Ramin Amiry explains the safety measures of Oceana PARC’s new family meetup centre. General manager Shelley Grenier said the unit is getting ‘fantastic feedback’ from residents and visitors alike. (Tracy Holmes photo)

‘Family meetup centres’ helping White Rock seniors reconnect with loved ones

Converted shipping container allows face-to-face time while ensuring physical distancing

After more than two months without visits from family, residents of a White Rock independent living highrise are loading up on safe, mask-free, face-to-face time with their loved ones, thanks to some creative thinking by the building owner.

Last month, PARC Retirement Living opened free-standing ‘family meetup centres’ at each of its five Greater Vancouver facilities – and the opportunity it created to reconnect is going over like gangbusters.

“The feedback has been fantastic,” Shelley Grenier, general manager of the Oceana PARC, said during a tour of the unit located in the loading bay of the 1575 George St. building.

“These… are meant to be a safe, PARC-smart option. (Residents and family members) don’t have to be six feet apart. Families are very, very appreciative.”

READ MORE: B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Visits were put on hold in mid-March, after a spike in COVID-10 outbreaks forced restrictions to be implemented across the province – and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has warned that visits to seniors homes will be off the table indefinitely.

Grenier said she believes seniors in general “are going to be vulnerable for the foreseeable future.” And while telephone and video chats are an option for staying connected, they’re not the same as physically having a loved one in front of you, she said.

“Sometimes, you just need to see that person,” she said. “You need to see their eyes, and not through a video screen.”

The meetup centres, Grenier said, have been rented for a year, with an option to extend that time if deemed necessary.

Each is a shipping container that has been converted to include separate spaces for the residents and their visitors, with a Plexiglas barrier in place to ensure physical distancing. There is temperature control, as well as filtered vents that enable safe conversation.

Each side also has its own dedicated entrance, as well as a PARC host who fully sanitizes the unit between visits. There is also a dedicated parking spot and washroom facility.

Residents may reserve the unit – which is currently available to them from Thursday to Saturday, between 2 and 7 p.m. – for 45 minutes at a time at no cost.

Noting that none of the staff or 105 residents at the 23-storey Oceana PARC have tested positive for the virus – “We had one scare” – Grenier said PARC is “purposely going to lag behind” as pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed, to be as sure as possible, moving forward, that residents continue to remain safe.

“The outcome if you don’t? I can’t take that risk,” she said.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusSeniorsWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Ramin Amiry sanitizes the resident side of the Oceana PARC’s new family meetup centre, as general manager Shelley Grenier watches from the visitor side of the dedicated unit. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Just Posted

Four Surrey RCMP officers ride to raise cash during abbreviated Cops for Cancer tour

This year, the annual Tour de Valley ride is a combined virtual and team ride from Sept. 21 to 25

OUR VIEW: Surrey train tragedy a safety reminder for us all

Summer typically brings cautionary tales

White Rock council favours tree canopy over double-deckers

Decision not to prune will limit 354 route to single-decker buses

First Police Board meeting Thursday a ‘pivotal moment’ in Surrey’s history, mayor says

The 10 a.m. “virtual” meeting Aug. 6 will be live-streamed and details on tuning in will be available at surrey.ca/policeboard

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Airborne hot dog strikes Greater Victoria pedestrian

Police called to 4200-block of Quadra Street for hot dog incident

Mission’s 7-Eleven defaced with racist graffiti

Racist insults attacking Indo-Canadians ‘shocked’ manager

B.C. scientist, 63, protests in trees set to be removed for Trans Mountain pipeline

Tim Takaro is reaching new heights as he tries to stall the pipeline expansion project in New Westminster

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Dinosaurs revived for animatronic auction in Langley

More than 500 robot dinosaurs, fossils, and exhibition gear are going on the block Aug. 6

UPDATE: Slow growth for wildfire near Harrison Hot Springs

Fire now burns 12 hectares, grew by 2 hectares overnight

B.C. paramedics responded to a record-breaking 2,700 overdose calls in July

Province pledges $10.5 million for expansion of overdose prevention response

Most Read