COLUMN: Maintaining wellbeing during senior isolation

As we all prepare to keep our homes and families safe during this COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important to consider the needs of the seniors in our lives and in our communities. Many of our wonderful local organizations are providing programs to keep our seniors protected and connected.

Many of the programs have been previously published, so here’s just brief listing:

• BC211: Need help? Want to help? Call and be matched. www.bc211.ca or call 2-1-1.

• A Rocha: Phone check-ins for seniors 778-235-3723

• Seniors Come Share Society: many programs. Call 604-531-9400 or visit www.comeshare.ca

• CARP: links to many government supports available at www.carp.ca

• Sources: 604.531.6226 or www.sourcesbc.ca

• Alexandra Neighbourhood House: Community Caring Circles www.alexhouse.net/community-caring-circles

This isolation can take a toll a senior’s mental and physical health, and it’s important to remember that there are things we can all do to foster connection, hope, purpose, and support for seniors during this difficult time. Families, caregivers and health professionals should work with seniors to develop a plan that allows them to take part in activities they love, follow the self-isolation recommendations of health agencies, and maintain positive mental health.

Here’s a list of activities someone (a loved one, friend, neighbour) can do with a seniors (remotely):

• Read suspense or romance novels out loud;

• Order an herb garden online, and watch it grow;

• Send your senior a coffee or tea of the week;

• Order supplies from an online crafts store for your loved one’s favourite hobby or something fun and new;

• Have your senior narrate parts of their life for you. Write down the memories and create a booklet with photos for you all to cherish;

• Watch classic TV shows from childhood together and talk about it;

• Have fun with adult colouring books or paint by numbers;

• Read your horoscope every day;

• Try Wii sports;

• Phone or video calls with family;

• Look at old albums and yearbooks; try scrapbooking;

• Watching the Travel Channel or History Channel and discuss;

• Voice journaling/journaling;

• Create a recipe book for the family;

• Have fun with Snapchat filters;

• Visit a virtual museum, go to a virtual concert, ballet and opera;

• Play online Bingo;

• Listen to music favourites; make a playlist;

• Make a family tree;

• Have a spelling bee.

Heather Martin, Comfort Keepers (chair of the Semiahmoo Seniors Planning Table). The Semiahmoo Seniors Planning Table is a group of individuals, and representatives from various non-profit agencies and local businesses that care about the inclusion and wellbeing of older adults living in the White Rock South Surrey community

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