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Easing Loneliness, Warming Hearts

Winter can be a lonely time of year. As temperatures drops and snow piles up, it becomes increasingly difficult and unsafe for seniors to venture out for social visits and exercise. Circle of Care recognizes the importance of maintaining independence, especially during winter months, and offers a variety of supports to help combat social isolation.

Larry Singer is one of many clients who benefits from our Phone Pals program, which matches clients to volunteers to who call to check in several times per week. “It’s actually developed into a friendship, and I’ve come to depend on this young man who calls me to check on me and find out how I’m doing,” he says.

""Programs like these can be a lifeline to the outside world for many elderly people. “More than one third of the clients that we serve don’t have family members, or they live far away from their families,” says Circle of Care CEO Carey Lucki.

In addition to Phone Pals, isolated seniors may also find benefit from the following programs:

  • Meals on Wheels – a nutritious meal delivered by volunteers who are trained to identify health and safety concerns.
  • Friendly Visiting – volunteers visit the homes of seniors and spend time with them.
  • Support Groups – caregivers benefit from connecting with others in similar situations. Our next support group, a Couples Group for Managing Dementia, begins on January 25.
  • Let’s Get Together – social programming for isolated seniors at the Bathurst Finch Hub.
  • Adult Day Program – those coping with dementias can socialize and participate in recreational activities.
  • iRIDE Transportation – seniors can book transportation at fees less expensive than taxis within a wide service area.

“I think we have a societal duty to be aware of the seniors in our community who are living on their own; to knock on their door, and check and see how they’re doing,” Carey Lucki says. “It’s a health hazard for seniors to live isolated. It can lead to more risky behaviours such as dependence on alcohol, smoking, or poor eating habits. If we take a moment and say hello and ask how we can help, that can go a long way.”

Listen to Carey Lucki being interviewed by Zoomer Radio’s Libby Znaimer on how to help lonely seniors.

Our volunteer programs are always looking for new volunteers. If you would like to give back to the community and make a difference in the life of a senior, please contact Volunteer Resources at 416-635-2860 ext. 375 or volunteer@circleofcare.com.

Infographic about social isolation