Coronavirus: How Edmonton seniors are coping with self-isolation

Self-isolation is hard on everybody, but for seniors it can be especially lonely. Seniors’ facilities in Edmonton are working on ways to help residents through quarantine.

“One site does hula dancing at the doorway, and (one woman) just had her birthday, so they all sat outside their doors and had dinner together.

“Another site, they play chess together, but because of social distancing, they yell out their moves,” said Izabella Roth, with Christenson Communities.

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Christenson Communities resident Peggie Hughes said her son-in-law would come for visits, but for her birthday, he had to stay outside.

“Now he comes and waves through the door and that is the best we can do,” Hughes said.

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Families separated amid stricter COVID-19 measures at Alberta seniors’ homes

Families separated amid stricter COVID-19 measures at Alberta seniors’ homes

She understands how important the distance is and has been leaning on her neighbours at safe distance for company.

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“For supper, bring your own TV tray and there is chairs set up out there so we can have supper together. Otherwise you have to eat alone,”  Hughes said.

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As of Friday, Christenson Communities will only allow residents to leave for essential services.

“We started taking fairly aggressive measures March 13, and we restricted all visitation to all of our sites,” Roth said.

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That’s why extra measures are being taken to ensure seniors don’t feel alone– and even teaching those who want to learn how to video-chat.

Canterbury Foundation is also working to help seniors through quarantine. It shared a video of a elderly man talking to his daughter.

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“It’s vital for residents to feel like they are not forgotten, it’s important for them to have conversations over the phone with their loved ones but it’s even more so when they can see the person’s face,” Canterbury Foundation’s Mbalia Kamara said.

“This is just another way to maintain those relationships.”

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“The staff will set up the call and the resident just has to be there and have a conversation with their loved ones. After they’re done, staff will take the iPad and clean it up, and go to the next person,” Kamara said.

Public health facilities like seniors’ homes need to do a screening for staff, residents and essential visitors when they enter the building.  There also needs to be enhanced cleaning, and common spaces must keep have enough distance between people.

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