Personnel at the Comox Valley Seniors Support Society are doing all they can to help the community’s elderly during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
With more closures and stricter guidelines being rolled out daily, challenges increase, particularly for those with limited mobility, or a limited support system.
That’s where the CVSSS comes in.
The mandate of the CVSSS, as per its website, is “to address the well-being of aged persons by providing support services in the Comox Valley and area that extends from Bowser through Black Creek and includes the Islands of Denman and Hornby.”
The CVSSS typically provides home visiting and support for caregivers throughout the area.
“We help seniors with all manner of things,” said CVSSS manager Pam Willis. “We help them address almost every problem they walk through the door with.”
Willis said the term “senior” is used rather loosely with her group.
It’s not a strict 65+ community.
“Not at all. If you identify as a vulnerable senior aged 55 you are probably living with something that has limited your participation in work and social activities. You could have limited mobility, living with a disability of some kind. We don’t test for that. If you identify as a senior and you are feeling vulnerable, we are going to try to help.
That said, walking through the door will not be happening any time soon.
“We are shutting down our offices for a bit; our services have not stopped though, they’ve just changed,” she added. “We are still supporting seniors in their homes, but we are doing it via the phone, via Skype, via Facetime, that sort of thing.”
She said that while everyone is practising social isolation now, for many seniors, this is not a big change from their day to day existence.
“This – social isolation – is a normal state for a lot of the seniors we support,” said Willis. “And we are encouraging others to take a look around, take a look up and down your street or your neighbourhood. Who lives there? Who is isolated? Who might just really enjoy a phone call, or a check-in to see if they need anything.”
The CVSSS is offering to pick up groceries, or prescriptions, for any of the aging area population who needs help.
“It’s a different kind of busy. Like everybody, we are just trying to figure things out, trying to understand what to do to keep those connections with our vulnerable seniors.
“If you are an isolated senior who would like someone to talk to, or if you need someone to pick up a medical prescription or groceries, Senior Support will help you. Call and leave a message at 250 871-5940 or email firstname.lastname@example.org We will get back to you as soon as possible and do what we can to support you.”
“There is a lot of that happening in the Comox Valley right now and it’s just really weonderful to see.”
One of the chalolenges the CVSSS is experiencing is the vigilance that seniors have grown accustom to applying when it comes to the telephone.
Willis said more and more seniors are wary of answering the phone, particularly when they do not recognize a phone number. With the CVSSS office closed and the staff working form home, the caller ID may not be familiar to the seniors the CVSSS is trying to reach.
“Because the office is closed, we will be calling from our home, either our land lines or our cell phones, and on someone’s call display, it’s not going to say Comox Valley Seniors Support. So consider picking up your phone, answering your phone, so that we can reach you (particularly if you are expecting a callf rom the CVSSS).
“You do have to be vigilant, there are always cases of unscrupulous people, trying to take advantage. But if you have placed a call to us, we will be returning it.”
For more information, visit https://comoxvalleyseniorsupport.ca