Transcript: Seniors Staying Connected During COVID-19 | May 08, 2020

Jeyan sits in a room with a red brick wall. He's is in his thirties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a gray suit and a blue denim shirt.

A caption on screen reads "Seniors staying connected during COVID-19. Jeyan Jeganathan. @JeyanTVO."

Jeyan says WHILE MUCH OF WHAT WE'VE HEARD ABOUT SENIORS DURING THIS COVID-19 CRISIS HAS CENTRED ON THE TERRIBLE TOLL IN LONG-TERM CARE HOMES, THAT'S NOT THE WHOLE PICTURE. THERE IS ALSO MUCH RESILIENCE. DAVID ROCKNE CORRIGAN COVERS THE EASTERN PART OF THE PROVINCE FOR OUR ONTARIO HUBS, AND HE JOINS US NOW ON THAT...

David is in his thirties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit and a white shirt.

Jeyan continues WELCOME TO THE SHOW, DAVID.

David says HI, JEYAN.

Jeyan says NOW, YOU SPOKE TO DIRECTORS OF SENIORS COMMUNITY CENTRES IN ONTARIO. HOW ARE THE CENTRES BEING AFFECTED BY THE COVID-19 CLOSURES?

The caption changes to "David Rockne Corrigan. Eastern Ontario Hub Journalist."

David says SURE. SO MOST OF THEM HAVE BEEN CLOSED BASICALLY SINCE MID-MARCH. IT'S HAD A HUGE IMPACT. AND FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW, THESE ARE THE PLACES WHERE OLDER ADULTS WOULD GO FOR FITNESS CLASSES OR LANGUAGE CLASSES OR, YOU KNOW, SPORTS LEAGUES, RECREATIONAL SPORTS, AND THEY'VE HAD THEIR DOORS CLOSED FOR NOW TWO MONTHS, AND OF COURSE NOT ONLY DO THESE PLACES PROVIDE AN IMPORTANT SOURCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY FOR A LOT OF SENIORS, BUT ALSO, IT'S A HUGE SOURCE OF SOCIAL ACTIVITY. I'LL GET INTO THAT A LITTLE BIT MORE LATER. BUT HERE IN KINGSTON, THE KINGSTON SENIORS ASSOCIATION, I JUST WAS, A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO I WENT TO GO VISIT THEIR MAIN HUB HERE IN KINGSTON, AND THE PARKING LOT WAS EMPTY, OF COURSE, THE DOORS WERE CLOSED. I LOOKED IN AND I COULD SEE THE WOODWORKING SHOP, LOOKED AT THOUGH IT WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF A CLASS WHEN THE DOORS WERE CLOSED. BUT THINGS ARE REALLY QUIET. YOU KNOW, WHAT THEY'RE TRYING TO DO IS FIND WAYS TO ADAPT AND BRING SOME OF THESE COURSES, THESE PROGRAMS ONLINE. SO ON ZOOM, YOU CAN DO PERHAPS AN ARABIC LANGUAGE COURSE WHICH THEY'RE DOING HERE IN KINGSTON, BUT THE WOODWORKING COURSE HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

Jeyan says DAVID, THE GOOD COMPANION SENIOR CENTRE IN OTTAWA IS TRYING SOMETHING ELSE. TELL US ABOUT SENIORS CENTRE WITHOUT WALLS.

The caption changes to "David Rockne Corrigan, @rocknecorrigan."

