Less Lonely

It’s always a good day to show an older person some love

St. Valentine’s Day, often referred to more simply as Valentines Day, is widely celebrated as a day of love and connection with others. Unfortunately, there are older people in communities across Canada who feel lonely all year round. An estimated 1 in 5 older people in Canada was isolated before the pandemic, and it’s only gotten worse.

Reaching out today to show you care can change the direction of an isolated senior’s life. Together we can turn one day into a collective movement—a movement to show older adults around us some love (and feel a little better ourselves, along the way)!

Take the #LessLonely Challenge

COVID-19 has increased the rate of isolation across the board, and it’s hit seniors the hardest. Older people who lack social connection are at higher risk of elder abuse, depression, anxiety and even physical injury from falls and other mishaps. Seniors who are racialized, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, are Indigenous or who identify as part of other marginalized groups are even more at risk. While residents in long-term care often suffer the consequences of loneliness, the problem also persists for the more than 9 in 10 seniors aging in place, at home. 

It’s never been more important to show some love to an older adult in your community who might be in desperate need of a little human connection. 

CanAge challenges you to make someone #LessLonely today. Download the greeting card below and send it to someone that you know could use a smile. You’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available to download here.

Once you’ve done that, start working through our top 10 list of ways you can make someone feel less lonely. They’re all easy to do and can immediately make someone’s day (and, maybe, even their year) a little brighter. 

Tell the world you did something good by tweeting about it with #LessLonely.

One small action on its own won’t change the world, but it’s a great start!

Top 10 ways to show an isolated senior you care

  1. Call to check in and see how they are doing. If possible make this a regular weekly telephone call.
  2. Bring them a gift, especially if you know they need something.
  3. Set up a time for an in person veranda visit, ensuring to maintain physical distance protocols, and mask wearing. You may even be able to go for a physically distanced walk to get in some exercise.
  4. Send a letter or greeting card with a thoughtful message.
  5. Share a virtual event like cooking a recipe, then have the meal together, virtually. Sharing a virtual event could also include attending an online exhibit or experience together. 
  6. Set up a virtual tea/coffee break and talk about family and personal history, favourite hobbies, childhood memories, sports, music, etc. You may also be able to look through old photos.
  7. Offer to pick up their groceries, or other essential items, for the week.
  8. Drop off fresh flowers or, contingent on the season, offer to help with gardening needs, raking leaves, or shoveling snow.
  9. Set up a time to play games online (Crossword/Puzzles/Chess).
  10. Set up a Movie Day (Zoom Call + Movie). You may even drop off candy/popcorn, or other favourite treats, in advance for them.

CanAge is making Canada less lonely, one person at a time

As Canada’s National Seniors Advocacy Organization, CanAge is working tirelessly to ensure no older person has to suffer the consequences of social isolation in silence.

Our comprehensive policy platform, VOICES of Canada’s Seniors: A Roadmap to an Age-Inclusive Canada charts a clear path forward in improving the lives of all older Canadians, including several easily-actionable recommendations governments can take to lift seniors out of loneliness, including:

  • A National Elder Abuse Campaign
  • Mental Health Screening for Older Adults
  • Investment in Digital Technology to Reduce Isolation
  • Investment in Community-Based Programs
  • In-Person Wellness Checks for Isolated Seniors
  • Inclusive and Culturally-Appropriate Programs and Services for Indigenous Seniors
  • Innovative Intergenerational Programs

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Think no senior should be lonely?

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