TORONTO -- Health officials are urging seniors and their close family members to take self-isolation seriously due to the significant impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the most vulnerable.

Ontario's chief medical officer Dr. David Williams has warned that the virus is especially hard on people who are 65 and older, have chronic illnesses and/or are immunocompromised. 

Seniors are being asked to stay home whether or not they have travelled or have symptoms because of their vulnerability. 

CTV News Toronto has compiled a list of resources for elderly residents in Toronto to help them through this difficult period.

If you know someone who is a senior and does not have access to Internet, this list can be printed and shared. 

Grocery/prescription services

  • The team at OpenLab, a part of the University Health Network, has created the Friendly Neighbour Hotline for seniors in low-income housing. Seniors can call to connect with volunteers throughout the city who can help with picking up essentials. The hotline, which has over 300 volunteers, will be open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. To get in touch contact 1 (855) 581-9580. 
  • The Al Hikmah Academy is providing free grocery delivery to all seniors between March 16 and 22 daily from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Contact 647-868-2540 for more info.
  • The Toronto Hifz Academy is offering free grocery and prescription delivery service for the Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park Community between March 17 and April 5. Call or text 647-505-8622 for more info. The service is available for anyone who is elderly, or immunocompromised.
  • The SPRINT Senior Care’s Meals on Wheels program offers year-round meal deliveries for seniors. For more info call 416-481-6411.

Grocery hours for seniors

  • All Longo’s locations will offer a “community wellbeing hour” from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. every morning for seniors and other at-risk members of the community.
  • The NoFrills location on 6085 Creditview Road in Mississauga will have senior hour between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Beach Valu-Mart on 2266 Queen Street East will also have seniors only shopping time from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. starting Wednesday.\
  • Eataly will be closing its restaurant starting March 17, but its grocery store will remain open. From 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. the store will be open for senior and vulnerable populations only.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws are also offering the first hour of opening to seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Several Sobeys locations will be also devoting their first hour to those at most risk. 

Feeling lonely or bored?

  • The Arkells band is providing music lessons daily at 1 p.m. on their Instagram live account.
  • The Berlin Philharmonic has made its Digital Concert Hall free online for everyone until at least April 19.
  • A number of museum around the world are offering virtual tours, including the London’s British Museum, New York’s Guggenheim Museum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
  • Circle of Care Sinai Health has a phone pals program for people who are 55 and older and live alone in their homes. Call 416-635-2860 for more information.
  • The National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly compiled a list on social media of different activities for seniors in self-isolation. Some ideas on the list include virtual tea or dining with family members or friends, holding a virtual book club, designing a photo board or filling out a crossword puzzle.

Other support

  • For people in self-isolation who living with dementia or caring for someone who is, they can contact the Alzheimer Society Toronto for support at 416-322-6560.
  • For all health inquires seniors can contact Telehealth Ontario at +1 866-797-0000.
  • The City of Toronto’s seniors helpline at 416-217-2077 provides informational about home care, community care and crisis services in Toronto.