David says YEAH, SENIORS CENTRE WITHOUT WALLS. ACTUALLY, IT'S A TELEPHONE PROGRAM THAT THEY'VE BEEN DOING FOR 6 YEARS IN OTTAWA, AND IT'S ESSENTIALLY PRESENTATIONS, LITTLE SHORT HALF-HOUR, ONE-HOUR PRESENTATIONS. SOME OF THE RECENT TOPICS HAVE INCLUDED BONE HEALTH, DOING YOUR TAXES, DATING AS AN OLDER ADULT. THEY DID ONE LAST WEEK ON THE SPANISH FLU PANDEMIC OF 1918. AND THESE ARE WAYS THERE ARE SENIORS WHO ARE MAYBE ISOLATED AND FEELING LONELY CAN CALL IN AND JOIN THIS INTERACTIVE PHONE ACTIVITY, AND IF THEY'RE NOT, YOU KNOW, ABLE TO DIAL IN, YOU KNOW, THE CALLS CAN BE MADE TO THEM. SO I ACTUALLY SAT IN ON ONE OF THESE SESSIONS LAST WEEK. IT WAS CALLED "GOOD NEWS." THE PROGRAMMER WAS SHARING GOOD NEWS STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD, AND, YOU KNOW, THE DIFFERENT PEOPLE ON THE CALL WOULD BE ABLE TO CHIME IN WITH THEIR REACTION TO THE STORY. IT WAS REALLY SWEET. AND YOU COULD JUST TELL BY LISTENING IN HOW VALUABLE THIS WAS FOR CERTAIN SENIORS. SO THIS PROGRAM THEY'VE BEEN DOING HAS ACTUALLY BEEN EXPANDING VERY RAPIDLY OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS. IT'S NOW BEING OFFERED AT 35 DIFFERENT SENIORS CENTRES ACROSS THE PROVINCE WITH SOME HELP FROM THE MINISTRY OF SENIORS AND ACCESSIBILITY AND THE UNITED WAY AND THE OACAO, WHICH IS THE ONTARIO ADULT CENTRE ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO. SO THAT'S BEEN REALLY RAMPING UP. AND 75 DIFFERENT CENTRES ARE TRAINING PEOPLE AND 35 HAVE OPENED UP... OR OPENED THIS PROGRAM UP AS OF LAST WEEK.

Jeyan says NOW, FOR YOUR LATEST ARTICLE FOR TVO.org OF COURSE YOU SPOKE TO SOME OF THOSE MEMBERS WHO HAVE BEEN USING THESE CENTRES OR ARE TAKING PART IN THIS PROGRAM. I WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT GENTLEMAN YOU SPOKE TO HAD TO SAY. LET'S ROLL THAT CLIP.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "May 6, 2020."
In the clip, a man in his seventies, with white hair and a stubble, faces the screen and speaks.

He says HI. MY NAME IS HARRY. I'M 68 YEARS OLD AND I LIVE IN KINGSTON. NORMALLY, I'D BE PLAYING PICKLE BALL AT THE SENIORS CENTRE. WHAT DO I MISS THE MOST? I MISS MY FRIENDS, THE LAUGHTER WE HAVE WHEN PLAYING, AND STAYING AFTERWARDS FOR COFFEE OR LUNCH.

The clip ends.

Jeyan says NOW, HE LOOKS LIKE AN ACTIVE GENTLEMAN THERE. TELL ME, YOU ALSO GOT A CHANCE TO [indiscernible]. HOW ABOUT THE CHANGES TO HIS ROUTINE THAT HE'S EXPERIENCED?

The caption changes to "Claude Sharma, @ClaudeSharma."
A screenshot from the TVO website pops up showing an article. It reads "tvo.org/OntarioHubs. Coronavirus. How seniors' centres are helping older Ontarians stuck at home. By David Rockne Corrigan."

