An Open Letter to Those with a Family Member in Seniors' Care Settings

It is a difficult time for all of us with non-stop news about COVID-19. Processing the mass amount of information about the pandemic and identifying what is true are challenging. It is also emotional seeing stories about long-term care homes and retirement housing being impacted. And for those with loved ones in these homes, it is distressing and overwhelming. We also know it has been incredibly challenging not being able to visit your family members. 

However, it is important to remember why you made the decision to put your family member in care in the first place. It was because you recognized their need for care by trained professionals in a setting that is designed to meet their unique needs. It was by no means an easy decision for your family, but it was done for the health of your loved one. For most people, bringing home their family members is not a realistic or safe option. 

As the CEO of AdvantAge Ontario, representing community-based, municipal and non-profit senior care organizations, I have daily calls with these homes. I hear first-hand how they are working tirelessly for your family members’ safety. This includes implementing every possible measure to protect them from COVID-19. 

These are trying times for everyone, especially for those dedicated and compassionate people on the front lines. We are working with our homes to make sure they have all of the resources they need to provide the best care possible. Most recently, we partnered with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario to deploy over 3,700 workers to the front lines of long-term care homes and other seniors’ congregate care settings. 

We are also working on advocating for homes to have enough personal protective equipment for staff. We are actively appealing to the government to make sure they stand true to their promise to make long-term care a priority in distributing this equipment, and to extend this priority to other seniors’ care settings. In addition, we have reached out to the community for donations. 

We hope you will join us in this effort to protect those caring for your family members. If you have access to masks, gowns, gloves or other personal protective equipment, please make it available and share this message widely. 

Thank you, 

Lisa Levin 
CEO, AdvantAge Ontario