Kahir is the Provincial Director of Healthy Aging at the United Way Lower Mainland (UWLM). He has extensive experience in social services with a specialization in community and healthy living for older adults, health promotion, holistic quality of life and immigrant older adults. Kahir’s expertise includes executive leadership in and beyond Canada, multi-sectoral collaboration and partnership building, policy development, program delivery and evaluation. Kahir holds several degrees and certificates in Gerontology, Leadership and Management. Kahir has a driving passion to serve the older adults of BC and beyond.
United Way’s Investment to Address Social Exclusion and Access to Health and Social Care for BC’s Seniors
Access to health, community and social care services are an integral factor enabling older adults to age in place. Moreover, the provision of community-based services that leverage the skill-sets of older adults and provide platforms for social connectedness and civic vitality are at the core of combating ageism in communities all across British Columbia (BC).
In response to health and social care needs expressed by communities, the United Way, in collaboration with key partners including community-level seniors’ services agencies, all levels of government including municipalities, academia and public partners, developed a Healthy Aging Strategy with two cornerstone provincial programs. United Way’s Better at Home and Active Aging programs work collaboratively to provide senior-centred programming to combat ageism by supporting access to health, social and community care and services, and aim to reduce social isolation and social frailty. A key pillar to the development and implementation of these programs is the notion of community development – developing programs and strategies which are responsive to identified needs and gaps in service delivery within local communities.
The Better at Home program is a provincial initiative grounded in the knowledge that the majority of older adults in BC want to age in place – in their own communities and in their own homes – which requires community-based access to health and social care services. By providing non-medical home and social supports, the program is helping older adults to stay at home for longer in 85 communities, allowing for flexibility for local communities to infuse their individual nuances. A key aim of this program is to prevent isolation and loneliness and help seniors improve their quality of life to support their active and independent lives as they age.
The Active Aging program is a provincial platform that enables older adults to access local social services and build social networks. This program works to foster the development of partnerships in order to meet the unique, demonstrated needs of a wide variety of neighbourhoods across BC. Low and no-cost drop-in activities, especially ones close to home or with transportation provided, help reduce seniors’ isolation and increase the sense of community and belonging.
By working on seniors’ sector redesign, the United Way continues to develop programs to support seniors across BC to maintain/enhance independence and provide collaborative and holistic, community-based models of care to support aging in place.