Suzanne Garon, PhD, is a sociologist and full professor in the School of Social Work of the University of Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada. She is a regular researcher at the Center for Research on Aging. She is the principal investigator in the implementation and evaluation of the Age-Friendly Cities and Communities program in Québec (AFCC-QC).and the Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Age-friendly Cities and Communities
Age-Friendly Cities and Communities in Quebec: How municipalities and Stakeholders Of Health and Social Services Sector can work together?
The involvement of leaders of Health and Social Services (HSS) organizations as active collaborative members of Age-Friendly steering committees and respective action plans is highly desired and valued. This cross-sectorial engagement approach intends to enrich the national level programming of Age-friendly cities and communities in Quebec. This networking model holds promising innovative initiatives and applications, yet, it is still difficult to stimulate a provincial-wide partnership between HSS and municipalities.
A multiple case study (Yin, 2009) of social innovations generated by Age-friendly cities and communities allows us to illustrate operating models or innovative projects and their corresponding contributing factors. Two samples (A and B) have been selected (19 cases), including some municipalities that have developed innovative projects, whereas six others were facing challenges preventing innovation. Data reported here were collected through individual and dyad interviews (n=27), focus groups (n=10), participant observations (n=2) and working groups meetings (or workshops) (n=10). All of these were supplemented by documentary data such as diagnosis and action plans, meeting reports, working documents, etc.). The concept of social innovation selected is the one discussed in detail by Andrew and Klein (2010).
One of the cases is a regional county municipality (RCM) which aimed to do an early identification of seniors facing a reduced autonomy. This initiative was led by practitioners of the HSS with the goal of improving professional interventions in community home support services. The second project was completed by an experienced team with an adult education approach. The project was intended to demystify health promotion by offering a range of various activities to seniors. By comparing the two cases, we could see how a participatory and community based approach had more impact on senior citizens of remote territories even with important transportation deficiencies. We identified many reaching out strategies that could be used in other contexts.