SAIL – Seniors Active in Living
The Seniors Active in Living (SAIL) is one of four wellness programs offered by the Burnaby Partners in Seniors’ Wellness, a non-profit group dedicated to providing access to programs which promote health and well-being for Burnaby seniors.
The SAIL program provides participants with an opportunity to receive health and wellness services, education, and exercise in a caring environment. The SAIL program is based at Confederation Community Centre in Burnaby and is offered on a weekly basis for two hours. Each week, during the first half hour of the program participants can sign up to receive wellness services by donation ($2) from volunteer retired practitioners. Participants can receive services such as blood pressure measurement, massage, reflexology, reiki, and therapeutic touch. This is followed by a presentation (for all participants) related to health and wellness on topics such as housing, holistic supports for cancer patients, osteoporosis and diversity/inclusion training. The presentations sometimes involve demonstrations of activities such as meditation, Tai Chi, fencing or other similar activity.
The SAIL Coordinator works hard to find a diverse range of presenters who provide a wide range of perspectives to meet the needs of all participants. The Coordinator (who is also a Clinical Exercise Coordinator) leads a chair exercise class for the participants each week.The SAIL Coordinator sometimes organizes special events/forums for the SAIL sessions. For example, an Osteoporosis Forum included presentations by a representative from the Osteoporosis Society, a pharmacist, a clinical nurse, and a naturopath, and at another time, a Vaisakhi celebration was held in honour of the Sikh holiday and included education about the Sikh culture and a fashion show.
Program Staffing and Partners: The SAIL program is staffed by one part-time Coordinator and supported by 25 volunteers. In 2016, these volunteers contributed 1,937 volunteer hours. The volunteers assist with morning registration and delivery of the wellness services. The volunteers are able to communicate with participants in at least six languages.
SAIL has several important strategic partners that make the program viable. The Burnaby Partners in Seniors’ Wellness programs originally received funding from Fraser Health Authority, however, this funding was lost in 2009. The Burnaby Hospital Foundation has stepped in and is now the primary funder for SAIL and the other Burnaby Partners in Seniors’ Wellness programs (the programs jointly apply for this funding). SAIL also receives funding from Mulberry PARC, a retirement residence in Burnaby, as they see the value of SAIL for their tenants and seniors in the community. The City of Burnaby provides in-kind support and space at their recreation facilities for the wellness programs. Organizational partners provide presenters for the weekly presentations.
Though each of the four Burnaby Partners in Seniors’ Wellness programs run independently, the programs meet four times a year as a community of practice to share with each other ideas and innovations. These four programs have been able to have separate funds and manage their own budgets, but due to changes in the Society Act, these funds are now going to be amalgamated. This means that SAIL will have less control over their budget and they are concerned about what the impact will be on the program and the participants.