CARP raises concerns for seniors as schools reopen

The Canadian Association of Retired People (CARP) is reminding Canadians that with a focus on students there are implications on the rest of the family “bubble” including grandparents in a release Monday.

They explained that grandparents will be facing tough decisions on how to remain safely connected to their grandchildren as a potential second wave of COVID-19 hits this fall.

“Many of our Members tell us they feel like we’re back in the early days of the pandemic, when so much anxiety was caused by the unknown,” Bill VanGorder, CARP’s Interim Chief Policy Officer said.

“Social isolation is wreaking havoc on seniors across the country. We’re seeing increased rates of depression, cognitive de cline and injury in vulnerable elders who have been cut off from their families due to physical distancing measures. Staying connected to grandchildren is key in keeping older people active, engaged and mentally healthy.”

The organization explained that that grandparents often care for children while their parents go to work, maintaining physical distance will be next to impossible for some families. This possibly poses a serious safety concern, as school-aged children are up to four times more likely to spread the virus to others—a risk older people need to avoid.

They said that with concerns mounting that schools will be a hotbed for outbreaks parents are opting to keep their kids at home or arrange to work from home themselves in order to protect their older loved ones from exposure to COVID-19. As well, according to CARP approximately 400,000 homes in Canada are intergenerational, meaning grandparents are intimately ingrained in the household alongside their younger family members.

“Parents are being reminded how integral grandparents are to keeping their lives running smoothly,” VanGorder explained.

“Many parents are going so far as to split up their family bubble into 2. One parent will bubble with the grandparents and the other with the kids. Urgency breeds creativity, and they want to make sure their family elders are as safe as possible going into the school year.”

The organization explained that for grandparents looking to stay connected to their grandkids, even when maintaining physical distance, there are many options. The organization has put together a list of ways to be a great physically distanced grandparents which was submitted by their membership.