Willy developed a special device to ensure he and his friend Sally Hemming, a resident of the Pacific Carlton in South Surrey, could get back to their walks while practising social distancing. (Contributed photo)

Wheelchair contraption reconnects South Surrey seniors – from a distance

‘These tiny moments are what life is all about’

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and staff at the Pacific Carlton seniors residence in South Surrey saw that proverb come to life in all its glory this week.

Tuesday (April 21), for the first time since restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on all non-essential visits, two friends – one a resident, the other, her best friend – were able to reconnect and enjoy a walk together, all while staying two metres apart.

Facility general manager Jennifer Ford said staff were brought to tears when Sally Hemming, a retired doctor who has called the 15366 17 Ave. residence home for the past five years, was treated to a surprise by her dearest friend, Willy.

Prior to the pandemic, Willy had visited once or twice a week to take his friend out on wheelchair bike rides, but that all came to an end last month.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Here are the measures being taken at B.C. care homes

Tuesday, however, Willy showed up with a contraption he devised for Hemming’s wheelchair that enabled him to push it while maintaining the two-metre spacing.

He also brought face masks and Lysol wipes, Ford said.

“Our resident was so happy as she is able to self transfer etc that she was able to get her fresh air stroll for the first time since this happened,” Ford said in an email to the residence’s director of sales and marketing, which was shared with Peace Arch News.

“Not going to lie we all cried a bit, mainly just happy tears.

“These tiny moments are what life is all about.”

Ford told PAN that residents at Pacific Carlton are doing well during the pandemic, “staying healthy and learning about social distancing and the importance of it.”

She said steps being taken within the facility to help ensure residents feel connected include maintaining access to the courtyard and garden area; personal delivery of the regular Friday ‘Happy Hour’ via cart, and the loaning of exercise equipment for in-suite use.

Staff also play instruments in the facility’s common areas for the residents’ additional enjoyment, Ford added.

This feel-good story is part of the #WereInThisTogether campaign by Black Press Media. Have an uplifting story that you think would bring joy to readers? Email your story, photos and videos to wereinthistogether@blackpress.ca


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Willy developed a special device to ensure he and his friend Sally Hemming, a resident of the Pacific Carlton in South Surrey, could get back to their walks while practising social distancing. (Contributed photo)

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