Six Nations Elders suffering through COVID-19 isolation

By Victoria Gray
The elders of Six Nations of the Grand River have suffered greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic with continuous lockdowns, isolation from family and friends as well as a loss of services and programs in the community.
The unexpected length of the pandemic has caused many to worry about the mental health of elders in the community including Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) councillor Sherri-Lyn Hill Pierce who brought an update to SNEC’s general council meeting on March 24 to give councillors and community members watching on Facebook about services to try to help elders through the difficult time.
“I got some information from Janet Gasperelli (a portfolio lead) from the health program. They are doing mental health check ins,” she said.
Health staff are calling and visiting elders in the community to make sure they are fairing well throughout the year-long pandemic rife with lockdown measures and self-isolation.
Health staff are also giving them COVID-19 informations and statistics, they are offering preventative measures for their health, but they are also trying to deliver food through a drop-off program, there is a medical transport program, visits, health staff are doing referrals for personal support workers and the supportive housing team is currently contacting a list of older people for the second time to follow-up by the end of the week and will do more in-person checks.
“This will or is all being done safely,” Hill Pierce said.
Councillor Wendy Johnson also wondered if all of the older people in the community who wanted to had, had an opportunity to sign up for a vaccination at the Gaylord Powless Arena before younger members went ahead.
“Is that is all being looked after? I know we talked about going in to the home as well and giving vaccinations. Is there any information on that, so so nobody falls trough the gap, or there is no gap, I should say,” she said.
Councillor Michelle Bomberry also suggested the chief address the services available for elders on his weekly radio address and a flier mailed to elders.
“Not to mention, we’re on Facebook, I’m not sure how many seniors use that as a mode of communication,” she said.
Johnson suggested a dedicated phone line for seniors to enquire about vaccinations.
Jamieson said he would follow up.

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