By Barbara Sutherland
Alberta Health Services has updated its guidelines regarding visitors to supportive living communities to allow for very specific outdoor visits. Sweetgrass residents were pleased to be able to welcome a number ‘designated essential’ visitors (with their ‘plus one’) to the outdoor courtyard on May 6th.
According to Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, “It is important for mental health to spend time outdoors. It is encouraged that residents [of seniors’ homes] be given an opportunity to spend time outdoors, where feasible and appropriate and have safe outdoor visits when desired.”
This is literally a breath of fresh air for residents and families who are able to gather in this way. “Seniors living in a care community can get lonely because they have so little contact with family,” says Mailyn Fornoles, recreation coordinator for Sweetgrass.
“We allowed families to see the residents,” she says, “but they have to stay outside the building and they have to take precautions like to wear a mask, sanitize hands, and of course, they need to apply 2-meters of social distancing with families and residents.”