Long-term care celebrates Mother's Day as Ontario loosens COVID-19 restrictions in homes
TORONTO -- Mothers in Ontario long-term care facilities were able to hug and kiss some of their children as the province eases COVID-19 restrictions for primary caregivers who are vaccinated.
Krizia Enriquez, who works are Chester Village in Toronto, says pre-pandemic, the retirement home would be full of visitors on Mother’s Day, but not since COVD-19 hit.
“I think it is the busiest time of the year because a lot of our residents are women so they are all mothers and we would have tea downstairs, music, food. It would be the busiest, you would have to park across the street because there is no parking,” she said.
But as of last week, children of residents, who are also their primary care giver and vaccinated, can come into the facility and kiss and hug their parents again.
“Last year we tried to do a window visit and we did some Facetime,” recalled Susan Webb, whose 89-year-old mother is in the home.
This year, she was in her mother’s room and they held hands and hugged.
Susan’s sister Nancy and her daughter are not primary care givers, so they visited this Mother’s Day using phones and waved from the front window.
“Just to see her in-person, you can’t describe it, it just tugs at your heart strings,” Nancy Webb said.
Her daughter Amanda Kuzyk said she was just pleased to see her grandmother in-person during the pandemic.
“We can’t hug her, we can’t touch her, which really sucks but getting to see her face, getting to see her smile, it melts my heart.”
Still others, who have been vaccinated, expressed frustration that they could not go inside where visitors and staff who are allowed in are given rapid COVID-19 tests.
“Its a bit frustrating but understandable, older folks have weaker immune systems, you’ve got to make sacrifices to protect them, the ones you love,” said Arron Bryer, who was waving at his grandmother through a window and using a phone to talk. He’d rather be safe than sorry.
Christine Greenland said he husband and mother are in the home and because she is their primary caregiver, she was able to visit and touch them.
“It makes all the difference in life to have the human contact and the touch, and being with family because there were a lot of months where all these poor folks, they are survivors, were completely on their own.”
With many restrictions still in place, staff are trying their best to make today special. There is a Mother’s Day tea party and the mom’s are given flowers.