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St. Albert seniors requested on COVID survey

The Seniors Club wants to know how everyone aged 50 and up has managed during the pandemic. They've already heard some surprising stories, but want a fuller picture of things.
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How have you been managing during the pandemic? What would help you to get through the isolation, the stress and all?

These are the big questions being posed by the St. Albert Seniors Association in a new survey of all city seniors. The voluntary survey hope to capture the thoughts and feelings of a larger representation of residents aged 50 and up.

"We want to get as many responses as we can because what we have found actually is over the months, seniors are impacted very differently than the rest of us," began Jonna Grad, executive director at the seniors club.

"A lot of us have either financial implications with jobs and all those kinds of things, but the seniors haven't necessarily experienced that. What we're hearing is surprising us, actually, so we thought, 'Let's see ... let's try and get some more information about what it actually is."

The online survey (found at surveymonkey.com/r/Covidimpactstalbertseniors) does include questions about mental health, financial health, physical health, isolation, caregiving, housing/long-term care, technology use, transportation, entertainment, and social life and lifestyle (including sleeping habits, appetite, consumption of alcohol and other substance usage).

All of these details will help to paint a larger picture about how seniors have experienced changes to their sense of isolation and caregiving, which will ideally lead to a better understanding of what supports they need.

"That's what's really been a surprise for us, because we anticipated a lot more calls in wanting some sort of support or resources. And it didn't really go that way."

Grad said she has learned from many seniors that they took it upon themselves to become a greater social support network for each other.

They have, in many instances, also had to step up to support their grown children who did experience job loss and other pandemic-related problems. This has put these seniors into a caregiving role rather than a care-receiving role, adding even further stress to their plates.

"We want to know if that's bigger than just our narrative stories that we're hearing or not, because I think that's a piece that maybe there needs to be some support for it."

The survey will be available online until Dec. 16, although a phone version can be offered for anyone not comfortable doing it electronically. Each questionnaire will conclude with the opportunity to connect with the seniors club if the respondent wishes or needs any supports. 

In the week since the survey has been made available, more than 400 people have already filled out their answers. Nearly 40 per cent of St. Albert's population of 66,000 is 50 or older, so there are a lot more voices and experiences that Grad hopes to hear.

The results will then be digested and delivered to the desks of members of City Council, the St. Albert Seniors Advisory Committee, and the Community Services Advisory Committee.


Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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