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Mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it. People across the world have been asked to stay in their homes to prevent the spread of the virus. There is great uncertainty around what the future looks like and for many, this can lead to stress, anxiety and feelings of loneliness. These feelings may be exacerbated for older adults who may be at higher risk for infection, especially those with severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease. The good news is different strategies that include self-care and technology have been shown to be effective in improving mental health and wellbeing and may be of use in times like these. 

Many older adults suffer from loneliness and these feelings may be heightened during this challenging time. Older adults who live alone and have fewer friends or family members may experience greater loneliness. Technology has been an important tool for helping individuals stay connected despite being physically separated. Evidence suggests that some technologies can facilitate social interactions that keep older adults connected to their loved ones, reducing feelings of loneliness. But these technologies are sometimes difficult to use, especially for individuals who have cognitive impairment and have trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions.

There are a few self-care strategies that older adults can implement to positively benefit their mental health and wellbeing. Exercising at home or walking outdoors (while keeping a safe distance) can provide an uplifting mood boost. Mindfulness practices including meditation may also have positive effects for older adults. Evidence has also shown that sharing personal stories and memories can help reduce feelings of loneliness and depression. A phone call or video chat with a friend or family member can be good for the soul! 

We have compiled some of our resources on mental health and wellbeing to help you and your loved ones navigate challenging times. Now more than ever, it is important to check-in with friends and family members (by phone or through means such as email in-place of in-person visits) to see how they are doing. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 1-833-456-4566 toll free (In QC: 1-866-277-3553), 24/7 or visit www.crisisservicescanada.ca.

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Public Health Agency of Canada

Stay on top of the current coronavirus disease situation in Canada with the most recent updates, information about symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Learn about financial and economic supports, travel advisories, and other useful information about being prepared. Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada's COVID-19 web page.

World Health Organization

Get the latest updates from the World Health Organization and view their Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Dashboard that shows the current global statistics concerning the pandemic.

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