After a year of isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are finally signs of hope for many Calgary seniors.
Along with the continuing vaccine rollout, seniors are also seeing some surprise spring beauty thanks to some hard-working volunteers.
Alice Lam, leader of a volunteer group called Vollyapp.com, arrived with a bit of that beauty Tuesday morning at the Clifton Manor care home in southeast Calgary.
“We have 10 bouquets today that we’re going to be donating,” Lam said as she walked toward the building carrying an armload of flowers.
Hope Harrison was among the Clifton Manor residents who received a bouquet of carnations and chrysanthemums.
“It’s pretty wonderful,” Harrison said. “Because it makes us feel like life is worth living.”
It’s a feeling that’s especially welcome after the life so many seniors have been living for the past year.
“Oh, with the COVID, it’s been really tough,” Harrison said.
Lam has seen the toll the pandemic is taking on seniors.
“A lot of seniors are lonely and isolated during this time,” Lam said.
She and her fellow volunteers have been doing everything they can to boost spirits.
“We’ve put together art kits that we deliver to seniors who are isolated, to get them doing some creative activities,” Lam said.
Vollyapp.com members took flowers to five Calgary care homes in February, with Tuesday’s drop off at Clifton Manor the first of several planned for March, as the group aims to deliver at least 1,000 bouquets to seniors.
“It’s a little bit of hope,” Lam said.
Accepting bouquets at Clifton Manor, the facility’s recreation director, Stephanie Riley, expressed gratitude, as she outlined her plans to deliver the flowers to several residents.
“I’m going to make sure that we go through and see those residents that have really been missing their families this year or have had a tough time with our outbreaks, losing some of their friends,” Riley said. “Making sure that we can also brighten their day, that they know they’re not forgotten about.”
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Many seniors appear to be wrapping up the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic with some optimism amid the vaccine rollout.
“I got my first shot on Jan. 1 and I thought, ‘Well, I’ve died and gone to heaven,'” Harrison said.
Almost all the seniors and staff at Clifton Manor have now been vaccinated.
“It means we are going to be able to go outside and have a regular life,” Harrison said. “We’ve been through a terrible year and it’s time for us to have a summer that we can enjoy, and so, I’m feeling very lucky, very fortunate.”