This is the first episode in a four-part series.
There is no doubt COVID-19 has altered the world as we know it, leaving no corner of our lives untouched. Everything, from our healthcare system to our economy and social practices has been affected. Yet for many older adults, the pandemic has only heightened persisting challenges, such as social isolation.
As Canada takes steps to reopen, how will older adults fare? Will the intensity of social isolation fade? Or will lingering shelter-in-place guidelines (recommended for vulnerable communities) threaten to make them invisible in a society trying to return to “normal”?
In part one of this four-part series, the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) teams-up with Baycrest@Home to explore the topic of social isolation from the perspectives of older adults and the healthcare innovators working to address it. Join our host, Dr. Allison Sekuler, as she talks to Dr. Christine Overall and Katheleen Ellis about their lived experiences during the pandemic, and what it’s like to be “the first ones in, and last ones out” of lockdown.
On the innovator side of the discussion, Dalas Forget, former Seniors’ Centre Without Walls Coordinator, and Avi Price, Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Uniper Care Technologies, talk about how aging and brain health solutions can be used to tackle social isolation and support front-line healthcare workers during this time.
Listen to the podcast:
Learn more about our guests:
Dr. Christine Overall, Professor Emerita, Queen’s University
Dr. Christine Overall is a Professor Emerita of Philosophy at Queen’s University and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She has published 11 books and several hundred papers in bioethics, philosophy of religion, and feminist philosophy. Although now retired from the University, Dr. Overall still does research in philosophy. She has been married for 47 years and is the mother of two children and the grandmother of four.
Dr. Overall’s recommendations for COVID-related innovations include:
- Solutions that allow older adults to talk to each other in person while social distancing during a walk
- Devices that enable older adults to read to their grandchildren through video conferencing
- Breathable masks that allow for lip reading
Katheleen Ellis, B.A., M.L.S., Retired Program Director
Katheleen Ellis was born in Toronto, Ontario. At a young age she moved to South Africa with missionary parents and continued to live there throughout the apartheid era. Ellis holds a B.A. and Library degree from the University of Cape Town, an M.L.S. from the University of British Columbia, as well as a Human Resources Management Diploma from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario. Her first career was as a librarian, working at Western University and special libraries in Vancouver, British Columbia. Eventually, Ellis changed her focus to program development and management in the non-profit sector. Here, she focused on people with disabilities, supported employment, human resource management, and volunteer coordination. Now in her retirement, Ellis has moved to Norfolk County, Ontario, and continues to be an active volunteer with several community organizations.
Avi Price, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Uniper Care Technologies
Avi Price is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Uniper Care Technologies. As a serial entrepreneur, he is on a mission to make a positive dent in the world, to reduce social isolation and support active and healthy aging. With a background in business strategy and customer relationship management, Price has been involved in the leadership and marketing of several e-commerce start-ups. In 2018, he became a proud member of the Los Angeles Alliance for Community Health & Aging (LAACHA), a strategic alliance to increase the reach of effective, evidence-based community health interventions, and the Social Isolation Impact Coalition, which aims to devise a national program to combat social isolation for older adults.
Dalas Forget, former Seniors’ Centre Without Walls Coordinator
Dalas Forget is the Finance and Operations Manager for Timiskaming Home Support. He was an owner of several Home Medical Equipment and Service companies for over 12 years, and has a background in outdoor recreation, parks and tourism, and occupational therapy. In 2017, Forget joined Timiskaming Home Support and, in a partnership with the Timiskaming Health Unit and funding from CABHI, launched the Seniors’ Centre Without Walls program. The program offers educational and informational sessions as well as physical and cognitive exercises, to build community and combat social isolation among seniors.
Here are the links to the resources our guests shared:
- Together, Vivek H. Murthy, MD
- Seniors Centre Without Walls
- Healing your Grieving Heart: A 100 Practical Ideas, Alan D Wolfelt
- Soulful Singing
- Smallslive.com- Archive