Since Premier Moe announced last month that we need to ‘learn to live with the virus’ last month, people are trying to create normalcy in their lives. Everyone is now free to go to a restaurant or public facility without a vaccine passport. The expectation is that we will stay home when sick for everyone’s benefit.
But for seniors living in care homes, life is not much different than before. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is continuing to use a levelled system of Family Presence and Visitor Restriction. Long term and personal care homes continue to implement varying forms of masking and lockdowns.
The policies mirror the same measures used before the vaccine mandates and availability of rapid tests.
It is fair to say that, in a communal environment, it is more challenging to prevent the spread of disease whether it be scabies, colds, flu viruses or covid. Care homes are expected to have stringent protocols in place to reduce transmission.
But it is also fair to say that, amoung other reasons, many seniors living in a care facility chose to leave their own homes to avoid isolation, and to provide peace of mind for family members concerned about their well-being.
I have spoken with some family members of seniors who are still in anguish over their loved ones. “He is being isolated more than ever before!” said one person about a March 2022 lockdown that has extended past 10 days.
There is confusion as to why the same protocols that are being used by the general public, cannot be used for these facilities. Why wouldn’t care home residents that are healthy and test negative be able to enjoy normal, daily activities rather than be confined to their rooms? Visitors can provide rapid testing as well.
Clearly we must incorporate common sense ways to move forward so that everyone is free to enjoy their life. In doing so, we must not forget about our senior citizens.