COVID-19 has been hard on us all, and perhaps most of all on the senior population.
As the pandemic washed over us, many mourned publicly the lost opportunities for the youth of our communities.
Sports programs, graduation ceremonies, in-person learning, social events— So many facets of school life were snubbed out by COVID-19.
Mental health discussions often centre around school-aged children, teens and young adults, but during this difficult time, it is important to keep in mind that adults and seniors can be just as susceptible to these issues.
Mental health and mental wellbeing are just as important during the later stages of life as they are during the rest of it.
The Canadian Institute found that one out of five Canadian seniors surveyed experienced emotional distress between 2015 and 2017. When specifically asked about depression, anxiety and other mental health problems during that period, 14 per cent of Canadian seniors said that they had these issues.
Senior citizens have so much to offer the community, as family members, volunteers and members of the workforce.
They have laid the foundation of the world that the younger generations now build on, and now more than ever they need the support of their community.
Cornelius Stormon said it best when she said “they’re the ones who have built and strengthened our community and really made it what it is today. They’re a very vital part of our community, they make it vibrant, they play many different roles, they’re workers and players, mentors, friends, grandparents, parents.”
Over the past year, it has been heartwarming to see the stories of support that have popped up in the community.
Car rallies and cruises by the senior’s facilities in town, letters of support from school kids to senior residents and hundreds of donated Christmas hampers are just a few that come to mind.
“Christmas here was probably the best Christmas I celebrated in 20 years,” said Big Hill Lodge manager Sandra Robin. “That had an awful lot to do with the community of Cochrane. When we see this community do what they’re doing for these residents that impact our whole team. It’s infectious. It impacts us all very positively.”
Bethany Cochrane site administrator Monica Johnson said the pandemic has been difficult on residents, who miss their families and being out in the community, as well as the staff who have been extra diligent in ensuring the safety of residents.
“The staff feels a sense of duty and responsibility ensuring we’re following the guidelines set out by the province,” she said. “They can sometimes feel the weight of their responsibility and this helps perk up their spirits just to know the community is behind them.”
Cochrane has done a wonderful job of keeping seniors in our hearts and minds during the pandemic, and Senior’s Week is the perfect opportunity to reaffirm that support.