March 2020 seems like such a long time ago, yet it has really only been a mere 12 months. I remember coming to work on March 11th, after hearing the announcement from the WHO concerning the pandemic, and wondering how this would impact our Elders, our care, our world. We learned quickly that life would never be the same and the impact of the COVID-19 virus would be significant. Unknown to our Elders, families and staff, we simply could not imagine the changes and impact the pandemic would have on our lives, family interactions and social connections.
It is now April 2021 which opens up the season of spring – my favourite time of the year as it is my birthday month! The daffodils in my garden are just starting to bloom and the tulips are following closely behind. We have survived a year of dealing with COVID-19 and although we need to stay strong and committed to staying healthy, it is still challenging. I thank our staff for keeping your promise to uphold safety, to reduce viral transmissions and to engage our Elders in meaningful activities. I thank our Elders for their patience and understanding when their families could not visit – we made some difficult decisions as part of our commitment to safety. We also vowed to keep all of our partners in care informed via print and social media, maintaining our connection to the community to lessen any feelings of isolation and keep everyone informed on the happenings at KL – a goal we happily met. As a result, Kinsmen Lodge continues to remain COVID-19 and outbreak free.
Spring is also a time for reflection, renewal and regeneration. Due to COVID-19 protocols, Easter, Vaisakhi and Ramadan will be quiet, but no less significant. We believe this will still be an important time to recognize the religious symbolism and rituals of these special cultural events. At the start of the pandemic, my son said handshaking would be a part of the past and working from home would become commonplace – he was right, as evidenced by the current “new normal”. I hope that, now that the vaccine is more readily available to the general public, we will once again travel, greet friends with affectionate touches and be able to welcome groups of family and friends to gather together. I look forward to the day when I can give my grandson a big hug from his Grandmamma.
In the past year, KL continued to be busy and engaged in several monthly Licensing audits, got involved in some research projects (with UBC and the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research), enhanced our staff education calendar and started preparations for our next Accreditation Canada survey. We also installed a new sound system in the courtyard to enable the Elders to enjoy outdoor concerts and entertainment from the safety of the neighbourhood dining rooms. The pandemic has definitely allowed us to get creative in how we celebrate holidays and events which are so important for the well-being and comfort of our Elders. Although we have had to suspend volunteer interaction, Pastor Kevin and his canine companion, Scotty, along with our resident feline, Harris, have managed to maintain regular visits with our Elders and help them with their spiritual needs. In addition, the dedicated Recreation staff for each neighbourhood has gone a long way to address the individual needs of the Elders and encourage them to participate in music, art and other meaningful activities.
Happy Easter to all of our staff, Elders, families and friends!