Take holiday visits with seniors online this season
Toronto, ON (December 10, 2020) – The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) recommends taking increased precautions if visiting seniors at retirement homes this holiday season and encourages virtual visits.
According to Public Health Ontario, there are now more than 130,910 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province. With the daily new cases continuing to rise, it is important to protect the health and safety of retirement home residents and prevent the spread of the novel virus.
The holiday season marks a peak visiting time for families, especially those with loved ones who live in retirement homes. But this year, family visits need to look a little different.
“We recognize the importance of human connection and family, particularly during the holidays,” said Jay O’Neill, CEO and Registrar at RHRA. “As we continue to navigate through this uncharted territory created by the pandemic, RHRA’s primary focus remains on the safety and wellbeing of retirement home residents. For this reason, we strongly recommend approaching the holidays differently this year.”
To support with preparing to see your loved ones living in retirement homes, the RHRA is sharing three ways to plan for a safe holiday visit.
- Take your holiday festivities online. To help protect yourself and your loved ones, plan a virtual holiday celebration instead of in person.
- Plan an outdoor visit. With indoor gatherings posing a higher risk, plan for your holiday visit to be outside with cozy blankets and winter layers to stay warm, follow physical distancing measures and the retirement home’s visiting policy.
- Abide by the rules. If you are visiting a retirement home, follow the guidelines set out in the retirement home’s visiting policy and your local public health unit. All licensed retirement homes have visiting policies in place that align with government directives and the Retirement Home COVID-19 Visiting Policy. While visitor policies allow retirement home residents to visit family over the holidays, depending on the region where the retirement home is located and the associated level according to the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, the RHRA is asking everyone to carefully consider their plans this holiday season. Postponing in-person holiday celebrations until conditions are safer will help us keep everyone safe.
If you’re planning to visit a loved one whose retirement home is located in a region with lower COVID-19 transmission than yours, strongly consider a virtual visit instead.
Learn more about how COVID-19 is affecting licensed retirement home and find resources for families and retirement home residents by visiting www.rhra.ca/en/covid-19/.
For further information:
Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority