Pearson slowly shrinking

construction site with buildings in backgroundWe usually talk about growing community, and while we still do that, and the building hasn’t changed, the census of Pearson is shrinking. The first 44 residents moved out earlier this year, into housing in the community – namely Cambie Gardens, the first two apartment towers built on the corner of this site. There are single apartments as well as some 4-bedroom and 6-bedroom group apartments, managed by CONNECT Communities. Last week (November 2023) another 13 folks moved into Dogwood Care Home, which is operated by VCH and built mainly to replace the elders housing Dogwood Lodge, with some spaces open to Pearson residents. Residents choose different models of care and different ways of accessing resources depending on their personal preferences. Someone with a fragile health state and dependence on a ventilator may prefer to live in community, managing their own staff. Someone else who has more physical abilities and a more stable health state may prefer a long term facility. We believe that everyone has the right to decide their risk-taking comfort level and what is important to them. GPC now has around 60 individuals living here. Once the next 10 ventilated / trached residents move out from GPC to Dogwood, we will be just under 50 people, down from 115 residents at the beginning of 2021. It will feel very different.

Pearson meals in the news

Pearson was in the news again, this time about the food served to residents. Those of us who have been here awhile remember well when things changed – under Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal government, starting around 2003 – a LOT of privatization went on.  During Campbell’s term as premier of British Columbia from 2001 until 2011, housekeeping, food, laundry, and security services in health care facilities were outsourced to transnational corporations, under the guise of saving money.

This is not meant to blame the workers – they are often poorly paid and expected to do more in less time.  And GPC didn’t have a choice in the matter. As with so many things, the actual people responsible have likely long since moved on.

Some residents think the food here is great. Some do not. The desire for a home cooked meal was the driving force behind CARMA’s Community Kitchen, a monthly program of making and sharing excellent food featuring fresh produce. GPC Community Kitchen meal

Sadly, Community Kitchen is on hold during this COVID-19 Pandemic, and sorely missed by residents.

The link to the news article on GPC’s meals is below.


I can’t see you talking

The COVID-19 Pandemic has heralded the widespread use of masks that cover one’s mouth and nose. One unintended consequence that a certain segment of our population is suddenly cut off from understanding others – from the teller at the grocery store to their doctor.

The impact of this on communication is significant. People who rely on reading lips are suddenly cut off from your words. People who use sign language are also inhibited – the face and lips are actually used as part of that language. The immediate impact is on the hearing impaired community. It is worth adding that  whenever we exclude one group of people, we are all missing out as they are forced to adapt, to struggle to participate in society. Of course we all benefit from seeing someone’s whole face when communicating, but most of us can get by with hearing someone’s muffled voice.

There are some solutions – the transparent full face shield is one obvious one. As well, some people are making nose and mouth face masks with a vinyl window over the mouth. Perhaps we should all consider wearing one of those? Read more about one student’s project, that was picked up by media, reported here. There are many designs being posted online, including videos on how to make your own, such as here (by Emily, a hearing impaired person).





COVID-19 Precautions

Pearson is home to people with vulnerable health states. Some depend on ventilators to breathe. An outbreak of COVID-19 could be devastating here. We hope it doesn’t happen, and VCH is assuring us they are taking all the precautions necessary to prevent it from coming to GPC.

They are allowing immediate family members still to visit, thankfully, but to visit only their relative, and not to wander around the facility. We already have hand sanitizer by every door, and all visitors are reminded to stay away if they have any symptoms.

Temporary Visitation Guidelines have been established that limit visits to “essential visitors” only.  Essential visitors include compassionate visits for end-of-life, as well as visits that support resident care plans, such as assisting with feeding and/or mobility.

I have been emailing with residents who have email and will share the words of one resident: “very odd new reality.. thanks universe for the fine weather as going outside is sanity making and sanitary”

Keep calm and brave everyone…and wash your hands!