As vaccination rates and temperatures rise in Chatham-Kent, many members of our older adult population feel like they can finally begin to emerge from a very tough year.

COVID-19 has hit everybody hard but for a community that may already be dealing with health and accessibility issues, there have been unique concerns.

Brad Davis is the Executive Director of Family Services Kent, which supports seniors in our community through meal delivery, transportation, advocacy and in many other areas of assistance, and he says this has been a hard year on clients as well as their caregivers.

While Family Services Kent has continued to operate uninterrupted, many programs had to be modified—not only due to the changes in pandemic protocols, but in some cases because there was an increased need for services.

“Initially… we did see a reduction in demand for services … as time went on we saw a request for service increase, certainly in our counselling department.”

Brad says they continue to see heavy demand for counselling services, not only for seniors but for caregivers.

“There’s a lot of pressure and demand on caregivers right now so we’re trying to find ways to offer support.” He says keeping morale up is a challenge and that everybody is feeling the strain, even those who have been really resilient.

He says one of the best things to do is stay as active as possible. With so many months of little to no social interaction, it’s important to try to keep our bodies and minds busy and stimulated, as a lack of activity can take its toll.

But as we begin to see the world open up and there are things that we can once again look forward to, Brad stresses that it is the positive, simple things we should be focusing on:

“We need to direct people to the things that we can do, not the things we can’t. Hope is on the horizon.”

More simple ways to increase wellbeing, for seniors and caregivers:

  • Reach out! Check on people who live alone, may be feeling isolated or have difficulty accessing the services they need. Talk to Family Services Kent if you or someone you know needs help.
  • Stay connected! Even a short phone call is enough to send the message that you care, and that the person you are talking to is worth caring about.
  • Get outside! Even if your mobility is restricted, it’s much easier to get out into sunshine and fresh air during the spring and summer months. Don’t underestimate the benefits of being outdoors.
  • Keep moving! In any way you are able, stay active and stimulated. Our minds and our bodies crave stimulation. Get in touch with the Active Lifestyle Centre to find out about available programming.
  • Just breathe! Simple meditation and mindfulness activities help to quiet our worried minds leading to better sleep, better moods and better health. Try a gentle introduction video or app to get started.
  • Help out! Volunteering and doing what you can to assist others in any way you are able provides many benefits: not only are you helping to fulfill a need in the community but it keeps you connected, offers a sense of purpose and the opportunity to reflect on the ways others may be struggling.