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 Valley Capitals defenceman Logan Rands pokes the puck away from Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Talon Duff. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Offence sags as Cowichan Capitals reach midway mark

Caps score one goal in three games as pod season continues

BCYP Minister for the Southern Interior, Aislinn Dressler of Fernie said the Youth Parliament being virtual was a great way to learn about how the BC Parliament was operating. (Photo contributed by Aislinn Dressler)
Applications open for Islands Youth Parliament

Applications must be received by April 23

Someone used this counterfeit $50 to pay for items at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan in April 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan businesses warned of counterfeit cash

Fake $50 passed at Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, says the municipality’s fire halls have responded to more fires than usual this spring. (File photo)
Dry weather, wind leads to more brushfires this spring in North Cowichan

‘Be safe. Be fire smart. Be situationally aware.’

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Most Read