This will be a Thanksgiving like no other.
It’s normally a time to gather with those we love and reflect on all the reasons we have to be grateful. But this year, pandemic control measures, including limits on gatherings and physical distancing, mean that many long-standing family traditions are being upended.
That’s affecting everyone, but for some, the effects are devastating.
A growing number of seniors among us are feeling the sting of loneliness. The virus has forced many family members to end visits to parents, grandparents, and other elderly relatives or friends in their homes, or nursing homes. But for many, isolation was a sad fact of life long before we ever heard of this novel coronavirus.
This amplification of loneliness – more seniors feeling disconnected and that isolation cutting deeper – has real and profound effects on physical and mental health. Research is clear that loneliness leads to greater incidence of depression and anxiety, and puts seniors at risk of declining physical mobility and cognitive function.
There is so much we can do to ease the burden of loneliness among our senior family members, friends and neighbours. United Way Halton & Hamilton supports 36 community inclusion programs that help close to 23,000 people a year.
Among the many things I’m grateful for this year, is the amazing way our community has come together in this time of crisis. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, however different it may be, let’s take a moment to think about, and reach out to those who are alone.
We have the capacity, right here in our own community, to pull together to ensure no one feels left behind.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
President and CEO