Winter can be a time of greater isolation for seniors. Extra visits and phone calls from friends and family can help them stay connected. Community resources can also be found at bc211.ca.

5 ways to help senior friends and family this winter

bc211.ca offers community connections for all ages, throughout BC

For many families, winter is a time of busy calendars, holiday celebrations and sunny getaways. For seniors, however, the exact opposite is often true. That, paired with cold temperatures, decreased mobility and limited incomes can result in isolation that puts seniors at risk of physical, emotional and mental health concerns.

The good news is that support can be as close as bc211.ca, a BC-wide resource created in partnership with United Way that links residents to community, social and government resources on a comprehensive range of topics, from learning skills to mental health.

Health, finances among seniors’ common concerns

Seniors contacted bc211.ca for many different reasons between September 2017 and August 2018, but topping the list, outside housing and homelessness, were:

  • Health – 23.1 per cent of calls
  • Income & Financial Assistance – 16 per cent of calls
  • Transportation – 9 per cent of calls
  • Government Services – 8.7 per cent of calls
  • Mental Health – 6.8 per cent of calls
  • Basic Needs – 6.7 per cent of calls

The information sought reinforces the need to connect with seniors year-round, but especially at times that can be particularly isolating.

How can you help

1. Make time for a visit or to take a grandparent, friend or neighbour out for lunch or a drive. If you’re not close by, a regular phone call is a great way to check in, share news and stay connected. In an increasingly technology-driven society, seniors who are not as tech-savvy can be further isolated.

2. Include them in holiday festivities, such as school performances, or call to see if you can take them to church, the library or a favourite activity.

3. When you visit, look for signs that they could be struggling – little food in the fridge, for example, or an unusually unkempt appearance or home. These can signal physical or cognitive challenges, or depression.

4. Ask what they might need or want – a smartphone or tablet and a few lessons might let them “Facetime” with the grandkids, for example. Or maybe a gift card from a favourite restaurant could deliver a hot meal when they don’t feel up to cooking.

5. Look for community resources that might be able to help. bc211.ca can connect you to the full spectrum of services and organizations in your community, from transportation supports for those finding it difficult to get out, to medical and mental health services.

Optimized for mobile devices, bc211.ca connects individuals 24/7 with current, reliable information about community resources close to home, all easily accessed through the one-stop website as well as online chat daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Topics are also tailored to Indigenous, immigrant and senior and youth communities, making it simple to access the information you need.

Just Posted

Hospital chief of staff provides a COVID-19 update; face coverings available for free starting this weekend

Vigilance needed; face coverings soon to be available throughout valley

Easter weekend no time to let up on COVID-19 safety

Provincial health officer warns against travelling this weekend

Invermere mayor says bill payments can wait and asks visitors to please stay home

Al Miller provides an update on the District of Invermere and COVID-19.

Digital marketing graduation

Digital marketing skills vital to businesses since COVID-19 pandemic began

Social distancing for wildlife, please

Outdoor photographers urge humans not to get too close to local wildlife.

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read