Saskatoon care house resident displays on life in care throughout COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for everyone – from physical distancing to new rules and regulations designed to prevent the virus from spreading further. For those in need of care, the social options have been further restricted.
Some Saskatchewan nursing homes have been completely banned from visits for a period of time, and residents have been severely restricted from mobility compared to pre-pandemic life.
Fernande Levy lives in the Circle Drive Special Care Home in Saskatoon. At times, the 79-year-old said she was very depressed by the pandemic.
“We couldn’t see our loved ones,” said Levy. “They weren’t even allowed to come out of the window and it was devastating.”
Levy said the staff worked hard and made sure the surfaces were clean to keep the nursing home safe from COVID-19. She said no cases had been reported there. (Submitted by Circle Drive Special Care Home)
She said residents of her nursing home were not allowed to shop, go on excursions and have their regular outdoor activities canceled.
“We missed all of that, but more than anything else in our lives were our children,” said Levy.
Many of her roommates, including Levy, weren’t eating as much as they did before the pandemic, which she attributed to being upset not to see their families.
Fernande Levy said she has lived at the Circle Drive Special Care Home for about three years, where she spent most of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Circle Drive Special Care Home)
Residents eventually got an iPad or similar device to contact their families – something Levy said was better than using a phone to keep in touch.
Aside from virtual visits, the books on her shelves were the only consolation she could find from the pandemic besides talking to her family.
The nursing home organized events like dance parties, crafts, bingo, and carnival games to keep residents busy while they waited for the pandemic.
The guidelines put in place by the Saskatchewan Health Department at the start of the pandemic were gradually changed by the Saskatchewan reopening plan. The most recent changes regarding visits to hospitals and long-term care homes in the province were made earlier this month.
Levy said the COVID-19 pandemic is like nothing she has seen in her life.
“I hope it never happens again,” she said.
“You don’t see a happy ending in sight”
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Dr. Lilian Thorpe, a geriatric psychiatrist from Saskatoon, said Levy’s story was popular. Thorpe said the secondary effects of COVID-19 could be a crisis of its own.
“I think the death rate among seniors will increase. Not because of COVID, but because of the secondary things that are happening because of COVID, ”she said on the morning issue of CBC Radio.
She said some seniors experience extreme loneliness, not seeing a doctor when they need care, and eating less, something that could be caused by disconnection depression.
“I see a lot of seniors who don’t see family members and many of them say life is not worth it because it is the same day in and day out,” she said.
“You don’t see a happy ending in sight.”
Thorpe said she saw a firsthand example of the secondary consequences of COVID. A senior she knows suffered a severe stroke and is now paralyzed after not receiving help because of her uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Grooming back is good because the options when the lockdown was stricter weren’t always great, Thorpe said. Seniors she treated faced many obstacles such as poor internet access, lack of knowledge of how to download and use software, and other things.
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