COVID-19 restrictions have been lifting throughout the province and this also includes facilities that house the most vulnerable population.
Both Lac La Biche seniors homes, LacAlta Lodge and Points West Living, have been in lock down since March and neither facility has had any COVID-19 cases.
Two weeks ago, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Deena Hinshaw, released Order 29-2020 which gave seniors in supportive living facilities more opportunities to see their loved ones.
Every senior can have two family members enter the building for visits. The family members have to be screened prior to entering the building, they must wear masks, and they are not allowed to engage with any of the other senior residents.
For outdoor visits, seniors are able to have four family members visit.
Shirley Surgenor, Chief Administrative Officer for the Greater North Foundation, says it’s been difficult for on seniors, but the new protocols along with the weather have been lifting their spirits.
“Some of them have been doing better than others, and for a lot of them, the lock down was becoming really stressful. They need the support of their family,” said Surgenor.
“I think they are pretty resilient people overall, and now that they can leave the facility, get outside in the nice weather, and be around their families, it has helped a lot.”
Iona Wolstenholme, the General Manager for Points West Living, says there are also strict guidelines seniors and their families must follow when they leave the facility.
“Independent residents are allowed to leave the building, there are steps that they need to take if they are riding with somebody else,” said Wolstenholme.
“They should wear masks when they are out, the driver has to be masked, they should be sitting in the back seat, they should social distance as much as they can in the vehicle, and they have to sanitize prior to getting in the vehicle.”
Surgenor admits it’s up to everybody to protect their senior citizens from COVID-19.
“We are doing everything to keep them safe, and we all just have to be diligent and though some restrictions have been lifted, we still have to sanitize, social distance, and do our part,” said Surgenor.