Abbotsford reaches out during the pandemic

Abbotsford staff are busy calling during the pandemic to check up on clients and members. From left: Jen Day (Day Away), Bruce Hill (Director of Charitable Giving) and Kirsten O’Brien (Community Support Services).  
Photo: Shirley Lee

During the closure due to the pandemic, Abbotsford’s windows are being replaced. Photo: Pat Goyeche

By Karen Anne Blakely

Abbotsford House shut down March 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic but staff are busy calling and emailing to check on members and clients during our closure. All are being offered a “telephone reassurance check,” either daily or weekly, so they can get the latest information and we can make sure they are well.

Staff working from home continue to support seniors by arranging rides to essential medical appointments and helping with the delivery of Meals on Wheels. We are also guiding them through the process of ordering groceries online; for those who cannot wait for delivery or are unable pick up orders themselves, we will do it for them.

Many members who come to Abbotsford for classes and lectures are adjusting, like all of us, to being shut in at home. We are sending them weekly emails suggesting activities they can do at home, including online offerings like fitness classes and virtual tours of museums.

To those more constrained by frailty or dementia, we are sending activity packs that might include games like beanbag toss and simple bingo. We are also offering fuzzy mechanical cats, toys that move about, entertain and serve as substitute for those who cannot care for a real pet.

When we do finally open again, members and visitors will welcome some of the latest renovations to our old stone house built in 1872. We have replaced nine windows thanks to a generous grant from the provincial Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility. Seven replaced the large windows in the multi-purpose room that were originally installed in 1920s to light up the space. It is used by older adults and adults with disabilities for fitness classes, dance, Zumba, tai chi and ping pong. The new windows will allow more fresh air in the room and continue to let in light from the west.

The window in the main floor kitchen has also been replaced along with one office window on the second floor. The work was completed March 16.

Abbotsford is your Seniors Active Living Centre. We are the community programs and services of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit organization which includes a 254-bed, long-term care home. Mon.–Fri. 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., 613-230-5730. Check out The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website

Karen Anne Blakely is the director of community programs and services for Abbotsford at the Glebe Centre.

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