N.B. student pairs youth and seniors for companionship during COVID

Hannah Crouse’s efforts have alleviated pandemic-related loneliness and built friendships between older and younger people.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
September 24, 2020
New friends Brenda Trafford and Hannah Crouse. Photo: Hannah Crouse.

Third-year Mount Allison University student Hannah Crouse was supposed to be an intern at the Port Elgin and Region Health Centre this summer, but COVID-19 intervened. Her resulting work with community groups delivering groceries to the elderly led to the realization that many seniors in New Brunswick were very lonely. Some had not seen a visitor in months, due to the pandemic. Although she spent some time visiting with the people she was delivering to, Crouse felt inspired to do something more to alleviate the loneliness she saw.

So she asked for volunteers from Mount Allison, via social media, and worked with elder care providers to match the young volunteers with seniors living alone. 20 seniors and 18 students participated in the eight-week program, which involved weekly visits to share a meal. Participants young and old reported enjoying their experience immensely.

Crouse is proud of the program’s success and has made a new friend in 85-year-old Brenda Trafford, who she paired herself with. She is seeking feedback on the program and plans to run a second iteration in the fall, in conjunction with Nursing Homes Without Walls, as there are plenty of other students and seniors interested in taking part.

Source: CBC News



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