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Compassion Care Community Helps the Vulnerable

The Windsor-Essex Compassion Care Community (WECCC) is a non-profit coalition that brings together over 300 champions and 100 agencies to provide a fully effective community care system for elderly and vulnerable citizens in Windsor-Essex County. Comprised of associations from education, health care, social services, municipal, cultural and faith communities, business, non-profit, volunteer and informal sectors, currently, the WECCC serves about 750 clients. The formation of WECCC now brings together compassionate care to the elderly, people living with a disability, and others who live in isolation across Windsor and the seven municipalities of Essex county. Citizens who fall into these groups may represent as much as 25% of the community.

Deborah Sattler, Director of the WECCC, states, “We are continuing to grow our program to connect citizens and care partners with neighbours, volunteers, youth, coaches, support services and technology to create thriving networks and relationships that last a life-time, where each of us feels cared for and valued.”

WECCC employs a unique model that allows clients to choose the level of support they want and to create their own life plan and resource network. It provides services such as:

WELCOME TO WECCC: Meet and Greet for people to come out to meet neighbours, talk about their interests, share talents to make new community connections, and learn how to improve quality of life.

SHARING MY JOURNEY PROGRAM: In this program, trained community coaches help people connect with services and community resources to build a life-long network of holistic care. Modules include recording the members’ story, support for goal setting, action planning to address quality of life challenges, using strengths to help others, advanced care planning/future wishes, and clinical care integration. The target population includes those clients with palliative care or end-of-life care needs, however anyone who is interested may participate.

VULNERABLE PERSONS’ PROGRAM: This service features trained community coaches that help people address social determinants of health, achieve person-directed goals and build a network of practical help and holistic care. Includes matching vulnerable people with family, friends or long-term community volunteers to stay on track with goals and for socialization. The target population is people with long-term health challenges who are homeless, living in poverty, or who are highly isolated.

LIFE AND LIVING WELL PROGRAM: In this program, trained facilitators help people develop personalized plans for healthy aging. Participants learn about the principles of the WECCC in a social and fun setting. Over a series of 1.5-hour sessions, people complete activities, record their own information geared to live more happily and get the help they need when they need it. The target population is older adults and people with disabilities, however anyone who is interested may participate.

NEIGHBOURS HELPING NEIGHBOURS PROGRAM: This is the second part of the WECCC Life and Living Well approach. Help is provided to build relationships between neighbours so that it becomes natural to exchange time and talent, matching peoples’ skills, strengths and talents with those in need. Imagine, for example, a person with limited mobility. She or he needs to find someone who can help carry groceries. At the same time, another person loves to play the piano and can offer to teach others to play. Neighbours Helping Neighbours and Wellness Hub programs give more people access to skills as well as practical, social and spiritual help and will reach out to people who are isolated.

HEALTH TAPESTRY: A program specific to primary care. Clients are visited in their homes to help them document their life and health goals, collect information, and in the process help clients stay healthier longer.

QUALITY OF LIFE SYSTEM: A new online tool helps people identify their quality of life challenges and gives feedback on how to address them. A Community Tracker measures community progress in improving quality of life and equity. By tracking issues and challenges specific to hard to serve groups, WECCC can better mobilize the community to help.

WECCC relies heavily on volunteers for its success. It receives qualified students from St. Clair College and the University of Windsor to support its programs, providing trustworthy and skilled resources to its members. Over the last year, the WECCC has worked closely with over 120 sponsors and partners from the education, health care, social services, municipal, cultural, faith, business and non-profit sectors to design and implement care and support programs.

The coalition receives support from several organizations, including Erie St. Clair LHIN, Greenshield Canada Foundation, Home Instead Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation and Computers for Kids.

Computers for Kids lends computers to members who may not be able to afford a personal computer or internet access. Volunteers provide computer training to members who lack computer skills or the volunteers manage the technology on their behalf. With the WECCC’s support, members can take charge of their care and outcomes in their own Personal Health Record. The WECCC is committed to making the benefits of new technologies available to 100% of their members.

The WECCC believes their movement will:

• promote health and happiness • empower citizens to take control of their own care • create a communication network for members and care providers • establish social connections to reduce isolation and loneliness • decrease caregiver distress • engage and mobilize youth as learners and future leaders • extend the reach and impact of existing health care, social care and education services, and • support all Canadians for a better future

“We know instinctively that being involved and feeling part of the community and knowing people around us are looking out for us and care for us, are core to human happiness and well-being. This initiative will serve all citizens in this county to help them to be happier, healthier and more connected”, says Sattler.

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