COVID-19 has forced us all to practice physical distancing, and this time has been particularly isolating for at-risk populations. But that hasn’t stopped the residents of Berwick from having fun.
In the early days residents connected bubble-to-bubble from their suite balconies, dancing to live music performed in the courtyard and performing egg drop science experiments. There was Bird Spy Bingo, Ice Castle building and physically-distanced cocktail hours.There has been physically distanced spin classes, chair yoga, ball drumming flash mobs, music videos, publishing a book and so much more.
Berwick Qualicum Beach earned internet fame with their KISS music video, and Berwick House followed up with a This Little Light of Mine music video complete with a dextrous solo from a mandolin player in his 90s.
“COVID-19 doesn’t seem to interfere too much with our lifestyle here. We know it’s there and we have to behave ourselves, but we’re well looked after,” says one Berwick resident.
The Berwick Bubble
As the pandemic spread through communities across the country, Berwick residents felt safe and connected inside their social bubble.
“For seniors living on their own, tasks like buying groceries, staying connected and maintaining physical and mental health have become increasingly daunting during the pandemic. But with independent living seniors have access to nutritious meals, activities and social connection without any increased risk,” says Lesley Sikorski with Berwick in Victoria.
Residents have stayed fit with daily Nordic Pole walks , jumping rope in their suites, making choreographed TikTok videos in addition to all the other regular fitness activities and classes.
“We have arts classes as well — painting Spanish Tiles, watercolour, and writing groups. There are lots of ways for residents to get creative,” King says. “We all planted seeds during Plant Week, and residents are still in competition to see whose plant grows the most!”
Independent, and part of the family
Worried about losing your independence when you move into a suite at Berwick? Sikorski talked to the ‘pros,’ some of Berwick’s proud residents, to see how they felt about the transition.
“I still drive to visit friends and participate in the all the clubs I belong to. PLUS I’ve got a Berwick family that I can go to share a laugh — or a cry!” says one resident.
Berwick offers technology training and support to help residents stay connected to family and friends on video conferencing platforms like Zoom, and the community inside Berwick House adds extra companionship face-to-face.
“From the first day we felt that we were being welcomed into a family. That sounds like a cliché, but I really did feel that.”