By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter
Seniors and frontline health care workers were able to share a smile and an icy sweet treat recently thanks to staff at Home Instead Senior Care, who wanted to show their support and appreciation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Armed with an ice cream truck, personal protection equipment, smiles and a passionate attitude, Home Instead Senior Care staff visited some local retirement homes to share some ice cream treats with the seniors and frontline health care workers.
“In a time when bringing family and friends together may not be feasible, at Home Instead we felt we needed to get a little more creative to ensure we have regular contact with our older adults,” says Cathy Dow, owner of Home Instead, which serves Oshawa and the surrounding area. “So, we formulated this idea to contact retirement homes within our community and bring the ice cream truck to each of them.”
She notes it was a two-fold initiative: to thank essential health care workers and bring them a little bit of joy, and also to reach out to the residents.
“When you think of the ice cream truck, we all have memories of our childhood. It’s very nostalgic and it was really fun to be doing something positive and just give them a bit of joy during a difficult time,” says Dow.
The ice cream truck visited Bowmanville Creek Retirement Home, Chartwell Centennial, and Wynfield Retirement Home in Oshawa and served approximately 240 health care workers and residents.
Dow says one of the best ways to keep seniors safe from COVID-19 is through social distancing.
“However, we need to be mindful as a community that this does not lead to social isolation, as loneliness can lead to severe health complications, and that’s what we have been experiencing in some of the calls we’ve received,” she says.
Home Instead Senior Care provides personalized care for older adults to help them remain successfully in their homes, which Dow says can include things like respite, transitional care from hospitals to home, and personal care services, as well as specializing in Alzheimer dementia care.
“It’s individualized based on each person’s care needs at the time.”
She says the pandemic hit the organization at “breathtaking speed” and they took measures to limit staff per client ratios and increase screening and safety protocols.
“We had the responsibility to care for the most vulnerable, so taking action was huge. We had to keep informed day-to-day as the virus progressed, and really focus on the protocols and infection control,” she says.
“Now as Ontario’s rates are reducing, it’s all good news that we can begin to start moving forward while still following the protocols. I think that’s what it’s really about as we open up – that the clients and their caregivers and their families feel comfortable.”