Little Brothers

  • There’s nothing like a few days in the country to invigorate the mind and the soul.

    Photo: Thibault Caron

  • Located on the shores of the Lac des Deux Montagnes in Oka, Domaine Juliette-Huot boasts a breathtaking setting.

    Photo: Thibault Caron

  • Great Friends can take a trip to a vacation lodge for the day or for up to a full week.

    Photo: Thibault Caron

  • During these trips, the Great Friends create lasting bonds and forge memories that remain etched in their minds.

    Photo: Thibault Caron

  • Shared mealtimes and the overall friendly ambiance of the facilities make vacationers feel like they are part of a family.

    Photo: Thibault Caron

BY THE NUMBERS

The Québec-wide organization serves 1,650 Great Friends in 16 local chapters located in 11 regions

The average age of the Great Friends is 84

Over 15,000 visits by volunteer companions are made to Great Friends every year

56% of Great Friends visited are widowed, separated or divorced, 20% have no family members or friends at all, and 23% suffer from cognitive impairment

Helping End Seniors Isolation Throughout Québec

Currently, one in five elders has no one to turn to in their lives for support or companionship. In fact, more than 50 per cent of men and women in their 80s self-identify as lonely and isolated. This social confinement can lead to serious physical repercussions, including an increased likelihood of illness, a higher incidence of depression or suicide, greater risk of abuse and even a 60 per cent higher risk of cognitive impairment.

Little Brothers seeks to solve this problem by providing lonely seniors with a strong social support network. First founded in 1946 in France, the organization opened its Québec branch in 1962, providing life-long support, companionship and community for Quebecers aged 75 and up (whom they affectionately refer to as their Great Friends). Since then, the organization has continued to grow in the province and now serves once lonely seniors in 16 communities across Québec, including Montréal, Laval, Québec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, and Trois-Rivières.

A Forever Family

While the organization’s programs act as a complement to other social services, what sets Little Brothers apart is the unconditional, personalized pledge to stay by the side of their Great Friends until the end of their lives.

Above all else, Little Brothers values quality human relationships, which they consider fundamental and essential for all humans. This is reflected in the organization’s motto: Flowers before bread. Essentially, Little Brothers prides itself on going beyond meeting Great Friends’ basic needs – food, access to basic care and a secure place to live – and nourishing their hearts by sharing love and compassion and getting to experience once again a sense of fulfillment in their final years.

Restoring a Sense of Purpose and an Appetite for Life

Together, Little Brothers’ 2,050 volunteers and donors have created an extended intergenerational family for and with their Great Friends. Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and the elderly are brought together through a wide range of multi-faceted and flexible programs and services are offered to meet individual needs, all of which have a concrete impact on the lives of solitary seniors living throughout Québec.

Programs include: long-term pairing, home and hospital visits, vacation getaways, celebrations and outings, intergenerational programs, and an end-of-life commitment initiative that ensures the presence of a known and trusted volunteer during a Great Friend’s final moments.

Of all its offered programs, the long-term pairing program is by far the most effective solution against solitude and loneliness. Volunteers give their time to connect one-on-one with a Great Friend through home visits, phone calls, activities and even small, thoughtful gestures, in an effort to provide each and every senior with the dignity and respect they deserve, all the while breaking the cycle of isolation and proving that they are still important to someone. 

“The Little Brothers organization serves an important mission in our community – to break seniors’ isolation, and to give a sense of purpose and comfort to the lives of each and every Great Friend,” says Julie L’Heureux, Director of Power Corporation’s Donations Committee. “The Little Brothers manage to relieve the pain and loneliness of those who make up some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”

“We are fortunate to be able to count on our wonderful partners such as Power Corporation to help put an end to the social isolation of older people through our vacation getaway program,” said Little Brothers Executive Director Caroline Sauriol. “This program gives seniors the opportunity to experience an unforgettable stay at Juliette Huot Lodge or Paul Garneau Villa, which really makes a difference in their lives.”

The Little Brothers manage to relieve the pain and loneliness of those who make up some of the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Julie L’Heureux
Director, Donations Committee
Power Corporation

Video

See the video from Little Brothers (in French only)