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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals, long-term care and nursing facilities across the country are putting a pause on in-person visits to protect the vulnerable community which includes older adults and individuals with chronic health conditions. Seniors who are residing in these facilities, as well as those who live on their own, may feel especially isolated during this break from their families and friends.

See below for ideas on how you can stay socially connected and continue doing some of the things you enjoy at this uncertain time without taking any unnecessary risks:

  • Set up regular phone calls. Schedule regular calls at the same time and on the same days. These recurring conversations give everyone something to look forward to.
  • Take up letter writing. Everyone loves getting a letter in the mail. Share your favourite stories and memories. If you’re writing to a younger family member, consider including a self-addressed stamped envelope to encourage them to write back.
  • Set up easy-to-use technology. A tablet or smartphone will allow your family to use apps like FaceTime, Facebook Messenger or What’s App to easily video conference with senior family members.
  • Watch a show together — virtually. Netflix Party is a new feature that allows friends and families to watch movies and TV shows together. If you have a Chrome browser on a desktop or laptop computer, you can join watch parties through an invitation URL. You can also chat during the show.
  • Attend virtual religious services. If you usually attend worship services, find out if services are available to stream online.
  • Dust off the library card. Public libraries may be closed, but many have increased their sharing services for things like e-books, audio books and movies.
  • Keep minds and bodies active. Attend a virtual exercise class — check YouTube for classes that suit you. From dancing workouts to yoga routines, there is something to suit every fitness type.

  • Visit the great outdoors. Since May 05th, restrictions have been lifted to allow people who had previously been cocooning to get outside for a walk or a drive, as long as they’re within 5km of home and they avoid all contact with other people. Even just a short walk can refresh your mind and spirit.

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social disconnection. With a little preparation and creativity, you and your family can find new ways to keep your aging loved ones safe and connected through this time.

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