Abbotsford is Blooming and Zooming! June 2020
By: Pat Goyeche
Abbotsford Programing and Services at the Glebe Centre is Blooming and Zooming, both inside and outside of our physical walls. Nothing is the same yet we are doing it!
The COVID-19 pandemic has of course brought enormous worry, uncertainty and change, upending each of our lives in ways that are both mundane and profound. We have some common experiences as a society but so many differences as well, that come with age, race, socio-economic and other realities.
This is a big change for seniors. This house has been serving ‘senior community members’ since the 1890’s one way or another! It is used to the fitness pitter patter of many feet and the chatter of many voices. Alas, it is quiet as our in-house programming has been suspended and many of our staff have been re-deployed to help in our long term care home. Only a few of us are still working in the house.
Like so many facilities, Abbotsford had to close its doors on March 16th. While the doors are closed, however, our beautiful garden out front has burst forth in full bloom; and inside we continue to connect by way of land lines, cell towers and virtual means. We, like so many, are re-tooling ourselves in order to maintain crucial links with our community of neighbours, members, clients and volunteers.
We have a strong core of volunteers reaching out through telephone trees, making sure everyone has access to food, pharmacy, medical appointments and mental health supports. Beyond those ‘essential services’ we are also connecting with our folks through weekly e-mailed ‘blogs’. Our volunteers are chatting with their ‘new friends’, checking in and forming new connections. The Community Support Services team is reaching out to our clients, whose needs vary; sharing information and engaging with their clientele.
We have some amazing women in our community of volunteers who are making cotton masks for our members and clients. We have volunteers delivering packages and reaching out through the telephone to do what they can to keep others safe, secure and connected. We are so appreciative of their generosity. We also appreciate our community partners, in particular Evelyn Metcalfe and Amanda Brown of Colonel By Retirement Residence for adding a sweet treat.
As we do service the elder population (who are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus) we will likely be amongst the last to re-open our physical doors. Yet we are by no means dormant in the meantime. The house is storing up good vibes for the day when it can once again open its doors to its community. While we wait there is much on offer to help keep our folks fit, entertained, challenged, engaged and connected.
Who knew that Boomers would be Blooming & Zooming themselves? So many folks are connecting with family and friends in new ways and we have all learned to be open to technology and the wonderful opportunities that it brings. Coffee Klatches are meeting, people are learning Spanish, and there is lots of dancing to Broadway hits and Zumba beats. We can still ‘work out’ with our favourite teachers and chat with friends, either in a conference call or a virtual connection.
Keep vigilant, keep heathy, take care of each other. Keep smiling at strangers and asking if they need a hand or something from the grocery store. Enjoy the summer, join in a class or two and know that though the doors are locked our hearts and services remain open and engaged.
Abbotsford is your Seniors Active Living Centre for Adults 55+. It houses the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization which includes a 254 bed long term care home. Find out more about our services by telephoning 613-230-5730 during regular business hours or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website www.glebecentre.ca