Karine Riad

I was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario and family has always been an important part in my life. My grandparents still lived in Egypt so the only way to communicate with them was through phone calls (and sometimes video calls if ever someone was around to help them navigate through technology). Going to visit them in the summer/having them come visit made our time together that much more worthwhile. Regardless, I found it easy to keep in contact with them because of technology.

During my undergrad years I had taken part in volunteer activities with older adults and developed a passion for elderly care. I then decided to pursue a minor in Gerontology. Having to take part in many placements, I had the opportunity to work with community service agencies which aimed to help older adults of the region become aware of the impact of loneliness and social isolation, and to take action. I took on many roles, such as arranging lunches for seniors, advertising the community programs, encouraging older adults to join meetings for coffee as well as preparing presentations with relevant topics to the senior population and encouraging discussion. I found it extremely rewarding to be able to organize their social gatherings and really enjoyed listening to the seniors’ stories. These experiences have taught me the importance of social connectivity.

Especially during this pandemic, I believe that older adults should have access to technology in order to preserve their autonomy and encourage social interaction. I hope that with #RidetoConnect we can continue to offer our time and assistance to older adults in need.

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