My love’s care home at Comox Valley Seniors Village is once again closed for an outbreak. Not the dreaded Covid-19 but influenza A. It has spread from ward to ward, but not so far tonight to his special care unit.
Fortuately he has no concept of any of this, except his old belief that they were all being held there to be killed and eaten… and he has mostly forgotten even that, thankfully, enjoying his bed and his food, and occasionally engaging in this or that, as he wanders round and round. That content is due to care aides who know and understand his rhythms.
Also a beefed up Rec Department has interesting things happening every hour or two so all residents are more engaged.
This afternoon a small number of our Crying Out Loud group got together, widows and long term caregiver survivors. We did not hug, and mourned that loss of contact.
We were all remembering the disastrous norovirous outbreak a year ago, when the care home, with almost no management, failed to do necessary cleaning. Two of our life partners died during that outbreak.
Now the same care home is about to lose its public administrator. Her time is up. She has put lots of stuff in motion which might bring this place up to the level of the non- profit homes in the Valley. But none of those measures have yet matured or endured.
And in a massive gesture of non- confidence, the newly-hired Director of Care has quit.
You can’t change corporate culture by forcing them to hire an extra kitchen aide and a couple of cleaners. Or the rec folks who are making a huge difference in the atmosphere. Less like a prison, more alive.
So here we are – a year later – in yet one more outbreak, with no reason to believe cleaning protocols will be inspected or enforced, top management again missing a critical leadership role. And the Health Authority ordering no recreation or visitors.
The same old grim scene that kills people, from infection or despair.
And yet in the face of this, our group gathered, laughed, understood each other’s pain, respected each voice, enjoyed the food (Grazie mia amica) and the stories, and then we figured out the next steps in our action plan.
The comfort eased my pain-filled heart.
May we all find such kind shelter in this storm.