A light at the end of a tunnel

·2 min read

It was an emotional day for the residents of Livita Centennial Retirement Residence in Oshawa.

On Friday, March 5, the approximately 60 residents received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It was pretty emotional,” says Sarah Lintern, lifestyle and programs manager at the home, who notes they’ve been one of the few lucky retirement homes to have not seen a single case of COVID-19.

“To say that we’ve been COVID-free this entire time, and then to get the vaccine, I mean, that was just a huge relief,” she adds. “The fact that we’ve been able to keep the virus out of our building… it’s amazing.”

Lintern says the residents were “very excited” to receive the first dose of the vaccine.

It was a good day.”

Despite living through a pandemic for the past year, and understanding the severity of the virus, Lintern says with help from both the staff and the families, they’ve been able to provide a normal, comfortable living environment for the residents “with minimal to no impact of any kind.”

Because there have never been any COVID-19 cases inside the home, the residents didn’t have to isolate and were able to continue congregating in small groups in common areas to help keep the atmosphere somewhat normal and engaging, Lintern says.

She also ran small group and indoor activities and says, now that the weather is getting nicer, the residents will be able to head outside.

“We’ve had to create a new normal, but it’s been good,” she says. “It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been so great to see our residents flourish and be able to stay engaged.”

She notes mental health has been a major concern throughout the pandemic, specifically in the older age groups, adding as a team, between the staff and the families, they were able to provide positivity.

One of the things she says the residents enjoy the most is meal times.

“A great thing is their meal times. Having the meal times as their social time, it helps break up the day,” she says.

Lintern adds there have been some harder days, but now that the residents, staff and some family members have received the vaccine, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s a great milestone.”

Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express