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 Policy Strategies to Support Age-Friendly Cities and Communities in British Columbia
In order to truly create age-friendly environments in British Columbia (BC), we look further than built environments – we embrace a holistic setting where older adults have access to community programs and services so that they can age in place. Presently in BC, no policy exists to support the community-based sector to address the growing population of its aging citizens and this underinvestment in healthy aging has led to an inconsistent and fragmented system of care – from the uppermost systems of government to grassroots agencies at the neighbourhood level. The vital role played by the Community-Based-Seniors’ Services (CBSS) Sector – which includes municipal governments and non-profit organizations that offer programs and services to seniors and their families – is often unacknowledged and under-supported by government, leaving BC’s seniors to experience a confusing and challenging system for themselves.
Using a health promotion/prevention approach focused on policy development, United Way has engaged in a multi-sectoral approach to creating healthy communities using an older adult-centered model of care in BC. United Way’s Healthy Aging Strategy is focused on enhancing the capacity of older adults to remain physically active, socially and mentally engaged, and as healthy and independent as possible through six common outcomes: increased social supports, increased civic vitality, enhanced food security, increased self-management of instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), ability to live safely, and reduction of social isolation.
In service to these positive outcomes for older adults, the strategy is addressing this emerging policy concern in the following ways:
Declaration of the CBSS Sector & Policy Dialogue
A signed demonstration of the commitment to the seniors of BC to ensure that CBSS are a priority for all stakeholders who serve the people of our province. This call to action sparks discussion on policy gaps and reviews existing policies to be leveraged
Municipal representatives gather annually and commit to sharing ways government can become more engaged, and push policy and resolution in support of older adults
CBSS Leadership Council
Commission to increase the capacity of the CBSS sector, identify systemic and emerging policy issues and address them with key partners to support the wellbeing of the BC’s communities
Specific capacity building initiatives like United Way’s Public Policy Institute, with key sector and government leaders as its faculty is a way we are actualizing our push for policy movement.