WATCH: North Okanagan seniors stay fit in self-isolation

Residents have taken to their balconies to follow along in exercise class

Residents of the Enderby Memorial Terrace take in an exercise class April 2, 2020, from their balconies, while respecting self-isolation regulations put forward by the province’s health authorities amid COVID-19. (Facebook)

Residents of the Enderby Memorial Terrace take in an exercise class April 2, 2020, from their balconies, while respecting self-isolation regulations put forward by the province’s health authorities amid COVID-19. (Facebook)

Residents of the Enderby Memorial Terrace are still making sure they get their exercise, even in self-isolation as advised by the province’s top doctor.

Led by Enderby and District’s recreation co-ordinator Sheryl Hay and Candi Digness, senior residents took to their balconies on April 2 to follow along in an exercise class.

Manager Monika Fancsik said this is one of the many ways the senior community staff have adapted to maintain programming amid the ongoing pandemic that has forced everyone indoors.

Hay, Fancsik said, began instructing the residents in late fall last year with chair exercises before passing the reins to Digness, who is now the tower’s regular fitness instructor.

“Since we’ve been so isolated,” Fancsik said, “we have tried to find ways to keep our tenants entertained.”

Fancsik had a light-bulb moment when she saw a clip online of something similar occurring in Vancouver. She said she reached out to Hay to pitch the idea and Hay was excited as she too had seen the clip.

“We got lucky yesterday (April 2) because it was sunny,” Fancsik said.

She said she was surprised by the turnout, but it looked as though everyone had a great time.

“The smiles afterwards,” she said. “We all know we have to hunker down and not be in public, but it was nice to see people chatting with each other over the balconies and just connecting. It’s wonderful.”

Fancsik said she hopes to see these classes continue — maybe even twice a week.

The Enderby Memorial Terrace, operated by the Enderby Seniors Housing Society, has had to adapt its programming in several other ways to ensure the safety and well-being of its residents.

Fancsik said all common areas have been closed following the advice of health officials and the facility is closed to all non-essential visits.

“We have to get creative,” she said. “We feel really fortunate that our seniors are being taken care of so well here.”

Food services have moved from the communal dining hall to suite-delivery services and Fancsik said the facility is going the extra mile and using paper products to prevent any cross contamination.

As for entertainment, the staff are delivering word puzzles door-to-door and the residents are sending notes back and forth.

Tenants can also partake in floor-by-floor Bingo and bean bag tosses.

“We keep busy,” Fancsik said.

This Easter, the staff challenged the Terrace’s tenants to participate in an egg-decorating contest. Residents will be delivered a print-out of an egg and equipped with all kinds of art supplies. Once complete, residents are to hang their Easter egg on their door and prizes will be issued to the first, second and third most-voted for design.

Fancsik said the group living at Enderby Memorial Terrace are very active.

“It’s been a challenge keeping them in their suites,” she said with a laugh. “They are all amazing and have been really respectful and appreciative.”

Meanwhile, the staff is ensuring the facility is properly sanitized and all residents are happy and healthy.

Fancsik and the residents are all awaiting the day when they can resume normal programming.

“We received a nice donation from one of our in-town Central Hardware stores,” she said — seeds and soil.

Residents will begin seeding from their balconies and when they are able to, they will be ready to transplant all sorts of vegetables and flowers.

READ MORE: WATCH: Armstrong retirement community adapts amid COVID-19

READ MORE: B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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