Sandra Lester, vice-chair of the Hay River Seniors’ Society, is using the internet to help keep members updated on the latest news about Covid-19.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

The Hay River Seniors’ Society is taking extra efforts to ensure that its members are receiving information – accurate information – about the coronavirus Covid-19.

Sandra Lester, vice-chair of the society, said there was a lot of bad information on the Internet, especially at the beginning of the crisis, but not so much now.

“Absolutely insane things people were posting,” she said.

So she and Pat Burnstad, secretary of the society, are working to provide correct information.

“We’ve let people know, besides the facts that they’re getting, the right information or the current information is from the GNWT,” said Lester. “We’re also trying to weed out the stuff that’s going to get them in trouble.”

Lester, a member of the Hay River Regional Wellness Council, gets information from that board and other sources – the GNWT and the federal government, for example. She is also a member of the community’s emergency measures committee.

“I send it to all the executive and they can further it, and then I send it to the Hay River Seniors’ page,” she said, referring to the organization’s Facebook site.

Lester then provides the information to Burnstad, who also gathers other information from the Town of Hay River, the GNWT and elsewhere.

Burnstad emails the information in an online newsletter to 110 society members every weekday.

“What I do is I actually take whatever Sandra sent out and put on the Facebook page, because some people don’t use Facebook. A lot of our seniors apparently don’t,” she said, adding she also adds information from the Town of Hay River.

“And then I’ll go online and see if things are applicable to our seniors that they may not be looking at or whatever,” she said. “Actually, I have had comments that they’re pleased with what comes out.”

Burnstad said her basic message is for seniors to play it safe, a message echoed by Lester.

“We always tell everyone to be really careful,” she said.

Burnstad noted there is no printed version of the newsletter, but she suggests that seniors without the internet can obtain information from reliable sources via radio or television.

Both Burnstad and Lester also try to be cheerful and keep spirits up among the seniors when providing information.

“I put a couple of jokes a day on the page,” said Lester, noting she had never done that before.

“We’re trying to tell them there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” she added.

Burnstad noted that Covid-19 has caused concern among seniors, especially those with existing medical conditions that may worsen cases of the virus.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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