Seniors’ care facilities in the Shuswap are changing some of their practices in the face of the COVID-19 virus. (Pixabay Image)

Shuswap seniors facilities keeping residents safe in face of COVID-19

In the name of caution, large gatherings and non-essential visits suspended at care homes

Caution is the rule of the day for those in charge of facilities and services for senior citizens in the Shuswap.

Older people are widely regarded as the most vulnerable as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, so care homes are taking steps to keep the virus out and their residents safe.

Shauna Bradbury, general manager of the Shuswap Lodge, said no one at the facility is sick but residents are being asked to stay in and visits are being limited to the essentials.

Bradbury said group activities in the care home are being suspended as part of directions from facility owners, Vancouver Resource Society. Closure of self-service food and beverage options and requests that all those at the facility practise good hygiene were also put in place by the society.

Bradbury said residents are being encouraged to keep five feet away from each other and they are being provided regular information at meal times.

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Lakeside Manor, another Salmon Arm retirement residence, is also limiting visitors and the size of gatherings.

Manor president Melanie Reinhardt said they have moved meals to two sittings in order to increase distance between residents and also limited visits to only the essentials. She added that the care home’s chemical supplier came in to make sure their cleaning products are adequate for keeping up hygiene in the face of the virus.

Reinhardt said residents requiring items from stores are being assisted by the facility’s rec coordinator who is doing shopping for them. Although caution and strict hygiene are being practised, Reinhardt said life goes on in the facility. Recreation options that can be done alone or in small groups remaining open to residents for now. She added that many residents are savvy with their cellphones and are already keeping in touch with video calls.

The 5th Avenue Seniors Activity Centre announced it would be closing at 1 p.m. on March 18, well ahead of the March 20 deadline for all facilities operated or leased out by the City of Salmon Arm to close. The centre had already shut down its meal service and many user groups had cancelled well before the closure.

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The Eagle Valley Senior Citizen’s Housing Society is putting measures in place to protect their Sicamous facilities.

Rhona Martin, president of the society, said protective measures include those entering the Eagle Valley Manor having to ring a bell and then be escorted to their destination inside the facility by a staff member.

Martin said everyone is concerned for the health of residents and they are monitoring the latest information from the medical health officer. The lunches provided twice a week at the Eagle Valley Haven by the Eagle Valley Meals Society have been discontinued for the time being.

In the face of COVID-19, the Sicamous and District Seniors Centre has closed its doors, heeding recommendations from the BC Centre for Disease Control and the federal Department of Health.

“We care deeply for those who use our centre. We want all to have the highest likelihood of staying healthy and virus free and feel this decision is the best one we can make, at an extremely difficult time for everyone,” a notice posted to the centre’s website reads.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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