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Celebrating Seniors Month from a distance

OSCC55+ recently celebrated Seniors Month with a virtual tour of the OSCCStrong display on Facebook Live. The display will remain on the outside of the facility until the end of June. (Photo submitted)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

The Oshawa Seniors Community Centre (OSCC55+) celebrated Seniors Month with a virtual tour of its OSCCStrong display.

OSCC55+ launched a public display at the John Street branch to help seniors feel hopeful during the COVID-19 pandemic. June has been designated as Senior’s Month by the province, and this year’s theme is “stay safe, stay in touch.”

To celebrate, the organization hosted a Facebook Live tour of the display, helped seniors to create “kindness rocks,” and staff drew chalk drawings outside of 43 John Street.

The display will remain on the outside of the branch for the rest of June.

Speaking with The Oshawa Express, OSCC55+ Executive Director Sandy Black says the event was a success.

“It was fantastic. All of the staff came to John Street, and we did chalk drawings, messages of inspiration and hope, and celebrating seniors,” she says.

Black says staff members took the kindness rocks to the clients themselves for them to decorate.

“The clients and their families decorated the rocks, and staff brought those back, and we placed them in the parking lot and along the sidewalk and the entrance to John Street,” she says.

While it was an exciting day for Black and her colleagues, she says things were different this year due to the pandemic.

“We usually have thousands of people at Memorial Park, and displays and a presentation of the senior of the year, and this year it looked very different,” she says. “But that didn’t stop us. We just shifted gears and did something very different.”

She emphasizes the Facebook Live, where seniors were able to do a virtual tour and see all of the messages displayed at the facility.

“It was a great event. Really exciting,” she says.

Aside from social distancing, Black says it was made clear to seniors to not come to the event.

“We made that very clear. It was not going to be a public event with seniors, because they are the most vulnerable and the most at risk to infect with COVID,” she explains.

She says they also ensured the safety of staff members doing the chalk drawings. She notes there were minimum numbers, with two metres distance, and everyone was wearing masks.

“We just made sure we’re following provincial guidelines in terms of how to keep our staff safe, and still be able to do what we needed to do and celebrate the day,” she says.