INFO-FLASH News - Special COVID-19 Updates 2020-04-08
Key information sources are at the bottom of this message
How is everyone doing? I have been impressed by how everyone is coming together to support each other. And following the new rules of physical distancing and hand washing. We need to continue to be on guard to flatten the curve and protect each others' health and well-being.

It has not been easy to follow the experts’ advice, which is changing every day. As older adults, we are expected to stay home as much as possible, especially those over 70 years of age. Many of us are also caregivers to others at home and in long-term care. What do you need to do if you get sick or a family member gets sick? How do we give and receive care in the age of self-isolation? How do you get support to connect with your family member in long-term care?
Three Tips for Older Adults to Stay Healthy and Safe

Here are three suggestions to help us stay healthy, safe, and well during this pandemic and physical distancing.

1 - Establish routines

Establish a routine that reflects your pre-COVID-19 life. A regular routine will support everyone. Make sure the routine allows time for watching/listening to the news, creativity and learning, meals, physical activity, sleep and a regular bedtime routine, as well as connecting with family and friends. For information about how to get groceries, see our last INFO-FLASH newsletter on Food. Many City Councillors are sharing information on grocery and pharmacy services in their wards too.

2 - Stay physically active

Movement and exercise are important for health and well-being. Take a walk, climbing stairs in your building (being carfeu about touching railings), do strength and balance exercise (Ottawa Public Health), or join an online fitness break. Check out a list of online exercise programs:

  • Better Strength, Better Balance! exercise and education program is on Rogers TV 22 with links to videos on Youtube
  • A local fitness trainer, A.I.M. Fitness is offering weekday live Facebook exercises and YouTube videos
  • Silver Sneakers (US) also has a series of videos of easy to follow exercise you can do at home

3 - Be mindful of your stress or worry

Each day brings new information and rules. It can be unsettling and overwhelming. We may feel we have little control. Continue to monitor and limit exposure to media. If you live alone, reach out to family and friends. Connect with others through telephone-based programming like Seniors Centre Without Walls or A Friendly Voice. Know it's OK not to be OK (Ottawa Public Health). When talking with others, be supportive by listening, validating their worries and concerns, and reassuring them that this situation is time-limited. For other supports and services, check out our Special COVID-19 Updates website or the Royal Ottawa COVID-19 website.
If you or someone you live with becomes ill with COVID-19

You have followed all the rules, washed your hands, and practiced physical distancing, yet you or a family member has become ill. Now what? The Ontario COVID-19 website has information including:

If you live alone, you should have a plan to have regular check-ins with family and friends when you become sick. You can also arrange to have grocery and pharmacy deliveries, Meals on Wheels, telephone safety checks, or transportation through Champlain Community Support Network.
If you are a caregiver

As a caregiver, you may want to have a plan should you or the person you care for need to self-isolate or become ill. Here are a few resources for more information:

If you have a family member in long-term care

Family visits in long-term care have been restricted during the pandemic. It can increase feelings of fear, frustration, sadness, and isolation. Here are a few other resources to help you stay informed and connect with your family member. 

  •  Virtual Family Forums provides a forum for families to ask questions and get support (Family Councils Ontario)
  • Virtual Visits Toolkits supports families to set up Zoom and Skype calls with family members in long-term care (Family Councils Ontario)
  • Connecting Families Facebook Group (Registered Nurses Association of Ontario - English only)
  • Family Support and Action Line - available to LTC families, staff, residents, and the public to call to receive information or raise concerns during #COVID19. Call 1-866-434-0144; 8:30 AM-7PM, 7 days a week (Ministry of Long-Term Care)

Whether you are caring for yourself or others, remember, stay home, stay safe, stay well.
Sarah Bercier
Executive Director
The Council on Aging of Ottawa
Disclaimer: INFO-FLASH is published as an information and education service. We try to present the most current information available. Things continue to change rapidly with COVID-19. Some details and links to external sources may become out of date. Please check the information and resources below for additional information.

Feel free to share this newsletter with your family and friends. 
Community Information and Services for Seniors

Community Information Centre of Ottawa connects you with supports and services in 150+ languages.

City of Ottawa provides information and services for residents about municipal services.
Resources to Stay Socially Connected
offers a telephone friendly visiting line for seniors 55+.

613-696-9992 or 1-855-892-9992
Seniors’ Centre Without Walls organizes free telephone group activities for seniors 55+ and adults with physical disabilities.
Other Resources and Supports
Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region is a local connection to mental health support and resources, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Distress: 613-238-3311
Crisis: 613-722-6914 or

LGBT Wellbeing Check-in Program provides a telephone assurance program for LGBT adults with disabilities (18+) and older adults (55+). To access the program, contact Good Companions at 613-236-0428 or

Ontario Caregiver Helpline provides caregivers with a one-stop resource for information and support.
1-833-416-2273 (CARE)
TelAide offrons un service d’écoute téléphonique en français aux personnes qui ont besoin d’une oreille, qui nécessitent du soutien ou de références.

Elder Abuse Response and Referral Service provides intake, information, consultation, referral, and support services for seniors at-risk or who are in an abusive situation.
613-596-5626 ext. 230

Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential service you can call to get health advice or information. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 1-866-797-0000
COVID-19 Support Services
Services for seniors are available right now:
Grocery & Pharmacy Delivery : Includes food and other essential supplies
Meals on Wheels : Delivery of nutritious frozen meals
Telephone Safety Checks : Regular check in phone calls to ensure you or your loved ones are safe
Transportation : Rides to essential medical appointments
What should older adults and their caregivers
know about COVID-19
Canadian Media Sources on COVID-19
For all other COA News check the Updates
Contact Us
(613) 789-3577