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Connection is just a phone call away

Even in isolating times, connection with a voice and senior-focused programs can be found through the phone. PHOTO: Metro Creative Connections

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new terms like social distancing and self-isolation into our daily vocabularies, seniors have been searching for alternatives to the in-person activities that they used to enjoy.

Many online activities are popping up such as live-streamed concerts and book readings, online music lessons and virtual museum tours. While many seniors are tech savvy, some don’t have access to the internet or aren’t comfortable with trying to figure out technologies such as Zoom or Skype. But most seniors are likely to have a phone. If you have a cell or a land line, here are three phone-based programs you can take part in.

Story Calls

Even though the Province is entering into Phase 1 of its slow opening initiative, many will be continuing to self-isolate, or their workplace continues to be closed.

Story Calls Alberta aims to lessen the feelings of boredom and isolation during these trying times. Upon request, one of our performing storytellers will phone and tell a 5- to 10-minute age-appropriate story. Choose from personal story, folk tale, myth, historical story, fable, fairy tale or teller's choice.

To receive a story, one only has to complete the Story Request form at the following link: or call LD Blue at 780.907.5344.

"Story Calls Alberta is a province-wide initiative; any Albertan can submit a form and we will call them with a story. This free community outreach will continue beyond May, if interest warrants," said Storytelling Alberta president Doreen Vanderstoop.

"We have received many kudos for this outreach program, One testimonial we received from a senior, stated " best day during this whole thing was the day you got those stories for me," added LD Blue, coordinator for Story Calls Alberta.

Seniors’ Centre Without Walls

Want to participate in an exercise class? How about playing games virtually? Or maybe you just want to chat with someone? Seniors’ Centre Without Walls (SCWW) offers all these free options and more.

Regular programming includes Readers’ Corner, a time to discuss favourite books and listen to short stories, and Across the Miles where you can speak with other seniors from across Canada.  The Gratitude Group meets on Friday mornings, and a Meditation and Mindfulness program is offered several times a month for those who want to learn stress-reducing exercises and relaxation techniques. Games such as bingo, Family Feud, and Jeopardy are open to all who want to test their mettle and have some fun.  There's coffee chats, conversationg groups and a caregivers group too, which all provide ways to connect with others.

SCWW staff provide instructions for new participants and will mail out any materials before the program starts. Call 780-395-2626 or learn more at SSWW website

If you want more ideas for activities you can do from home, check out the COVID-19 resource web page developed by the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council.