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.

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.

In the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, residents can also phone or text 2-1-1 and connect with someone 24/7, 365 days a year. Topics are also tailored to Indigenous, immigrant and senior and youth communities, making it simple to access the information you need.

Just Posted

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor. (Photo by Bernard Thibodeau)
NDP tables dental care program

Millions of Canadians don’t visit the dentist every year because they can’t afford to.

New designs for a the new weir in Lake Cowichan call for a walkway over the top of the weir, as pictured in this graphic. (Courtesy of the CVRD)
Location of new weir at Cowichan Lake determined to be suitable

Weir design supported by public, says project manager

The Richmond family, owners of the 49th Parallel grocery store chain in the mid-Island, were on hand for the opening of the company’s fifth location at Berkey’s Corner on March 2. Pictured, from left, are Peter, the company’s CEO, his mother Harmina, sister Kathy and father Wayne in front of the new store. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Business notes: 49th Parallel opens new location at Berkey’s Corner

What’s happening in the Cowichan Valley business community

Holly the stuffed Rottweiler has been missing from the front of Lucky Dog U-Bath since Feb. 24. (Submitted photo)
Holly the stuffed Rottweiler is missing from Duncan shop

Toy dog missing from front of Lucky Dog U-Bath since Feb.24

Martha Jane McHardy displays her knitwear in one of the windows at Imagine That! in Duncan this month. (Submitted)
Arts and Entertainment column: Lots to see in Duncan in March

Funding success, painters show, folk art, tell your COVID story

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Shiromali Krishnaraj arrives from India and receives a mandatory COVID-19 test at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. B.C.’s approved rapid tests also use a nasal swab, with a machine to scan for COVID-19 antibodies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s rapid COVID-19 tests have produced only two positive results

Tests deployed for exposures in schools, outbreaks in care homes, jails

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed that a call was received just before 10 a.m. Ground paramedics, as well as an air ambulance, are on the way to the area. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BREAKING: Helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

The Nanaimo bar display at the Nanaimo Museum. (City of Nanaimo Instagram)
City of Nanaimo points to correct recipe after New York Times botches batch of bars

City addresses ‘controversy’ around dessert square’s layers

A man holds a picture of Chantel Moore during a healing gathering at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. First Nation demands transparency in probe into second fatal RCMP shooting

‘Police have killed more Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation members than COVID’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of dead B.C. Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife, secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

Comox Valley-raised Shay Sandiford has earned a spot on the Canada skateboard team. Facebook
Vancouver Islander selected to Canada’s first-ever national skateboard team

Courtenay’s Shay Sandiford has his eye on qualifying for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo

Most Read