Seniors Month: 3 Tips for Staying Safe and in Touch

Seniors' Month

June is Seniors' Month in Ontario and this year the message is stay safe, stay in touch while bringing together older adults (virtually, of course). Photo: John Fedele/Getty Images

June is Seniors Month in Ontario and, this year, the message is stay safe, stay in touch. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility is focused on celebrating, engaging and bringing together older adults (virtually, of course).

Social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19 meant the closure of Seniors Active Living Centres across the province. So, programming shifted from on-site to dial-in. Dubbed “Centres Without Walls,” people can still connect by simply calling in (or connecting by Zoom video conference) for a range of daily/weekly sessions, from expert guest speakers to trivia hour to instructor-led seated exercise.

Staying in Touch

Keeping older people connected through lockdown was also top of mind for the Canadian Frailty Network. Anticipating that social distancing would increase social isolation, the agency developed both high- and low-tech tips. One idea — for which all someone needs is a telephone — is embarking on a genealogy project by reaching out to relatives far and wide to create a family tree.

Apart but Together, Digitally

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that where there’s a will, there is also high-tech way. Online portals and apps have made it possible to socialize virtually with friends and family. If you use an iPad, Mac or iPhone, try a Group FaceTime to gather as many as 32 of them at once. Click here for a how-to video and for five others tech tools to try out and use to stay connected with those you love.

Safety First

Older people are more at risk for severe complications from COVID-19, so health officials continue to urge a safety-first approach as social restrictions relax. Wearing a face mask covering over our nose and mouth is one of the ways we can protect ourselves by protecting everyone.

Experts calling for universal masking to reduce transmission of the virus note that some homemade masks have shown to be as effective as surgical masks at filtering out infectious respiratory droplets. We spread droplets not only when we cough or sneeze but also when we talk and laugh — and sing (should at-home karaoke be on the agenda). For more tips to stay safe as we begin to enjoy each other’s company, in person, click here.