‘Santa for Seniors’ initiative helping keep LTC residents entertained

December 23, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Individuals in long term care homes have faced some of the greatest challenges with respect to COVID-19.

Not only are they at the highest risk of having complications associated with the virus due to their age, they also can’t have visitors or visit fellow residents within the home under the current lockdown conditions.

To help seniors stay entertained during the pandemic, Brakes Plus (324 Broadway) launched its “Santa for Seniors” charitable initiative, where they collected crossword books, pocket novels, word search puzzles, adult colouring books and crayons to create kits, filled with activities.

The focus is on helping long-term care residents keep their minds occupied through the pandemic and remind them that the people of Orangeville care about their wellbeing.

“When people come to long-term care now they have to be isolated for 14 days, and it’s very limited in what they can bring in with them,” explained Elaine Griffin of the Dufferin County Alzheimer Society, which creates the kits for long-term care homes.

“Staff are going above and beyond to keep people safe and to keep people engaged but nonetheless, people are lonely, they’ve been isolated and by having a little kit that you can give to each person, it helps keep them busy.”

In total, the community’s donations will allow for roughly 50 kits to be donated to long term care homes in Orangeville or the surrounding area. 

“This will be huge boost for us, especially for the people that are feeling isolated and alone,” said Griffin.

Typically long-term care homes would run communal activities in large groups where they’re sharing resources, but with the pandemic, residents can’t interact, so more materials are needed to keep everyone occupied.

So far, the kits have been extremely well received by the residents who have used them, according to Griffin.

“Some of the successes that we’ve heard back from these [kit] activities are that people are engaged, that they’re occupied, keeps their hands busy, and really gives them back that quality of life,” she explained.

The activities utilize a Montessori approach, based on the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori, who traditionally worked with children, but noted the activities were very beneficial for people as they lose their memories.

Griffin said it’s important to think about seniors and support them, particularly during COVID-19, considering all of their contributions to society.

“The people in long-term care, these people that have built Orangeville, built Dufferin County, built our country to what it is today, they deserve the respect of being recognized and acknowledge and treated with respect,” she stressed.

If anyone would like to support seniors in Dufferin’s long term care homes at this time, they can drop off donations at the Alzheimer Society office in Orangeville (25 Centennial Rd #1).

“I would encourage people, if they can purchase some activities that they think a person may use… and really looking at their own life to see what brings purpose and meaning to them, how could they share some of that with people in our long-term care homes,” said Griffin.

“We know COVID is not done yet, so we’ll continue to need these activities into the spring, we imagine right now.”

Gail Harvey (left) and Wayne (center) of Breaks Plus held up some of the many donations they received through their “Santa for Seniors” charitable initiative, alongside Elaine Griffin (right) of the Dufferin Alzheimer Society, last Thursday (Dec. 17). The donations raised through the campaign will be used to create roughly 50 kits designed to keep long-term care residents busy through the COVID-19 pandemic.


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