By Daisy Au, Coordinator of Senior Club, Specialized and Innovative Projects
June 15 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) – a day to acknowledge the contributions of seniors in our communities. MOSAIC is focused on making sure that immigrant and newcomer seniors who access our services live their lives with dignity and truly flourish in Canada.
Sadly, because of the pandemic, many seniors are now experiencing higher rates of abuse and neglect from their families and caregivers. So, today and always, we want to ensure that seniors feel the support of their communities, and find ways to support each other through social connection.
During COVID-19, our programs have had to adapt to a new way of working – and our seniors’ programs are no exception. Using online tools, we’ve been able to challenge the heightened feeling of isolation that seniors face as one of the most vulnerable populations of the pandemic.
Through Zoom, we’ve been able to continue Seniors’ Choir practices and our Seniors Conversation Circle, and communication has been ongoing through WeChat and WhatsApp. Promoting social connection during this time is extremely important, and although we’ve experienced small hiccups with technology, we’ve been able to supply our seniors with volunteers for tech support!
“I believe love will win. We’re fighting the Pandemic together. Even though we are distanced, I feel connected through weekly online activities. I learned how to make face masks, we sing, we laugh and keep active on the zoom platform. This is our warm home! Our quality of life is greatly enhanced. Thank you MOSAIC!” – Member of MOSAIC Seniors Choir
Normally MOSAIC would be part of a massive event taking place at Burnaby Central Park for WEAAD – which in previous years has brought more than 300 seniors together. However, this year we are glad to be part of the Chinese Community Response Network’s (CCRN) plan to bring celebration and entertainment to seniors at home through a prepared video with music performances and uplifting messages.
CCRN has also put together care packages to deliver a caring message to isolated seniors in low-income seniors’ buildings or independent homes. These care packages are focused on relieving the mental stress that comes with loneliness and include reading articles, colouring books and pencils, brainteasers, and a booklet on taking care of your mental health from the CMHA.
A special thanks to Flattening the Curve, which has provided cloth masks to our Seniors Programs for us to deliver at their homes.