KESWICK, ONT. -- A group of Seneca College students, graduates and teachers is stepping up to help ease feelings of loneliness among seniors in the GTA during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Social Service Worker Gerontology Response Team is made up of dozens of volunteers ready to make phone calls to seniors in their own home or in long-term care facilities.

“Having that phone call with someone who doesn’t get to see their family or talk to someone daily is something that’s going to push them forward for the rest of the day, for the rest of the week and make them feel like they’re a part of the world,” team member Jessica Duffy, who is a graduate of the Social Service Worker Gerontology program, said.


The team is also collecting donations of tablets for games and communication, CD-players to help calm residents in care homes, especially when there is an outbreak of COVID-19 and they have to stay in their rooms, and fidget boards, used as an activity for people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Organizer Alison Drenikow is a student of the Social Service Worker Gerontology program at Seneca College’s King Campus.


She wants anyone aware of a senior who needs help to reach out to the team, so no one is left behind.

“Tell us what you need and we will see how we can help you,” she said.

“Unfortunately, I lost both my parents at a young age and that makes me really want to reach out to other people because I would give anything to have my mom and dad back but they are not here.”

Seventy-four-year-old Keswick resident Sandra Lowry lives with her daughters, but knows there are many seniors who don’t have the same in person contact as she does, and believes the team will make difference.


“I have friends that live alone and it’s sad,” Lowry said. “Seniors need people, especially young people. They make life great.”

Drenikow also set up an online fundraiser so the group can buy supplies to make fidget boards and purchase tablets and CD-players.

Drenikow encourages people to contact the team through email, but it’s set up on social media, and has a phone number, 289-670-0925, which can accept messages, as well.