Seniors who live in private seniors’ residences (RPA) can continue to participate in group activities, even in the red zone. Line dancing or zumba sessions are permitted, as long as they are performed in a “bubble”, one group at a time, learned The duty.
This is indicated by a table from the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS), entitled “COVID-19: gradation of measures in living environments according to levels of alert” and updated on 2 October.
Private services offered within the premises of RPAs, such as hair salons and convenience stores, are also authorized in the red zone. They were banned under previous directives, dated September 24.
The Regroupement québécois des residences pour seniors (RQRA) says it has had “discussions” with the MSSS to lighten certain rules. “Currently, seniors have the right to go out [dans la communauté], says its President and CEO, Yves Desjardins. Is it better for them to go to the grocery store to buy bread or to shop at the home convenience store? “
Yves Desjardins argues that RPAs are a controlled environment, where sanitary measures are in place.
The RQRA also asked the MSSS to accept visits in the red zone from people wishing to rent a room or an apartment in a seniors’ residence. Initially prohibited (except in an emergency), they are now “not recommended”, according to the latest version of the MSSS table. The virtual formula must be favored, we specify. “There aren’t 20 visits a day,” says Yves Desjardins. And we disinfect. “
Québec solidaire is sounding the alarm
Faced with the increase in cases of COVID-19 among the elderly, the Quebec solidaire party is calling for “strong measures now” to protect private residences for seniors. During a press briefing at the National Assembly, its parliamentary leader, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, stressed that the transfer of staff between CHSLDs “has killed thousands of seniors in Quebec”. “We absolutely need a plan to avoid a Herron-style tragedy in private seniors’ residences,” he added.
The day before, the regional director of public health of Montreal, the Dre Mylène Drouin, expressed concern about the increase in COVID-19 cases among those 65 and over. The number of infections among seniors has doubled in the past two weeks in the metropolis.
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This is what prompted Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois to table a motion in the National Assembly on Thursday asking the government “to take all the necessary measures to protect seniors living in RPA, in particular by limiting as much as possible the movement of personnel between these residences while ensuring to avoid service breakdown ”. The parties adopted it unanimously.
Yves Desjardins admits that due to the current shortage of manpower, “many of its members in urban areas” resort to private employment agencies. “They don’t do business with an agency for fun,” he says. It costs a fortune. When we are about to be broken up, we take the least harm. “
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, believes that the rules for mobility cannot be the same in RPAs and CHSLDs. “Almost 90% of residents in RPAs are independent,” he said in a press briefing Thursday. It is a completely different environment from that of CHSLDs. The main issue, he said, remains training and preparing staff to deal with an outbreak.
Measures already in place
Various measures have been put in place to prevent COVID-19 from infiltrating and spreading in seniors’ living environments. In particular, residents of RPAs are required to wear a face cover when moving outside of their rental unit. In the red zone, only visits by caregivers are authorized.
The FADOQ network believes that the government’s approach is “balanced”. “It was exceedingly difficult during the first confinement,” recalls its president, Gisèle Tassé-Goodman. The elders have been cloistered. “
The current instructions are more respectful of the “autonomy and decision-making capacity” of seniors, said Caroline Sauriol, general manager of Les Petits Frères, an organization that helps them.
However, she is concerned about the effect of partial confinement on the mental health of the elderly. “In the spring, people would go singing under the balconies,” she says. We don’t hear that much now. The first wave left a lot of mental fatigue in the population. “