During the spring of 2017 until the winter 2018, Nanaimo Foodshare Society collaborated with five partner organizations to engage seniors in the Seniors’ Food Legacy Project (previously known as SWELL). These partners were:
- Nanaimo Women’s Centre
- HealthWell Educators and Consultants Ltd. (Better Together Age Friendly Seniors Project)
- City of Nanaimo
- Nanaimo Community Kitchens and
- Vancouver Island University, Department of Social Work.
By taking this collaborative approach, we explored ways to create a community response to supporting seniors and their connection to challenges related to healthy eating. Through community meetings, senior advisory groups, focus groups, workshops, and cooking and discussion groups the community identified the challenges and barriers that senior’s experience in their relationship with food changes over time. Our objective was to capture the changes in senior’s relationship to food and the interconnectedness between mental health, social isolation, food, social services, and community infrastructure.
With feedback from seniors we created a food guide for Nanaimo seniors. The guide, Eat Well Nanaimo: A Healthy Eating Guide For Older Adults is currently in print and will be disseminated in early 2020. The guide has tips from seniors for seniors, local resources related to free and low cost foods, food stories from seniors, and information and resources related to healthy eating and wellness.