CHESTERVILLE – While the pandemic swirls its way through Ontario, there are still places where feeling at home, being secure and enjoying a healthy lifestyle is still an everyday occurrence.

In this part of the world, retirement often means moving into a retirement home where you can continue to enjoy life in a comfortable and safe local setting, close to family and friends.

The pandemic, even with its rules, regulations and stringent protocols has done little to dampen the lifestyle of residents in retirement homes in the area.

Lynne Smith, the development manager for Garden Villa Retirement Residence said, “We have been very, very fortunate.”

“We follow all the guidelines of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) and our health authorities. There is no doubt that everyone is doing the absolute best they can.”

There are some restrictions on visitors to the Chesterville retirement residence.

“There is no in-door visitation, so no one other than staff are allowed in the building other than essential care providers,” said Smith.

“Other than that,” she said, “life remains the same inside the walls of Garden Villa. You always have someone to chat with and sit with and talk to.”

Smith explained that the staff have been very diligent in monitoring residents and sanitizing since day one of the pandemic.

“There is active screening for all staff on arrival and departure from all shifts.”

She said this is the new normal that everyone has adapted to.

“We are fortunate to say we are a safe little bubble here.”

The Sunset Cove Retirement Residence in Long Sault has enjoyed a similar experience with the pandemic.

The retirement residence has been informed by the EOHU that they are slated in the coming weeks to have the vaccine delivered to their residents and staff.

They have, as all retirement residences have, been adhering to the Eastern Ontario Health Units’ recommendations and regulations regarding the virus.

Angel Murray is the general manager of the residence.

Visits are restricted but staff offer other ways for residents to stay in touch with friends and family.

She said, “We do offer virtual visits and virtual tours.”

The pandemic has not caused a lack of interest in the residence.

“We are able to do activities,” she said.

Even with applying social distancing and mask wearing, residents can still enjoy the place they call home.

“The residents are fairly good at having all the rules laid out for them. We try our very best to make sure our residents are kept in the loop about what is going on,” she said.

The staff, through social media, also keep family members updated about what is going on at the retirement home.

Russell Meadows Retirement Community and its sister facility in Kemptville, called Kemptville Retirement Living are both dealing with the pandemic in positive ways.

Regular testing and a positive attitude coupled with a committed staff have made the pandemic more bearable.

Eric Chartrand, a managing partner at the Kemptville facility said they are following all the local health regulations.

“The staff are very resilient, very high commitment. They are very impressive. I cannot say enough good things about them. They are truly passionate about what they do,” said Chartrand.

With restrictions on visiting, residents have been using Facebook and virtual visits to connect with their families and friends.

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