Combatting loneliness during the winter

The holidays can be a happy time, with many opportunities to get together with friends and family to celebrate. It can also be a tough time for some, often exacerbated by illnesses or the loss of a loved one.

Loneliness is also more marked during significant moments of the day or the year: during meals, festivities, holidays and long winter evenings and nights. Healthcare and social care professionals, friends, family members, and neighbours can help break the cycle of loneliness, by identifying isolated older adults, providing them with care without infantilizing them, and visiting them regularly. It’s also important to maintain a network around them, promote inter-generational activities, and encourage them to participate in activities that appeal to them and that give them a taste for life, such as painting, music, and walks. Together, it is possible to make a breach in the walls of solitude affecting our older adults.

If you live an hour or more away from a loved one you care for, you are a long-distance caregiver. Caring for a loved one can be challenging: scheduling medical appointments, ensuring they take their medication as prescribed, managing their finances and paying their bills, making sure there is food in the fridge, providing emotional support, making sure they are happy and safe… Caregivers play many significant roles, which can be particularly complex when they have to be accomplished remotely.

According to Statistics Canada, more than 8 million Canadians provide care to a friend or loved one with a chronic health condition or disability.  It is estimated that approximately 12% of family caregivers provide support to a family member who lives at least an hour away by car.  If you are one of these long-distance caregivers, it’s important to realize that you are not alone.

West Toronto Support Services can help. Give us a call.


  2 comments for “Combatting loneliness during the winter

  1. Rachel Richardson
    January 2, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Do you have volunteers/ workers that do the telephone check-ins with older adults ?


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