Pearson was in the news again, this time about the food served to residents. Those of us who have been here awhile remember well when things changed – under Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal government, starting around 2003 – a LOT of privatization went on. During Campbell’s term as premier of British Columbia from 2001 until 2011, housekeeping, food, laundry, and security services in health care facilities were outsourced to transnational corporations, under the guise of saving money.
This is not meant to blame the workers – they are often poorly paid and expected to do more in less time. And GPC didn’t have a choice in the matter. As with so many things, the actual people responsible have likely long since moved on.
Some residents think the food here is great. Some do not. The desire for a home cooked meal was the driving force behind CARMA’s Community Kitchen, a monthly program of making and sharing excellent food featuring fresh produce.
Sadly, Community Kitchen is on hold during this COVID-19 Pandemic, and sorely missed by residents.
The link to the news article on GPC’s meals is below.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has heralded the widespread use of masks that cover one’s mouth and nose. One unintended consequence that a certain segment of our population is suddenly cut off from understanding others – from the teller at the grocery store to their doctor.
The impact of this on communication is significant. People who rely on reading lips are suddenly cut off from your words. People who use sign language are also inhibited – the face and lips are actually used as part of that language. The immediate impact is on the hearing impaired community. It is worth adding that whenever we exclude one group of people, we are all missing out as they are forced to adapt, to struggle to participate in society. Of course we all benefit from seeing someone’s whole face when communicating, but most of us can get by with hearing someone’s muffled voice.
There are some solutions – the transparent full face shield is one obvious one. As well, some people are making nose and mouth face masks with a vinyl window over the mouth. Perhaps we should all consider wearing one of those? Read more about one student’s project, that was picked up by media, reported here. There are many designs being posted online, including videos on how to make your own, such as here (by Emily, a hearing impaired person).
It has been about two and a half months since Pearson went on ‘lockdown’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. While the ‘new normal’ has become routine, it can still be challenging to adapt to all the restrictions. We know we are keeping each other safe with the precautions in place. Residents miss direct contact with family members. With so few outside visitors, friendships among residents are especially important.
Of course, staff are masked, and this affects communication. For those who are hearing impaired, reading lips can be especially important.
But, we persevere. At least with the warming weather, we can enjoy some sunshine. The Rec staff have been essential in keeping residents connected to the outside world via digital means. We even had our very first virtual Resident Council meeting – and about the same number of participants were able to attend, compared to the days of in-person meetings. Resident Council acknowledged the efforts of everyone who has done what they can to keep the virus out of Pearson, which thankfully it has, so far.