Seniors Kept Safe and Connected Through bc211
“Social isolation amongst seniors is the number-one health concern … You put a pandemic on top of that, and it just grows exponentially.” - Deborah Hollins, Executive Director of Nanaimo Family Life Association
As individuals, having connections to our communities means so much more than a nod to a neighbour as you walk by, or a friendly chat. Connections are vital. For seniors, they can be life-saving.
So when the COVID-19 pandemic forced us indoors and threatened to cut communities off from their senior residents, United Way came up with a plan.
The Safe Seniors, Strong Communities program connects volunteers and seniors in need of help – all they have to do is call 2-1-1, or sign up via bc211.ca.
The program provides non-medical supports to seniors, including prepared meals, grocery and prescription delivery, transportation to appointments, and friendly visiting.
In the Central Island area, United Way called on the Nanaimo Family Life Association to organize the volunteer outreach.
From their home offices, NFLA staff put in long hours to find a way to safely deliver nutritious meals, transit and more all while sticking to social distancing rules.
Hundreds of seniors have safely weathered the pandemic thanks to this United Way program, and to the community members who stepped up.
“It was so impressive to see the response from islanders,” said Hollins. “We had more volunteers, quite frankly, than we knew what to do with.”
Anne Taylor was one of those volunteers, and performed friendly visiting:
“I look at when I’m going to retire … it would sure mean a lot to me to know that there was somebody out there who was willing to connect with me on a regular basis, and remind me of who I am, what I’ve lived, what I still want to do, and just be that connection out there in the world.”