For Fay Berger, joining Circle of Care’s Compassionate Communities program was a no-brainer.
“The pandemic has been so isolating and I missed getting out there and connecting with others,” she says. “So, as soon as I heard about the program, I immediately gravitated towards it.”
Launched in November 2020, Circle of Care’s Compassionate Communities program addresses isolation and improves the overall quality of life in older adults through virtual programming and activities. The program grew out of our palliative and hospice care programs to provide similar help and resources to a non-palliative audience, working to counter isolation through a virtual platform.
“The pandemic impacted our clients greatly. We knew we had to do something. Building this program helped us connect to our clients and reduce their isolation,” says Devorah Bechimol, Program Coordinator.
As many clients at Circle of Care were accustomed to in-person programming, our staff reached out to clients by phone and helped navigate them through getting connected online. For those who had little to no technology or internet, Circle of Care staff delivered customized electronic tablets that included an internet connection and an easy-to-use interface filled with customized programs and applications.
“The tablet was a game-changer for me,” says Fay. “I use everything on the tablet. Attending virtual programs has been especially helpful because I get to connect with other participants. I also enjoy playing games on the tablet to keep my brain stimulated.”
Prior to the pandemic, Circle of Care partnered with Breezie to bring connectivity to older adults in their homes through the customized tablet. By December 2020, many Compassionate Communities participants had a personalized tablet to use.
“I felt very isolated before joining the Compassionate Communities program,” says Fay. “But, being part of the program, being able to connect to people, and being part of a community again helped reduce my isolation greatly!”
As Toronto began opening up and loosening COVID-19 restrictions in June, the Compassionate Communities program transformed from a virtual platform to a hybrid one – offering both online and in-person activities. Throughout the summer, participants had the opportunity to attend an in-person stretching and bocce ball program each week.
“What’s most impressive to me is how engaged our clients are,” says Devorah. “They really love the program and love connecting online as well as in person!”
Today, the Compassionate Communities program offers a variety of activities and other programming for both virtual and in-person each week.
“I honestly would encourage everyone to join the program. It really does help me fight isolation and helps connect me to other stimulating things and people,” says Fay.
Circle of Care continues to receive an abundance of positive feedback from clients who participate in the Compassionate Communities program. Many other programs and services with Circle of Care are also available online or in-person. If you or a loved one are interested in attending one of our programs visit our Programs and Services page to learn more.