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BY JENNIFER MCFEE A dult children can seek support through programs and services available to enhance the lives of their older adult parents. A & O: Support Services for Older Adults, rooted in the community since 1957, focuses on service delivery, education and advocacy to aid older Manitobans with aging well. Chief executive officer Amanda Macrae said many specialized programs were in place prior to the pandemic, and they're now bolstered by additional COVID-19 assistance for older Manitobans. "We all want to age well. This means different things to different people. We need to be able to accommodate these differences through providing a variety of innovative programs and services that Manitobans know they can rely on," she said. "Aging is not a bad word, despite the ageist stereotypes that have been perpetuated within society. To grow old on our own terms with the right support in place, if and when needed, is something all Manitobans are entitled to." Particularly during the pandemic, adult children might be concerned about issues that impact their aging parents such as social isolation, safety and food security. To address these concerns, A & O offers programs and services focused on safety and security, social engagement and counselling. To bolster social engagement, Senior Centre Without Walls allows Manitobans age 55 and older to join free educational and interactive programs from home using a toll-free phone number. Through the Connect Program, registered social workers connect socially isolated Winnipeggers who are 55-plus and living in the community with resources that facilitate independent living. In addition, Senior Immigrant Se lement Services is available for newcomers age 55 and older. For those in need of counselling, registered social workers provide a variety of services that address grief and loss, finances, depression, loneliness, family issues and loss of health. Support groups are also available to address these topics. Through safety and security programs, registered social workers offer elder abuse prevention services. In addition, the Safe Suite Program provides temporary housing for adults age 55-plus who need a safe place to stay due to abuse or neglect. A & O also works with the Winnipeg Police Service through Older Victim Services to help older adults who are victims of crime. Other useful resources include a falls prevention program called SafetyAid as well as This Full House program, which focuses on homes filled with saved items. Macrae notes that A & O continues to assist older adults during the pandemic with its 311 Food Security line to help with grocery delivery and other specialized services. Wellness kits are also available with hand sanitizer, soap, toilet paper, facemasks, tissues, a crossword puzzle book, notepad, pen and more. Regardless of age, Macrae encourages everyone to be proactive and educate themselves about resources available to support older adults to age well in their own communities. "Age is just a number. The needs and concerns for someone who is 55 are not the same as someone who is 105," she said. "The population is aging, so we need to advocate for the development and maintenance of innovative programs and services for older Manitobans." For more information about A & O, visit or call 204-956-6440 or toll-free 1-888-333-3121. AGING WELL A & O ASSISTS MANITOBANS IN - Amanda Macrae, chief executive officer, A&O "The population is aging, so we need to advocate for the development and maintenance of innovative programs and services for older Manitobans." ( ) 20 MATURE

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