Intentionally Connected

Written by Rebecca Pauls (PLAN) and Jeff Dobbin (P4P Planning Network)

COVID has messed up all of our routines and many of the people we used to see are now off limits. But we still need to connect, and we still need each other. We’ve come up with a few ideas you can intentionally act on to stay connected.

Virtual Bubble

Throughout the pandemic we’ve been encouraged to create our own in-person bubbles. A group of people who we can see and get together with as long as we maintain a safe distance and wear masks. While that may not be possible now, we do have other options.   

Why not create a Virtual Bubble?

Pick two or three people who you will reach out to and connect with online on a regular basis. Invite them into your virtual bubble and stay in touch supporting them with what they may need, and in turn, they may support you with what you need. The best relationships are reciprocal.

Your Neighbourhood

You know, everyone in your neighbourhood is as lonely as you are. Why not take advantage of being at home to strengthen relationships with your neighbours? While you can’t get together inside and in person, you can reach out in many ways. Why not share a home-made holiday card or decorations or some baked treats with your neighbours? Can you help shovel snow, offer to walk a dog or pick-up essentials for someone who may have difficulty getting out? Maybe when the snow melts you can organize a spring clean-up with your neighbours. You’ll be living in your neighbourhood long after COVID so why not strengthen your relationships now.

Event Calendar

Last week we shared GETTING INVOLVED BY GETTING CREATIVE listed many different types of events you can get involved with. Get out a calendar, pick a few things to look forward to and invite a friend to join you. Concerts, museum tours, dinner parties, and many other ideas all done virtually.

Family Support Institute of BC also has a Calendar for Connection, and an Event Calendar, both created to help people with diverse abilities know about different fun and inclusive opportunities to connect with others during COVID-19.


Social Media Fun

If you’re a social media fan there are a wide variety of games and fun posts you can participate in. Whether it’s posting the 5th photo on your camera roll, your favourite album or movie, this is an easy way to participate in something else with others and a great way to start a conversation.

Be Clear About Your Needs

If you’re living with a disability or supporting someone else, you may have others in your life who would like to help. Take a little time to prepare a list of ways in which others could help. That way, when asked, you will have some good ideas to share. By allowing someone to provide a little support, you are giving them an opportunity to come into your life which in turn enhances their life.

Just Do It

We all have that little voice sitting on our shoulder shooting down our ideas. When it comes to reaching out, just forget that voice and act on every good idea you have.

  • Making some bread? Share it with a neighbour.
  • Haven’t spoken to that cousin in three years? Give them a call.
  • Looking for a partner for an online game? Invite someone.
  • Don’t second guess your ideas. Now is the time for action and spontaneity!


If you are struggling or feeling isolated, please don’t hesitate in calling our toll-free helpline. An advisor will connect with you about tips for staying connected. 

Call the helpline on 1-844-311-7526 at any time and from anywhere in Canada. You can also email us at

Here are some more resources for staying connected:

Staying Connected Webinars

Connecting virtually with other families

Places to call for support

Nurturing Supportive Relationships: The Foundation to a Secure Future Webcast


Rebecca Pauls is the Executive Director of Planned Advocacy Lifetime Network (PLAN)

Jeff is the Executive Director of Partners for Planning (P4P) and the Creative Director for the Partners for Planning Resource Network.

**Please note that all views and opinions expressed by contributors should be recognized as theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or position of Plan Institute**