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Volume 17, No.2, April 21, 2021
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HIGHLIGHTS AND COMMUNITY LINKS NEWS
We’re Recruiting Volunteer Board Members
 
Joining the Community Links Board of Directors offers an opportunity to inspire change and provide governance to the organization and its members. You will influence Community Links in dynamic ways and help ensure older Nova Scotians are seen, heard and valued. If you or someone you know may be interested, find the full details at https://nscommunitylinks.ca/now-recruiting-board-members/, or contact Executive Director Helen MacDonnell at director@nscommunitylinks.ca or
902-422-0914.
 
Community Links has partnered with the PEACH Research Unit (Planning for Equity, Accessibility, and Community Health) at the School of Planning, Dalhousie University and researcher Katie Vaughn for a Photo Voice project which invited individuals to submit photos that demonstrated what makes their communities accessible or inaccessible. The results are now available in the video Spaces that Work for Me: Project Results and can be viewed here. Phase two of the project is underway.

Healthy Aging CORE Canada has launched.
Healthy Aging CORE (Collaborative Online Resources & Education) Canada is an interactive online platform designed to connect local, provincial, and national non-profit, government, and academic organizations and coalitions that focus on programs, services, policy, practices, and research aimed at supporting older Canadians to age in place in their homes and communities. You can check CORE Canada out at https://healthyagingcore.ca/
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
The Canadian Mental Health Association - Nova Scotia Division is offering a support group for those who identify as male, looking for a safe place to talk about mental health.
This support group is non-clinical, peer led and COMPLETELY confidential. There is no fee to participate. This group is for ages 19 and up. Contact Shobha Gashus at education02@novascotia.cmha.ca to register.
 
Canadian Mental Health Association NS has created a Crisis Assessment and Support hub which offers supports for issues such as grief and bereavement, suicide prevention, hospice support, and mobile crisis lines. Click here to visit the site
 
Suicide Prevention Service
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to lowered mental health across the population, and distress centres are vital for those in crisis. In response, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is developing a fully operational pan-Canadian suicide prevention service in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and Crisis Services Canada (CSC). The suicide prevention service will provide Canadians with access to 24/hour bilingual crisis support from trained responders via voice, text and online chat. Learn more on the website.

The Warm Line

The Shelburne County Mental Health and Wellness Association’s Warm Line has expanded to support individuals across the province. The Warm Line is a non-crisis line run by volunteers who use their life experience to talk in a “peer-to-peer” manner with callers experiencing distress.
To reach a Warm Line volunteer, call 833-927-6546 (toll-free), or email  shelburnecountymentalhealth@outlook.com for more information.

Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia is hosting virtual education sessions this spring including  Outdoor Connections: activities that are fun, accessible, and appropriate for all people and Life Goes on, regardless of Dementia. They also have  information for young people who are in a care giving role. See their most recent newsletter for more information and to register for online sessions here.
 

FREE Virtual Wellness Group Programs
 

During this time of COVID-19, the Community Health Team is offering FREE virtual wellness programs offered through Zoom for Health Care available to all Nova Scotians who have a valid Nova Scotia health card number. Program topic areas:
  • Nutrition & Weight Management                
  • Mental Wellness
  • Physical Activity
  • Parenting
  • Managing Risk Factors                         
Download the May to August 2021 Wellness Program Flyer  for a full list of free virtual wellness programs.  Registration is required to participate.  To register for programs, click HERE (unless indicated otherwise in the flyer).  For more information, call 902-460-4560 (HRM) or toll free 1-844-460-4555.  
 
NS Walks is starting community-based walking groups and is looking for volunteers interested in leading regularly scheduled walks for people who are currently less active. NS Walks will provide free walk leader training online. For more information, to register for the training, or to join a walking group go to www.nswalks.ca.
COMMUNITY SERVICE UPDATES
Senior Safety Coordinators work in communities to support isolated and vulnerable older adults. Find contact information for a Senior Safety Coordinator.
211 is a toll-free helpline that connects callers to community and social services and is available 24/7 in 140+ languages. For non-emergency, non-medical help, call 211 or visit www.ns.211.ca.
 
The Community Sector Council NS has many resources for non-profit and voluntary organizations. Find more information here.
 
Service Canada can assist community members with questions about
Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS).
Complete an e-Services form and a Service Canada employee will call back. Outreach Support Centre workers are available Mon-Fri, 8:30 AM - 4 PM at 1-877-464-2657.
 
Volunteer Nova Scotia: visit https://volunteerns.ca/  to find volunteer opportunities including ideas and ways to volunteer from home.
 
Caregivers NS recognizes and values the efforts of friend and family caregivers through support groups, advocacy and services available online, via the phone, and in person. Visit https://caregiversns.org/how-we-help/ for more information or to contact a coordinator.
 
Stay up to date with Federal and Provincial information and updates on COVID-19 and please, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay safe.
 
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE 
The Government of Canada plans to increase Old Age Security for Canadians 75 and older. A one-time $500 payment in direct financial assistance will be issued through OAS to seniors aged 75+ in August 2021. And in July 2022, it plans to increase OAS by 10% for seniors aged 75+, supporting 3.3 million seniors.

