How to Keep Connected During COVID-19—Seniors Edition
COVID-19 has impacted our lives in many different ways, including the ability to connect to one another.
Those living alone or in isolation are more prone to experiencing loneliness. Although this pandemic is temporary and hopefully soon, we will be able to get back to our regular means of connection, we do need to take this issue seriously as prolonged feelings of loneliness and despair can cause other health risks including heart disease, decreased cognitive skills and depression.
Tips for Seniors
Whether you are living alone, with a partner, or in a long-term care home, there are many ways that you can stay connected to your support network and keep your mental health in check during this pandemic. Below are some ideas that you can get started on today!
Keep in touch via technology
- Stay in touch with others using Facetime, texting, phone and email.
- If you have grandchildren, you can set up nightly calls to read bedtime stories or morning breakfast calls before school.
- Walk outside with a mask on or spend some time in a brightly lit room, preferably near a window
- Vitamin D and fresh air can do wonders for mental health.
Be entertained online
- Check out the City of Surrey Digital Stage for a wide assortment of musical and theatrical performances.
- Explore online games and social clubs
Learn something new!
- Hobbies new and old are a great way to pass the time and keep busy
- If you are looking to learn some new information, City of Surrey has a Focus on Seniors Webinar Series that covers a variety of interesting topics during monthly sessions.
- Choose to Move is also a great program for seniors wanting to get active in a supported way.
- Many organizations are looking for volunteers to make support phone calls to other seniors or those in need. You can volunteer your time when available and share experiences with others in similar situations.
Register for Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program
- Connect with a volunteer in your community to provide you with support such as groceries, support calls, meal delivery and medical transportation.
- Have your family and friends stop by for window visits. Staying safe inside your home you can see and talk to your support through the window. On nice days this can be a real treat for everyone!
- If you do not have anyone local to visit, be sure to check out the BCCares #tellthemyoucare campaign to view some special messages that communities across BC have created for seniors in the province during this pandemic.
Tips for Those with Seniors in Their Lives
It is also a challenging time for those with seniors in their lives. Not being able to see or physically connect to loved ones can be difficult. We must try to remember that this will not last forever and there are things we can do to improve the time we have right now.
Set a schedule for connection
- Having something to look forward to can be beneficial for everyone. Set up calls, window visits or texts on a regular weekly schedule.
- Intergenerational contact is important; try to connect when everyone is home from work/school.
Send letters and kids crafts via mail
- It can be special to receive something in the mail, and children can feel a sense of importance when creating crafts and notes for the elders in their lives.
Provide tools for connection
- If possible, drop off a phone or iPad for seniors to use. You can even do a window visit lesson to help them get started.
- Books, magazines, cards and games are also fun to drop by for seniors to use
- If the seniors in your life are living at a long-term care home, be sure to contact the care centre to see if they have anything set up to help manage isolation during this time.
Age Friendly Strategy for Seniors
In May 2014, the City adopted the Age Friendly Strategy for Seniors, a city-wide framework based on working together to ensure seniors are supported in our community. The City of Surrey is leading the way in supporting healthy active aging through is Age Friendly Strategy for Seniors, a framework that ensures seniors, families and caregivers are supported through advocacy, policy, partnering and service delivery.
The strategy focuses on four key outcomes, Safety, Health and Wellness, Transportation and Mobility, Home and Buildings and Outdoor Spaces.
The Strategy is the outcome of consultation and has been informed by the key elements of an age friendly city which were developed by the World Health Organization. Surrey is recognized as a Age Friendly City by the World Health Organization.
The Age Friendly Strategy, is connected to Surrey's Official Community Plan and Parks, Recreation & Culture 10-Year Plan, supporting working together in building and sustaining an age friendly city for seniors.
Stay in the Know
If you would like to learn more about programs and events for Surrey Seniors, subscribe to the Seniors Recreation & Events news and updates.