Carrie Ureta was a little disappointed she had not been able to visit her friend Valerie, a resident at Maple Ridge Senior’s Village, in quite some time.
The long-term care facility, like many of its kind, has strict rules in place which only allow for residents to see one guest while the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing.
One day while surfing the web, she came across a picture of a long term care home overseas, that had built a visitor’s booth within their facility, and decided to forward it along to the management at Maple Ridge Senior’s Village.
Lindsay Zylstra, community relations manager for the senior’s home, said Ureta ‘spurred the idea,’ and they ran with it from there.
“It was a great idea, but it would have taken up one of our exit doors, so it wasn’t logistically possible within our building,” Zylstra said.
“But it got us thinking, if we can’t build a visiting booth inside our building, maybe we can still have a structure outside.”
The maintenance manager from the corporate office at Retirement Concepts, decided the best plan would be purchase a pre-fabricated shed, and rejig it to fit their needs.
“We cut a hole for the window, and pushed it up against our building,” Zylstra said. “So the residents are inside in our boardroom, and the family members are in the building structure outside.”
Since they aren’t physically inside the building, the public health guidelines – which restrict guests to one per resident – can be sidestepped.
It has been especially well received because of the Christmas season.
“We’re hoping before the holidays, grandkids and kids can come visit,” Zylstra said, noting visitors coming together must be from the same household.
The booth has been decorated with a Christmas tree, and festive lights, and has a small heater to make sure guests are comfortable.
“People are excited,” Zylstra said, “It’s warm and cozy, and it’s nice to see four and five people coming at once to visit loved ones.”
Ureta is looking forward to seeing her friend.
“She hasn’t been able to have a lot of visitors,” she said, “So it’s been tough on her.
“Hopefully this booth makes it better for her and everybody else who uses it.”