Several investments were announced in the Federal Budget to support older adults in Canada including a new $90 Million Age Well at Home initiative, $3 Billion to support improvements to long term care, and investments in affordable housing units for vulnerable Canadians. Find the Budget 2021 text at www.budget.gc.ca.  

The Salvation Army’s Home Energy Assistance Top-up (HEAT) Fund provides support for Nova Scotians in need by assisting with the cost of heating their homes. Learn more, determine eligibility, and apply here.  

The Nova Scotia COVID Relief (NSCR) Fund was established by the Government of Nova Scotia from the Federal Safe Restart Agreement in April 2021. The $3.5 million fund supports low-income Nova Scotians struggling to pay their home heating or electric bill as a result of income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is administered by The Salvation Army. The Fund provides one-time assistance Each household may be eligible for up to $400 in support.
You may apply if you live in Nova Scotia and meet the following criteria
  • You have an overdue amount owing on your heating or electric bill 
  • Your household has been impacted financially due to COVID-19
  • You live within the following low-income thresholds;
    • $29,000 for one-person households, 
    • $47,703 for two to four person households,
    • $67,937 for households of five or more individuals
For more information and for the application form click here. If you have applied or received assistance from the HEAT Fund, you are still eligible to receive assistance from the NSCR Fund.

Free energy efficiency upgrades are available to income-qualified homeowners through HomeWarming. These environmentally friendly upgrades will help eligible homeowners save money on their power bills and provide extra insulation and draft-proofing. Learn more, find out if you are eligible, and sign up on their website: http://www.homewarming.ca/.
 
EVENTS AND OPPORTUNITIES
April is National Poetry Month.

Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library is hosting a virtual poetry reading of “Unspoken Truth, unmuted and unfiltered” with Angela Bowden on April 29, 7 PM. All are welcome to join us!  For full details, please visit PARL events calendar online. 

April 18-24 is National Volunteer Week.

The National Volunteer Week theme for 2021, The Value of One, The Power of Many, reflects on the awe-inspiring acts of kindness by millions of individuals AND the magic that happens when we work together towards a common purpose.  This past year, Canada has seen people supporting family, friends, neighbours and strangers, people standing up to systemic racism, and people sharing insights on how to create a more just and equitable society. Volunteer Canada recognizes the value of the caring and compassion that each one has shown another, and the power of people, organizations, and sectors working together.  Find more information at https://volunteer.ca/nvw

Looking for an opportunity to serve your community and build your resume?

People from all communities and walks of life are needed to serve on Nova Scotia’s agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs).

Participating on an ABC is an opportunity to have input on issues that matter to you while developing skills and experience.
Applications are being accepted for a wide variety of volunteer opportunities with more than 190 ABCs, including the Accessibility Advisory Board, Criminal Code Review Board, Labour Board,  Regional Library Boards and both the Police (RCMP) Advisory Boards and Municipal Boards of Police Commissioners.
 
All Nova Scotia residents are invited to apply, and diverse perspectives are encouraged. Applications for some opportunities are due by May 25, 2021. Applications for many other positions are accepted year-round.
To learn more about current opportunities and apply, visit https://novascotia.ca/abc or call 902-424-4877 or 1-866-206-6844 (toll free).
 
Nova Scotia Health is recruiting volunteers to join the Patient Family Advisor (PFA) team. As valued members of the organization, PFAs provide insight into patient, family, and community experiences with the healthcare system. Their input helps shape the care we provide.
 
Applying to be a Patient Family Advisor is easy and requires no special skills or knowledge. Fill out an application online at http://surveys.novascotia.ca/pfa. To learn more about the opportunity, please visit https://www.nshealth.ca/pfa or contact Michael Wheatley at michael.wheatley@nshealth.ca or call 902-240-4785.
 
Aging2 Halifax has launched The NS Seniors Virtual Adviser Program with support from the Nova Scotia Department of Seniors, . This free program matches senior-led businesses and non-profits with experienced Virtual Advisors, who will help these organizations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and thrive. Learn more about the program and register here:
https://www.boomersplus.com/nova-scotia-seniors-virtual-adviser-program/
 
PUBLIC HEALTH INFORMATION
COVID-19 Vaccines

The Province of Nova Scotia has updated its COVID-19 immunization plan. The plan includes three phases; each phase identifies when certain groups of people can receive the vaccine. Read more here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/vaccine/.
Every person in Nova Scotia who wants the COVID-19 vaccine will receive it for free.

Appointments based on age can be booked now. Learn more: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/book-your-vaccination-appointment/.

Have you booked your appointment to be vaccinated, but now need a ride to get there?

Rural Transportation Association members can help get you there, and back home for $5. The community-based member network includes rural service provider organizations around the province that all offer door-to-door rides at reasonable prices.

Finding a ride is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
  1. Pre-book your vaccination appointment according to the directions given by the Department of Health.
  2. Choose a provider from the list.
  3. Visit your provider’s site and follow their ride-booking process.
Round trip cost is $5. Most providers require booking at least 24 hours in advance.
Find a ride at: https://ruralrides.ca/find-a-ride/
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Box 36129 Halifax, NS, B3J 3S9
info@nscommunitylinks.ca
902-422-0914
toll-free 1-855-253--9355

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Community Links · Box 29103 · Halifax, Ns B3L 4T8 · Canada

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