Canada is celebrating its 141st official Thanksgiving this year. Originally celebrated to give thanks for the blessing of a prosperous harvest, Canadians now spend the holidays to give thanks for all of life’s blessings as well as to spend time with friends and family.
As social distancing remains in effect for much of the country, Thanksgiving looks much different this year, yet Canadians have found creative ways to make sure the holiday is special. Some have chosen to have virtual dinners. Others have opted to have an outdoor dinner. For many, a tough call has been made to spend the holiday only with those in the same household.
Sadly, for many of Canada’s elderly, Thanksgiving weekend has meant remaining entirely isolated from their family to comply with directives given by both the federal and provincial government.
Elderly isolation has been on the rise in Canada for years. Even prior to 2020, 30% of Canadian seniors were estimated to be at risk of suffering from loneliness. For seniors who may live on their own or are in care facilities, being alone on Thanksgiving may only deepen the feelings of loneliness.
Since the start of COVID we have all experienced some form of isolation and these changes have significantly impacted the elderly community. According to Age Friendly Niagara, the effects of social isolation in elderly persons include depression, social anxiety, loneliness, a sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, a higher chance of falls, and substance abuse.
How can we help as a community and as family members to combat this very unfortunate reality?
If one thing has been made clear this year, it is the value technology has in keeping us connected. Have you checked on your loved one this week?
Here are a few ways to stay connected:
- Schedule regular phone calls
- Zoom calls
- Face Time calls
- Outside social visits
- Send a letter or card via snail mail
At Rose Hill Lane, we have continued to provide premium care for those we serve while adhering to current health and safety protocols, but we know that the elderly community at large is still in need of support. One way we have been bringing some joy is with Jazz in the Courtyard, where we visit elderly care facilities to present live music from a distance. These are wonderful moments of relief where our isolated elders can enjoy some music and companionship.
Our annual A Dance to Remember fundraiser, benefitting the Alzheimer’s Society of Niagara Region (ASNR), will look different in its third year, as we are planning an online auction, music and a 50/50 draw on November 10th, 2020. Stay tuned for more information on this worthy event.
How have you been connecting with elderly in your life? We would love to hear your suggestions. Give us a call at 905-328-9803.
From all of us at Rose Hill Lane Inc., we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
For more ideas and information, here are some resources:
Age Friendly Niagara
Social Isolation toolkit Vol.1
Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region