(Photo: pxhere.com)

(Photo: pxhere.com)

‘Tech buddies’ keep Surrey seniors connected during pandemic

Surrey-based non-profit did a quick pivot and invented a virtual lunch gathering

The following story was submitted by B.C.’s Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

Getting together over lunch with new friends was a popular program for Seniors Come Share until a global pandemic brought it to a temporary halt.

Fortunately, the Surrey-based non-profit did a quick pivot and invented a virtual lunch gathering, complete with cooking lesson and a meal delivered to participants’ doors.

“Digital literacy is one of the opportunities that COVID-19 brought us,” said Louise Tremblay, executive director of Seniors Come Share, which has operated for 43 years. “It’s an additional way to reach people and gives people the opportunity to connect rather than self-isolate.”

A number of the older adults are not as familiar with technology as are the younger generations who have grown up with it. Seniors Come Share uses “tech buddy” initiatives to help its clients cross that gap.

One past program with that aim involved seniors giving a cooking lesson, younger guests giving a tech lesson and everybody enjoying a meal together. Tech buddies, who are part of volunteer programs at Seniors Come Share, have continued to be in demand during the pandemic. Tremblay says this is no surprise, given that so many services have had no choice but to go virtual.

Even before COVID-19, the society offered a program called Seniors Centre Without Walls. The small-group gathering via teleconference features a mix of trivia, storytelling, music, health information and socializing. Seniors Come Share runs the popular teleconference 50 times a month.

“I’m really impressed how the society has been able to adapt its services to reduce social isolation and ensure those vital human-to-human connections continue throughout the pandemic,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Seniors Come Share is just one of over 2,000 community social services agencies that provide vital services.”

Not everything can go virtual. Many of the 500 seniors and their families that Seniors Come Share serves in a typical month have felt the loss of the day programs that were provided at its three locations in Surrey and White Rock. Those programs served about 75 people a day.

“Helping seniors with diverse needs – from navigating the system to help with advanced planning – used to happen at Surrey recreation centres, but now has had to go online. That’s just how it must be for now,” Tremblay said.

She and her staff see the effect of social isolation on their clients during the pandemic. “We have observed people’s health decline, people getting thin and their cognition declining,” Tremblay said. “The impact of isolation is so critical in health, especially for older people. Having interactions with us at Seniors Come Share is how they socialize, and it’s been very, very difficult for them to not have that in person.”

Like all B.C. non-profit organizations providing community social services, Seniors Come Share relies on diverse sources to fund its work. The Fraser Health Authority, community foundations, the City of Surrey and annual gaming grants are all key funders. Better At Home, a provincial program funded by the B.C. government and administered by the United Way, supports Seniors Come Share and other community organizations to provide diverse in-home supports to older adults so they can continue to live independently.

The B.C. government proclaimed March as Community Social Services Awareness Month in appreciation of the hard work of the over 42,000 people who work in the community social services sector. They provide help and assistance to those who need it most.

To learn more about Seniors Come Share Society, visit comeshare.ca.



edit@surreynowleader.com
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow us on Twitter

SeniorsTechnology

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
Surrey woman a face of World Ovarian Cancer Day campaign in London, New York

‘It’s so important we find better treatments,’ Catherine Eiswerth says

Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford and Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux. (Contributed photos)
BC NDP ‘chose to create a system of chaos’ by holding back COVID-19 data: Cadieux

South Surrey MLAs criticize provincial government after BCCDC documents leak

The map shows the number of COVID-19 cases for the week of April 25 to May 1. The darkest areas indicate communities with a daily average of more than 20 cases per 100,000 population. (BC Centre of Disease Control)
Surrey and Abbotsford battle for top COVID hotspot in Fraser Health

Two communities are among areas across province showing highest transmission

A woman walks past a long lineup that snaked through the parking lot at the Cloverdale Rec. Centre April 27 after Fraser Health allowed people age 30 and over from “high-transmission neighbourhoods” to access the AstraZeneca shot. The temporary vaccination centre is located on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale now considered a ‘high-transmission area’

Anyone 30 and over can now register for a vaccine

teaser
Top-10 ‘Maxim’ magazine contest model got her start in Surrey

Kajal Kumar hopes to earn $25K cash prize and a cover photo shoot

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

Most Read