A new coronavirus has prompted the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic and organizations around the globe are reacting to help contain the virus – including in Langley.
As a result of new restrictions put in place by provincial health officials and an increase in the number of people infected, the Langley Senior Resources Society will be closed starting Tuesday until further notice, said Paul Goldberg, executive director.
“It’s for the safety of our seniors,” he told the Langley Advance Times. The decision comes after several municipalities made the decision to close public facilities, he added.
On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix banned gatherings of more than 50 people in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
An email was sent to all registered society members on Monday to notify them of the closure. Those who registered for programs can choose to receive a credit or full refund.
However, the centre’s Adult Day Programs offered at another site (5464 203 St. Langley City) will still move ahead as planned.
Staff were scheduled to meet at the centre on Tuesday to discuss next steps.
Similarly, Langley Seniors Village is taking precautions with people visiting loved ones.
“We have mandatory handwashing stations, you have to get buzzed in now – you can’t just walk in,” explained Glenn Hocking, general manager at the retirement home.
A handout was shared with residents and staff at the facility to highlight the importance of social distancing and to seek medical care should residents develop respiratory issues.
“It’s on everyone’s mind,” said Hocking. “They’re (seniors) are aware. There is a level of anxiety for sure, but we’re been trying to remain a level of normalcy.”
The retirement facility has scaled back some of its recreational programs and visitors are no longer permitted in common areas and can only visit loved ones in their rooms.
B.C. Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, is asking the public to look out for the elderly.
“While the provincial health officer has advised that most people who contract COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms, it is a more serious illness for the elderly, and we need to ensure that people who are not feeling well refrain from close contact with seniors and those who have underlying health conditions,” she said.
Seniors often depend on care workers, family and friends to assist them, but it’s important people keep their distance if they are feeling unwell, Mackenzie said.
But those who are healthy can support seniors in many different ways.
“It could be anything from helping a senior get some groceries, taking out their garbage, bringing over a cooked meal or bringing them up to speed on the latest COVID-19 recommendations from our provincial health officer,” she said. “These are things we can all do to help, and they are important measures to keep seniors who are living in the community healthy and to reduce anxiety both for seniors and for their family members.”
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.