Connecting with Loved Ones – Part 2
Connecting with the Elderly
Even before COVID-19, we already knew about the negative impacts that loneliness and isolation can have on our quality of life. This experience can be even worse for our elderly population. One study in the United States published in 2012 reported that 43% of individuals over 60 reported feeling lonely. The study also found that loneliness was associated with functional impairment and even death.
Now, during quarantine, we are told to stay away from our elderly loved ones. This can be very difficult for us all. Many of them are experiencing new forms of loneliness or fear for their health. It is important that we try to connect with the aging population in any way that we can.
- If your elderly friend or family member has access to technology, you can use FaceTime or Skype to connect with them face-to-face to provide an added connection.
- If they do not have access to technology, even a simple phone call or mailing a letter can go a long way! Hearing someone else’s voice and being able to write about their experiences can be helpful.
- If you’re nearby, you can try to check in with each other through a window or from the street while maintaining a safe distance. Making sure that they have enough food and medical supplies so they don’t have to leave the house on their own can be helpful.
- If you don’t have anyone you personally know that you can reach out to, there are many initiatives to connect with seniors who might need some support now! Here are some examples to check out or to help you start your own:
- Halifax letter-writing initiative for seniors facing loneliness amid COVID-19
- New Horizons for Seniors Program – Canadian Government funding activities
- For undergraduate or medical students: Student-Senior Isolation Prevention Partnership
- Meals on Wheels
- Seniors First B.C.
- Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society
Written in collaboration with Ivona Berger
Carla M Perissinotto, Irena Stijacic Cenzer, and Kenneth E Covinsky. (2012). Loneliness in Older Persons: A predictor of functional decline and death. Retrieved April 12, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4383762/