After a three-year hiatus, family events at our senior care and memory care homes in P.E.I. and New Brunswick have returned.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in spring of 2020, popular events at our senior care homes like our annual barbecues, dining room service as well as seasonal celebrations like Christmas parties, were closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, following the easing of provincial restrictions earlier this year we’ve again opened our doors to resident’s families and friends. In August, homes held their first family and friends’ barbecues since 2019.
For Francis Tremere, whose sister Bonita Bevans lives at Andrews Senior Care in Stratford, the ability to attend larger gatherings at Andrews again was welcome news.
“We must thank Mr. Murphy for having all the families here (again),” she said, adding in addition to being able to visit her sister on a regular basis again, she enjoys volunteering at events and visiting with other Andrews’ residents.
“I really enjoy intermingling with the residents,” said Francis, a former LPN. “I worked in nursing homes and hospitals so I really enjoy waiting on the residents and making contact with them and speaking with them. When you’re nursing, you really miss the residents. I really enjoyed my work and if I come here and get to help, it just lifts your spirits.”
Likewise, for Bonita’s daughter Lynn Trowsdale, having more family able to visit regularly has been a net positive.
“It’s great,” she said. “You don’t feel like you’re the only one now. During COVID, I was the only one in for a while, so now you feel less pressure to be there all the time and to entertain.”
She added, her mother has loved the extra attention.
“She has other friends that have dropped in too,” Lynn said. “It’s nice for her to have somebody dropping in different days. It makes the day go quicker.”
Lynn explained during the peak of COVID restrictions, her mother struggled with not seeing people.
“She phoned me two or three times a day,” Lynn said. “She found it very lonesome.”
Senior care residents and their families aren’t the only ones grateful to see public events happening again.
“We have always enjoyed so many gatherings over the years and to be able to do them again is so special,” said Sharon Woods-Bryenton, activity coordinator at Andrews of Stratford. “There certainly was a lot of joy in the room with the families and residents enjoying the food, music and just being together celebrating.”
Sharon added, she sees first-hand the benefits on the residents.
“To see family and residents together as they would have been for many events in their previous homes and how it can continue at Andrews is important,” she said. “It creates a great community atmosphere to have all the families, residents and staff together celebrating the special events of life.”
Kelly Tingley, a personal support worker at ProTem Memory Care, our dementia care homes in Moncton, said the response from resident’s families has been the same as at Andrews.
ProTem held their annual family barbecue at the end of August. Turnout from family members was high, with many bringing kids and grandkids to visit.
“It’s like having life breathed back in,” Kelly said. “It’s really good.”
Andrews and ProTem will continue to hold family events going forward, barring a change in COVID restrictions or updated guidance from respective provincial governments. Should conditions change due to an increase in COVID cases in the general community, or due to an outbreak at one of our homes, families will be immediately updated on our procedures and protocols.