Hospice launches program to help people feel less isolated

Isolation and loneliness are common for people who are experiencing serious illness, caring for a family member at home or experiencing the death of a loved one.

It’s no surprise these days that people are missing connections to their community even more. As social beings, no matter whether you’re elderly, unwell, or just alone, the pandemic has been a real challenge.

A new program was recently launched by Evergreen Hospice to help bring people together to support each other and combat isolation; and, so far, the results have been promising.

“The goal is to bring individuals together to share information about resources and activities that they can explore and potentially participate in to improve the quality of their life,” says Evergreen’s Executive Director, Lerryn Pitcher, “especially during this time of isolation.”

At these once per month online meetings, facilitated by an Evergreen staff member, attendees discuss virtual resources that they have discovered and can ask for guidance to find activities of interest to them from the group.

Participants share and brainstorm what they are doing to connect and help other attendees do the same. It is a time for people to check in and connect with others.

 “We received a Spark Project grant from the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation to help us get this program going before the pandemic struck,” Pitcher says.

“We took a bit of time off at that moment to consider what would work best in this new environment and came up with the Connection Café.

We have discovered that the impact on participants is significant in terms of self-esteem, because the people involved are helping others while receiving help themselves. Participants have reported a significant reduction in feelings of isolation and loneliness.”

This program is open to anyone in Markham, Stouffville or Thornhill, including volunteers, clients, staff of other community agencies.

Sessions are free and are held on the first Monday of every month from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Those wishing to attend, need to register by emailing [email protected] or calling 416-499-2185 to receive the Zoom link.

About Evergreen: This community hospice serves Thornhill, Markham and Stouffville, providing services at no cost to the client. For over 30 years, Evergreen has helped people of all ages who are touched by a life threatening illness or grief, while respecting their culture, faith and language.

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