Kamloops care home hosts candlelight event to connect residents to their families during the pandemic

Care home gets innovative

A Kamloops care home is hosting events to safely allow seniors to connect to their family members.

One of the biggest challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic has been that it has left seniors in care homes feeling alone and abandoned.  

Pine Grove Care Centre on the North Shore is frequently coming up ways to lessen those feelings. Their most recent event was a candlelight visit on Friday, Oct. 16.

'Love Light Connection' allowed family members to walk around outside the care home, with candles and lanterns, and wave at their loved ones inside while live music played.

Some family members joyfully waved while others tearfully pressed their hands against the windows, longing for a warm embrace.

"I think it's important to know that we're all still here for them and support them and we haven't forgotten them, that they're not just in this building and left alone," says Lisa Ternes, who attended the event to see her father, Wendel.

She tells Castanet the gathering from afar let her feel close to her dad, something that's been difficult to achieve during the pandemic.

"My dad is still good mentally. Physically, he isn't," she says as her eyes fill with tears. "And to be able to still communicate with him is really important."

And how does dad feel about Love Light Connection?

"I love it. I think it's nice to have family here," Wendel says.

After the final count, 20 family members took part.

"The residents will talk about this for days," says Wendy Romanowski, the care home's recreation manager. "They'll remember the lights, the music, the coming together. They will truly remember that."

Romanowski plans frequent events for residents because she believes it has a positive impact on their mood.  

For Wendel, the impact was immediate. At the end of his interview with Castanet, he broke into song with a smile from ear to ear.  Watch the video above to hear him sing.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the care home was called Pine Crest; it's Pine Grove. We apologize for the error.

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