“We knew a lot of people out there were going to need support,” said Wood. “Many of our clients don’t have computers or emails, so we just started calling people. I think we called over 1,000 people, and have continued those calls throughout the shutdown.”
“People were beginning to feel more and more isolated. Many of our seniors were becoming extremely lonely,” said Wood.
Knowing they needed to do something quickly, Wood and her team initiated several new social programs, calling them the HSSC Senior Centre Without Walls program. Individuals could connect by phone and Facebook with the weekly focus including friendly chit-chat, the occasional game of trivia, and sometimes tip-time, an opportunity for members to share advice and personal experiences.
“We had to move fast to acquire some new technology,” said Wood, “but once we had what we needed in place, we began connecting people immediately.”
And for the more physically inclined, the Club initiated an online exercise program, available weekly on Facebook Live.
“The response was incredible,” Wood shared. “People were sharing they especially appreciated the social calls and phone programs. It allowed them to stay safe, but connected, during a difficult time. We could tell their spirits were improving.”
HSSC re-opened under an adapted model on September 8. Wood shared that HSSC will maintain its new programs to continue to help reach people who are feeling isolated or alone.
“Things are going to look a little different, but we are excited to get people back together and into the community,” said Wood.