David says ACTUALLY, FULL DISCLOSURE, I'M A PICKLE BALL PLAYER MYSELF. SO I'VE GOT MY PICKLE BALL RACKET AT THE READY. YOU KNOW, IT'S CHANGED THEIR ROUTINES IMMENSELY. THEY RELY ON THIS PLACE FOR THEIR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. A COUPLE OF TIMES A WEEK THEY'RE TAKING CLASSES, THEY'RE PLAYING PICKLE BALL. SO THEY'RE TRYING TO RECREATE SOME OF THE CLASSES AT HOME. THEY'RE LUCKY, BARRY AND HIS WIFE HAVE A PERSONAL TRAINER, SO THEY'RE ABLE TO GET A SORT OF PERSONAL SORT OF TOUCH THROUGH ZOOM WITH SOME FITNESS. I ACTUALLY SPOKE TO BARRY'S MOTHER-IN-LAW, 92-YEAR-OLD MARJORIE, WHO IS ALSO IN KINGSTON. AND SHE HAS BEEN A MEMBER OF THE SENIORS ASSOCIATION FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS. YOU KNOW, SHE IS THERE... SHE WOULD BE THERE REGULARLY ABOUT FOUR TIMES A WEEK FOR EXERCISE CLASSES AND SOCIALIZING, VISITING FRIENDS FOR LUNCH. AND SHE FOUND WHEN IT FIRST SHUT DOWN THAT SHE WASN'T NECESSARILY GETTING THE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY THAT SHE NEEDED AND SO HER JOINTS... SHE'S GOT ARTHRITIS... HER JOINTS WERE SEIZING UP. SHE HAS ACTUALLY STARTED TO WORK SOME EXERCISE BACK INTO HEROUX CONTINUE. LUCKILY ONE OF HER INSTRUCTORS IS DOING A TV VERSION OF THE WORKOUT A COUPLE OF TIMES A WEEK. SO SHE IS TUNING IN FROM HER TV TO WORK OUT A COUPLE OF TIMES A WEEK.

Jeyan says WHAT ARE PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS SAYING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF OLDER ADULTS AND COMMUNITY CENTRES?

David says SURE. I MEAN, THERE'S WELL-RESEARCHED EVIDENCE THAT SHOWS THAT SOCIALIZING AND SOCIALIZATION IS REALLY IMPORTANT FOR SENIORS' HEALTH, AND, YOU KNOW, WITH THESE PLACES CLOSED, IT'S ONE SOURCE WHERE A LOT OF PEOPLE, A LOT OF OLDER ADULTS IN ONTARIO GET THAT SOCIAL SORT OF OUTLET. AND SO I SPOKE TO OTTAWA PUBLIC HEALTH AND THEY SAID, YOU KNOW, IN LIEU OF THESE PLACES BEING OPENED, IT'S STILL VERY IMPORTANT FOR OLDER ADULTS, SENIORS, TO GET THE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, GET THE SOCIAL ACTIVITY WHENEVER AND WHEREVER POSSIBLE.

Jeyan says VERY QUICKLY, YOU LIST THE NUMBER OF PROGRAMS THAT THESE COMMUNITY CENTRES OFFER. THERE'S A COST ASSOCIATED TO THAT. WITH THESE CLOSURES, ARE THERE ANY REPERCUSSIONS?

David says ABSOLUTELY. THESE ARE NON-PROFITS, THESE ARE CHARITIES, AND THEY... YOU KNOW, THEY RUN ON VOLUNTEERS AND FUNDRAISERS AND THEY'VE HAD TO CANCEL A NUMBER OF FUNDRAISER EVENTS OVER THE COMING MONTHS RIGHT ACROSS THE PROVINCE AND IT'S HURTING BOTTOM LINES ALREADY. THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SENIORS ASSOCIATION HERE SAYS THEIR REVENUES CAME TO A SCREECHING HALT ON MARCH 17TH. SO IT'S HAD AN IMPACT. THEY'RE HOPEFUL. THEY'VE GOT A REALLY STRONG MEMBERSHIP BASE AND VOLUNTEERS AND MEMBERS THAT REALLY WANT TO BE THERE. SO IT'S A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THEY OPEN, BUT WHEN THEY DO, THERE WILL BE A LOT OF HAPPY OLDER ADULTS AROUND THE PROVINCE.

Jeyan says DAVID, I GUESS WHEN THIS IS ALL SAID AND DONE, THAT MEANS YOU AND I WILL BE GOING HEAD TO HEAD WITH BARRY AND HIS WIFE IN A PICKLE BALL MATCH.

David says ABSOLUTELY. YOU'RE ON, JEYAN.

The caption changes to "Producer: Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta."

Jeyan says DAVID, IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE. YOU ALWAYS BRING IMPORTANT STORIES FROM EASTERN ONTARIO. OUR ONTARIO HUBS JOURNALIST COVERING EASTERN ONTARIO. THANKS, AGAIN.

David says THANK YOU.

An animated slate reads "Ontario Hubs. Ontario Hubs are made possible by The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust and Goldie Feldman."

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