By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
The Oshawa Senior’s Community Centre (OSCC 55+) has released a number of resources for seniors to keep themselves occupied and mentally stimulated while social distancing.
Many seniors, who are the most at risk for the virus, are alone in their homes, and, like many others, are unsure of how to occupy their time due to the COVID-19 pandemic,.
Sandy Black, the executive director of OSCC 55+, says she’s surprised by how busy they are right now.
“We’re busier right now than we were prior to COVID,” she says. “We’ve had to use different means to stay in touch… and to help the seniors stay connected with us and to stay active, and so putting all of these measures in place has been unbelievable.”
OSCC 55+ has introduced a number of initiatives, such as a telephone outreach program, and grocery order and delivery program.
“Our staff are engaging seniors by regular phone calls, and that’s to all of our members, plus it also is to anyone in the community at large who is a senior who feels that they aren’t connecting to people, and they just want to add their name to our phone list. They can call us at 905-576-6712 ext. 2830 – we have staff on site to take those phone calls,” she says.
Black adds if they’re interested in signing up for the phone calls, they can also email them at email@example.com, and they can add their name to a regular on-call list.
“What we do is we just give them a call to see how they’re doing, find out if there’s any services they need help with, and sometimes it’s just a call to talk to them,” says Black. “Those calls have been upwards of 30 minutes, 45 minutes, some of them are an hour long where they’ll start to cry, say how difficult it’s been for them to have to stay in.”
She says there are staff who work off site from home, plus there are staff at the home site on John Street.
They are also working with one local grocery store to deliver groceries to seniors at home by making use of their vans and transportation staff.
To make use of the service, seniors can call 905-576-6712 ext. 2830, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re looking for more [grocery stores], so if any of the other grocery stores wanted to become involved, we would be most interested in hearing from them.”
Black says they facilitate the grocery orders placed by seniors by sending the order to the grocery store. They then use their vans to pick up and deliver the items to their homes.
Seniors can pay by giving a cheque made out to the grocery store, which will then be given to the grocery store by OSCC 55+ staff.
She notes when they began the grocery delivery program, they had 15 new grocery orders come in.
“That was great, we were really happy to hear that,” says Black, adding they also prepared care packages for seniors, which have a resource guide, and some crossword puzzles or other things for seniors to do.
They also contain a business card for seniors in case they feel the need to get in touch with a worker at OSCC 55+.
“We’ve taken packages to a lot of stores, and received permission to leave them there, and seniors are able to pick them up as they need them,” says Black.
The packages can be found in local pharmacies, and other stores around the city, while a resource guide can be found by visiting OSCC 55+’s website at oscc.ca/stayconnected
There are also have made a number of programs available online, such as zumba, yoga, wellness seminars, cooking demonstrations, and more. These can be seen by visiting oscc.ca/onlineprograms
Finally, OSCC 55+ is promoting connecting through Facebook. They are engaging with the public through their Facebook page by posting videos, links, programs, and fitness demonstrations to help keep seniors engaged and active.
For more information regarding what OSCC 55+ is doing to help seniors who are social distancing, visit oscc.ca.