Isolation remains a challenge for Quebec seniors

Isolation remains a challenge for  Quebec seniors

By Michael Boriero – Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Quebec’s elderly population continues to face daily challenges, especially regarding isolation and loneliness, even as life in the province slowly returns to normal.
Federal Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Seniors Stéphane Lauzon acknowledged in an interview that the country failed to ensure the safety and well-being of its seniors at the onset of the pandemic.
However, Lauzon told The Record that the federal government has put in place several measures to remedy the situation and kick-started more than 2,000 seniors-focused projects across the country thanks to its New Horizons for Seniors Program.
“We are working closely with our provincial counterparts,” he said. “Under the Safe Restart Agreement, we provided $740 million for measures to control and prevent infection including those in long-term care.”
While the federal government has provided some relief, in order to fix the situation it has to come at the provincial level, Lauzon explained, which is why there is constant communication with the country’s provinces and territories.
When he makes phone calls to seniors in his riding of Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation, Quebec, Lauzon noted that he is often the first and only person to make contact with them. They can go a full week without any outside contact, he said, it’s a painful revelation.
“We understand this is a challenging time for seniors and their family and the situation has made it easier for vulnerable seniors to be isolated, so it’s worse […] and they can’t even go eat downstairs,” said Lauzon.
But he wanted to remind concerned Quebecers that the vaccination rollout is in full swing. Canada will reportedly receive a total of 910,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses this week combined from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
And the federal government has invested more than $1.7 billion in Internet services in order to bridge the gap between urban and rural life, he said. Lauzon encourages everyone to reach out to friends or family members in long-term care facilities.
“I invite family, friends or neighbours to phone them and have a chat on the internet, on Zoom,” he said. “We have to care for our seniors.”
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