Keeping Connected with LTC Liz Pearl

Keeping connected is the key. The human connection, albeit contact-less, is essential to morale. This is a really tough time in Long Term Care facilities. Thank you to all of the dedicated front-line staff who are working day after day to keep the residents safe, healthy, stimulated and engaged. We value your essential service, now and always.

This year marks 25 years that I have worked as a program and educator consultant / facilitator at Extendicare Bayview and other facilities in the GTA. (As a part-time consultant, my services are not qualified as “essential services”, and so I am not entering the LTC facility during this quarantine).

The programs I facilitate are all about quality of life—enrichment, activation and providing engaging opportunities and experiences that are meaningful, including educational, recreational and therapeutic.

Twenty-five—that’s a lot of years; and I have many fond memories of dozens of residents at Extendicare Bayview over these years. And I look forward to returning ASAP post Covid-19. In fact, we will all be back: consultants, students, clergy, community liaisons, volunteers and of course, beloved family members.

I miss the smiles, the friendly greetings, the sparks of joy, and the shared moments of laughter, tears, fun and creativity. I miss the supportive group dynamics. I miss the Music and Dancing. I miss the Wellness Discussion Support Group. I miss the exchange of wisdom and providing a platform for indulging in nostalgia. I miss celebrating the Jewish holidays together.

I miss the meaningful connections.

In the mean time, I call regularly to check-in and offer my best wishes to the staff and residents. Sending wishes for continued stamina, patience, fortitude and courage and most importantly, health and optimism.

I recall SARS and many other seasonal outbreaks, and times of short-term quarantine. We got through them all. Of course this pandemic poses a significant challenge for all of us and a particular hardship in LTC. Please know that we can all support the staff and residents in so many little ways. Small gestures of compassion, kindness and gratitude often go a very long way.

Today I made a special delivery to Extendicare Bayview; freshly-baked traditional Challah dinner rolls, baked with love in my daughter’s kitchen. Soft, sweet and delicious. The homemade tasty treats were accompanied by several handwritten cards and messages of gratitude and inspiration for the residents and staff.

The world would be a better place if we all committed to pursuing small gestures of kindness in support of folks living in Long Term Care. Today, tomorrow or any day.

P.S. For my next delivery I’m thinking of baking funfetti sugar cookies, decorated with colourful sprinkles, so pretty and festive. Great with a cup of tea.


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