The Regional Municipality Of York

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Celebrate and Protect Older Adults during Seniors’ Month

An older woman with white hair painting a picture.

As York Region continues to slowly open its doors to the public and the warm, summer weather arrives, we begin to see more people out and about in the community. However, we must continue to be vigilant in our physical distance efforts to prevent the transmission of the virus, especially to the more vulnerable population, which includes seniors.

York Region Public Health urges residents over the age of 70 to self-isolate at home, which can cause barriers for getting essential items such as groceries, medications, as well as producing feelings of loneliness.

June is Seniors’ Month, a time to celebrate the seniors in your life and in our communities. We must think differently about seniors during the pandemic – so this June, we remind you that amid the pandemic, it’s important to remember the risks of severe illness from COVID-19 that older adults face, and to keep the following in mind:

Connect with loved ones during the pandemic

Although staying home means we cannot always physically see the ones we love, it doesn’t have to mean falling out of touch with family and friends.

  • Plan daily or weekly phone call or video chats with loved ones
  • Write a letter or send small care packages in the mail
  • Connect with volunteer organizations such as Chatting to Wellness that offers 1-1 Chatting Sessions over the phone to all seniors, across Canada

Maintain positive mental health

Check in with yourself. It’s ok not to be ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage you to reach out to supports available:

  • Telehealth Ontario offers free medical advice on all subjects relating to health. Please note that wait times may be long. Call toll-free: 1-866-797-0000 or toll-free TTY: 1-866-797-0007
  • The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has put together resources and suggestions to help support your mental health at this time of uncertainty
  • Wellness Together Canada recognizes the significant strain that COVID-19 has placed on individuals and families across the country. These free mental health and substance use supports include modules for addressing low mood, worry, substance use, social isolation and relationship issues
  • Additional mental health resources are also available at york.ca/mentalhealth

Spend time outdoors

Spending time outside is good for our bodies and our minds, and one great way to spend time outdoors is to garden. York Region offers a number of programs and special offers to help beautify your yard for less, while taking care of the environment.

Don’t have a garden? If you’re interested in gardening in your community, York Region is a great place to do this. A list of community gardens across the Region can be found here.

You can also get outdoors by spending time in the York Regional forests. The Region maintains three accessible forest trails welcoming to those with wheelchairs and other assistive devices. Trails have been widened, cleared of obstructions and graded to ensure ease-of-movement for all visitors. Each trail ranges between one to two kilometre loops that pass through a variety of landscapes in the York Regional Forest:

  • Hollidge Tract at 16389 Highway 48 (North of Aurora Road)
  • North Tract at 17054 Highway 48 (South of Davis Drive)
  • Hall Tract at 15681 McCowan Road (North of Aurora Road

If you find yourself looking for an engaging activity while walking, consider reporting sightings of birds, animals, insets and plants through iNaturalist, and invasive plant species thorough EDDMaps. Your recorded findings help others learn about the natural world.

Still looking for more? The Greening e-Newsletter is full of inspiring at-home and self-guided outdoor activities, engaging workshops, information on your York Regional Forest, low-cost tree planting programs for your property, and much more. Consider subscribing to the newsletter if you don’t already receive it, and remember you can always unsubscribe if you change your mind. If you’re not sure, check out the May edition of the Greening e-newsletter.

Grocery Shopping, Meal Planning, and Cooking During COVID-19

Many people have recently altered the way they cook or shop in order to reduce their trips to the grocery store. This ‘new normal’ can present great opportunities to get in tune with your food and your family’s eating habits, potentially producing very little food waste. Click here to find out more.

Before you go grocery shopping, plan ahead by creating a shopping list and meal planning to reduce unnecessary trips to the grocery store and to reduce food waste.

Some grocery stores and pharmacies are opening their doors early and limiting the first hour of the day to older adults or people who are immunocompromised to give them a chance to shop when it is quieter. Call your preferred store or visit their website for the updated store hours and services.

Emergency Preparedness

Even during a pandemic, emergencies like flooding, severe summer storms and cyberattacks can happen. Because these emergencies are often unforeseen, it is important that seniors be educated about what they can do before, during and after an emergency; and what programs and services are available to help them get through an emergency. Learn about emergency preparedness for seniors, and information for seniors with special needs by reading York Region’s Emergency Preparedness Guide.

COVID-19 Community Services and Facility Finder tool

To ensure residents have a “no-wrong-door” experience during these unprecedented times, the Region has leveraged its partnership with Findhelp/211 to develop the COVID-19 Community Services and Facility Finder. The new tool is designed to help people access updated and reliable information about programs and services in their community.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, specific, dedicated supports are available to vulnerable, isolated, high-risk seniors who are experiencing difficulties with accessing services. These programs and services are available in response to the immediate needs of seniors, through the United Way Local Love and the Emergency Seniors Response Fund.

Learn more about the different programs and services available to eligible seniors.

Let’s think differently about seniors this June! In York Region, the senior population is growing faster than any other age group. By 2031, about one in five York Region residents will be 65 or older. Seniors are healthier, living longer and continue to work past retirement compared to previous generations. It is important to keep them safe and healthy in these unprecedented times.

For more information about supports available for seniors in York Region, visit york.ca/seniors. To learn more about York Region’s response to COVID-19, please visit york.ca/covid19


seniors,celebrate,protect,physical distancing,covid19 June is Seniors’ Month, a time to celebrate the seniors in your life and in our communities. The Regional Municipality of York en-US News

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