THE COUNCIL FOR BLACK AGING COMMUNITY OF MONTREAL, INC.
LE CONSEIL DES PERSONNES AGÉES DE LA COMMUNAUTÉ NOIRE DE MONTRÉAL,
PLEASE CALL FOR FAX
Background: Many assume that mainstream health care institutions are fully
equipped to deal with the needs of all seniors, regardless of ethnicity.
Such an assumption, though well meaning, fails to take into account all
of the factors which come into play, when one is discussing the health care
needs of Black seniors. Mainstream health care institutions have in fact
faced difficulties in meeting particular emotional and cultural needs of
Black seniors in their care. As well, mainstream institutions have demonstrated
an inadequate understanding of historical legacies which frame many of the
perspectives held by Black seniors regarding health and social services
Consideration of the historical realities which frame present-day behavioural
patterns of black seniors in Montréal, weakens the claim that all
Black elders can be adequately cared for by mainstream institutions. Historical
experiences such as slavery, underemployment, racial discrimination, sentiments
of second class citizenship etc., have resulted in many Black seniors failing
to trust existing institutions.
Elements of culture also contribute significantly to the mistrust of mainstream
health care institutions by Black elders. An oral rather than literary tradition,
polyrhytmic musical influences, the central role of religion as well as
different values, priorities and attributes have all been facets of Black
cultural identity for centuries. These elements of culture are especially
important to Black seniors, who when faced with health care institutions
which do not reflect their culture and value systems, fear the possibility
of cultural erosion at a time when the need for assistance is the greatest.
With this dilemma in mind, the Council for Black Aging Community of Montreal,
Inc. was founded to work towards meeting the needs of Black seniors; the
Council for Black Aging also serves to validate the contributions of Black
seniors to the Montréal community. This second goal serves the dual
purpose of giving credit where it is due as well as demonstrating to all
concerned that Black seniors have played a more than significant role in
the development of the Montréal community.
The Council for Black Aging works as an advocate for the needs of Black
seniors, undertaking activities designed to advance the interests of Black
elders, keeping Black seniors better informed of issues relating to the
availability of health and social services, and developing a unique day
centre and a nursing home for Black elders; these constitute elements of
the Council for Black Aging's mandate.
In its advocacy role, the Council for Black Aging works to ensure that all
levels of government are made aware of the particular and changing needs
of Black seniors in Montréal. To remain current, the Council for
Black Aging encourages its seniors to actively participate in the articulation
of their needs. This is accomplished by providing seniors with a regular
forum, support as well as a framework for effective intervention, informed
decision-making and long term planning.
Services & Programs:
The Council for Black Aging Currently offers the following services:
At Home Services: The Council for Black Aging takes pride in its
ability to provide services to the elderly in their homes. These services
are offered to seniors who are in need of more medically oriented care on
a temporary After a detailed medical assessment is made, dedicated health
care professionals are made available to seniors on a regular basis in order
to respond to predetermined needs. The main purpose of this program of services
is to help Black seniors remain independent, enjoy a high quality of life
and maintain their dignity for as long as possible. These services are available
across the island of Montréal.
Volunteering: Volunteers are provided to help seniors who are in
simple need of company or other non-professional services such as an escort
to and from appointments, in order to enrich their lives. Volunteers visit
seniors in their homes, in hospitals or in nursing homes on a regular basis.
Many long-term relationships have been developed through participation in
this program, so anyone with as little as one hour per week to spare, is
invited to volunteer their services to help a senior.
Support Group: The support group meets every Tuesday afternoon from
1:00pm until 2:30pm at the Council for Black Aging's 3021 Delisle offices.
The support group serves primarily as a forum through which seniors can
discuss issues of importance with their peers and air their opinions.
Seniors' Activity Group: The Seniors' activity group meets every
second Wednesday of the month from 10:30am until 2:00pm at the Council for
Black Aging's 3021 Delisle offices. The group serves primarily as a social
interaction group in which seniors are given the opportunity to cook and
exchange recipes, do crafts and learn new skills, learn French and communicate
in both official languages, play games and to interact with each other,
thereby forming new relationships with others. Eventually the Seniors' activity
group will be split into two groups meeting on alternate Wednesdays, with
the second Wednesday being devoted to drama workshops
The Discovery Program: The discovery program was created to give
seniors an opportunity to explore their province. The program organises
day-trips across the province in order to allow seniors to see the beautiful
Québec country-side, meet new friends and share new adventures. More
importantly, the Discovery Program allows seniors, some of whom may be
living in isolation, to interrupt their daily routines and get out. Recent
trips have included a visit to the Manoir Papineau historical site and a
sugaring-off expedition in April '96.
Annual Conferences: Each year the Council for Black Aging Community
of Montréal holds an annual conference. These conferences are in-effect,
large-scale information sessions where information of extreme importance
to all seniors is disseminated. Seniors are not-only invited to attend but
to actively participate as audience participation is a key goal of every
conference. The date and issues to be covered in the next conference will
be announced shortly.
Should you like more information on any aspect of the Council for Black
Aging, or if you would like to become a member for only $25.00 a year,
you can reach us in one of three manners:
By mail at:
The Council for Black Aging
By phone at:
(514) 935-4951, please call for Fax.
Or by electronic mail at:
We exist to serve the community.
Submission prepared by the Office of the Director General, May 14th, 1996.