Weekly Update - March 23, 2020

Posted on March 23 2020

We are committed to sharing the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 with seniors, caregivers, stakeholders, community partners, and professionals in the sector. We will be updating the Sage website, social media, and phone line regularly, and will be emailing information to people who have indicated they want regular updates from us. 

WHAT’S HAPPENING AT SAGE
Sage is working remotely to support seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to have limited access to our building at this time:

  • All non-essential programs and groups have been suspended, including the income tax clinic. 
  • Health services and social work programs are still seeing clients by appointment after a pre-screening. For those requiring appointments for the health services program, please call 780.423.5510 and press 3. For those needing social work services, please call 780.423.5510 and press 4 and leave a message.
  • Staying connected is important. Sage has implemented a friendly call program. If you would like to be added to Sage’s friendly phone call list, please call 780.423.5510 and press 5 and leave a message requesting to be added the list. 
  • The Seniors Safe House programming will continue to function as normal. In an emergency, call 911. If you are a senior, or know of a senior, that may be experiencing abuse, please hang up and dial 780.702.1520 for our Safe House Intake. For 24-hour support, call the Seniors Abuse Helpline at 780.454.8888. 

UPDATES FROM THE GOVERNMENT
Income Tax Returns 

  • The Federal Government has announced that Canadians will have until June 1, 2020 to file their tax returns.
  • The deadline to pay off any outstanding balances interest-free will be extended to August 31, 2020. This means, if you have to pay a balance, or you have a balance outstanding between now and August 31, 2020, you will not have to pay it until after September 1, 2020. No interest will accumulate during this time.
  • Any federal benefits you are currently receiving will not be interrupted.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency is adapting its Outreach Program to support individuals during COVID-19.
  • Individuals with low or fixed-income will be eligible for the File My Return program: a free service for the 2019 tax‑filing season. For more information, click here or call the CRA’s individual tax enquiries line at 1.800.959.8281.

For Seniors

  • The Federal Government is reducing the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds by 25% for 2020.
  • Starting in April, income supports will be put in place for workers and parents, such as relaxing rules to qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) and introducing an Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit. For more information, click here. 

HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Preventative Action 

  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects is one preventative action we can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For example: phone, tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles. 
  • To read an article about cleaning and disinfecting your home, click here. 

Staying Active 

  • With social distancing measures in place, it can be difficult to stay active and socially connected.
  • To read an article about staying active and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here. 

COMMUNITIES CONNECTING 
We thought it would be nice to include some positive updates and sources of good in our email update. Times like this can truly show the resiliency of the human spirit, as well as the strength of communities coming together to support one another. Here is a list of some recent feel-good stories:

  • Two Canadians, Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman, started Choir! Choir! Choir! a singing drop-in to help combat isolation caused by social distancing measures. To check for the next live sing-along, follow their Facebook page.
  • The Provincial Government has announced they will be providing medical support and shelter for homeless individuals in Alberta. To read the full article, click here. 
  • Many stores across Alberta are implementing senior-only shopping hours, including: Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaws, No Frills, Sobeys, and more. Click here for more information.  

RESOURCES
The Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council has developed a COVID-19 resource page that will be updated regularly. The page includes updates from senior-serving organizations and resources to support seniors and their families during the pandemic, including: 

Are you a professional working with seniors? The National Council on Aging has collated COVID-19 resources for professionals. Click here to learn more. 

If you have questions, please refer to our website. You can also call Sage at 780.423.5510 and leave a message. Please note that it may take us longer than usual to get back to you.

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