in the Baie Verte Peninsula and Springdale area.

"Perhaps he or she could record input regarding gaps in programming, or identify possibilities for further engagement of the community in contributing to the health and satisfaction of seniors," Ms. Sheppard said.

The second part of the project would be to evaluate the scope of services offered by various community groups, provide data that can be used to approach funding agencies, and determine the need for a consistent co-ordination of resources.

"Better co-ordination of resources would enable us to encourage seniors to become engaged in specific programs and activities," Ms. Sheppard said. "This would ultimately promote healthy living and a level of prevention or intervention."

Having a better sense of local program availability would help organizations work together to keep seniors informed of their options and hopefully increase participation overall.

Interested in learning more about this project? Bojan Fürst, manager of knowledge mobilization at the Harris Centre, would love to tell you more. Call him at 709-864-2120 or email him at