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Seniors' helpline a possibility during pandemic as Vancouver MP suggests idea to PM

Last Updated Apr 21, 2020 at 1:26 pm PDT

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Summary

MP Hedy Fry suggested the idea of a seniors' helpline to prime minister

Fry worries about seniors mental health and well-being as they socially isolate

The helpline would be similar to the kids helpline

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — To offer connection during a time of isolation, a seniors’ helpline could become a reality through this pandemic as a Liberal MP says she’s suggested the idea to the prime minister.

Vancouver-Centre Liberal Dr. Hedy Fry says she recently spoke with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the idea to bring in a helpline for seniors, similar to the Kids Help Phone.

“He thought it was a good idea,” she says.

Fry says her office has identified around 800 seniors in her constituency who have been unreachable through modern means, such as email or social media.

Many of them were already living alone, and, as a physician, Fry says she’s concerned for their well-being as they socially isolate.

“They used to be able to go to the community centre and meet their friends. A little shopping trip was a nice social event for them, and now they don’t have that,” she says, adding she’s worried some could spiral into depression.

Fry’s office has been sending letters and trying to contact seniors through phone prompting the idea of the helpline.

On Tuesday, the federal government announced funding of $350-million for charities and non-profits organizations that support marginalized people.

RELATED: PM announces $350M for charities, non-profits amid pandemic

Much of the money will flow through three national groups to help Canada’s 86,000 registered charities deal with initial impacts of the pandemic, with a portion of funds going to small, independent organizations, Trudeau explained.

-With files from Hana Mae Nassar and the Canadian Press