Older adults are especially vulnerable right now, not only to the direct threat of COVID-19 but indirectly, as social isolation comes with its own significant set of risks. As we move through this situation and keep our physical distance to preserve the health of our community, it’s more important than ever that we look after the elderly people in our communities, ensuring that their basic needs are safely met and that they have tools and resources to help them feel as connected as possible. The following is a list that can help seniors get the help they need, whether that’s with grocery delivery, mental health support, learning how to Zoom with the grandkids and more.
Please note these resources are for non-emergencies. If you are in crisis, call the Distress Centre at 403-266-HELP or 911. If you know of other great services for seniors, please email us at SupportLocal@redpointmedia.ca.
This organization serves as a point of connection for seniors to get in touch with the most appropriate organization for their needs. It has produced a simple, one-page “Essential Numbers” resource that outlines who to call for assistance and provides their phone numbers and other contact information. The website also breaks down various programs and services that are available for seniors and care givers. It’s a collaboration between the City of Calgary and various community service providers and individuals.
calgary.ca/agefriendly or call 311.
This community group serves Calgary’s southwest but its website has loads of excellent links and resources for seniors, including information about how to stay safe online and avoid scams, links to reliable news sites, yoga and meditation, and even links to religious services streaming online. Plus there’s an easy-to-use chat portal to facilitate positivity and healthy connection.
This organization has a COVID-19 Resource List posted online, which outlines various community services available through different groups that support Calgary’s Chinese community. These include an emotional support hotline, a volunteer handy person program, and grocery and meal delivery. It also has information on a variety of government programs, self-care and emergency supports translated into Chinese.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Calgary Co-op will devote 8 to 9 a.m. to seniors and people living with disabilities so they can shop in a freshly sanitized, fully stocked store, with the pharmacy open as well. The stores are not closed to other shoppers, but they do ask that other people shop outside of these hours so those at increased risk can fulfill their needs.
Multiple locations, calgarycoop.com
This group has recently removed “income” as a qualifier for assistance so it can help a more diverse range of seniors during the COVID-19 outbreak. Services it offers include grocery shopping and delivery, pet food shopping and delivery, social support through phone calls, dog walking, rides to essential medical appointments, etc. There is a great need for volunteers right now, so if you have some time to give, contact the organization and find out how you can help.
This community outreach organization provides basic support to people of all ages through counselling, education, in-home assistance and more. Volunteers are available to deliver food hampers and medications, as well as technology devices such as tablets and computers to help seniors stay in touch with friends and family and also access counselling, group support and other Carya resources. Call 403-SENIORS to access support for older adults.
Though not specifically created for this pandemic, the City website has a wealth of programs and services for seniors on topics such as fire safety for seniors, preparing for an emergency and home support services.
Phone 311 or go to calgary.ca
This community group has some excellent resources for seniors, including links to YouTube “sit and be fit” classes and online tours of museums around the world. It also has laptops and iPads available to lend to folks who need them.
This national organization, whose goal is to encourage and enable young people to be tech mentors to seniors, is offering online seminars via Zoom on topics like how to join a Zoom meeting, how to refill prescriptions, read online and order groceries. Seniors can also book a one-on-one tech session with a volunteer young person to get help with their device.
Given that one in three seniors don’t access the Internet at all, the centre recognized a need to offer services by phone so it implemented an information hotline specifically for seniors. The phone line is set up to respond to the most immediate needs of seniors specific to the pandemic, and covers such areas as emergency shelter, prescription and grocery delivery and emergency financial supports. It also has an information portal on its website with links and information specific to seniors.
This northwest grocery is reserving the hour between 8 and 9 a.m. for seniors. It’s also offering a 10 per cent discount for seniors and free delivery to seniors and senior homes.
2202 Centre St. N.E., 403-277-9166, linasmarket.com
This new service lets Albertans video chat with a doctor for free between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday to Friday (have your AB Health Care number handy). The telemedicine service lets patients speak with a doctor directly about COVID-19 or any other health questions, and while perhaps not a substitute for an in-person appointment, it’s especially helpful for seniors who need medical advice but are sheltering in place.
This umbrella organization of Calgary-based agencies is comprised of Carya, Jewish Family Service Calgary, the Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society and the Calgary Chinese Elderly Citizens’ Association. It also works with Elder Brokers, who are volunteers who provide help in 15 diverse ethno-cultural communities who speak more than 20 different languages. There are also buttons to download information about The Way In services in 19 languages.