INFO-FLASH News - Special COVID-19 Updates 2020-04-01
Key information sources are at the bottom of this message
As we stay at home to be safe and healthy, we must rethink our approach getting food to our tables. Whatever the method you use, we need to give it some thought and proceed with caution as older adults. Here are a few tips to do it safety.

What food to have on hand

Public health officials have told us we should have two weeks of food on hand for when we become sick. To do this, you can add a few extra items to your grocery cart every time you shop. Good options are easy-to-prepare foods like dried pasta and sauce and canned soups, vegetables, fruits, and beans. For a full list of a list of essential supplies to have on hand, check out the Ottawa Public Health fact sheet on how to prepare for a pandemic situation .  

If you are self-isolating and especially if you have symptoms, it is important to maintain good nutrition. Make sure you are eating and drinking regularly, even if you have a low appetite. You can find more information on nutrition and healthy eating at (Dietitians of Canada) or Canada's Food Guide   (Health Canada). 
The new when, where, and how of shopping  

We are seeing a variety of options to shop in person and online that are safer for older adults. Take advantage of  early shopping hours offered by some stores  for seniors and other vulnerable customers with special needs.  

If you haven’t tried online grocery shopping before, this may be the time to try ordering online for pick up at a store or delivery to your door. However,  you may experience delays due to increased demand , so plan ahead. The City is also  encouraging residents to support local businesses  with the  Buy Local   initiative. Check out the list of what is available from small businesses in our community.  

If you need help getting groceries, don’t be shy to ask your family, friends and neighbours for help. Consider putting a card with your request and contact information in your front window or on your apartment door to let others know you need help. If you are able to help others, leave a note in an older neighbour’s mail box or on their apartment door, like the  bilingual card  provided by Councillor McKenney.  
Other meal options

There are  meal delivery services  that are low-cost and convenient through agencies such as

They continue to deliver meals to older clients with some changes in the delivery process to protect your health and safety. To cut down on the number of deliveries to your home, most agencies are asking you to order frozen meals. Try this service to reduce the number of times you must leave the house to shop as well.  

Many restaurants continue to offer home delivery through services such as  Uber Eats Skip the Dishes DoorDash , or a new local service  Love Local Delivery . Call or look-up your favourite restaurants online to see what is on their menu and for their safe food handling practices, such as contactless delivery.    
Food safety and COVID-19

While there is no evidence that food is a source or route of the spread of COVID-19, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recommends following good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation, such as washing hands before and after handling food. Other resources include:

Keeping meals fun and social 

Meals are better when shared with others. When you can’t share meals with friends and family, get creative about sharing meals at a safe distance.  

  • Arrange a morning coffee break with neighbours while staying in your driveways or backyards or on your apartment balconies.
  • Invite neighbours on your apartment floor to a doorway potluck. Have a chat over dinner from your doorway. Remember it is not safe to share the food, but you can share the company at a safe distance. 

  • Plan meals with your extended family on your next call or video chat. Challenge them to make “crazy pizzas” at the same time, with whatever crazy food combos are available at home; or try an old family favourite recipe. Post pictures and recipes of your meals on social media for others to share in your mealtime fun.  

  • Sit down with your afternoon cup of tea and call a friend you haven’t talked to in ages. 

There are many options to get food to your table while maintaining physical distance and your social relationships. Please share your ideas with us and we will add them to our  Facebook page or our  new Special COVID-0-19 Update website
We’re in this together!  
Sarah Bercier
Executive Director
The Council on Aging of Ottawa
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
What should older adults and their caregivers
know about COVID-19
Canadian Media Sources on COVID-19
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