Message from Mayor Kathryn McGarry on Seniors’ Month

Posted on Monday June 01, 2020

June is Seniors’ Month; a time to recognize and celebrate the older adults in our lives who’ve helped shape us and our community.

I want to take a moment to draw attention to the additional vulnerability our senior population faces during these difficult times.

As well as a higher risk of infection and virus complications, one of the biggest challenges facing our seniors during this pandemic is social isolation.

Not only can a lack of social interaction lead to loneliness, it can also negatively affect a person’s health. And the more isolation a person feels, the more likely they are to feel they have no one to turn for help. This is a serious issue and there are things we, as a community, can do to remind seniors that they’re not alone.

What we’re doing as a City

At the City of Cambridge, we expanded our Without Walls (WOW) Social program to open registration to all older adults who are interested in getting involved. The free, phone-based program brings seniors together to socialize and do activities – this includes everything from musical entertainment to gardening tips. We’ve seen almost 1,000 participant spots filled since March. To register call 519-623-1340 or online at www.cambridge.ca/wow.

Staff are also conducting regular reassurance and wellness calls to members of our Adult Day Program and members of our 50+ Recreation Centres to check in and provide more information on ways to stay connected. If you know someone who could benefit from a wellness call, you can schedule one by calling us at 519-623-1340.

On the online side, we launched a 50+ Facebook page for older adults in the community at the start of pandemic, as well we continue to update our website at www.cambridge.ca/50  which has lots of information on supports and online activities for older residents and their caregivers.

I encourage you to check out these programs if you’re feeling isolated and to please share these resources with someone you know who might be struggling. We may be isolated but we don’t need to feel alone.

What you can do

There are many ways that you can help keep the older adults in your life and community connected during in this pandemic. Some simple ideas include:

  • Get to know your neighbor (at a distance of 6ft, of course!)
  • Pick up the phone and call someone who could use a chat
  • Set up video chats with relatives, neighbours and friends who are isolated
  • Volunteer

Lastly, there’s been a lot in the news lately bringing attention to the need for increased health and safety measures at long-term home facilities and I’m heartened to see positive action and measures are being implemented.

Supports for Older Adults