Gift of Time launched to target social isolation during festive season

Public reminded to reach out to seniors living in care homes or living alone over December.

A province-wide awareness campaign is taking aim at social isolation among B.C. seniors during the festive season.

The “Gift of Time” campaign is being promoted by BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) as a way to raise awareness of the loneliness and social isolation many seniors face, during a time when many families and friends are celebrating.

The campaign reminds members of the public to reach out to seniors living in a care home, or living alone at home. The best gift you can give during the festive season is the “gift of time.”

“There is no easy solution when it comes to the challenge of social isolation among seniors, but raising awareness is a vital first step,” says BCCPA CEO Daniel Fontaine. “We hope the #GiftOfTime awareness campaign kicks off an important conversation.

“When people are celebrating the festive season with loved ones, this is the best time to remind the public to reach out to a senior.”

Social isolation among seniors has been the subject of prominent public inquiries such as by Canada’s National Seniors Council, and the U.S. Senate Aging Committee. A widely cited study determines that the negative health impact of social isolation is equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day. Both urban and rural communities across the continent have struggled on what to do about social isolation among seniors.

“There is indeed a growing awareness among our political leaders of the cost of social isolation on our public healthcare system,” says Fontaine. “However, we have to convince governments of the benefit of investing in initiatives that enhance the quality of life among frail and elderly seniors.”

Additional information and resources on the subject of social isolation among seniors, including copies of the campaign advertisements can be accessed at www.bccare.ca.

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