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Donations ensure personal care home and supportive housing residents can stay connected

Seeing a grandchild for the first time. A son playing you a song on the guitar. A daughter showing you around her new house. These are just a few of the moments that residents living in personal care homes and supportive housing throughout Interlake-Eastern RHA can experience, even during recent times when they have been unable to visit with loved ones in person.

FacetimeIn the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the Long Term & Continuing Care Association of Manitoba (LTCAM) realized an urgent need and took action. COVID-19 has disrupted all of our lives in many ways, and in challenging times, we seek connections with the people we care about. The alternative – social isolation – can be detrimental to the mental health and wellbeing of people both old and young, and particularly for those with dementia.

“When people with dementia are not in contact with the people closest to them, they lose their cognition and orientation to time, place and person. It’s absolutely critical that they stay in touch,” said Jan Legeros, executive director of LCTAM.

An appeal was launched with the goal of getting as many devices as possible that would make face-to-face contact a reality for every socially isolated Manitoba senior in care. Telus, United Way, Powerland Computers, and Blue Cross answered the call, with more than 200 iPads and smartphones donated.

“We touched base with all personal care homes and all supportive housing in the province, and every single home that needed a device received one,” said Legeros. “And they are really being used. In one home, a resident who is more than 100 years old is even teaching other residents how to use one of the iPads. You can see how meaningful this is for everyone, and it truly shows how we’re really all in this together.”

Outdoor visiting shelters - coming to a personal care home near you!

Throughout the pandemic, residents at personal care homes have enjoyed outdoor patio visits with family and friends. But with a Manitoba winter looming, and recognizing the importance of visitation and safety for the wellbeing of residents, the Manitoba Government is building all-season visiting shelters at personal care homes across Manitoba. Made out of repurposed single-use shipping containers, each shelter can host up to five visitors at a time.

All personal care homes in Interlake-Eastern RHA will have at least one shelter, with the exception of a care home in Oakbank that doesn’t have the space, so an interior space is being developed instead. The outdoor visitation spaces are all expected to be operational by November.

To see what the new outdoor visitation shelters will look like, see this short video.

“We’re looking forward to be able to offer this opportunity to our residents and their family and friends, as we recognize how important these in-person visits are to residents’ wellbeing,” said Lauren Marantz, regional director of long term program & standards with the Interlake-Eastern RHA. “Our goal is for visits to remain accessible while maintaining the safety of residents and their loved ones, and reducing the risk of introducing an infection into our residents' homes.”

The rules around visitation can change depending on the pandemic response level for your area. For up-to-date and accurate info around visitation, call your personal care home.


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