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MLA’S VIEW: Welcome news for seniors in long-term care

MLA Jackie Tegart
Photo credit: Lori Pilon

Seniors living in long-term care and assisted living facilities – and their families – have finally received the news they’ve been waiting a long time to hear. They will be able to make some of the connections they’ve been missing over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, the B.C. government announced that these residents will be able to have frequent, routine opportunities for visitation with up to two visitors plus a child. Loved ones will be able to visit residents in their rooms without staff present, and physical touch will be allowed between residents and visitors so long as they continue to follow measures like handwashing and mask-wearing.

I know this is welcome news to many B.C. families who expressed concerns for the well-being of their loved ones in care. Social connections are important to all of us, but they are especially significant for seniors to maintain their mental and physical health.

As restrictions shift and COVID-19 case numbers rise, let’s remember to still reach out virtually to family members and friends and look for safe ways to help those who might be struggling, like dropping off groceries at their doorstep or mailing them a special package to show you care. As someone who has long advocated for healthy communities, I recognize the need to check-in on our neighbours, loved ones, and ourselves. It is important take care of your own health as well during these stressful and challenging times!

Let’s try to stay as positive as we can, for the eventual return to the social activities – and the people – we love. But if you or someone you care about is struggling with their mental health, here are some ways to reach out and seek help. Take good care, everyone!

Jackie Tegart is the MLA for Fraser-Nicola.