Ms. Carly Thrower
Social isolation is a significant public health concern in the senior population. The National Seniors Council defines social isolation as “a low quantity and quality of contact with others, [that] includes number of contacts, feeling of belonging, fulfilling relationships, engagement with others, and quality of network members”. Social isolation can lead to worsened health outcomes including an increase in falls, depression, heart attacks and strokes as well as increased healthcare costs. Current events and research strongly indicate a need for social connectedness in seniors to increase their physical and mental well-being. The Health and Wellness programs at Etobicoke Services for Seniors (ESS) are an opportunity to facilitate social connectedness; however, due to the challenges created by COVID-19, the creation of effective virtual programming requires translational research methods. The goal of our project is to work in collaboration with ESS Support Services to create virtual programming that addresses the need for social connectedness in seniors. Through our collaboration, we will incorporate the perspectives of users (seniors) and facilitators (staff), which will be essential in approaching this problem holistically.