COVID-19 Special Updates – Caring for Self and Others

Apr 8, 2020 | CV19, Health, Impact Updates, INFO-FLASH News archive

NOTE: After posting these COVID-19 special newsletters we will continue to add dated, topic related links at the bottom of these UPDATES.

Caring for Self adn Others - two older women - holding hands

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, 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.


Additional Ways of Caring for Self and Others

December 28: Casual social contacts can help combat loneliness and improve well-being during pandemic, psychologists say (CBC)

September 7: One chart shows the best and worst face masks for coronavirus protection — and which situations they’re suited for. (Business Insider

September 4: Local smartwatch innovation could soon help seniors monitor for COVID-19 symptoms

August 5: Why Canada’s seniors need to AVOID frailty during COVID-19

July 23: Limited indoor visits can resume at Ontario long-term care homes

July 22: Home care for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

July 16: How to wear a mask properly (CTV video)

June 26: Ottawa Public Health updated information on the putting on and taking off of masks.

June 3: Common mistakes related to the use of masks video

May 30 : Proper Use of Masks (video) Health Canada

May 22 : FREE Ottawa Cloth Masks for the Public available through this Facebook page.

May 21: Some links about masks:

Some links about masks:
Ottawa Public Health describes medical and non-medical masks and how to use them. 

Public Health Agency of Canada has instructions on – How to make a non-medical mask at home .

This site has links for some places in Ottawa you can buy masks, but many are currently sold out.

May 20: Wear non-medical masks to protect others, Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends.

May 15: People using the Ontario Drug Benefit Program will not be required to pay any co-payment until July 1 for any prescription of more than 30 days that is being dispensed in installments, the provincial government announced May 13.


May 4: Ottawa Public Health (OPH) now recommends that any Ottawa resident 60 years of age or older, who is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms  to go for testing. Testing is available at any COVID-19 Assessment Centre or COVID-19 Care Clinic.

May 3: World Health Organization’s downloadable guide Doing What Matters in Time of Stress

May 1: is an initiative of your community association:  Cardinal Glen, Lindenlea, New Edinburgh, Manor ParkOverbrook, Rockcliffe Park and Vanier. Together, we are organizing community- and City Ward-wide responses to Covid-19.

April 30: The Ottawa Public Library is now offering Online fitness classes or seniors, such as Online Seniors Fitness Classes: Seated Workout and related resources

April 22: Virtual volunteering 

A stitch in time saves lives: Ottawa’s sewing community deploys resources to fight COVID-19 Ottawa’s sewing Community saves lives

United Way Banner - Local love in a global crisis