Finding the Helpers in Retirement Living and Seniors Care

In the 1980’s Fred Rogers, the late TV show host of Mr. Rogers, famously said the following:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.” 

While the quote was meant to provide comfort to children, countless adults have also found solace in the simple idea that even when things are bad, there will always be people doing good. Thirty years later, as we face a new reality which is strange at best and grim at worst, the wisdom proffered by Rodgers feels particularly powerful.

As society has searched to find helpers through the COVID-19 crisis, we have come across many health care workers who are selflessly facing the virus to support the sick, but we have also discovered countless who are working to protect and care for the seniors who are well.

In retirement living and seniors’ care we have seen administrators working longer hours than ever to support their teams, to implement new technologies so that families can visit over FaceTime, or to implement new policies. We have watched recreation therapists teaching fitness classes from their sidewalks as residents follow along on their balconies. We have heard of hospitality staff getting creative to offer room service options, or in-suite happy hours. Perhaps most importantly, we have watched from afar as health care aides continue to support seniors with kindness and patience, despite their own fears.

In a time that often feels scary and overwhelming, Route 65 is encouraging you to celebrate the helpers:

  1. Participate in your neighbourhood’s 7 p.m. cheering session.
  2. Share good news stories on social media. You never know whose day you can brighten.
  3. Do something to acknowledge the efforts being made by workers in retirement living and seniors care. Send a thank you card, drop off some treats, or simply just say thanks.

If you can’t find a helper, be a helper. Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Drop of groceries, ready to eat meals and grab and go snacks for the health care workers in your life.
  2. Check-in with friends and family. Whether that means letting a health care worker or first responder in your life vent or calling a friend who has a parent living in long-term care and is feeling anxious.
  3. Donate unused and unopened personal protective equipment and product, such as gloves, masks, gowns, and hand sanitizer to Operation Protect.
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