Ramin Amiry explains the safety measures of Oceana PARC’s new family meetup centre. General manager Shelley Grenier said the unit is getting ‘fantastic feedback’ from residents and visitors alike. (Tracy Holmes photo)

‘Family meetup centres’ helping White Rock seniors reconnect with loved ones

Converted shipping container allows face-to-face time while ensuring physical distancing

After more than two months without visits from family, residents of a White Rock independent living highrise are loading up on safe, mask-free, face-to-face time with their loved ones, thanks to some creative thinking by the building owner.

Last month, PARC Retirement Living opened free-standing ‘family meetup centres’ at each of its five Greater Vancouver facilities – and the opportunity it created to reconnect is going over like gangbusters.

“The feedback has been fantastic,” Shelley Grenier, general manager of the Oceana PARC, said during a tour of the unit located in the loading bay of the 1575 George St. building.

“These… are meant to be a safe, PARC-smart option. (Residents and family members) don’t have to be six feet apart. Families are very, very appreciative.”

READ MORE: B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Visits were put on hold in mid-March, after a spike in COVID-10 outbreaks forced restrictions to be implemented across the province – and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has warned that visits to seniors homes will be off the table indefinitely.

Grenier said she believes seniors in general “are going to be vulnerable for the foreseeable future.” And while telephone and video chats are an option for staying connected, they’re not the same as physically having a loved one in front of you, she said.

“Sometimes, you just need to see that person,” she said. “You need to see their eyes, and not through a video screen.”

The meetup centres, Grenier said, have been rented for a year, with an option to extend that time if deemed necessary.

Each is a shipping container that has been converted to include separate spaces for the residents and their visitors, with a Plexiglas barrier in place to ensure physical distancing. There is temperature control, as well as filtered vents that enable safe conversation.

Each side also has its own dedicated entrance, as well as a PARC host who fully sanitizes the unit between visits. There is also a dedicated parking spot and washroom facility.

Residents may reserve the unit – which is currently available to them from Thursday to Saturday, between 2 and 7 p.m. – for 45 minutes at a time at no cost.

Noting that none of the staff or 105 residents at the 23-storey Oceana PARC have tested positive for the virus – “We had one scare” – Grenier said PARC is “purposely going to lag behind” as pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed, to be as sure as possible, moving forward, that residents continue to remain safe.

“The outcome if you don’t? I can’t take that risk,” she said.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusSeniorsWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ramin Amiry sanitizes the resident side of the Oceana PARC’s new family meetup centre, as general manager Shelley Grenier watches from the visitor side of the dedicated unit. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Just Posted

Delta McDonald’s temporarily closed after employees test positive for COVID-19

Two employees at the Annacis Island location (1285 Cliveden Ave.) reported testing positive on Sept. 18

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

PHOTOS: One injured in shooting on South Surrey-Langley border

Shots reported near 194 Street and 34 Avenue, burned-out vehicle found in 18100-block of 12 Avenue

Mother-daughter charged in 2017 torched-SUV killing in South Surrey now allowed contact

Judge grants Manjit Kaur Deo permission to connect with Inderdeep Kaur Deo through a lawyer

White Rock acupuncturist suspended for ‘scare tactics, excessive fees’

30-day suspension for Jun Hua (Davy) Hua issued Aug. 18

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read