All Aboard for a Vancouver Harbour Cruise!

FullSizeRender (2)On July 23rd some 10 Tonari Gumi seniors and two staff members were able to gather for an enjoyable cruise around Vancouver Harbour.  The weather was at its Vancouver best with largely clear blue skies and a slight breeze to make the experience even more memorable.  After what had been a very hot July, the temperature and weather was ideal for our seniors.

Several commented that they had always wanted to take this cruise but hadn’t wanted to do it alone.  IMG_0173 (2)Another said that while she had been on a similar cruise before it was a special treat to be able to do it with other seniors and for the staff to be available to help them when needed.

After the cruise, everyone stopped at the nearby Rio Restaurant which is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian grill.FullSizeRender (8)  While the fresh salads were much enjoyed, the younger ones were surprised at the healthy appetites of their seniors.  Grilled beef, chicken, pork and sausages were freely available and our seniors did their best to get good value for their money.

It’s great to be able to get out and to enjoy the ocean breezes, but it’s even better to be able to do it with friends and those whom you feel comfortable.  Many thanks to Atsuko Ichijo for organizing this outing and Utako Ueki for helping with the transport for everyone who participated.FullSizeRender (10) FullSizeRender (5)

Working Together To Stop Elder Abuse


Elderly-HandsTonari Gumi as the lead organization in partnership with the Greater Vancouver JCCA, the Nikkei Senior Health Care & Housing Society and the Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Center has recently been awarded a major grant to help reduce elder abuse. Tonari Gumi is spearheading a three part program over the next year to reduce elder abuse within the Japanese Canadian Community by

1) Raising awareness

2) Training seniors and caregivers to recognize and respond, and

3) Building community collaboration to eliminate elder abuse.

1) Raising Awareness:
Under this project we are looking to adapt existing prevention and awareness information on elder abuse and disseminate this information in both English and Japanese through posters, web pages, the local Japanese language press and media.

We are coordinating with a local drama group consisting of Japanese seniors to produce short skits which reveal different aspects of elder abuse and would be understandable for all generations. We are also seeking individuals to interview who may be open to share possible real-life stories on elderly abuse.

Utilizing these skits and interviews, a series of awareness raising seminars will be conducted in Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and other communities in the Lower Mainland and subsequently elsewhere in B.C. in cooperation with our partner organizations.

2) Training to Recognize and Respond to Elder Abuse:
There is a plan to organize a series of bilingual workshops in Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and other communities to train seniors, caregivers and community leaders to recognize when elder abuse is taking place and how to take action to protect seniors from such abuse. Training expertise would be drawn from the local community (police, financial institutions, medical and psychological professionals) to deal with financial, physical and psychological aspects of elder abuse.

3) Build Community Collaboration:
Together with our partner organizations within the community, a team would be developed to work from Tonari Gumi and serve as a referral point for individuals seeking assistance with respect to elder abuse. For the duration of the project period, a hotline telephone number would be established where individuals could seek advice in Japanese.Elder abuse hand

The objective would be to continue to maintain this hotline after the end of the project period. Seminar and workshop material would also be made available to other Japanese Canadian communities in B.C. and throughout Canada to assist them in raising awareness regarding elder abuse.

We welcome individuals who are interested in helping to raise greater awareness of the issue of elder abuse within the community.  Interested individuals should contact Tonari Gumi if they wish to help or just to express their views.

If you have any suggestions or information you would like to share with us, please give us a call at 604-687-2172 ext. 202 or contact us by email at

A Positive Story from One of our ‘Tech2Go’ Volunteers

Several of our seniors have greatly benefited from participating in Tonari Gumi’s ‘Tech2Go’ program, using tablet computers. One of Tonari Gumi’s volunteers, who visits people living in residential care facilities, has expressed, “I have been visiting a lady in her early nineties for more than a couple of years. In the beginning, every time I visited her, she welcomed me with a warm smile. Recently however, she indicated a decline in her health, both physically and mentally and I noticed she seldom smiled as she had before. I decided to introduce the use of a tablet computer to her.  First, we listened to old Japanese songs and watched videos as a way to understand her preferences and interests.  She appeared delighted to look at landscape scenery and enjoyed singing old Japanese songs with the help of subtitles.  It was such a pleasure for me to see that she was able to read the Japanese subtitles.  The utilization of tablet computers has proven to be an effective way to initiate various stimulating conversations with seniors.”  Our ‘Tech2Go’ Tonari Gumi volunteers are first-hand witnesses to how the use of new technology has greatly improved the quality of life among our seniors.


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