As an occupational therapist at the Royal Victoria Hospital, District 2 resident Kelly Epstein was working with a patient recently who ended up being tested positive for the coronavirus. Subsequently Kelly was forced into quarantine for 14 days.
Without anything meaningful to do and missing her daily dose of the geriatric population whom she normally works with, Kelly reached out to me as her city councillor and asked if she could assist with calling the elderly in Côte Saint Luc to offer any helpful resources that may get them through this difficult time.
I was very pleased to take Kelly up on her offer and I made a list of residents from two buildings, mainly older adults, to contact. “I asked them if they had access to groceries, whether they have concerns or questions for the city during this time, and whether or not they were familiar with the internet,” Kelly explained. “The majority of the residents have been getting their groceries from their children or grandchildren, while many were very pleased to be offered the volunteer grocery delivery service organized through IGA CSL and their team of volunteers. Interestingly, while my own grandparents are very tech-savvy with their iPhones and Facetime, about 40 percent of the older adults that I spoke to did not have cell phones, nor did they have a computer- for varying reasons: no interest in learning, limited eyesight making it difficult to read screens, or no availability of people to teach them. Many people discussed their wishes that stores will soon re-open, as it has been very lonely to stay at home, day after day, when they had been used to gathering with friends at the Cavendish Mall.”
Let me give a shout out to our library staff. They are already making over 400 care calls a day to people whom they know are isolated and lonely.
Overall, Kelly says this experience was very positive. “Each person expressed how much they appreciated my call, and how wonderful and unique our city is for checking on their elderly,” she said. “I am thankful for this opportunity and I encourage the youth in our community to continue with this initiative as I return to work at the hospital, as a few minutes of your day can make a world of a difference to those quarantining alone. Dawson College student Helen Shimansky, also a constituent, has also stepped up to assist me. If anyone else is interested, send me an email at email@example.com.