'Move ‘em on, head ‘em up': Using Raw Hide and the ukulele to battle pandemic blues


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After such a year, it might seem strange to celebrate. But that’s what the Edmonton Ukulele Circle did this month, marking one year since they learned to embrace Zoom.

Like many Edmonton residents stuck at home during the pandemic, they’ve pushed forward and even discovered benefits from the forced switch to new technology. Now they meet every Monday instead of every other week, and they can actually hear each leader sing since all the others mute their mic to play along.

“It’s great fun, believe me. Great, great fun,” said Cecil Stollings, 87. He joins with his daughter Linda and volunteered to give a demonstration on video. The group has seen other family members join from as far away as the Maritimes. “I’m missing the group — sitting around in the circle, live. I do miss that. But Zoom has really filled the void.”

Another local online opportunity is through the Edmonton Lifelong Learners Association, which is offering online university courses for a reduced rate to people 50 and older through the University of Alberta faculty of extension. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and spring registration is open. That’s my-ella.com.


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Even closer to home, the Edmonton Interfaith Housing Initiative created a neighbours’ guide to the Alberta Health COVID-19 restrictions. Translated into several different languages, the guide seeks to help people share food, lend a hand and visit safely, abiding by all the rules. That’s at HelpIsNextDoor.ca.

There are also a variety of clubs available with just a landline. Call 211 for details.

More than 700 seniors and their loved ones have written in so far for Groundwork, the Edmonton Journal’s pilot project in engagement journalism that is running through March. Some have asked to hear more positive stories of resilience, which is why we jumped at the chance to share Stollings’ song on video.

We’re also doing a deep dive into what it means to be a caregiver in Alberta. If you give or receive care, you’re invited to fill out the survey below. You can choose whether to let us share your story publicly, or keep your comments for ourselves, where they will still inform the questions we ask and make our journalism stronger.

Read more about Groundwork, our pilot project in engagement journalism here. Follow along and don’t miss an update by joining the mailing list here.

If the caregiver’s survey doesn’t load for you below, it can also be accessed here.



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