COVID-19 and Mental Health: Part 4 (Interview with Covenant Care Resident)

Sharon Bosomworth, Covenant Care Resident

What impacts (positive or negative) do you experience as a direct result of the visitation regulations at your site?

I honestly feel no impact as it doesn’t bother me not to see people. I’m glad people can’t just come in here arbitrarily and just drag in [viruses and germs]. I remember before we were locked down and a family came back from a cruise and needed to come see their relatives – that needed to stop. No more. I would say it was a definite positive as a result of that.  I’m not too sure why [our facility is] so lucky because our other two sites in Calgary have [no outbreaks] either which is great for the organization, yet [other LTC facilities] and AHS sites do have cases. So I give administration props for the lock down. 

How do you stay in contact (residents & family) during times of physical distancing? 

I have my iPad and telephone. I call residents in their own rooms and also talk to staff. I’m able to use my iPad to call my family. I talk to my daughter and son every single day. I talk to people from Nova Scotia to Vancouver. These iPads are great.

My son and I went and dug up our roots on my husband’s side and my side on all four corners. We went back to the 1400s – Vikings’ blood. It was kind of funny because I could tell some of the things on his father’s side – he even found corrections to what his dad has found. One of things that always amazed me is my mother-in-law had twins and my brother had twins. I didn’t have any twins, but my cousins are having twins. 

What coping strategies do you implement for your own mental health during these times?

I have TV; I have music; I have my iPad; I have knitting; I have puzzle books I like to play games on the iPad. I’m not bored at all. I have been looking after myself. 

I find some days I get fed up with being here, but these are the cards I’ve been dealt. So I’ve been needing to cope for a long time even before COVID-19.

My concern is that some of these people in the province are getting antsy and want to get back to work and with family. I’m concerned they’re [resuming activity] too soon. We are the third highest in the country and we need to be careful.

Do you feel stress has impacted your ability to receive quality care? How does your response to stressors directly impact the well-being of others around you?

I don’t, I have no stress. I don’t think it has impacted my quality of care at all. When the staff are sanitizing two to three times and my temperature is checked two to three times, I want to be mindful of saying thank you to the staff because I know those kids are working hard out there. Rotation of meals and two at the table in the dining room is also not easy. I try to be upbeat with them because it’s not an easy job especially when many of them have been told they can only hold one job right now and no longer have their dual income. And to be honest, if I have stress, there is nothing stopping [me from discussing the stress]. But on the whole, there is nothing causing stress or impacting my stress right now. 

How does your facility’s response to COVID-19 influence your views on the benefits of visitation and mental well-being for residents?

I can only say, I am so thankful that they started the lockdown and for the things that they did early. When I look at my girlfriend who lived in [a different LTC facility] and I see what happened there, you start thinking about who’s fault or if you can say if there is a fault. 

Our site constantly sanitizes, doesn’t leave things on tables between meals. They did things early and I’m really grateful for it. The staff are all wearing masks. At first, I wondered about them going home, but they’re being careful. I was trying to think of how I can explain it – I’m in my room a lot, yes I know that, but overall I feel like they kind of built a cocoon for us to be safe inside. 

[Not everyone views this as seriously or sees] that this could be bad. I am very proud to say, I am safe. I am probably safer than you are when people ask me. Plus, I get three meals a day that I don’t have to cook. 

I think that the media’s coverage is interesting. Between 1918-to-today and the technology and the notification of what is going on around the world, those people didn’t have what we have. So then why are those people protesting to get everything going again? Don’t they realize we could go into a relapse? Yeah, we’ve had people recover, but we have many [who remain unwell] and still not safe. The unfortunate thing is I feel I won’t pay for [the economic consequences from this], but what’s left of my children and grandkids’ lives, they’ll be paying for all of the money we are putting out to save lives and the overall financial burden of the country. It’s time [this province] starts to diversify. Because with this pandemic, there is a lot of talent stepping up to show they can do more than just oil and gas. 

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash