‘Getting closer to home’: Edmonton seniors have growing concerns over the coronavirus

Click to play video: 'Senior group in Edmonton prepares for spread of COVID-19' Senior group in Edmonton prepares for spread of COVID-19
WATCH ABOVE: As presumptive cases of COVID-19 increase in Alberta, an Edmonton senior society is working to prepare its members and protect the vulnerable. Sarah Komadina has the story. – Mar 8, 2020

Members with the North West Edmonton Seniors Society spent Sunday watching curling finals. The group often hosts activities, but as more presumptive COVID-19 cases are reported in Alberta, president Dale Conrad is wondering how much longer those will last.

“It’s definitely a concern. It seems to be getting closer to home all the time,” Conrad said.

“We have a group that goes around singing to all the seniors, we have different games, different activities and card playing and so on, people need to be very aware of keeping your hands washed.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus cases in Alberta and B.C. are linked. What does that mean for further spread?

Senior Florence Meronowich is part of the singing group.  She says they haven’t stopped visiting seniors homes, but have made changes.

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“We quit shaking hands, and hugging, and all of the things you do with old people who are sitting in a wheelchair, or come up to us and thank us for performing. That’s not nice, but we have to do that,” Meronowich said.

“I have dry skin from washing my hands so many times and using sanitizer, as well.”

It’s a good move. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said on their website the elderly are at a high risk, along with people with diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease.

READ MORE: 2 new presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Alberta: 1 in Calgary, 1 in Edmonton

“We have been mindful that long-term care facilities have been an area of particular risk, residents in those facilities would be at a high risk for complications and severe outcomes,” chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Sunday.

Currently, Alberta health officials have not made recommendations for seniors to stay indoors and away from crowds.

Still, many are worried.

“I find I’m a little reluctant to go to places I’m not familiar with… It’s a little scary, I know lots of people just recover, but you don’t know,” senior Joan Hutton said.

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Conrad said the society is having a board meeting Monday, and will discuss how to move forward with upcoming activities.

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