A community group is asking manitobans to send virtual hugs to seniors this Christmas season.

"In light of COVID we had to make some adjustments to what we would like to do," says Jan Legeros, the Executive Director of the Long Term & Continuing Care Association of Manitoba (LTCAM). "There's a big difference in what we would like to do and what we can do safely."

Senior citizens in personal care homes have had a rough time during the pandemic as they have been kept from seeing loved ones. This of course was and is to keep the spread of COVID-19 at bay. 

"We know the best thing for them would be a great big hug. But we can't do that so what we've come up with is something called Virtual Hugs for the Holidays."

Anyone, including family and friends, is encouraged to send in a written card, a piece of artwork, an audio greeting, or a video clip. Thus showing a more vulnerable population that they are still cared for. 

Virtual Hug for the Holidays poster.

"The Christmas celebrations that usually take place, and other holiday celebrations as well, that generally take place in a care home can't this year. We want to let them know that we are all thinking of them. Even if we don't know a senior in care, I think it's really important for people to know and understand the hardships that have been going on in long-term care."

The long-term care includes seniors, as well as supportive housing and assisted living. There are roughly 15,000 seniors in care in Manitoba and the same amount of staff. 

"There have been students volunteer in the past who help out with letting seniors know that we're thinking about them." 

Students in schools who want to create a craft for local seniors in care is one great way to show a virtual hug. Another is sending a video of choirs singing their songs during the holidays. People interested in sending a virtual hug can do so by clicking here