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Survey gathering feedback from B.C. seniors and families struggling to cope during pandemic

Last Updated Aug 26, 2020 at 1:07 pm PDT

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B.C. advocate for seniors is looking for feedback on COVID-19 experiences of long-term care residents, families

Isobel Mackenzie says the survey will help map out new policies during the pandemic

The survey closes Sept. 30

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s advocate for seniors is gathering feedback on the toll COVID-19 is taking on the roughly 40,000 people who make up the province’s elderly population.

Isobel Mackenzie says the pandemic has killed about 125 elders, but more than 2,000 have died from other causes in long-term care and assisted living homes.

“What was life like for them and their loved ones in the fiinal months, weeks and days? Every day, my office hears directly from family members and some residents about how they are struggling,” she says.

Mackenzie is reaching out for help to map out new visitation protocols at care homes over the next year and beyond. She says the feedback will help shape policy to make it easier for residents and their families to stay connected.

“That may not be forever for me, but we need to be honest and recognize that it is forever, for some. More than 2,000 other seniors have passed away from something other than COVID-19.”

RELATED: Frustration mounts for families across B.C. kept from visiting someone they love in long-term care

She adds it’s possible some lives have been saved because current restrictions may prevent deaths from other bugs and viruses including the flu.

Family members and other caregivers are encouraged to participate in the survey. Special attention is being paid to help people with dementia take part as well.

The survey, Staying Apart to Stay Safe: The Impact of Visitor Restrictions on Long Term Care and Assisted Living, closes Sept 30.

-With files from the Canadian Press