Health & Wellness

Keeping People Connected

The Nova Scotia government and a Saskatchewan phone company are making it easier for seniors to stay connected

By Erika Morris 

Photo: iStock/Zinkevych.

Seniors living in long-term care facilities now under lockdown are at risk of feeling lonely and out of touch with their loved ones, so the Nova Scotia provincial government and a Saskatoon phone company are both getting iPads and cellphones to seniors who may not have access to technology to keep them connected.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced at the end of March that up to 800 tablets will be making their way into long-term care facilities in the province throughout the month of April. The goal is to make it easier to video conference and see the faces of loved ones.

Saskatoon-based company Bolt Mobile has also acted to keep seniors connected though their Operation Lifeline project. The company refurbishes and sanitizes old phones, which are then donated to people in hospitals and retirement homes who otherwise wouldn’t have one. The company ensures that the donated phones all have the capacity to run video-chat applications. People can donate phones at any of four Bolt Mobile stores in the city.

It’s been shown that phone calls, video chats, and online games are beneficial for lonely seniors who can see, hear, and laugh with their loved ones. It’s also beneficial for families who are worried but are unable to visit.

As governments banned visitors from senior residences to protect them from the potentially deadly coronavirus pandemic, some warn that confinement may pose other health risks, especially when it comes to mental health. Social distancing measures are becoming stricter and the federal government warns they could last until the end of the summer. Until then, communities are coming together to ease the mental stress it can pose on those who are most vulnerable.