In early June, some restrictions on family presence were lifted to enable residents of long-term care homes to visit with more family and loved ones, both outdoors and in. As of July 13, all residents can now designate two family members or support people for indoor family presence. For some residents, family members have been essential care givers and being with their loved ones indoors has now allowed them to continue assisting with care. For other residents, being able to connect with family and friends outdoors has given them peace of mind and the opportunity to re-connect.
A few residents shared with Daily Rounds why outdoor and virtual visitation has been special.
Kevin AckermanKevin Ackerman is the son of Adelia Ackerman, a resident of St. Mary’s Villa in Humboldt.
I enjoy the outdoor visits because we get to smell the fresh air with our loved one. I like to bring cinnamon buns and snacks to share with our mom. I’m so grateful I get to see my mom.
Kevin Ackerman and his mother, Adelia Ackerman, take in the fresh air.
Sandy McLeanSandy McLean is the daughter of Loretta Dunne who resides at St. Mary’s Villa in Humboldt.
Outside and FaceTime visits with our loved ones are so important. The family connection eases everyone’s mind including residents who worry that COVID will reach their loved ones. They miss us and feel like they have been abandoned.
In our case, we had just lost my father. Right after he passed, COVID hit. Lockdown happened. My mother lost her husband and then she lost her family. I lost my father and then I lost my mom.
Thankfully, we were quickly offered FaceTime and phone-at-the-window visits. Then, outside visits.
In spite of already being overworked, the staff have been instrumental in bringing families back together. And that is what their hard work does.
Sandy McLean and her mother, Loretta Dunne, enjoy the day together.
Leeyan BrinklowLeeyan Brinklow is the daughter of Ann Strobel who resides at Newmarket Place in Tisdale.*
Our elderly have moved into Newmarket Place to live and living means interacting with family. The importance of visiting indoors or outdoors is that flow of life. My mom has dementia and doesn’t necessarily remember day-to-day things but she does have memories of who I am and what we share together. For her, that’s part of continuing to live. She still asks questions about my kids and what we’re doing. She tells me what she’s doing. It’s an exchange and a continuation of the family narrative.
Visiting is important for anyone who has a loved one. For me, visiting together allows me to honour her life and to continue to support her. Even though we can’t hug and touch, for her to be able to see me and my family is so important. We see her eyes light up. She knows someone familiar has come to visit. She still has love to give. That’s life-giving.
* Note: as of July 30, Newmarket Place was one of the facilities in the northeast where visitors were being limited due to the increase in the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in that part of the province. Visiting for compassionate reasons was being allowed, but no other visitors are being allowed in the long-term care home until further notice.
Leeyan Brinklow and her mother, Ann Strobel, celebrate Ann’s birthday outdoors.