LETTER: Combat social isolation among seniors in long-term care homes by funding digital devices for seniors
Dear Minister Schulte,
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted seniors and elders who are in care and who are socially isolated from their family and friends. The Long Term and Continuing Care Association of Manitoba and other organizations across the country are calling for the funding of digital devices for seniors in long-term care homes so they can connect virtually with family and friends. Given the urgency of this pandemic and how it makes seniors more vulnerable, we urge you to increase federal healthcare transfers to provinces to ensure seniors are getting the care they need and to tackle crippling social isolation among seniors at this time.
We know how important it is to stay connected with loved ones, and what beneficial impacts that has on seniors’ mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing. We need to improve the ways in which we support seniors through these difficult times. Communication and connection are happening online, but many seniors in care do not have access to digital devices. With unprecedented visitor restrictions in place to keep our seniors and staff safe, we hope that your Department will fund devices such as iPads or tablets so seniors can connect through real-time video chats with loved ones. This can make all the difference. Many seniors in care would normally participate in social activities in their facility and socialize with one another, but all these social opportunities have abruptly stopped with no alternatives. Many seniors are now suddenly alone and isolated. The federal government can improve social and mental health support for seniors in care by funding a project for digital connectivity through the purchase of iPads and tablets.
We look forward to working with you so that seniors in care can reach out to their loved ones in a safe way. We hope there is an interest and opening from your office to push this further. It would be my pleasure to discuss this with you.
Please feel free to be in touch with my office.
Leah Gazan, MP
NDP Critic for Children, Families and Social Development