The Importance of Socializing for Seniors

The physical distancing associated with COVID-19 Is having a negative effect on the mental and physical health of older adults across the province of SK.

The stress caused by the pandemic and the physical distancing—for an unknown length of time—makes mental health a priority response to this pandemic. Researchers have suggested that psychosocial supports “should be integrated into general pandemic healthcare”.

The stress of this pandemic coupled with the only mitigation strategy available – physical distancing for an indeterminant amount of time – makes mental health a priority response to this pandemic.

We are harnessing online technologies to provide social support networks and to foster a sense of belonging for older adults in Saskatchewan.

Technology-based social connection interventions are strongly rooted in science and have been shown to improve mental and physical health for older adults.

Prior to the pandemic the Saskatoon Council on Aging (SCOA) ran in-person socialization hubs of 40-60 people. We are working with SCOA and are piloting virtual socialization hubs, using a web-based platform to foster a sense of social inclusion and mitigate the isolating impact of COVID-19 on older adults’ mental health.

Older Adult wearing mask
Eldery woman
cheerful-senior-mother-and-adult-daughter-using-smartphone

 Interested in a virtual socialization hub?

  • Currently we are using Zoom Healthcare for these – so you need to have the ability to connect to videoconferencing. Don’t know how to use it? Don’t worry –we will help.
  • We will generate hubs for persons with common interests, meet weekly or every two weeks, and get to know each other virtually.
  • What will it look like? You get to dictate this and each hub will likely look different, but we will start with a set format: A shared activity followed by discussion and getting to know each other.
  • Potential hubs could include a book club, gardening club, information hub, fine art hub, caregiver hub, and men’s only hub.

What else would you like to see?

Elderly woman watching phone