Senior isolation at a seasonal high
COVID-19 has been tough on seniors dealing with isolation and now with the cold weather and the snow settling in, it's going to be downright difficult for those grappling with being alone.
Parkside Centre for Seniors manager John Richer said it's something that needs to be taken seriously.
"It's a very serious issue, you know the impacts it has on people's health, physical and mental well being are very serious and it does speed up the decline in people, as well," said Richer.
Richer said they've been talking about senior isolation since he started at the facility more than 17 years ago.
They're currently working with Home Instead's 'Be a Santa to a Senior' program in hopes of ensuring no one is forgotten about this Holiday season.
"There are still a lot of people who aren't comfortable going back out into the community yet so we're still trying hard to reach those people with our Parkside Centre without Walls," he said.
Another group working to combat senior isolation is Meals On Wheels Sudbury, whose volunteers work to make sure everyone gets a warm meal.
"Maybe they've been vaccinated, maybe they haven't but they still need to stay at home, they're still feeling alone," said executive director Shannon Ketchabaw. "The idea of getting a hug from somebody isn't even happening for them. Yes, with family, but family isn't always there."
Advocates are hoping people will look out for each other this Holiday season and keep an eye on your neighbours.
"Cause seniors, like everyone else, are all social beings, even that contact by telephone, if it's possible occasionally to have a visit from someone, perhaps a relative or someone that's concerned, to spend that little bit of time because that is important," said Friendly to Seniors president John Lindsay.
A federal report found social isolation can lead to depression, loneliness, alcoholism and social anxiety.
It also found socially isolated seniors are more at risk of negative health behaviours like drinking, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle.
Be a Santa to a Senior runs until Dec. 10.