When the COVID-19 pandemic began, public health guidelines helped to stop the spread through targeted action. These restrictions dramatically affected our programs. Many of our locations had to stop allowing visitors, and some offices had to close.
“We now approach our residents wearing a mask, face shields, and sometimes gowns. It no longer feels like home,” explains Laura, a personal support services coordinator at LOFT. “I don’t know if there is such a thing as a normal day anymore. No two days are the same.”
Both staff members and clients are now navigating “the new normal.” It is difficult for everyone: unique challenges arise daily, along with new demands and pressure to adapt. Creativity and flexibility are required to continue supporting those who need it the most.
With social distancing in place, many tasks are now virtual. Clients are scared. Seniors and those unaccustomed to technology feel uneasy. “It is like seeing my doctor on TV,” one of them said.
Our clients enjoy their independence. Before the pandemic, they found it freeing to be able to come and go as they pleased, and they preferred to shop on their own. Now, LOFT staff members must explain to them what social distancing is and that they need to stay inside. They find it hard to have to rely on someone else to do things for them.
Many clients are missing their families. Some are really good at calling and checking in. For others, it’s a struggle – especially those with memory impairment.
To protect our clients, there are visitor restrictions. Some seniors can’t use a phone. For those who can, they may be unable to connect a voice to a face.
If not for all of our staff working together, going above and beyond, adjusting every day, our clients wouldn’t have the support they need to navigate this pandemic. Heroes work at LOFT.
LOFT’s John Gibson House provides high-support housing for the most vulnerable, at-risk and frail older adults and seniors in the community. The program offers 24-hour on-site staffing and access to services for seniors with serious mental illness. Personal Support Workers provide practical assistance and care to residents, including personal care, housekeeping, laundry and escorts to appointments, enabling them to remain in the community as they age.