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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Elderly need family connections during a time of physical distancing

Absence of visitors can have negative effects and hasten residents’ decline, says letter writer

To the editor,

The province has temporarily eliminated the ability to visit elders in care, but that can have negative effects and hasten residents’ decline. Right now, there are no visitors, no group activities with friends, no joy. Now, even window visits with loved ones are being discouraged because it encourages elders to group together as they all struggle to see anyone who might be a familiar face outside.

Compounding that, many elders don’t have the mental capacity to understand why family no longer visit and why their world is suddenly so empty. I can’t even imagine how abandoned and alone they must feel. What about the anguish the families feel while knowing our loved ones languish away alone, behind locked doors. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease itself.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the gravity of the situation and how COVID-19 ravages through populations of elders in institutional care. I understand the initial panic and need for isolation. What I don’t understand is why families who have now self-isolated for weeks and are willing to follow all the protocols that staff entering and exiting the building daily do, are still not allowed to enter and visit.

Families have the ability to make a difference in their elders’ lives with just a smile a touch or a kind word. Our elders need to see that we are here for them. We need to lobby our government to find safe ways to begin allowing families to visit their elders in seniors’ facilities.

Mary Dewar, Nanaimo

READ ALSO: B.C. will ‘have to find a way’ for families to visit seniors in longterm care, says advocate

READ ALSO: B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.

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