A parade of smiling faces, bright balloons and handmade signs paid tribute to residents and staff at a Winnipeg care home on Father’s Day.
Fellow families piled into decorated vehicles to give words of thanks and show appreciation outside the Extendicare Oakview Place in the city’s St. James neighbourhood early Sunday afternoon.
Cindy McCrae and Rob Griffin made the trip from Gimli, Man., to visit McCrae’s dad through the window and drop off some goodies.
“My dad has always been there for me, and so this is our way of giving back,” she said. “It’s hard on them … so any kind of visit is a good way to show your support, let them know they’re not forgotten about.”
Kimmie Collingsridge said she travelled in the designated pilot car around the facility where her father Jack Walton, a unique man who likes to doodle and make jokes, and her mother Shirley Walton live.
Collingsridge has visited her parents from outdoors through the fence and glass windows, but “it’s just not enough,” she said.
“We do love him, we do appreciate him, and that once this all, you know, maybe comes to an end, we’ll be able to give him the big hug that he deserves,” she said.
Her parents were keen for the parade, as they waited from the kitchen area in the front of the building.
Collingsridge participated in a similar drive-by on Mother’s Day, which she says residents still fondly look back on.
Prior to those celebrations in May, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin reminded Manitobans to maintain physical distancing “whenever possible” — particularly to protect people who are most at-risk such as those over age 65, those with underlying medical conditions such as respiratory or cardiac disease, and those with compromised immune systems.
The Manitoba government has been increasingly loosening public health orders to allow many non-essential businesses to reopen, although access to personal care homes remains restricted.
One of the seven COVID-19-related deaths in Manitoba involved a personal care home resident.
Meanwhile, long-term care homes in other jurisdictions across the country have been some of the hardest hit places. In Ontario, the vast majority of the 159 residents at Extendicare Guildwood in Toronto’s east end have been infected, and dozens have died.
Desiree Dauphinais’s grandfather lives at the home. She knows some people who work there, and how much the pandemic has impacted them and their clients.
Dauphinais also knows how much her grandfather enjoys sightseeing out the window and watching traffic on the streets.
“He’s always excited to see people … even if he doesn’t know that we are here, I know that he’ll be really happy,” she said.
Jillian Robertson and Jordan Kelsch said their dad marked his first Father’s Day at the home. The siblings told him they would be popping by and hope to see him looking out the window.
Robertson thanked the staff for taking fantastic care of her father and “making sure they are as happy as they can be without actually being able to physically see their families” during the health crisis.
“It’s nice just to show him a bit of support,” Kelsch said.
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