Seniors engaged and active at annual event

September 24, 2019

Over 500 people attended the 8th MOSAIC Multicultural Seniors Day event on September 14th.  Held in the atrium and theatre of Surrey’s City Hall, the bright and airy venue was the backdrop for lively multicultural performances and personal stories from MOSAIC Seniors’ Club Leaders regarding their personal journeys in Canada.

Welcoming words were provided by Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors and Multiculturalism Anne Kang, Minister of Labour Harry Bains and other local elected officials.

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About MOSAIC Seniors’ Club

MOSAIC’s Seniors’ Club provides one-to-one and group settlement assistance as well as social and integration activities, including:

  •  English Conversation Circles where the seniors can build new connections and improve their English communication skills while they discuss settlement topics and learn about Canadian society and social systems.
  • Field trips which allow them learn about the city they live in
  • Community connection activities such as Knitting Club, Multicultural Women Support Group, Senior Choir, Computer Classes, Thai Chi classes and many other activities provided through MOSAIC Seniors Club help seniors improve the quality of their life.

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Event participants’ comments

Following are comments from seniors who attended/volunteered at the Multicultural Seniors Day event:

Panpan, senior – MOSAIC Multicultural Seniors Choir member & Food Servers Team volunteer

On September 14th we were honored to participate in the community event for seniors. We expressed our love for Canadian culture through singing English songs on stage for everyone. We were elated and excited with a desire to integrate into this multicultural society. We served the seniors tirelessly and eagerly. Just like every one of us, I was thinking that it was high time we gave back to the community in gratitude, as we had benefitted from the welfare and care in this beautiful, diverse and inclusive country. We felt satisfied and happy. Also, there was also a good role model to inspire us. We would do better in the future!

Dong Dong, senior – Food Servers Team volunteer

MOSAIC’s Multicultural Senior Day provided us Chinese seniors a good opportunity to connect with different ethnic groups. The Food Server Team served each other actively and enthusiastically. Although we have language barriers, we used body language and short phrases to communicate. When our volunteers delivered the plates to the seniors, I saw kind, gentle, welcoming smiles in return. Time and again, I still heard them saying “Thank you”! Through the service, we learned a lot on mutual respect, social manner and etiquette. We experienced the happiness of living in a multicultural setting and served different peoples!

Ashley, senior – Choir member & Food Servers Team volunteer

I rarely contacted the outside world, and I got used to this, thinking that I was not afraid of loneliness. Yet, my life had changed since I came to learn English in MOSAIC. Indeed, I attended the Seniors Day on September 14. When I served the delicious food plates to four seniors, they responded with warmth and friendliness, I felt the happiness I never had before. I said to myself, “What a nice day” from my heart. When I followed my English teacher Andrea conducting the choir to sing English songs, I saw encouragement and praise from the audience. I felt rejuvenated. I realized that only by integrating into the community, participating in civic activities, and contributing to the society wholeheartedly, could a person get the most happiness and harvest the golden old age. I am grateful to everyone who have led me out of my castle into the society. I cherish to be a helpful good old person.

Kelly, senior – Participant

I feel that I am getting old abruptly, and I start to take care of myself. In the past two days, I carefully read through the information pamphlets collected from the “Seniors Day”. I find that the government of Canada cares for the elderly, big and small. Issues as serious as asking for medical advice and legal aid, to as trivial as how to safely cross the road, are covered. There are all kinds of hotlines and workshops, that make us feel the caring warmth. I am encouraged to adapt to the life of seniors here. Indeed, it should be noted that there are no hard sales of high-priced health products and investment projects for the elderly in this community event. I’m very happy to take the opportunity to thank MOSAIC for the Seniors Day.

Many community resource providers who feature services for seniors, or which seniors frequently access, were also on site with information booths, and language support was provided by MOSAIC Seniors’ Club Leaders (volunteers) to folks requiring translations.

The annual event is hosted at this time each year to celebrate the upcoming National Seniors Day and the United Nations International Day of Older Persons, which are both observed on the first day of October.

Vancouver’s proportion of older immigrants (21.5%) is higher than the proportion of all older adults in the general population (15.9%) reflecting the aging of immigrants in Metro Vancouver (Statistics Canada, 2016).

MOSAIC Seniors’ Club provides individual services and group activities to over 500 immigrant and refugee seniors annually. To maximize the potential of newcomer seniors, and to assist them in their desire to contribute to the communities they belong to, MOSAIC provides Senior Leadership Training. This training provides group activities and peer support to other seniors, helping them to get connected, and have access to services. The Senior Leaders are dedicated to building bridges between isolated seniors and community resources and active living.

Social isolation among older people is emerging as one of the major issues in Canada. According to reports by Statistics Canada, 24% of Canadians over age 65 feel isolated from others and wish they could participate in more social activities (Government of Canada, 2018).