Embracing Diversity: Providing Culturally Appropriate Care for British Columbia’s Aging Population
British Columbia is currently undergoing significant demographic shifts; along with an aging population, the province is also becoming more ethnically and culturally diverse.
With 45 percent of the Metro Vancouver population born outside Canada, the National Household Survey reports one in six Metro residents do not speak English or French in their homes. While over half (57%) of seniors in Metro Vancouver adhere to the Christian faith, another 40,000 seniors report belonging to other religions, including Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Hindus.
The increasing diversity of the province brings both opportunities and challenges for British Columbia’s seniors care providers. This forward-thinking Care to Chat will outline innovative approaches that care providers are using to deliver culturally appropriate care and services that meet the social-cultural, spiritual, nutritional and linguistic needs of their residents and clients.
Issues around improving equitable access to culturally appropriate care will also be highlighted. As outlined in a 2016 Wellesley Institute report, seniors in Ontario wanting a place in an ethno-culturally specific care home wait far longer than average (up to six months more).
Along with improving access, this diverse panel will also address such challenges as recruiting health care workers to fill specific linguistic or cultural needs, reducing social isolation of ethnic seniors, allowing space for customs and beliefs regarding death, and how to meet nutritional preferences and restrictions on a limited budget. Finally, the panelists will also highlight strategies to incorporate culturally competent care into all operations while also respecting and treating each senior as an individual.
Date: October 6, 2017
Time: 11.30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Terminal City Club, Vancouver
Registration closes September 29.
Belle Puri (Moderator) — Reporter/Producer, CBC Vancouver
Belle Puri is a seasoned and award winning broadcast journalist with over 35 years of experience. Belle has been with the CBC since 1992. She brings a diverse set of skills and background to her role. Belle has worked as a reporter, producer and host in private radio (CKNW), and private (BCTV) and public television.
Belle worked as the B.C. Legislative Bureau Chief for CBC after four years as business reporter for the national program Newsworld Business News. Before that she spent three years as Senior Assignment Producer for the evening news. She was also the popular host of CBC Radio One’s afternoon show “On The Coast”.
Belle’s assignments have included covering provincial politics, federal political leadership conventions, the Commonwealth Conference, the Clinton/Yeltsin summit, Royal visits, Expo ’86, APEC and of course the 2010 Olympics.
Winner of the Jack Webster Award for Excellence in Legal Journalism, CAN PRO Gold Award, and several regional and national RTNDA awards Belle’s work has made lasting impacts. In 2010 she was appointed Press Secretary to B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell but chose to stay at CBC upon his decision to retire.
Over the years Belle has been extensively involved in community work covering healthcare, social service agencies and the arts. Most recently, she was Chair of the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.
Szuchi Lee — Administrator, Villa Cathay Care Home
Szuchi Lee is the Executive Director of Villa Cathay Care Home Society. Having joined the organization for six years, Szuchi’s primary focus is to lead the team and to foster the service delivery system in a person-centered and culturally sensitive “home” for seniors that require residential care. One of her daily enjoyable moments is to greet residents and to see the smiles on their faces.
Szuchi graduated with a Master in Social Work from University of Washington. Her study concentration, Multi-Ethnic Practice, has inspired her to critically think and examine how our systems treat the most vulnerable and disadvantaged population. Having senior care systems that allow all individuals to have their choices, comfort, and human dignity is her passion.
She feels fortunate knowing that she has allies who share the vision in this health care system. In addition to overseeing the operation of the Care Home, Szuchi is currently leading the Society’s capital rejuvenation project to rebuild and expand the home.
By 2020, Villa Cathay Care Home will increase its capacity by nearly 50% to serve more seniors. Szuchi is a Registered Clinical Social Worker in BC and is a member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders.
Dr. Sharon Koehn — Clinical Research Professor, Department of Gerontology, Simon Fraser University
Sharon Koehn, PhD, is a Clinical Research Professor in the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University and a Research Associate at Providence Health Care. Trained as a medical anthropologist, Dr. Koehn has been conducting interdisciplinary community-based research with immigrant older adults—particularly South Asians—since 1990.
Dr. Koehn’s current research focuses on the lived experiences of immigrant older adults as captured by photovoice and life story methods and exhibited in community centers across the Lower Mainland. She is also the Principle Investigator on a study that is exploring access to dementia services and supports for Punjabi and Korean older adults. Other current and completed projects have researched health care access, chronic disease self-management support, quality of life in Assisted Living, and mental health promotion.
Dr. Koehn regularly partners with immigrant serving agencies such as PICS, DIVERSECity, SUCCESS, and Mosaic; with municipalities, such as the Cities of Surrey and Richmond; and with health and government authorities such as Fraser, Vancouver Coastal and Providence Health, the BC Ministry of Health, and the Senior’s Directorate.
She has also served on advisory committees to represent minority senior’s issues for these organizations as well as the Provincial Health Services Authority, the Office of the BC Senior’s Advocate, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Employment and Social Development Canada.
Jas Cheema — Diversity Consultant, President of ICE Intercultural Services INC
Jas is a well-known philanthropist and community activist who has lead or supported many initiatives that have had a direct and positive impact on the daily lives of many. As an immigrant woman herself Jas has personally experienced the integration challenges faced by many immigrants. She writes about these challenges and works to foster a cross-cultural understanding through her writing, consulting, academic and volunteer work.Jas is the President of Intercultural Education Services Inc. an award-winning consulting firm she founded.
As a Diversity/Community Engagement consultant she enables organizations and individuals to work within the growing diversity in our communities. She has successfully lead projects addressing cultural competency in health services and seniors care.
Her community work includes: Surrey Libraries: Chair of the Literacy for Life campaign; Board Members, Kinsmen Place Lodge; Member, ACP Public Awareness & Education Working Group She has been recognized for her work through various awards such as: Surrey-North Delta Leader of the Year; Diversity Award; Flare Magazine’s Volunteer of the Year; Griffin Award for making a difference through the art of writing.She enjoys writing and has had columns published in The Surrey North Delta Leader Newspaper; South Asian Journal; Indo-Canadian Voice; Indo-Canadian Link.
Her past leadership roles have included: Board Member, Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation; President, Surrey Hospice Society; and Board Member, Surrey Food Bank. She holds a Master’s degree in Intercultural and International Communication with a Specialization in Intercultural Communication.
Rajeev Mohindru — Director of Care, Progressive Intercultural Community Society
Rajeev has more than 20 years experience in the field of human services, heath care, social work and education. Rajeev has worked for non-profit organizations as well as for the government social services departments, both in Canada and in the United Kingdom.
His areas of work include ageing services, mental health, geriatric care, physical and developmental disabilities. He has worked in community social work, hospital social work, crisis intervention, day programs, including mental health, dementia and ethnic services, residential and nursing care and assisted living.
He is on the Board of BC Council to Reduce Elder Abuse, Surrey Homeless and Housing Taskforce and Greater Vancouver Shelter Strategy Society.
He has been in leadership/management role for the past fifteen years where in his position, he has been responsible for managing community teams, hospital teams, crisis intervention teams, and many care facilities including residential & nursing care facilities, mental health facilities, transition homes, independent housing, subsidizing housing, assisted living, supported living and day programs.
His educational background comprises of Masters in Social Work, Bachelors in Social Work, Bachelors in Business Management and other educational qualifications including Administration, Finance, Counseling and Education.
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