Abbotsford is blooming and Zooming!

While Abbotsford seniors and staff are learning to Zoom, the Abbotsford gardens already know how to bloom!  
Photo: Pat Goyeche

By Pat Goyeche

Abbotsford at the Glebe Centre is blooming and Zooming, both inside and outside our physical walls. Nothing is the same, yet we are doing it!

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought enormous worry, uncertainty and change, upending our lives in ways that are both mundane and profound. We have some common experiences as a society but so many differences as well because of age, race, socio-economic status and other realities.

This is a big change for seniors. Abbotsford has been serving the senior community one way or another since the 1890s. It is used to the fitness class pitter-patter of many feet and the chatter of many voices. Alas, it is quiet now as our in-house programming has been suspended, and many of our staff have been redeployed 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 16. While the doors remained closed, our beautiful garden out front has burst forth in full bloom, and inside we continue to connect with clients by way of landlines, cell towers and virtual means. We, like so many, are retooling 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, pharmaceuticals, medical appointments and mental health supports. Beyond those “essential services,” we are also connecting with our folks through weekly emailed blogs. Our volunteers are chatting with their new friends, checking in and forming new connections. The Community Support Services team is reaching out, sharing information and engaging with clients whose needs vary.

We have some amazing women volunteers who are making cotton masks for our members and clients. We have volunteers delivering packages and reaching out by telephone to do what they can to keep others safe, secure and connected. We are so appreciative of their generosity.

As we serve the elder population, which is particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, we will likely be among the last to reopen our 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 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 Zooming? 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 online, 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. Enjoy the summer, join a class or two and know that even 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 glebecentre.ca.

Pat Goyeche is coordinator of community programs at Abbotsford House.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

Comments are closed.