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B.C. expands 211 phone line, website to support seniors during COVID-19 pandemic
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and an interpreter at the B.C. legislature on March 24, 2020. (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- The B.C. government has launched a new phone line and website to support seniors living at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The call line, 2-1-1, is intended to connect elderly British Columbians with people who can offer support. Services offered through the 2-1-1 line will include meal delivery, help with cooking, delivery of groceries and medications, wellness calls and visits.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie made the announcement in Victoria Thursday.
Mackenzie is encouraging any British Columbian who is interested in volunteering to reach out to the 2-1-1 program. Volunteer roles can range from making deliveries to helping participate in virtual calls with seniors who face self-isolation.
"[We want to] harness the enormous response from British Columbians who want to help their neighbours and their community," said Dix.
Meanwhile, Mackenzie is calling for all residents to follow the orders of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, such as self-isolating and practising physical distancing while out in the community.
"If we put ourselves in the shoes of a senior we can begin to understand the additional challenges that older adults face with COVID-19," said Mackenzie.
"They are frankly afraid that if they get it, they will die."
The seniors advocate did highlight steps being taken by the community to help protect elderly British Columbians, including grocery stores offering special hours exclusively for seniors.
“Please do not be afraid, but please stay home and get help,” said Mackenzie.
“We want to help. Your kids, your grandkids, your community, every one of your elected officials at every level of government want you to be safe.”